Archive for October, 2013

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – 2 Thessalonians 1:1-3

Thursday, October 31, 2013 – Proper 26/Ordinary 31, Year C

2 Thessalonians 1:1-3Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of everyone of you for one another is increasing.

Working at the Church Health Center offers each of us the opportunity to work among many people who share a deep and abiding faith. Time and time again, managers from more typical corporate environments have told me of the transformational nature of their experience here. Not unlike the passage today, as we grow in our faith together, we grow closer to one another in ways we can’t ignore.

Prayer: Creator God, continue to work in us in ways that bring us into deeper relationship with one another. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Isaiah 1:16-17

Wednesday, October 30, 2013 – Proper 26/Ordinary 31, Year C

Isaiah 1:16-17 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

In today’s passage, Isaiah is offering the word of the Lord to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Earlier in the passage, God seems to scoff at their sacrifices and burnt offerings. What God wants is for them to care for those less fortunate among them.

Prayer: Loving God, give us eyes to see the needs of those around us, and give us the wisdom to offer substantive help. Amen.

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

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 – Proper 26/Ordinary 31, Year C

Habakkuk 2:1-2I will stand at my watchpost, and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint. Then the LORD answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it.

While I am not a fan of billboards, the most effective ones often have fewer but larger words, making them easier to read as I speed by in my car. How we live our lives, as imperfect as they may be, can be the billboards of our faith.

Prayer: Gracious and forgiving God, give us the strength to live the lives you want us to live. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center –

Monday, October 28, 2013 – Proper 26/Ordinary 31, Year C

This Sunday the lectionary offers the following passages from Scripture: Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4; Psalm 119:137-144; 2 Thessalonians 12:1-4, 11-12; Luke 19:1-10. Alternate selections include Isaiah 1:10-18 and Psalm 32:1-7.

Habakkuk 1:2-3O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen? Or cry to you, “Violence!” and you will not save? Why do you make me see wrong-doing and look at trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.

Habakkuk is another prophet seemingly frustrated with God by what he sees happening to his brothers and sisters. And yet, I can’t help but think how much better the world would be if more of us cried out to God to help us like Habakkuk is doing in the passage.

Prayer: Almighty God, strengthen us so that we can be of more help those less fortunate among us. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – 2 Timothy 4:16-17a

Thursday, October 24, 2013 – Proper 25/Ordinary 30, Year C

2 Timothy 4:16-17aAt my first defense no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it.

‘In my time of need, no one stood by me but you, God. Don’t think less of them, God.’ What a powerful statement of forgiveness Paul is making in this passage today!

Prayer: Gracious God, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Luke 18:10, 13-14

Friday, October 25, 2013 – Proper 25/Ordinary 30, Year C

Luke 18:10, 13-14 – [Jesus is speaking.] “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector…But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”

“Keep things in perspective,” is advice often given to one who is not seeing the whole picture, when one is missing the forest for the trees. Today’s passage reminds us to keep ourselves in perspective, too.

Prayer: Loving and patient God, help us as we work to walk humbly with you. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – 2 Timothy 4:6-7

Wednesday, October 23, 2013 – Proper 25/Ordinary 30, Year C

2 Timothy 4:6-7As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

I find Paul’s race analogy very helpful. First, Paul says he finished the race, but he didn’t say he won the race. Participation, not victory, is key. Second, I think of the stitch you can get in your side after strenuous exercise. The race of faith in which we run can be difficult, even painful, at times.

Prayer: Steadfast God, in our race of faith, help us know your presence so that we may continue to draw on your strength when we are faltering. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Joel 2:27-29

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 – Proper 25/Ordinary 30, Year C

Joel 2:27-29You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I, the LORD, am your God and there is no other. And my people shall never again be put to shame. Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female slaves, in those days, I will pour out my spirit.

Anticipate the impossible! Expect the unexpected! We worship a limitless God who loves all of us.

Prayer: Almighty God, open our eyes and our minds to your love that knows no limits. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Joel 2:23-24

Monday, October 21, 2013 – Proper 25/Ordinary 30, Year A

The lectionary for this week includes: Joel 2:23-32; Psalm 65; 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18 and Luke 18:9-14. Alternate selections include Jeremiah 14:7-10, 19-22 and Psalm 84:1-7.

Joel 2:23-24O children of Zion, be glad and rejoice in the LORD your God; for he has given the early rain for your vindication, he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the later rain, as before. The threshing floors shall be full of grain, the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.

Church Health Center Wellness turns its parking lot into a farmers market every Tuesday. The market ended its seasonal run a few weeks ago. Many urban neighborhoods are devoid of grocery stores. A farmers market can be an oasis for such nutritional deserts in our communities.

Prayer: Creator God, help us creatively share your abundance with those less fortunate than we are. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Luke 18:1-3

Friday, October 18, 2013 – Proper 24/Ordinary 25, Year C

Luke 18:1-3Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’”

Persistence can be annoying when it is aimed at you, and I imagine most of us have had a time when we gave in to the demands of someone just to make them go away. But we are reminded this week to be students of our faith, to offer prayers and praise with inspired persistence, so that we might have confidence borne of that faith that is able to withstand any challenges that come our way.

Prayer: Almighty God, you have been described in song as “a bulwark never failing.” Help us lift our eyes to the hills with confidence knowing that you are always with us. Amen

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 4:5

Thursday, October 17, 2013 – Proper 24/Ordinary 29, Year C

2 Timothy 3:16-17, 4:5All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work…As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of the evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.

Paul uses the imagery of both running the race and fighting the good fight in his instructions to Timothy. He reminds him to remain clear-headed and serious for his important work is also very hard work. Like athletes in training, we should seek to hone our faith using scripture as well as other people of faith.

Prayer: Gracious God, help us hear your voice in our lives today. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Psalm 121:1-2, 7-9

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 – Proper 24/Ordinary 29, Year C

Psalm 121:1-2, 7-9I lift up my eyes to the hills – from where will my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth…The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.

Part of the recovery process involves submitting oneself to God, of crying out, “Help me Lord!” But crying out for God’s help and guidance is not reserved for those in need of recovery from a powerful addiction. Psalm 121 provides a mantra for all of us.

Prayer: Creator God, help us sense your unending presence in our lives better so that we can lean on you with confidence. Amen.


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