Archive for August, 2011

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Romans 13:8-10

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 – Proper 18 & Ordinary 23, Year A

Romans 13:8-10Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

Paul instructs that our faith is expressed through the numerous interactions with others each day. It is that simple, and it is that difficult.

Prayer: Understanding God, we want to love our neighbors. Help us expand our definitions of neighbor to include all of your children. AMEN

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Psalm 149:1-3

Tuesday, August 30, 2011 – Proper 18 & Ordinary 23, Year A

Psalm 149:1-3Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the faithful. Let Israel be glad in its Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King. Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre.

My outward expressions of Christian faith tend to be subdued. But my job offers me opportunities to participate in other settings where the worship experiences include many opportunities for joyful praise. I generally leave such services blessed to have been in the presence of so many people who through outstretched hands and shouts of “Praise God” and “Amen” were able to create a new song in my heart.

Prayer: Glorious God, we praise you in many languages and in many styles. My all our voices be pleasing to you today and every day. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Exodus 12:3, 6-7, 13

Monday, August 29, 2011 – Proper 18 & Ordinary 23, Year A

The lectionary passages for this week include Exodus 12:1-14; Psalm 149; Romans 13:8-14 and Matthew 18:15-20. Alternate passages include Ezekiel 33:7-11 and Psalm 119:33-40.

The LORD is speaking to Moses and Aaron in Exodus 12:3, 6-7, 13Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; when I see blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

I have friends who post Joshua 24:15b outside their front door. It reads, “…as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” It is a visible way of telling all who are about to enter that people of faith live here. Thinking of these two passages got me thinking about the other ways we mark ourselves as people of faith. Our faith should change us in both remarkable and visible ways.

Prayer: Gracious God, may our faith shine a light on each person who comes before us this day. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Romans 12:13-15, 18

Friday, August 26, 2011 – Proper 17 & Ordinary 22, Year A

Romans 12:13-15, 18Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Romans 12 is such a rich chapter, and Paul’s rules for living together don’t disappoint. Be a genuine presence to all, including strangers, and do the best you can to live in peace with everyone.

Prayer: God of understanding, living together as neighbors can be hard work. Stand beside us in our efforts to be the people you would have us be. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Romans 12:9-10

Thursday, August 25, 2011 – Proper 17 & Ordinary 22, Year A

Romans 12:9-10Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.

What a wonderful pair of verses. As I am writing this and listening with one ear to the baseball game on the TV in the other room, it is easy to imagine how peaceful our world would be if all of us competed to outdo one another in showing honor.

Prayer: God of peace, each of us is as unique as a fingerprint, yet you made each of us. Help us respect that tie that binds us. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Jeremiah 15:16

Wednesday, August 24, 2011 – Proper 17 & Ordinary 22, Year A

Jeremiah 15:16Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts.

When we fail to eat sufficient food, our bodies tell us in sometimes dramatic ways. This scripture reminds us that we also need spiritual sustenance. Eat your fruits and vegetables, and feast on God’s word.

Prayer adapted from a favorite hymn: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, early in the morning and throughout the day, may our songs rise to thee. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Exodus 3:4-5

Tuesday, August 23, 2011 – Proper 17 & Ordinary 22, Year A

Exodus 3:4-5When the LORD saw that Moses had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then God said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”

I think we stand on holy ground throughout the day. Each time we are with someone else, a fellow child of God, we are on holy ground. Whether you are with a family member or a person seeking services from you, honor the time and God’s presence there.

Prayer: Loving God, help us recognize your presence in those around us. Help us walk faithfully on the holy ground surrounding your children. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Exodus 3:1-2

Monday, August 22, 2011 – Proper 17 & Ordinary 22, Year A

The lectionary texts for this week include Exodus 3:1-15; Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c; Romans 12:9-21 and Matthew 16:21-28. Alternate scriptures include Jeremiah 15:15-21 and Psalm 26:1-8.

Exodus 3:1-2Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There an angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed.

I have known folks who have heard God in dramatic, crystal clear ways like Moses. But I suspect most of us are left wondering if we are actually hearing God or simply projecting our own thoughts. Our prayer today is for the wisdom to know the difference.

Prayer: Gracious God, listening for your still small voice requires intentionality. Give us both patience and wisdom as we seek to discern your will in all we do. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Matthew 16:15-18

Friday, August 19, 2011 – Proper 16 & Ordinary 21 Year A

Matthew 16:15-18Jesus said to his disciples, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.

Abram became Abraham. Jacob became Israel. And now Simon becomes Peter (petra is Greek for rock). Transformational moments in the faith life of these leaders is marked by change…identity change…name change…responsibility change. Our faith should change us in such a way as to transform our identity, too.

Prayer: Almighty God, help us find our calling, and then help us live into that vision. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Romans 12:4-5

Thursday, August 18, 2011 – Proper 16 & Ordinary 21, Year A

Romans 12:4-5For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another.

I find Paul’s “body of Christ” language helpful when considering the workplace. Obviously we have different job descriptions and responsibilities. But each of us is asked to do God’s kingdom-work. This means all our jobs are vital and important.

Prayer: Ever-present God, be with this and every day as we walk faithfully with you among your people. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Romans 12:2

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 – Proper 16 & Ordinary 21, Year A

Romans 12:2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

I am impressed by salmon and their quest to swim upstream against seemingly impossible odds. It is so easy to go with the flow, and yet our faith calls us to be different…to be changed by it. Not an easy task in today’s world.

Prayer: God, give us strength each day to meet the challenges we meet during our walk of faith with you. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Romans 12:1

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 – Proper 16 & Ordinary 21, Year A

Romans 12:1I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

I think Romans 12 is my favorite chapter, and this verse makes a clear connection between faith and health. Our bodies, not just our minds, are to be offered in service to God.

Prayer: Gracious God, be with us each and every day as we try to be your hands and feet here on earth. AMEN.


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