Archive for September, 2013

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

Monday, September 30, 2013 – Proper 22/Ordinary 27, Year C

We are quickly approaching the end of this third year in the lectionary cycle. Our scriptures this week include: Lamentations 1:1-6 & Lamentations 3:19-26; Psalm 137; 2 Timothy 1:1-14 and Luke 17:5-10. Alternate selections include: Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4 and Psalm 37:1-9.

Lamentations 1:1, 5How lonely sits the city that once was full of people! How like a widow she has become, she that was great among the nations! She that was a princess among the provinces has become a vassal…Her foes have become the masters, her enemies prosper, because the LORD has made her suffer for the multitude of her transgressions; her children have gone away, captives before the foe.

The writer of Lamentations, traditionally thought to be the prophet Jeremiah, is anguished by the fall of Jerusalem and points to God’s displeasure “for the multitude of her transgressions” as the cause of the fall. While I rarely write about sin in these meditations, we are reminded this morning that sin can have devastating consequences for us and those around us.

Prayer: Gracious God, forgive us of our sins, and help us be more forgiving toward one another. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – 1 Timothy 6:10-12

Friday, September 27, 2010 – Proper 21/Ordinary 26, Year C

1 Timothy 6:10-12For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains. But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Paul instructs his trusted Timothy that it is easy to place money and other pursuits in front of God, sometimes with disastrous results. By telling him to “…fight the good fight of the faith,” Paul suggests that the path of faith won’t always be an easy one, but Paul assures him, and us, that the life of faith is ultimately worth the effort.

Prayer: Understanding God, help us live above the fray so that we can be the disciples you want us to be. Amen.

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

Thursday, September 26, 2013 – Proper 21/Ordinary 26, Year C

1 Timothy 6:6-9Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.

I can’t remember the origin of the song, but I recall a line that went, “Life’s simple pleasures are the best.” And then there’s the Baloo the bear in the Jungle Book singing, “Look for the bear necessities, the simple bear necessities…”

Prayer: Gracious God, we give you thanks for the sustenance with which you will provide us this day. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Psalm 146:4-8

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 – Proper 21/Ordinary 26, Year C

Psalm 146:4-8Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free; the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.

The psalmist assures us that God our creator, feeds us, heals us and frees us. God also opens our eyes and helps us stand up straight. The psalmist implores us to place our trust in God, “who keeps faith forever.”

Prayer: Faithful God, you have more faith in us than we have in ourselves. Help us see ourselves as you see us. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Psalm 91:1-4a

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 – Proper 21/Ordinary 25, Year C

Psalm 91:1-4aYou who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence; he will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge…

Pinion, in this context, refers to the strongest part of the bird’s wing where the bones are located. The psalmist is assuring us that God remains with us always, even in times of great trouble.

Prayer: Steadfast God, you promise you are always with us. Help us be more trusting of you. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Luke 16:13

Friday, September 20, 2013 – Proper 20/Ordinary 25, Year C

Luke 16:13“No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

At the Church Health Center, we believe all us are in need of recovery…that all of us place idols in our lives in front of God. While some choose alcohol or drugs, others of us choose more acceptable addictions like work or money.

Prayer: Loving, steadfast God, give us strength to overcome all the barriers we place in front of our relationship with you. Amen.

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

Thursday, September 19, 2013 – Proper 20/Ordinary 25, Year C

1 Timothy 2:1-2First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings, and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.

Our passages thus far this week have admonished us to never forget the poor and needy among us. Today’s passage reminds us to pray for our leaders, too, that they lead in ways that help us live out our faith as best we can.

Prayer: Almighty God, we ask a special blessing for all of those in positions of power. May their leadership be pleasing to you. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Psalm 113:5-8

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 – Proper 20/Ordinary 25, Year C

Psalm 113:5-8Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people.

Dr. Scott Morris ends many of the prayers I have heard him offer with the following: “In the name of the one who sits on high and reaches down low…” Scripture reminds us again and again that God cares for the poor and needy, but I also believe that at least one way God expects that care to be delivered is through each of us.

Prayer: Gracious God, bless our efforts this and every day to care for those we meet. May they always see a glimpse of your face in ours. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Amos 8:4-6

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 – Proper 20/Ordinary 25, Year C

Amos 8:4-6Here this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land, saying, “When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the Sabbath, so that we may offer wheat for sale? We will make the ephah small and the shekel great, and practice deceit with false balances, buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and selling the sweepings of the wheat.”

An ephah was a unit of dry measure equivalent to about a bushel, and a shekel in this context was likely referring to weight. The prophet is chastising those who would anxiously await the end of Sabbath observances, for example, so that they could get back to selling their wheat in less than bushel quantities at bushel prices, placing money and self ahead of God.

Prayer: Almighty God, forgive us for all those times we place you second and hurt our relationships with you and with our brothers and sisters. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Jeremiah 9:18, 21-22

Monday, September 16, 2013 – Proper 20/Ordinary 25, Year C

Our scriptures for this coming Sunday have prophets and psalmists crying out to God, and they have Christ reminding us that we can serve only one master. The lectionary selections include: Jeremiah 8:18-9:1; Psalm 79:1-9; 1 Timothy 2:1-7 and Luke 16:1-13. Alternate selections include Amos 8:4-7 and Psalm 113.

Jeremiah 9:18, 21-22My joy is gone, grief is upon me, my heart is sick…For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt, I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored?

I sometimes think we live in the Age of Me. We are encouraged look perfect, get rich and out-compete one another. But as people of faith, we are called to live out that faith in loving community with one another.

Prayer: Gracious God, help us to be able to cry out for one another as we seek to do your will this and every day. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Luke 15:4-5

Friday, September 13, 2013 – Proper 19/Ordinary 24, Year C

Luke 15:4-5“Which of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices.”

Our scriptures this week have had Moses pleading to God not to bring his wrath down on his people and the psalmist pleading to God for his own forgiveness. All of this against the backdrop of other scriptures reminding us of God’s steadfast love for us, and today’s scripture that points to the personal relationship God has with each one of us.

Prayer: Steadfast and loving God, you care about me. You care about each of us. Help us become the people you want us to be. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Psalm 51:1-3

Thursday, September 12, 2013 – Proper 19/Ordinary 24, Year C

Psalm 51:1-3Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

I struggle with the idea that we are inherently sinful, but each of us has hurt someone unintentionally in ways that might have had significant consequences for the one hurt. Psalm 51 creates a beautiful prayer, and our prayer today is an adaptation of verses six and ten.

Prayer: You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach us wisdom in our secret hearts. Create in us clean hearts, O God, and put new and right spirits within us. Amen.


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