Posts Tagged 'Easter'

Pentecost Sunday 2016 – John 14:11

Thursday, May 12, 2016

John 14:11Jesus said to Philip, “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.”

‘Actions speak louder than words,’ is an expression most of us have heard for years.  Throughout scripture we are reminded that our faith should change us in ways noticeable to others.

Loving God, may our actions toward others serve as beacons that draw others to you.  Amen.

Pentecost Sunday 2016 – Psalm 104:24

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Psalm 104:24O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.

Yesterday started out as a dreary day in Memphis with clouds blocking out any good view of the sky.  But it seemed that in less than an hour around lunch, the clouds broke, and God’s blue sky and warm sun transformed the day into glorious.

Creator God, thank you for the creative imprint you have left and continue to leave on this Earth.  Amen.

Pentecost Sunday 2016 – Genesis 11:7-8

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Genesis 11:7-8And the LORD said, “Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.”  So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.

In the Bible, this story comes after the flood so these are all Noah’s descendants.  They were comfortable remaining together so God had to give them a push to resettle the post-flood world.  That push was confusing their language.

Almighty God, give us the courage to challenge the boundaries of our comfort zones as we seek to do your will.  Amen.

Pentecost Sunday 2016 – Genesis 11:1, 4

Monday, May 9, 2016

As we approach Pentecost Sunday, we will consider the Tower of Babel and read about the Holy Spirit entering those first believers as tongues of fire.  Our lectionary selections include:  Acts 2:1-21 or Genesis 11:1-9, Psalm 104:24-34, 35b, Romans 8:14-17 or Acts 2:1-21 and John 14:8-17, (25-27).

Genesis 11:1, 4Now the whole earth had one language and the same words.  Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”

It is comfortable to be around people like us – who speak like us, who sound like us, who worship like us.  But all of us are unique  reflections of the same God.  This week we are challenged to embrace diversity as a part of God’s plan.

God of all of us, help us to be more tolerant of one another.  Help us to see your face in each person we meet today.  Amen.

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 – John 5:2-3

Thursday, April 28, 2016

John 5:2-3Now in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate there is a pool, called in Hebrew Beth-zatha, which has five porticoes.  In these lay many invalids–blind, lame, and paralyzed.

According to the belief, an angel would touch the water of the pool, and it would become agitated.  The first person to enter the water would be healed of whatever malady they had.  So while this image of so many suffering people haunts me, it is also an image of hope: hope for healing.

Healing God, no matter the severity of our situation, give us the strength to never give up our hope.  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.


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