The Daily: Wednesday January 28, 2015

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Today’s Lectionary Readings: Psalm 46 (NRSV, The Message); Proverbs 8:1-21 (NRSV, The Message); Mark 3:13-19a  (NRSV, The Message)

You can find me on Righteous Road—that’s where I walk—
at the intersection of Justice Avenue,
Handing out life to those who love me,
filling their arms with life—armloads of life!   Proverbs 8:21 (The Message)

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Go spend some time with The Message’s paraphrase of Proverbs 8:1-21. Go ahead, we’ll wait.  I’ll be honest, I love a good proverb. In a world of gray, necessary gray to be sure, it is nice to soothe myself with a little black and white. Of course, it is best to hold Proverbs loosely. However, they are generally trustworthy when, and this is very important, we apply them to our own lives. Notice that in verses 4-5, it is wisdom shouting:

She’s taken her stand at First and Main,
at the busiest intersection.
Right in the city square
where the traffic is thickest, she shouts,
“You—I’m talking to all of you,
everyone out here on the streets!
Listen, you idiots—learn good sense!

As much as I feel compelled to do so, especially at busy intersections, it is rarely my place to shout proverbs at others. But ohhhh boy, when I apply them to my own life and behavior, magic happens. God fills up my arms with life!

 

In our prayers: Sophie Brandt (recovering from hip surgery), Mark Stanford, Ron Pearson, Kelly Craig, Ruth Sells, Jolynn Spangler, Miriam McIlvaine

 

How can your church family be praying for you today? Leave your requests in the comments below.

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The Daily: Tuesday January 27, 2015

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Today’s Lectionary Readings: Psalm 46 (NRSV, The Message); Genesis 45:25-46:7 (NRSV, The Message); Acts 5:33-42  (NRSV, The Message)

…if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them—in that case you may even be found fighting against God!”       Acts 5:38b-39a

journalingokeeheelleethumbI have always appreciated and found comfort in this passage. So often, I feel the pressure to say if something is “right” or “wrong,” of God or not. When I do, I go back to the Pharisee Gamiliel’s advice and look to the spiritual “free market.” If it is of God, it will succeed. If not, it will fail. In my experience this plays out. Sometimes it takes longer than others. People that are in the spiritual work for fortune or fame end up flaming out. There are much easier ways to accomplish both. If God is not inhabiting something or someone, it does not last – sort of like a “spiritual free market!”

 

 

 

In our prayers: Sophie Brandt (recovering from hip surgery), Mark Stanford, Ron Pearson, Kelly Craig, Ruth Sells, Jolyn Spangler

 

How can your church family be praying for you today? Leave your requests in the comments below.

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The Daily: Monday January 26, 2015

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Today’s Lectionary Readings: Psalm 46 (NRSV, The Message); Genesis 12:1-9 (NRSV, The Message); 1 Corinthians 7:17-24  (NRSV, The Message)

And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life. Don’t think I’m being harder on you than on the others. I give this same counsel in all the churches.           1 Corinthians 7:17 (The Message)

Paul was under the impression that the days were short before Jesus returned again so it is easy to understand why he wouldn’t be much concerned with relationships and marriage. It turns out that Paul was mistaken about Jesus return, but his counsel might still be of value. Yes our relationships and partnerships are an important part of our lives. Our lack of a relationship may seem even more important. However, our relationship with God, the One who loves us unconditionally and always overshadows our earthly relationships or lack of, is our source of meaning, source of joy, source of security.

 

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In our prayers: Sophie Brandt (recovering from hip surgery), Mark Stanford, Ron Pearson, Kelly Craig, Ruth Sells, Jolyn Spangler

 

How can your church family be praying for you today? Leave your requests in the comments below.

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The Daily: Sunday January 25, 2015

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Today’s Lectionary Readings: Psalm 62:5-12 (NRSV, The Message); Jonah 3:1-5,10 (NRSV, The Message); 1 Corinthians 7:29-31 (NRSV, The Message) Mark 1:14-20 (NRSV, The Message)

Passing along the beach of Lake Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew net-fishing. Fishing was their regular work. Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.” They didn’t ask questions. They dropped their nets and followed.     Mark 1:16-18 (The Message)

There is such an immediacy when our heart truly experiences the Divine- when we know for sure it is the voice of God speaking to us. As this passage has knocked around in my head and heart this week, I recognize that I have never moved that fast, especially with such a big decision. I need to weigh my options, gather opinions, see of I can see a couple of steps out.  I would love a taste of the trust displayed in these verses.

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In our prayers: Sophie Brandt (recovering from hip surgery), Mark Stanford, Ron Pearson, Kelly Craig, Ruth Sells, Jolyn Spangler

 

How can your church family be praying for you today? Leave your requests in the comments below.

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The Daily: Saturday January 24, 2015

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Today’s Lectionary Readings: Psalm 62:5-12 (NRSV, The Message); Jeremiah 20:14-18 (NRSV, The Message); Luke 10:13-16 (NRSV, The Message)

Why, oh why, did I ever leave that womb?
Life’s been nothing but trouble and tears,
and what’s coming is more of the same. Jeremiah 20:18 (The Message)

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In yesterday’s reading, Jeremiah was enticed. In today’s he mourns the day he left his mother’s womb. He has a certain flair wouldn’t you say? We may not use such language out loud, many of us probably don’t even think in such melodramatic terms. However, those feeling are often there.

 

In our prayers: Sophie Brandt (recovering from hip surgery), Mark Stanford, Ron Pearson, Kelly Craig, Ruth Sells, Jolyn Spangler

 

How can your church family be praying for you today? Leave your requests in the comments below.

Click links below to read these daily devotionals:

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The Daily: Friday January 23, 2015

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Today’s Lectionary Readings: Psalm 62:5-12 (NRSV, The Message); Jeremiah 20:7-13 (NRSV, The Message); 2 Peter 3:1-7  (NRSV, The Message)

O Lord, you have enticed me, and I was enticed; you have overpowered me, and you have prevailed. Jeremiah 20:7a (NRSV)

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Jeremiah 20 is rich. “O Lord, you have enticed me…” The prophet is not speaking “religious” language here. It’s feeling language, speaking of hurt, passion, shame…the stuff of real life. That is what our faith, our spiritual lives can be, the stuff of real life. Entice me, O Lord!

 

In our prayers: Sophie Brandt (recovering from hip surgery), Mark Stanford, Ron Pearson, Kelly Craig, Ruth Sells, Jolyn Spangler

 

How can your church family be praying for you today? Leave your requests in the comments below.

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Come and See

The Daily: Thursday January 22, 2015

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Today’s Lectionary Readings: Psalm 62:5-12 (NRSV, The Message); Jeremiah 19:1-15 (NRSV, The Message); Revelation 18:11-20  (NRSV, The Message)

God, the one and only—
I’ll wait as long as he says.
Everything I hope for comes from him,
so why not?
He’s solid rock under my feet,
breathing room for my soul,
An impregnable castle:
I’m set for life.  Psalm 62:5-6 (The Message)

journalingokeeheelleethumbI’m staying away from the gloom and doom of Jeremiah and Revelation this morning. I’ll stick with the Psalm since the images are nurturing. Do I ever need some breathing room for my soul.

The poet is right. I’ll wait as long as God says, through what gloom and doom I must. Everything I hope for come from the Divine, the Ground of All Being, my experience of all that is – so why not?

 

 

In our prayers: Sophie Brandt (recovering from hip surgery), Mark Stanford, Ron Pearson, Kelly Craig, Ruth Sells, Jolyn Spangler

 

How can your church family be praying for you today? Leave your requests in the comments below.

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The Daily: Tuesday January 20, 2015

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Today’s Lectionary Readings: Psalm 86 (NRSV, The Message); 1 Samuel 10:15-31 (NRSV, The Message); Acts 5:1-11  (NRSV, The Message)

Ananias, when he heard those words, fell down dead. That put the fear of God into everyone who heard of it. The younger men went right to work and wrapped him up, then carried him out and buried him.    Acts 5:5-6 (The Message)

journalingokeeheelleethumbI know I shouldn’t – I mean, two people are DEAD for goodness’ sake – but I always find this scene humorous as the film version plays in my imagination. It is a teaching story. I suppose it is meant two “put the fear of God” into everyone who read it just as it did those who heard of it. Were Ananias and Sapphira struck down because they didn’t give enough? I don’t think so.

Of all places, there is no room for duplicity in the church. I mean, here we are all accepted, all loved fully and equally. We don’t have to lie to God or to one another. We have the opportunity and privilege of being able to practice community as the redeemed, to be who we really are, put it all on the table. Will we drop dead if we don’t? Probably not. However, to the extent that we do so, we will live!

 

 

In our prayers: Sophie Brandt (recovering from hip surgery), Mark Stanford, Ron Pearson, Kelly Craig, Ruth Sells, Jolyn Spangler

 

How can your church family be praying for you today? Leave your requests in the comments below.

Click links below to read these daily devotionals:

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Unity in Diversity

One of my favorite experiences at Epcot at the Disney World Resort is hearing the Voices of Liberty. Voices of Liberty is an 8-part a cappella singing group that performs several times a day in “The American Adventure” under a rotunda designed especially to highlight their sound. They are, in my opinion, the quintessential a cappella singing group. They perform just feet away from their audience and to hear them is amazing. There are eight distinct harmonizing parts, but the sound is one. Even though the parts are different, it is difficult to hear where one ends and the other begins.

To me it is a great picture of unity in diversity. Yes, there are different part, different voices, but they move together as one. As my thoughts turn to issues of race on this Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day, I think there is much we can learn from the Voices of Liberty. We are not all called to be the same. Our experiences, our paradigms are so different. When I expect someone to sound and think like me, I will miss out on what she has to offer. However, in our diversity, we can learn to move together, to create something interdependent and beautiful.

I believe with all my heart that the local church can be a training ground, a gymnasium where we can practice being in community together. The Apostle Paul’s analogy of the body describes it marvelously. We are diverse, each of us distinct, but with practice we can make beautiful music together.