Monday, July 8, 2019

Keep It Simple!

2 Kings 5:9-13 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
So Naaman came with his horses and chariots to Elisha’s house and stood outside the door. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to Naaman who said, “Go and wash in the Jordan River seven times. Then your skin will be healed, and you will be pure and clean.”
11 Naaman became angry and left. He said, “I thought Elisha would at least come out and stand in front of me and call on the name of the Lord his God. I thought he would wave his hand over my body and heal 
the leprosy12 Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, are better than all the water in Israel. Why can’t I wash in those rivers in Damascus and become clean?” He was very angry and turned to leave.
13 But Naaman’s servants went to him and talked to him. They said, “Father, if the prophet told you to do some great thing, you would do it, isn’t that right? But he said, ‘Wash, and you will be pure and clean.’”
Elisha gave Naaman some pretty simple instructions to be healed but Naaman wanted more.  He was, afterall, a very important man!  He deserved a production!  He deserved a show! These simply instructions seemed to insult him.  Thankfully, his servant talked some sense into him and he followed the directions and was healed.  Sometimes the simple solution really is the answer!  It doesn’t all have to be hard and complicated.  Sometimes, in life, we really do make it harder than it has to be.  Keep it simple!

Holy God,
Sometimes we make things so messy and complicated when it really is just as simple as can be. Love is simple, kindness is simple, compassion is simple. Help us, Lord, to live simply.  Amen.




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Monday, July 1, 2019

Called to Freedom

Galatians 5:13-15 The Message (MSG)
13-15 It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?

Galatians 5:13-25 English Standard Version (ESV)

13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
I love the message interpretation but I think it’s important for us to see it in a more traditional translation as well so I included both for us. 

We are called to freedom but don’t let it go to your 
head.  That’s how I hear it anyway.  Don’t get carried away by this freedom and start thinking your freedom trumps someone else’s.  Don’t hurt others so that you can have your perceived freedom. Instead remember that first we are called to love one another, to serve one another. 

Loving Lord,
Help us to remember that with the call to freedom, comes responsibility.  The responsibility to love one another as you love us.  Amen.
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Friday, June 28, 2019

My Soul Longs for You

Psalm 42:1-4 English Standard Version (ESV)

Book Two

Why Are You Cast Down, O My Soul?

To the choirmaster. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah.

42 As a deer pants for flowing streams,
    so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while they say to me all 
the day long,
    “Where is your God?”
These things I remember,
    as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
    and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
    a multitude keeping festival.



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Thursday, June 27, 2019

Go Now In Peace

Luke 2:29 The Message (MSG)

29 God, you can now release your servant;
    release me in peace as you promised.

One of my favorite songs from my church camps days was the round, “Go Now In Peace.” I remember it always leaving with me such a good feeling, a feeling of peace and joy.  When we allow him, God gives us this peace, a release of sorts from our worries, from the stresses of the day.  Take time today to go to him and give him all our worries and concerns and let his peace fill you.

Almighty God,
Fill us with your peaceful presence.  Let your peace fill us to overflowing.  Amen.


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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

"Here I Am, Lord"

Isaiah 6:8 English Standard Version (ESV)

Isaiah's Commission from the Lord

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

Oh, here’s another great hymn! “Here I Am, Lord.”  One of my absolute favorites.  God calls each one of us, each and every day to go for him - to do his work, his ministry and mission in this world.  He’s calling you today!  Will you answer?  Here, I am, Lord!  Send me!
Loving God,
Sometimes we feel unprepared, ill-equipped to answer your call.  Help us to remember that you are leading the way and that the most important thing to remember is to Love, just as you love us.  Amen.  



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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Grace Alone

Ephesians 2:8-10 English Standard Version (ESV)

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Grace.  Have you heard or sung the hymn “Grace Alone”?  It’s a beautiful hymn. You can read the full lyrics here.  It reflects these verses from Ephesians.  Everything we do, every heart we touch, every difference we make is through his grace. We were created to love, to do good works and it by his grace that we are able to do so.  It’s him working through us.  Reminds me of an old country song, “Angels Among Us.”  That’s us when we chose to love, help and serve all his children. 

Gracious God,
Thank you for your gift of grace. Help us to offer this same grace to all those around us.  Amen.


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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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