Scripture: Isaiah 44:3-5
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, drugstore and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my spirit upon your descendants, viagra sale and my blessing on your offspring. They shall spring up like a green tamarisk, recipe like willows by flowing streams. This one will say, “I am the Lord’s,” another will be called by the name of Jacob, yet another will write on the hand, “The Lord’s,” and adopt the name of Israel.
Thought for the Day: Today is my first day back from a marvelous vacation in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I spent many days walking alongside ‘flowing streams’. The calming sights and sound of those beautiful settings was life-giving. For the Hebrew people who spent their entire existence in desert places, a flowing stream was also life-giving…literally. Too often the water these people found was not moving and had become stagnant. This water could potentially be life-taking. As Isaiah described the people, they had become like a dry and barren land. To them, God sent the life-giving spirit that nourished them like a living stream. As often as I have read those words, it was nice to see the metaphor come to life where I could splash around in it.
Prayer: Pour out your spirit, O Lord, like a flowing stream. I shall drink from its life-giving flow, and in doing so, receive the sustenance I need to serve you and the world you created. Amen.
To see some of those flowing streams, click here.
Scripture: Jonah 3:2
“Get up, seek go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.”
Thought for the Day: The phrase ‘get up and go’ appears more than fifteen times in the Bible. God is often telling people to get up from whatever they are doing and to go to a specific destination. On a few occasions it is to escape danger, but more often it is to accomplish God’s hope for the world. I’m getting up this morning and going somewhere. Actually, I’m on my way to Northeast Georgia for a week in the woods (I won’t be roughing it). I think about all the planning that went into my trip, the cooler full of food, enough money saved to cover expenses, and the knowledge that I have a reservation at my destination. That is a very different experience from those who were called by God to hit the road. They felt God’s leading, but they didn’t see much of a plan. And they had no guarantee of a nice bed with a good view when they reached their destination. There is something to appreciate about all those throughout history who have accepted the nudging of God to get up and go.
Prayer: O Lord of the Journey, give us the courage to accept your prodding toward faithfulness. Amen.
Scripture: Proverbs 11:27
Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favor, cheap but evil comes to the one who searches for it.
Thought for the Day: What I like about the Proverbs are their utter simplicity. I feel like I’m sitting at the feet of my grandmother who, case while darning a sock, check states the obvious, yet no one seems to take it seriously. Now if you seek only good, I can’t guarantee you a life free of bad things, but I can guarantee you that the goodness you will know and the goodness you will produce will dramatically alter the course of the world. You may say, “Oh, I’m just one person.” But that is where the problem has always been. It is as simple as it sounds, yet we don’t seem to take seriously the truth our grandmothers told us.
Prayer: For simple acts of goodness, O Lord, I give you thanks. May I strive toward making such acts a little more common in our world. Amen.
Scripture: James 1:5
If any of you is lacking in wisdom, treatment ask God, for sale who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.
Thought for the Day: On this day in 1963, the ‘hotline’ between the United States and the Soviet Union was first established. I’m sure many questions were asked and numerous requests were made on that phone. Of course, neither party got all of what it wanted. But if you think about it, they did maintain peace. In making requests of God, we may ask lots of questions and make numerous requests, but God is not some Jeannie in a Bottle who grants us whatever we ask. At the same time, those who are wise will ultimately seek God and that which God desire for us. Through such regular contact, we find the wisdom to bring peace, healing and reconciliation to the world.
Prayer: Grant me the wisdom, O Creator God, to act so as to bring about those things Your creative spirit desires for this world. Amen.
Scripture: Acts 4:36-37
There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means ‘son of encouragement’). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
Thought for the Day: What’s in a name? I remember the old sitcom, Laverne and Shirley, where Lenny Kosnowski explained that his last name meant, “Help! There’s a pig in my kitchen.” Though I don’t believe he quite had the correct translation of the Polish name, it does make me wonder how we relate to the names given to us. Are we shaped by the expectation they imply. Joseph, who was given the name, Barnabas, immediately acted in a way that gave encouragement and hope to anyone who witnessed his act of generosity. I’m not too sure what Bruce exactly means (I know it was the surname of Scottish royalty, though clearly I have not reflected that heritage), but my other name, Christian, is always calling me to a higher goal: to be Christ-like.
Prayer: Call me again, O Lord, to the ways of the one whose name I have taken. Amen.
Scripture: Job 30:24-26
Surely one does not turn against the needy, here when in disaster they cry for help. Did I not weep for those whose day was hard? Was not my soul grieved for the poor? But when I looked for good, for sale evil came; and when I waited for light, darkness came.
Thought for the Day: Woody Allen has a strange way of making a point that often is more truthful than those trying to be serious. He says, “More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.” I believe Allen is right. There are times when none of the options appear to lead us to light. In those moments, prayer is a good place to start (even though I think Allen was being sarcastic), but then that prayer must guide us toward faithful actions that embody divine hope even when both paths appear futile.
Prayer: Gracious God, when stuck between a rock and a hard place, guide me toward the third option: faithfulness. Amen.
Scripture: Genesis 37:18-20
The brothers saw Joseph from a distance, malady and before he came near to them, ampoule they conspired to kill him. They said to one another, “Here comes this dreamer. Come now, let us kill him and throw him into one of the pits; then we shall say that a wild animal has devoured him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams.”
Thought for the Day: There are moments in life when the future seems bleak at best. Kirby R. Godsey points out how scripture is full of such moments, yet faith invites us to see the bigger picture. He writes, “What people mean for ill, God transforms to be used for good purposes, the lesson being that no amount of human evil can ultimately thwart the purposes of God” (“Is God a Christian” chapter 6). In the darkness when there appears to be no path forward, it is good to know that God is working to create a path to achieve God’s purpose. Joseph always seemed to trust this idea, and his story should remind us how the divine Spirit is always working to bring goodness out of our difficult and tragic moments.
Prayer: Lead me down the road to redemption, O Lord, even when I don’t feel capable of taking a step forward. Amen.
Scripture: 2nd Corinthians 7:9
Now I rejoice, sickness not because you were grieved, but because your grief led to repentance; for you felt a godly grief, so that you were not harmed in any way by us.
Thought for the Day: I saw these words on a card, “Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts” (Arnold Bennett). My first reaction was to dismiss those words, in part, because I really don’t want them to be true. I would like to pretend that change is easy, but Paul reminds us how change for every community was tough and protracted. Paul would work with a community and think his students had grown enough for him to move to the next community, but it often wasn’t long before Paul would hear news of their failures. Bennett is right when he says that change has “drawbacks and discomforts,” but I think most of us can look back on a significant change and say the “drawbacks and discomforts” were well worth it.
Prayer: Lord, help me to look at my life with an attentiveness to those things that need change, and then may I seek your assistance as I begin the difficult task of actually making the change. Amen.