Monday, October 29, 2007

Matthew 10:34-39 - Choose Life

Scripture: Matthew 10:34-39

Summary: Jesus says that he has come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother. Whoever loves their parents more than me isn't worthy of me. "Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it."

Thoughts: Isn't this what the choice of being Christian is all about? We can chose to worship the things that we possess, or we can choose to worship God. But sometimes when we chose God it is costly. Often those who chose to go into ministry pay for that choice with a limited income. So I can choose the job as a software engineer making $60,000 a year or I can chose the job working in an agency with the homeless for $25,000. The second choice may seem as if it is limitiing my life, but in reality isn't it really freeing me? Because it allows me to chose life. It allows me to change the lives of the marginalized people in my neighborhood. And isn't that really chosing life?

Prayer: Help me Lord, as it says in this scripture, to take up my cross and follow you. I want to be willing to lose my life for you and your creation. Amen.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Isiah 51:1-8 - What are you looking for?

Scripture: Isiah 51:1-8

Summary: There's alot here in this text (you really should read it!). It's about seeking the righteousness of God. "Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. Look to Abraham..."

Thoughts: The Bible is full of stories of how God has been at work in this world. Abraham is a great example. He trusted God and God blessed him with many descendents. Why should we not expect that God will likewise bless us? The scripture says "a teaching will go out from me, and my justice for a light to the peoples." Perhaps God is calling us to help with this. Calling us to help teach the good news. Calling us to spread the justice of God in our world. So the good news in this text is that God will deliver us. Perhaps our response should be to spread this good news to those around us. What do you think?

Prayer: In this text in Isaiah it says "but my deliverance will be forever, and my salvation to all generations." Be my salvation, Lord. And make my search for you fruitful. Amen.

Monday, October 22, 2007

John 12:20-26 - What are you looking for?

Scripture: John 12:20-26

Summary: Some Greeks came up to the disciple Philip asking to see Jesus. When he and Andrew tell Jesus, he tells them that the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Those who love their life will lose it and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

Thoughts: These people from Greece were looking for Jesus. Maybe they had heard about what Jesus had been doing and preaching. All we know is that they are searching for Jesus. What are we searching for? Is our search for God so consuming that we ignore all other distractions? If we seriously search for God we know we will be rewarded. But we need to consider the places in which we search. We can search the Bible, our inner soul, our world, or the poor and oppressed that need our compassion, because God has been found in these places before. But the most important thing is that we need to begin searching.

Prayer: God we know from the Bible that those who search for you are rewarded. Help us to make seeking you the top priority in our lives. Amen.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mark 8:14-21 - Eating the bread of anxious toil

Scripture: Mark 8:14-21

Summary: Jesus and the disciples are getting into the boat and they realize that they only have 1 loaf of bread. The disciples are worried about this but Jesus reminds him of how much bread remained when he fed the 2 large crowds with only a few loaves.

Thoughts: We spend alot of our lives being anxious. Anxious about tests or papers at school, anxious about deadlines or problems at work, anxious about relationships, anxious about eating. When we fill our lives with activities we often grow anxious. But Jesus reminds the disciples that he has fed them in the past and he will feed them in the future. God cares for every creature that exists. We can trust God to provide for us. As Rueben Job says "Peace, hope, calm, and joy are the fruits of placing our confidence in God" What are we waiting for?!

Prayer: The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want. Help me to remember today God, that you are always providing for me so that I might rest in the comfort of your care. Amen.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Luke 24:28-35 - When Jesus slips away

Scripture: Luke 24:28-35

Summary: This text is the end of the story about the disciples meeting Jesus, after the resurrection on the road to Emmaus. It is not until Jesus breaks bread with them that they realize who he is. Then Jesus vanishes.

Thoughts: Even though we have often been told that God is always with us, there are times that it does not feel that way. I am struggling now because my sister is in the hospital 400 miles away. I am overwhelmed trying to make sure that she is well cared for, working on assignments for school, taking my kids to all of the places they need to be each week, etc. I feel far away from God right now. When Jesus left these disciples, though, it doesn't sound as if they felt abandoned. Far from it! When Jesus disappeared, they returned to Jerusalem to share their news with the other disciples. In my head, I know that God is always with me. But sometimes it doesn't feel that way. But what can I do to correct that feeling? Perhaps if I make more space for God in my life I will not feel so alone. By worshiping with others in community each week and by being more consistent in my prayer time, I may be able to shorten these times in my life when I can't feel God's presence.

Prayer: God, help me to stop hiding from you! Remind me daily, even hourly, that I need to spend time with you in order to be more aware of your presence and guidance in my life. Amen.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Mark 6:45-52 - When Nothing Goes Our Way

Scripture: Mark 6:45-52

Summary: This is the Mark version of Jesus walking on water. The disciples take the boat without Jesus to cross the sea. Evening comes and Jesus can see that they are straining against the wind so he walks toward them early in the morning. They were afraid when they saw him but he spoke to them and climbed into the boat and the wind ceased.

Thoughts: There are days when I wish Jesus would come and rescue me from the wind. Days when I only get a few hours sleep, for several days in a row, and it seems that the demands on me don't let up until late at night. When I grow exhausted from fighting against the wind, I wish for Jesus to still it so that I can rest. But isn't this what God does for us when we take the time to be in prayer? Doesn't God give us comfort and rest when we take the time to be with God?

Prayer: Help me to remember that if I take the time to be with you each day, it will be better. Not that the demands on me will cease, but that you will give me strength and perseverance to finish what I have to do. Thank you for being there for me at all times. Amen.