Monday, June 24, 2019

Change My Heart

Isaiah 64:8 English Standard Version (ESV)

But now, O Lord, you are our Father;
    we are the clay, and you are our potter;
    we are all the work of your hand.

Do you know the hymn “Change my heart, O God”?  It’s in The Faith We Sing hymnal that we often use in the United Methodist Church, and it’s one of my favorites.  It’s one of my ‘go to-s’.  You know, I ‘go to’ it when… when I’m struggling with someone and I know it’s MY struggle, I sing this hymn.  

“Change my heart, O God, make it ever true.
Change my heart, O God, may I be like you.”

Then it goes into this verse from Isaiah.

“You are the potter, I am the clay
Mold me and make me
This is what I pray.”

Sometimes, I know it’s MY heart that needs to change and this is my prayer.  To be more like him, to have his heart in all things.  That he continue to work on me and my heart until I AM more like him.

Holy God,
We are clay in your hands, a work in progress.  Please continue to mold us into exactly who you created us to be. Amen.

 


 

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Friday, June 14, 2019

Psalm 104

Psalm 104:24-34, 35b Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
24 Lord, you created so many things!
    With your 
wisdom you made them all.
    The earth is full of the living things you made.
25 Look at the ocean, so big and wide!
    It is filled with all kinds of sea life.
    There are creatures large and small—too many to count!
26 Ships sail over the ocean,
    and playing there is Leviathan,
    the great sea creature you made.
27 Lord, all living things depend on you.
    You give them food at the right time.
28 You give it, and they eat it.
    They are filled with good food from your open hands.
29 When you turn away from them,
    they become frightened.
When you take away their breath,
    they die, and their bodies return to the dust.
30 But when you send out your life-giving breath,
    things come alive, and the world is like new again!
31 May the Lord’s glory continue forever!
    May the Lord enjoy what he made.
32 He just looks at the earth, and it trembles.
    He just touches the mountains, and smoke rises from them.
33 I will sing to the Lord for the rest of my life.
    I will sing praises to my God as long as I live.
34 May my words be pleasing to him.
    The Lord is the one who makes me happy.
35b My soul, praise the Lord!
    Praise the Lord!

 

Amen.

 

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

Listen Carefully

Acts 2:14-21 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Peter Speaks to the People

14 Then Peter stood up with the other eleven apostles. He spoke loudly so that all the people could hear. He said, “My Jewish brothers and all of you who live in Jerusalem, listen to me. I will tell you something you need to know. Listen carefully. 15 These men are not drunk as you think; it’s only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 But Joel the prophet wrote about what you see happening here today. This is what he wrote:
17 ‘God says: In the last days
    I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
    Your young men will see visions.
    Your old men will have special dreams.
18 In those days I will pour out my Spirit
    on my servants, men 
and women,
    and they will prophesy.
19 I will work wonders in the sky above.
    I will cause miraculous signs on the earth below.
    There will be blood, fire, and thick smoke.
20 The sun will be changed into darkness,
    and the moon will be as red as blood.
    Then the great and glorious day of the Lord will come.
21 And everyone who trusts in the Lord will be saved.’

Peter reminds those there that what is happening was written about by the prophet Joel.  He shares it in a new way, as God’s valuing the entire community regardless of their status, their background, their heritage.  None of it matters anymore.  This message, God’s message, Jesus’ message is for everyone!  We’ve been empowered by a loving God to serve the community, to seek justice and love to all.

God of justice and love,
We hear your call of love.  Strengthen us to share that love with all, to hear the cry of the oppressed and seek justice for all.  Amen.



 

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

A Skeptic in Every Crowd

Acts 2:11b-13 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

11b Some of us were born Jews, and others have changed their religion to worship God like Jews. We are from these different countries, but we can hear these men in our own languages! We can all understand the great things they are saying about God.”
12 The people were all amazed and confused. They asked each other, “What is happening?” 13 But others were laughing at the apostles, saying they were drunk from too much wine.

There is a skeptic in every crowd, right?  There is always someone who says, this can’t be!  They’d rather believe that they are drunk than believe that God could be working through them!  Many different places and languages are represented here.  The gift of the Holy Spirit and of the languages tears down the borders and boundaries between them all showing us the Spirit doesn’t discriminate. We are all God’s children, we are all meant to receive his love.

Holy God,
Remove our skepticism so that we can see you, hear you, and follow you across the boundaries we put up even as you are tearing them down.  Amen.



 

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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Unlikely

Acts 2:5-8 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

There were some godly Jews in Jerusalem at this time. They were from every country in the world. A large crowd came together because they heard the noise. They were surprised because, as the apostles were speaking, everyone heard in their own language.
They were all amazed at this. They did not understand how the apostles could do this. They said, “Look! These men we hear speaking are all from Galilee. But we hear them in our own languages. How is this possible? 

Can you imagine the confusion?  It sounds like God sure got their attention in this moment, but they are uncertain.  What is this? How can this be? How can all the languages be coming from these Galileans?  I read that Galileans were not known for their linguistic ability and yet, here they are, the unlikely filled with the Spirit, doing God’s work. Often, we find God and his spirit in most unlikely of places and people.  Are we open to experiencing him there?  Or do we try to keep him in a box, hold him where we want him to be, where we expect him to be?  Throughout the Bible, God using the unlikely to do great things, he can use even us.

Gracious God,
Help us to see you in the unlikely places and people, where we can learn so much and find more of you.  Amen.

 


 

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Monday, June 10, 2019

Wind and Fire

 

Acts 2:1-4 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a noise came from heaven. It sounded like a strong wind blowing. This noise filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw something that looked like flames of fire. The flames were separated and stood over each person there. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak different languages. The Holy Spirit was giving them the power to do this.

 

I love the wind.  It’s one of my favorite things, so this imagery here is one that has great meaning for me.  Imagine how this wind filled not just the whole room but the whole building!  It wasn’t just where you are standing near a window and can feel it, but the whole entire house!  It filled every nook and cranny.  And then the flames.  It wasn’t just one flame over the house but individual flames over each person. In my mind the wind pulled them together as one and the flames singled them out as individuals as they were filled with the Holy Spirit.  And they each began to speak in different languages.  Different languages but the same message.  They used different words that all had the same meaning. Elohim, Allah, Diu, Teut, Dieu, Theos, Deus, Sire, God…  The list goes on and on.  The same word in different languages.  Diversity and Unity all at once.  We can have both. And maybe we were meant to so that we can reach in the far corners of the earth to share his love with everyone.

Loving God,
Diversity sometimes scares us.  Fill us with your spirit both wind and flame that we might see all things through your eyes.  Amen.

 

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Friday, June 7, 2019

Psalm 97

Psalm 97 The Message (MSG)
97 God rules: there’s something to shout over!
On the double, mainlands and islands—celebrate!
Bright clouds and storm clouds circle ’round him;
Right and justice anchor his rule.
Fire blazes out before him,
Flaming high up the craggy mountains.
His 
lightnings light up the world;
Earth, wide-eyed, trembles in fear.
The mountains take one look at God
And melt, melt like wax before earth’s Lord.
The heavens announce that he’ll set everything right,
And everyone will see it happen—glorious!
7-8 All who serve handcrafted gods will be sorry—
And they were so proud of their ragamuffin gods!
On your knees, all you gods—worship him!
And Zion, you listen and take heart!
Daughters of Zion, sing your hearts out:
God has done it all, has set everything right.
You, God, are High God of the cosmos,
Far, far higher than any of the gods.
10 God loves all who hate evil,
And those who love him he keeps safe,
Snatches them from the grip of the wicked.
11 Light-seeds are planted in the souls of God’s people,
Joy-seeds are planted in good heart-soil.
12 So, God’s people, shout praise to God,
Give thanks to our Holy God!

Amen.

 



 

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