Archive for May, 2012

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – John 3:8

Thursday, May 31, 2012 – Trinity Sunday, Year B

John 3:8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.  So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.

As opposed to a Pentecost moment where the Spirit enters you in an unmistakable way, I think our dealings with the Holy Spirit tend to be more subtle.  Years ago I learned the concept of the priesthood of all believers – this idea that all of us are ministers.  The day I first learned about it has stuck with me for years and in retrospect, this was a Pentecost moment for me.  Think for a moment today about a Pentecost moment in your life, and thank God for revealing himself to you in that special way.

Prayer: Steadfast God, thank you for those times when we can see and hear you more clearly.  AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Psalm 29:4-5

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 – Trinity Sunday, Year B

Psalm 29:4-5The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.  The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.

Cedars of Lebanon are trees towering to 120 feet with diameters reaching 9 feet.  This resilient wood had many uses in Biblical times providing wood for ships as well as many temples (and much more recently rail road ties!).  The resin of this tree was used to help mummify the dead, and the fragrant wood was often used as part of burnt offerings.  The psalmist is placing God’s strength above the strongest and most significant natural material known to the people of the time.  

Prayer: Almighty God, we pray this day that you break any chains that are binding us so that we may live fully engaged as your children.  AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Isaiah 6:8

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 – Trinity Sunday, Year B

Isaiah 6:8Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”  And I said, “Here am I; send me!”

When Jesus calls his disciples, the Bible reports that they essentially drop what they are doing and follow him.  In practice, finding our own calling can be a difficult and life-long task.  Yet to be called, one must first have an attitude of listening.  That is my prayer for us this day.

Prayer: Loving God, incline our ears to you.  Give us an attitude of listening so that we might hear your voice.  AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Isaiah 6:1,5

Monday, May 28, 2012 – Trinity Sunday, Year B

For churches following the lectionary calendar, the first Sunday after Pentecost is known as Trinity Sunday.  The lectionary selections for Trinity Sunday include: Isaiah 6:1-8; Psalm 29; Romans 8:12-17 and John 3:1-17.

Isaiah 6:1,5In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple…And I said, “Woe is me!  I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I love among people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

A counselor once defined depression for me as “hatred turned inward.”  I thought of that today when I read this passage from Isaiah.  When we look at ourselves through our own distorted lens, the sight is not always pretty.  Colossians 3:12 says that we are “…God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved…,” and today’s passage challenges us to look at ourselves through God’s lens and not ours.

Prayer: Gracious God, we thank you this day for your faith in and love for us.  AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Acts 2:1

Friday, May 25, 2012 – Pentecost Sunday, Year B

In Peter’s speech, he describes the scene of that day of Pentecost by quoting from the prophet Joel:  Acts 2:17In those last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.

In the benediction used at my church each Sunday, the pastor includes the line “…and the Holy Spirit, our strength, be with each of us…”  This scripture selection from Acts reminds us that through God all things are possible.

Prayer: Almighty God, you pour your Spirit out for us.  May we use the strength and vision it gives us to build your kingdom.  AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Acts 2:1-4

Thursday, May 24, 2012 – Pentecost Sunday, Year B

Acts 2:1-4When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.  And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

“May the force be with you,” is the familiar phrase said in every Star Wars movie.  For me, the “force” is the Holy Spirit, and like the “force” in the movie, if I can become intimately connected to the Holy Spirit that is active inside and around me, I can do amazing things.

Prayer: Gracious God, help us be more Holy Spirit-aware people.  AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Romans 8:22-23

Wednesday, May 23, 2012 – Pentecost Sunday, Year B

Romans 8:22-23We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

In verses 14 – 16 of this same chapter, Paul speaks of our adoption.  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.  For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption.  When we cry, ‘Abba!Father!’ it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God…

Prayer: Loving God, until we are in your presence, help us to be the sons and daughters you want us be here on earth.  AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Psalm 104:24, 30

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 – Pentecost Sunday, Year B

Psalm 104:24, 30O LORD, how manifold are your works!  In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures…When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground.  May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works.

We are reminded of the intimate relationship in which we live with God.  The Holy Spirit surrounds us and inhabits us.  Our challenge, I think, is to keep this connection to God in mind throughout each day.

Prayer: Life-giving God, help us be aware of your constant presence so that we will draw on your strength in all we do.  AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Ezekiel 37:9-10

Monday, May 21, 2012 – Pentecost Sunday, Year B

We are approaching the Day of Pentecost, the “birthday” of the Christian church.  Lectionary selections for this coming Sunday include: Acts 2:1-21; Psalm 104:24-34, 35b; Romans 8:22-27 and John 15:26-27, 16:4b-15.  An alternative scripture offered is Ezekiel 37:1-14.

Ezekiel 37:9-10Then the LORD said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.”  I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.

Memphis lies in what is known as Tornado Alley.  While violent tornadoes do form in and around our city, what happens more frequently is wind, strong wind.  The next time I am in one of these windy situations, rather than resent it, I will stretch out my arms and imagine the Holy Spirit rushing all around me.

Prayer: Almighty God, keep us mindful of your life-giving Spirit in and around us.  AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Luke 24:44-47

Friday, May 18, 2012 – 7th Sunday of Easter, Year B

Luke 24:44-47Then Jesus said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you – that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.”  Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

I was drawn to the phrase “Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures…”  I believe God is still speaking to us, and my prayer today is that each of us will hear God’s voice in our lives.

Prayer: Loving God, help us to be better listeners so that we will know your will for us.  AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Acts 1:6-9

Thursday, May 21, 2009 – 7th Sunday of Easter, Year B

Today is the 40th day since Easter and is recognized as the day Jesus ascended into heaven.  The lectionary offers several selections for this day of the Ascension of the Lord.  The scriptures include: Acts 1:1-11; Psalm 47 or Psalm 93; Ephesians 1:15-23 and Luke 24:44-53.

Acts 1:6-9So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?”  He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority.  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

As a Christian, I am always awed by this moment.  Jesus entrusted his earthly ministry to people who likely wouldn’t pass a job interview if we were hiring for this job.  But look around you today and witness the wonder of God’s power in all the people of faith you see.

Prayer: Almighty God, we are believers today thanks to the generations of believers who came before us.  Today, we thank you for each of these people.  AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – John 17:10-11

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 – 7th Sunday of Easter, Year B

Jesus is praying for his disciples just before he leaves for the Garden of Gethsemane in John 17:10-11“All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them.  And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.  Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”

In the moments before his betrayal, this prayer shows us that Jesus’ thoughts were turned toward those who had followed him and who would carry on his ministry.  In subsequent verses of this prayer, Jesus even prays for us asking that we may be “…brought to complete unity…”  This is a beautiful prayer with a beautiful thought for this day.

Prayer: Eternal God, help us to know you better so that we might be of the same mind with one another.  AMEN.


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