Archive for March, 2012

Friday, March 30th. Matthew 25:40

March 30, 2012

Our devotions this Lenten season have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church.  Today’s devotion is by Don Hodde. Also, if you would like to join our staff in praying the liturgy for Responsive Prayer/Suffrages just click here.

 

And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”  Matthew 25:40

 

In the verses leading up to verse 40 above, Jesus defines what ‘it’ is. ‘It’ is serving and caring for others.  Jesus points out to the righteous that when we serve and care for others, we are no less serving and caring for Christ himself!  

 

There are direct and indirect ways to serve.  We can serve ‘indirectly’ through our gifts of money, or by helping to administer programs that offer service and care to others.   We can also serve and care for others ‘directly’,  getting ‘hands on’ to feed people, clothe people, assist sick or disabled people, and care for those that are lonely.  

 

Regardless of whether you and your family chooses to serve others directly or indirectly, it is almost certain you will build community and relationship with not only those you serve alongside, but with those you serve and care for. 

 

And when you do, your definition of ‘family’ will most certainly expand to be closer to what Christ calls ‘My Family.’

 

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, empower us to serve others in the way that we do best.  Please be with us as we go through life, and help us to approach others with the same compassion and care that you taught us through your Son, in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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Thursday, March 29th. John 13:5

March 29, 2012

Our devotions this Lenten season have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church.  Today’s devotion is by Alexis Salazar. Also, if you would like to join our staff in praying the liturgy for Responsive Prayer/Suffrages just click here.

 

Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples feet.  John 13:5 

 

In this verse Jesus washes his disciples’ feet. Jesus, the Son of God, was not above doing the lowest tasks (washing of feet) for his disciples.

 

He was humble enough to share in this intimate moment with them.

 

He, who is above all, put himself below them in order to show them how to treat others.

 

As we go forward each day, let us use this as an example of how we treat others that we interact with.

 

Rather than judge others and think we are better than they are, put ourselves in Jesus’ position and humbly bow to wash their feet.

 

Let us pray:  Heavenly Father, please guide our church through service and togetherness. Please protect us and help us to do your will.  We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Wednesday, March 28th. 1 Corinthians 13:13

March 28, 2012

Our devotions this Lenten season have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church.  Today’s devotion is by Linda Lamb. Also, if you would like to join our staff in praying the liturgy for Responsive Prayer/Suffrages just click here.

 

“Faith, Hope, Love abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love.”  I Corinthians 13:13

 

We often associate this verse with weddings.  Obviously the focus of the day is love.  This chapter of the Bible focuses on what love is and what love is not, but I often wondered why love is the greatest.

Faith can move mountains – that’s pretty great! Faith is the evidence of things not seen.  We haven’t seen God face to face, but we have seen faith!  Faith is the foundation of what we believe!

 

And where would we be without hope?  Hope is pretty important too.  Our faith gives us hope for our tomorrows.  I used to think faith, hope and love – as far as my church life was concerned – each should be 33 1/3 percent- how could one be greater then the other?

Our faith also teaches us to “Love our neighbor as our self.”  Our love for others is often expressed in giving and caring.  We make contributions to food drives and support back to school programs and toy drives.  Through our love for our neighbor, the parents of hungry children go to organizations such as CCSC with the hope that they will have food for that evening, and their prayer is answered.

Brent served on a mission trip to Belize, helping with tasks that would free ophthalmologists to serve as many patients as possible in the short time they had at a clinic that was open only a few days a year. A young child, who was cross-eyed, was brought to the clinic.  His parents had the faith that the visiting doctors could help their son.  The ophthalmologist completed the exam and could correct this child’s vision, but it would take a specially ground lens.  He decided to look through the box of donated glasses without much hope that the needed lens would be there, but it was!

 

Many of our members donate blood.  Each donation gives hope and/or health to at least three patients.  The doctors ordering the blood components have faith that they will be available.  When  we encounter the homeless person on the street and hand them a Grace Bag, they feel a love they often do not experience. They more then likely have more hope for tomorrow. We show our love for others through our sharing of our time, talents, and possessions.  Without our love, others may lose hope and faith.  That is why “the greatest of these is love.”

 

Let us pray:  Lord help us to be a blessing to others by sharing our time, talents, possessions, or a kind word. In Jesus’ name,  Amen.

 

Tuesday, March 27th. 1 John 4:16

March 27, 2012

Our devotions this Lenten season have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church.  Today’s devotion is by Stacy DeClouette. Also, if you would like to join our staff in praying the liturgy for Responsive Prayer/Suffrages just click here.

 

So we know and believe the love God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.  1 John 4:16

The mother and the teenage daughter seated across the desk from me were very angry. Both felt that they had been misled about our youth retreat and our values.

 

She felt her daughter should have been allowed to attend our annual Youth Retreat, even when she was sick.  She had paid her money which was not refunded immediately. The daughter seemed willing to state her case, in hope for some concession and to get back to her youth group.  

 

But the mother contended with righteous intensity that it was the principle of the thing.

 

How could I, a church leader, allow such a thing to happen at a Christian organization?  It would be unacceptable even in a secular institution.  She was mad, and she held me responsible.


I listened, acknowledged their pain and frustration, made sure they had appealed to the right staff people, apologized for any misunderstandings, asked what they specifically wanted me to do, and promised to look into it and get back to them.

My empathy for them was sincere, my inner spirit at peace.  Why? Because I was able to separate my basic identity from my leadership role.  I knew that these women did not hate me personally.  They were simply enraged at whoever happened to be in charge.


Whenever I base my identity or worth as a person on my role as a leader, I betray myself and miss God’s best for me.  I am not inherently the leader.  I am God’s child whom he dearly loves, whether people are pleased or angry with my decisions, whether I succeed or fail.

 

My next appointment that day, was with a couple who was thrilled with their child’s experience at the retreat.  I accepted their praise—but as a Church Leader, not personally. It works both ways.

 

Let us pray:  Lord, please help us to follow your love for us in our heart that draws us to reach out to others. May the work we do bring growth in this life to us and to those we work with and help us extend the Kingdom of Christ. Give all people work that draws them to you and to each other in cheerful service. In your name we pray, Amen.

 

Monday, March 26th. Mark 9:35

March 26, 2012

Our devotions this Lenten season have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church.  Today’s devotion is by Wendy Farner. Also, if you would like to join our staff in praying the liturgy for Responsive Prayer/Suffrages just click here.

 

He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be the first must be last of all and servant of all.”  Mark 9:35

 

Jesus is talking to his disciples after they have been arguing over who is the greatest among them.  Jesus approaches this question so differently than we expect. 

 

Our human tendency is to try and position ourselves for ranking and earthly superiority, always trying to “be first.”  But here, Jesus tells us to do just the opposite – to be last, and also the servant of all. 

 

Jesus tells us that He does not value the powerful in society, but those who are humble and approach life in service to others. 

 

He teaches us that in our faith communities, we should strive to welcome everyone, even those who might be considered the least in society.  People who would normally be shunned by the world should know that they belong at Faith, and in fact have a place of honor among us. 

 

We should humble ourselves to be of service to others, which is exactly what Jesus himself did.

 

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, Please help us to welcome everyone with open hearts.  Thank you for teaching us that no one should be judged or ranked, and that we should all be servants to one another.  Guide us so that we can follow you in serving the least among us.  In your name we pray, Amen.

 

Friday, March 23rd. John 12:46-47

March 23, 2012

Our devotions this Lenten season have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church.  Today’s devotion is by Christina Ferguson.

I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.  As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him.  For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. John 12:46-47

Have you ever been in a dark room where you can’t find the light switch?  Maybe you’ve been outdoors at night without a flashlight trying to find your way in the dark.

Being in complete darkness is not a good feeling; we can feel scared, get hurt or even get lost.  In complete darkness even a faint light can help us find our way.  However, Jesus is not a faint light.

Earlier in John, Jesus stated “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Jesus’ love and sacrifice are like shining a spotlight in the darkness for us.  We can choose a life of light—receiving the word, trusting in God and living a life of integrity; or we can choose a life of darkness.

Let us pray:  Father, please grant us the courage and wisdom to step out of darkness and into the light.  Let our light shine before men that they may see the truth and glorify you, Holy Father.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Thursday, March 22nd. Psalm 55:22

March 22, 2012

Our devotions this Lenten season have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church.  Today’s devotion is by Natalie Dorman. Also, if you would like to join our staff in praying the liturgy for Responsive Prayer/Suffrages just click here.

 

Cast your burden to the Lord and He will sustain you.  Psalm 55:22
   

Sometimes we feel alone in the world.

We feel that there is not a single person on the planet who understands us. Not a single person who can help us. As we grow up and experience change, challenge, love, heartbreak, friendship, betrayal, and passion, we must also grow and learn to love God. We must learn to rely on him, just as we learn to rely on our friends and family.

 

We are “only human.” We make bad decisions, we get into trouble, we learn from our mistakes. We learn to ask for help. We hope for a sign. We pray. We knock, and the door is opened. The Lord steps out and guides us down the right path.

 

For teenagers, there is constant pressure about college, getting a job, preparing for our future. Sometimes, we feel like breaking down and giving in. But we know that the Lord is with us, holding our hands as our parents used to (though we no longer let them), patting our shoulders and wiping away our tears. But we must pray. We must ask for God’s aid, because, as my mother often says, “the squeaky wheel gets the oil.”

And when the Lord offers his help – through a doctor, a friend or family member, or even through a stranger, we must take it. We must accept him; let him into our hearts and minds and spirits. Let the Lord in, and let Him fulfill our dreams, our needs. We knock, and God opens the door to our future.

 

Let us pray:  Lord, give us all the strength to trust in you. When we need a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on, or a light to guide us down the right path, let us all trust in you to show us, teach us, and heal us. Let your love shine on all of your children in times of need. Amen.

 

Wednesday, March 21st. Luke 2:46

March 21, 2012

Our devotions this Lenten season have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church.  Today’s devotion is by Dennis Hutchison. Also, if you would like to join our staff in praying the liturgy for Responsive Prayer/Suffrages just click here.

 

After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.  Luke 2:46

 

Can you imagine how the story of Mary and Joseph frantically looking for their lost 12-year old child might have played out in the context of the world we live in today? We would have seen television reports of concerned neighbors and citizens interviewed on the street, passing out flyers, combing vacant fields, and speculating the worst. However, this passage of Luke speaks less about the moment frantic parents find their child and more about a child who has found himself.

 

After a day’s journey back to Jerusalem and a second day spent looking for Jesus, Joseph and Mary finally find him at the temple, listening to and asking questions of the teachers. It is not clear where within the temple Jesus is found listening to the teachers and responding to questions, but Jesus’ discussion with officials present leaves those who listen amazed at his calm insightful answers that suggest wisdom beyond that of even the teachers present.

 

In this passage, Luke is describing a blessed child for whom respect is beginning to grow among adults.  The 12-year old Jesus now speaks for himself for the first time; and in so doing, shows the sense of mission and self-awareness he possesses—the awareness that he has a unique relationship to God and a clear sense of his calling, one that transcends his relationship to his earthly parents.

 

Reading and reflecting on this passage reminds me of being in church when young confirmands stand before the church as their essays, read aloud to the congregation, reveal their relationship with God.  Just as Jesus was finding his purpose in life, we are called to find our voice in following God’s will.

 

Let us pray:  Lord, as we go through life, we know there are times we become lost. Help us to regain our sense of mission through your voice and wisdom so that we may live our lives in the way that brings you gladness and glory.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 20th. Matthew 28:20b

March 20, 2012

Our devotions this Lenten season have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church.  Today’s devotion is by Carl White. Also, if you would like to join our staff in praying the liturgy for Responsive Prayer/Suffrages just click here.

 

“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b 

 

After his resurrection, Jesus called the eleven and gave them the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations and reassured them with these last words of the Gospel of Matthew.

 

“Mr. White, you have cancer.”  The day we heard those words a whirlwind of activities began.  How are we going to get through all this? It didn’t take long before we got the answer.  The many prayers, gentle words of comfort, encouragement and hope were such a blessing and played a vital role in helping us cope with everything we were faced with on the road to healing.     

 

From the time our journey with cancer began we were surrounded with so many people who were there to help.  Before the surgery, a group of adults and teenagers in our church family encircled us and we were lifted up in prayer.  A good friend helped us on the path toward treatment.  The surgeon we chose turned out to be a fellow believer and Gods presence certainly guided her hands.  There were so many caring nurses and staff. 

 

One ICU nurse stands out in our minds.  After the third surgery, knowing how our

family was struggling with what to expect, she called on her drive home to tell us that everything was okay. 

 

Caring friends were a wonderful source of support, providing nourishment, shoulders to cry on, and a comfortable bed when needed.  The support we received from the pastors was invaluable in keeping the focus on healing.  The loving care and support we received from our children was such a blessing.  Friends and family from near and far prayed for us.

 

The examples above are just a sample of the way the presence of Jesus was shown to us as promised in the last verse of the Gospel of Matthew.

 

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, help us to show in our actions toward others in need that indeed your presence is always there to guide and comfort us.  Amen.

 

Monday, March 19th. Psalm 34:18

March 19, 2012

Our devotions this Lenten season have been written by members of Faith Lutheran Church.  Today’s devotion is by Erin Lyons. Also, if you would like to join our staff in praying the liturgy for Responsive Prayer/Suffrages just click here.

 

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

 

As I grow older my definition of brokenhearted has changed.  When I was a child, it was hearing “no” to requests for ice cream or new toys.  As a teenager, it was when a close friend treated me poorly. 

 

Now as a parent, I think the only thing that could leave me truly brokenhearted would be for something bad to happen to my daughter.  We are blessed to have a healthy child in our lives. 

 

Although we have not experienced this definition of brokenhearted, we know two mothers that have. 

 

My friend Sarah learned that her daughter Emma had leukemia when she was only 2 years old.  My friend Terri unexpectedly lost her daughter to an unknown heart condition at the age of 23. 

 

Both of these friends told me that in their most difficult times, they could truly feel the hundreds of prayers being said for them. Through them, I have realized that when we are really brokenhearted, we feel the Lord’s presence in our lives in ways we never expected. 

 

Sometimes it is the times when we feel the most alone, the most crushed in spirit, that we know the Lord is close. 

 

Let us pray:  Lord we give thanks that you are forever close to us.  May we remember this, especially when we are brokenhearted and crushed in spirit.  Amen.