Archive for August, 2013

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Luke 14:12-14

Friday, August 30, 2013 – Proper 17/Ordinary 22, Year C

Luke 14:12-14Jesus said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

The passages this week have said a lot about our perspective and our tendency to trust ourselves more than God, to look out for ourselves more than we look out for others. Rev. Dr. Scott Morris, the Church Health Center’s founder and Chief Executive Officer, ends every blessing of food with the same line, “…and keep us mindful of those less fortunate than we are.”

Prayer: God of all of us, always keep of mindful of those less fortunate than we are. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Luke 14:10-11

Thursday, August 29, 2013 – Proper 17/Ordinary 22, Year C

Luke 14:10-11“But when you are invited [to a wedding banquet], go and sit at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

A wedding banquet in Christ’s time could refer to any number of feasts, including dinner at the home of a Pharisee. Jesus uses this setting to remind us that we are asked to keep our egos in check…to always keep ourselves in proper perspective.

Prayer: Loving God, help us see ourselves as children sharing a common parentage. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Hebrews 13:1-3

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 – Proper 17/Ordinary 22, Year C

Hebrews 13:1-3Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured.

Be hospitable to all, including those you don’t know. Always consider the suffering of others as though you were suffering in the same way. Consider today a world in which each of us walks a mile in the other’s shoes.

Prayer: Gracious God, help us to care for all the members of your family. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Hebrews 13:5-6

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 – Proper 17/Ordinary 22, Year C

Hebrews 13:5-6Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?”

This is a great follow up passage from our Jeremiah passage yesterday. God’s promise is to be a steadfast presence in our lives. God’s promise is to be our shepherd, our protector.

Prayer: Steadfast and merciful God, give each of us a better sense of your unending presence in our lives. Amen.

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

Monday, August, 26, 2013 – Proper 17/Ordinary 22, Year C

The lectionary selections for this week offer several beloved passages. The scriptures include: Jeremiah 2:4-13; Psalm 81:1, 10-16; Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16 and Luke 14:1, 7-14. Alternate passages include the Sirach 10:12-18 (Apocrypha) and Proverbs 25:6-7 and Psalm 112.

Jeremiah 2:12-13Be appalled, O heavens, at this, be shocked, be utterly desolate, says the LORD, for my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water, and dug out cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that can hold no water.

This passage reminds us that when we rely solely on ourselves, we often find that we are our own worst enemies. Pray today that we might come to a deeper, more trusting relationship with God.

Prayer: Almighty God, we want you at the center of our lives, but often on our terms. Help us release our lives into your care. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Luke 13:14-15

Friday, August 23, 2013 – Proper 16/Ordinary 21, Year C

Luke 13:14-15But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the Sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the Sabbath day.” But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water?

God cares for us, but God uses each of us to assist those around us. Jesus questions the crowd that if they would think nothing of unbinding an animal on the Sabbath, how much more important is it to unbind a child of God on the Sabbath?

Prayer: Parent God, help us understand your will to watch out for one another even when societal norms stand in our way. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Psalm 103:1-5

Thursday, August 22, 2013 – Proper 16/Ordinary 21, Year C

Psalm 103:1-5Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits – who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Jesus said we must become as children. This passage suggests to me that one way we become as children is to let God permeate our lives in such a complete way that our youth is renewed.

Prayer: Gracious God, help us open our hearts fully so that you can enter our lives completely. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Isaiah 58:13-14a

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 – Proper 16/Ordinary 21, Year C

Isaiah 58:13-14aIf you refrain from trampling on the Sabbath, from pursuing your own interests on my holy day; if you call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the LORD honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, serving your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs; then you shall take delight in the LORD, and it will make you ride upon the heights of the earth…

God rested on the seventh day and declared it holy. Each of us is asked to set aside one day each week to distance ourselves from our earthly concerns and simply rest in God’s glory. Consider today the ways you recognize, and ignore, the Sabbath in your own life.

Prayer: Everlasting God, to you we give the glory. Help us trust you enough so that we can observe the Sabbath better in our own lives. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Isaiah 58:9b-10

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 – Proper 16/Ordinary 21, Year C

Isaiah 58:9b-10If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like noonday.

As children, many of us learned the song that began: “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…” Our passage today reminds us how easy, and how difficult, making our light shine can be.

Prayer: Understanding God, you call us to come to the aid of others. Help us as we grapple to fulfill your will this and every day. Amen.

Daily Devotion for the Church Health Center – Jeremiah 1:4-6

Monday, August 19, 2013 – Proper 16/Ordinary 21, Year C

The lectionary selections this week offer some very familiar and powerful scriptures. They include: Jeremiah 1:4-10; Psalm 71:1-6; Hebrews 12:18-29 and Luke 13:10-17. Alternate selections include Isaiah 58:9b-14 and Psalm 103:1-8.

Jeremiah 1:4-6Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.”

Jeremiah exclaims that he is only a boy, but in the verses that follow, God reminds Jeremiah that wherever he goes and whatever he does, God will always be with him. It is good to begin our week with a reminder that our God is a steadfast and enduring presence in our lives.

Prayer: Almighty God, through you all is possible. Help us as we lean on your presence this week to serve those who seek help from us. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Luke 12:55-56

Friday, August 16, 2013 – Proper 15/Ordinary 20, Year C

Luke 12:55-56“And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?”

This is another passage that gives me comfort, because people privileged to be in Jesus’ presence didn’t understand him. In the verses following these, Jesus implores us to settle issues with our opponents. Once again, Jesus is telling us that our relationships with one another matter.

Prayer: Gracious God, help us to live more peaceably with one another. Amen.

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

Thursday, August 15, 2013 – Proper 15/Ordinary 20, Year C

Hebrews 12:1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us…

The writer of Hebrews, traditionally thought to be James, mentions the faith of Abraham, Moses and others through history in the verses prior to this verse. Consider today the witnesses who surround us and strengthen our faith.

Prayer: Loving God, thank you for the people around us whose faith is strong and whose lives give hope to us. Amen.

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August 2013

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