Archive for December, 2013

An Advent Devotional from the Church Health Center – James 5:7-8

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

James 5:7-8Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and late rains. You must also be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.

As children of God, we have an obligation to care for one another. This requires us to be nurturing presences to those around us even if our efforts aren’t met with smiling, happy faces.

Prayer: Gentle God, thank you for all the people who surround us. Give us the strength to treat our neighbors as though we have already walked a mile in their shoes. Amen.

An Advent Devotional from the Church Health Center – Psalm 146:8-9a

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Psalm 146:8-9a… the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow…

Not all of us are eye care professionals, but all of us are asked to help people see their lives through new lenses. Not all of us are physicians or physical therapists, but all of us are asked to help people walk with their heads held higher. Being such presences in people’s lives is easier if we know them, but we are asked to do the same to the strangers we meet as well.

Prayer: Healer God, help us bring sight to the blind and strength to the lame. Help us be more welcoming to the strangers we meet. Amen.

An Advent Devotional from the Church Health Center – Isaiah 35:1-2a, 3

Monday, December 16, 2013

For this third week of Advent, our images of peace are now punctuated by visions of healing. The lectionary texts include: Isaiah 35:1-10; Psalm 146:5-10; James 5:7-10 and Matthew 11:2-11. An alternate passage Luke 1:46b-55.

Isaiah 35:1-2a, 3The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing…Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.

Cold weather has settled into Memphis, and I wished I had started raking leaves when it was a bit warmer outside. With the joints in my hands and knees confirming that winter was finally here, I longed for that morning in spring when the first purple crocus pops its bloom out from under the leaf litter I fail to rake up.

Prayer: Creator God, you are our strength and our hope through all the seasons of our lives. Amen.

An Advent Devotional from the Church Health Center – Romans 15:13

Friday, December 13, 2013

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

As this second week of Advent draws to a close, we have enjoyed further images of this radical vision of peace provided by Isaiah. As children of God, we are challenged to see God in each of our neighbors, and in so doing we blend our voices into a beautiful harmony which is God’s holy choir.

Prayer: Gracious God, during this wonderful season, fill us with the joy and peace that comes from believing so that we may abound in hope. Amen.

An Advent Devotional from the Church Health Center – Matthew 3:4

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Matthew 3:4Now John the Baptist wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.

Most of us have had a person walk by us mumbling or shouting religious “stuff.” If you are like me, you immediately determine that the person is mentally challenged. The scripture today reminds us that as people of faith, we are challenged to see God’s presence and potential in everyone.

Prayer: Loving God, help us to see your light in all the people who cross our path. Amen.

An Advent Devotional from the Church Health Center – Romans 15:5-6

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Romans 15:5-6May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

At first glance, a barbershop quartet has little to do with our faith journey, but I couldn’t help thinking about the seamless way four voices can blend to create amazing music. Each of us sings a different part, but today I ask you to consider the wonderful sound we can create if we “sing” in harmony with one another.

Prayer: Loving God, help us mold our own voices then blend them with our neighbors into an amazing life-song. Amen.

An Advent Devotional from the Church Health Center – Psalm 72:1-2, 4, 6

Tuesday December 10, 2013

Psalm 72:1-2, 4, 6Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king’s son. May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice…May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor…May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth.

We live in communities, and these communities have leadership structures. The Psalm reminds us that for peace to reign, cooperation from these leaders is necessary. The Psalm is a wonderful prayer for our leaders.

Prayer: Almighty God, help our leaders sense your presence in their lives. May they seek your will in all they do. Amen.

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December 2013
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