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2015 Daily Devotions

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Dr. Gary G. Kindley
Pastoral Counselor

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10a

A Word of Hope

Gary Kindley There can be power in silence. A wise grandmother who had been married over 50 years was asked to give her best advice on how to have a successful marriage relationship. Her response? “When you are in disagreement with your spouse and you believe that you absolutely must speak the last word—don’t!” Enough said!

There are times I wish Jesus had said more. More about subjects of personal interest to me; about social justice issues that are pressing to our time; and about human acceptance of religious and social diversity. There are times silence can be vexing.

Of this I can be certain, if I allow the noise of culture and my own busyness to keep me from spending some time in silence, then I will find myself awash in a cacophony that never quite satisfies and that will likely dampen my spirit and shorten my life. I need to be able to listen in order to be attuned to the wisdom of the Divine.

So celebrate the season, cheer your favorite sports team, sing “Happy Birthday” and toast to “Auld Lang Syne.” Then take a moment to hush and discover something wonderful that comes from the intentional listening to your inner voice and God’s Divine soft whisper.

Speak to me, O God, your servant is listening. Amen.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Bobby Kates
Member: Cathedral of Hope, U.C.C., Dallas, TX
Member-In-Discernment: North Texas Association, U.C.C.
4th Year M.Div., Brite School of Divinity/T.C.U., Class of Spring 2015
A Harold Wilke & William R. Johnson Scholar, United Church of Christ.

“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake!” (Mark 13:32-37, NRSV)

A Word of Hope
Bobby Kates Many today, as well as the Markan community, the earlier followers of Jesus, who were quite fearful for their very existence, let alone futures, may look upon Christ’s words as being a bit apocalyptic. And considering the state of the Middle East back in that era compared with today, that comparison may seem valid. However on the contrary, rather than just ‘hunkering down’ for what we believe to be the inevitable, we should take heart, for there is much HOPE that can be found within Jesus’ somewhat terse warnings.

First off, Jesus himself, God in human flesh, admits that “no one knows.” Even he, the Son is not aware of what is going to happen. So, if we do not know how the story ends, perhaps there is a possibility to finish that story with HOPE? We still have the ability to come together as humanity, to listen to one another, to care for one another, giving respect to one another, and perhaps along the way, even save our planet, with its environment that prospers our very being. Everything is possible with HOPE.

Second, Jesus puts the slaves “in charge, each with his work.” This is more than just “Keep on Keepin’ on”, but a ‘call to purpose’, that we should look upon each of our lives as unique and meaningful. We are ALL special. We should ALL encourage and support each other as we find our individual way, and by doing so, fulfil our dreams and passions, thus prospering ALL. Everything is possible with HOPE.

Finally, there is a sense of serene peacefulness that can be drawn from the steady progression of time, “in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn.” By gathering together with family or our chosen family during these Twelve Days of Christmas, at all hours, we are given the opportunity to reconnect and instill within one another the joy of being human. It is a time to live into the spirit of “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” This is an opportune time for hugs, smiles, and yes, even trying to speak with those one has not spoken to in years. Yes, as Ma Bell (A.T. & T.) used to say, “Reach out, reach out and touch someone.” One never knows. Everything is possible with HOPE.

So prepare, as Jesus inclusively declares to ALL, “Keep awake!” The New Year will be here before we know it. And with it God, gives us, yet another possibility for “Peace on Earth.” For it is ours for the making (not taking). It is the gift of Jesus, a new way to look upon our lives with each other in HOPE. For truly HOPE is infinite in its possibilities.

May we always be mindful, O God, of Your presence, especially when we seem to be nodding off. May we always “Stay awake” to your HOPE. AMEN.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Barb Nunn
Vice-Chair, Board of Stewards

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

A Word of Hope
Barb Nunn Many times when we hear this passage, it is at the funeral or memorial service of a loved one. It invites us to reflect on the good times and to be thankful of the time we have spent with them. It also allows us to remember how our lives interact with those around us.

So here we are at the end of another year. Did it go quickly or slowly? Was it a great year or a year of struggling? Did we use our timely wisely or waste it away? Did we make time for the important things in our lives or did we just let our busyness control our time? And finally, did we make a difference to someone?

The passage of time is constant, yet how we use our time seems to cause variances. The saying that something “Is as slow as Christmas” certainly isn’t true during the month of December! When times are good, time travels rather quickly, and certainly as we age it seems to. The last hour of the work or school day can drag on and on unless we have a deadline.

God invites us to be conscious of our time. Who manages your clock? Are you in total control? I hope not! You would drive yourself crazy! God places people and circumstances in our lives and expects us to take advantage of them. They could have life-changing consequences, both good and bad. But we must be open to them. Take the time each day to seek these opportunities and make the most of them. Make the time to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world. If your life is too hectic, let God help you sort out your priorities and make some tough decisions. What are you wasting your time on? What enriches your life? Spend your time making it rich at every opportunity. Keeping God in your life will keep you ready for any challenge.

O God, impress upon me the value of time, and give regulation to all my thoughts and to all my movements. May I be strong in faith, instant in prayer, high in my sense of duty, and vigorous in the occupation of it! When I detect myself in unproductive actions, let me make an instant transition from dreaming to doing. Amen.

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Monday, December 28, 2015

Winner Laws
Cathedral of Hope Member, Brite Divinity School Student

Traveling Preparations
John 7:37-39 states “On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’ Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit, because Jesus was not glorified.” NRSV

A Word of Hope
Winner Laws The scripture above tells us that people were celebrating because it was the last day of Feast of Tabernacles. It was the final day of celebrating the memory of how their ancestors traveled from Egypt to the Promised Land. It reminds me of gathering with my family at family reunions, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. We eat great food and have our favorite drinks. We reminisce about the good old days as well as play games including cards and dominoes. It is a celebration – a party because we enjoy one another at these gatherings. Some of our card games are quite competitive. If you or your team wins, you have bragging rights until the next time we get together.

I can imagine what it was like on the last day at the Feast of Tabernacle where people were celebrating and having a grand time, when all of a sudden Jesus stood up and said “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink.” I am sure they were thinking okay he has had a little too much to drink because he is standing there shouting about people believing in him and drinking living water. I am not sure if people truly understood that Jesus was talking about their salvation and the upcoming arrival of the Holy Spiri.

Let’s look at this scenario a little differently. Playing hearts, pinnacle, spades, bid whist, speed, and pluck are all good card games to play when you are with your family or friends during these special events. Imagine for a few moments if Jesus was your partner in hearts or spades, what do you think your chances of winning any one of these games? Well, Jesus is your partner for life because he lived and died for our salvation. How could you lose with Jesus in the game of life when you accept him (John 3:16) as your partner? You will win every time with Jesus.

Dear God: As we continue to celebrate this holiday season with family and friends, may we remember that Jesus gave us living water, and promised us salvation because You allowed him to live and die for us. In the name of Jesus, Our Savior, we pray. Amen!

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