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Daily Devotion – August 31, 2013
08.31.13

 

Genesis 1:20-23

And God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.’ So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’ And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

 

Reflection by Geoff Heilhecker

Go and do; be one that makes things happen. Genesis makes me feel that way, I want to do and don’t want to dwell and be sad. Take what is happening and move with the world and feel the spirit around us. This energy and feeling embodies us every day, we should be just that joyous. For tomorrow is another unwritten day so embrace what is around and giving you reason to move on. Live, Love and Enjoy a part of what everyday life is–an adventure–go and see life and make more.

 

   

 

Prayer:

 

God has given us this day its greatness and all its glory take it in and embrace it with all your heart and soul, for today is today and tomorrow hasn’t happened. But what you do and how you look at today is how tomorrow will start. Share the love inside yourself with others and watch it grow.

 

 

 



Daily Devotion – August 30, 2013

Genesis 1: 14-19

 

The Beginning

 

And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.’ And it was so. God made the two great lights-the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night-and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

 

Reflection by Monty Wyne

 

God brought all things into being. His first creative word called forth light in the midst of primeval darkness. Light is necessary for making God’s creative works visible and life possible. Light is also symbolic of life and blessing. The creation, as fashioned and ordered by God, had no lingering traces of disorder and no dark and threatening forces arrayed against God or against man.

 

Light plays a huge role in our spiritual and our emotional growth. Light drives out evil. Light is a sign of hope-a better tomorrow. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Have you ever been caught in violent storm or driving down a dark and lonely road late at night?  Both can be frightening experiences. You can feel so vulnerable, so anxious and filled with doubt and raging fear. Because out there lies the unknown, as this overriding sense of uncertainty fills your heart and soul.

 

Have you ever stopped to wonder, where is God or where is Jesus now? Are either of them present? Are either of them with me? Or, are you so caught up in the insecurity of the moment that this thought never crosses your mind? I honestly would have to answer “yes” to the latter question.

 

Yet, there is that age-old expression, “There is light at the end of the tunnel.” Meaning there is hope and that a difficult or particularly upsetting experience will end. And there you will find light. The storm passes. A town emerges in the distance on that dark road. Light is a comforting, reassuring thing. The next time you get up early to watch the sunrise or happen to catch a quieting sunset, focus on the light. I have to think that’s God welcoming you to the day or offering solace before night overtakes the sky. Take it in and remember it next time you face adversity.

 

Prayer:

 

Dear God,

Let me cherish the light you bring into our lives. May it always shine brightly in my heart.    Amen

 

 



Daily Devotion – August 29, 2013
08.29.13

Genesis 1:9-13

 And God said, ‘Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.’ And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

Reflection by Lynne Buell

I decided to do some research on the third day and came across the following commentary that, for me at least, best describes what might have happened. 

Day 3:  (1) “God is separating the earth from the waters.  Up to that point, the world was comprised of a shoreless ocean.  God caused part of the land to rise slightly, and other parts to sink down, so that there would be some deeper waters, and some dry land.  The effect of God’s creation (so far) was a giant greenhouse.  We also see that there probably had to be the creation of fertile soil at this time, or nothing could grow.  This would not be soil from dead and decaying life forms, for they did not yet exist.  God simply created fertile soil.  Here, we also have the creation of the “life building block”, DNA.  We see this in verse 11 in the words “seed” and “kind”.  This indicates reproduction and the requirement of the genetic-blueprint model, DNA.  With the word “kind”, we see that God intended a limitation on variation.”

1.  © 1998-2011 The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation (www.all-creatures.org).

I hate to admit it, but I never really thought about creation like I am now.  I marvel at the beauty of our earth, but I never really thought about its creation.  This series of devotions is making me more aware of the need to appreciate and maintain our wonderful world.

Prayer:

Amazing God, as I learn about Creation, help me to do my part to conserve our earth and its beauty.  Inflict on those who feel the need to revise your creation to slow down and focus more on the preservation of our world.  Amen.   

 



Daily Devotion – August 28, 2013
08.28.13

Genesis 1:6-8

And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

 

Reflection by Diane Ingram

 

I’m writing this on a rainy Sunday.  It was raining as I woke up, and it’s raining now as night falls.  I feel like God had to work extra hard to get that dome up in the sky, that it kept leaking, and that in this particular August it has sprung major leaks.

 

I like these verses because of that imagery—separating the waters with a dome so that the sea is at our feet and the blue, watery sky is above. That’s a beautiful thought, an inspired thought.  A poetic soul was at work here.

 

And, to me, that’s the majesty of the creation story —that there are people, writers, who can find such beautiful words, who can create a story like this to explain how the world came into being. It’s amazing what God’s creation can do . . . its human beings, its animals, its flowers, its trees, beaches, winds, the rain that falls from the dome, even when there’s too much of it.

 

Prayer:

 

Thank you, God, for the wonder of all that inhabit this planet, this universe.

 

 

 

 



Daily Devotion – August 27, 2013
08.27.13

Genesis 1:3-5

 

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

Reflection by Don Tawney Sr.

Some lessons in life, usually the big ones, I learn, then I forget, then I relearn, then I forget again, and on and on…

The word “let” represents this type of lesson.  Let go and let God.  Let it be. You’re just going to have to let go of it.

“You have fear because you won’t let go of fear,” I hear in my mind.  OK, how do I let go?  I can’t seem to separate the darkness of fear from the life of freedom I know I have in Christ.  What’s up with that?  Why doesn’t God slip through the clouds and the roof of my house and come down to where I am and command, “Let there be light in this boy’s mind!”?

The darkness goes away after I admit it’s here, after I talk about it, after I listen and think.  It will come back again, but for now, after opening myself up, it goes away and the light shines.  Exactly when the light snuck in there, I can’t say.  But it was behind that cloud.  It was there because it had been commanded to be there, ready for me when I was finally ready for it.

Prayer:

 

      Dear God who is Light,

 

               Keep coming into my life.

 

                               Amen



Daily Devotion – August 26, 2013
08.26.13

Genesis 1:1-2

 

Six Days of Creation and the Sabbath

 

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.

 

Reflection by Lynne Buell


Like the earth, our souls are also new creations.  Before the Creation, our world was without form and nothing but emptiness.  With the grace of God, our world would begin to form and eventually be full of life.  Without God, our bodies are nothing; we are empty, full of confusion and darkness…an open opportunity for evil to consume us.  But we are Christians!  We have been born (again); we opened our hearts to God and God’s son, Jesus (our Savior) whose lessons and stories are molding us in God’s image.  As Christians, we have an obligation to take care of the Earth and marvel at the beauty God has created…which surrounds us and is also within us.

 

Thanks be to God!

 

Prayer:

 

For the marvelous world you created; for your son, Jesus who is our Savior; for the never-ending love you shower upon us…I give thanks.  Amen. 



Daily Devotion – August 25, 2013
08.25.13

John 20: 14-18

 

14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew,[b] “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher).17 Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

 

Reflection by Ugena Whitlock

 

There’s Something About Mary

 

I have often wondered what if I had lived two hundred years ago and heard Jesus talk.  Who would I think he was?  Would I recognize him as savior?  What if I missed my chance?  When I read today’s scripture, I noticed something that I had missed before, probably because it is a very dramatic passage.  It is the passage upon which Christian faith itself is based:  The Resurrection.  With a capital “R”. 

 

This time when I read it, I noticed the phrase, “Thinking he was the gardener….”Now, we don’t know, aren’t told, why Jesus did not appear to Mary Magdalene in a form that she could recognize.  He may have done it on purpose, or he might have just been…changed.  We don’t know.  But, she thought he was the gardener.  When he got her attention by calling her name, she knew immediately, calling him not just teacher, but “my teacher.” 

 

We’re told in Mark 16:9 and Luke 8:2 that Jesus had driven seven demons out of Mary M.  No wonder she had peeped into the tomb to discover his body was gone! No wonder she ran and told the disciples.  And no wonder she tried to cling tightly to Jesus when she realized who he was.  Mary had a part to play that I’m glad I didn’t skip over this time.  She was the first person to whom the risen Christ (I love how poetic that sounds) appeared, and she was the first person he sent out.  Well, she was sent because they had left, which is interesting in itself and says something more about her.  Peter gets a lot of credit in Acts for sermonizing, and I like Peter. But it was Mary Magdalene who gave the first Christian testimony.  The first to tell the good news:  “I have seen The Lord!” 

 

The thing is, we still have that same good news to tell. My sweet grandmother used to just love to have news to tell–or sometimes to spread. She would just relish being the first to get to tell a good story or bit of news.  She could stretch out the telling to a good half hour.  It feels good to have something to tell, and we do.  Just like Mary M.  And although she might have started out by mistaking Jesus for the groundskeeper, she recognized him as The Lord.  When I think about it, if I had lived two thousand years ago, I probably would have mistaken him too.  The question is, what will I–what will we–do with him today?  I think, we have a little good news to spread. 

 

 



Daily Devotion – August 24, 2013
08.24.13

John 20:11-13

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’

 

Reflection by Duke Yaguchi

When someone dies, it is always an emotional time. No matter how expected or sudden, tragic or blessed, death brings on a myriad of emotions. Imagine Mary Magdalene witnessing the crucifixion of Jesus. She had to process that terrible ordeal that Jesus suffered. And now, she goes to the tomb in search of His body to prepare it for a proper burial, and Jesus is gone. I imagine she felt guilt and anguish and bewilderment and sorrow and probably a hundred other emotions.

Funerals are unique events. I recently attended the funeral of Francis, the father of my dear friend, Gregg. Having lived in Springfield, Illinois for eight years, Francis and his wife, Lorene, became surrogate parents and grandparents to me and my young, growing family. I attended the funeral with the intent of showing my love and support for Gregg.

But when I reflected on the day during my drive home, it dawned on me that my presence there didn’t just benefit Gregg. It was I who benefited. In sharing stories with friends and family, I came to know Francis even more and I felt compelled to share my stories with them as well. Through the stories, Francis was bringing happiness and healing to all who attended. I felt honored to have known Francis and to be welcomed at his funeral.

I think I understand even better now, why Mary Magdalene wept. There would be no proper funeral for Jesus. That fact gets lost sometimes because it gets overshadowed by the miracle of the resurrection. So without a funeral, how can His death bring happiness and healing? Just like the stories about Francis brought happiness and healing to those who attended his funeral, there are many stories of Jesus that two thousand years later still provide happiness and healing to all who believe. Jesus loves us. The stories in the Bible tell us so. And more than that, if He is our living Lord, then we continue to create stories. When shared, our stories can also bring happiness and healing to those who hear them.

 

Prayer

Dear Lord. I thank you for the ability to remember those who pass before me. I thank you for having known them and loved them. I thank you for the ability to remember them. I thank you for sending Jesus into the world, and to let us know and love Him through the sharing of His stories. Please be with all of those who are weeping the loss of loved ones. And may the healing hand of Jesus rest upon their shoulders and quiet their aching hearts. In your name I pray.  Amen.

 



Daily Devotion – August 23, 2013
08.23.13

John 20:1-2

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’

Devotion by Rochelle Lofstrand

Have you ever lost a person or a child?  You turn around and have that sinking feeling that someone that you love is gone forever.  I can only imagine being a parent and losing a child in a theme park or a mall.  Frantically running around calling out that child’s name hoping for them to return or to surface from the abyss they had escaped into. 

I can imagine that Mary Magdalene felt the same way.  She was probably still reeling from the crucifixion of Jesus three days before and she went this day to start or to continue her mourning process.  She probably arrived at the tomb with a heavy heart preparing to start on the hard journey of healing only to discover that the tomb was open and her teacher, her leader, her connection to God was missing.  She ran frantically to see the disciples to possibly get some answers.   That sinking feeling, not knowing where Jesus was or what had happened to him, sitting in the pit of her stomach was probably overwhelming.

Little did she know what was about to be revealed to her.  Not only was the lost Jesus found but the gift to the world that came from his reunion with his followers was more than they every expected. 

Prayer

God, thank you for helping us find those things in ourselves that may be lost.  Help us find our lost faith, grace, and patience that we might be lacking in our every day lives just like you helped Mary find Jesus.  AMEN.

 



Daily Devotion – August 22, 2013
08.22.13

Hosea 11:6-10

Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the Lord said to Hosea. “Call her Lo-Ruhamah, for I will no longer show love to the house of Israel, that I should at all forgive them.”:

Yet I will show love to the house of Judah; and I will save them – not by bow, sword or battle, or by horses and horsemen, but by the Lord their God.” After she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, Gomer had another son. Then the Lord said, “Call him Lo-Ammi, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.” Yet the Israelites will be like sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God’.

 

Reflection by Darlene Wagner
As I read, “I will no longer show love to the house of Israel”, I struggle with images of a
punishing and rejecting Deity. My preconceptions of the Divine are no doubt clouded by a
society based upon permanent punishments. The cruel finality of worldy forms of punishment
is manifest in the rampant rejection of gay, lesbian, and transgender children by their families,
the exceptional harshness of the American criminal justice system, and the many long-term
unemployed. Yet, through regular prayer and meditation on scripture, I can cultivate the hope
that the manner and intent of Divine discipline is anathema to the marginalization dealt to
millions in our present world-system. The Divine Spirit works to restore; where “weeping
may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5)”. Thus, heaven’s
ways are not worldly society’s ways.
Here, in verse 10, Hosea promises a restoration for the Jewish people after the time of
punishment. No other group of people can hope in a similar promise of everlasting
sustenance; giving hope that “Gentile” institutions of rejection and oppression will pass away.
However, a restoring, Ever-Steadfast Divine Love is available to each individual person,
regardless of past criminality, regardless of ethnic or religious heritage, and regardless of
sexuality.
A prayer-poem I recite during times of hardship illustrates the promise of Divine restorative
discipline, made complete with its healing, tender love, and the joys of intimacy:

Prayer
All adoration, love, and thanks to you
Most Generous, Surrounding Mother!
With every heartbeat may I render true
Devotion to your being! You are ever
my enduring earth-and-sky-enclosing life-breath!
You are soft, bright flowers; You are hardest stone!
From ego-seeking heights, I fall to depths;
your softness breaks my fall. Held as your own,
in your care, crush me, thrash me in your hands!
Break all my bigotry, my wrath, my will
to quarrel. Bind me in your traction bands
to set my bones to living out your will!