Daily Devotional 6-22-2012

Scripture: Acts 2:42
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, tadalafil to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Thought for the Day: I know it looks pretty bad out there in the big bad world right now. But change, especially a change in fundamentals, is never pretty. The terror and turmoil we see around the world today are the death throes of selfishness, deceit, and unfettered greed, gasping with their last breath to retain power.

The unfortunate bloodshed we see is the result of people everywhere breaking their oppressive chains and standing up against oppressive regimes—both secular and sacred. Institutions that continue to embrace policies of oppression, racial or sexual divisiveness, and greed are falling and will continue to fall, because God is moving through the world at an ever increasing rate, causing us to rethink the way we’ve been living on the planet and relating to each other.

God’s Spirit is powerful and becoming more powerful as more and more of us are filled with the compassion, hope, and sense of universal brotherhood the Holy Spirit fills us with. We are waking up from a long, dark sleep! We are (finally) awakening to the real power of God in our lives—all of us, all over the world, in a magnificent variety of ways and through a dizzying array of faiths, some ancient and some new. No matter how we worship, I’m hopeful that we’re all starting to remember the power in breaking bread together, in fellowship, in prayer, and in study.

Prayer: God of loving change, may you fill my soul with your Spirit, and awaken me to your presence within everyone I meet today, tomorrow, and forever more. I ask this, Lord, so that I might treat everyone, no matter how foreign they seem, as my beloved, as you treat us all as your beloved. Amen.

 

Daily Devotional 6-21-2012

Scripture: Ephesians 6:18 (TNIV)
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, try be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Thought for the Day: Prayer is an incredibly powerful spiritual discipline. Many years ago I read that when we pray, unhealthy we need ask for nothing other than to be blessed with God’s presence. God already knows everything that has to be done in this physical realm, patient and is already acting to rectify all of humankind with God’s self. But prayer is a way for us to connect with God on a personal level. Prayer is a way for us to experience the incredible loving energy of the Divine that binds us all together. Prayer energizes us and sends our love for others into God’s presence, where our love is magnified many times over.

Prayer: God most holy and generous, we pray for greater awareness of your activity in our lives, in the hope that as more and more people become aware of your presence, the more the world will be transformed into a place of love, generosity, and hospitality. Amen.

Daily Devotional 6-20-2012

Scripture: Deuteronomy 24:17-18 (TNIV)
Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice, find or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there.

Thought for the Day: Today is World Refugee Day. According to the U.N., ambulance 42.5 million people had been forcibly displaced from their homelands by the end of 2011. Most flee because of war, terror, or ethnic persecution.

We’re reminded time and again in Scripture that those of us fortunate to live in free societies have an obligation to welcome the refugee from oppressive lands. I am hopeful that the turmoil we see around the world today, from the Arab Spring in the Middle East to the Euro debt crisis, to economic and social issues here in the U.S., are simply signs of a world dealing with shrinking borders. I see the current turmoil as a sign that people of diverse cultures around the globe are beginning to realize the beauty of each other’s differences, and the power of liberty.

I see God at work in the world, bringing all God’s people into covenant with each other and God’s self. It’s a new thing for us to truly see ourselves as global brothers and sisters, and the old systems of human interaction, the old model of “someone has to lose” or “stay off my land” will resist the new model of “there’s enough for all of us. Welcome to my home, how may I serve you?”

Ultimately though, resistance is futile. God’s love always wins. A new world is being created. While it takes shape, we must be mindful of those who the oppressors would cast aside, and offer our service to them, as Jesus ceaselessly offers his service to us.

Prayer: Help me become the being of love and acceptance you created me as, Holy Lord. May I always be willing to offer my gifts to those who show up at my border hungry, scared, beaten and abused. Use me, Lord, to help create your Divine kingdom of peace and cooperation. Amen.

 

Daily Devotional 6-19-2012

Scripture: Matthew 5:9
“Blessed are the peacemakers, salve for they will be called children of God.

Thought for the Day: In the Beatitudes, buy cialis or “Be Attitudes,” Jesus lists a number of ways we might find spiritual happiness and a more complete relationship with God. All these changes in attitude help us live a different life; help us be love.

In America, and most of the industrialized world we tend to associate happiness with material things—a good job, money, and perhaps political influence. But Jesus presented a radically different idea of happiness. He explained that happiness is found in service to others, in dependence on God, and in showing mercy, in being a force for peace. When we do all these things we resonate with different aspects of God and become the creatures of love we have the potential to be.

There is wealth beyond imagination available to us in this life, but to be truly happy, to be truly rich, we might want to think about redefining what wealth really means.

Prayer: Glorious God of endless joy, may I open my mind to a new attitude and a new outlook, and my heart to a new way of living. Amen.

Daily Devotional 6-18-2012

Scripture: Psalm 139:23-24
Search me, diagnosis O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Thought for the Day: Humans love to search. We started spreading across the globe millions of years ago, and have never stopped searching the most remote corners of the planet. It’s not always easy, being an explorer. There are many unknown craggy cliffs that can destroy your ship.

Today, we search the depths of both outer space and the deepest oceans, looking for answers to an endless stream of questions. Or we use Google or Bing or Yahoo! To search the Internet for information that wouldn’t have been available to any of us even a few short decades ago. No matter the search though, there are still plenty of cliffs to fall off.

Still, humans love to search. But I think most of our searching has been outward—towards something or somewhere else. We look for new land, new people, new life forms, and new information.

In the Psalms, the search is almost always inward. David asks God to search his heart, so that David might be made aware of the dangerous cliffs in his life. A search led by God looks to the deep inner space in our heart and soul, and lets us know when the craggy cliff is coming.

Prayer: Search my heart, O God; guide me through the rough sees in my life that threaten to spiritually shipwreck me. Amen.

Daily Devotional 6-17-2012

Scripture: 1 John 4:13 (NRSV)
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, sildenafil because he has given us of his Spirit.

Thought for the Day: Have you ever been doing something—anything—driving, tadalafil reading, pharm cleaning, laundry, sitting under a tree, working on some task for work or school, when suddenly you feel the overwhelming presence of love? You just feel this incredible energy sweep over and through you, and you know there is more to existence than meets the eye. Such is the power of Spirit.

We know God exists because we can feel it, deep in our bones, to the depths of our soul. God is the spirit of love, flowing through everything that exists, creating and sustaining out of love, moving us ever towards greater peace and acceptance, as we come to understand that all of us are created and loved equally by God.

Prayer: Embrace me in your love, Holy One, so that I might embrace another, and they might embrace another, and they might embrace another, until we are all brothers and sisters, embraced in your love. Amen.

Daily Devotional 6-16-2012

Scripture: Hebrews 2:10 (NRSV)
It was fitting that God, online for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings.? 

Thought for the Day: I like the imagery of Jesus as a “pioneer” of salvation. He blazed a trail for others to follow, and suffered in this human life as we all do from time to time. The idea that through suffering we reach “salvation” is also found in some Buddhist traditions. As I understand Buddhism though, is that as individuals we suffer, and through a series of spiritual disciplines, we attain higher and higher levels of consciousness. Suffering is not required for spiritual progress, but spiritual growth helps us deal with suffering in a new way. Ultimately, we end up in Nirvana, a place of bliss. A place of love.

For many Christian folk (but certainly not all), in some way or another, Christ has suffered the most, for the rest of us. I also find power and Divine connection when thinking of Jesus as a pioneer, a trailblazer. He demonstrated how a life lived fully in the Grace of God helps us deal with suffering in our lives, and in the lives of others. He showed us that a life lived with God leads us to a place of bliss. A place of love.

Prayer: May my soul find its most blissful state in you, Infinite One, and help me live in your Grace, everyday, compelled to love and be loved. Amen.

 

Daily Devotional 6-15-2012

Scripture: Mark 2:15-17
And as he sat at dinner in Levi’s house, seek many tax collectors and sinners were also sitting with Jesus and his disciples—for there were many who followed him. When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, prescription they said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard this, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”

Thought for the Day: Who goes to the doctor when they’re well? I don’t. It’s not until I have a cold or a broken bone that I finally get into the doctor’s office to be made well again. But when we’re physically sick, we know we have something wrong with us, because the sickness presents itself in sniffles, coughs, whatever.

I think it’s a little bit more difficult to realize when we have a spiritual sickness. And really, that’s what sin is, a spiritual sickness. The tax collectors in this story aren’t sinners because they’re tax collectors, they’re sinners because their lives have become focused on the material world to the point that they have forgotten God as a real and active presence in their lives.

Jesus was (and remains) a healer, not only of physical infirmities, but also (and I think more importantly), of spiritual brokenness. Jesus, created as a perfect manifestation of love, surrounded himself with all the most broken of us, so that he might help us find God in our lives again; so that we too, like him, might know the incredible life that we can live when we rediscover an intimate relationship with the universal creative force of love that is our Holy God.

Prayer: Help me refocus my life in you, Glorious God! Help me see beyond my material self, and into my true nature, which is united in spirit with and by you, Eternal One. Amen.