Daily Reading Saturday, June 24

Saturday, June 24, 2017 – Psalm 18; 1 Samuel 4:1b-11; Acts 4:32-5:11 and Luke 21:20-28

In our readings today we hear how some died because of how they did not honor God or actually lied to God. In the Old Testament, the sons of Eli – Hophni and Phinehas and then in the reading from Acts – Ananias and his wife Sapphira.

I share that because it is a part of our readings today.

In Psalm 18 we hear how we can trust in God who is our strength, our deliver, our stronghold.

Psalm 18 (NRSV) – 1 I love you, O Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer,
my God, my rock in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
so I shall be saved from my enemies.

4 The cords of death encompassed me;
the torrents of perdition assailed me;
5 the cords of Sheol entangled me;
the snares of death confronted me.

6 In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.

Trust in God. Seek to follow HIS ways. It is HE who delivers us from our enemies (actual enemies and personal enemies – not being able to forgive ourselves, fear, bad habits).

It is God who offers real life as we trust in God.

O God, YOU are our strength and our deliverer. Help us trust in YOU. Worship YOU. Seek to serve YOU. For it is YOU who delivers us from evil and grants us new life. May we put our full trust in YOU and walk in YOUR ways. In the name of Jesus who said; “I am the way, the truth and the life. Follow me.” Amen.

Daily Devotion Friday, June 23

Friday, June 23, 2017 – Psalm 17; 1 Samuel 3:1-21; Acts 2:37-47 and Luke 21:5-19

Psalm 17 (NRSV) – 8 Guard me as the apple of the eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings,

You are the apple in God’s eye. Meditate upon that.

It feels good to know that you are special to someone else; spouse, mom or dad, your children, a good friend. My friend it is special, many times over, that you are special in God’s eye. God loves you and cares deeply about you. God wants the best for you and from you.

This day meditate upon how special you are to God.

Acts 2:37-47 (NRSV) – 41So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. 42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Here are the things I believe, we God’s people of today, need to focus upon;

Teachings from God’s holy word – Old Testament, Jesus’ words unto us and the words of the apostles. This is one reason I like the daily lectionary for in using it one reads from the Psalms, the Old Testament, an epistle and the gospel.

Fellowship; spending time with God’s people. At Community Presbyterian Church this takes place at Wednesday morning breakfast (women and men), choir rehearsal, Sunday school class, women’s circle meetings, diabetic meeting, bookies club. Each is an important time for fellowship.

Breaking of bread; worship and Holy Communion. This is one reason I wish we had some way to celebrate the Lord’s Supper together weekly. It wouldn’t have to be a part of every Sunday morning service, maybe it could be held at a special time for those who wanted this. I enjoyed my time in Spiritual Direction training at the Benedictine Center in Atchison, Kansas because I was able to participate in worship daily and receive communion with them. It was extra special the year they had a special speaker and it happened twice daily.

Prayer – I guess this is the aspect I’d like to grow in my own life as well as the life of others. I’m now participating in a pastor’s prayer group that meet every other week. It’s in its infancy, we’ll see how God helps it grow. I’m open to helping form such a group at Community Presbyterian Church for those interested.

The aspect of the Christian life not mentioned here is mission or outreach. I find this to be a crucial aspect, for us as God’s people, as we seek to share God’s love with others.

Which part of this would you like to help grow in your own life, in the life of others?

O God, thanks be to YOU, for how YOU have come to us and reveal YOURSELF to us. May we abide in YOU, grow in YOU, so that we can share YOU daily with others. In the name of Christ, who lived this out with HIS disciples. Amen.

Daily Devotion Thursday, June 22

Thursday, June 22, 2017 – Psalm 16; 1 Samuel 2:27-36; Acts 2:22-36 and Luke 20:41-21:4

Psalm 16 (NRSV) – 6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
I have a goodly heritage.

7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me. …

11 You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

We experience boundary lines every day. We know the boundary lines of the property we own. Each city, county, state and nation has boundary lines. Boundary lines mark what is ours and theirs. Within each set of boundary lines certain laws prevail over others.

As I listen to God’s word to us from Psalm 16, what comes to mind are the laws which God has given us which become our boundary lines for life.

The 10 Commandments List, Short Form –

You shall have no other gods before Me.

You shall not make idols.

You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Honor your father and your mother.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

You shall not covet.

Jesus’ words also come to mind. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul and all your strength. And a second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself.”

Our boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places. In staying within these boundary lines we will find real life.

Acts 2:22-36 (NRSV) – 28  You have made known to me the ways of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

Show us the paths of life, O God. May we stay upon them, so that we can experience real life. Amen.

Daily Devotion Wednesday, June 21

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 – Psalm 15; 1 Samuel 2:12-26; Acts 2:1-21 and Luke 20:27-40

This morning the fog is just lifting off the lake. It’s almost like the Spirit is pulling back the lake’s blanket, letting sunshine get to the lake. It’s always a pretty site, when the morning is cool, no breeze and the new day simply drifts in.

Today, we hear the Psalmist asking a question that we too may ask or ask least ask a similar question.

Psalm 15 (NRSV) – 1 O Lord, who may abide in your tent?
Who may dwell on your holy hill?

The answer.

2 Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right,
and speak the truth from their heart;
3 who do not slander with their tongue,
and do no evil to their friends,
nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;
4 in whose eyes the wicked are despised,
but who honor those who fear the Lord;
who stand by their oath even to their hurt;
5 who do not lend money at interest,
and do not take a bribe against the innocent.

Those who do these things shall never be moved.

The question I’ve heard asked today is; “who can be saved? Who can dwell in God’s holy house forever?”

Answer; those who trust in God and God’s Son, Jesus Christ and seek to follow God’s holy ways. I can say yes to that, yet also leave eternal judgment up to God, for God is the one who knows all who can and will abide in HIS holy house.

Acts 2:1-21 (NRSV) – 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit

Trust in God. Trust and believe in HIS Son, Jesus Christ and receive HIS Holy Spirit. It is Christ’s Spirit which will help us this day, as we seek to follow and serve THE CHRIST.

O Christ, I often find myself following the ways of the world instead of YOUR holy ways. Help me repent and truly turn to YOU, believe in YOU, always seeking to follow YOUR ways that give life now and forever more. May YOUR Spirit rest upon me and be in me. Thanks be to YOU, O God, for the new life the Spirit gives me even now. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

Daily Devotion Tuesday, June 20

Tuesday, June 20, 2017 – Psalm 14; 1 Samuel 1:21-2:11; Acts 1:15-26 and Luke 20:19-26

Psalm 14 (NRSV) – 2 The Lord looks down from heaven on humankind
to see if there are any who are wise,
who seek after God.

3 They have all gone astray, they are all alike perverse;
there is no one who does good,
no, not one.

This reminds me of the first question of church membership that I ask of all who join the church.

  • Do you acknowledge yourselves to be sinners in the sight of God justly deserving his displeasure, and without hope save in his sovereign mercy?

Then in Romans 5:23 (NIV) we hear; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Yes, all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory, yet because of God’s love for us, God seeks to redeem us and give us real life. May we turn to HIM, asking for HIS mercy and HIS guidance as we live life.

My Methodist friends will enjoy this. In today’s Daily Spiritual Seed I read;

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” ― John Wesley

(What good can you do today?)

The good we seek to do may, will, fall short of God’s hopes and dreams for us, yet God loves us and continues to call us to new life.

Thanks be to God for HIS being faithful to us, even as we are unfaithful unto HIM.

O Lord, help us do good this day, to seek the Godly way in all things. May we seek to do YOUR will as we go about our day. I ask for traveling mercies for Phyllis’ mom, brother Darrell, Steve and Lenia and family. They are the last from the reunion returning home. Thanks for watching of us and helping us have a wonderful time together. It was a very God blessed time. Thank YOU. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Daily Devotion Monday, June 19

Monday, June 19, 2017 – Psalm 13; 1 Samuel 1:1-20; Acts 1:1-14 and Luke 20:9-19

Psalm 13 – 3 (portion of) Give light to my eyes,

A type of devotion/prayer is called Lectio Divinia. It’s an ancient way of reading and praying God’s word. As I read today’s lesson it came to mind as I ended up focusing upon this short phrase – “give light to my eyes”.

Here’s a link to help you with Lectio Divinia – https://focusoncampus.org/content/do-the-lectio-3-step-an-easy-illustrated-guide-to-praying-lectio-divina

O Lord, may YOU just this, may you give light to our eyes as we pray unto YOU, worship YOU and seek to serve YOU. Amen.

By the way having a great time with Phyllis’ family. It is good when a family can get together and enjoy being together. Prayers for the safe travels of those who will be returning home today and tomorrow.

Daily Devotion Saturday, June 17

Saturday, June 17, 2017 – Psalm 12; Song of Solomon 5:10-16; 7:1-2 (3-5) 6-7a (9); 8:6-7; 2 Corinthians 13:1-13 and Luke 20:1-8

I read the following it fit well my time with Phyllis’ family and simply life as well. Enjoy.

Daily Spiritual Seed – (Thursday, June 15) – Philip St. Romain

Every moment is crammed with infinite riches which are given us according to the extent of our faith and love.   

– Jean-Pierre de Caussade

(How are you “growing” your capacity for life and love?)

 

O God, help us enjoy the different moments of our day and not be too busy toyou’re your miracles, YOUR presence. In Christ’s name. Amen.

Daily Devotion Friday, June 16

Friday, June 16, 2017 – Psalm 11; Song of Solomon 2:8-13; 4:1-4a, 5-7, 9-11; 2 Corinthians 12:11-21 and Luke 19:41-48

Psalm 11 (NRSV) – 4 The Lord is in his holy temple;
the Lord’s throne is in heaven.
His eyes behold, his gaze examines humankind.

Often heaven is thought of as being way up there. Way out there in the universe. I tend to think of heaven as being right here with us. We can’t see it, yet it is here with us. So, for me, hearing this passage from Psalm 11, what I sense is how God’s throne is right here with us and HIS gaze is upon us and on all humankind.

What difference does it make to you, to think of God as being right here with us; HIS kingdom, HIS righteousness, HIS love and yes, even HIS judgment?

Luke 19:41-48 (NRSV) – 46a … he said, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’

One of the aspects of worship at Community Presbyterian Church, that I really enjoy and is worship for me, is our time of prayer. We take our time taking prayer requests. We hear each one as prayer spoken and then say; “Lord, in YOUR mercy, hear our prayer.” It’s always a special time in worship. We hear joys and concerns. We hear of hopes and grief. We are able to pray together.

On a few occasions I have conducted a service of healing and wholeness, where we take time to lay on hands on those who want and pray for them. Each of these has been a powerful service in sensing how we pray with and for others and how God IS in our midst.

In 1 Corinthians 6:19a we hear; Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?

Hear that and then hear Jesus saying; “My house shall be a house of prayer.”

May this be so.

O God, we often get busy and forget to pray. Yet, prayer is our lifeline unto YOU. Prayer is that time for conversation, two way conversation with YOU. May we take time this day to be in prayer, conversation with YOU and make prayer a part of our whole day as we give thanks for all YOU are doing. In Christ’s name, who taught us to pray. Amen.

This weekend I’m on vacation enjoying a family reunion of Phyllis’ family. Her mom and siblings will all be here, many of their kids and all of the next generation. Mackenzie’s getting to meet many distant cousins. This will give her places to visit in the future. Kansas and Colorado. So, I’ll attempt to stay up with my daily devotions, yet not promise to do so. May sleep in. LoL, not likely. My internal clock does not know what sleeping in means. Thanks for your prayers for our time as family.

Daily Devotion Thursday, June 15

Thursday, June 15, 2017 – Psalm 10; Song of Solomon 1:1-3, 9-11, 15-16a; 2:2-3a; 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 and Luke 19:28-40

Psalm 10 (NRSV) – 1 Why, O Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

Recently, I have found myself praying this very prayer.

When terrorists have driven a vehicle into a crowd of people.

When a car or truck explodes outside an embassy.

When a mad man pulls a weapon and fires at elected officials out preparing to have fun together. Today’s game will go on. My prayer and I believe it will be so, is that this event will pull the two parties together. May that be so, and Christ’s healing touch upon; GOP House Whip Steve Scalise, members of the security detail, “others who were wounded included Zachary Barth, a member of Representative Roger Williams’s staff, who was struck in the leg by a bullet, and Matt Mika, a former congressional staff member and the director of government relations for the Washington office of Tyson Foods, who was shot twice in the chest.”

Then on the same day, a UPS employee opened fire upon other UPS drivers in San Francisco, killing 4 (including himself).

Psalm 10 (NRSV) – 1 Why, O Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

I really don’t think God has hidden HIMSELF in these times. I really believe HE abides in us, calling us to answer the call to show HIS love to the victims of these crimes and pray for repentance upon all who would do such things.

Times like these should cause, us God’s people, to rise up to show HIS power to love and seek to restore order in the midst of violence.

Here’s a good piece on this very question; How Should Christians Respond to Tragedy?  Heidi Carlson

http://www.ibelieve.com/faith/how-should-christians-respond-to-tragedy.html

O Lord, be with all who are grieving this day the loss or hurt of family members. May YOUR healing touch be upon the injured and YOUR loving arms around those who lost loved ones. Break into the madness that resides in the world this day. Madness that seems to arise more and more. Change hearts and minds that we might work together to help one another. Help YOUR people be the ones to lead this charge. If we ever hear rumors of someone plotting terror, may we let officials know, so that the issue can be addressed long before it is carried out. Hear our prayers, O God and guide us YOUR people, in Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Daily Devotion Wednesday, June 14

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 – Psalm 9; Deuteronomy 31:30-32:14; 2 Corinthians 11:21b-33 and Luke 19:11-27

Psalm 9 (NRSV) – 1 I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
2 I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

Give thanks unto God. Give thanks for all God has done, is doing and promises to do. Give thanks for God’s faithfulness.

Deuteronomy 31:30-32:14 (NRSV) Moses speaking; – 3For I will proclaim the name of the LORD; ascribe greatness to our God!

4The Rock, his work is perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God, without deceit, just and upright is he;

The gospel lesson for today is a good one to hear and then look at with our questions of Faithful Listening. Hear the gospel for today.

Luke 19:11-27 (The Message paraphrase) – 11 While he had their attention, and because they were getting close to Jerusalem by this time and expectation was building that God’s kingdom would appear any minute, he told this story:

12-13 “There was once a man descended from a royal house who needed to make a long trip back to headquarters to get authorization for his rule and then return. But first he called ten servants together, gave them each a sum of money, and instructed them, ‘Operate with this until I return.’

14 “But the citizens there hated him. So they sent a commission with a signed petition to oppose his rule: ‘We don’t want this man to rule us.’

15 “When he came back bringing the authorization of his rule, he called those ten servants to whom he had given the money to find out how they had done.

16 “The first said, ‘Master, I doubled your money.’

17 “He said, ‘Good servant! Great work! Because you’ve been trustworthy in this small job, I’m making you governor of ten towns.’

18 “The second said, ‘Master, I made a fifty percent profit on your money.’

19 “He said, ‘I’m putting you in charge of five towns.’

20-21 “The next servant said, ‘Master, here’s your money safe and sound. I kept it hidden in the cellar. To tell you the truth, I was a little afraid. I know you have high standards and hate sloppiness, and don’t suffer fools gladly.’

22-23 “He said, ‘You’re right that I don’t suffer fools gladly—and you’ve acted the fool! Why didn’t you at least invest the money in securities so I would have gotten a little interest on it?’

24 “Then he said to those standing there, ‘Take the money from him and give it to the servant who doubled my stake.’

25 “They said, ‘But Master, he already has double . . .’

26 “He said, ‘That’s what I mean: Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of. Play it safe and end up holding the bag.

27 “‘As for these enemies of mine who petitioned against my rule, clear them out of here. I don’t want to see their faces around here again.’”

Faithful Listening to God’s Word

Primary questions

What does this passage tell me about God?

What does this passage say about myself and my relationship with God?

What does this passage tell us about God’s desire for us and our church?

Other questions

What does this passage remind me to celebrate about my life?

Within family?

Within the congregation?

Within the community?

What gift(s) might God be stirring within me as evidenced in this scripture?

What does this scripture mean to me/us during this time of life?

What would happen to me/to our church if we lived out the mandate in these verses?

What is at stake if we choose to ignore what God is telling us through this scripture?

 

For me, this parable of Jesus seems to have two layers. The first being a message to us whom HE entrusts the gifts of heaven. What do we do with the gifts HE gives us? Do we share them with others or hold on tight to them for ourselves? I’m not talking simply our finances, yet finances would be one piece. I’m thinking of the gifts given to us through Christ’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit.

I’m reminded of the song Magic Penny; Love is like a magic penny, hold it tight and you won’t have any. Lend it and spend it and you’ll have so many they’ll role all over the floor.

The second part of this parable addresses God’s judgment on those who oppose HIM or don’t put to use the gifts God gives unto us. I often times hear how someone likes the New Testament over the Old Testament. They find grace in the New and not in the Old. Yet, here my friends we hear a word of judgment even from Jesus’ lips. What do we do with this? Ignore it or let it give us a fuller picture of God and God’s desire for us and all people? I’m asking that question as much for me, as for any of you.

O God, YOU who are faithful. Help us receive all the gifts YOU give unto us and use them so they can multiply in the lives of others. Help us seek to be faithful unto YOU. YOU who call us to faithfulness. May we YOUR children of today, help others see YOUR grace, so they can believe and trust in YOU. May YOU bless all our efforts to share YOU with others. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.