Archive for September, 2011

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Matthew 21:33-35

Friday, September 30, 2011 – Proper 22 & Ordinary 27, Year A

Matthew 21:33-35“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another.

As tenant-managers of God’s creation, we are the caretakers of God’s world as well as caretakers of each other. With that said, it is too easy for us to become destructive members of God’s creation, as is the case of the tenants in this parable.

Prayer: Trusting God, you have placed much responsibility on our shoulders, and we so often fall short of your expectations. Help us be the people you would have us be. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Exodus 20:13-16

Thursday, September 29, 2011 – Proper 22 & Ordinary 27, Year A

Exodus 20:13-16You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

The first commands instruct us on how to relate to God. These commands instruct us on how we should relate to each other. To me, these commands tell us to respect the lives, loves, property and reputations of your neighbors.

Prayer: Loving God, help us to love you with all our hearts and all our minds, and help us to love our neighbors as ourselves. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Exodus 20:8-9

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 – Proper 22 & Ordinary 27, Year A

Exodus 20:8-9Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work.

We live in a 24-7-365 world that rarely encourages us to slow down. In this passage God reminds us to rest and renew our spirits on a regular basis.

Prayer: God of our renewal, rest and work, we come before you as a priority-challenged people. Thank you for your unending grace. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Exodus 20:4

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 – Proper 22 & Ordinary 27, Year A

Exodus 20:4You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

Like many of us, I carry a smart phone with me at all times. I also carry several pens, an insulated coffee cup and a notebook. If I lose any one of these things during the day, the world comes to a halt until I find them. We can make idols out of the most petty things.

Prayer: Gracious God, we construct idols every day. Help us keep you at the center of our lives at all times. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Exodus 20:1-3

Monday, September 26, 2011 – Proper 22 & Ordinary 27, Year A

The lectionary selections for this week include: Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20; Psalm 19; Philippians 3:4b-14 and Matthew 21:33-46. Alternate selections include Isaiah 5:1-7 and Psalm 80:7-15.

Exodus 20:1-3Then God spoke all these words: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.

One of my hobbies is crossword puzzles, although I am unable to make this look like the crossword that was on my spreadsheet. Think for a moment this morning about God as our deliverer:

p r o v i D e r
c o u n s e L o r
s a V i o r
l e a d e R
l i b e R a t o r

Prayer: Wonderful God, help us remember today that to be delivered, we must first be willing to trust and follow you. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Matthew 21:24-27

Friday, September 23, 2011 – Proper 21 & Ordinary 26, Year A

Matthew 21:24-27Jesus said to the chief priests and the elders, “I will ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven or was it of human origin?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”

The chief priests and the elders are in a conundrum, but their position is not unlike positions in which we find ourselves in from time to time. What our faith demands of us is not always clear, but I do think we are asked to walk forward faithfully, knowing God is gracious and forgiving when we misstep.

Prayer: Gracious God, we try to walk in your ways, but we often find that we get in in our own way. Help us see the path you would have us take. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Philippians 2:12-13

Thursday, September 22, 2011 – Proper 21 & Ordinary 26, Year A

Philippians 2:12-13Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

‘God is at work in you,’ is both an awesome and a humbling statement. Execution of God’s will, however, requires attentiveness to God’s still small voice inside.

Prayer: Loving God, you are our very essence. Help us so that our outward expressions of you faithfully represent your will. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Philippians 2:3-4

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 – Proper 21 & Ordinary 26, Year A

Philippians 2:3-4Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.

The earliest Christians lived in radical community with one another, sharing financial and agricultural wealth so that all could live. How such an intentional community would look today is difficult to envision, but what if we started doing something as simple as giving up one $3 cup of coffee each day and making that savings work for God?

Prayer: God of all, you ask us to simply love our neighbors as ourselves. In our decisions today and every day, keep us mindful of the interests and needs of others. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Chuch Health Center – Philippians 2:1-2

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 – Proper 21 & Ordinary 26, Year A

Philippians 2:1-2If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

I see Paul asking us, as people of faith, to work together. Despite the differences between us, Paul is beckoning us to focus on those things which unite us, caring for the sick and those less fortunate as two examples.

Prayer: Creator God, help us find the common threads between us so that we may build the kingdom here on Earth you would have. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Exodus 17:5-6

Monday, September 19, 2011 – Proper 21 & Ordinary 26, Year A

The lectionary selections for this week include Exodus 17:1-7; Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16; Philippians 2:1-13 and Matthew 21:23-32. Alternate passages include Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32 and Psalm 25:1-9.

Exodus 17:5-6The LORD said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel.

God provides. It is a simple sentence, yet it is one shrouded in much mystery. I imagine few of us will have such a dramatic example as that offered the Israelites in today’s scripture, but I do hope each of us will be able to sense God’s active presence in our lives.

Prayer: Provider God, help us to sense your presence in our lives. May we be instruments of your provisions to others in our work today. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Philippians 1:21

Friday, September 16, 2011 – Proper 20 & Ordinary 25, Year A

Philippians 1:21For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you.

Paul’s reason for living is to help his fellow believers as they grow in their understanding of God. We cannot live individually as if islands. We are born of one God, and we must care for each other as the family members we are.

Prayer: Gracious God, we have independent spirits, but you remind us of our dependence on you and on each other. Help us serve one another. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Psalm 145:8

Thursday, September 15, 2011 – Proper 20 & Ordinary 25, Year A

Psalm 145:8The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

Remember Jesus’ directive in scripture to forgive someone who has sinned against you not seven times but seventy seven times (Matthew 18:21-22)? We are asked to treat one another as God treats us – with mercy, patience and love.

Prayer: Loving God, your generosity toward us is often unmerited. Help us treat one another as the brothers and sisters we are and not as if we are strangers. AMEN.

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September 2011

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