Archive for January, 2015

Fourth Sunday of Advent 2015 – 1 Corinthians 8:12-13

Friday, January 30, 2015

1 Corinthians 8:12-13But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.  Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.

In these verses Paul notes the heart of his message on the eating of food offered to idols – do not act in ways that might hurt the faith of those around you.  People may not have the understanding you have…people may not believe the way you believe, but their faith is precious to God.

Everlasting God, help us to remember that we live in community with one another and all of us are your children.  Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Epiphany 2015 – 1 Corinthians 8:3-4

Thursday, January 29, 2015

1 Corinthians 8:3-4“…but anyone who loves God is known by him.  Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “no idol in the world really exists,” and that “there is no God but one.”

Paul seems to be saying to some close disciples, “You know and I know there is only one God, so food offered to an idol is just that, food.  Nothing more, nothing less.”

Gracious God, give us discerning minds so that we can embrace that which is truly important to you.  Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Epiphany 2015 – 1 Corinthians 8:1

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

1 Corinthians 8:1Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.

I was first introduced to this part of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians in a Sunday school class taught by my father in the early 70’s.  Paul’s instructions through this passage on how we should treat one another made a significant and life-long impact on me.  And it begins with loving one another.

God of love, help us to care for others in ways that honor and support their faith.  Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Epiphany 2015 – Psalm 111:1-2

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Psalm 111:1-2Praise the LORD! I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.  Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them.

We are reminded this morning that faith is not just belief, but a process.   We are people of faith, and we are also students of faith.

Gracious God, help us to learn your will as we study your great works.  Amen.

Fourth Sunday of Epiphany 2015 – Deuteronomy 18:15

Monday, January 26, 2015

Jesus teaches in the Temple and Paul speaks of eating the food offered to idols in the readings offered for us.  The fourth Sunday of Epiphany includes the following passages: Deuteronomy 18:15-20, Psalm 111, 1 Corinthians 8:1-13, and Mark 1:21-28.

Deuteronomy 18:15The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet.

Moses is assuring his people that God will always provide a prophet for them, someone who will be able to tell them God’s will.  For the Israelites of today’s passage and for us today, discerning the Word of God in the din of life is tough.

Understanding God, help us to hear your voice throughout this day.  Amen.

Third Sunday of Epiphany 2015 – 1 Corinthians 7:29-31

Friday, January 23, 2014

1 Corinthians 7:29-31I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions…For the present form of this world is passing away.

Paul lived his life as though Christ would return at any time.  While it might be easy to say that Paul missed it by at least 2,000 years, his point is as solid today as it was then.   Always live your life in ways that are pleasing to God.

Almighty God, help us to do your will in everything we do.  Amen.

Third Sunday of Epiphany 2015 – Mark 1:19-20

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Mark 1:19-20As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets.  Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

I was watching a show over the weekend, and a family was getting ready to go fishing at a reportedly hot spot.  They claimed that at this place, they would be “catching” rather than “fishing.”

Gracious God, help us to remember that your time is perfect time so that we might be more patient with one another.  Amen.

Third Sunday of Epiphany 2015 – Mark 1:16-18

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Mark 1:16-18As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea–for they were fishermen.  And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.”  And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 

This is reported as a brief interaction, to say the least.  I have often wondered what Simon and Andrew saw in Jesus that made them drop everything to follow him.  Is there a part of the story left out, or was Jesus able to communicate with his eyes or through a genuine smile that he was the real deal?

Loving God, help us so that people see your face in ours today and everyday.  Amen.

Third Sunday of Epiphany 2015 – Psalm 62:5-6

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

We are approaching the third Sunday of the Epiphany season.  The passages suggested for next Sunday include:  Jonah 3:1-5, 10, Psalm 62:5-12, 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 and Mark 1:14-20.

Psalm 62:5-6For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

Life is full of many distractions – work, cell phones, hobbies – any of which can become like a god in its hold on our attentions.  As we say at the Church Health Center, moderation is the key.  Work to keep God the central focus of your entire life.

Understanding God, give us strength so that we can always keep our focus on you and your priorities for us.  Amen.

Second Sunday of Epiphany 2014 – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Friday, January 16, 2015

1 Corinthians 6:19-20Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?  For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.

When you are in your place of worship, you probably act in very deliberate ways.  There are certain things you would never say…words that might cross your lips at other times of the day, for example.  You act in these ways because you sense you are in a holy place.  Consider today what it means for you to consider yourself as a holy place.

Gentle God, help us to treat ourselves with the same love that you offer to us.  Amen.

Second Sunday of Epiphany 2015 – Psalm 139:13-14

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Psalm 139:13-14For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.

The psalmist gives thanks for God’s authorship in his own creation.  As people of faith, we are challenged to recognize God’s creative presence throughout the course of our lives.

Creator God, thank you for the gentle nudges that keep us on track as we seek to do your will in all we do.  Amen.

Second Sunday of Epiphany 2015 – 1 Samuel 3:19-20

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

1 Samuel 3:19-20As Samuel grew up, the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.  And all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the LORD.

My Good News translation of verse 19 says, “As Samuel grew up, the LORD was with him and made come true everything that Samuel said.”  What a gift to both Samuel and God to be so in tune with one another.

Almighty God, give us discerning hearts and minds so we can know your will for both us and the world with clarity.  Amen.

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January 2015

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