Wednesday, April 14th
1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
4There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
5God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns.
6The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
8Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
9He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
10“Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.”
11The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Whenever I am troubled or anxious, I find strength and comfort in Psalm 46. There are many people in our congregation who are in that situation at this time, whether it be health issues, mourning or missing a loved one, getting lives back on track as the pandemic (hopefully) eases, or even the anxiety that can arise from being in the process of calling a new pastor. Read the words slowly and be open to the strength and comfort of the Lord.
Gracious God, we thank you for your steadfast love during all our times of stress and sorrow. In our hearts we know that you are always with us, offering strength, wisdom, courage, and consolation no matter how much we may be troubled. Amen.
Thursday, April 8th
Proverbs 9: 1-6 Wisdom’s Feast
9:1 Wisdom has built her house,
she has hewn her seven pillars.
2 She has slaughtered her animals, she has mixed her wine,
she has also set her table.
3 She has sent out her servant-girls, she calls
from the highest places in the town,
4 “You that are simple, turn in here!”
To those without sense she says,
5 “Come, eat of my bread
and drink of the wine I have mixed.
6 Lay aside immaturity, and live,
and walk in the way of insight.”
Wisdom as defined by Wikipedia is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight. The bible defines wisdom as the fear of the Lord as the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight (Proverbs 9: 10)
It seems most of my life I have prayed for wisdom, but felt somehow it eluded me. However, I take comfort in the words of Job: “Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding?” In today’s highly technical world I rely on the wisdom and knowledge of my grandchildren. My grandson has taught me how to use a fire stick, download apps, Google and use something called Zoom to speak to and see dear ones living on the West Coast. This knowledge amazes me.
In today’s troublesome life we must all pray for godly wisdom to guide us in dealing with our fellow man and the many problems facing us as a nation, to strive to see life from God’s perspective and to act accordingly. Remember wisdom is a gift from God, but we must ask for it, and sadly too few people do. Godly wisdom is peace-loving, impartial and sincere. It is full of mercy and willing to yield to others. Wisdom is prepared and waiting for us. What are we waiting for?
Dear God, we ask you for wisdom so that we may use it in such a way to think and act so that common sense prevails and our choices are productive and give us the skill to live according to God’s way of life. Amen.
Wednesday, March 31st,
The Servant’s Humiliation and Vindication
4 The Lord God has given me
the tongue of a teacher,
that I may know how to sustain
the weary with a word.
Morning by morning he wakens—
wakens my ear
to listen as those who are taught.
5 The Lord God has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious,
I did not turn backward.
6 I gave my back to those who struck me,
and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
I did not hide my face
from insult and spitting.
7 The Lord God helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
8 he who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together.
Who are my adversaries?
Let them confront me.
9 It is the Lord God who helps me;
who will declare me guilty?
All of them will wear out like a garment;
the moth will eat them up.
The Lord's Word, that we learn at Calvary on Sundays or from reading the Bible on our own, sustains us and inspires us to move forward not backwards. What we learn at church and Sunday school helps us stay strong in our faith, stay positive and avoid bad influences in our lives. Because we have been fortunate to have been taught and educated about God and Jesus, we can apply these biblical lessons everyday of our lives with confidence. With God's help we can bring light into the darkness and spread the Good News, by how we live.
Let us pray.
Dear God, Thank you for all the churches and schools who teach the Good News of Our Lord Jesus, to all people throughout the world. Help us to listen to what Jesus has taught us, so we may be sustained by your guiding light in our lives. Amen
Wednesday, March 24th
Joshua Chapter 1, verses 6-9
6 Be strong and courageous; for you shall put this people in possession of the land that I swore to their ancestors to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to act in accordance with all the law that my servant Moses commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, so that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall be successful. 9 I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
This verse is inspiring to me. God wants us to be strong and courageous, especially now. The passage reminds us to follow the 10 commandments passed down to us from Moses and to obey the laws in America. God proclaims that if we listen to his word we will be prosperous and successful Financially, Emotionally, Physically and in ways we have never imagined. Even though we might be terrified and discouraged at times we must never give up because this is the work of Satan. God is with us during every moment of our lives no matter how bad or good. We all want peace and God’s word draws us closer to peace. So let’s all forget about politics, greed and other tactics used by Satan and view each other as God's people.
Dear God, we pray that we stay close to your flock. Help guide us to be patient this week and to listen to your word despite all the temptations out there. Help guide us to treat your creations with care and content. Help us with all our problems this week and guide us to a better future.
In Jesus' name we pray,
Wednesday, March 17th
Jesus the Light of the World
"Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” Then the Pharisees said to him, “You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.” Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father[b] who sent me. In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf.” Then they said to him, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” He spoke these words while he was teaching in the treasury of the temple, but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come."
In the chapter leading up to these verses, Jesus goes to Judea for a festival hesitantly. He knew that the Jewish leaders were looking for him, looking for an opportunity to catch and kill him. While there, he goes to the temple and teaches. People are divided, some wanting to believe he is the Messiah, others questioning his legitimacy. He has been feeding thousands, walking on water and all sorts of amazing things. People had been seeing his miracles, hearing his teachings and still some questioned.
As we begin these verses, Jesus states that he is the light of the world. Now that's a bold claim to make about yourself, if you're not the son of God. It's even bolder if you realize that he doesn't just state he is the light to one group of people, no, Jesus is the light of the world, the whole world! Jesus is the light in the darkness to everyone who follows him, no strings attached. Jesus is the light in the darkness that we see and the darkness that we don't see. Jesus is light in the loneliness, the grief, the depression, the stress, Jesus is the light in all of our internal struggles that we don't let others see. Jesus sees those struggles, holds our hand and leads us to the light and to the brighter days. All we have to do is be willing to follow him.
Even when the Pharisees try to shut Jesus down by questioning the bold statement made by Jesus, ignoring all of the amazing things he did in the past, he still shines through their darkness. He reminds us that he came from heaven and will return to heaven. He calls them out about them judging him by human standards and states that to know him is to know his father also. To know Jesus is to know God. As he later says in John 14:6 "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." The path to salvation is through knowing, believing and following Jesus. Through our darkest of times, Jesus will always be the light waiting to guide us.
Lord Jesus, you are the light of the world and the path to salvation. When our path seems dark, we trust in you to guide us. When our minds seem cloudy, we trust in you to be the light that shines through. We thank you for being our guide through all of our struggles, our joys and everything in between. We ask that as you continue to be the light in the world, that you use our presence to spread your light to those around us. Amen.
Wednesday, March 10th
19He entered Jericho and was passing through it. 2A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. 5When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” 6So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. 7All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” 8Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” 9Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham.
This is a story we love to tell Sunday school children. There is even a song about it. However, the truth is, Zacchaeus was a collaborator with the illegitimate, evil tax system which exploited his own people. He was so selfish he inflicted more suffering on his people while enriching himself. He was corrupt, and if we were the victims of his greed we would probably have had trouble forgiving him.
We do not know what preceded Zacchaeus’ decision to climb that tree to see Jesus. What we do know is that after confessing his sins he also recognized the suffering he had caused others. In addition to his personal repentance, which meant repayment to those he cheated directly, he also gave the remainder of his wealth to the poor. Zacchaeus recognized and took the opportunity to turn his life around. The reaction from the people he offended was not the expected one of revenge, but that of forgiveness.
Gracious and loving God, repentance cannot come by our own power but only by your gift of grace. It is an opportunity given to us to open a new chapter in our lives. May we follow the example of Zacchaeus and experience your divine presence in a new way. Amen.
Wednesday, March 3rd
While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of the light.
After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.
Although he had performed so many signs in their presence, they did not believe in him.
This was to fulfill the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah:
"Lord, who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
And so they could not believe, because Isaiah also said,
"He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, so that they might not look with their eyes, and understand with their
heart and turn--and I would heal them."
Isaiah said this because he saw his glory and spoke about him. Nevertheless many, even the authorities, believed in him.
But because of the Pharisees they did not confess it, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved human
glory more than the glory that comes from God.
As Christians, we are supposed to let the light of Jesus shine through us. Our job is to be faithful witnesses to him. We are to reach out to others and hope that they will come into the light with us. Take a stand for Jesus by your actions in the world around you and you might be surprised at how successful you can be.
Help us to walk in the light in these dark times knowing that God is always with us and will heal our world and its people. Let our eyes and hearts be opened so that we see all that God has given us and help us to share the good news with others. Amen.
Wednesday, February 24th
Proverbs 30, verses 1 – 9: The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh—an inspired utterance.
This man’s utterance to Ithiel:
“I am weary, God,
but I can prevail.[a]
2 Surely I am only a brute, not a man;
I do not have human understanding.
3 I have not learned wisdom,
nor have I attained to the knowledge of the Holy One.
4 Who has gone up to heaven and come down?
Whose hands have gathered up the wind?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is his name, and what is the name of his son?
Surely you know!
5 “Every word of God is flawless;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
6 Do not add to his words,
or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.
7 “Two things I ask of you, Lord;
do not refuse me before I die:
8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.
So, it seems to me in this selected reading this man, Agur is having an open prayer(?) as well as stating to Ithiel his thoughts/knowledge of God by his experience. I assume it is over a long period perhaps a lifetime. From the reading I’m not sure if he is a scholar or someone that has been observant of the presence of God according to his own experiences. He states that every word of God is true (for those who actually heard the voice of God?) so we can be assured that God’s words are not lies. We are not to embellish God’s word for we surely will experience the repercussions.
He also asks what most of us really want and deserve, the truth without omissions, abbreviations, or vile interpretation to provoke a certain way of thinking because God protects those who believe in His words.
Agur also wishes to live as neither a pauper or a prince, but a life without the burdens of either that might detract him from God.
Lord give us the strength and wisdom to listen to your Word as you intended to be the guiding light in our path through life. Amen.
Wednesday, February 10th
Jesus departed with his disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed him; hearing all that he was doing, they came to him in great numbers from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and the region around Tyre and Sidon. He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him; for he had cured many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him. Whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and shouted, “You are the Son of God!” But he sternly ordered them not to make him known.
Jesus and his followers went to the Sea of Galilee where huge crowds from near and far, believers, nonbelievers and those possessed by demons were waiting for him. All knew of the miracles Jesus had performed and were desperate to touch him and be healed. The demons knew him and praised him as the Son of God. Jesus did not want more fame, he wanted to preach and to teach.
Are there not some parallels to our present time? Our Sea of Galilee are the Vaccination Centers where large crowds hope for the miracle of putting this Pandemic into the Past.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we touch you through our prayers. Your power and compassion are great. Lead us and all mankind safely through and out of these trying times. In Your Mercy hear our prayers. Amen
Wednesday, February 3rd,
Jeremiah’s Letter to the Exiles
29 These are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 This was after King Jeconiah and the queen mother, the eunuchs, the officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen, and the metal workers had departed from Jerusalem. 3 The letter was sent by the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. It said: 4 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare. 8 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, 9 for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the Lord. 10 “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
Ahhh...Home Sweet Home. My home has always been a place to feel safe and secure; a place of comfort during uncertain times. It’s hard to imagine leaving home, a place I’ve relied on for so much...shelter, food, clothing, guidance, and especially love. However, I know one day I’ll leave home to create a new home of my own...a new life.
This reading is inspiring to me because it teaches us not to be afraid of the unknown...that God will be with you every step of the way. Through both good and bad times, God is there guiding us through each day. Sometimes we have to make changes in our lives and may be unsure of the future. But trust that God has plans for each of us, and is always with us no matter where we are. Life is a journey filled with opportunities, so get out there and make the best of a situation. Change is scary, but if you believe and have faith in God’s word, you will be rewarded.
Please continue to help guide us wherever we go. Teach us to be patient and loving towards each other during difficult times. Remind us to be more thankful for all we have, and to be generous to those in need. Give us strength everyday so that we may conquer any fears and struggles in our lives. Amen.