Archive for December, 2013

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Jeremiah 31:9

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Jeremiah 31:9 – They come home, weeping as they come, but I will comfort them and be their escort. I will lead them to flowing streams; they shall not stumble, their path will be so smooth. For I have become a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my eldest son. (New English Version)

This passage provided me with two images of God…one of God gently stroking the head of someone crying into his shoulder and one of God holding someone’s upper arm assisting them along a path.

Prayer: Gracious God, following your example, help us be comforting presences to all of your people today and every day. Amen.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Jeremiah 31:8

Monday, December 30, 2013

Jeremiah 31:8See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north, and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth, among them the blind and the lame, those with child and those in labor, together; a great company, then shall return here.

God is promising the people of Israel and Judah that he “…will bring them back to the land that I gave to their ancestors…” (Jeremiah 30:3). And not just the able bodied, but those who might be considered a burden to the others – the sick, the pregnant, the mothers with young children.

Prayer: Loving God, following your example, help us to care for all of your people today and every day. Amen.

An Advent Devotoinal from the Church Health Center – Matthew 1:18-19

Friday, December 27, 2013

Matthew 1:18-19Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.

For me, this part of the Christmas story, Joseph’s choice, has always been downplayed. Joseph was going to deal with Mary’s pregnancy in a gentle way for his time, but after hearing an angel and taking a leap of faith, Joseph chose to remain at Mary’s side and embrace his role as father of Jesus.

Prayer: Gracious God, give us ears to hear your voice so we can make decisions that are more informed by you. Amen.

An Advent Devotional from the Church Health Center – Isaiah 7:13a, 14, 16

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Isaiah 7:13a, 14, 16Then Isaiah said, “…Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel…For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.”

Immanuel means God is with us. Matthew will later mention this passage as being fulfilled in the birth of Jesus. In this season of anticipation and hope, it is my prayer that God will reveal part of his plan to each of us.

Prayer: Gracious God, help us better understand your will for us and for this world. Amen.

An Advent Devotional from the Church Health Center – Isaiah 7:10-12

Monday, December 23, 2013

Signs offered, signs requested and signs remembered tie the texts together for this week. The lectionary texts for this past Sunday include: Isaiah 7:10-16; Psalm 80:1-7; 17-19; Romans 1:1-7 and Matthew 1:18-25.

Isaiah 7:10-12 Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying, “Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test.”

King Ahaz was scared because two kings had joined forces against Jerusalem. God sent Isaiah to ease his fear and to offer him a sign so he would know God was with both him and the house of David. While most of us won’t be offered such direct intervention, we have faith that God remains a steadfast presence in all of our lives.

Prayer: Almighty God, help us to sense your presence in our lives this and every day. Amen.

An Advent Devotional from the Church Health Center – Matthew 11:4-5

Friday, December 20, 2013

Matthew 11:4-5Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them.”

In God’s kingdom, deserts will become lush, the deaf will hear, the blind will see, the mute will speak. Healing is an intimate part of God’s kingdom. While we are different in many ways, we share a role as builders of God’s kingdom.

Prayer: Almighty God, bless each of us to your service. Help us to be peacemakers, help us to be healers, help us to be builders of your kingdom both today and always. Amen.

An Advent Devotional from the Church Health Center – Luke 1:47-49

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Luke 1:47-49My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

This is the beginning of Mary’s song of joy (the Magnificat) when she learns she is pregnant with the Messiah. Mary was an ordinary woman who was given an extraordinary responsibility by God. As improbable as we may seem, God can and will work through each of us.

Prayer: Gracious God, you call us to help one another. Grant us wisdom and courage to fulfill this awesome responsibility. Amen.

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December 2013
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