Thursday, December 31, 2015

On the margins



Daily reading: Luke 2:1-20
Thursday December 31, 2015

Focus passage: In those days Caesar Augusts declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. Luke 2:1

The story is set with the firm understanding that power is in Caesar’s hands and it trickles down from there.  The characters are set into motion when the census is ordered, when the registering, counting and taxing happens.

The main action however does not happen in the center of the empire, it happens on the fringe where we would expect nothing of significance to really happen.  The main action happens in this little town called Bethlehem.  It is here that we find a very young pregnant woman and her husband searching for a place to stay a place to bring their child into the world and all that they can find according to Luke is a stable, with dirty animals with just as dirty shepherds who come to visit after his birth.

Why then would God have it play out this way?  Or maybe just as importantly, what is God trying to teach us?

Prayer: God of grace and peace, God of Word made flesh, we receive your arrival with joy, eagerness, and wonder.  As we ponder and pray our way through this Christmas season, we still sit in the mystery of your coming into our daily lives.  You come to redeem us from all that is incomplete, unworthy, and broken in ourselves and in our world.  Amen.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Do not be afraid



Daily reading: Matthew 1:18-21
Wednesday December 30, 2015

Focus passage: As he was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit.” Luke 1:20

The angel says to Joseph “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.”  Do not be afraid to do something bold and compassionate.  I have read that there are 365 verses in the bible that say “do not be afraid.”  I haven’t checked to see if it is true, regardless of the accuracy, it is a familiar line in scripture and one we need to hear again and again. 
We often allow our fears to hold us back from fully following God.  God invites into the unknown and says; do not be afraid to do something.

Prayer: God of grace and peace, God of Word made flesh, we receive your arrival with joy, eagerness, and wonder.  As we ponder and pray our way through this Christmas season, we still sit in the mystery of your coming into our daily lives.  You come to redeem us from all that is incomplete, unworthy, and broken in ourselves and in our world.  Amen.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Nothing is Impossible with God



Daily reading: Luke 1:26-38
Tuesday December 29, 2015

Focus passage: Nothing is impossible for God. Luke 1:37

These words “nothing is impossible for God” end the angel’s call to Mary.  How often do we feel a call to help or do something and then immediately come up with excuses for why it won’t work?  The angel assures Mary that with God all things are possible.

The next time a ministry opportunity is presented, stop and think why it will work rather than why it won’t.  

Prayer: God of grace and peace, God of Word made flesh, we receive your arrival with joy, eagerness, and wonder.  As we ponder and pray our way through this Christmas season, we still sit in the mystery of your coming into our daily lives.  You come to redeem us from all that is incomplete, unworthy, and broken in ourselves and in our world.  Amen.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Our unexpected God



Daily reading: Isaiah 11:1-9
Monday December 28, 2015

Focus passage: A shoot will grow up from the stump of Jesse; a branch will sprout from his roots. Isaiah 11:1

God is able to bring forth life in the most unexpected places.  We read that a shoot will grow up from the dead stump of a tree.  We have seen it happen.  Life is able to come from a place where we least expect it to.

Are there areas in your community where new life is needed?  How might God be calling you to work alongside others to bring wholeness and peace?

Prayer: God of grace and peace, God of Word made flesh, we receive your arrival with joy, eagerness, and wonder.  As we ponder and pray our way through this Christmas season, we still sit in the mystery of your coming into our daily lives.  You come to redeem us from all that is incomplete, unworthy, and broken in ourselves and in our world.  Amen.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Walking in darkness



Daily reading: Isaiah 9:2b-7
Sunday December 27, 2015

Focus passage: The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.  On those living in a pitch-dark land, light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2b

Even when we feel that there isn’t a way forward, God can find a way. It may just be a small glimmer of hope, one single ray of light that breaks from the clouds.

Prayer: God of grace and peace, God of Word made flesh, we receive your arrival with joy, eagerness, and wonder.  As we ponder and pray our way through this Christmas season, we still sit in the mystery of your coming into our daily lives.  You come to redeem us from all that is incomplete, unworthy, and broken in ourselves and in our world.  Amen.

Temptation

Matthew 4:1-17 Back in the early years of my ministry, I led a group of senior high youth through a 30 hour fast. It was a trend a...