Friday, 30 November 2012

Friday - reading scripture

Prayer:    Teach us,  good Lord,  to serve You as You deserve.  To give and not to count the cost.  To fight and not to heed the wounds.  To toil and not to seek for rest.  To labour and not to ask for any reward,  save that of knowing that we do Your will,  through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.  (“Prayers for all Occasions”  Forward Movement Press, 1964).

Read St. Luke  4: 22-30

Jesus has just finished his teaching on the Scriptures as read during the Sabbath worship.
He has declared that he is the long awaited Messiah  “today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing”.       Luke writes that all the people spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from Jesus’ lips.   All the people spoke well of Jesus.      Yet,  there are some that with great hostility and spite say, “Isn’t this Joseph’s  son?”        They all know Jesus.  They all know he is Joseph’s son.  Yet they have just heard that Jesus has declared himself the fulfilment of the Scriptures.    Now they are beginning to wonder if they really know Jesus at all.

Re-read  Luke  4: 23 – 27.  Physician heal thyself  means the people were beginning to wonder if Jesus had lost his mind.   Jesus is the home town boy,  not the Messiah.  Or so they thought.        Jesus declares that no prophet is accepted in his home town.  
The people in the synagogue get angry and furious and they  get up to drive him out of town.     Goodness.  What would cause the people to get so angry at a home town boy?   
Because their eyes were still viewing Jesus as the home town boy and not the Messiah.  Because their hearts were still viewing Jesus as the little boy from the home town and not the man that God had created.   

Today,  we must remember to open our own eyes and hearts to Jesus.    As we come closer to the Church Season of Advent,  we stop and remember that Advent is a time to Prepare the Way for Jesus in our hearts.  

Prayer:    Great God,  You are the light of the minds that know You, the life of the souls that love You, and the strength of the wills that serve You.  Help us so to know You that we may truly love You,  so to love You that we may fully serve You,  whom to serve is perfect freedom.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.   (“Prayers for all Occasions”  Forward Movement Press,  1964). 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Thursday - worship is central

Prayer:  Holy God,  we give You thanks and praise for this day.   We thank You that we can spend this quiet time in prayer and learning more about You.   Focus our thoughts this day on Your most Holy Word so that we can learn and discern Your Word.   Help us as we go throughout our day to be the bearers of the Word of God to all.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Read St Luke  4:  14- 21

Jesus comes out of the time of trial in the desert and returns to Galilee where he begins teaching in the synagogue.  Interesting when Jesus came out of the time of trial,  he didn't head into the wilderness for a time of recovery with  meditation and peace.    What does Jesus do instead?

Jesus  travels to Nazareth and on the Sabbath day,  heads to the synagogue.   Jesus heads to the synagogue to worship.    (Hummm!  This is a wonderful example for all ministers and elders and lay leaders to remember that worship is the most imporant way to find peace and love after a tough portion of ministry!)   A town son returns home.    The Rabbi hands the scriptures to Jesus to read.  Everyone must have been so pleased to have Jesus back in Nazareth.  They all knew Jesus and knew his understanding of the scriptures was deep and firmly fixed in his heart.

The scroll that is handed to Jesus is from the Prophet Isaiah.   Isaiah 61: 1- 2.    
Yet something happens when Jesus finishes reading.     The people are waiting for Jesus to comment on the scriptures. Not just waiting and getting comfortable but their eyes were fixed upon Jesus,  waiting for his great teachings about the scriptures.  

 And indeed Jesus does comment on the scriptures,  but not in the way that the people expected.   Jesus sits down (like all good Rabbi’s  do when they are about to teach) and says, “ Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”    Then Jesus continues commenting on the Scriptures.   

Prayer:    Help me,  O Lord,  to keep guard over my lips.  Save me from words that hurt;  from gossip and slander and lies.  Let me speak only to encourage and cheer and to keep people on their feet so that all my words may minister grace, to Your honour and glory.   This I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen. (“Prayers for all Occasions”  Forward Movement Press,  1964).

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Wednesday - Seeking God's will

Prayer:   This very day and every day,  O LORD,  we remember and worship You.   You are our refuge and our fortress.  You are an ever present help in our time of need.   Amen.
Read St. Luke  4: 9 – 13

The devil then sets Jesus on the highest point of the Temple.   The devil says to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God,  throw yourself down from here”.    Then the devil proceeds to quote the scriptures.  The devil knows scriptures.  But the devil is taking a portion of the scriptures and is using it for his own good… not the good of God.       
Do we ever do that?   We try and get our way with something in the Church or change the direction of some decision in the Church and we quote a portion of scripture that verifies what we want.   What we want,  not want God wants.     There is a very fine line between understanding the Scriptures and then using the Scriptures for our own needs and wants.  
The devil is quoting from Psalm  91: 11 -12.   What the devil has left out of this portion of scripture is the big REMEMBER.    In the Psalms it states that we must remember God and to worship God.    We must remember that God is our refuge and our fortress,  it is God in whom we trust.   If we forget God,   then our hearts will no longer be filled with the love of God.  

Jesus responds to the devil by quoting from Deuteronomy 6: 16  “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”    Backing up to Deuteronomy 6: 13 – 17,  we find that Moses was instructing the Israelites to serve only God and not to follow other gods.        Moses was also instructing the Israelites that they must be sure to keep the commandments of the LORD.  Do what is right and good in the LORD’S sight.     How can we do any less today?    Remember the LORD your God and dive into the Scriptures!

Prayer:  May we joyfully follow You this day O LORD in whatever tasks come our way.   Help us to share this love that You have given to us with others.    May our minds be opened to Your Voice through prayer and reading of Your Most Holy Word.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Tuesday - times of testing

Prayer:  Great God,  when we are tested,  we know that You are with us.   Jesus, Redeemer and friend,  when we get into a conflict or argument, we know that You are with us and help open our eyes to God’s  will.   Holy Spirit,  Sustainer of all life,  intercede for us to the Lord God Almighty  when we stumble and fall.  Set us back on the path to God’s  glory so that we may our lives out as whole people of God.  Amen.  

Read  St. Luke  4: 5- 8

The devil tests Jesus again by taking Jesus up to a high place and showing him the kingdoms of the world.  The devil tells Jesus that he will give Jesus all authority and splendour if Jesus will worship the devil.    Jesus answers, “It is written;  Worship the LORD your God and serve him only.”    Jesus quotes  from  Deuteronomy 6:12-14.   Moses was instructing the Israelites to not forget  God as it was God that lead them up out of the land of Egypt…. Fear the LORD your God,  serve Him only.
It is important that we back up a bit in Deuteronomy 6: 7….  Moses is telling the Israelites that they must impress the commands (scriptures) upon their children.  Talk about the scriptures when you sit at home and when you walk along the road,  when you lie down and when you get up.  And why was it important that the Israelites knew their scriptures?  So they would not forget God.   

Jesus knew the scriptures.  When we are in times of testing,  do we rely upon the scriptures?     Do we even know the scriptures well enough to quote passages of comfort and instruction?   If not,  there is one way to fix that!    Start reading the Scriptures.

Prayer:  Great God,  we thank You that You have given us the Scriptures so that we can read, learn,  listen,  and inwardly digest Your word.   Help us this day to write the Scriptures upon our hearts.    Inspire Your Holy Spirit to open our minds  so that we can understand and gain knowledge  from  Your most Holy Word.    Amen.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Monday - a time of testing

Prayer:   Great Compassionate God,  sometimes we seem to be in the desert and the way to You seems dark and pitted with despair.   Remind us to read Your Holy Scriptures so that we can keep our eyes focussed upon You.  Remind us to read Your Holy Scriptures and to put the words into our hearts.     This we ask in Your Son’s  name.  Amen.

Read St. Luke  4: 1 – 4

Jesus,  full of the Holy Spirit,  returns from the Jordan River and is led by the Spirit into the desert.  This time in the desert is a time  of testing.   Forty days is a long time and hearkens back to the 40 years that  Moses and the Israelites wandered in the desert.  Forty years was often said to be one generation.     A very long time.   So,  Jesus is led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days.  A very long time.  
Jesus ate nothing while in the desert.    In early Christianity,  fasting was a major part of being a Christian.  Just like reading  the Scriptures and daily prayer,  fasting was an import part of being a Christian.    Today,  our denomination does not suggest fasting as a way of Christian discipline…. but we should look again at fasting and why it was important for the early Church.    In the early Church,  fasting was a major part of discerning God’s will.    Fasting meant that the person was making a serious commitment to God and would take time away,  not eat anything (water, juice, and broth was drunk), and solely focus upon the Word of God and would concentrate on the Prayers to God and would keep silent waiting for God’s  message.     Something for us to think about in this day and age!
Back in the wilderness,  the devil  comes to Jesus and says, “If you are the Son of God,  tell this stone to become bread.”    Jesus responds,  “It is written – Man does not live on bread alone”.    Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy 8: 3.  In Deuteronomy,  God is speaking to the people of Israel.   It is important to know the whole portion of scripture that Jesus quotes.  
Deuteronomy 8: 1 – 3:   Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the LORD promised on oath to your forefathers.  Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.  He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 
Humble,  test,  heart,  keeping commands,  scripture.    
And so the devil continues to test Jesus.

Prayer:    Almighty God,  teach us how to seek You at all times.   Give us Your Spirit who helps us in our weaknesses.  When we do not have the words to reach out to You in prayer,  let Your Spirit intercede with sighs too deep for words.    Give us hearts on fire and eyes that see we may share Your love with others.  Give us courage,  we pray,  to step out on Your Word.   Amen  (Barbara E. Reid,  “A Retreat with Luke”  St. Anthony Messenger Press,  2000.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Sunday - Christ the King

Christ the King Sunday is the first Sunday before Advent.   In 1925,  people were forgetting to attend Worship.  In the Presbyterian Church,  there was a huge division and split between those who wanted to become part of the United Church of Canada and those congregations that wanted to remain as the Presbyterian Church in Canada.  This was a huge conflict that last many years and did a lot of damage to the Good News being spread in each community.     So the Church Fathers decided in order to remind the people of God,  there needed to be one Sunday in the Church year that focussed upon Christ as King.   Christ as our King and Lord.

Prayer:   Almighty and everlasting God,  whose will it is to restore all things in Your Son, our Lord and King,  grant that the peoples of the earth, now divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under Jesus’ gentle and loving rule; who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,  one God, now and forever.    Eternal God,  by Your grace,  you have raised us up and have made us a royal priesthood in the kingdom of Your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Make known his victory through us,  we pray,  that all the world may see his light.  We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.
(Proper 34.  Book of Alternative Services.  The Anglican Church of Canada). 

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Saturday - Preparing for Christ the King

This Saturday is the last Saturday in the Church year.   Tomorrow is Christ the King Sunday.  Then comes Advent.  I love Advent.  The waiting and preparing for our Saviour.   So today will be cleaning up the house and trying to remember where I put the Advent candles of last year :)   Many years ago at Knox Church Port Carling ON,  we decided to use scented candles.  The candles were locally made and a beautiful colour.   Only problem was the Church mice loved them too.  Who knew mice would devour scented candles!    So the Saturday before every Advent,  I now have a good chuckle about scented Advent Candles... and Church mice :)  

Prayer:    O Christ our Lord and King,  You are the way,  the truth, and the life.  Apart from You,  we go astray,  we cannot understand, and life without You is no life at all.  Watch over our thoughts, our words and our actions,  keep us throughout this day, so that all we do may be begun and completed in Your name.  Blessed for ever and ever.  Amen.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Friday - Family Tree -- Church Family Tree

Prayer:  Almighty God,  from whom all holy desires,  all good counsels and all just works proceed.  Give us, Your servants, that peace which the world cannot give, that our hearts may be set to serve You faithfully, and be ever free to praise You with joy.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.  (Presbyterian Church in Canada Worship Book).

Yesterday we read the lineage of Jesus.  Do you know your own family tree?   Today,  pray for those in your family who came before you.     Whether good or bad,  your family tree is part of who God created you to be and become.  

Remember also to pray for your  Church Family Tree.  Give thanks to God for those who helped bring the Good News into your community  so that we can worship God in Church each Sunday with great joy.   

Take silent moments between each phrase of this prayer.   Remember to sit in silence and listen for God's Voice.

Prayer:    Divine Healer,  we come before You today with our Family and our Church on our minds.    Holy God, for the good times and laughter,  we give You thanks and praise......
Almighty God, for the times of learning and instruction,  we give You thanks and praise......   
 Sustaining God, for the times of hardship and conflict,  give us peace and healing....... 
Merciful God, for those within our Family Tree and within our Church Families that caused people pain and anguish,  Lord forgive them and forgive us......   
Loving God, for those within our Family and within our Church Families that have caused division and sorrow,  Lord forgive them and forgive us......   
God of wisdom and strength, for those within our Family and within our Church Families that have shown us how to be responsible in spreading the Good News  and we have turned our backs on them and on You,  Lord forgive us.......  
God,  deliver both our own families and our Church families into Your light and love and strength and healing......  
Holy God, remind us this day to be ever positive in Your sight...... 
Redeeming God,  we bring You our burdens knowing that You will lift them from our shoulders and provide us with freedom and love for You have forgiven us and our families through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.......
Creator God,  be with us today as we step out into the world knowing that as we journey,  You are with us in all that we do and say........ and we love You......! 
This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Thursday - generations

Prayer:  O Christ,  Son of God,  may we always share in Your love.  Since You gave Your life for us,  may Your Passion help us in all the trials of our existence, making of us true and living members of Your Body.  For You live and reign now and forever.  Amen.

Read St. Luke  3:  23- 37

Jesus began his ministry when he was about thirty years old.    For some of us today,  thirty years of age seems rather old to be beginning a ministry.  For some of us today,  thirty years of age seems rather young to be beginning a ministry.  During Jesus’ day,  thirty years of age was considered older…. yet just the right age for preaching and teaching about the Scriptures.   At thirty years of age,  Jesus would have had  seventeen plus years of learning the Scriptures.   This gave Jesus authority to know what he was preaching and teaching about to the people. 
Then Luke writes down the genealogy of  Jesus starting with Joseph and heading back generations through David,  Abraham,  Adam to God.   While some of these names put us to sleep,  these names are important.   Luke verifies that Jesus comes from the royal tribe… of  Judah and David….  By writing down the name Abraham,  Luke testifies that Jesus is one of the descendants of Abraham and one of the “multitudes of generations” of God’s Chosen People.     By writing down the name of Adam,  Luke testifies that Jesus is a descendant from the very first man.  And then most importantly,  Luke writes that Jesus is from the son of God.        Jesus not only is identified with God’s Chosen People but also with all humankind.     Wow!

Prayer:  Holy God,  Holy Mighty,  Holy Immortal One  grant us mercy.  Holy God,  Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal One grant us Your peace.  Holy God,  Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal One grant us the joy that You bring to all Your peoples.   Help us to  rise up this day, totally dependant upon You.  Help us to serve You this day knowing that we are Your people and You are our God.  Amen.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Wednesday - the Baptism of Christ

Prayer:  Return to the Lord,  Your God,  for He is tenderness and compassion.  O God of tenderness and compassion, O Master, slow to anger who is full of love and truth,  turn towards me and have compassion.  Give Your strength to Your servant, and salvation to the child of Your People.  Give me a sign of Your kindness for Lord, You help and comfort me all of my days.  In Jesus name we pray.  Amen.

Read St. Luke  3: 21-22

The Baptism of Christ.    Theologians and Scholars have debated this topic for years.   Their arguments are,  Jesus is the Son of God and Truly Divine,  therefore Jesus did not need to be Baptized.     Other Theologians and Scholars state while that is true,  Jesus needed a visual sign that he was baptized so that others could see and hear that Jesus is the Messiah,  the son of God.
What is important for us today is the example that Luke wrote about Jesus.  Jesus was baptized by water -  a sign of repentance and turning to God.  Then as Jesus was praying,  the heavens opened.  This phrase “the heavens opened” means that there was a vision… hold onto your sandals people,  something from God is about to happen.    The Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus in bodily form like a dove.  And a voice from heaven says, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased”.      Wow.    This is the Messiah. 
Baptism is one of two sacraments in the Presbyterian Church in Canada.  We still use water as a sign and seal of the covenant of God.    Water is cleansing and makes all things new.      Water is also a sign of the coming of the Holy Spirit.   Baptism is a time of repentance and a visual sign that we are returning to God.   
Today,  remember the words that God said to Jesus, “You are my Son/Daughter, whom I love;  with you I am well pleased”.      

Prayer:     We call upon You, Lord God.  You know everything,  nothing escapes from You.  Be my rock and my fortress O Lord.    You call us and instruct us and open the way for us to follow.  You have given us wisdom and understanding for life eternal.  Be my rock and my fortress O Lord.  We remember You today O Lord and can say with great joy that You love us and are well pleased with us.   Amen.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Tuesday - preaching the Good News of Jesus

Prayer:   Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world.   Lord forgive us.  Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world.  Lord hear us.  Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world.  Grant us Your peace.  Amen.

Read St. Luke  3:  15- 20

The people were waiting in expectation.   They thought that the message of repentance and hope that John brought to them might mean that John was the long awaited Messiah.   John corrects them by saying that he is not the Messiah.  In fact,  says John,  there is one who is still to come who will come and baptize in the name of the Holy Spirit. 

John continues that he is not worthy to untie the sandals of the one who is still to come.   Sandals?    Taking off someone’s  sandals  was the task of a slave.  For John to state that he is unworthy to even untie the sandals means that John puts himself beneath the task of slave.  Wow.   John continues to preach repentance and good news to the people.

John does not only preach repentance to the people but also sees what the governing officials are doing and rebukes them.  Herod the tetrarch married Herodias – Herodias was Herod’s  half brother’s  wife.     Both men were named Herod.    Herod the tetrarch continued to do evil things… and John calls him on his evil deeds.   How does Herod respond?  He locks up John in prison.
Herod thought by locking John up in prison that John’s words and preaching and teaching would be kept silent.  How wrong were Herod’s  thoughts.

Has there ever been a time when you wanted to preach the Good News of Christ but were stopped?   What ended up happening?

Prayer:  O God,  You have brought us out of the darkness of night into the brightness of morning.  By Your Holy Spirit, dispel the darkness of sin and doubt.  In Your goodness, pour such light into our hearts, that they may be Yours without fear of separation.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Monday - But what should we do

Prayer:    Lord, open my lips and my mouth shall proclaim Your praise.  O God come and help me.  Lord support and save me.  I will sing and make music for You, awake now, my heart.  O God arise in the heavens, Your glory shines in this world.  Amen.

Read St. Luke  3:  7-14

You brood of vipers.     Goodness.   That is very strong language.  John the Baptist is calling  all those in the crowds a “brood of vipers”.   And why?   Because John’s  calling was to prepare the way for the Messiah by opening everyone’s  eyes to repent and return to God.     The people thought they were just fine as they were.   They were God’s Chosen People.   John the Baptist is telling the people that even though they are God’s Chosen People,  they need to repent and return to God.    John the Baptist provides an illustration for the people --  the ax is ready at the root of the trees and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.     Finally the people begin to ask themselves, “Goodness,  perhaps we need to re-look at our lives!”   They ask John what they should do in order to repent. 
John replies  if you have two coats,  give one away to the person who has nothing.   If you have food and see someone who is starving,  share your meal.
The tax collectors then say to John, “Teacher,  what should we do?”    John replies that they should not collect more than they are required to by the Laws of Moses.       The soldiers ask John, “And what should we do?”    John replies, “Rob no one by violence or false accusation and be content with your wages”.  
While each grouping of people that asked John, “But what should we do?” already knew the answer to their question.    Their question shows that they are looking inward at their lives and seeing someone that needs to fully depend upon God.    This question also means that they are willing to change.  And that is awesome.
Today,  look inward at your thoughts and actions and ask God, “But what should we do?”

Prayer:  Return to the Lord,  for He is tenderness and compassion.  In the day of distress we call, for You answer me, O Master.  There is none like You.  We come and worship You.  We praise Your Holy name.  In Jesus name we pray.  Amen.

Sunday, 18 November 2012


Prayer:  Great God,  guide us this day to be the voice of one calling in the desert to prepare the way for the Lord.   Guide us so that we can share the Good News of Jesus with everyone we meet.    May our hearts and minds be open to sharing Your love to our Church and Community and families so that every valley shall be filled with love and every mountain and hill made low with great rejoicing.   May we be the instrumental in sharing Your Good News so that everyone will see Your salvation.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Saturday - Preparing for the Sabbath

Prayer:     Holy God,  prepare our hearts this day so that we can come to Church with rejoicing and eagerness to learn more about Your Word.   Be with those who can not get out to Church,  that our prayers may envelop them in Your love.   Be with those who are preparing to lead Worship tomorrow,  that they may discern Your call and give us something to take home and work on in our lives that will glorify You.   Forgive us O Lord for the things that we have left undone this week.  Forgive us O Lord for the people we have hurt with our words and deeds.  Forgive us O Lord and heal all our hurts and sorrows.   May our prayers this day rise up to You,  Our Lord and Saviour.   This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Friday - prepare the way

Prayer: Ruler of time and space, You call us to be co-creators with You, to be a part of the redemptive world of Christ our saviour, and to begin the process of making all things new in ways that honour and glorify You. As we open Your word today help us also to live by Your Word in ways that improve all of life, for the sake of Christ our Lord. Amen.

Read St  Luke  3: 1 – 6

Luke sets this passage in time and space, it is a veritable who’s who of the Middle East at the beginning of the common era. Kings and emperors, governors and priests all come into the story-- Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate,  Herod tetrarch of Galilee,  Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis,  Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene,  High Priests  Annas and Caiaphas. This is a moment in time such as the one we live in, with prime ministers and premiers, mayor and moderators who have different levels of authority and power over us.   In the midst of the great list of who is who,   comes the Word of God not to all those in power but to a man by the name of John.  John brings with him the words of a prophet, “Prepare the way of the Lord.”

"A voice of one calling in the desert. 
Prepare the way for the Lord,  make straight paths for him. 
Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. 
The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth.
And all mankind will see God's salvation"  (Luke 3: 4-6)

John states that there is something major about to happen and you need to do the repair work to show that it is important.   In ancient times when a royal person was to come visit, word would have been sent ahead to fix the rough spots on the road, fill in the potholes, and clean up the rubbish along the way. After all, the place had to be respectable for a great person.

In this passage,  God is coming and the clean-up had to happen at the personal level. Isaiah the prophet’s words resounded with the people and there was a renewed interest in the presence of God. People came to see God at work in their everyday lives.

There may not have been burning bushes which spoke to the people on every street corner but they saw the personal presence of God. And they felt the need to change. Because John raised the expectation of seeing God,  many did see God  when Jesus came. 

Today.....  where will you see the presence of God in your life?   What will you change about your life so as to glorify God?  Where do you see Jesus working in your life and in your community?

Prayer: May Your word come to my life afresh every day that I may see every common bush aflame with the love of God, every relationship infused with the love of God, and the presence of God close to me in everything I do. Guide me this day O Lord so that I may be a voice of one calling in the desert to prepare the way for Your Son in my community and church and family.   This I ask in Your Son’s name.  Amen.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Thursday - Scriptures coming alive

Prayer: O Lord, may we be so filled with Your power and presence,  that we can forget everything else that is happening around us. Help us to concentrate upon asking not just the good questions but the great questions which enable us to truly enter into Your holy presence, even as Jesus did. Amen.

Read St. Luke  2: 41-52

This one all too brief story of Jesus coming of age, is all we know about the time between birth and the beginning of his ministry. What a thrill it must have been to be in the Holy City, to see the temple, to listen to the teachers of the law, and to have his questions answered by the most learned minds in Judea! We know Jesus had the ability to see into human relationships, to observe the natural world, and a passion for the Scriptures….but in the temple we find him asking questions which caused the teachers to marvel and his understanding. “Hearing and asking questions” was the phrase used to explain the process for s student learning from a teacher, so we may assume that other than being there when everyone else had returned to Galilee, Jesus appeared as any other young student of the law, as Stephen or Paul might have appeared had they been there eagerly learning all they could about God. Such eagerness is needed today as well. What are you eagerly seeking to learn about God?  Peter Marshall suggested that it would be beneficial if the members of the church conducted research on how God answered prayer and met the needs of his people. That could be a major study project for each one of us, to eagerly see how God answers our needs.

Prayer: We eagerly await the outpouring of Your spirit O God. Make us eager to learn of Your Word,  Your power and Your might as well as Your ability to bring out the best in us.   Help  make us into examples of those who increase in wisdom and in who the divine favour rests, as it did in Jesus Your son in whose name we pray. Amen.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Wednesday - waiting

Ooops.  Missed yesterday.   Sick, tired, cranky....

Tuesday  13 November
Prayer: Divine Healer,  as I come to a time of worship and praise help me to focus not on my needs, or the needs of my family and friends but to wait for Your message to me.   Help me to wait even if I must wait a long time  for Your word to be revealed through Jesus the Lord of life. Amen.

Read St. Luke  2: 36- 38

Anna was known as a devout widow, as a prophetess. She was one of only eight prophetesses known in the history of Israel, the others being Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, Huldah and Esther. Her great faith and devotion to God were known to all who entered the temple at that time. She was known for her prayers and her fasting as she longed to see the deliverance of God’s  people. It has been suggested that she belonged to an order of widow, who had specific functions around the temple. There are still many godly widows active in our congregations-- people who meet for Bible Study, who work in hospitality, in making the newcomer feel at home, and in supporting the newly widowed as they move through their grief to living in the frightening period of being alone  for the first time in many years. But Anna also had the gift of being one of the wise ones, the often unseen people in our congregations who see the hand of God, who know what to say and how to say it so that people are valued and affirmed in their walk with Christ. The next time you come to church look for the Anna’s, those who are always there, always doing whatever they can so that others may see the presence of God. Remember them and give thanks for that ministry.

Prayer: Great God,  help me to give myself to the ministry of listening to Your Word, to put aside my own needs and desires that I may more effectively serve those who are in need. Amen.

Wednesday  14 November
Prayer: May the Lord grant that we may be engaged in the mystery of His heavenly wisdom with a true increase of piety, for his glory and our edification. Amen. (Jean Calvin’s daily opening prayer for his lectures on the Bible)

Read  St. Luke   2: 39-40

This passage takes us from the prophetic message of the hope that this child would do something great for God -- that he would be a prophet, a healer, one to restore glory to the people of God, all of the unknown years are wrapped up in this short verses. In that world where only a few children lived to reach adulthood, we are given the assurance that the prophets were correct, Jesus did indeed grow strong in body, he became wise in the wisdom of mankind, and more importantly he became one on whom the favour of God rested.  Luke is assuring the reader that God was working in the unknown moments. That God was working behind the scenes and in those times when nothing visible is happening, to grow the person he would need to change the world. Never forget that God is at work in your life as well bringing about a transformation into the person He needs you to be.
Where do you need to grow most as a follower of Christ? What goals are you working on to help you grow in that area?

Prayer: O God help us to know that when You seem to be silent there are indeed  great things happening deep within the hearts and lives of Your people. Help us to find and maintain that balance of body, mind, and spirit that was in Christ and which Your church and world so desperately seek. Help us to grow in all aspect of our lives as followers of You. This we ask in Jesus’ name.   Amen.

Many blessings!

Monday, 12 November 2012


Prayer: O God, Your wondrous plan of salvation has been revealed in many ways,  shapes and forms. Help us to grasp that wonder, to see possibilities of grand moments, and to not be overwhelmed when heartbreak comes our way.  Amaze us with new possibilities this day O Lord.   Amen.

Read St Luke 2:  33-35

God is constantly seeking to amaze us. While we all know our children are amazing, the words that Simeon uses to describe the child Jesus show us one who is beyond anything we would hope or imagine for our own children. There is great joy in the coming of Jesus among those who waited for the saviour of Israel such as Simeon. This child has come to confront sin, not just as a formal concept but to deal with it in a practical way. There is great joy in the coming of Jesus among those who waited for the saviour of Israel such as Simeon.   Jesus came not to pass comment on the fallen nature of humanity, or worse to pass judgement upon it but to create a new redemptive order in the world. Redemption was not going to be without heart breaking cost but it will going to transform the world.

Prayer: Thank you Lord for Jesus and His ability to transform the world.   May we find the ability to be such a radical force for transformation in our world. Help us to start the changes in our own lives and among those who are closest to us. Amen

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Sunday - Remembrance Day

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada.   Here in Brandon,  people will gather at the Keystone Centre as well as Churches to remember those who gave their lives so that we can live in peace, freedom, and safety.  

Prayer:    Almighty God,  by whose grace we look for the day when nation shall not any more lift up sword against nation.    Almighty God,  we look for the day when everyone shall live without fear and shall live in security and peace.  Grant to us in this time of strife the will to labour for peace even while our sword is drawn to resist the oppressor. Be with those who put on the Armoury of God to lead us into a time of peace.  Be with those who have picked up arms ages ago so that we could live in freedom and peace.   Remember them in Your Love O Lord.  Holy Spirit,  comfort and sustain those who have been to war,  give to them your comfort and your peace... help heal their hearts of all hurt.   Divine Healer,  may peace and justice reign among all the nations of the earth and in the hearts of all people,  to Your Honour and Glory,  through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.   (adaptation of  “Prayers For All Occasions”,  Forward Movement Press, 1964).

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Saturday - Remembering peace

Prayer:  Blessed are You, gracious God.  You have given us life,   You have called us into wholeness and You refuse to let us go.  Draw us closer to You that we might experience Your healing presence and know Your faithful love. Loving God, for those who live in fear Lord,  grant them peace.  Divine Healer, for those who live with the horrors of war in their hearts,  grant them peace and comfort and wholeness of heart.   Great God,  be with those who are preparing Remembrance Day ceremonies so that we shall never forget those who sacrificed themselves and granted us to live in peace and freedom.   This we pray through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.     (adapted from  PCC The Book of Common Worship)

Friday, 9 November 2012

Friday - A Light to Lighten the nations

Prayer:  Dear Jesus, we long for Your presence this day.   We come before You now  to clear our minds of all the things that battle for our attention. We humbly sit at Your feet asking You to minister to us through Your word.

 Read   St Luke  2: 25-32

As Joseph and Mary and Jesus are in the Temple,  an elderly stranger comes up to them,  takes Jesus in his arms and says, “Lord,  now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word.  For mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared before the face of all people.  A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” 
Wow!    What would you do if someone came up to you and said these words?   Most of us would be as surprised as all get out.

Simeon was waiting for the consolation of Israel.  The Holy Spirit had told him that he would not die until he had seen the Christ – the Messiah.     Yet,  what Simeon says is fantastic.   He says that the Messiah will be for all people – not just for God's chosen People.   This is amazing. 

Over the centuries,  Simeon’s  prayer/blessing has been used by most denominations for someone who is at the end of their life. 

Then Simeon blesses them.  He turns to Mary and says, “ This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel,  and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”    Yikes.     Simeon is telling Mary that Jesus will bear hardship and because of his hardship,  her heart and soul will be hurt.    First a blessing,  then a prophecy.  

What would you do if someone came up to you today and give you a blessing and then a prophecy?  Would it dramatically change your life?  Would it upset you?  Or would you think that the person was a bit off their rocker?

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ,  Son of God,  let Your healing flow down upon me.   Lord Jesus Christ,  Son of God,  let Your healing spring up within me.  Lord Jesus Christ,  Son of God,  Let Your healing love enfold me.  Lord Jesus Christ,  Son of God,  let Your healing power flow through me.    Amen     (Father Simeon Weare)
Many Blessings!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Thursday - days of purification

Prayer: Creator God,  You have called each of us by name and we know that we are Yours.     Guide us as we live this day in Your joy and Your praise.  Help us to respond to You so that others may know  of Your great love each and every day.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Read  St. Luke 2:  21-24

When we read these verses,  it almost seems as if Jesus was circumcised in the Temple in Jerusalem.   But if we really look at the rites of  Judaism,  we realize that the circumcision – naming of Jesus is a separate event from Joseph, Mary, and Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem.

And on the eighth day,   Jesus is circumcised and named.   The circumcision ceremony could either be done at home or in the Synagogue.   What we do not know is where Jesus was circumcised and named.   Was this ceremony held at their new home or in the Synagogue?  We are not told.  But,  what is important here is that Joseph and Mary followed the laws of Moses.    Jesus is circumcised and name “Jesus”  (Yahweh is saviour).

In the Laws of Moses,  it states that the first born son was the property of God.    So Joseph and Mary and Jesus pack up themselves and head  5 miles to Jerusalem so that the Rabbi can bless Jesus (also known as the Rite of Presentation).    This travelling would not be nine days after Jesus was born but at least 40 days after Jesus was born.   Under the law of Moses,  a woman who had given birth was ceremonially unclean and strictly segregated for seven days after the birth of a son.   For 33 days longer she could not visit nor take part in any religious service and is considered unclean.  (Leviticus 12).   Once the days of purification are over,  she must offer before the LORD  a lamb, young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering and another for a burnt offering.    Mary offers two doves.  

Prayer:  Great God,  who has called us to be servants together with You,  make us now of one heart and mind to pray and to  work for Your glory.  Strengthen us so that we can build Your church as You would see the Church.   Heal us so that we can come whole into Your community so that others may know of Your love.   For this and all other things we ask in the name of Jesus,  Amen.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Wednesday - open to receiving God's Word

Prayer:   Gracious God,  fill my heart with faith in Your love so that with calm expectancy,  I may make room for Your power to possess me and gracefully accept Your will for me.  Through Jesus Christ our Saviour.  Amen.    (PCC The Book of Common Worship).

Read St. Luke 2: 16-20

The shepherds hurried off to find the Infant Christ.  The shepherds did not dawdle nor put off seeing the Infant Christ for a day or two…. The shepherds left immediately.     And after seeing the Infant Christ,  they shared what they had been told by the Angels with everyone they met.  Wow.   
So,  the shepherds were really the first to tell everyone of the Good News of Christ.   The shepherds were not afraid to tell everyone what they had seen and heard.  They boldly went  forth with great enthusiasm and excitement to spread the Good News of the birth of the Infant Christ.  

What did the shepherds do?  They left immediately and then after seeing the Infant Christ,  told everyone of the Good News.    Wow!    This is the enthusiasm and great joy that we need in our lives and Churches this day!

In the Middle East,  shepherds are highly respected.  They work to keep the food supply available for others.  They work to keep the wool - clothing supply available for others.    Even though the shepherds might not own their own sheep,  they take great care and nurture their sheep.    It is neat that God's Messengers would go to the Shepherds first with the great news.... or was it that it was only the shepherds who were  open to the Angel's  message?  Hummm!
And how did people react to the shepherd’s  Good News of seeing the Infant Christ?   Everyone was amazed.   The long awaited Messiah was here.  

Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.    

Today,  take what you have read in the Scriptures and prayed in your prayers … treasure up all these readings and these prayers and ponder them in your heart.

Prayer:   Holy God,  You have given us the Holy Scriptures so that we can read and learn all about Your love.  Help us today to treasure Your love and ponder Your graciousness to us in our hearts.   We ask this in thanks and praise through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Many blessings!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Tuesday - a Step out in Faith

Prayer:    God,  grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.  The courage to change the things I can. And the wisdom to know the difference.  Through Jesus Christ our Saviour.   Amen.   (Reinhold Neibuhr taken from PCC The Book of Common Worship)

Read  St Luke  2: 8 – 16

“Fear not!” said that Angel as the angel appears in front of the shepherds, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people…….”    Wow.   Read these verses over again.     We get a visual of an Angel appearing before a group of shepherds.  But read exactly what the Angel says to the shepherds.    “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.”   Wow!  The Angel is saying that this good news will be for all people… not just a select group of people that are devoted to God,  but to all people.   Wow.
And do the shepherds stay home after hearing this message?  Not at all,  they go forth in faith and find Mary and Joseph and the Infant Christ just as the Angel said.     When we hear this scripture read during the Christmas season,  we hear that the shepherds went to see the Infant Christ…. but we frequently forget that the shepherds had to take a step out in faith.    Like the shepherds of old,  what step out in faith will you take today? 

Prayer:   Guide us today O Lord as we step out in faith for the taskings that You would have us do today.    Guard us in our daily life so that we can always be a light to others of Your love and Your healing and Your glory.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.