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Daily Devotion – January 30, 2013
01.30.13

I Corinthians  13: 4-7 

Love Endures 

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

 

Reflection by Monty Wyne

 

Paul speaks of four of the spiritual gifts: tongues, prophecy, faith and giving. He goes on to declare that even in their most spectacular manifestations they mean nothing, unless each is motivated by love. For love is not self-serving or indulgent, it is pure and everlasting. 

Imagine what a different world this would be if everyone spoke, acted and lived in the spirit of love. It is by far the purest of emotions. It asks for nothing and is the ultimate gift that comes with no strings attached. It is the selfless concern for the welfare of others. 

As the song says, “What the world needs now, is love, sweet love, it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.” Maybe it’s time to remind the world that a little love can go a long way. 

 

Prayer: 

Dear God, 

Let us all put more love in our lives and the lives of others. In Your name, we pray. 

Amen



Daily Devotion – January 29, 2013
01.29.13

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

The Gift of Love

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Reflection by Jean Ward

Our gifts from God are so wonderful — wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing miracles, prophecy, tongues, interpreting tongues.  All these gifts God gives to us (the Church).  How do we (I) use these gifts?  It doesn’t sound or feel complete – way too much “clanging of cymbals”.  The faith is there, we feed the poor.  Why is this not feeling right?   What more is needed?  God’s’ answer is LOVE.  The answer is Love – we must open our gifts with Love. We must wrap our gifts with Love. 

Prayer:

When I am using the gifts of the Spirit you have given and I only hear the clanging of the cymbals let me have stillness so that I can unwrap my gifts in Love.  Let me serve through Love for that is how I become closer to You and that gives me Joy.  Amen



Daily Devotion – January 28, 2013
01.28.13

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Now the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you, Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the Lord.” Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth; and the Lord said to me, “Now I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”

 

Reflection by Diane Ingram

 

I grew up among Country Baptists.  Our ministers were not educated in seminaries.  Never.  Instead, they entered the pulpit, scared, sweating, and worried to death about being called by God.  I’ve heard many a sermon about the struggle that ensued.  Me, God?  I can’t do it. I’m a poor man, uneducated. I’ve done bad things. You can find somebody better.

 Some of these men went on to connect with congregations.  Others did not.  The call to preach never went away, but some could, and some could not, or so go the summaries from church-going relatives over the years. This past week I heard talk along these lines:

 I walked in and there was poor old Brother Smith in the pulpit, and I thought:  oh, no, he can’t preach.  I hope they don’t call on him.  But, you know, he did get up, and he said a very few words, and they were so sweet.

 I suspect that more of us fall in Brother Smith’s category than in Jeremiah’s.  Jeremiah evidently had the right combination of attributes; he was able to walk the prophet’s path, for a long time, and with influence.  

 And the rest of us?  Maybe we won’t have a persona as dramatic as Jeremiah’s, but we will — all of us—get the day-to-day opportunities to do what we feel is right, to say a few words.  We will have to summon courage and trust, and, hopefully, drop the excuses. And, every once in a while we’ll get it right.  The words we say or the actions we take on that day will be so sweet.

 

Prayer:  

 Thank you, God who understands, for the potential, for the many ways we can make our lives meaningful and contribute to others.



Daily Devotion – January 27, 2013

Luke 4:21-30

 

Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’ All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?’He said to them, ‘Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, “Doctor, cure yourself!” And you will say, “Do here also in your home town the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.” ’ And he said, ‘Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s home town. But the truth is, there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up for three years and six months, and there was a severe famine over all the land; yet Elijah was sent to none of them except to a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. There were also many lepersin Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.’ When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way.

Reflection by Don Tawney

 

After Jesus said a few words in the synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth, all who heard him were enraged. So much so they were going to kill him.  They took him to the edge of a mountain to catapult him to his death.

What did Jesus say to make them so mad?  Was he trying to make them mad?

He said, among other things to prove his point, that a prophet is not accepted in his own hometown. And, yes, he was trying to make them mad.

Jesus was the light of the world.  His actions and his words gave others the opportunity to shut off their mind-full control and allow their own light to come from behind the mask and shine too.

The Nazarenes felt perfectly safe in staying behind their masks and blocking the light because, after all, wasn’t this man just the son of Joseph.

Jesus called them on their game and was relentless, pushing them to the point where their unconsciousness took them over.

We all ride distractions sometimes to avoid the truth about ourselves.  Most of the time we’re so nice to one another that we struggle to find the least offensive way to point out the distraction.  Sometimes Jesus didn’t waste time with all that.  If he knew his “listeners” were not really going to listen, then he immediately stripped away any decorum and thrust the lie right out there for all to see.

By the way, if Jesus came to any church in the greater Atlanta area and spoke, he wouldn’t get thrown in front of a MARTA train—we’re too civilized for that, but he sure would get a talking to afterward from the preacher.

    

 Prayer:

 Heavenly Father,

 Open my eyes that I may see glimpses of Truth Thou hast for me; place in my hands the wonderful key that shall unclasp and set me free.  Silently now I wait for Thee, ready my God, Thy will to see; open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit Divine.  Amen

 

 



Daily Devotion – January 26, 2013

Luke 4:16-21 

 

 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: 

‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
   because he has anointed me
     to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
   and recovery of sight to the blind,
     to let the oppressed go free, 
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’ 

And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’

 

Reflection by Lynne Buell

 

I believe that Jesus read a synopsis of who he actually was to the people in the synagogue.  This was just beginning.  Of course, we know now that Jesus is much more than the seven lines of this passage.  But back then, the people did not know all this.  So what do you suppose they thought after he finished by saying ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’  Did they whisper amongst themselves things like, “What is the good news for the poor?  They will never have anything, so why does he care about them?”  “Can he truly release the hostages by himself?”  “Why should we believe him?” 

 

It intrigues me that thousands of years later, we may still not know all we should about our Savior.  Yes, the bible is a references used by millions of people.  But I also think we learn about Jesus every day from our acquaintances, friends, family, and strangers.  At the end of the day, think about what you may have learned that you can apply to your life of lessons and spreading the good word. 

 

Prayer:

 

Let us all say a prayer of thanks for being able to see the lessons that our Lord has prepared so that we can be good, kind, compassionate, people.  Amen. 



Daily Devotion – January 25, 2013
01.25.13

Luke 4:14-15

Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country.  He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.

Reflection by Gabriela Mills

In case you’re not up-to-date on the book of Luke (kind of like a Twilight saga), this passage talks about what Jesus did just after (and I mean just after) spending 40 days in the wilderness being tempted by the devil.  Let’s put aside our ‘literal’ versus ‘metaphorical’ notions of the devil just for a moment and follow me on this.

Chapter 4 of Luke opens with an image of Jesus being full of the Holy Spirit, energized, strong, triumphant, and while he is all of these things, he must spend 40 days in the wilderness being tempted by the worst of the worst – the exact opposite of himself, Mister Nasty – the devil.  Verse 13 tells us that Satan had exhausted all the temptations he could muster and all of his underhanded work was to no avail.  That itself deserves a moment of reflection.  Think about that for a bit.

Then, in verses 14 and 15, we pick up where we are today:  “Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee . . . .He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by everyone.”

Isn’t it just like the grace of God that when we hold our ground, remain steadfast and not give in to temptation that we are made better for doing so?  Jesus spends 40 days with Mr. Grumpy Pants (I don’t even spend 40 minutes with people I don’t like) and not only is he not tired, he begins his ministry in Galilee filled with the mighty power of the Holy Spirit.  I find this passage amazing and inspiring!

This passage illustrates one of the many wonders of God’s grace and God’s wisdom.  An event that might be considered to lead to one’s ruin instead becomes an instrument for God to use to God’s glory!

Jesus, having passed all of Satan’s tests, joyfully enters his ministry and began teaching to the common people in their places of worship.  He sees clearly the work before him and he wastes no time in getting to it – with power!

I can’t help but recall a song we used to sing in my church during my youth.  I won’t recite the entire song, but the chorus went something like this:  “Jesus never fails . . .You might as well get thee behind me Satan, you cannot prevail, because Jesus never fails.”

Jesus didn’t fail then, doesn’t fail now and will never fail us!  Thanks be to God!

Prayer –

Thank you, Holy God, for your steadfast example of faith and strength.  Father, help me to go boldly into the wilderness that I must enter and be with me as I face my own temptations.  With your help, I will not only withstand temptation, but become better as a result of my trials.  Amen.



Daily Devotion – January 24, 2013
01.24.13

1 Corinthians 12:27-31

 

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers; then deeds of power, then gifts of healing, forms of assistance, forms of leadership, various kinds of tongues. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.

 

Reflection by Duke Yaguchi

 

During many episodes, Jesus showed favor with the least. And here in a letter to the Corinthians, Paul questions the hierarchy of the church. I’m not sure Paul is wondering if we can all do the work of God, but I believe that is what Jesus was trying to tell everyone. Yes, He healed the sick. Yes, He saved the oppressed. Yes, He fed the hungry. But each time He did so, He commanded those that He had just helped to go and serve the Lord. Jesus didn’t want bystanders. He wanted to build a world of activists. What gifts can you bring to glorify God?

 

Prayer:

 

Dear Lord, Let me open my mind and my heart and my hands to be of service to God. In Jesus’ name I pray.



Daily Devotion – January 23, 2013
01.23.13

 I Corinthians. 12:14-26

 

Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot were to say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear were to say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’, nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and those members of the body that we think less honourable we clothe with greater honour, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honour to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it.

 

Reflection by Rochelle Lofstrand

This is one of my favorite scriptures in the Bible.  Have you ever asked yourself these questions?

-     Am I important to God?  Does God remember little ol’ me? 

-     Am I “good enough” to serve God even though I don’t see that I have any gifts or I’ve only started coming to church regularly?

-     Aren’t these other people more important to God?  Maybe they can give more financially to the church or maybe they can sing in the choir.

 

In today’s scripture, we learn that we are ALL important to God. Until God tells you differently, assume you are the hands to serve. Assume you are the feet to go. Assume you are the arms to comfort. Assume you are the ears to listen, the eyes to see, the mouth to tell.  We are all such valuable members to the whole body – all of us have a role chosen specifically by God. 

 

Prayer

 

God, thank you for reminding us today that we are all so very important to you.  Even if we feel that we are insignificant, today you remind us that you made us and that we all were made with your love and with your purpose.  AMEN.

 

 

 

 



Daily Devotion – January 22, 2013

I Corinthians. 12:12-13 

One Body with Many Members 

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-Jews or Greeks, slaves or free-and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

Reflection by Polly Yaguchi

 

 

As I was trying to think of what to write for this devotion, a funny thing happened. I survived my first Zumba lesson today!  Now what does that have to do with anything you might ask.  Well, as I hid in the back of the room sweating away to the music, I noticed the t-shirt of the lady in front of me.  When I read it, it occurred to me that she was wearing these verses!  What an unusual time to feel the Holy Spirit I thought.  But why not?  If we truly are one with Christ, why shouldn’t we wear our faith and feel the Holy Spirit no matter who we are or what we are doing? Just as the scripture says, Jews or Greeks, slaves or free, we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 

 

Dear Lord, 

Even though we aren’t always willing or know how to be one with you, help us to accept your love and grace so that we will be happy to wear our faith on our backs.

Amen. 

 

 



Daily Devotion – January 19, 2013
01.19.13

Nehemiah 8:1-3

…all the people gathered together into the square before the Water Gate. They told the scribe Ezra to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had given to Israel. Accordingly, the priest Ezra brought the law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could hear with understanding. This was on the first day of the seventh month. He read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law.

 

Reflection by Jim Kennedy

 

The gathering occurred in the City of Jerusalem during the administration of Nehemiah. In the 20th year of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, (445/444 BCE), Nehemiah learned that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down and asked the king for permission to return and rebuild the walls. He was sent to Judah as governor of the province with a mission to rebuild the walls. He took measures to repopulate the city and purify the Jewish community, enforcing the cancellation of debt, assisting Ezra to promulgate the laws of Moses, and enforcing the divorce of Jewish men from their non-Jewish wives.

Although Jerusalem rests on geologic formations which consist primarily of impermeable chalk and chert, there is locally exposed the Judea Group limestone, a porous karstic formation with natural springs of flowing groundwater. Located just outside the Old City walls, the Spring of Gihon in the Kedron Valley was the only surficial source of freshwater for a great distance around the city. The Gihon Spring was the main source of water for the City of David, the original site of Jerusalem. One of the world’s major intermittent springs, the spring was not only used for drinking water, but also initially for irrigation of gardens in the adjacent Kidron Valley which provided a food source for the ancient settlement. The spring, being intermittent, required the excavation of the Pool of Siloam which stored the large amount of water needed for the town when the spring was not flowing.

Water Gate is one of those gates of the Jerusalem wall, near the Gihon Spring. In front of this water gate was a square, a street, a broad place, not far from the temple. In this very large area a multitude of people could gather to worship. A huge group of God’s people gathered and asked Ezra, the priest and scribe, to bring the book of the law of Moses which the Lord had given too Israel. The gathering at Water Gate was of all men and women who could listen to Ezra with understanding. They paid attention to what was being read and taught for quite some time.

So there it is: a thoughtful leader, a good source of water, and a gathering of women and men who listen. Maybe this is all that is needed to pass on the word of God as given to Moses.

Prayer:

Dear Lord I pray to have good leadership and good water so that I may hear and be attentive to your law as given to Moses. Being a geologist I know that your providing favourable geology and good groundwater flow to springs does help things along.