Archive for the 'Easter' Category

Seventh Sunday of Easter 2016 – Acts 16:22-23

Friday, May 6, 2016

Acts 16:22-23The crowd joined in attacking Paul and Silas, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods.  After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them securely.

This might not be a pleasant image to begin a devotional moment, but I couldn’t help but think of the God-given gift of modern healthcare when I read this passage.  Antibiotics, sterile technique, and a highly trained medical workforce are just three gifts that come to mind immediately.  Today, pray for all people who participate in ministries of healing.

God our ultimate healer, bless the minds, eyes and hands of all who seek to alleviate our pains and our illnesses.  Amen.

Seventh Sunday of Easter 2016 – Acts 16:19-21

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Acts 16:19-21But when the fortune-teller’s owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities.  When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, “These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe.”

Practicing one’s faith with integrity is not always easy, and for Paul and Silas it was downright dangerous.  We are reminded today that following God, I think, is like hiking.  The view at the end of trail is awesome, but the path leading there has ample opportunities for trips and falls.

Gracious God, give us a portion of the fortitude found in the earliest disciples so that we can have strength for our own faith journey.  Amen.

Seventh Sunday of Easter 2016 – Acts 16:18

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Acts 16:18She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.

If you recall the verses from yesterday, the fortune-telling slave girl was proclaiming Paul and others with him as being called and sent by God.  Though she spoke the truth, she annoyed Paul.  I love the verses in the Bible that reveal the very human side of God’s great advocates.

Gentle God, bless our efforts to serve others in your name.  Forgive all the times we fall short of your will.  Amen.

Seventh Sunday of Easter 2016 – Acts 16:16-17

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Acts 16:16-17One day, as we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling.  While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.”

Most of us would probably consider the girl a fortune-telling, carnival side-show and walk on past her, but this slave girl cried out the truth.  God can be revealed through anyone.

God of mystery, help us to be prepared to hear your voice in all the shapes, colors, sizes and voices of people around us.  Amen.

Seventh Sunday of Easter 2016 – John 17:20-21

Monday, May 2, 2016

Jesus prays for unity among the believers, and Paul has an encounter with a fortune teller and the authorities in the lectionary passages for this week.  Those scriptures include: Acts 16:16-34, Psalm 97, Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21, John 17:20-26.

John 17:20-21 – “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

Did Jesus anticipate the number of Christian denominations that have developed over the centuries?  Regardless of the way you answer that question, I believe this passage reminds us that we should remember and emphasize those ideas that bind us together as people of faith.

Gracious God, help us to be more tolerant and accepting of one another.  Amen.

Sixth Sunday of Easter 2016 – John 5:5-7

Friday, April 29, 2016

John 5:5-7One man was near the pool who had been ill for thirty-eight years.  When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”   The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; and while I am making my way, someone else steps down ahead of me.”

I thought of our wellness facility when I read these verses today.  I believe people come through our doors who have answered Jesus’ question with a yes.  Our job is to lovingly help them into the nutrition class, onto the treadmill or into our own therapeutic pool.

Loving God, help us to make the people we meet today to feel as though they are important to us, that each has a place at the front of our line.  Amen.

Sixth Sunday of Easter 2016 – Acts 16:11-12

Wednesday, April 27, 1016

Acts 16:11-12We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days.

Today, Macedonia is northern and central Greece, so I couldn’t help but think of the Syrian and other refugees who are escaping from the coast of Turkey to get to Greece.  It places the faith of these early believers in a different context for me that they decided to cross a dangerous sea based on a dream that Paul had.

Almighty God, embolden our faith so that we can take actions that build your kingdom.  Amen.

Sixth Sunday of Easter 2016 – John 5:1

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

John 5:1After this there was a festival of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

Whenever I read verses that start like this, I have read what happened just before.  In John 4:46-54, Jesus heals the son of a royal official, so a man who likely served under Herod.   Despite his role in the government, he had great faith in Jesus.  Sensing his sincerity, his faith, Jesus healed his son.

Gracious God, you ask us to love our enemies.  Help us to live boldly enough to risk loving all people for your sake.  Amen.

Sixth Sunday of Easter 2016 – Acts 16:9-10

Monday, April 25, 2016

We are approaching the sixth Sunday of Easter.  Paul leaves on a journey in response to a vision, and Jesus heals a man at the pool of Bethesda in the selections for this week.  Those scriptures include: Acts 16:9-15, Psalm 67, Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5, and John 14:23-29 or John 5:1-9. 

Acts 16:9-10During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.”  When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.

Faithful living involves developing a habit of listening for God’s active presence in your life.  But once you have heard God, you are compelled to act, which can be easier said than done.

Gracious God, help us to hear your voice in our lives, and give us the wisdom and courage to act on your will.  Amen.

Fifth Sunday of Easter 2016 – Revelation 21:3-4

Friday, April 22, 2016

Revelation 21:3-4And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.”

We are surrounded by people in tears – in our homes, in our communities and in our world.  But the world described in these verses is the world of the new Jerusalem.

Almighty and everlasting God, give us the ability to begin to reduce some of the pain felt by our brothers and our sisters.  Amen.

Fifth Sunday of Easter 2016 – John 13:34-35

Thursday, April 21, 2016

John 13:34-35“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Sometimes, I think we make following God more complicated than God intended.  “Love one another.”  Jesus loved his Jewish disciples, and he loved the woman at the well.  He ate with Jewish leaders and tax collectors.  Jesus’ arms were opened wide…in his life and in his death.

Loving God, help us to love on another genuinely.  Help us to offer love abundantly.  Amen.

Fifth Sunday of Easter 2016 – John 13:31-32

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

John 13:31-32When Judas had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.  If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.

It is the day before Jesus is to die on the cross, and these verses begin Jesus’ final instructions to his eleven disciples.  Jesus knew what Judas would do in a few hours, and he knew what would happen to him the next day.

Loving God, give us the courage to act from our abiding faith in you no matter what the personal cost might be.  Amen.


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