Archive for November, 2014

First Sunday of Advent, 2014 – 1 Corinthians 1:9

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

1 Corinthians 1:9God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

For most of you who read this devotion each day, tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  As you prepare your list of “those things for which I am thankful” remember those first three words: “God is faithful.”

Steadfast God, thank you for believing in each of us.  May we have a portion of the faith in ourselves that you have in us.  Amen.

First Sunday of Advent, 2014 – Mark 13:28-29

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mark 13:28-29From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near.  So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates.

During Advent, Christians anticipate the eventual return Christ, and the verses prior to these give some ominous signs for which we should be aware.  Whether Christ will return after signs like those noted in Mark, we are reminded today to remain vigilant and anticipate the return of Christ.

Loving God, help us to sense all the ways you communicate with us, especially the subtle ones.  Amen.

First Sunday of Advent, 2014 – Isaiah 64:8

Monday, November 24, 2014

The second year of the lectionary cycle begins this Sunday as Advent begins.  Our selections for this week include: Isaiah 64:1-9; Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 and Mark 13:24-37.

Isaiah 64:8Yet, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

I like the potter/clay imagery because it speaks of an ongoing creative process that is God’s work in our lives.  Unlike the lifeless clay on a potter’s wheel, however, we have to be willing to allow God to work in our lives for our potential to be realized.

Creator God, open our minds and hearts to your presence in our lives so that we can sense your will for us in all we do.  Amen.

Proper 29/Ordinary 34, 2014 – Matthew 25:36

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Matthew 25:36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.

As I am typing this, a newscast is telling of another health care worker who has died of the Ebola virus after contracting it while caring for someone suffering from this dreaded disease.  Jesus’ words are particularly challenging today.

Gracious God, give us the strength to be faithful even in difficult times.  Amen.

Proper 29/Ordinary 34, 2014 – Matthew 25:35a

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Matthew 25:35a…for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink…

I heard an article on Monday that here in the US, we throw away more food than paper and plastic combined (To End Food Waste, Change Must Begin At Home, NPR).  In the face of this information, we are reminded that food insecurity, the lack of sufficient, affordable, nutritious food, is an increasingly serious problem in our communities.

God of our abundance, give us creative hearts so that we can develop ways to feed our hungry brothers and sisters.  Amen.

Proper 28/Ordinary 33, 2014 – 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11

Friday, November 14, 2014

1 Thessalonians 5:9-11For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him.  Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.

As people of faith, we are bound together forever as children of God.  This fact should instruct our interactions.  We are to inspire one another, and we are to help one another succeed.

Gracious God, help us to be constructive presences for one another today and every day.  Amen.

Proper 28/Ordinary 33, 2014 –

Thursday, November 13, 2014

1 Thessalonians 5:4-5, 8 But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness…But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

On a special vacation to Toronto, Canada, I stayed with my family in the Royal York Hotel, a huge hotel with full suits of armor decorating the lobby.  Paul reminds us that our faith can both protect us and allow us to act boldly.

Loving God, help our faith to deepen so that we can follow your will even when doing so seems risky.  Amen.

Proper 28/Ordinary 33, 2014 – Psalm 90:10, 12

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Psalm 90:10, 12The days of our life are seventy years, or perhaps eighty, if we are strong; even then their span is only toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away…So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” I said as I left my office yesterday.  It is easy to take time for granted, but we are reminded today that each day we have is a precious gift from God.

Everlasting God, we thank you both for this day and for all the people who will share the day with us.  Amen.

Proper 28/Ordinary 33, 2014 – Matthew 25:29

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Matthew 25:29For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.

This verse is at the end of a difficult parable in Matthew.  For me, the essence of the parable is that God wants us to discern our gifts, and use them to their fullest extent.

Gracious and understanding God, help us to sense your will for us this and every day.  Amen.

Proper 28/Ordinary 33, 2014 – Psalm 90:1-2

Monday, November 10, 2014

On first reading, the passages for this week are quite challenging.  With that disclaimer, I believe I have picked some highlights for us to consider together.  The lectionary selections include: Judges 4:1-7 and Psalm 123; Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18 and Psalm 90:1-8, (9-11), 12; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; and Matthew 25:14-30.

Psalm 90:1-2Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.  Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Years ago, I stood at the top of Pikes Peak, over 14,000 feet above sea level.  It was a clear day, and as a kid I could imagine what forever looked like.  As I read today’s passage, the first image that came to mind was that awesome view I had decades ago.

Almighty God, help us to appreciate how intricately woven we are into the fabric of your creation.  Amen.

Proper 27/Ordinary 32, 2014 – Matthew 25:13

Friday, November 7, 2014 

Matthew 25:13Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

This passage appears at the end of the “kingdom of heaven is like this” story of the ten bridesmaids, five of whom didn’t bring enough oil to keep their lamps lit through the night.  It reminds us to live our lives through the lens of our faith at all times.

Gracious God, help us always to act in ways that are consistent with your will.  Amen.

Proper 27/Ordinary 32, 2014 – 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

Thursday, November 6, 2014

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 – For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever.  Therefore encourage one another with these words.

One of the first things I remember writing in college was a piece describing my vision of the day Jesus returns.  Will it happen like it states in today’s passage?  Do any of us really know?  What I do feel strongly about is that we should believe that our God is powerful enough to accomplish this just as it is written.

Almighty God, strengthen the weak and unsure parts of our faith so that we can live without fear.  Amen.


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