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2017 Daily Devotions

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Jan Nunn
CoH Volunteer

Song Meditation:
"You are my All and All" By Dennis L. Jernigan
You are my strength when I am weak
You are the treasure that I seek,
You are my all in all
. . .
When I fall down your pick me up;
When I am dry, you fill my cup.
You are my all in all

Word of Hope
Cups are the visual of our Lenten book study this year. Like the rest of my life, my supply of cups overflows. I had a display shelf for cups we had collected from vacations and cups people had given us. But that wall was removed in our remodeling process. I have several bins of our memory mugs that are now in the garage.

For years we never traveled without getting a mug to bring home as a souvenir. They bring great memories of our travels. Barb even started making cups from her pictures of our vacations! And as a gift for retirement, I received an oversize cup with a retirement poem. I used it every day for the first year of my retirement.

If we look at our lives as a "cup" or vessel that holds our spiritual joy, I feel just as blessed as I am with actual cups! I feel like the joy of my life and God 's love overflows my "cup" each day. My church family creates such a joyous group of people. I hope as this joy overflows my vessel I am spilling out into the world around me is God's love to those I meet.

When I think of emptying my cup, I reflect on people from my past. I had a friend years ago who practiced emptying out her life to have room for new blessings. One example was that she always gave away clothes from her closet before she went shopping. She said there wasn't room for clothes blessings if her closet was already full. She gave me clothes several times. We were both blessed!

I try to empty out by giving to others what I can. At Christmas, we had a party and asked our friends to bring items for blessing bags for those in need. I participate in bringing things for iCare. I try to always thank the people who don't get the glory like the gardeners and people who pick up trash at the Arboretum. I try to smile at people I meet and wish them a good day.

But you can't out give God! Try as I might, my cup may empty somewhat, but God fills if right back to the brim!

Precious God, giver of all good gifts;
I praise your name for constantly filling my soul with your goodness. May I always remember to thank you for your gifts and honor you throughout my life.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Brad Syverson
Spiritual Director

 As [Saul] neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.  “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” . . .
Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus.  For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.  Acts 9:3-9

A Word of Hope
Darkness is not the opposite of light but rather the absence of light.  Being alone is the absence of companionship.  Feeling adrift is the absence of direction.  The emptiness of an absence can feel awful.  

Some would have us believe that encounters with God will always be uplifting and empowering.   But the story of Saul’s conversion tells us that isn’t always so.  Immediately after Jesus’ miraculous appearance to Saul, he is knocked to the ground and rendered blind.   It’s hard to imagine what those three days of waiting in darkness were like for him.   Was he immersed in guilt for his past actions?  Was he utterly confused about who he really was?  How did this man of action experience this time of confusion and darkness?  

We shouldn’t be surprised that encounters with God can leave us in dark confusion.  Like Saul, we can be knocked to the ground and become painfully aware of what is missing.  We want to quickly fix the feeling and move on.  But God dwells in thick darkness.  I Kings 8:12.   In these days of Lent, don’t rush away from the absences you feel in your life.  Take stock.  Wonder.  Pray with words or without.  Transformation emerges from this work just as Saul became Paul.  But we must linger in the thick darkness, risking being vulnerable and humbled by an encounter with the Holy.  Saul had to realize he was not Paul before he could become Paul.   And it took some three days of thick darkness after the God Encounter for that to happen.  Realizing who you are not (as of yet) is the first step towards becoming who God is calling you to be.  

God in thick darkness, you turned Saul, full of hate, into Paul, full of love.  Give us strength to live into the darkness we experience.  During the empty times, teach us what we are not and what we came become according to your dream for us. Amen.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

By Isai Thomas-Cazares

Light brings every kind of goodness, right living, and truth. Ephesians 5:9 [ICB]

Word of Hope
Stepping into the Light
“Step into the light, Carol Ann!” Zelda Rubinstein, a 4-foot-3-inch character actress was most known for her role as the invincible psychic and original ghost buster in the Poltergeist. She has since passed into her own light since 2010 at the age of 76.

Ephesians 5: 1-9 speaks to a time when the Church at Ephesus was being beleaguered with perplexing choices.  Choices that sounded like the right ones, decadence was being justified, and the new Judeo-Christian faith was being challenged once again to find it’s own true voice amidst the chaotic and extraordinary abundance of cultural variety and experiences.

The message was simple. Jesus Christ was God’s ultimate sensual and spiritual sacrifice to deter us from sin, evil, greed, destructive talk, false gods and truths, and reminded us that God’s anger will answer such actions.  The International Children’s Bible makes it so simple and clear.  If we live in the light and truth of God’s ultimate gift we are good to go!  It is, however, an active relationship and not a passive one; not a verbal one, but an action filled relationship.  

Light brings every kind of goodness, right living, and truth. Ephesians 5:9 [ICB] It’s part of the reason Zelda Rubinstein’s character still resonates with me.  It wasn’t her words that made it all work out in the end.  It was the action of the person stepping into the light that brought them back to their family.   Stepping into the light of goodness, living, and truth are active testimonies that God’s gift of Jesus Christ truly is transformative and enough to save us.   

Today is World Tuberculosis Day; let us raise awareness and efforts to eliminate the disease.

God, may each of us live out your light, truth, life, caring and compassion of others. Help us be present in love with others. Thank you for Dr. Robert Koch and his discovery in the 1880s about TB.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Minister Winner Laws
Cathedral of Hope Member
TCU Brite Divinity Graduate

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. God  makes me lie down in green pastures; God  leads me beside still waters; God restores my soul. God  leads me in right paths for God’s name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever” NRSV Psalm 23 (Inclusified)

A Word of Hope
Psalm 23 is often used to provide comfort to those suffering from grief and loss. What if we were to read the scriptures from a different perspective, a different frame of reference, a different paradigm, etc.?
What if you read the scriptures as a way of giving life, giving hope, and giving support through this life's journey? I found on the internet a “line by line” interpretation of Psalms 23 that was very revealing to my spirit. I share it with you now and it is:

The LORD is my shepherd = RELATIONSHIP
I shall not be in want = SUPPLY
God  makes me lie down in green pastures = REST
God leads me beside quiet waters = REFRESHMENT
God restores my soul = HEALING
God guides me in paths of righteousness = GUIDANCE
For God’s  name's sake = PURPOSE
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death = TESTING
I will fear no evil = PROTECTION
For you are with me = FAITHFULNESS
Your rod and your staff they comfort me = DISCIPLINE
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies = HOPE
You anoint my head with oil = CONSECRATION
My cup overflows = ABUNDANCE
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life = BLESSING
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD = SECURITY
Forever = ETERNITY

This reading starts with the good news of our relationship with God. It shares the many phases of life where God is present and shows us unconditional love in every word. Ultimately in the last line, God's promise for an eternal life beyond this earthbound existence is explicitly shared for all to internalize. My faith is strengthened every time I read Psalms 23. This version makes it even more relevant to everyone in their daily life from my perception.

Dear God: Thank you for sharing this new way of reading Psalms 23 to give us all a hope and a vibrancy to know you more intimately through these scriptures. Amen!

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