Archive for February, 2015

Second Sunday of Lent 2015 – Romans 4:20-21

Friday, February 27, 2015

Romans 4:20-21No distrust made Abraham waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.

I remember singing a song as a young boy that had the line, “Take it to the Lord in prayer.”  I loved singing this song many years ago.  As an adult, I must admit that I often fail to take it to the Lord in prayer first, opting for going my own way or seeking counsel from friends.

Understanding God, help us to become frequent seekers of your guidance through regular conversations with you.  Amen.

Second Sunday of Lent 2015 – Mark 8:34

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mark 8:34He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

If you are like me, your life is highly compartmentalized.  You have your work life, your family life, your church life, and maybe your social life, but there isn’t much crossover between these various lives.  Our verse today reminds us that God wants to be an active presence in all aspects of our lives.

Merciful God, help us to remain mindful of you in all we do today and every day.  Amen.

Second Sunday of Lent 2015 – Mark 8:31

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mark 8:31Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

There are passages in the Bible where I find myself having to pause to let the particular verse sink in.  Jesus is telling the disciples about his own death in the not too distant future.  Despite this knowledge, Jesus kept ministering.

Loving God, help us to persevere toward what is right, even when right is a dangerously difficult choice.  Amen.

Second Sunday of Lent 2015 – Genesis 17:5, 15

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Genesis 17:5, 15“No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations…God said to Abraham, As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.”

For a while, I tried to call myself Bill instead of Butch.  This didn’t work too well, because for my closest friends, I asked them to call me Butch.  I marked them as special by asking them to call me by a different name.

Loving God, help us to mark ourselves in ways that people can see that we are yours.  Amen.

Second Sunday of Lent 2015 – Genesis 17:1-2

Monday, February 23, 2015 

We are entering our first full week of the Lenten season for 2015, and this week we consider the covenant God made with Abraham.  Our lectionary selections for this week include: Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16, Psalm 22:23-31, Romans 4:13-25, and Mark 8:31-38 or Mark 9:2-9.

Genesis 17:1-2When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless.  And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.”

In the verses prior to these, Abram was promised descendants as numerous as the stars, and Hagar, Sarai’s slave, has borne Abram’s first son, Ishmael.  Thirteen years have passed since Ishmael’s birth, and God covenants with Abram to make him the father of many nations.

Almighty God, help us to remember that with you nothing is impossible.  Amen.

First Sunday of Lent 2015 – Mark 1:14-15

Friday, February 20, 2015

Mark 1:14-15Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

With today’s passage we pause and remember that being faithful isn’t always easy or safe.  Our prayer today is for our own steadfastness.

Almighty God, strengthen us to be faithful to you at all times, especially at those times when following you might lead to scorn, ridicule or even harm.  Amen. ​

First Sunday of Lent 2015 – Mark 1:12-13

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Mark 1:12-13And the Spirit immediately drove Jesus out into the wilderness.  He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

As we enter the somber season of Lent, we can remember that God is with us at all times, even in our darkest hours.

Ever-present God, help us to see the angels around us every day.  Amen.

First Sunday of Lent 2015 – Psalm 25:4-5

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Psalm 25:4-5Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.  Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.

This passage reminds me that what we are on is a faith journey.  We are reminded that our knowledge of and our faith in God can grow deeper every day.

Gracious God, open our hearts to make us more mindful of your will for us.  Amen.

First Sunday of Lent 2015 – Genesis 9:13-15

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Genesis 9:13-15I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.

For at least 40 years my dad has carried a day planner with him.  He explained to me, “I can’t trust instant recall, so I rely on instant write down.”  God is speaking to Noah in today’s passage, and I couldn’t help but think of my dad’s planner when I read that God’s rainbow was a reminder system, too.

Understanding God, thank you for moments in your Word when a smile, even a chuckle, is appropriate.  Amen.

First Sunday of Lent 2015 – Isaiah 58:6-7

Monday, February 16, 2015

Today is Lundi Gras, Fat Monday, and today and tomorrow people in New Orleans will be enjoying parades, block parties and other festivities leading up to Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent.    There are several passages for Ash Wednesday, including: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12, Psalm 51:1-17, 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10, and Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21.

Isaiah 58:6-7Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?  Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

While many of us may be considering a Lenten discipline including some sort of fasting, our passage for today reminds us that God cares more about the way we take care of one another.

Loving God, help us to reach out to others in ways that exhibit genuine care for our brothers and sisters.   Amen.

Transfiguration Sunday 2015 – 2 Corinthians 4:5

Friday, February 13, 2015

2 Corinthians 4:5For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake.

For even my non-Christian friends who read these devotions, the truth of this passage is the call the always act out of our faith, to serve our God in all we do.

Loving and merciful God, constantly nudge us toward your will so that we can be your faithful ambassadors.  Amen.

Transfiguration Sunday 2015 – Mark 9:9

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Mark 9:9As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

A cornerstone of twelve-step recovery programs is anonymity.  Anonymity provides safe space for people to tell their stories so they can heal without fear of exposure.  Healthy friendships, like twelve-step fellowships, also need to make room for such sharing of confidences.

Understanding God, help us to be better friends by respecting the privacy of those around us.  Amen.


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