Archive for March, 2012

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Philippians 2:5-7a

Friday, March 30, 2012 – Sixth Sunday of Lent, Year B

Philippians 2:5-7a Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.

Why are we here on this earth? This scripture suggests to me that we serve God by serving one another…that we imitate Christ by loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Prayer: Understanding God, help us be better neighbors this and every day. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Mark 14:35-36

Thursday, March 29, 2012 – Sixth Sunday of Lent, Year B

Mark 14:35-36And going a little farther, Jesus threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet not what I want, but what you want.”

“Thy will be done.” Many of us say that short phrase at least once each week. Hearing Jesus say these words moments before his betrayal, I appreciate even more the seriousness with which we make such a request.

Prayer: Loving God, help us understand your will for us so that we might be the people you want us to be. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Psalm 31:9-10, 14

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 – Sixth Sunday of Lent, Year B

Psalm 31:9-10, 14Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eye wastes away from grief, my soul and body also. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my misery, and my bones waste away…But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.”

In these verses, the psalmist makes a clear connection between faith and health – between spiritual and physical well being. Grief has caused wasting of both body and soul…misery has made the psalmist weaker. We owe it to one another to appreciate this complex interaction within each other.

Prayer: Gracious God, bless our efforts this day to bring hope and healing to your children, our brothers and sisters. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Isaiah 50:7-8

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 – Sixth Sunday of Lent, Year B

Isaiah 50:7-8The Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me.

People of faith: Stand Together! Throughout life, many of us struggle alone needlessly. God is always by our side, but often the best visual evidence of God’s presence is when we stand together with our brothers and sisters of faith.

Prayer: Loving God, help us create a community of faith where all of us feel supported and loved. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Mark 11:2, 7-9

Monday, March 26, 2012 – Sixth Sunday of Lent, Year B

The sixth Sunday of Lent is known as Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday, and there are lectionary selections for both. For Palm Sunday the lectionary selections include: Mark 11:1-11 or John 12:12-16 and Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29. For Passion Sunday the lectionary selections include: Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 31:9-16; Philippians 2:5-11 and Mark 14:1-15:47 or Mark 15:1-39, (40-47).

Mark 11:2, 7-9…and Jesus said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it…Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!”

The triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem is a far cry from the heinous death he is to suffer in a few days. If Jesus were among us today, would we give him honor, or would we see him as a radical? Would we be scared of his controversial views on religion, on love of neighbors, on love of enemies? Would we still be shouting hosannas at the end of the week?

Prayer: Steadfast God, thank you for remaining faithful to us. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – John 12:24

Friday, March 27, 2009 – Fifth Sunday of Lent, Year B

John 12:24 – Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

Simply throwing seeds onto the ground generally yields less than gratifying results. If you want seeds to flourish, you must tend to their environment – the soil, the nutrients, the water. In a community sense, I see us as gardeners for one another…doing what we can so those around us can flourish.

Prayer: Loving God, help us nurture one another in ways that help all of us to live abundantly. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Psalm 51:10-12

Thursday, March 22, 2012 – Fifth Sunday of Lent, Year B

Psalm 51:10-12 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore me to the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.

Throughout my life, my relationship with God has been on a continuum. Sometimes I have felt intimately connected to God, and at other times I have felt distanced from God. Of course at those times when I have felt farthest from God, I am the one who has been moving away.

Prayer: Steadfast God, thank you for remaining faithful to us. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Psalm 119:9-10

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 – Fifth Sunday of Lent, Year B

Psalm 119:9-10How can young people keep their way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; do not let me stray from your commandments.

I was a good swimmer, lifeguard and instructor at one time. My swimming instructor even told me I could be very competitive, but I wasn’t dedicated enough to be a great athlete – too much time, too much training, too much work. Yet this scripture suggests that our approach to God should exceed the dedication that a marathon runner or a great basketball player has to his or her sport.

Prayer: Steadfast God, we may have the faith of a mustard seed, but you remain faithful to us. Thank you. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Psalm 119:12-15

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 – Fifth Sunday of Lent, Year B

Psalm 119:12-15Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes. With my lips I declare all the ordinances of your mouth. I delight in the way of your decrees as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts, and fix my eyes on your ways.

I like the phrase faith journey, because I think of my life as an ongoing conversation with God. Of course as with any long conversation, I don’t always listen as well as I should.

Prayer: Gracious God, help us be better listeners to your voice in our lives so that we might be more like the people you want us to be. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Jeremiah 31:31, 33-34

Monday, March 19, 2012 – Fifth Sunday of Lent, Year B

We are approaching the fifth Sunday in the season of Lent. The lectionary selections for this week include: Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 51:1-12; Hebrews 5:5-10 and John 12:20-33. An alternate Psalm is Psalm 119:9-16.

Jeremiah 31:31, 33-34The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah…But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the LORD,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

Type “forgiveness and healing” into a search engine, and you will find a host of articles that speak of the healing benefits of forgiveness including this article from the American Medical Student Association. Forgiveness can be powerful and life-restoring.

Prayer: Gracious God, help free us from the prisons of our pasts by giving us the strength to be more forgiving people. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Numbers 21:6, 8 & John 3:14-15

Friday, March 16, 2012 – Fourth Sunday of Lent, Year B

Numbers 21:6, 8Then the LORD sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died…And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.” And from John 3:14-15And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

When I first read these serpent verses, I was somewhat perplexed as to what to do with them. And while many of us are familiar with John 3:16, verses 14 and 15 allude to these odd verses in Numbers. But for me, these earlier verses in the third chapter of John’s Gospel place Jesus’ crucifixion and subsequent resurrection in a clear healing context.

Prayer: Healing God, help us be agents of resurrection to the people we see today. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Ephesians 2:8-10

Thursday, March 15, 2012 – Fourth Sunday in Lent, Year B

Ephesians 2:8-10For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

In Romans 12 Paul directs us to “…present your bodies as a living sacrifice…” He goes on the say, “…be transformed by the renewing of your minds…” Our faith journey is a transformative one, and as I see it, faith and works are intimately linked.

Prayer: Almighty God, work in us so we can be the people you want us to be. AMEN.

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March 2012

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