Month: July 2011
Scripture: Genesis 37:4
Thought for the Day: There have been a few folks over the years who have made me angry, shop and I have wanted to put them on the “to be hated list.” At the same time, I would guess that I have done a few things that have caused some people to put my name on the “to be hated list.” As a parent, I keep telling my son that as people of faith we don’t hate anyone. I think I tell him that on a regular basis to remind myself of that fact, for though there are times when I want to put someone on the “to be hated list,” my faith calls me to respond differently. I believe this, in part, because hatred is destructive, and I have never seen it lead to anything that was redemptive or healing. I am reminded of Coretta Scott King who said, “Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.” Someone eventually needs to break the cycle and respond with love and compassion even toward those who appear to be deserving of the “to be hated list.”
Prayer: Lord, you have put me on the “to be loved list,” and I pray for your assistance as I attempt to replace my “to be hated list” with something that will lead toward healing for everyone. Amen.
Scripture: Genesis 35:2-3
So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, look “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, and purify yourselves, and change your clothes; then come, let us go up to Bethel, that I may make an altar there to the God who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.”
Thought for the Day: This is a ‘come to Jesus’ moment, or probably more appropriately, it is a ‘come to Yahweh’ moment. Jacob calls his family to change their ways and make themselves ready for an important time in their life together. The changes seem rather symbolic (getting rid of some household items that represent idols, taking a bath, and changing their clothes), and I would even suggest that these changes don’t really mean much. At the same time, part of true change is modifying one’s circumstance, setting up new prompts toward faithfulness, and creating memories that tangibly reinforce what it is that we believe. If we want to do something new, and we’re serious about it, we need to start by creating an environment that doesn’t allow us to forget what it is that we value…because trust me, there is plenty of influences trying to help us forget it.
Prayer: Gracious God, help me to create a framework that elicits a growing commitment to you. Amen.
Scripture: Genesis 33:4-5
But Esau ran to meet him, sick and embraced him, malady and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. When Esau looked up and saw the women and children, he said, “Who are these with you?” Jacob said, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant.”
Thought for the Day: Everyone likes a good story of reconciliation, and here in the 33rd chapter of Genesis there is this marvelous moment where the two brothers who have been at odds are reconciled. I think we like stories of reconciliation because they are what we want, yet they are rarely what we see or experience for real. Too often reconciliation never comes to fruition because reconciliation requires vulnerability The fear of being hurt again is much greater than the desire to know healing, yet if people of faith are not willing to risk vulnerability for the sake reconciliation, how can we expect anyone else to do so.
Prayer: Though I may be a little nervous, O Lord, make me an instrument of reconciliation. Amen.
Scripture: Psalm 145:9
The Lord is good to all, sales and his compassion is over all that he has made.
Thought for the Day: My sister posted something very interesting on Facebook, advice and though I don’t know its origin, I will try my best to find it. It read: “Let’s get this straight: I don’t particularly care why they need help, if they’re drug addled, if they’re lazy and sick, crippled, any of it. My interest in feeding the hungry and clothing the shirtless does not exist because I think they’re particularly good people. It exists because I want to be one.” God shows compassion to those who are less than deserving because God is good, and among those less than deserving, I need to include myself. If we are going to claim ourselves as followers of the divine leading, it appears as if our choices our pretty much set when it comes to how we will respond.
Prayer: Thanks, God! I appreciate you making that clear. Amen.
Scripture: Genesis 31:2-3
And Jacob saw that Laban did not regard him as favorably as he did before. Then the Lord said to Jacob, thumb “Return to the land of your ancestors and to your kindred, sickness and I will be with you.”
Thought for the Day: Has God ever surprised you with a gentle nudge to go back to that place where you didn’t figure you’d ever return? So much has happened since Jacob left home, and as a reader, I feel as if that’s old history. Initially, it almost felt as if there was failure in returning to what was. Yet God called him to go back home. Of course, Jacob was returning home a different person. Something had changed within him and made him ready to return home and share in the next chapter of the divine narrative. He had become the difference, and it was his presence that would create the potential for change. When God calls us back, what we quite often discover is that it is not a step backwards. We have changed, and so our invitation to return is an invitation to be an agent of change in an old and familiar setting.
Prayer: O God, may I trust your gentle nudge that has on occasion left me scratching my head and wondering what you had in mind. Amen.
Scripture: Genesis 29:1
Then Jacob went on his journey, pharm and came to the land of the people of the east.
Thought for the Day: The word we translate as ‘journey’ is the Hebrew word for feet. That is an important reminder because too often we think of journey as something that is long but not all that strenuous. For most of us, capsule a journey consists of getting in an automobile or an airplane and making our way to our destination. We might complain how stressful it was to get everything packed or how exhausted we felt upon arriving. In fact, try all that really was exhausted was our backside from all the sitting we had done. Let us remember that when the scriptures spoke of a journey (literal and figurative), it was speaking of something that left the participant fatigued and sore. For Jacob, this was not only a demanding journey in which he moved to a new physical location, but a journey of the soul that would forever change him…in part, because he was willing to put forth the effort.
Prayer: Prepare me, O God of the Journey, for all that will be required for me to participate in my trek of faith. Amen.
Scripture: Genesis 28:20-22
Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house; and of all that you give me I will surely give one-tenth to you.”
Thought for the Day: Rev. Craig Watts, a Disciple pastor in Florida, posted the following quote on Facebook: “Prayer does not mean simply to pour out one’s heart. It means rather to find the way to God and to speak with God, whether the heart is full or empty” (D. Bonhoeffer). The prayers we offer are quite often request-ful bargaining as is Jacob’s, and though we often have legitimate petitions to make, a conversation with God is probably a better use of our prayers. Too often our lengthy laundry list leaves no latitude for the Lord to offer us what we really need.
Prayer: Lord of Life, call me into a conversation with your spirit of grace where I come to know what it is that will truly bring joy to my soul. Amen.
Scripture: Genesis 28:11-12
Jacob came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, discount because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, cialis sale he put it under his head and lay down in that place. And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
Thought for the Day: According to the Great Midrash (one of the Jewish commentaries on the scriptures) from the medieval times, Jacob’s ladder is a symbol of the human life. We live firmly rooted on the earth, but we strive and stretch to know and live the high values of heaven. God continues to send us divine messengers who help us live on the earth, yet with the values found in heaven. In a similar way, Jesus will announce the manifestation of God’s Kingdom here on earth. The Kingdom manifests itself when faithful people live firmly in this world, while always striving for the ways of heaven. Let us ask for as many of those divine messengers as we need to bring heaven to earth.
Prayer: Help me be your bridge, Mighty God, between what is and what could be. Amen.
Scripture: Genesis 27:41-45
Now Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him, and Esau said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob.” But the words of her elder son Esau were told to Rebekah; so she sent and called her younger son Jacob and said to him, “Your brother Esau is consoling himself by planning to kill you. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; flee at once to my brother Laban in Haran, and stay with him a while, until your brother’s fury turns away—until your brother’s anger against you turns away, and he forgets what you have done to him; then I will send, and bring you back from there. Why should I lose both of you in one day?”
Thought for the Day: An ancient proverb says, “One of life’s greatest mysteries is how the boy who wasn’t good enough to marry your daughter can be the father of the smartest grandchild in the world.” Family can be a funny complicated skirmish in search of understanding and appreciation. The Abrahamic family was no different, and quite often it appeared as if the first family called into covenant would fall apart because of selfishness and jealousy. Despite their individual shortcomings that appeared to threaten God’s future plans, we find God’s creative spirit taking those poor choices and making a way for God’s hope to become a reality. Where in your life have your less than perfect choices appeared to have obstructed God’s desires? As difficult as it is, trust in God’s capacity to continue to find a means of bringing about God’s hope.
Prayer: Wherever the poor choices of humanity appear to undermine your work, O Lord, allow me to believe that you will remain steadfast to making a way for your redemptive vision. Amen.
Scripture: 1 Kings 3:5
The Holy Bible : Holman Christian standard version. 2009 (1 Ki 3:5). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.
Thought for the Day: Solomon doesn’t ask for mansions or servants or whatever the equivalent of a Ferrari would have been back then–a 480-horse chariot? But rather, he asks for the ability to discern between good and evil, to be a wise and righteous leader, a servant for God, as was Solomon’s father, King David. Solomon recognizes his youth and inexperience and asks the Lord not for material things, but rather for a gift of lasting character. No matter our age or experience, may God’s discerning character bless us always! There is always something new to learn, and there is always time to ask God to help us discern the path God has laid out for us.
By the way, have you given God a hug today?
Prayer: We pray you grant us the wisdom of Solomon Lord, so that we may live with discerning hearts, able to see your path and hear your intentions. We love you! Amen.