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2017 Daily Devotions

Daily Devotion Friday, November 17, 2017

By
Tricia Anders, CoH Member and Volunteer

Scripture

Then the Lord raised up judges, who delivered them out of the power of those who plundered them. Yet they did not listen even to their judges; for they lusted after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their ancestors had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord; they did not follow their example. Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the Lord would be moved to pity by their groaning because of those who persecuted and oppressed them. But whenever the judge died, they would relapse and behave worse than their ancestors, following other gods, worshipping them and bowing down to them. They would not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways. So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel; and he said, ‘Because this people have transgressed my covenant that I commanded their ancestors, and have not obeyed my voice, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died.’ In order to test Israel, whether or not they would take care to walk in the way of the Lord as their ancestors did, the Lord had left those nations, not driving them out at once, and had not handed them over to Joshua. Judges 2: 16-23

A Word of Hope

     Today is World Peace Day. According to Wikipedia “World peace or peace on earth is the concept of an ideal state of happiness, freedom, and peace within and among all people and nations on earth. I have pondered for days as to what that means since the world today is anything but peaceful.  There has been mass destruction by the hands of nature, and mass murders by the hands of man.  Our nation divided by racial tensions, political unrest, and countries are at odds with one another. The trust that was once shared with our allies no longer exists.  With so much chaos, pain, and strife in the world today how do we come to a peaceful state?  How do we connect in “peace” with one another?

     As I was contemplating on the meaning of peace and how it could be possible today, the Holy Spirit  brought back to my mind a song that we used to sing in my elementary school, “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”

                                 Let there be peace on earth
                                And let it begin with me
                                Let there be peace on earth
                                The peace that was meant to be
                               With God as our father
                               Brothers all are we
                               Let me walk with my brother
                               In perfect harmony…

It has to begin with you and me. We must have understanding, respect, and equality for one another.  Mother Teresa said that “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other,” and I believe that what she says is true.  We have forgotten who we are and to who we truly belong.  We are not “separate” as many of us believe.  We all come from the same divine source, God. Yes, there is evil in the world, but we do not have to be a part of it.  Jesus says in John 16:33 “In this world, you will have trouble.  But take heart.  I have overcome the world!  And I believe Him. 

     Eleanor Roosevelt said “It isn’t enough to talk about peace, one must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it; one must work at it.”  I know that many of us are afraid of what may come, but have no fear.  God has said in His word “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

Prayer

Father God thank you for surrounding us with not only your love but also your peace which surpasses all understanding.   Amen.

Daily Devotion Thursday, November 16, 2017

By
Dr. Pat Saxon

Scripture

Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us,
for we have had more than enough of contempt.
Our soul has had more than its fill
of the scorn of those who are at ease,
of the contempt of the proud. Psalm 123: 3-4

A Word of Hope

How long, O Lord, how long must the cries of the afflicted and oppressed fall on deaf ears in this world?

NPR has begun reporting on a poll from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, a poll which seeks to measure the degree to which individual racial, ethnic, and identity groups are discriminated against. The questions cover a variety of areas—jobs, housing, health care, treatment by the police, and more. While the detailed findings are far too large for this framework, even a brief look at some of the results should raise serious concerns among people of faith (https://www.npr.org/series/559149737/you-me-and-them-experiencing-discrimination-in-america )

To highlight a few findings:

  • 92% of African Americans say Black Americans face discrimination today.
  • 6 in 10 Black Americans say that police have unfairly stopped them or a relative.
  • More than half the Latinx surveyed say that applying to college wasn’t even discussed with them.
  • More than a third of Latinx respondents report discrimination in housing, sometimes solely because of their Hispanic sir names.
  • 55% of whites believe that they are discriminated against—especially for jobs-- though only 19% reported personal experiences.

How far from the images of the Heavenly City presented in our reading for All Saints Sunday—where the gates are never shut, where the powerful lay their honor and glory down, where all see God’s face (from Revelation 21 and 22). How far from Old Testament injunctions urging the care of the marginalized: widows, orphans, and the stranger. How far from the lessons of Jesus who healed outcasts--lepers and the demon-possessed—and held up an “enemy,” a Samaritan, as a model of grace and love.

Prayer
God of Mercy and Justice, Heal our blindness and stony-hearted indifference. Kindle in us the fire of revolutionary love, that your kin-dom may come on this earth. Amen.

Daily Devotion Wednesday, November 15, 2017

By
Teddy Mowrey

Reading
Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. Revelation 12:7-8

A Word of Hope
There is a little-known Christian holiday, Michaelmas (pronounced Micklemas), celebrated on September 29. We are still in the season of Michaelmas, and it is one of my favorite holidays. The season reminds us as the days become shorter and the autumn months unfold, to call on Michaelic courage to meet the darker days and places in ourselves symbolized by the dragon.

I attended the outdoor festival at a Waldorf School in New York, and all things autumn are incorporated in blazes of color. A pageant is enacted in which a dragon, like the ones used on the Chinese New Year, weaves through the audience and tries to devour them, until the Archangel Michael chases it away and everyone lives happily ever after.

All kinds of asters and chrysanthemums (Michaelmas daisies) are used to embellish the grounds, and different games and crafts add to the fun.

Miniature gourds and pumpkins are hollowed out to create tea light holders, and they are placed along the path of a “Winter Spiral” labyrinth that is lit and walked at sunset. We spiral into the darker times of winter and symbolically re-emerge strengthened by Michael’s courage to face the forces of opposition to good.

The Michaelmas festival is a time to honor the courage we see around us every day in noble acts, large and small; the courage to stand up for someone who struggles, or to look for the good in others, and to strive to overcome the dragon in us.

Meditation
Morning:
O Michael, I commend myself to thy protection.
With all the forces of my heart, I place myself under thy leadership,
that the day that is now beginning may be indeed a picture of the right ordering of destiny
that belongs to thy Being.

Evening:
I carry my sorrows into the setting sun,
Place my worries into her radiating womb.
Purified in love, transformed into light,
They return as helping thoughts,
As strength for self-sacrificing deeds.

-R Steiner

Daily Devotion Monday, November 13, 2017

Devotion Author
Weber Baker

Reading from Acts of the Apostles 28:2
The natives showed us unusual kindness. Since it had begun to rain and was cold, they kindled a fire and welcomed all of us around it.

A Word of Hope
Today is World Kindness Day. This date was set aside by various Non-Governmental Organizations of various countries as a day to focus on kindness. The World Kindness Movement was established in 2000 to “to inspire individuals towards greater kindness and to connect nations to create a kinder world”. I suppose every day should be Kindness Day.

But it is good every often to have a prodding to kindness. In a world where evil penetrates and disrupts our lives at every turn, on the street, in churches, in too many homes, perhaps a little kindness might become a wave to wash away fear and doubt and hatred. Last year The Huffington Post had five things to do on World Kindness day to show kindness. 

1). Give someone a shout out. Use social media to post about a good time you had with someone special.

2) Take some needed items to an animal shelter. Humans are not the only ones who need kindness. Last week Kris and I went to a presentation by the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center; a group that rehabilitates raptors (owls, hawks, falcons, etc.) when they can and gives them a place to live out their lives when they cannot return to the wild. Your local shelter can use food, blankets, and other things. Check with them for their needs.

3) Call someone with whom you have not spoken in a while. Do you have a friend from high school or college you haven’t talked to in a while? Maybe someone form COH who moved to another city? Or even a relative you haven’t heard from in while? Give them a call. It will make their day. If you can, call your parents.

4) Engage in simple gestures that make life easier. We have al had those small frustrations that are no big deal but which tend to set us up for anger. Who has not found the toilet roll empty at home? Or that coffee has not been made at work? Or the trash can needs to be tamped down? Make life a little easier for the next person. Give the trash a shove down. Make another pot of coffee. Hold the elevator a few moments longer. Wave someone to go ahead of you,

5) Be kind to yourself. We forget sometimes that Jesus said to “love your neighbor as yourself”. You cannot be kind to others if you cannot be kind to yourself. Take a minute and sit quietly taking deep breaths (there’s an app for that). Pull over into a parking lot and finish listening to your favorite song. Reread your favorite poem or hymn.

Those are the Huffington Posts, ideas with some additions by me. I have one other. as you go about your day say “hello” to everyone. The person stocking the vegetables at the store, the clerk or waitperson who is not the one helping you.

Prayer
Gracious God, Your lovingkindness to us points the way we should treat each other and ourselves. Your Holy Spirit fill us with love and in turn we thank you that we can pass that love on in large and small kindnesses.

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Childcare is provided at all Sunday and Wednesday services.

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