Month: October 2011
Thought for the Day: I was touched by the recent story of the the boy with autism who was rescued after he went missing in a Virginia park. He had wandered off from his father during a hike and was lost for five days. More than 600 volunteers participated in the search, though according to the local sheriff, volunteers were turned away because there were simply too many. Despite all the doom and gloom depicted by the media, we must celebrate the richness of good and generous works in our world. Of course there is brokenness and selfishness, but I hold to the belief that it is not the predominate view. Goodness has and will continue to prevail!
Prayer: I have been blessed by the good works of others, Loving Lord, and I will do my best to share those good works with others. Amen.
Scripture: Ephesians 1:2
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thought for the Day: These words of the Apostle Paul were a basic greeting that could have been found in any correspondence. For that reason, ailment such words are often dismissed as a superficial salutation. I must confess how I have often breezed past these words on my way to what I determined was the real meat of the letter, but that may have been a mistake. As I read this simple sentence again, it makes me wonder what kind of world we would live in if we sought to make those words a reality. What if we imparted grace and peace upon others, not only with words, but in our daily interaction? How much has our insouciant reading of these words (and others) given us permission to relegate them to the realm of ornamental language? I would encourage all of us to try offering this greeting to someone today, and then follow it with an act which embodies what we have just said.
Prayer: Give my words meaning, O Lord, and may their meaning be shown in how I live my life with and toward others. Amen.
Trader Joe’s is moving to Naples, and though it promotes itself as this very ethical and socially aware corporation, it has failed to recognize the needs of the Immokalee Farmworkers. Read this article and ask yourself, ‘Will I want to support Trader Joe’s with my shopping dollars?”
Scripture: Jeremiah 1:4-8
Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, buy cialis “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, treat and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Then I said, cheap “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.”
Thought for the Day: I appreciate children and youth because their imaginations are able to perceive beyond the boundaries that come with getting older. The young are not restricted by long held and unquestioned traditions. They are not limited by the voices of those who say it simply cannot be accomplished. They tend to shrug off any attempt to squelch the unrestrained playfulness of their young minds. Yet with each passing year, constraints are placed upon those minds by a whole host of things including an educational system that hinders teachers from teaching. Indoctrination for the simple purpose of passing a test is not education and does not celebrate the reservoir of creativity within every child (God bless those teachers who are able to work around the system). I can understand why God has continually turned to children and youth to save the soul of humanity from itself, but we need to help God by creating structures and institutions that do not seek to restrict the infinite possibilities within each of our children.
Prayer: O Creative Spirit, give us the courage to listen and learn from our children as we encourage and inspire the potential that stirs within each of them. Amen.
Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock is one of us. That is, cialis sale she is a member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). For those who receive my devotional, check I have quoted from her book, “Saving Paradise”, an excellent look at the first 1000 years of Christianity. Rita has a wonderful article in the Huffington Post about Occupy Oakland.
CLICK HERE to read it.
Thought for the Day: I read the closing words of the Stephen’s story, and I am reminded of the gospel song, “I Want To Be A Witness”. Stephen clearly was a witness to the ways of Jesus, in both life and death. The word martyr comes from the Greek word which means witness, and Stephen’s faithfulness to the end provides us a lasting witness. I just don’t know if I really want to be that kind of witness. You know what I’m talking about…the kind of witness that gets stoned to death or crucified or whatever the current form of execution might be. If given the choice, I want to be a witness on a beach in Hawaii with a fruity drink in my hand, but I guess that doesn’t really provide much of a witness to the sacrificial love of God revealed in Jesus (unless you can include the really bad sunburn I would get after falling asleep). Though in all seriousness, God needs us to be a witness. And whether our situation is on the beach in Hawaii or amidst difficulty and suffering, we have an opportunity to be a witness… though the latter situation will probably be more compelling.
Prayer: Lord who inspires living witnesses, continue to work with me and through me so my life can provide a testimony to your unmerited love. Amen.
Scripture: Acts 16:19-22
But when her (the slave girl) owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, viagra they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. When they had brought them before the magistrates, there 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.” The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods.
Thought for the Day: In his book, ‘UnChristian’, David Kinnaman talks about the significant research he had done on those who were ‘outside’ the Christian faith. He wrote, “Deep down I hoped my intuition would be wrong about how negative the views of my generation were toward Christians. I was unprepared for how resistant, entrenched, and pessimistic the response would be” (p.222). Many Christians have known firsthand the negative opinions some people have held against them. Paul and Silas felt it as they were being dragged through the center of town and eventually beaten. Stephen was stoned to death. The Apostle James was run through with the sword. Yet in each case, the Christians maintained an unwavering commitment to the ways of Jesus. They were undeterred by these threats, and they never chose to take on the ways of those who opposed them. To the best of their ability, they allowed their convictions to be obvious and unavoidable. Their witness didn’t change everyone, but most importantly, these threats didn’t change the Christians…even when they were facing certain death.
Prayer: Let me hold tightly to you, O Good and Faithful God, whether my life situation is easy or difficult. I desire to be consistent in my commitment to your ways. Amen.
Scripture: Proverbs 28:1
The wicked flee when no one pursues, capsule but the righteous are as bold as a lion.
Thought for the Day: Why would anyone flee when there is no one pursuing them? This was my initial question in reading the first half of this passage, view and then it hit me. There is no person or army approaching ‘the wicked’, viagra but there is something else that is chasing them. It is, what Geoffrey Chaucer described as, the power of guilt. He wrote, “The guilty think all talk is of themselves.” The persecuting power of a guilty conscience is unrelenting in its pursuit because it is inescapably attached to the one who is running. The only way to change the situation is to stop running, face our past, confess, seek healing, and to begin the process of loosening the tight grip guilt can hold on us. Any other option will have us in excellent shape for the guilt-ridden marathon, but that is a race no one wants to finish.
Prayer: Encourage me, O Gracious God, to trust your mercy, stop my race to nowhere, and to find your healing. This I pray in the name of the one who will be my strength every step of the way, Jesus. Amen.
Scripture: Matthew 10:38-39
[Jesus said, pilule ]…and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, viagra and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
Thought for the Day: Amy-Jill Levine writes in her thought-provoking book, The Misunderstood Jew, “Whenever a new religious movement, political view, or social practice emerges, some resistance is to be expected, usually from the representatives of the status quo. As long as Peter and his colleagues lived in relative obscurity…they would not have come to the attention of Rome’s local allies, the Jerusalem establishment. But as the movement began to spread, danger followed. To proclaim the resurrection of an individual is one thing; to proclaim that the Messiah was a man crucified by Rome was something else entirely…To proclaim oneself a follower of Jesus consequently meant to risk ridicule, ostracism, and even persecution” (Harper One ©2006, p. 55). In reading Levine’s comments, I am left wondering how it relates to 21st century Christians living in the relative security of middle class America. I’m not entirely sure, but what I do believe is that despite the contextual differences, those of us living today are called to live a life of faith that will often run contrary to popular beliefs and politics as usual. We do not judge others, but we do live a life that is unmistakably different from what has traditionally been called customary…especially when what has become customary looks nothing like the Jesus of scripture.
Prayer: O Lord whose ways are that of the cross, provide me strength within my convictions so my life is never confused with cultural values that support violence above peace, greed instead of compassion, and hate over love. Amen.
Scripture: Psalm 25:9
He leads the humble in what is right, sales and teaches the humble his way.
Thought for the Day: Yesterday at the Communion Table I referenced a lesser known song by the Oak Ridge Boys entitled, “Nobody Wants to Play Rhythm Guitar Behind Jesus; Everyone Wants to Be the Leader of the Band.” That’s definitely a mouthful, but with a little humor the song teaches us about humility (or lack there of). My grandfather used to say to me, “It’s okay to play second fiddle”, and I would just nod my head in agreement. I didn’t have a clue what he meant by it at the time, but his pithy saying is accurate. As people of faith, we need to feel comfortable playing second fiddle. It is just fine to play rhythm guitar behind Jesus. It is okay to be in a supporting role in the Christian life. In fact, it is more than okay. It is exactly what we have been called to do.
Prayer: As this day begins, Merciful God, invite me once again into the Jesus-like life of humility and service. Amen.