Monday, 30 September 2013

Monday - let us go up to the house of the LORD

Prayer:    Merciful God,  heal our Churches today so that we can be faithful witnesses to Your glory and love.   Heal our ministers today so that they can be faithful witnesses of Your Most Holy Word.  Heal our elders this day O Lord so that they may guide Your Church on the path to love.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Read  Psalm 122

Let us go up to the house of the LORD.    Psalm 122 is a Song of Ascents attributed to King David.  This psalm would be sung by the people as they made their way to the Temple.    There are fifteen psalms that are called “song of ascents”.  Fifteen different songs to be sung as the people made their way to the Temple.  

Read this psalm through again but  insert the name of your city/town/village where the Psalmist has written “Jerusalem”.        By reading the name of your city or town or village,  does it make this Psalm come alive?

How are we to go up to the house of the LORD?   Are we to go up with dragging feet and sorrowful attitudes?   The Psalmist writes that the people rejoiced as they went to the House of the LORD.     Do we sing as we go to Church every Sunday?   This Sunday as you head to Church,  repeat this Psalm either outloud or quietly in your mind.  

And remember that it is with great joy and rejoicing that we worship our LORD and maker.

Prayer: We pray this day for peace within our world.  Lord have mercy.  May we help bring peace into our world.   We pray this day for peace within our Churches and congregations.  Lord have mercy.  May we help bring peace into our Churches.   We pray this day for all Presbyteries that meet this month that they may discern Your will.   May there be peace within all our homes and Churches this day O Lord.  Lord in Your mercy,  hear our prayers.  Amen.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Saturday - Christ - truly divine and truly human

Prayer:   For love and laughter and  life here after  we give You thanks O Lord.  Amen.

Westminster Confession of Faith Shorter Catechism  Question #22: “How did Christ,  being the Son of God,  become man?”

Answer: “Christ,  the Son of God, became man, by taking to himself a true body, and a reasonable soul, being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and born of her, yet without sin.”

Read Hebrews 2: 14 – 16

Hebrews 4: 15

John 1: 1 - 14

The easy answer to the question here is “because God said so”.   J   In order for us to gain salvation,  God created His son to be truly human and truly divine.    What a gift!      

But the Council of Chalcedon had the same problem.  How can Jesus be truly human and truly divine.   In 451, after a month of debate,  the Council of Chalcedon finally decided that Jesus is truly human and truly divine.  Jesus walked on this earth and lived life as a human but Jesus is from God and is part of God.   

Today,  celebrate that the Christ who has saved you and made you whole is God’s  gift to you.

Prayer:  Almighty God,  You have given us an amazing gift in Your Son our Lord.  May we accept this gift in all that we do and say.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Friday - Go, knowing you are in God's care

Listening Prayer :   O God,  be in our thoughts and actions this day.  Still our restlessness today so that we can live and move in You……

Read Acts 10: 30 – 48

Ask God to speak to you through the scripture that you have read today.    Remain in God’s  presence in silence for a few minutes. 

Read through this portion of scripture once again very slowly.  Let phrases of the scripture bubble up in your mind and pause for a moment over any phrase or portion of scripture that makes you go  “humm”.     Keep still and remain in God’s  presence in silence for a few minutes.

Thank God for this portion of scripture that you have just read.     Keep silent for a few minutes.

Tell God what you learned from this scripture.  Then keep silent for a few minutes and focus on the love of God as shown through this scripture.

Ask God if there is anything that you can do today to help further the love of God within your community and neighbourhood and world.     Remain in God’s  presence in silence for a few minutes.  

Keep silent for a few minutes and focus on the love of God.     

Thank God for this time of learning and prayer.    Keep silent and open your mind to hearing the voice of what God is saying to you today.  

Go out today knowing that you are in God’s  care and loving presence in all you do today and in everything you say today.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Thursday - Go and send men

Prayer:   Great God,  sustain and uphold those who do ministry in Your name.   Give strength and love to those congregations who are seeking a new minister.   In gratitude we thank You for those ministers who are Interim Moderators and help congregations into a new journey in Your love.  Uphold them in their work and times of prayer.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Read  Acts 10: 1 – 8

Go and send men.    In Caesarea there was a Centurion from the Italian Regiment called Cornelius.  He and his family were devout and God-fearing.  He gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.   Here is a Gentile who has heard the Word of God and has believed.  The Book of Acts of the Apostles does not say how  Cornelius first came to believe,  but he obviously heard the Word of God and was changed.

As Cornelius was in prayer,  God spoke to him in a vision.   An angel of the Lord came to Cornelius and said God had heard his prayers and saw his gifts to the poor.  Cornelius was to send for a man named Simon who is called Peter.   

Did Cornelius scoff at this vision?  Nope,  not at all.  Right away he called two of his servants and one of his soldiers who was a devote man and sent them to Joppa. 

Without question,  Cornelius did what God had asked him to do.     And how did Cornelius hear the voice of God?  Through his prayers and his gifts to the poor.  

Do we take time and make time to listen to the voice of God today?   Listening takes practice.  It is easy to say prayers and then spend a couple of seconds in silence.  But the listening that is needed is silent listening for minutes instead of seconds.    During those minutes,  we need to keep our minds clear of random thoughts and activities.  This is difficult but through constant practice and work,  listening will happen.

Prayer:  Heavenly Father,  hear our prayers today as we lift up to You in prayer all Sessions and Ministers as they make decisions for Your Church.  Be with them and strength them in every good word and work.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Wednesday - go and preach the Good News

Prayer:  Great God,  be with those who preach Your Word.   Surround them with Your love and Your peace so that they know they are preaching the Word of the Lord to all.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

 Read Acts 9: 19 – 31

The reading today is the perfect reading for those Ministers and Elders and congregations who are beginning New Church Development ministries.  Go and preach.   Saul begins to preach in the synagogues in Damascus and the Jews try to kill him.  But Saul escapes.  Then Saul journeys to Jerusalem and begins preaching again,  this time to the Grecian Jews.  And the Grecian Jews try to kill Saul.  They do not like his message.   New ministry is very much like Saul trying to tell everyone about the love of Jesus.   Not a lot of people listen and if they do listen,  they get upset and try to send the messenger away.   New Church Development is not easy. 

Scholars today often call this time of Saul’s  ministry as “unsuccessful”.  Yet Saul was doing the work God had called him to do.   It might have been called “unsuccessful” in today’s  language but for Saul,  God had called him to preach Christ to the community.  And that was exactly what Saul was doing whether the community listened or not.    

Today when we begin New Church Development,  we only look at the numbers of people sitting in the pews and how much money is in the pot to build a Church.  If there are a large number of people sitting in the pews and a large amount of money in the pot,  we call this ministry “successful”.       But are we are on the right track?   Shouldn’t we take our example of the enthusiasm of Saul and preach the love of Christ to everyone.  Saul’s  ministry was to share the Word of God with everyone he met.     even if the people did not like what they were hearing,  Saul still preached and taught about the love of Christ.   

In reading through this portion of scripture today,  you will also notice that Saul was not alone.  Saul spent time with the disciples.  Saul’s  friends helped lower Saul in a basket to get away from those who wanted to kill him.   While in Jerusalem,  Barnabas took Saul before the apostles and told them about Saul’s  journey and conversion.     When Saul get into trouble with the Grecian Jews,  the brothers took Saul down to Tarsus.   Today in New Church Development,  we can not do ministry alone.  We can not send in one minister and expect a congregation overnight.    As Saul’s  example of his journey,  ministry can not be completed alone.   New ministry needs the help of many believers.

Today,  keep all New Church Development ministries in your prayers.   Together may we go and preach the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ with our communities and neighbourhoods.

Prayer:   Almighty and Everlasting God,  be with the ministers and elders and people of New Church Developments.  Upon hold them so that they may gather to worship You in joy and enthusiasm.   Show us the way O Lord  that we can be a help and an aid to these new Ministries.  This we ask in Your Son’s name.  Amen.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Tuesday - Go and ask for ....

Prayer:  Divine Healer,  grant us the wisdom today so that we can discern Your call.   Grant us peace today so that we can bring Your love into our community.  Grant us  strength today so that we can do the work within our community that You call us to do.  This we ask in Your Son’s name.  Amen.

Read  Acts 9: 10 -  19

God appears to Ananias and tells Ananias to go to the house of Judas on Straight street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul.     Ananias isn’t sure he wants to go  and speak to Saul.  Ananias has heard about Saul being given authority from the Chief Priests to arrest all those who call upon God’s  name.  

God says to Ananias “Go!  This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel…..”  (Acts 9: 13  NIV  Zondervan  1983).    Wow.   Ananias’  jaw must have dropped in shocked amazement over these words he heard from the Lord.     Saul… the very man who was arresting people of the Way (early name for Christians)  was to become a missionary for God. 

What does Ananias do then?  Does he sit at home in stubbornness knowing that if he goes to talk to Saul  he will be arrested?  Does Ananias  go half way on the journey to the place where Saul is staying and suddenly turn around and go home without delivering the message from God?  Nope,  Ananias  goes to the house where Saul is staying and explains to Saul how he was sent by God in order to heal Saul’s  blindness and fill him with the Holy Spirit.     That took a lot of strength for Ananias to go visit Saul!    

One of the responsibilities of Session is to seek out those from the congregation who would be called to Ministry --  ministry of Word and Sacrament,  ministry of missions,  ministry of healing.      Session’s  responsibility is to discern who has the gifts needed for these ministries and then to help those who are chosen by God to fulfil their calling.    Today  keep in your prayers those in your congregation who might be seeking a call from God for ministry.

Remind the Session to seek out those in the congregation who might be discerning a call from God for ministry.    Like Ananias, we  need to go the distance in seeking out those who are chosen by God for ministry…. we can’t just leave the discerning to someone else.      

Through prayer and listening to the voice of God all things are possible.  But first we have to listen then we have to go and do God’s  instructions.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ,  Son of God,  have mercy upon us.  Lord Jesus Christ,  Son of God,  have mercy upon us.  Lord Jesus Christ,  Son of God,  grant us Your peace in believing.  Great God,  we lift up to You today ______________    and  ____________  that they may recognize Your call to go forward to minister to others.     Great God,  we lift up to You today  our Elders.  Give them the strength to discern who in our congregation is called to serve You.    Lord hear our prayers this day.  Amen.


Monday, 23 September 2013

Monday - Go into the city and you will be told what to do

Prayer:  Holy God,  set our feet upon Your path of love and righteousness.   Enable our legs to carry us to do the work in this world that You would have us do.   Give wisdom to our minds so that  with great enthusiasm  we share Your love with others we meet this day.  Amen.

Read Acts 9: 1 – 9

This is the story of Saul’s conversion.   It is an extremely powerful story of God breaking into a religious person’s life and saying, “you are on the wrong path friend”.    Saul  was an extremely religious man who began persecuting those who believed in Christ.   

As Saul is nearing Damascus,  a suddenly light from heaven flashes around him.  Out of the light comes a voice saying to Saul, “Saul,  Saul  why do you persecute me?”   Saul responds, “Who are you?”   The voice from the light replies, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do”.

Wow.  Powerful words.   Go into the city and you will be told what you must do.   When we read of the conversion of Saul,  we frequently forget that he was a devote and religious man.  Yet he had gotten onto the wrong path of his religious conviction.  He began persecuting others who were not like him.   When he was led into Damascus by his friends,  he was blind.  And for three days he did not eat or drink anything.   Saul did not eat or drink anything because he was blind but because he was discerning God’s  will through prayer and fasting.   And during those three days  Saul would have spent much time in prayer asking God what sin he had committed to become blind.  (Remember in those days that blindness was considered a form of consequence for a sin that the person or their family had committed).

Today,  does our Church persecute those who live in our Church neighbourhood who are not like us?  Do our Church neighbours just view those in the congregation as those people who take up parking spaces on a Sunday morning?     How do we extend the love of God to those in the neighbourhood of our Church who are not of our faith?  

Go into the city and you will be told what you must do.   We too are told to go into the city…. God has told us to work with those in our city who need help.   But in order to do the work of God  we must wait and spent time in prayer to listen to God’s  voice.    Together as a worshipping community, through prayer,    we come together to do the work of God for all God’s  people.   When was the last time your Church got together to pray for the people living in the neighbourhood?

Prayer:   Great God,  we come before You today waiting to be told what we must do to further Your kingdom.  As we read Your Holy Word,  inspire within us a burning passion to discern Your work that is still needed to be done here on earth.  If we are to sit and pray,  then let us rejoice in this work.  If we are to stand and help others,  then let us rejoice in this work.  If we are to walk and travel to share Your Good News,  then let us rejoice in this work.  All for Your love’s  sake.  Amen.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Sunday - Sabbath prayer

Prayer:  Today O Lord,  is a new day in Your sight.   Today is a day of rest in Your abiding love.  Today is a day of renewing our bodies and minds through Worship.  Today is a day of glorifying You through prayer,  scripture,  song, and sermon.   Forgive us O Lord when we fall short of our potential.   Forgive us O Lord when we forget our family.  Forgive us O Lord when we forget who is our neighbour.  Yet in all things,  we know that Your forgive us and make us whole.  Holy Holy Holy God.  Lord of power and strength.  Heaven and Earth are full of Your glory.  Glory to You O Lord our God.  Amen. 

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Saturday - truly Divine and truly Human

Prayer:  Open our minds to Your wisdom O Lord.  Open our minds to Your strength O Lord.  Open our hearts to Your love O Lord so that with wisdom and strength and love we can share the life You give to those who need You this day.  Amen.

Westminster Confession of Faith  Shorter Catechism Question #21 “Who is the Redeemer of God’s  elect?”

Answer:  “The only Redeemer of God’s  elect is the Lord Jesus Christ,  who,  being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was, and continueth to be, God and man in two distinct natures, and one person for ever.”

Read 1 Timothy 2: 5

John 1: 14

Christ, our Redeemer,  is truly divine and truly human.  This phrase has been debated in the Church for thousands of years.  For decades when the Church fathers were writing out the Creeds,  the Divinity and the humanness of Christ was a problem.  Some of the Church fathers stated that Jesus was all Divine.  Some of the Church father said Jesus was truly Divine but also truly human.   But then after spending much time in prayer and thought and study and meditation,  finally the Creeds now say with boldness that Christ is truly Divine and truly human.   

The word “redeemer” is not one that we use in our everyday language.  To redeem means to save someone from sin, error, and evil.   (Oxford Dictionary).    That is a really big list.  To save someone from 1.  Sin   and then  2.  Error,  and then 3. Evil.    Phew!

Christ is our Redeemer.  Hallelujah!

 Prayer:   Jesus Christ our Lord,  You are truly human and truly divine.  You walked amongst us and told us about the wonderful love of God.  This day,  may we share this wonderful love with  those who are living in pain and anguish who need Your love.  Amen.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Friday - go in and out and find pasture

Prayer:  Holy Lord,  it is through You that we find the peace of Christ.  Holy Lord,  it is through You that we find the love of Christ.  Holy Lord,  it is through You that we find Your great mercy.  Amen.

Read  St. John 10:1 – 19

Jesus continues teaching the Teachers of the law and the Pharisees and the disciples about the  sheep pen gate and sheep.    Jesus begins by saying that a man who enters a sheep pen by climbing over a wall is a thief and a robber.    All who would be listening to Jesus would be nodding.   Indeed this was true.   Shepherds would use the sheep pen gate to come and go.  And his sheep would know him when he entered by his movements and his voice.    The stranger who tries to lead the sheep from the sheep pen will not be able to lead the sheep away  as sheep will never follow a stranger.    

Those who are listening are stumped.  What was Jesus trying to say?   They understood the image of the shepherd and the sheep but what was Jesus really trying to say?    Jesus continues by saying that He is the Gate for the sheep.   He is the gate through whom all are saved.  If anyone enters through Christ,  he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.     It is only through Christ that we will find peace (pasture).     Christ comes that we may have life.  We listen to Christ’s  voice because we know him and love him. 

What a wonderful image!   We will be saved and we will go in and out and find green pasture.  This image is an image of peace and love.    When you think of this image of a pasture,  what comes into your mind?  Picture your image of pasture and put Christ in this image and yourself sitting beside Christ.     Think about what the love and peace of Christ mean to you as a Christian.  
Ministry of Word and Sacrament is all about going in and out and finding pasture.  Ministers are often called the "shepherds" of the Church.  Ministers lead us spiritually by example in word and deed.   In Brandon there is a man named Pedro.  Pedro is Pastor at a Spanish speaking congregation (not Presbyterian but I wish he was!!).   We met Pedro in his job  cleaning the Armoury.  Pedro also works at Maple Leaf in the slaughter house.   This is hard work.    We frequently ask Pedro when he sleeps.  He laughs and says that God gives him rest when it is needed.   We could all learn from Pedro. Many Ministers of Word and Sacrament complain that they are far far too busy to visit or pray for people or help those in need.  Yet,  this is exactly what Christ told in his parable.  What kind of a Shepherd is Jesus talking about?  Jesus says that Shepherds guide their "sheep" and call their "sheep" to Christ.   Pedro  says that he would like to give up working at Maple Leaf but there are 900 people on his shift who need the love of God.    Pedro does not stomp Christianity into people's lives but lives a life that makes people say, "What do you have that I don't".    Pedro listens and guides new immigrants into life in Canada... and then continues to pray for each person he meets each day as well as the 900 people at Maple Leaf as well as the congregational families as well as the Regimental Officers and Staff at the Regiment.   Wow.  We can all take a lesson from Pedro.   Christ comes that we may have life.  We listen to Christ's voice because we know him and love him.  Let us go and find the sheep who need a shepherd this day.  May we all go in and out and share the love of the Shepherd with all peoples. 
This day,  how will you go in and out and find pasture?

Prayer:   This day as we venture forth O God,  may we find a resting place in You.   May our Churches be a shelter from the storm for those who need rest and peace.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.  

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Thursday - Go and wash in the pool of Siloan

Prayer:  Living Water,  flow upon our thoughts and deeds and actions this day.  May we live and move and have our being in Your love and peace.   In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Read  St John 9:1 -  11

Along the journey,  Jesus and the disciples encounter a blind man.  The disciples ask Jesus who sinned…. the man or his parents.    Back in Jesus’ time,  people thought that sin caused blindness and disease.   In this case,  the disciples are trying to discern who sinned…. did the man sin and become blind or did his parent’s  sin and thus the man became blind.   Jesus says that neither the man nor his parents sinned.   In fact,  says Jesus,  this man was blind and you looked upon him today so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.

So the work of God might be displayed in the blind man’s life…..   Jesus tells the disciples (and us today)  that the work of God must continue always. 

Then Jesus spits on the ground and mixes his saliva with mud and puts it on the man’s eyes.   Jesus then says to the man, “Go and wash in the pool of Siloam”.    The man goes and washes his face in the pool of Siloam and is healed of his blindness. 

In the Church today  we use water.    Water is used in baptism as a sign and symbol of washing away our old life of sin and becoming  squeaky clean with a  new life in Christ.  Water is used for cleansing.   Water is used for healing.    Water is used to remind us of the love of God in Christ who forgives all sins.

What sins and portions of your life would you leave behind if Jesus said to you, “Go and wash in the pool of Siloam”?     In prayer this day,  offer up to Jesus the sins and portions of your life that you want to leave behind. 

Go and wash in the pool of Siloam.

Prayer:  Great God,  You sent down Your Living Water upon us so that we become a new creation in Your sight.   May we continue to thirst after Your Living Water this day and forever.  Amen.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Wednesday - go now and leave your life of sin

Prayer:   Help us this day,  O LORD,  to discern Your will for our lives.   Send Your Holy Spirit down upon us so that we may read and learn of the scriptures in a new and enthusiastic light.   Open our minds to Your call this day so that we may go forth sharing Your Word.  This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Read  St John 8: 1 – 11

Jesus sat down in the temple and began to teach the people.  The Teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery.  The Teachers of the law and the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher,  this woman was caught in the act of adultery.  In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.  Now what do you say?”  (John 8: 4-5  NIV  Zondervan, 1983).    They were using this question as a trap.   Both they and Jesus knew that both people caught in adultery would be stoned (Leviticus 20:10  and Deuteronomy 22:22).  The Teachers of the law and the Pharisees had only brought the woman. 

What did Jesus do?  Did he immediately answer them back?  No,  he took his time and did not answer them.  They continued to question Jesus and finally he said to them, “If any one of you is without sin,  let him be the first to throw a stone at her”  (John 8: 8-9  NIV Zondervan, 1983) then Jesus stooped down and began writing on the ground.

One at a time, the Teachers of the Law and Pharisees left.  They knew they were no without sin so could not throw a stone at the woman.   Finally the only person left standing in front of Jesus was the woman.  Jesus looked up and asked where were the ones who condemned her.   She replied that there was no one left.  Jesus then said, “Then neither do I condemn you.  Go now and leave your life of sin.”  (John 8: 11  NIV Zondervan, 1983).

Go now and leave your life of sin.   When we get into sticky situations,  we need to be like Jesus and take our time to make a decision.   Jesus did not answer the Teachers of the law and the Pharisees right away,  he took his time.    Usually when we are in a situation that involves answers to questions,  we provide an answer immediately.  Frequently making a quick answer instead of slowing down the process and putting the question in prayer to God before we provide an answer,  we get into a worst situation.    Words and communication are so important that we need to heed our words before we speak.  We need to ask ourselves if what we are about to say is helpful in bringing about the Kingdom of God and showing the love of God. 

Scholars have stated that this portion of scripture was included later in the Gospel.   Some Scholars state that John did not write this portion of scripture.   I am glad that this portion of scripture is included as it gives us hope.   Our hope rests and abides in God.  Our God is  a loving God who continually forgives us of all our sins. 

This week,  look over the conversations you have with people.  Look over your life this week and the decisions you have made.   How will you go now and leave your life of sin?

Prayer:  Great God  we thank You that You forgive us each time we sin and err and fall. You lift us up and make us brand new in Christ.   Today as we life out our lives in Christ,  may we lift up to You each decision that we make.  Be with those who need Your love this day.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Tuesday - go and bear fruit

Prayer:  Almighty and Loving God,  enable us to become Your light in our community.  Instill within us the thirst for Your Holy Word.   Instill in our minds a right spirit and quest for Your wisdom.    Provide us with strength so that all day long we may live in Your glory and share Your love.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Read  St John 15: 1 – 17

This is the time of year when we prune away the summer’s  growth of flora and fauna in preparation of wintertime.      Jesus taught the disciples that in order to grow and become mature Christians,  they needed to have a continual pruning or cleaning.   We too must be continually pruned and cleaned in order to live lives of mature Christians.    We become mature Christians but knowing what we believe… by reading the Word of God each day…. by praying each day….. by meditating upon God’s  Word… by worshipping God. 

Jesus told the disciples that they must go and bear fruit.  We too must remain in Christ and learn more about Christ in order to go and bear fruit.   How do we go and bear fruit?  Christ instructed the disciples that love is the key to good growth and bearing fruit (and becoming mature Christians).   

Notice that bearing fruit – teaching other’s  about Christ --  is a life time of learning and not something that is taught in a mere moment.     Our life time of learning of the love of God also involves “pruning”.    Sometimes we have great ideas and go forth on our own.  We forget to listen if the great idea we have is God’s  will.   When we try to go forth on our own without God,  we stumble.  This is the kind of “pruning” that Jesus is instructing the disciples.   We can not grow and mature as Christians by depending upon our own ideas and will,  we must seek out the will of God.

How will you go and bear fruit this week?   

Prayer:  This day and every day Holy God,  we depend upon Your guidance in our lives.  Help us to live full and loving lives as we seek Your will.   May we always remember to see and hear of the needs of others so that we can serve You all of our days.  This we ask in Jesus’  name.  Amen.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Monday - go and prepare

Prayer:  Lord God, You do not look at appearances but at our heart. You are forgiveness. Lord God, You renew in us peace of heart and a serene joy. O Risen Christ, You are with us, even with those who are unaware of Your presence. O Risen Christ, You place in our hearts a longing for Your Kingdom. O Risen Christ, You call us to share the fruits of the earth and of our work. Lord God, by Your Christ the fullness of Your life is offered to us. Lord God, into Your hands we place our entire life.   (Taize Prayer for Each Day   Time of the Church 8


Read St John 14: 1 – 7

Jesus comforts the disciples by stating that in His Father’s  house are many rooms.  Jesus is going to the House of God to prepare a place for each of the disciples (and us too).     Jesus is going and preparing a place of us.

We know the place Jesus is going and we know that Jesus has already prepared a place for us.  This portion of scripture is frequently read out loud at Celebrations of the Resurrection (Funerals).    This portion of scripture is read out loud to provide comfort to those who are grieving because it confirms our trust and faith in God. 

How do we go and prepare a place for others?   This takes faith on our part.  This also takes a thirst for learning about God’s  Holy Word so that what we share with others is joyous in God’s sight.     We are asked to go and prepare a place for others to know about God.  This involves knowing what we believe as Christians… this involves living life in a right attitude… this involves offering our lives each and every day to God’s  service.     

Today,  how will you go and prepare others for the dwelling place of God?

Prayer:  Jesus our peace, by the Holy Spirit You always come to us. And in the deepest part of our soul, there is the wonder of a presence. Our prayer may be quite poor, but You pray within us. Amen.   (Taize -  Prayer for Each Day.    Time of the Church 8

Sunday, 15 September 2013


Prayer:   Holy Holy Holy God.  Lord of Power and Strength.  Heaven and earth are full of Your glory.  This day,  may we come before You with hearts full of love to Worship You.   For those who preach and teach this day in Your name,  may You prepare them for this time of worship.  For those who sing and make music this day in Your name,  may You prepare them for this time of worship.  Holy Holy Holy Lord,  may we go forth after Worship this day  with Your love for all peoples in our minds and in our hearts.    Amen

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Saturday - an estate of salvation

Prayer:  Lord Christ, enable us to turn to You at every moment of our day and our night. Remind us yet again that Your Holy Spirit dwells within us, that You pray in us, that You love in us. Your miracle in us is Your love and Your constant forgiveness.   Amen.

Westminister Confession of Faith Shorter Cathechism  Question #20 “Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?’

Answer:  God having,  out of His mere good pleasure,  from all eternity, elected some to everlasting life,  did enter into a covenant of grace, to deliver them out of the estate of sin and misery, and to bring them into an estate of salvation by a Redeemer.”

Read Ephesians 1: 4 -6

         Romans 3: 20-24

         Galatians 3: 21 – 22

All have fallen short of the glory of God.  Yet God has delivered us out of sin through the sacrifice of the Redeemer --  Jesus Christ our Lord.  No matter what we do,  no matter have far down life’s  troubles we get,  God has saved us through Jesus Christ our Redeemer.   This is salvation.

What does that mean for you as you live each day in God’s  love?    What does it mean for you to know that you are saved and redeemed through the love of God?   Does it make you greatful?  Does this greatfulness reverberate through your life so that you remember to say “thank you” to God each and every day?

This week,  think and write down three things for which you are thankful.  Lift these three things up to God in prayer each day. 

Prayer:  Lord,  we give You thanks and praise for our lives.  We live in thankfulness of Your Love.  But there are those who are far from home, immigrants, exiles, victims of oppression, Lord, we pray.  For those who are going through trials, who need help and compassion, Lord, we pray. For all of us gathered each day to read and digest Your Holy Word, may we remain attentive to those entrusted to us, Lord, we pray. May we learn to share more fairly the resources of our planet among all, Lord, we pray. That a sense of wonder at the beauty of creation may remain alive in us, Lord, we pray. That we may find Your love and courage in the mystery of communion that is the Church, Lord, we pray.   Amen.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Friday - go and do likewise

Prayer:  Great God,  You have taught the hearts of Your faithful people by sending to us the teachings of Your Son,  the light of Your Holy Spirit, and the illumination of Your Holy Word.  Grant to us by this same Holy Spirit to make right decisions in all things and to rejoice in the comfort of Your Holy Spirit.  We ask this through Your Son our Lord.  Amen.

Read St Luke 10: 25 – 37

The story of the Good Samaritan.   This story is full of neat stuff.  A teacher of the law comes to Jesus and asks him a seemingly innocent question about eternal life.  He asks Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”       What an odd question.    The Teacher of the Law has read the scriptures as the Jews and knows  the Ten Commandments (and other laws) inside out and upside down and knows that in order to inherit eternal life,  one must follow the laws. The Laws are part of his very life and essence of life.  

 Jesus responds by asking the Teacher of the Law what the law states.  The Teacher answers correctly --  to  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’]” (St Luke 10: 27  NIV  Zondervan, 1983).   Jesus replies that he has answered well and to go a live out these words.

Yet the Teacher of the law is not finished.  He asks Jesus who is his neighbour.  Ah.    Here is the real question that the Teacher of the Law has in mind.   Who is his neighbour.

Then Jesus gives three examples of people who walked by a man in need.    Jesus then asks the Teacher of the Law who was a neighbour to the man in need.  The Teachers answers that it was the Samaritan who was the neighbour.  Jews and Samaritans were hostile neighbours.  Even though they believed in God and worshipped God,  time and geography had created a huge rift in their love of neighbour.  Yet it was out of the love of God that the Samaritan helped a man lying on the road…. a man not of his ethnicity and in fact a man that was despised in general because of his ethnicity.

The Teacher of the Law states that the neighbour was the Samaritan.   Jesus then tells the Teacher of the Law to go and do likewise.    Go and do likewise.    Help those who are not like you.  Help those who are in need even if they look different than we do or smell funny to us.    We are to help all those who need help.  Those who need help might not be our next door neighbours but the people who live in our town.  Jesus says that  these are our neighbours.  Anyone who needs help is our neighbour.

Today how will you go and do likewise?

Prayer:  O Lord,  grant to us that we may dwell in Your glory.  Inspire our hearts and minds to always be a neighbour.  May we be mercifully guided each day by Your Son our Lord,  Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Thursday - Go and proclaim the Kingdom of God

Prayer:  Saviour and Redeemer,  may we be ready to obey Your call to do the work of Your Church.  May we follow You without delay.  Grant us willing hearts and able hands to to and proclaim the Kingdom of God to all Your people.  Amen.

Read  St Luke  9:57 – 62

Three men came up to Jesus and wanted to be his disciple but before they could commit to being a disciple of Jesus,  they had things they needed to do.  Jesus responds by saying, “Go and proclaim the Kingdom of God….” (verse 60).    

Go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.  If we truly want to follow Jesus,  we need to put aside our procrastinations.   This sounds easy but is it truly easy?  When we read and study the Bible,  do we ever want to miss a day thinking, “Oh,  I”ll pick up where I left off tomorrow”.  And then the “tomorrow” ends up being a week later.  Then our reading of the Bible seems overwhelming because there is so much to read and study all at once.       Or do you start with great intensions of reading a Daily Devotional but then somehow over the weeks stop reading.

Reading and studying the Bible takes work.  It is a discipline.   But it is a disciple that is a life line for Christians.       Reading and remembering portions of the Bible is what holds us together as Christians.  The more we learn about God and Jesus through the Scriptures,  the more mature we become as Christians.  The more mature we become as Christians  means the more mature our decisions will be for the Kingdom of God (our Church). 

This week,  think about how you can “Go and proclaim the Kingdom of God”.  What will you begin studying this week?   Will you read the Bible each and every day?  Will you read and reflect on a devotional each and every day?

Prayer:  Blessed Lord,  who has caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning.  Grant that we may in such wisdom hear these Scriptures.  May we  read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest Your Word, that by patience, and comfort of Your Holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which You have given us in our Saviour Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.  (adapted from Second Sunday in Advent “The Book of Common Prayer”  Oxford, 1937)