Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Reading: Romans 16:17-20
 
I urge you, brothers and sisters, to keep an eye on those who cause dissensions and offences, in opposition to the teaching that you have learned; avoid them.  - Romans 16:17
 
Throughout the ages the church has always had to contend with dissension, even early on, as we can see in Paul's letter to the Romans. It could even be said that the church will yet continue to be fraught by dissension in the future as well. As long as the church is an institution made up of human beings this will be the case, which is a silly statement I know, but one that we still need to be reminded about. In other words, we need to hear that the church, which is a people, is imperfect. There will be fights and squabbles over this and that which will created fractions and dissension. 
 
Paul is warning against dissension which threatens the very gospel that we as a church espouse. The gospel alone should be the glue that will keep the church together, and yet, the church splinters and gets pulled apart because we allow our differences rule our heats and minds. The Good News of God's love in Jesus Christ ought to be that which unifies us and pulls us together, especially at times like this amidst a pandemic. But the sad truth is that the church remains divided as ever before and will remain so as long as we deny and neglect the very force of God's love that keeps us together. 
 
Paul warns that we cannot be naive and remain ignorant about that which is not good or that which is evil that works against the gospel. We know how sin, evil, and the powers of this world all seek to separate us from God and each other. All the while, the teaching of Christ's love will help strengthen us and uphold us as we continue to navigate through the waters of this troubling time in which we live. 
 
Let us pray: Bind us together in love, O Lord; in Jesus' name. Amen.  
 
 
Posted By: 9/21/2020 3:16:14 PM

Monday, September 21, 2020
Reading: Psalm 106:1-12
 
Happy are those who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times.  - Psalm 106:3 
 
What does it mean to observe or to do justice? The Hebrew word for "justice," is mishpat, which occurs over 200 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. The most basic understanding of mishpat is to treat people equitably. It means acquitting or punishing everyone on the merits of the case, regardless of race or social status. Anyone who does the same wrong should be given the same penalty. But mishpat means more that just the punishment for wrongdoing, which is retributive justice. 
 
There is also something called restorative justice. Over and over again, mishpat describes taking up the care and cause of those who are more vulnerable in society, such as widows, orphans, immigrants and the poor. These persons had no social power and often  lived at a subsistence level. Today this list would be expanded to include the refugee, the migrant worker, the homeless and many single parents and elderly people. 
 
The mishpat or justness of a society, according to the Bible , is evaluated by how it treats those who are most vulnerable. Any neglect shown to the needs of those most vulnerable is not just considered a lack of mercy but a violation of justice. Time and time again, we can see throughout the scriptures that God loves and defends those with the least economic and social power, and so ought we. This is what it means to "do justice,"  it means being a defender of those most vulnerable in our society. 
 
Let us pray: O God, mishpat comes from your very character. May we reflect your image by doing justice. We pray this in the name of the one who embodied mishpat, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 
 
 
Posted By: 9/20/2020 11:02:50 PM

Sunday, September 20, 2020
Reading: Matthew 20:1-16 
 
"So the last shall be first, and the first will be last."  - Matthew 20:16
 
Following this passage in Matthew, Jesus tells his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem, handed over to the chief priests and scribes, be condemned to death, and crucified." The Son of Man came as one to turn the world on its head as the Anointed one of God by introducing a new kind of order. Jesus came to bring down the haughty and lift up the lowly. The Son of Man came "not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28).
 
Jesus tells a parable about a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers. Some are hired to work the whole day and others to work just a few hours. In the end, all receive the same wages for a day's work. It hardly seems fair. But fairness isn't the point of the parable. The point is that the owner of the vineyard sees that there are those who are standing idle in the marketplace at all times in the day and sees that they need employment to meet their needs. Each one is given what they need.
 
The kingdom of heaven is like this. God's calls everyone to work in the vineyard, the first and the last. The tables are turned in this reign. It is not a system of merit or earnings, nor is it one that has to do with fairness. God's benevolence is poured out upon all. God calls us all to enjoy the privilege of working in the vineyard.  
 
Let us pray: We give you thanks, O God, that you have called each of us to live and to work in your reign of unmerited grace. Amen.  
Posted By: 9/18/2020 8:22:50 AM

Saturday, September 19, 2020
Reading: Matthew 19:23-30 
 
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly I tell you,it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven."
- Matthew 19:23 
 
In the musical, "Fiddler on the Roof," Tevye is a poor milkman who barely scrapes by to feed his family with a wife and five daughters. He encounters a young man named Perchik, who is visiting the village of Anitevka, and has revolutionary ideas about changing the world. Tevye sees that the young Perchik could use some help and employs him as a teacher for his five daughters, "Food for lessons." Tevye overhears Perchik teaching one of his daughters, telling her, "Money is the world's curse." Tevye intervenes and tells Perchik, "May the Lord smite me with it. And may I never recover." 
 
Money is not necessarily the world's curse. In 1 Timothy 6:10 we hear that it is "the love of money that is the root of all kinds of evil." The love of money certainly has brought forth a lot of corruption and injustice in the world. It isn't money itself or even wealth that is the problem. It is the inequitable distribution of the wealth that has brought upon a lot of greed and hardship. One could hardly blame Tevye for wanting the Lord to smile him with money, being so poor.  
 
But why would Jesus say that it would be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven? Is there something intrinsically wrong with a person who is wealthy? Or is it that Jesus warns against wealth and riches becoming the driving force in one's life? We certainly know how money and wealth can can take over people's lives completely. When Jesus calls us to be his followers, he is proposing a way of life in which we are not occupied by the accumulation of wealth, but for us to live with the purpose of sharing what we have with others and service in his name. 
 
Let us pray: Lord, may we find true richness in knowing you as we put aside any ambition of wealth apart from you. Amen.  
Posted By: 9/16/2020 4:48:11 PM

Friday, September 18, 2020
Reading: Psalm 46
 
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea. - Psalm 46:2 
 
I received a phone call this morning that shook me. A faithful member of Immanuel Church died from a heart attack. I met with Al Remus' family at the hospital soon after they received the news of his death. It was all so sudden, so unexpected. It can happen in an instant and we are caught unaware. 
 
What do we do when we feel as though the earth is shaking beneath us? We try to hold onto something - anything that will give us a sense of stability. We grasp onto that which will give us a sense of security and hope when we are feeling weak and helpless. We look to God when something or someone that has been part of our lives for so long that has been snatched away from us. 
 
Our lives are forever altered when someone we love is no longer with us. We feel as though a piece of us is now missing and there is an empty hole left inside the very core of our being. The days become long, when in our grief, we look for something to fill that hole and it comes only one teaspoon at a time. We may feel as though God is absent from us in our grief as we desperately look to God to fill us with his presence. 
 
Many years ago I attended a workshop called, "Give Sorrow Words." The title of the workshop was taken from "Macbeth," Shakespeare's tragedy: "Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break," From that workshop I learned that what we say and how we say it is important to those who grieve. It's important to put into words how we are feeling as we grieve. Pious platitudes are unhelpful and trivializes our sorrow. Mere words like "sympathy" will not bring comfort to those who are grieving either. What we are looking for from others in the midst of our grief is empathy - someone who will feel sadness with us and not for us. 
 
The words of this psalm and many others like it help us in our grief as well when our hearts are otherwise feeling troubled. For what we are looking for when our lives have been shaken by a death of someone we love is the assurance that we are not alone in our grief; there are others who understand and others who are willing to join us in our grief - to weep with us.
 
Let us pray: By your Spirit, O God, help us to give sorrow words. For in doing so you bring healing to our wounded hearts. Amen.  
Posted By: 9/16/2020 3:36:19 PM

Thursday, September 17, 2020
Reading: Psalm 145:1-8 
 
The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  - Psalm 145:8
 
We are angry at many things it seems. I know that I sometimes have a short fuse. My anger is usually felt when I'm behind the wheel of a car, which is probably not a good thing. Mind you, the anger mostly has to do with other drivers that are rude and tend to muscle their way to get ahead of me. To own my anger, I have to try to calm down and respond rather than react to whatever on-the-road antics is going on. It's hard to own one's anger, however, because it means embracing a negative feeling that one has been told time and again shouldn't be felt. But anger is one of a myriad of feelings that are part of who we are that we have to deal with like all of our other feelings.
 
Knowing that we have a God who is slow to anger is comforting to know. God knows every bone-headed move we make, and yet, God is not quick to become angry with us. But God patiently reveals his love for us though we are not deserving of such love. God teaches us to slow down and be gracious and merciful toward others. Just being angry with others doesn't really get us anywhere. God's steadfast love toward us teaches us to move beyond our anger to, in turn, love our neighbor. 
 
It's hard not to feel anger these days. It's okay to feel angry. But unless our anger can be channeled into some more positive feelings toward others it can easily turn into something far worse. God grounds us in his love for us toward loving others. 
 
Let us pray: You are a gracious and merciful God who is slow to anger and abounds in steadfast love toward us. Assist us to move beyond our anger, shaping us through your love for us, to demonstrate our love toward others. Amen.  
 
Posted By: 9/15/2020 6:32:03 PM

Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Reading: Psalm 77
 
I will call to mind the deeds of the LORD; I will remember your wonders of old.  - Psalm 77:11 
 
There was a very brief time in my life when I had a journal. If I remember correctly, I think my journaling lasted only a few months. But in that time, I wrote about a paragraph a day about what was going on in my life both personally and professionally. It was early on in my ministry when I was still quite green, fresh out of seminary. We had just bought our first house and had our first child. It was definitely a time in which I was exploring my thoughts and feelings as a new father and pastor. Journaling was definitely a cathartic experience for me. I only wish that I would have continued that journey of keeping a journal, so that I could look back and recall more clearly those times when God's hand was at work.  
 
My memory isn't like it used to be, but I can still recount times in which I could see God at work. It's a wonder to me how it is that I struggled through my first call, being such a novice at parish ministry. I marvel at how God's hand guided me through trying to be as good a parent as I could be when our three children came along. I could see the hand of God at work when our three children were all seriously ill at one time or another. 
 
The psalmist writes about the deeds of God and remembering the wonders of God. We would all do well to look back upon our lives and recall the deeds of God and marvel at the wondrous things God has done. This is especially significant when we are feeling overwhelmed and perhaps even defeated by the challenges in life.  We are given the promise that God is with us. We may not always feel or sense God's presence but the promise remains. Thanks be to God!
 
Let us pray: As we recount your mighty deeds in our lives we lift up our voices in praise of you, O God. When we are feeling low and defeated give us strength and guidance to uphold us; in Jesus' name. Amen. 
Posted By: 9/15/2020 10:03:37 AM

Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Reading: Romans 14:13-15:2 
 
Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building up the neighbor. - Romans 15:2 
 
In the early church there was a division about whether one needed to keep the dietary laws or not. The Jewish faith included restrictions on what food could or could not be consumed. This argument was part of a much larger one that Paul was faced with in writing to the various churches about whether or not one had to first become Jewish and keeping all of the Jewish customs and laws before one could become Christian. Paul settles the matter by insisting that one need not be or become Jewish in order to be a Christian. 
 
Paul's concern is that we do not make Christianity exclusive. What is at stake here is how we treat one another. That which brings us together and defines us as Christians is the love of God in Jesus Christ. Pleasing the neighbor means welcoming the neighbor and building up the neighbor, that is, reaching out to the neighbor and helping with whatever need our neighbor may have. 
 
Our neighbor, of course, extends beyond the persons who live next to or near us in our neighborhood. A neighbor is anyone whose path may intersect with our own who has a need. Addressing the needs of the neighbor is our greatest calling as Christians. 
 
Let us pray: May we build up the neighbor in all that we say and do this day, as we reveal the love of God in Jesus Christ. Amen.  
Posted By: 9/14/2020 12:40:42 PM

Monday, September 14, 2020
Reading: Psalm 133
 
How very good and pleasant it it when kindred live together in unity!  - Psalm 133:1 
 
Ever since the beginning, the unity that God desired for humanity has turned into disunity and discord. Adam and Eve fought with each other  and pointed the finger of blame at each other and other things for eating the forbidden fruit in the garden. The original pair hid from God in an attempt to cover their guilt and shame. Cain and Abel's relationship tragically ended in death. Jacob and Esau were in a constant battle of seeking parental approval and blessing. Joseph's brother's jealousy created heartache and discord between siblings. The list goes on.  
 
The disunity continues. We see it all around us, especially in this election year climate, in which the people in our nation are divided as much now as during the Civil War it seems. There doesn't appear to be any clear cut solutions to our problems anymore or any intention for compromise. We continue to point fingers of blame and fail to consider how we might be complicit in the problems we are facing. 
 
The psalmist writes about how "very good and pleasant it is when people can live together in unity." God anoints with oil that which God blesses. Messiah means "anointed one." The Greek is Cristos or Christ. Jesus, the Anointed One of God, received a blessing from God in his baptism, "This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased." Jesus earthly ministry was to bring people to God and bring people closer together. His intent wasn't to bring all like minded people together but to create a climate in which people learn to live together with dignity and respect for each other.
 
This ought to be the unity that we seek as well. It is to create a world in which we can live together in peace and harmony. The good in pleasant place in which we live in unity with one another is born out a vision of genuine love in which we look for ways in which we care for each other. 
 
Let us pray: Dear Lord, create in us a heart that is good and pleasing to you, in which we seek to care for each other, putting an end to conflict and hatred for each other. In Jesus' name. Amen. 
 
Posted By: 9/14/2020 7:56:16 AM

Sunday, September 13, 2020
Reading: Matthew 18:21-35
 
The root of the word "forgive" is the Latin word "perdonare," meaning "to give completely, without reservation. "Pedonare" is also the source of our English word "pardon." This is exactly what the king did in the parable, he pardoned the slave who owed him much. The king forgave the debt completely even though the slave owed him 200,000 years of labor, which would equal in today's terms $3.48 billion.
 
The story continues when the slave came upon a fellow slave who owed him a hundred denarii and demanded that he be paid. A hundred denarii equalled four months' salary, at the current minimum wage, it would be equivalent to $11,733, which is substantially more than just a few dollars. That's no small change, but it certainly doesn't compare to the 10,000 talents which the slave owed the king. 
 
The moral of the story is that as we have received much forgiveness, beyond what we can ever pay back, we also ought to be willing to forgive others. Translation: we have a God who has forgiven us much. In God's good kingdom, we also ought to forgive others. It sounds simple, but forgiveness isn't always so easy a thing to do. It can be complicated. It's hard to let go of hurt feelings and grudges that we've carried with us for so long we don't know how to let go of them.
 
In the end, God's desire is that we live peaceable lives in which we are reconciled with one another. God's will is for our good, to let go of the past, because that is essentially what forgiveness is about, in order that we may live in the freedom with a future. 
 
Let us pray: O God, teach us the way of forgiveness so that we may enjoy the freedom of living in peace. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.  
 
 
Posted By: 9/12/2020 9:13:57 AM

Saturday, September 12, 2020
Reading: Romans 14:1-12 
 
We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.  - Romans 14:7-8 
 
In my thirty-five years as a parish pastor I have conducted many funerals and burials. With each burial, I remember reading these words from Romans 14; "We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves..." These are words to remind those at the graveside of our mortality and what our lives and deaths ultimately belong to God. We are not our own. We belong to God from cradle to grave. 
 
In our baptism we were named and claimed as God's own. We were marked by the cross forever, that invisible but indelible reminder that we have received a mark that propels us into the world as children of God, and followers of the Lord Jesus. I have  spoken many times to children about the significance of the sign of the cross on their foreheads in baptism. I have told them, "The sign of the cross on your forehead in baptism is like God's invisible tattoo. You cannot see it, but it's there. It says that you are not your own. You belong to God as a beloved child of God." I'm not sure how much of this they understood but it is a significant reminder to us all of what Paul was speaking of in his words to the church in Rome. 
 
In the midst of sickness and sorrow it is a comfort to know that we have been claimed as children of God. It is a reassuring thing that sinks deep down into our souls to know that we are loved by God and the precious sign of the cross has been permanently placed upon us to constantly remind us that we are not alone; we belong to him. 
 
Let us pray: We rejoice in knowing that you have named us, claimed us, and called us to be your very own in Christ our Lord. Amen.  
Posted By: 9/11/2020 9:18:54 AM

Friday, September 11, 2020
Reading: Psalm 103:1-14 
 
For he knows how we are made; he remembers that we are dust.  - Psalm 103:14 
 
It's hard to believe that it has already been nineteen years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The events on that day nineteen years ago sent shock waves throughout our country and the world. We are now feeling the shock waves of another attack, but this time from an invisible enemy of a world-wide pandemic. The world is in shambles and we are trying to pick up the pieces of our lives that have been shattered by a virus. 
 
As we hear in the news daily about the many people who are hospitalized from COVID-19 and the daily death-count from the virus, we are left feeling all too fragile and vulnerable. Our rugged American individualism has a particularly difficult time with this. We think that we can simply pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps and carry on as usual. But the reality is that we are fragile, we are vulnerable, and we are mortal. 
 
God knows our every weakness. The one who fashioned us from the stuff of the ground knows what we are made of - the very dust of the ground. What lifts us up beyond our fragile nature is that this "dust of the ground" was breathed into by God to give us life. It is a gift from God. And yet, humanity still boasts they can do well enough without God's help. It is our pride that is perhaps our greatest enemy of all. 
 
I am reminded of the first stanza of the beloved hymn, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus,"
 
What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry ev'rything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit; oh, what needless pain we bear -
all because we do not carry ev'rything to God in prayer! 
 
Let us pray: O Lord, forgive us our sin of pride, so that we may turn to you and live in hope; in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.  
Posted By: 9/10/2020 11:19:16 AM

Thursday, September 10, 2020
Reading: 1 John 3:11-16 
 
We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us - and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. - 1 John 3:16 
 
Sacrificial love is a sacred thing. When I was growing up, my mother was the person in my life that demonstrated sacrificial love more than anyone I know. She devoted many years of her life to watch over us kids. Believe me, that was a sacrifice. Looking back, I can remember we weren't always so easy to tend to. She did our laundry, made our meals, helped with our homework, made sure we got onto the school bus on time. She made the lunches we took to school. She mended our clothes. Those, and many other ways, she gave of her time, she gave of herself. There is not enough thanks I can give to my mother for the sacrifices she made for us kids. 
 
I know that it was her choice to give herself in those ways for us. It was a decision that she made because of her great love for us. I don't think that she would have had it any other way. Sure, she may have some regrets, like not furthering her education. She would have been a great art teacher. But she did continue her art work and still does a lot of painting. I don't think, however, she ever regrets giving herself as a loving mother over the years for us kids. 
 
There are, no doubt, examples of those in your life that have been a "holy presence" to you by laying down their lives, giving of themselves in so many ways for you.  As a result of others giving themselves to us, we are encouraged to do the same. We are called in so many ways to share our lives with others and not selfishly use it or keep it. There is also a point at which we could say that we would be willing to lay down our very lives for another.
 
Let us pray: Life becomes sacred, O Lord, when we give ourselves away for the sake of another. As you laid down your life for us, so too, may we be willing to lay down our lives for the sake of another. Amen.  
Posted By: 9/9/2020 6:16:31 PM

Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Reading: Matthew 21:18-22 
 
And seeing a fig tree by the side of the road, he went to it and found nothing at all on it but leaves. Then he [Jesus} said to it, "May no fruit ever come from you again!" - Matthew 21:19 
 
This unusual behavior of Jesus zapping the fig tree from ever producing fruit is shocking to us and no doubt to the one's who saw him cursing the fig tree first hand. But before we get too bent out of shape about the out-of-character behavior of Jesus, let's consider the lesson that he is trying to teach us through this "living parable." 
 
The fig tree was producing leaves but no fruit. Presumably, Jesus expected to find evidence of some fruit on the tree by now  for him to curse the tree from producing any fruit at all.  The tree isn't doing what it is supposed to be doing, bearing fruit, the purpose of its existence. It's not happening, so Jesus curses it. Jesus then tells the disciples that they too can make a fig tree wither if they but have faith. He even goes so far as to say that if they have faith they can make a mountain topple into the sea. Jesus ends with the promise that, whatever they ask in prayer and in faith it will be granted them. 
 
Bearing the fruit of faith is what the disciples are to be about. Without faith, they're no better than the fig tree that doesn't produce any fruit. The work of the disciple will bear fruit if they have but faith. 
 
As followers of the Lord Jesus, we too are called to bear fruit. In biblical language, fruit bearing has something to do with our spiritual lives. In Galatians 5:22-23 Paul lists nine specific fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We bear these fruits in our lives to reflect and reveal the glory of God in the world. They are all ways in which, through the Spirit, our lives unveil what it means to live in the kingdom as children of God. 
 
We're not all going to bear the same amount of fruit or the same kind of fruit. The point is that we bear some fruit in order that we may be about God's purposes in the world and its transformation. 
 
Let us pray: Dear Lord, you teach us what it means to bear fruit. It is to feed the world with your love. Instill faith in us that we may trust that you can use our gifts for the sake of the world. Amen. 
Posted By: 9/8/2020 4:39:28 PM

Note: Apologies for not getting the blog reflection posted until now. I had written one last night but for some reason it didn't post.
 
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Reading:  Psalm 130
 
If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered. 
- Psalm 130:3 
 
If God should keep track of all our sins, the words of the psalmist rings true, "Who could stand?" We like to point fingers at other people's sins and throw them in their faces. But when it comes to our own sin, we easily justify it or diminish the seriousness of our sins in our own minds. Jesus saying applies here, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" (Matthew 7:3). Another way of looking at it that you've no doubt have heard is when you point a finger at others, you are pointing 3 back at yourself (presuming your thumb cannot contort that way).
 
Because of God's love and mercy there is forgiveness. We are guilty and are deserving of punishment. None of us can earn forgiveness or are worthy of God's mercy. It comes as a free gift through Jesus Christ.  This is why we are called by God to forgive others, as we ourselves have received forgiveness from God. Forgiveness allows us to put the past behind us and frees us up for the future with hope. Forgiveness gives us a new slate in life in which we can live anew.
 
Our relationship with God is much like that between a parent and a child. God, like a loving parent, will see a child stumbling and falling. But a loving parent will not leave the child lying there in the shambles of sin, under the weight of guilt. The loving parent will help lift the child up and dust the child off from whatever dirt has clung to her. So also, is it with God our divine parent who does not desire that we remain in our sin, but will lift us up with a hand of forgiveness, so that no longer are we living with the burden of the past but are given a future with hope. 
 
Let us pray: Precious Lord, take my hand, lifting me up from all guilt and shame, so that I may walk anew and with you. Amen.  
 
Posted By: 9/8/2020 2:20:28 PM

Monday, September 7, 2020
Reading: Psalm 121 
 
I lift up my eyes to the hills - from where will my help come? - Psalm 121:1 
 
The setting of this psalm is a journey. The psalmist is on a pilgrimage, perhaps on his way to Jerusalem or another holy city or site. As he looks to the hills, fear arises within him. How is he going to get through them? Will there be bandits hiding in a cranny ready to leap out at him and rob him or worse, kill him. Are there any wild creatures that will threaten him and kill him? Will the psalmist endure the arid climate as he is slowed by the desert sun? These would be concerns for anyone traveling in ancient times. The way was often rough and the conditions fraught with danger. 
 
We so easily forget that traveling nowadays is completely different than in ancient times. An air conditioned and fully-loaded SUV is what our mode of transportation would perhaps be. In ancient times travelers would walk for miles over very treacherous ground, amid multiple dangers to get to where they needed to go, and they certainly wouldn't have had the comfort of wearing Nike running shoes. 
 
But all of these dramatic contrasts between now and then doesn't mean that this psalm cannot hold any meaning for us. In fact, this psalm as been read at countless funerals to help soothe the sorrow of mourners. The psalm can also speak to us in whatever journey in life that we are on both literally and figuratively. There are many challenges, obstacles and dangers that we encounter for which we look to the Lord as our keeper. There have been many who have looked to this psalm for comfort and assurance in the midst of a serious sickness. Others have turned to the words of the psalmist as they were going through financial difficulties.
 
We have to only look, in fact, to the words, "My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth," to give us the assurance that we need each day, not knowing what it may bring, but knowing that the Lord is with us. 
 
Let us pray: O Lord, may we look to you each and every day as our helper, keeper, and shade to watch over us amidst the challenges and dangers in life. Amen.  
Posted By: 9/7/2020 8:11:44 AM

Sunday, September 6, 2020
Reading: Matthew 18:15-20 
 
"For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them."  - Matthew 18:20
 
Jesus spells out a process for resolving conflict in the church. The intent of the process is not to punish people but to bring people together and be reconciled with one another. By pointing out the sin of another, a member is doing so in order to "clear the air," as it were, so that there isn't anything that is separating the two. 
 
In the 34 years as a parish pastor I have seen plenty of conflict in the church. I have been involved with some myself. Conflict is not something we seek but happens because we all sin and sinning separates people, one from another. Many years ago, I remember a conflict between a parishioner and I. It was over introducing a new service of Holy Communion in the church. Everyone was in agreement, except for one, that this new order of service would enhance our worship experience. I made a terrible mistake by doing a letter writing campaign to get some key leaders on board with the new service. This exercise backfired on me. It only fanned the flames that brought about more conflict.
 
I had created a situation in which I had triangulated others into the argument. Instead, I should have gone right to the member with whom I had a disagreement.   Mind you, the member hadn't sinned against me by disagreeing with me. If anything, I was the one who had sinned against him, by not approaching him and speaking directly to him on the subject of the new order of service.  In the end, I made it a point of visiting with him and apologizing. In the end we were reconciled. 
 
This experience taught me a valuable lesson that is present in Jesus' process for resolving conflict in the church, and that is, to use the direct approach to things. How can we expect to deal with conflict forthrightly by going through the side or back door? it never works! If someone offends you, go to that person directly and be reconciled. If another disagrees with you, take stock in your relationship with that person by speaking with him or her face-to face.  The promise is that where two or more are gathered together in Jesus' name that he is in the midst of them. That promise is an important reminder to us that we need to value our relationships with one another in the church, even with those with whom we may experience difficulty. 
 
Let us pray:  Dear Lord, may we value one another as sisters and brothers in Christ so much that we always seek to be reconciled with one another in your name. Amen. 
Posted By: 9/5/2020 9:03:42 AM

Saturday, September 5, 2020
Reading: Psalm 24 
 
The earth is the LORD's and all that is in it, the world and those who live in it. - Psalm 24:1 
 
It's difficult for humanity to realize that the earth is not theirs to do what they want with it. The third rock from the sun is not ours to use and abuse, but since creation we have been called to be caretakers of the earth. We have shown little or no regard for future generations to enjoy a habitable planet that is teetering on the verge of collapse. The psalmist reminds us that the earth belongs to the Lord and everything that is in it, including us. 
 
This psalm brings to mind one of my favorite hymns I remember singing over the years, "This is My Father's World." I've enjoyed sining this beloved hymn but never took the time to find out its background, until now. The lyrics were written by Maltbie Davenport Babcock, a minister from New York. He would take walks along the Niagara Escarpment and be in awe of the spectacular view of upstate New York and Lake Ontario. Babcock would tell his wife before going on walks that he was "going out to see the Father's world," hence the title.
 
All three stanzas of the hymn are memorable, but the third one particularly:
 
This is my Father's word:
O let ms ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father's world:
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King: let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad! 
 
There is a meaningful message in the words of this hymn that reflects the sentiment of the psalmist. That message is that this is my Fahter's world and we ought to enjoy it while we have life and breath. In the meantime, we need to be the caretakers God has called us to be, so that we can continue to enjoy the beauty of the earth.
 
Let us pray: Dear Father, we thank you for the gift of creation for us to enjoy. May we be good caretakers of all that you have made. Amen.  
Posted By: 9/5/2020 8:17:58 AM

Friday, September 4, 2020
Reading: Romans 10:15b-21 
 
So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.  - Romans 10:17 
 
Have you ever thought about how you came to faith? We know that faith doesn't just appear magically. Faith doesn't come to us by osmosis. As Paul says in his letter to the Romans, "Faith comes from what is heard." Someone shared the faith with you along life's way. It could have been a parent or a grandparent that shared the story of Jesus with you, or perhaps you came to faith through a dedicated Sunday school teacher or a pastor. It doesn't matter who, what matters is that someone took the time and thought it important enough to share the Good News with you. 
 
Throughout the ages faith has been passed on from one to another to where we are at today. This is how the church exists because believers have found it necessary to share their faith with others. But what do you suppose would happen if the pipeline suddenly stopped? Where would the church be? It would would diminish considerably. This is the danger that we are facing, that the faith is not being passed along as it was before. The church is shrinking at an alarming rate, at least in our country among mainline protestants. 
 
Inasmuch as the church is in decline in the United States, in places like Rwanda and Burundi in Africa it is growing by leaps and bounds. What is curious about this is that these are places where there had been civil unrest for some time and people there have had to endure great hardship as a result of political upheaval. It is much like the early church when Christians had to face persecution and hardship and yet seemed to thrive. 
 
Time will tell if the church in the United States will thrive in the face of adversity because of COVID-19 or will continue to decline as it has been in the past several decades. In the virtual world in which we now live, we have had more persons involved in worship through our livestream service than we did in our sanctuary prior to the pandemic. The Spirit is working overtime it seems, reaching people as they hear the faith in ways we haven't thought of before. 
 
Let us pray: Move us by your Spirit to share the faith with others in whatever way we can so that they also may hear the story of your love through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.  
Posted By: 9/3/2020 11:15:08 AM

Thursday, September 3, 2020
Reading: Psalm 119:33-40 
 
Turn my eyes from looking at vanities; give me life in your ways.  - Psalm 119:37 
 
If one were to google the word "vanities," what would come up would be a whole series of sites like Home Depot, Wayfair, Menard's and Lowe's that all want to sell you a vanity. It's interesting that this furnishing for bathrooms would be so named, since in some cases, a vanity would also include a mirror and not just a sink and cabinet. I suspect that this is where the term vanity came from, as an object you'd find in a bathroom. It makes sense, you look in the mirror to look at yourself. To be vain or vanity means an excessive pride or admiration of one's own appearance or achievements. 
 
The psalmist is making a plea to God for help to look away from himself in order to look to God. Whether one stands in front of the mirror or not, we are all guilty of being vain in some ways. Perhaps it's not being self-absorbed by appearances. It could be more of an inward pride or harboring an excessive amount of self-admiration having to do with one's accomplishments.  
 
The live in a culture in which we are self-absorbed. We want it our way and we want it now. Individuality supersedes the good of all or community. We pamper ourselves and justify it by our own sense of self-importance. In the meantime, we neglect our need to have a spiritual connection with God. We also neglect the neighbor whom we would regard as not being as important as ourselves. 
 
The psalmist directs us back to God and God's ways. For the psalmist, the way of God would mean keeping God's statutes and commands. Jesus came, not to abolish the law and the commandments, but to fulfill it. When asked what is the greatest commandment, Jesus said, "You shall love the Lord your God with of of your heart, and with all of your soul, and with all of your mind. And the second is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37-39). The two commandments, love of God and neighbor are inseparable. It can be said, also, that one cannot love one's self without loving the neighbor. 
 
Let us pray: Teach me your ways O Lord, to love you above all things and to love my neighbor as I love myself. Amen.  
Posted By: 9/2/2020 9:10:24 AM

Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Reading: Matthew 12:22-32 
 
"Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand."  - Matthew 12:25b 
 
The Republican Convention met in Springfield, Illinois, June 16, 1858 and elected Abraham Lincoln to run against Democrat Stephen Douglas for the US Senate. Lincoln's acceptance speech that evening was about the problems of slavery in the United States. Lincoln paraphrased the following passage from Matthew 12:25 when he spoke about a house divided. Lincoln said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe the government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free." 
 
We are still deeply divided as a nation. We have become polarized on many important issues. It's difficult to solve many of the problems facing our nation because we do not know how to talk to one another nor do we want to talk to one another civily it seems.
 
Jesus is trying to do what is right by casting out demons and he is accused of being in league with the devil. How could he be working for the devil by casting out demons? It doesn't make sense. Jesus exclaims, "If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you."  Jesus ministry to help others in need, is not seen by the Pharisees as a sign of the kingdom of God come near to them, so therefore, they attack him.  
 
This is often what happens to those who work for the good of those who are in need, they are attacked and they are labeled. But as followers of Jesus, if we are truly about the work of Jesus in the world, we should expect opposition and be labeled. The unity that we share as Christians is not that we are of one nation, of one ethnic group, of the same economic status, but what makes us one is that we share the same love that is in Christ Jesus, especially to those in need. 
 
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, unite us together as one through the love we share with others who cry out to you in need. Amen.  
Posted By: 9/1/2020 12:57:31 PM

Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Reading: Revelation 3:7-13
 
Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.  - Revelation 3:13 
 
You have perhaps heard it said that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a good reason. Good communication begins with listening. But we are so desperate for people to hear what we have to say, so we often talk first. We interrupt, argue, moralize, judge, analyze, criticize, argue, threaten, diagnose and more. Anyone can talk, but not everyone can listen. The reason for this is that listening takes a lot of work. To actively listen takes focus and concentration and is not altogether easy to really hear what another is saying. 
 
Consider the classroom. If you're like me, you have to imagine what that was like, as being in the classroom happened a long time ago. When you think about it, a lot of listening takes place in the classroom. Students listen to their teacher. Students gather information in order to make a response, whether that's raising a hand to answer a question the teacher may have or in taking a test. 
 
When Jesus taught, he would say, "Let those who have ears, listen." He knew full well that not all his audience would be attentive to his words. Audiences today are not altogether different than in Jesus' day. We're not very good listeners. Our minds wander and usually it's because we're concentrating more on what we want to say next than what the other person is saying. Jesus was not only a good teacher who spoke as "one with authority," but he was a good listener as well. He heard the cries of people in need and responded: the poor, the hungry, the sick, the sorrowful and the outcast. Jesus also spent much time in prayer, listening to his Father, to bring focus to his ministry. 
 
As a church, we need to be attentive in listening to the Spirit. The Spirit is our counsel and our advocate. The Spirit directs how we are to go about our ministry and to whom. The Spirit emboldens us to do the work that God calls us to do, and sometimes the work is difficult and challenging. The Spirit leads us to focus our attention on God's will in the world over-and-against the will of the world that is more often than not contrary to God's purpose for the world. 
 
As we have ears to listen, the body of Christ, the church, may we be attentive to the Spirit. In doing so, we bear witness to the one whose life was shaped in prayer. Jesus' own life and ministry was directed through his faithful communion with God whose love for the world was revealed. 
 
Let us pray: Come Holy Spirit, set our hearts on fire to listen to the will of the Father that was and is revealed in the Son. Amen.  
 
Posted By: 8/31/2020 9:49:47 AM

Monday, August 31, 2020
Reading: Psalm 17 
 
Guard me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.  - Psalm 17:8 
 
In ancient times there was no word to describe the pupil of the eye. At that time, they thought that the pupil was a solid round object which they referred to as an apple, as it was the most common solid round object known to them. But to say that, "You're the apple of my eye," would mean that you are beloved and special, and perhaps even a favorite. 
 
Parents are always well-meaning when they say that all their children are special and they have no favorites. That may be the case for some parents, but for many others they cannot hold to that and play favorites. Through the Bible we see how certain parents played favorites and created a lot of conflict between parents, and siblings with each other. We see how Abraham favored his son Isaac at the expense of his son Ishmael. Isaac favored Esau and Rebekah favored the other son Jacob. Jacob showed favoritism to his son Joseph which brought on conflict with his eleven brothers. 
 
It's not always so easy for parents to withhold showing favoritism of one child over the other. But as each of us have personalities, we tend to gravitate toward a certain personality type that gets along with our own. Not that I''m an expert on parenting by any means, I do know this, that it's important for parents to show love to all their children.  For the sake of a child's healthy development and well-being, children need to know that their parents care for them. Every child, deep down, desires to be the apple of their parents' eyes. 
 
For the psalmist to write, "Guard me as the apple of the eye," was not a plea to God to treat him as a favorite, but it was a petition for God to extend care and compassion to him, especially as he would face his enemies. Isn't this what we all long for, a God who cares for us and sees us as special in God's eyes. We want to be shielded from our enemies that we face each day that threaten to undo us both from within and from without. We desire a God who knows us and yet still loves us and wants what is best for us. 
 
Let us pray: O God, you love us much more than we can ever imagine. Reveal your love for us each day as we combat many enemies that threaten us, knowing that you uphold and care for each of us as the apple of your eye. Amen. 
 
Posted By: 8/31/2020 8:19:24 AM

Sunday, August 30, 2020
Reading: Matthew 16:21-28 
 
Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me."  - Matthew 16:24 
 
What does it mean to take up the cross? Is it like Lent, in which we are called to give up something, like chocolate or other things we like to eat? Does it have to do with bearing a certain burden, such as, having arthritis or hearing loss? Or does cross bearing mean carrying the load of someone else's burden emotionally. "His son is on drugs. That's his cross to bear." Or, "Her daughter is in an abusive relationship. That's her cross to bear>" 
 
I really don't think it has to do with any of these things, although that's how cross-bearing has been interpreted throughout time. I think that it has something to do with sacrifice. Jesus bold statement of God's love for the world was punctuated by his death on the cross. When Jesus says that we need to lose our lives in order to save it, it has to do with the sacrificial giving of ourselves over to others willingly.  Cross bearing is taking up the love of Jesus Christ in our hearts as we give of ourselves freely for his sake. 
 
Let us pray: Dear Jesus, teach me your way to be self-giving, for your sake we pray. Amen.  
 
Posted By: 8/28/2020 4:55:14 PM

Saturday, August 29, 2020
Reading: Psalm 15 
 
Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right, and speak the truth from their heart.  - Psalm 15:2 
 
In 1989 Spike Lee wrote, directed and produced the film "Do the Right Thing." In summary, the movie is about race relations in Brooklyn, New York. In our country we are in the midst of conflict having to do with race relations. In our nation, a great melting pot, there are races represented from all corners of the world. We are yet in the midst of great turmoil about race relations in how we treat one another. 
 
Yesterday marked the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his memorable "I have a dream" speech in which he shared his vision of an America that is united all across ethnic lines and boundaries. What does it mean to do the right thing with regards to race. We are all created equal and we ought to treat one another with dignity and respect.
 
Speaking the truth is not an easy thing, especially when it comes to speaking out against the ill treatment of our sisters and brothers because of their ethnic background. The world of technology has helped to expand our view of the world. No longer do we or should we have a myopic view of the world of homogeneity. We are a nation of rich diversity which ought to be celebrated. God has created us to be different, one from another, for a purpose in which we can learn from one another. Let us dream together of a place and a people who are united by the common creed that declares that we are all loved by God who calls us to love one another. 
 
Let us pray: Dear God, thank you for the great diversity of our humanity in which we are called to love one another as you have loved us. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen. 
Posted By: 8/28/2020 4:36:51 PM

Friday, August 28, 2020
Reading: Matthew 8:14-17 
 
He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and began to serve him. - Matthew 8:15 
 
I've always marveled at this story of the healing of Peter's mother-in-law. I'm not sure what impresses me more, Jesus' actual healing of the woman, or the fact that after she was healed she began to serve him. For goodness' sake, she was just lying in bed sick a moment ago, and immediately, after Jesus touches her hand to heal her, she's serving him. Well, you know the old saying, "A woman's work is never done." This old idiom is actually from a rhymed couplet that goes: "Man may work from sun to sun, But a woman's work is never done." 
 
The saying may be true. At least, this was my experience in childhood observing my mother and how it seemed that she was always doing something to keep up with the household and us kids. Roles were more well defined and quite traditional back them. Perhaps the old idiom doesn't apply like it once did, I don't know. 
 
But inasmuch as this idiom may have been true for Peter's mother-in-law, it can perhaps be applied to Jesus as well. His work was never done. After healing Peter's mother-in-law, that evening, people were bringing many who were possessed with demons to Jesus in order that he may cast them out, as well as many who were sick, so that they may be healed. Throughout the gospels we hear about how people were always clamoring for Jesus to do something for them; feeding, healing, casting out a demon, what have you. 
 
The Lord's work is never done. There are always more needs than resources. For this reason, Jesus calls us to constantly reach out a hand to others to feed or to heal. The needs of the world appear to grow more and more while there appears to be fewer who are willing to serve. I think what this means is that those of us who are called to feed and to heal, cannot "stay in bed" too long dwelling on our own ailments. There's serving to be done in the name of the Lord. Let's get to it!
 
Let us pray: Lord, give us the strength and the energy to reach out a hand to those in need of help and healing this day. Amen. 
Posted By: 8/26/2020 1:40:37 PM

Thursday, August 27, 2020
Reading: Psalm 26:1-8 
 
O LORD, I love the house in which you dwell, and the place where your glory abides. - Psalm 26:8 
 
When we think of a house in which the Lord dwells our minds immediately go to a sanctuary, an actual building intended for worship. The reason that our minds do this is that as human beings we are visual and tactile creatures. When we think about a place in which the glory of the Lord abides we visualize a specific space. This space or sanctuary that we visualize is an actual place where we have once been or where we have frequented worship. Perhaps it's our own sanctuary we think about and it's vast space and beautiful stained glass windows that tell stories from the Old and New Testaments. Or maybe our minds go to a sanctuary we'd once been too that captivated us so fully it gave us a sense of peace and solace.
 
One such place for me is a sanctuary we visited several years ago in Sedona, Arizona. It was built on the side of a red rocky hill. That sanctuary is called Chapel of the Holy Cross. The second I stepped inside the building I was captivated by the simplicity of the sanctuary. The space gave me a sense of awe that lingers with me still. There was an immense cross that was superimposed over a vast window that overlooked the Sedona landscape. It was breathtaking! 
 
We know full well that God cannot be contained in a single space but God's presence pervades the world, and indeed, the universe. And yet, this is not to say that God is not present also in those places that have been specifically built for worship. I believe that God is present there as well.
 
A few weeks ago our sanctuary doors were opened once again since the pandemic began. Even though there were very few worshippers that first Sunday we opened up, the sanctuary space was transformed. I felt a renewed sense of awe when that holy space had in it a holy people gathered in it once again for worship. It dawned on me that sacred space requires both divine and human presence for it to be "sacred space." 
 
There is something to be said about the people of God who gather in a specific space for worship each week. It not only gives those who worship in that space a sense of community, but it also gives those who worship a collective sense of awe in declaring along with the psalmist, "O Lord, I love the house in which you dwell."
 
Let us pray: O Lord, we long for your presence in our lives at all times and in all the many spaces in which we find ourselves. We thank you for the particular place in which we can gather for worship that is a sanctuary, set aside, to give you glory. Amen. 
 
Posted By: 8/26/2020 9:04:13 AM

Wednesday, August 26, 2020
Reading: Psalm 8
 
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?  - Psalm 8: 3-4 
 
If you've ever been to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and looked up to the star-filled sky at night, you'd have a tremendous sense of awe that the psalmist must have felt when writing this psalm. The expanse of the heavens and the multitude of stars that rests above an observer is a mind boggling, and indeed, a humbling experience. It puts things into perspective. How is it that a creator God who made the heavens and the earth and the entire universe would be mindful of one person? 
 
But God cares for each and every one of us. Jesus says, "And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid" (Matthew 10:30-31a). God knows us inside and out and is acquainted with everything that is happening in our lives. God is so intimately involved in knowing all about us because God cares for us. God, the creator of the moon and the stars, is keenly interested in us and for our well-being. 
 
I remember speaking to children in a Sunday morning message in worship about how each and everyone of them is known and loved by God. I told them that they are "thumb-body." I stole that idea of "thumb-body" from a children's book. I had each of the kids put their thumb on an ink pad and then transfer that onto a piece of paper that already had a stick figure of a person. minus the torso. I explained to them that our thumb prints are unique to each individual. No body in the whole world has the exact same thumbprints. It is that uniqueness of our appearance and the character of our very person that is of interest to God. God loves each of us and God loves diversity. None of us are the same. God made us that way for a purpose. 
 
If God loves each and every one of us and our uniqueness, then we ought to love ourselves and celebrate the uniqueness of each and every person we encounter. 
 
Let us pray: Thank you God for making me, me. Thank you God for making each of us in your image and dearly loved by you. Amen.  
 
 
 
Posted By: 8/25/2020 9:39:20 AM

Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Reading: Romans 11:33-36 
 
"For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?"  - Romans 11:34 
 
That is the age-old question, isn't it. What is the mind of God? The answer to that question will be forever a mystifying one for us. We hear the prophet Isaiah declare, "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord" (Isaiah 55:9). We hear also in scripture that God is holy, meaning, that God is set-apart from us. Although the Bible refers to the people of Israel as a "holy people," as they are set apart to live in the world as God's people, God can be considered, therefore, as wholly other. God is set apart from humanity, not just as creator from the created, but in Gods thoughts and ways being unlike our thoughts and ways. 
 
King David is one who has been known in scripture to be a man after God's heart. In Hebrew, the heart is the center of human thought and spiritual life. We tend to think that the heart refers mainly to our emotions, but in Hebrew  it also refers to one's mind and thoughts as well. So how was it that David was a man after God's heart? David was all about doing God's will. But inasmuch as we perhaps have difficulty in knowing the mind of God, it can be said that it would be just as difficult for us to know the will of God. 
 
David pursued justice and mercy for God's people, that which God was about.  Justice and mercy are knit into the very fabric of the character of God. It an expression of God's love for God's people. It is when we manipulate our own personal will and claim it as God's will where we get into trouble. We cheapen God's good intentions for humanity by insisting that our own individual and often times selfish will is God's will. 
 
Jesus and the Father's will were one in the same. Jesus was in constant communion with his Father through prayer. Jesus embodied the will of God in his life and ministry by making it, not about himself, but about pouring out upon others the love of God. It is such, self-sacrifice and devotion to God's will that we as followers of the Lord Jesus embody God's good intentions for the world. 
 
Let us pray: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.  
 
Posted By: 8/24/2020 10:59:07 AM

Monday, August 24, 2020
Reading:Psalm 18:1-3, 20-32 
 
It is you who light my lamp; the LORD, my God, lights up my darkness.  - Psalm 18:28 
 
One of my favorite meditations comes from Gerhard Frost in which he writes about the marvel of light. He writes, and I paraphrase, "I have two rooms, one is light and the other is dark, and I have a door in between them. If I open that door, the dark room becomes lighter and the light room remains the same. I know that it's no great headline but it's a marvelous footnote, and God give me comfort in that."
 
The image of light is a powerful one in describing God. There are numerous references to God as light throughout the scriptures. Jesus calls himself, the Light of the World. We hear about Jesus as being the one true light that shines in the darkness and the darkness could not overcome it. In Psalm 18 the psalmist writes about God lighting a lamp in order to have have light in the midst of darkness. 
 
The metaphorical image of a lamp being lit while in the darkness is one to which we can all relate. We have all experienced those dark times in our lives when we felt that there was no way out, no glimmer of hope. We long for a bright spot to illuminate and dispel the darkness. God comes and lights our lamp and we can see our way from out of the darkness. God has given us a clear path to escape the darkness we have been experiencing. 
 
Whatever darkness you find yourself in the midst of this day, may God's illuminating presence fill you with hope and then with joy.
 
Let us pray: Light of the World, shine brightly in my life so that all darkness of dread may be disbursed and I may be feel the warmth of your glowing presence. Amen.  
 
 
Posted By: 8/24/2020 7:51:27 AM

Comments:
Guest8/20/2020 6:39:53 AM
Goes right with the hymn “We Are Called”. Now that will be going through my head for awhile. Suggestion: Could this Post a Comment be right below the daily blog every day? Otherwise you have to scroll down to the bottom of all to find it.

Guest8/20/2020 6:39:53 AM
Goes right with the hymn “We Are Called”. Now that will be going through my head for awhile. Suggestion: Could this Post a Comment be right below the daily blog every day? Otherwise you have to scroll down to the bottom of all to find it.

V
Vicky 8/19/2020 8:06:34 AM
This is so needed in our “Today’s” world for everyone. Once again Trust God and Have Faith! Thanks Pastor. (Cabin fresh air let me sleep in till 6:30 today.) 😊

Guest8/18/2020 9:38:24 AM
Thanks for your feedback Vicky. I wondered if I was posting the reflections too late for some, like yourself. I am going to try to do them a day early so I'm ahead of the game. Although, when I say this, I realize that I am already behind.

V
Vicky Anderson8/9/2020 8:29:08 AM
I will miss your devotions but I like the idea of interacting. However I wish you could post earlier as I like my spiritual time early in the morning. I was always reading your devotional a day late so I could do my devotions at 5-6 am when I wake up.

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