Daily Devotion – March 31, 2012

Mark 11:11 

Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple;
and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went
out to Bethany with the twelve. 

Reflection by Geoff Heilhecker  

On Sundays we enter “temple” mostly on time and with open hearts even those
that are late. After we have “shouted Hosanna in the highest” we gather and
leave as a group, not quite a travel of twelve but I feel with the same
conviction. When I enter I always look around to absorb the surroundings,
inside as well as the outside; it is a journey up the hill on Sunday’s and
hopefully it leaves you spiritualty nourished. 


I pray for all those that enter and come upon Pilgrimage to quench the thirst of their being,
that they feel they have entered something that will fulfill them and leave
them nourished.

Daily Devotion – March 30, 2012

Psalm 118: 29

There is no greater love 

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures for ever.


Reflection by Monty Wyne 

A Davidic king leads the nation in a liturgy of thanksgiving for
deliverance and victory after a hard fought battle. Israel celebrates her
deliverance from Egypt and victory over the Canaanites. There is some debate on
who actually spoke, some say a king, others say the Levitical (priestly leader)
of the liturgy gave the speech. The people rejoice over what the Lord has done.
Verse 29 begins and ends this hymn of thanksgiving. 

Although most of us aren’t engaged in true battle, our lives on the line
and the ultimate sacrifice staring us in the face, we are all engaged in
battles of one sort or another. Whether our battle involves work, emotional
upheaval in our personal lives, a mental conflict within our minds that
paralyzes our day-to-day existence, we all endure such hardship and challenge. 

Too many times we have turned inward, relying ourselves, steeping
ourselves with courage and struggling on our own terms, putting on a “chipper
face” when turmoil rages within us. Battles of any kind drain our strength,
unleash every known emotion and leave us living on the edge as we wrestle with
our internal demons, when all we have to do is lift our hearts and our troubles
to God. His love conquers all. 

Psalm 118 in its entirety is all about how the Lord can help us through
very difficult times and situations.  In
Verse 9, the speaker intones, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to
trust princes.” God’s love for us is true and everlasting. Next time you find
yourself in battle, turn your fears, your heartache and your struggle over to
God because his love endures forever. 


Dear God,  

As we confront the battles of life, we ask that you walk with us. We long to feel the spirit of
your love and forgiveness inside each of us.  Steel us for all that lies ahead.  Humble us in your presence.  Let your strength and courage wash over us as we march forward.  And let us always remember, your love endures forever.   Amen

Daily Devotion – March 29, 2012

Psalm 118:24 

This is the day that
the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Reflection by Angela Gula 

What a simple sentiment. 

This is the day…today.
 This second.  This minute.  This hour. 

Each breath.  Each thought.  Every action. 

Today is the day the
Lord has made. 

Let us rejoice…sing
praises…smile…laugh…love…stand up…be heard…and be glad in all that it may

On the surface, Psalm 118, verse 24 seems like a simple “feel good” verse, and with due reason. Each
day is a day to rejoice and give thanks for what we have been given in this
life, but more importantly, this verse was written to remind us that our
rejoicing comes from the salvation we were given by Jesus’ sacrifice. This
verse reminds us to celebrate the covenant God made with us through Jesus; that
through His death and resurrection we would have eternal life—let us rejoice
and be glad in it! 


Dear God, help us to remember that each day is
a blessing that we should celebrate.  Help us live our daily lives so we help others
see the beauty of your love every day.

Daily Devotion – March 28, 2012

Psalm 118:1-2 

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!

Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”

Reflection by Diane Ingram

I could simply refer back to the March 13 Devotion, Psalm 107:1 – O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever. And then I could say, “There you go . . . I’m all done now.” It’s tempting. 

But, when I think about it, these instructions from the psalmist are familiar from another place, too – from the Assurance of Grace recited every Sunday morning:  God has loved you, loves you now, and will always love you. The words are a little different, but the description of God’s love is the same.  God’s love is steadfast and enduring over past, present, and future. 

Every Sunday we end the Assurance of Grace with Thanks be to God.  In that way, we give thanks to the Lord for the love that is given to us.  We recognize God’s goodness.  

And, as Israelwas instructed, we say the words. 

But then, we need to carry the good news into our lives. I don’t always do that well, but a stranger did. In a random act of kindness, a young man totally unknown to my husband and me paid for our breakfast at a local restaurant last week. We were unaware until he was in his car and gone. Oh, I didn’t think back to church, and I didn’t remember the Assurance of Grace, but the feeling was the same. . . that creation is good, that there is love here.  He didn’t say it; he acted on it. 


Steadfast and loving God, help us that we may never forget that we are loved. In those moments when we blame ourselves and feel unworthy, help us to remember that your love for us never ends.  Help us, too, to move beyond saying and to act in a way that carries that love forward to others.


Daily Devotion – March 26 and March 27, 2012


Mark 1:1-7 

The Proclamation of John the Baptist 

1The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of
2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,

‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,

who will prepare your way;
3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight” ’,

4John the baptizer appeared in the
wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And people from the whole
Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and
were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6Now John was clothed with
camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild
honey. 7He
proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not
worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals.


Mark 1:8-10 

8I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’

 The Baptism of Jesus 

9 In those days Jesus came from
Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10And just as he was coming up
out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like
a dove on him.


Reflection by Lynne Buell 

Let me tell you how wonderful it is to finally see how all the names and stories in the Bible begin
to make sense to me.  

It has always been said there are two topics that should be avoided at a gathering:  Politics and religion.  That was easy for me.  I knew little or nothing about either
topic.  But!  While I still know little about politics, I
AM learning more about religion.  For
example, I used to think John the Baptist was called John the Baptist because
he was Baptist.  The puzzling part of
that was if John the Baptist was Baptist, why is he in our Bible.  Duh. 

I shake my head with how
little I absorbed in my younger years attending the Presbyterian church I was
baptized and confirmed in.  I also don’t
remember an adult ever being baptized in my former church.  Babies were the only ones who were
baptized.  So now I’m reading the above
scripture and my first thought is that it makes more sense for older children,
teens, and adults to be baptized for the reason that they are more than likely
to have sinned and would have a better understanding of this act that began so
many thousands of years ago.  Baptizing
is much more than a ritual.  

John the Baptist, whose
clothing and diet would be considered common for the poor people of his time
was considered to be the beginning of Christ’s gospel.  John had a huge following of people who came
to hear and be baptized by him.  And when
he spoke of Jesus’ coming, John said, ‘8I have
baptized you withwater; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’  
an absolutely profound and beautiful statement.  The significance of these words (if said to me
today by John the Baptist) would bring any Christian to his knees, and I would
be one of them. 


O Holy One, what I want more than anything in this world is
to have you in my life forever and more. 
Help me to follow the lessons of Jesus and lead by example for my
friends and family. Amen.


Daily Devotion – March 25, 2012

Hebrews 13:5 

Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what
you have; for he has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”  New Revised Standard Version


Reflection by Gabriela Mills 

Money, money, money – it’s not a bad thing, is
it?  This short verse packs a powerful
message, but what is the message?  I’m no
scholar, but I do enjoy doing my research and as a result of that, I discovered
a completely new way to look at this scripture. 
First, just for kicks, let’s look at this verse in the King James: 

“Let your conversation be free of covetousness; and be content with
such things as ye have: for he hath said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake

This verse is about God’s covenant with his
people!!  Covenant; there’s that word
again.  Staying true with our theme for
this Lenten season, we are reminded of God’s promise to us; the promise that he
will never leave us or forsake us.  

Let’s be practical for a minute; it takes
money to have a place to live and food to eat. 
Having a beautiful house and lavish food to eat is not a
sin.  Conversely, having a simple
apartment and Ramen Noodles every night is not a crime either, but this verse
is not about that.  This verse reminds us
of two important principles by which to live our daily lives:  1)  Be
content with what you have–don’t be disappointed in your own situation as you
see others who might have more; and 2)  Never, never forget that as followers of
Christ, believers in God’s love for us, God will always remain faithful to us
and will provide for us. 

I don’t mean to imply that as children of God
we should expect to find a money tree in our backyard – Living is rarely about money. 
I do mean to say that God’s love is abundant and always available to us,
and discovering the depths of the Holy allows us to live in true contentment,
joy and thankfulness for all that God has provided. 


Holy God, we thank you for your love. 
Thank you for this beautiful world and the richness of community in
which to share our lives.  Lord, help us
remember today that everything comes from you and we thank you for all
of it!!


Daily Devotion – March 23, 2012

Hebrews 13:2 

Do not neglect to show hospitality to
strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.


Reflection by Rochelle Lofstrand 

A couple of weeks ago, Jen and I were driving down 85S near Spaghetti Junction on
a Saturday morning.  The traffic all of a
sudden slowed and we began to get frustrated because we were afraid of running
late for an important appointment.  Jen
was driving so she was able to see that the far left lane contained a
wreck.  As we slowly drove by, we
realized that it was a single car wreck, no car doors were open, and no one
seemed be coherent inside the car.  We,
as well as two other cars, immediately pulled over and ran to the demolished
and smoking car.  It was an intense ten
minutes as we waited for the police and ambulance to arrive.  As Jen tried to assess and reassure the
unresponsive woman that help was on the way, I and one of the other women who
stopped to help waved white towels in the air warning drivers in the lane to
move over.  As we waved our towels, the
woman next to me asked if I believed in the power of prayer.  After receiving my “yes, absolutely” answer,
the two of us prayed for the women in the car together; arm-in-arm in the
middle of Interstate 85.  


After the police arrived and we were dismissed from the scene, the woman asked me my
name and then introduced herself as Autumn. 
I have thought about that angel every day since the accident because she
reminded me that when we are scared, in the middle of chaos, there is always
time to show strangers hospitality and what better way to do that than by
praying for them! 


Lord, thank you for today’s reminder that the people around us every day all have the potential
to be angels in our lives.  May we all
take the time to give everyone a chance to bring us closer to you or even him
or her closer to you!  AMEN.


Daily Devotion – March 22, 2012

Let mutual love continue. (NRSV)

Keep on loving one another as brothers and
sisters. (TNIV)

Hebrews 13:1


Reflection by Rev. Kimberleigh Buchanan 

Some passages from the Bible need lots of explanation. This verse
from Hebews isn’t one of them. “Let mutual love continue.” “Keep
on loving one another as brothers and sisters.” Keep on acting each other
into well-being. Pretty clear meaning, huh?

All that’s left is to ask: How will you live this verse of
Scripture today? 


Holy One, We know you are love.  We know Jesus taught love.  We know that we are to love our neighbors as
we love ourselves.  We know a lot about
love, God. On this–and every–day, help us to live it.  Help me
to live it.  Amen.

Daily Devotion – March 21, 2012

Jeremiah 31:31 – 34 

“The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make
a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be
like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand
to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was
their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with
the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within
them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they
shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each
other, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to
the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember
their sin no more.”


Reflection by Wayne Scott 

This passage is a foretelling of the new covenant that Jesus Christ would bring to humankind
through his death and resurrection. It is an Old Testament reminder of God’s
unconditional love for all and of God’s desire to have a deep and personal
relationship with each of us. Jeremiah believed that, unlike the covenant that
Moses brought to the people of Israel, there would be a time when a new
covenant would be forged – one that would recognize our inherent inability to
follow God’s law perfectly – one that would promise forgiveness instead of
punishment. As we continue our exploration of covenant during lent, imagine
what it must’ve been like to live during a time when relationships with God
were based on fear – a time before Jesus brought us the gift of forgiveness.



I come to you as an imperfect being – one that, in spite of my every attempt,
falls short of following your Son’s teachings as closely as I would like. Thank
you for the comfort that comes from knowing that you are a graceful and
forgiving God – one that does not seek to punish me for my mistakes, but one
that desires to be in close relationship with me so that I may learn from those
mistakes and become a better steward of your love. Through your Son and my
Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen!

Daily Devotion – March 20, 2012

John 12: 17-33 

“So the crowd that had
been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the
dead continued to testify. It was also because they heard that he had performed
this sign that the crowd went to meet him. The Pharisees then said to one
another, “You see, you can do nothing. Look, the world has gone after him!”

Some Greeks Wish to See Jesus 

Now among
those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to
Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to
see Jesus.’ Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told
Jesus. Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be
glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth
and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world
will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I
am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.

Jesus Speaks about His Death 

Now my
soul is troubled. And what should I say—“Father, save me from this hour”? No,
it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your
name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify
it again.’ The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder.
Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to him.’ Jesus answered, ‘This voice has come
for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler
of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth,
will draw all people to myself.’ He said this to indicate the kind of death he
was to die.


Reflection byMonty Wyne 

If you consider God’s plan for finding meaning, purpose and happiness in
life Jesus is saying you must lose your
life to find it.  
That is both a
profound and scary statement.  In other
words, let go and totally submit to the will of God.  Do any of us have such strength of faith, such
boundless trust to believe that strongly in the power and the love of God?  How many of us would place an unknown future
in the hands of known God?  Would you?  Jesus did. 

D.L. Moody once said, “Spread out your petition before God and then say,
Thy Will, not mine, be done.”  This is a
true testament of faith.  Moody went on
to say that the sweetest lesson he had learned in God’s school was to let the
Lord choose for him.  I believe in God.  I pray to God every night, but in many ways it
is a selfish, not a selfless act.  I ask
God to love and protect my family.  I
thank Him for all he has given me that day and think of the many blessings He
has bestowed upon me over the years.  But
I have never submitted my entire will to God.  Put my life and my future in His hands.  I am too much of a control freak. 

How many times have we heard or even said, “Turn it over to God?” How
many of us truly turn it over or do we persist in controlling what we feel
should be the intended outcome?  Of all
the devotions I have written, this one has me asking deep questions of my faith
and me.  And yet there have been
countless times, when I have lived in fear of this or that, only to find there
was nothing to fear.  Everything worked
out for the best.  Changes take place in
our lives, things happen and we think we control those things and changes.  I’m not so sure we do.



Dear God,  

Let me look more deeply
into my faith.  Help me to answer what do
I truly believe and why?  Let me learn to
trust you without hesitation, without doubt or fear of losing control of the
outcomes. Let me come to you in my moments of anxiety and worry.  Let me put my trust in your strength and
compassion.  Let me place my uncertain
future in your hands.