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Scripture Reading

Today, August 4th, 2020

Pausing for Prayer:

You’re invited to meditate on the Bible passage for today, and then join others at 12:00 p.m. for silent prayer or whenever you can.

Bible Passage for the Day: Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Praying Together:

Julian of Norwich, one of my favorite teachers of the faith writes of God, “Behold, I am God. Behold, I am in all things. Behold, I accomplish all things.  Behold, I never withdraw my arms from my work. Behold, I never fail to guide all things toward the purpose for which I created them, before time began, with the strength, wisdom, and love, with which I created all.” Spend some time reflecting on the past week and something that went poorly at the time. In your imagination, now picture it ultimately going well, as it is in God’s care. Is there something from your past that you felt at one time to be a failure? Can you now see that God was working toward a good end even if it is a deeper understanding of humility and our reliance and God’s care? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see God in all things as you go through your day.   End with the Lord’s Prayer.  

August 3rd, 2020

Pausing for Prayer: 

You’re invited to meditate on the Bible passage for today, and then join others at 12:00 p.m. for silent prayer or whenever you can.

Bible Passage for the Day: Psalm 32:8-10

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.

Praying Together:

Do you have a teachable spirit? That’s the question the psalmist is trying to get at. Truth be told, though, more often than not we are like a horse or mule – stubborn, insisting on doing it our way. In what ways are you stubborn or rigid? But, churches can become just as stubborn as people. How many times have we heard, “we’ve never done it that way before!” or more accurately, “that’s not how we do it around here!” And then we wonder why we struggle so much in our personal lives or experience our congregations in decline. The good news is that if we are humble and have a teachable spirit, God is willing to be our teacher, so that we can discern his will and live according to His teaching which leads us along a path that leads to new life. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a teachable spirit today, and invite Jesus to walk with you today and teach you His ways.  End with the Lord’s Pray.

July 30th, 2020

Pausing for Prayer:

You’re invited to meditate on the Bible passage for today, and then join others at 12:00 p.m. for silent prayer or whenever you can.

Bible Passage for the Day: Revelation 21:1-5

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 

Praying Together:

There are some people that like to read the end of a novel first, so that they know how the story ends. The book of Revelation kind of does that for us as Christians. It tells us that while there will be a lot of darkness and suffering in the world, in the end the kingdom of God will come and when it does there will no longer be suffering and death. When I read that and hear that it gives me hope and it inspires me to keep striving in my faith for God and others. The book of Revelation also tells us that our time on earth is where we are being prepared for what comes next. All too often Christians view heaven as retirement, but that’s not the case at all. The kingdom that God is establishing will continue to go and expand, and the life and faith lessons we are learning now are to prepare us to continue on that ministry with God – God is always creating and bringing forth new life. As you reflect on the passage, where do you hear and experience hope? How are you using your time on earth to be schooled and equipped for your continued ministry in heaven?    End with the Lord’s Prayer. 

July 27th, 2020

Pausing for Prayer:

You’re invited to meditate on the Bible passage for today, and then join others at 12:00 p.m. for silent prayer or whenever you can.

Bible Passage for the Day: Matthew 4:18-20

Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee. He saw two brothers. They were Simon (his other name was Peter) and Andrew, his brother. They were putting a net into the sea for they were fishermen.  Jesus said to them, “Follow Me. I will make you fish for men!” At once they left their nets and followed Him.

Praying Together:

I think I speak for a lot of us when I say that I don’t like to be interrupted. I’m a person who likes to plan out my day and I love to make checklists. What I love even more than making check lists, is checking off the boxes when I’m done. If I get to the end of my day and all the boxes are checked I feel very happy and satisfied. One aspect of being a Christian that is very challenging for me is that God is constantly interrupting me, and God does it to anyone who desires to be a follower of Jesus. We can see that in the call of Peter and the other disciples. The Bible says that when Jesus interrupted them, they left everything to follow him, but what Peter would come to learn is that it  often brings you to a place you don’t want to go – a place of conversion. Maybe that’s why our relationship with God is kind of like, “Don’t call me, I’ll call you.”  Craig Barnes writes, “In part that is because we do not want to abandon the place where we have been trying to save and prosper our own lives. But the main reason we don’t want to go to the place Christ would call us is that we know that we will have to abandon our most cherished images of who we are or the images we want others to see. As you reflect on the passage, invite God to interrupt you today. Invite God to lead you to a place where you can see yourself and the world around you through God’s eyes, and invite the Holy Spirit to have His way with you.   End with the Lord’s Prayer.  

July 24th 2020

Pausing for Prayer:

You’re invited to meditate on the Bible passage for today, and then join others at 12:00 p.m. for silent prayer or whenever you can.

Bible Passage for the Day: 1 Timothy 6:6-8

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

Praying Together:

The 10th Commandment that God gave the people of Israel is that they shall not covet; this is, they are not to become jealous, envious or desire their neighbors home, spouse, donkey etc., and while I don’t covet those things I do covet my neighbors that have a two car garage, and a short driveway. When we lived in St. Francis I had a three car garage (plenty of room for my stuff), and a short driveway which was wonderful when it snowed. I now have a very small one car garage and a long narrow driveway with houses on both sides which makes shoveling snow a dreaded ordeal. Heather says it builds character, but I haven’t anything in the Bible that says shoveling snow builds character. If you are still reading, what you may have realized is that in my rambling manifesto there is not one ounce of gratitude or contentment. I don’t know about you, but I often find that it is easy to focus on the things I don’t have or think I need, instead of being grateful for what I do have. When I think about those things I realize that I have nothing to complain about and the only words that come up are, “Thank you God.” What things, if any, do you find yourself coveting? Invite the Holy Spirit to help you to see in reality how blessed you really are, and spend some time thanking God for those things.      End with the Lord’s Prayer.  

July 23rd, 2020

Pausing for Prayer:

You’re invited to meditate on the Bible passage for today, and then join others at 12:00 p.m. for silent prayer or whenever you can.

Bible Passage for the Day:  Galatians 4:6-7

Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

Praying Together:

In Mark 14:36, Jesus uses a word to describe his relationship with God that radically changed how we see and think about God. This new revelation was not lost on the Apostle Paul as he teaches us that the Holy Spirit was sent so that we, too, might experience God as “Abba Father.” It is an endearing term; it means something along the lines of “daddy” or “papa.” You can almost imagine a small child with arms extended upward, “Daddy, pick me up.”  In that moment of being picked up the child experiences a deep presence of love and a feeling of security and a reassurance that everything is going to be O.K. I think we all go through times when we want God to give us that “Blessed Assurance” that everything is going to be alright. What we sometimes miss is that the word in Aramaic also conveys a deep sense of reverence and respect. It means that in response to God’s loving presence we also want to do everything in our power to make our Heavenly Father proud – to live in such a way to honor our family name.  As you meditate on the passage today, invite the Holy Spirit to help you feel the love of “Abba” in your heart today, and to help you to see how you can live a life of reverence in response.  End with the Lord’s Prayer.  

July 21st, 2020

Pausing for Prayer: 

You’re invited to meditate on the Bible passage for today, and then join others at 12:00 p.m. for silent prayer or whenever you can.

Bible Passage for the Day: Matthew 4:18-20

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. 

Praying Together:

No matter our age we are all called to be followers of Jesus each and every day. Abraham and Sarah, along with the disciples are proof of that. Being called also implies that Jesus is continually trying to lead us in a certain direction, leading us to live our lives in a certain way, but it can be hard to hear and discern where he is leading us, and it can create some anxiety because we don’t want to get it wrong. When I struggle to hear Jesus' voice I’m drawn to a prayer by Thomas Merton in which he reminds me that simply having the desire to follow Jesus is enough for him to work with and in me. He prays, “O Lord God, I have no idea of where I am going, I do not see the road ahead of me, I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that in desiring I am pleasing you.” How much do you desire to be a follower of Jesus? Invite the Holy Spirit to quicken and deepen that desire within you.   End with the Lord’s Prayer. 

July 20th, 2020

Pausing for Prayer:

You’re invited to meditate on the Bible passage for today, and then join others at 12:00 p.m. for silent prayer or whenever you can.

Bible Passage for the Day: Matthew 27:61

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there and remained opposite the tomb. 

Praying Together:

Of all the disciples I think Mary Magdalene is the most interesting and inspiring. Magdalene is not her last name but the village that she came from near Capernaum where Jesus spent much of this ministry. In Luke 8 we read that it was there that Jesus freed or released her from seven demons that were tormenting her. The experience was so profound that she left everything to be there for Jesus and she obviously had a very special place in his heart. She was not outspoken like the rest of the disciples, but her gift and strength was her deep love and faithfulness to Jesus. She is the one who is always present in his hour of need. She is there as he is being crucified and in Matthew 27 she went to the tomb and “remained” or “dwelt” there a long time. The surest sign of true love is someone who is there for you in your darkest hour, so it is no wonder that Jesus chose to reveal himself to her first. As you meditate on the passage, would people say that like Mary you are there for others in their time of need? Do you make time each day to be there for Jesus ready to serve, as Mary always did?  Invite the Holy Spirit to gift you with the same love and faithfulness that Mary was given.    End with the Lord’s Prayer. 

July 17th, 2020

Pausing for Prayer:

You’re invited to meditate on the Bible passage for today, and then join others at 12:00 p.m. for silent prayer or whenever you can.

Bible Passage for the Day: Psalm 86:5-7

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. Hear my prayer, Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me. 

Praying Together:

The nature or essence of God is not only to love, but to forgive. Jesus’ death on the cross profoundly demonstrates that truth. The problem is that we often doubt the desire and capacity of God to forgive us of all our sin. Instead of firmly trusting and believing that we are forgiven, we hope that we are forgiven. When my children sin and do things that are wrong my deepest desire is not to condemn or simply punish them, but that they would learn from their mistakes and know that I love them – that I will always love them and forgive them. Why should I think any less of God? In fact, for me to assume that I would be more loving and forgiving than God…well, I think you can see the absurdity and hypocrisy in that. As you meditate on the passage for today, invite the Holy Spirit to not only illuminate the sin that is robbing you of your peace and joy, but ask the Holy Spirit to help truly believe and experience the depth of God's love and forgiveness for you.     End with the Lord’s Prayer. 

 

July 16th, 2020

Pausing for Prayer:

You’re invited to meditate on the Bible passage for today, and then join others at 12:00 p.m. for silent prayer or whenever you can.

Bible Passage for the Day: Isaiah 42:18-19

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Praying Together:

One of the greatest challenges for Christians is to live in the present. To realize and experience that God is in all things, and because of that each day, each moment can be an opportunity for a new beginning. However, instead of living the present most people get caught up in the “oughts” and “what ifs” of life. The “oughts” refer to living in the past with all the guilt and regrets it bring with it, and the “what ifs” refer to the future with all its worries about what might go wrong. As Henri Nouwen writes, “The real enemies of life are the “oughts” and the “ifs.” They pull us backward into the unalterable past and forward into the unpredictable future. But real life takes place in the here and the now. God is a God of the present. Invite the Holy Spirit to help you see the “new thing” God desires to do in your life today.    End with the Lord’s Prayer. 

July 14th, 2020

Pausing for Prayer:

You’re invited to meditate on the Bible passage for today, and then join others at 12:00 p.m. for silent prayer or whenever you can.

Bible Passage for the Day: Psalm 34:18

The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. 

Praying Together:

There is no way to journey through life and not be wounded or scarred by someone or something. Jesus is proof of that. When he appeared to the disciples his hands, feet and side were still scarred. When I think of Jesus my imagination is drawn to his scars because it tells me he knows what it is like to suffer and that he is with me and has compassion for me when I suffer. It also teaches me that through my suffering I can become an instrument of healing for others. The reason why support groups are so powerful and healing is that each person becomes a wounded healer to the other through a shared experience. Because of their suffering, they have the courage to climb down into the pit with someone else and journey with them into freedom. Henri Nouwen writes about this in his book The Wounded Healer, “The great illusion of leadership is to think that a [person] can be led out of the desert by someone who has never been there. Our lives are filled with examples which tell us that leadership requires understanding and understanding requires listening.” Where do you still need healing in your life? How can you become a wounded healer for someone else?   End with the Lord’s Prayer.  

July 13th, 2020

Pausing for Prayer:

You’re invited to meditate on the Bible passage for today, and then join others at 12:00 p.m. for silent prayer or whenever you can.

Bible Passage for the Day:   Isaiah 41:10

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, and I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand

Praying Together:

We all go through times when we are afraid; Jesus, too, struggled with his own fears, so when we turn to him we can be assured that he understands. There have been others who have gone before us who turned to Jesus in their own hour of need and we can find comfort and strength from their example. James McGinnis writes of them: “We have the testimony of countless heroes of faith for whom a prayerful, intimate relationship with Abba, Jesus, and the Spirit carried them through raging storms. In their prison journals, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Etty Hillesum, Phil Berrigan and John Dear speak convincingly of the power of prayer and love to overcome the power of fear. Gandhi courageously walked alone as a disarming presence of love into the incredible violence between Hindus and Muslims in the villages of India in 1946-47 because he was convinced that Jesus walked with him.” As you meditate on the passage for today, literally go on a prayer walk with Jesus and invite the Holy Spirit to be with you and bless your fellowship and prayer time with your Lord.  End with the Lord’s Prayer. 

 

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