Archive for February, 2016

Fourth Sunday of Lent 2016 – Psalm 32:3-4

Monday, February 29, 2016

Rebirth and forgiveness are the themes for this fourth Sunday of Lent.  The lectionary selections for this coming Sunday include: Joshua 5:9-12, Psalm 32, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, and Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32.

Psalm 32:3-4While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.

Guilt can be an enormous burden to bear.  For the psalmist, this guilt had clear physical consequences.  We are reminded again that mental, spiritual and physical health are intimately connected.

All-knowing God, give us the courage to bare our souls to you and unburden our guilt.  Amen.

Third Sunday of Lent 2016 – Isaiah 55:6

Friday, February 26, 2016

Isaiah 55:6Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near.

Our faith life should lead us to actively seek God’s presence at all times.  In my own experience, when I am seeking God regularly in good times, I am better able to sense God’s presence during my times of hardship.

Ever-present God, open our ears so that we can hear you better.  Open our eyes so we can see you better.  Open our hearts and minds so we can understand your will for us better.  Amen.

Third Sunday of Lent 2016 – 1 Corinthians 10:13

Thursday, February 25, 2016

1 Corinthians 10:13No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it. 

This is one of those difficult passages for me because I have a hard time seeing God as testing us, as intentionally bringing hardships on us.  Moving beyond that issue, this passage reminds us that God’s love for us is steadfast, that God is always there for us.

Gracious and merciful God, whether in our times of trial or our moments of joy, help us to sense your presence at our side.  Amen.

Third Sunday of Lent 2016 – Psalm 63:1

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Psalm 63:1O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

“Seek God without ceasing!” exclaims the psalmist.  One of the joys of working at Church Health is being around people who embody this verse every day.

Almighty God, thank you for surrounding us with special people whose public faith buoys our own faith.  Amen.

Third Sunday of Lent 2016 – Isaiah 55:8-9

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Isaiah 55:8-9For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

As I thought about these two verses, I began to appreciate how they sum up part of my faith.  We can’t fully understand who God is and what God wants of us.  Obviously, the Bible gives us significantly important information, but we process the meaning of those scriptures through our very human brains.

Forgiving God, grant us wisdom so that we can understand your will for both us and this world with more clarity than we had yesterday.  Amen.

Third Sunday of Lent 2016 – Isaiah 55:2

Monday, February 22, 2016

For years our CEO, Rev. Dr. Scott Morris, has been quoted as saying what is a basic rule of the road for the Church Health Center: “Keep the main thing, the main thing.”  Our passages for this third Sunday of Lent offer this same instruction.  The lectionary selections include: Isaiah 55:1-9, Psalm 63:1-8, 1 Corinthians 10:1-13, and Luke 13:1-9.

Isaiah 55:2 – [The LORD says,] “Why spend money on what does not satisfy?  Why spend your wages and still be hungry?  Listen to me and do what I say, and you will enjoy the best food of all.” (TEV)

On the wall of our meditation chapel are the words from Matthew 6 that speak to the same idea as in today’s passage from Isaiah.  It instructs us to seek God’s life-giving Word, and strive to live in constant communion with God.

Gracious God, we live in a world full of distractions.  Help us to live our lives in ways that give honor to our faith in you.  Amen.

Second Sunday of Lent 2016 – Psalm 27:4

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Psalm 27:4One thing I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.

The psalmist wants to be in the presence of God at all times.  The passage reminds us that the life of faith is one of attempting to live in constant engagement with God through worship, praise and learning.

Loving God, help us to live our lives according to your will and with the assurance that we are always in your presence.  Amen.

Second Sunday of Lent 2016 – Psalm 27:1

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Psalm 27:1The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

In Romans 12, Paul tells us that our faith should transform us.  The psalmist reminds us that our faith should embolden us.

Almighty God, give us courage so that we can always stand up for what we know is right.  Amen.

Second Sunday of Lent 2016 – Genesis 15:7-8

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Genesis 15:7-8Then God said to Abram, “I am the LORD who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess.”  But he said, “O Lord GOD, how am I to know that I shall possess it?”

Abram wanted assurance so he questioned God.  It is a recurring theme that the great minds of the Bible frequently questioned, even doubted, God at times.  But their faith remained strong, and God continued to use them, just as God continues to use us.

Loving God, our faith can be weak at times.  Thank you for having faith in us.  Amen.

Second Sunday of Lent 2016 – Genesis 15:5-6

Monday, February 15, 2015

We reflect on God’s promises to prophets and to us in the lectionary selections for this week.  Those passages include: Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18, Psalm 27, Philippians 3:17-4:1, and Luke 13:31-35 or Luke 9:28-36, (37-43a).

Genesis 15:5-6 – He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”  And he believed the LORD; and the LORD reckoned it to him as righteousness.

Living in a large city, I rarely enjoy a star-filled sky.  I was recently in rural Virginia a long way from the nearest street lights much less city lights.  On a particularly clear night, I went outside and saw thousands of little points of light.  Imagine for a moment what Abram thought when he looked into his starry sky.

Creator God, help us to appreciate the magnificence of your creative efforts throughout our day today.  Amen.

First Sunday of Lent 2016 – Romans 10:12

Friday, February 12, 2016

Romans 10:12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him.

Each person who reads this devotion has their own understanding of who God is.  So while our individual conversations with God might differ, it is nice to be reminded that all of are talking to the same generous God.

God of us all, weave our individual efforts to serve others in your name into a beautiful tapestry of service to you.  Amen.

First Sunday of Lent 2016 – Luke 4:12-13

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Luke 4:12-13Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”  When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.

I had never noticed the last phrase of this verse until reading it for this devotion.  The TEV says, “…he [the devil] left him for a while.”  We are reminded today that faith requires vigilance because there are times when our connection to God might seem more tenuous that at other times, but that is our problem, not God’s.

Forgiving God, help us to maintain our faith in your constant presence in our lives, especially during our times of trials.  Amen.


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