Monday, August 31, 2015

Motives



Background passage: Luke 16:19-31
Daily reading: Luke 14:7-14
Monday August 31, 2015

Focus passage: “When you host a lunch or dinner, don’t invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or rich neighbors.  If you do, they will invite you in return and that will be your reward. Instead, when you give a banquet, invite the poor, cripple, lame and blind.” Luke 14:12-13

This passage reminds us that even back in Jesus’ day there was a pecking order.  We might like to think it doesn’t exist in today’s world but it does.  

I know that it tugs at my heart strings as a mother, wondering if my child will be accepted by his/her peers.  No parent wants to hear that their child does not have friends or that their child is being picked on.
Just as we don’t want to be left out we don’t want our children to be left out either.

The parable and lesson for today reminds us that we have an opportunity.  We can seek out the one that is left out and welcome them in.  It happens more often than we might care to admit and it doesn’t only happen on the school bus or in the cafeteria.  It happens among adults too.

Seek out those in need and there you will experience the presence of Christ.

Prayer: God this week open my eyes to the poor in my neighborhood. Amen.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Seeing Poverty



Daily reading: Luke 16:19-31
Sunday August 30, 2015
                                                   
Focus passage: “There was a certain rich man who clothed himself in purple and fine linen, and who feasted luxuriously every day.  At his gate lay a certain poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores.” Luke 16:19-20

This parable in many ways is unsettling.  It reminds us that the poor are just around the corner.  They are present at street corners asking for money.  They are in the schools are children attend, perhaps sleeping in a car at night.  They are in the hospitals where we too seek medical help.  They are perhaps in our congregations seeking both physical and spiritual nourishment.

The rich man while he knew Lazarus, had no compassion for him.
The parable begs the question, will we act any differently than the rich man, will we see the poor and lend a hand?

What meaningful way have you helped someone in need out?  How did that experience change you?

Prayer: God this week open my eyes to the poor in my neighborhood. Amen.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Hope



Background passage: Luke 10:25-37
Daily reading: Luke 1:67-79
Saturday, August 29, 2015

Focus passage: “Because of our God’s deep compassion, the dawn from heaven will break upon us, to give light to those who are sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide us on the path of peace.” Luke 1:78-79

Have you ever been without hope?

It is a heartbreaking experience.  To believe deep within that there is no hope, like Zechariah says, it is like sitting in darkness.  I liken that to deep darkness where we cannot rely on our own vision to find a way out.  Where we cannot see how close others might be to us.  When we feel like there is no way forward.

I believe we are meant to relate to the injured man on the side of the road in the parable of the Good Samaritan, because we have all been there in one form or another.  Maybe it happened on the play ground when you got shoved down, or maybe in the locker room when someone insulted you with words, or maybe like my parents it happened at gun point in a parking lot.  We have all been beaten down in one way or another.

In our moment of hopelessness we are to seek for God’s presence.  To find a way forward that might be very unexpected.

Take time to think of a time when hope was restored in your life.

Prayer: God help me to love you with all of my heart, soul, strength and mind and help me to love my neighbor as I love myself.  Amen.

Friday, August 28, 2015

A Dangerous Road



Background passage: Luke 10:25-37
Daily reading: 2 Corinthians 11:22-27
Friday, August 28, 2015

Focus passage: “I’ve been on many journeys.  I faced dangers from river, robbers, my people, and Gentiles.  I faced dangers in the city, in the desert, on the sea, and from false brothers and sisters. 2 Corinthians 11:26

The road from Jerusalem to Jericho was a well known dangerous road.  When the hearers of Luke 10:25-37 heard that a man went on that road, they would have known that something bad was going to happen.  The foreshadowing happened in the mere mention of the road.

It’s like when we hear that the three little piggies left home to build their own homes.  We know that the Big Bad Wolf is on his way to get them.

Paul reminds us that his journey of faithfulness in spreading the Gospel message took him down dangerous roads also.  Our life of faithfulness is not void of danger.  We are called to step outside of our zones of comfort to share and to help others.

When have you stepped outside your zone of comfort to help someone else?
Seek for ways to help others today.

Prayer: God help me to love you with all of my heart, soul, strength and mind and help me to love my neighbor as I love myself.  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...