Daily Devotional 11-30-11

Scripture: Luke 18:1
Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.

Thought for the Day: One of the greatest preachers in the last 100 years is a guy named Fred Craddock.  I am a bit prejudice as he is a member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).  Just recently, pharmacy the CNN website had a marvelous article written about him.  In the article, one of his former students, Barbara Brown Taylor, said of Fred’s preaching…

He assumes from the start that we are capable of attending to the text, handling some scholarship, dealing with open-ended stories, and drawing our own conclusions. He does not tell us what he is going to tell us, and then tell us what he told us. He sits down before we are ready. He lets us chew our own food.

Too often preachers assume they must tell their audience exactly what to think, and in the process, they create Christians incapable of thinking for themselves, or worse, people who walk away from the faith because there is no room given for questions and doubts and different opinions.  Fred Craddock is often described as brilliant, and I would agree, yet I think he’s only doing what he saw his father and others do in rural Tennessee…tell good stories.  And those folks learned it from a simple carpenter named Jesus.

Prayer: May the thoughts I share about you, O Gracious Spirit, be respectful of both you and my audience.  Amen.

Daily Devotional 11-29-11

Scripture: Deuteronomy 11:1
You shall love the Lord your God, medical therefore, ambulance and keep his charge, clinic his decrees, his ordinances, and his commandments always.

Thought for the Day: Today is the feast day of St. Illuminata, a 4th century woman who was executed after taking the name of Christ.  It is interesting that we know very little about her, though there is a church with her name in Todi, Italy, the presumed site of her burial plot.  As I think of all the churches named after someone, I realize how almost all of these individuals were killed because of their faith.  I don’t know of an example of some average Joe whose name is now etched on the stone sign out front of a church simply because he had pretty good attendance on Sunday morning (well unless he had a lot of money and paid for the church building).  Is it shallow to hope that I never have a church named after me?  With that said, I doubt St. Illuminata set out to have a church named after her.  Since we know very little about her, I’m only guessing…but I’d guess she was only loving her God as best she knew how.

Prayer: Continue to under gird my faith, O Lord, so I might continue to show my love for you no matter the challenge I experience.  Amen.

 

Daily Devotional 11-28-11

Scripture: Acts 24:15-16
I have a hope in God—a hope that they themselves also accept—that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. Therefore I do my best always to have a clear conscience toward God and all people.

Thought for the Day: The Apostle Paul was on trial, stuff and when given the opportunity to speak, sildenafil he summarized his understanding of God with these verses.  Paul’s hope, more than wishful thinking, is firmly rooted in the idea of resurrection.  Others believed in resurrection, but the group being raised was usually limited…limited to a select few who looked a lot like the people who were determining the worthiness of those who would be raised.  Paul’s hope, on the other hand, is not founded in the resurrection alone, but in a resurrection of both ‘the righteous and the unrighteous’…those who get it and those who do not.  To make such a claim is bold.  It means that there will be some you disagree with and some you don’t really like who are present at the resurrection.  Such a claim points to a belief in a living God who is allowed to have an opinion that is different then our opinion.  Paul believed in just such a God.

Prayer: O Loving God, may I do more than respect your opinion when it is different than mine, but actually allow it to challenge me.  Amen.

 

Daily Devotional 11-27-11

Scripture: Isaiah 40:3
A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, ambulance make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”

Thought for the Day: In our denominational hymnal there is a song entitled: “Prepare the Way of the Lord”.  It is a simple Taize song that can be sung in a round.  Its words are simple.  You repeat the line “Prepare the way of the Lord” two times, and then you sing, “…and all people will see the salvation of our God.”  I first heard the song back in the early `90’s when I was working at a food pantry.  One of the leaders of the group taught us the song, and then we sang it over and over again as we packaged up the food that would be delivered to those who were unable to visit the food pantry because of health problems.  I knew the song was based upon a passage of scripture often used during the season of Advent, but I was fascinated by the implication of the song being sung in that context.  In some small way, we were preparing the way of the Lord to enter the homes and lives of those who otherwise would have gone hungry.  And our hope-filled conviction was that those being served would see ‘the salvation of the Lord’ through that tangible expression of compassion.  During this Advent season, ask yourself how you are preparing the way of the Lord to come anew into the world… or at least into someone’s life.

Prayer: O Loving God, in this Advent season we remember how you came into this world in the form of a child.  May we recognize how you continue to reenter this world through the loving acts of those who follow your lead.  Amen.

 

Daily Devotional 11-26-11

Scripture: Matthew 1:1-3
An account of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, site the son of David, sovaldi sale the son of Abraham.  Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Aram…

Thought for the Day: We decorated our Christmas tree last night, and though I didn’t count, I’m estimating 250+ ornaments.  As they went up, I realized the ornaments told a story…not only the Christmas story, but our family story interwoven with the Christ story.  Oh don’t get me wrong, we’ve got a lot of goofy non-religious ornaments, but some of them are from my childhood and some from when our family grew to include Zach.  As I now stand back and look at the completed tree, I love how the Frogge story and the Christ story are so intertwined that it is difficult to figure out where one ends and the other begins.  As we glance at the list of names in the opening verses of Matthew’s Gospel (and it goes on for another 15 verses), we could read it as a list of individual names only and find some interesting history.  But I believe we are invited to discover these names inescapably connected into one story…God’s story.  I encourage you to see Advent as more than a spectator’s sport, but as an experience that is to fully involve you and your story.

Prayer: Merciful and Gracious God, as the world turns its attention to a season of preparation, encourage me to find those places where my story needs to more fully connect with your story.  Amen.

Daily Devotional 11-25-11

Scripture: Matthew 14:20
And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, cheap twelve baskets full.

Thought for the Day: In the story of the feeding of the 5000, ed everyone got their fill and there were still leftovers.   I’m guessing you’ve known a Thanksgiving dinner or two where a similar outcome occurred.  And the truth of the matter is that I have always enjoyed the leftovers a little more than I enjoyed the original meal on Thanksgiving.  There is something about returning to the refrigerator and piling a plate full of turkey, for sale mashed-potatoes and stuffing.  From there it goes into the microwave, but not before pouring an unhealthy amount of gravy over everything.  I think my appreciation of leftovers has less to do with the actual food and more to do with what it teaches.  Those who made it to the meal in a timely manner were fed well, but there was an abundance of leftovers for those who came a day or two late.  I don’t know if there is any better news than that…and it’s good news that tastes really good as well.

Prayer: Gracious God, no matter how late I am, may I never forget that your love will remain plentiful when I finally make it.  Amen.

Daily Devotional 11-24-11

Scripture: Psalm 66:4-5
All the earth worships you; they sing praises to you, viagra sing praises to your name. Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds among mortals.

Thought for the Day: During the first half of the 18th century, cialis sale a Jesuit Priest by the name of Jean-Pierre de Caussde wrote, cialis sale “There is no peace more wonderful than the peace we enjoy when faith shows us God in all created things.”  I love the idea of faith showing us God.  We too often think of faith as a feeling or conviction that is a response to a God experience, but this suggests that faith is a set of lenses through which we view the world.  Our faith inspired worship changes the optic by which we view the the world and God’s activity in the world.  Faith allows you to say, “Wow!  I’ve never seen that before.  God is truly present in this world.  Thanks be to God!”

Prayer: Guide my spiritual vision, O God, to glimpse you anew in the ordinary things I see every day.  Amen.