Devotions – January 8-14, 2012
By, Members of Gethsemane Lutheran Church, Wallace
Sunday, January 8
By, Linda Forray
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer.”
1 Peter 3: 12
I don’t ever remember a time when I doubted the power of prayer; still it never amazes me when appeals in prayer are granted by our wondrous God. And all we can say is “Praise the Lord.”
I pray for a lot of different things. I pray for the sick and the lonely, and for my family. I pray for the church and our congregation. But lately I find myself praying a lot about the newest “adventure” God has in store for me, and that it will be something I can handle, with his help of course. Each change in my life comes with anticipation, excitement and fear. And God keeps pulling me through these obstacles, no matter how tough they seem to be. I know that this is because of the power of prayer and an undying faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And I know that God does this for everyone.
Paul says in 1 Thessalonians “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Prayer needs to be a priority in our lives. Without prayer we have no communication to the one and only source of answer to our daily problems and needs. Without prayer we are disconnected from God. Be connected, pray.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the opportunity to talk to you. We thank you for the faith we have to know that you hear our prayers and that you answer them in our time and your way. Help us Lord to be diligent prayers, to pray without ceasing. We ask this is Jesus name. AMEN.
As we celebrate the Baptism of our Lord remember that in your baptism, you are a child of God. You are claimed, held, nurtured and blessed by a good and loving God who sends you into the world to witness the love of Jesus.
Monday, January 9
By, Jerry Rasner
One of my favorite bible passages comes from Matthew 14:13-21. I think of it whenever life deals me a difficult blow at work, with family, or, the loss of a loved one. It’s the passage where Jesus learns of the death of John the Baptist. What happens next is so real and so human that I can’t help but marvel at the way God delivers messages in an everyday occurrence like the loss of a close friend, relative, spouse, or child. Verse 13 says, “He withdrew from the crowd to be alone.”
Now how human is that? Jesus is God in human form and if we ever doubted that Jesus was truly human I ask you to consider how He wept when Lazarus died (John 11:35) and withdrew (Matthew 14:13) when He heard about the death of John the Baptist. This kind of emotional pain coupled with the physical pain He endured on the cross were very real and very human reactions.
So, does it end there? No! God never misses a teaching moment. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins He took the time to forgive the sins of a prisoner that had been sentenced to death on the cross next to Jesus. This is God in human form showing us His immense Grace and a powerful demonstration of the kind of forgiveness we should be willing to practice in our everyday lives.
Do you remember what happened after Jesus withdrew? The crowd followed Him and He took pity on them and He began to teach, healed the sick and performed the miracle of the feeding of the multitude (5000) with the five loaves and two fishes. The message I take from this is that it is okay to weep and withdraw, but, only for a brief period of time. God wants us to get on about the task of utilizing the talents He has given us and to allow the interaction with others, and His presence in our lives, to enable the healing process to lead us to a life of hope again.
Dear Father in Heaven, I pray that you will open our eyes, heart and mind so that we may see, feel and understand the messages you send us daily through the scripture and the everyday occurrences of our human lives. Amen.
++++++++++++++Pray for those attending the Senior Adult Day at Fortune Lake Camp.
Tuesday, January 10
By, Wendy Hanson
“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.
It’s not fair! Why do bad things always happen to me? This isn’t what I had planned for my life! As we left childhood and become adults we had visions of what our life would be like. As life’s events unfold, we don’t always get what we want or planned and then we become disappointed. Instead of finding purpose in the unplanned events in our life, we start to blame everyone else, even GOD. I believe some of the challenges GOD places before us may be intended to teach us about being HIS children and sometimes the events in our family or friend’s lives are meant to teach others GOD’s lessons. We must remember that GOD has plans for us and HE is the one in charge of our lives. Placing our faith and trust in GOD’s plan will allow us to find peace and safety in HIS love.
Thank you, God for providing all that we need. Humble us to remember that your plans for our life will provide the prosperity and safety you intend us to have in this life. AMEN
Pray for the members of the Synod Assembly Planning Committee who meet this day.
Wednesday, January 11
By, Ruth Thoune
“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own.
Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34
Last Christmas season a person I worked with was having all kinds of personal problems. Her marriage of only 2 years was falling apart and money was short. Ann thought she was leading a rough life. As co-workers we heard how bad it was nearly every day. She was continually worrying about what was going to happen to her.
One day Ann’s daughter came home to tell her about two of her friends (sisters) who she found out had been living in pretty bad conditions, but had just moved into a new apartment with their mother. Ann was able to meet the girls when she gave them a ride home from school one day, and found out that neither of them had winter coats and they had no furniture in the apartment.
Ann took it upon herself to take them shopping for coats even though money was tight. She decided to buy some furniture made by the company she worked for to furnish the new apartment, but the company donated it. When some co-workers found out what was going on, they chipped in to buy small gifts for the girls for Christmas.
Ann realized she didn’t have it so rough after all, and that many had it worse. What she did for this family changed her focus, strengthened her faith, and changed her life. She took her problems to God in prayer, and found peace.
When we are devoted to God, we adopt the values, behaviors and priorities that God affirms. With our faith that Christ was crucified on the cross to take away our sins, we are set free to serve God and others. We do not strive or worry endlessly about our needs. In entrusting our life to God, we look to our heavenly Father to provide them for us, as he does for all.
Pray for the members of the Campus Ministry Committee who meet this day.
Thursday, January 12
By, Linda Forray
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.” John 15:12-15
I recently had the pleasure and honor to make a new friend. I was called to visit an elderly man who had medical problems and had come upon some rough times (and who hasn’t these days). The call came from an old friend of his that was concerned about this man and lives quite a distance from him now. I knew I was to meet someone special while talking to his friend. He talked about what a kind, giving person he was and told me I would become fast friends with him. I did visit this man and his friend was right. We had a long conversation about family, life, death and war. He is a remarkable man with a big heart.
Jesus asks us to love one another as I have loved you. We sometimes get so wrapped up in our lives that we don’t see the opportunities to make a friend or to extend a helping hand to someone in need. Need is all around us. Take the time in this New Year to get to know what the need is in your community, neighborhood, or church. Remember, God first loved us so that we may love others.
Father, you gave us your only Son to love us and to fill our every need. Help us to look for the need in our world and find ways to fill that need. Help us to love our neighbor as you love us, endlessly and unconditionally. Amen.
Pray for the members of Community/St Dysmas, Jessup MD (pastor), First, Ellicott City MD (Revs Glenn Ludwig, Gigie Sijera-Grant & Jon Hundt), and Our Redeemer, Glen Burnie MD (Rev Alan Traher).
Friday, January 13
By, Ann Rasner
“A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work.
This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?”
This passage is quite profound and open for misinterpretation, I would think. To a sinner, this would cement the thought that we are put here for nothing but enjoyment and personal pleasure so we need not do anything we don’t want to do. Unfortunately, too frequently in today’s world, life has turned into a “me” society. I’m as guilty as the next one to say something like, “I’ve put in my time and it’s time for me to relax and enjoy life to its fullest.” Let’s look a little further into the words found in Ecclesiastes.
In chapter 3 it is noted that there is a “time for everything” and everything has it’s time. We all know this as we plant and harvest, we weep and laugh, we keep and discard, we tear and mend, and we have war and peace. In verse 13 it says “that everyone may eat and drink and find satisfaction in all his toil - this is the gift of God.”
Does this mean we can drink excessively, be gluttonous and enjoy life at the expense of others? Of course not! We must always keep in mind that our needs are met through our gracious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. What we do with those gifts is what’s important. If we are blessed with an abundance of food, are we not expected to share that with others who don’t have enough? If we have a warm home, nice clothes and plenty to drink, are we not expected to share in this bounty as well? If we look around in our own communities, we can most certainly find places that need our excess.
So, yes, God has provided the means for us to eat, drink, and be merry. However, it is not a right but a gift. We are not to sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labors for there is always work to be done. Our work here on earth is never done. How many people do you know who are rich but really poor? Of course, we are not to judge, but sometimes it is very clear that just because you are wealthy, doesn’t mean you are happy. It should be equally clear that just because you can eat, drink, and be merry, it should not be done in excess. We must always thank God for our bounty and be willing to share it with others. Let’s also remember to enjoy life’s pleasures in moderation as the Lord intended.
Dear Heavenly father, we thank you for all the blessings you bestow upon us on a daily basis. We thank you for the abundance of your gifts. We ask you to help show us the way to use these gifts in a way that is pleasing to you. We thank you for the earth and for showing us how to use and protect this great gift. We praise you in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Pray for the members of the Synod Council who meet these days.
Saturday, January 14
By, Cyndie Berger
“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord,
plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”
Every day is a new journey. It would be nice to have just a nice straight road without any bumps or sharp turns. But each time we hit those bumps or sharp turns, we are not alone, God is with us. Through prayer God will give us guidance and courage on which path to take and the ones not to follow. God has a plan for each one of us and we sometimes just need to stop, pray and listen so that we move ahead in the direction that He has opened up for us.
We thank you Lord for guiding our way when we are lost and troubled. We are grateful that you are in charge of our lives and that we are not left to our own devices. Enable us Lord to take the time to stop and really listen to what it is that you have in store for our lives. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.
Pray for our nation – and our world – that divisions of race, culture, and even faith may be overcome, not by power and violence, but by love and care for all of God’s children!