Devotional 03-23-11

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 3:3
“For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations?”

Thought for the Day: Paul is directing this comment to an early church distracted from Christ’s message by arguments about emerging church leadership (essentially, “my leader is better than yours” arguments). His implication is that by placing too much emphasis on human needs, desires, and values, and even on human leaders in general, we make it difficult for the Spirit of God to reveal God’s message to us. We are all servants of God: prince, pauper, butcher, baker, candlestick maker. Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth is a reminder that the focus of our church, secular and spiritual lives should be on Jesus, his ministry, his teachings, and ultimately, his personal sacrifice for the good of all humankind. We can’t help being human, but we should not concentrate on human things to the point of ignoring the Word God sends us.

Prayer: As we move through our days, Lord of all creation, sustainer of all that is, help us remember that You are always there to guide and support us. May we learn to quiet our minds and step outside our human inclinations, desires, and preconceived notions, long enough to hear you speak more clearly to us.

Devotional 03-22-11

Scripture: Luke 5:12-13
“Once, when [Jesus] was in one of the cities, there was a man covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground and begged him, ‘Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.’ Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, ‘I do choose. Be made clean.’ Immediately the leprosy left him.

Thought for the Day: Throughout the Gospels we are presented with stories about Jesus performing healing miracles. While on the surface these stories are about the cleansing of physical ailments, they also demonstrate the spiritually transformative nature of the Christ. Jesus touches our hearts and souls, cleansing us of fear, uncertainty and doubt, which allows us to perceive more clearly, and feel more strongly, the powerful, infinite, all-loving and all-accepting force of God working in our lives on a constant and permanent basis.

Prayer: Holy God of unconditional love and acceptance, may your Spirit transform my mind, body and soul, so I might more deeply feel your presence in my life, and become a quiet example of the grace and peace you offer the world.

TUESDAY (Tonight)
Choir Practice at 5391 Tamarind Ridge Road, 6:30pm

Lenten Soup for the Soul
12 Noon, Moorings Presbyterian Church

Devotional 03-21-11

Scripture: Romans 8:14-15
“The true children of God are those who let God’s Spirit lead them. The Spirit we received does not make us slaves again to fear; it makes us children of God.”

Thought for the Day: We are constantly bombarded by messages of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Whether we’re listening to the radio, watching television, or reading a newspaper, the majority of the information we receive is about the worst the world has to offer, rather than about all that is right and well with the world. It can be difficult to remember that we are all children of God when all around us we see suffering. But when we open our hearts to God’s Spirit, which is freely given and always available to us, we begin to see past the surface, past the superficial reporting that sees only effect without cause. We must be diligent in our efforts to remember that God offers us all unconditional love, and that guided by this love, we may live beyond fear, and perhaps even help usher in a world where the stories we see and hear are about people living together as God’s children, in service to one another as brothers and sisters united in God’s love and compassion.

Prayer: Gracious and loving God, may we be made aware of your Spirit actively working in us and in the world. Help us to heal a suffering world by acknowledging your Spirit within everything and everyone that exists, in the hope that through our awareness of you, we might help others find the grace and peace that exists when life is lived fully in and for your glory. Amen.

Devotional 10-20-10

October 20, remedy 2010
Scripture: Daniel 7:6
After this, as I watched, another appeared, like a leopard. The beast had four wings of a bird on its back and four heads; and dominion was given to it.
Thought for the Day: Four wild beasts with strange characteristics are described through this section.  If you watch late-night religious TV, you will hear all kinds of crazy explanations of who the four creatures represent in our modern context.  Every time the United States elects a new president, someone explains why the new President is the bear or the leopard or the beast with the iron teeth.  I find it interesting how people use scripture to demonize those with whom they disagree.  The sad thing is that Jesus spent most of his ministry challenging that idea.  He invited people to allow the scriptures to tell a different story: one of mercy, healing and unity.  The leopard was a symbolic way of speaking of the Persian Kingdom, and the four heads represented the four kings: Cyrus, Xerxes, Artaxerxes and Darius.  This image has absolutely no intended correlation to someone in modern time.  Instead, we are expected to look at the book in its historical context, and by weaving the stories from the first half of the book into this section, we are reminded that God was always at work through faithful people in difficult times.  Kings came and went, but Daniel and his friends would always use unconditional love and unbending faithfulness to transform their circumstance.  That is where these visions are relevant for today or any day.
Prayer: Lord, I want to be a Daniel.  I wish for my faithfulness, expressed in love, to bring transformation even when the beasts of hatred and injustice raise their heads.  Amen.