Daily Devotions

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WEEK OF NOVEMBER 11, 2019

Monday, November 11, 2019

Scripture for Dwelling: Isaiah 65:17-25

Food for thought: We had a beautiful tribute presentation last Sunday as we celebrated All Saints Sunday.  We heard the musical meditation “I Can Only Imagine” during our tribute presentation.  A few years ago, after listening to “I Can Only Imagine”, I meditated and prayed about the promise of heaven and what that means.  In my prayerful meditations, I contemplated what heaven may look like.  I know that God has angels in heaven and on earth.  The following words came to me for a song in my thoughts of what heaven may look like.  I called the song, “I Will Dance with the Angels”:

…and I will dance with the angels in the shadow of your throne—wrapped in your light—there’s no more night—forever in heaven’s home.

…and I will dance with the angels in the shadow of your throne—surrounded by your glory bright—forever in heaven’s home.

All faith fulfilled in this heaven above—in your light—your glory—your endless love.  No more tears—no crying—no sorrow—no pain; freedom from all earthly pain—freedom from all earthly pain.

…and I will dance with the angels in the shadow of your throne—wrapped in your light—there’s no more night—forever in heaven’s home.

…and I will dance with the angels in the shadow of your throne—surrounded by your glory bright—forever in heaven’s home.

In the awesome warmth of your presence, Lord—all the mysteries of death—NOW KNOWN!  The unending circle of heaven above—forever in your perfect love—forever in your perfect love.

…and I will dance with the angels in the shadow of your throne—wrapped in your light—there’s no more night—forever in heaven’s home.

…and I will dance with the angels in the shadow of your throne—surrounded by your glory bright—forever in heaven’s home.

My eyes can see—I understand.  My eyes can see I understand.  Let me soar with the angels.  Let me soar with the angels.  Let me soar with the angels.  Let me soar with angels.  LET ME SOAR!

…and I will dance with the angels in the shadow of your throne—wrapped in your light—there’s no more night—forever in heaven’s home.

…and I will dance with the angels in the shadow of your throne—surrounded by your glory bright—forever in heaven’s home.

A Prayer for the Week Prayer of the Week.  Please pray this prayer each day of the week:

God of Light—God of Life, all praise—all glory—all honor—be to your Holy Name.  We lift our thanksgiving to you for all the blessings of life that you so freely give.  We are your children.  You made us—you give us life.  You sustain us.  You protect from harms as we navigate this world.  You heal us when we are sick.  You make us whole in mind, body, and spirit when we are struggling or broken.  You sent your Son into the world to be one of us—to teach us—to show us your love and the of love that it took for Him to die on that cruel cross—so we may live.  Hold us close in this world—as distractions and evil try to pull us away from you.  Hold us in grace as we live in the promise of salvation through faith.  Help us live in the hope of heaven—and the promise of eternal life that we cannot fathom in our humanity.  Give us peace in our lives—here in this world and the in the world to come.  We pray these things in the Name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit—one God—now and forever.  Amen.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Scripture for dwelling: Isaiah 25: 8-12

Food for thought: It is difficult for us to imagine the power of God—period.  In our humanity, we cannot understand what living in the presence of God can actually look like—feel like—or be in any sense of reality.  We can—only imagine.  This Scripture is in the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament.  This is a book of prophesy—full of the promises of God for the future of God’s people.  Creator God loved humans so much that Creator God came to earth in the human form of Jesus Christ—to live among us—to be one of us—to teach us in the ways of God.  However, the ultimate purpose of God coming to earth in Jesus Christ was to show God’s ultimate love and to give his only Son in death so that WE MAY LIVE!  This is the GOOD NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST!  We have the promise that, as the Prophet Isaiah says in this Scripture, God has SWALLOWED UP DEATH FOREVER!!!  In the presence of God, there is no more earthly crying.  There will be no need for tears.

Please pray our Prayer for the Week.  When people join together in a common prayer, God hears the prayer and recognizes the unity of the people joined in that prayer.  Alleluia!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Scripture for Dwelling: Colossians 3:1-7

Food for thought: In reading this Scripture, we are encouraged to release the things of this world that holds us—literally the chains of an earthly life.  Certainly, there is goodness and joy and peace in our lives when we put God first and love our neighbors as ourselves.  However, we are encouraged here to live in the promise of heaven and the life in Christ to come—not in the challenges and sorrows of this world.  We are assured here—that we have been resurrected with Christ and should fully set our sights—that means our minds, bodies, and spirits—on that promise of eternal life in God.  Through our salvation, we are transformed—changed from our old selves and sealed in the salvation through Jesus Christ.  This Scripture reminds me of the metamorphosis of a butterfly.  We are transformed from the cocoon of sin to the beautiful life of the majestic butterfly.  HE LIVES—SO WE LIVE!!!

Please pray our Prayer for the Week.  When people join together in a common prayer, God hears the prayer and recognizes the unity of the people joined in that prayer.  Alleluia!

butterfly

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Scripture for dwelling: John 11:1-44

Food for thought: This is one of my favorite accounts in the New Testament.  Jesus loved Mary and Martha—and their brother Lazarus.  The power of God is unfathomable.  God is OMNIPOTENT—all powerful.  Jesus Christ was fully human in his earthly life… AND… Jesus Christ was fully DIVINE while he was on earth.  The power of resurrection is so clearly seen in this account of raising Lazarus from the dead.  Lazarus was dead!  Lazarus’ body had begun to decay.  Jesus was touched by the grief of Lazarus’ sisters and for the actual death of his friend.  We are resurrected with Christ as he triumphantly broke the chains of death on the third day.  We are also resurrected with Lazarus in the promise and power that we CAN SEE in the raising of Lazarus from the dead!  Alleluia!  We are God’s children and are invited to live in this kind of hope and promise for resurrection.  Jesus promises that he is the resurrection—the truth—and the life—and that is the only promise that we need now and forever!

Please pray our Prayer for the Week.  When people join together in a common prayer, God hears the prayer and recognizes the unity of the people joined in that prayer.  Alleluia!

I am the resurrections....png

Friday, November 15, 2019

Scriptures for dwelling: Revelation 7:13-17, Revelation 21:4-8, Revelation 22:3-7

Food for thought: Many people are mystified and even apprehensive about the Book of Revelation.  The writer of the Gospel of John also wrote Revelation.  There is much promise of the heaven to come in the Gospel of John and in the Book of Revelation.  The images are of Revelation of vivid.  A beautiful picture of “no more tears and no more sorrow” is painted in this book.  Included here are several images to meditate over and contemplate as we dwell in the Scripture of Promise in the Book of Revelation.

Friday 1

Friday 2

Friday 3

Friday 4

Please pray our Prayer for the Week.  When people join together in a common prayer, God hears the prayer and recognizes the unity of the people joined in that prayer.  Alleluia!

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 4, 2019

Monday, November 4, 2019

Scripture for Dwelling: Acts 4:1-22, Deuteronomy 4:32-39

Food for Thought: All our biblical theology is, or at least it should be, MISSIONAL.  Biblical theology, by definition, is “the theology of life”.  To know God and to engage in God’s mission in the world is to be challenged to make God known.  It is to be entrusted with knowledge that God wants to be shared.  That is what makes it MISSIONAL.  Behind all our mission stands the unshakable determination—the RESOLVE—of our all-powerful God.  Our God desires to be known throughout the whole creation as the living God.  God’s will to be known is what makes our mission not only a responsive action to God but clearly a calling by God.  It is also an action that is ONLY POSSIBLE through God.  God is OUT FRONT—always ‘there’ and moving out before we can even contemplate where or how to move on our own!

A Prayer for the Week  Prayer for the Week: All-powerful and ever-present God, we come to you as one, the people of St. Peter Lutheran Church, to give you praise and thanksgiving.  You are our loving and caring God.  We are nothing without you.  We are everything good with your love and compassion—with your grace and nurture.  Help each of us understand the role and calling that you have for us—in your mission in the world.  We thank you for the gifts that you have given each of us.  We know those gifts are diverse and varied.  Help us see the ways that you would have us use our gifts to share the Good News of Jesus Christ and to share the love and grace and peace that comes only through you.  We know the world is challenging, resistant, and often dark.  Give us the courage and paths to step into the world in ways to honor you and to carry your mission forward to people who are crying out for peace but simply do not understand that what they are crying out for can come only through you.  We pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  Amen.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Scripture for Dwelling: Romans 1:1-17

Food for Thought: God, what does your mission look like on this earth—today—in Spokane?  This list is a good list, but there may be more things that you would like to add to the list.  Here goes:

  • We are on this earth, as human beings, as stewards to take care of God’s creation.
  • We were chosen in Abraham to be God’s people through whom God’s blessings reach to all nations.
  • We are called to walk in the ways of God, in justice and righteousness, in a world that is often a world that lacks justice and equity, and a world that is often evil in many ways.
  • We are called to live out our own redemption in reaching out to the other—the lowly—the weak—the least of God’s children—in compassionate treatment and extending a helpful hand.
  • We are the conduit between God and the world. We are called to take God to the world and to draw the world back to God.  We truly are God’s hands in this world AND it truly is God’s work that employs our hands.
  • We are called to demonstrate the character and ways of God to the world. In doing this, our calling means that we are called to “attract” others to come into the faith and enjoy the peace and power and living in faith.
  • We are called to know the living God and be uncompromisingly loyal to the Lord Jesus Christ in our WORSHIP and our WITNESS.

Prayer for the Week: Please join your sisters and brothers of St. Peter Lutheran Church as we pray this prayer together.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Scripture for Dwelling: Ephesians 4:1-16, 1 Corinthians 12:29-30

Food for Thought: We read in this passage that we are not all called to be evangelists (or pastors, etc.), but we are all called to be witnesses.  Even those of us who are not called to be evangelists are all called to be faithful witnesses to the Lord Jesus Christ and must be willing to speak up for Christ when opportunities arise.  We have said it before, we must be BOLD and UNASHAMED in our witness of Christ.

Prayer for the Week: Please join your sisters and brothers of St. Peter Lutheran Church as we pray this prayer together.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Scripture for Dwelling: Isaiah 43:8-13, Isaiah 42:18-25

Food for Thought: Let’s take another flashback to the Old Testament and celebrate the GOOD NEWS that Isaiah proclaimed.  In this passage, the Lord declares that “YOU ARE MY WITNESSES THAT I AM GOD!”  This is a key Scripture that proclaims the redemption of our good God and our calling to proclaim that redemption and goodness to the world.  In 43:10, Isaiah deliberately echoes what God has said about Israel.  This passage reaffirms that Israel is God’s chosen people—God’s servants—chosen through the line of Abraham, sealed with the Covenant of God.  In this, God’s original commission remains—God’s people are called as WITNESSESS of God’s truth, justice, compassion, love, and grace.  We are God’s servants, doing God’s work—God’s work—our hands to be God’s hands in this world.

Prayer for the Week: Please join your sisters and brothers of St. Peter Lutheran Church as we pray this prayer together.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Scripture for Dwelling: Mark 13:9-11, Matthew 10:17-20, Luke 21:12-15

Food for Thought: Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the Synoptic Gospels.  They run (much) in parallel and there are accounts in each that corroborate what the other two say.  There are many reference books that outline all the ‘parallels’ in the Synoptic Gospel.  Today’s Scripture for dwelling draws from such a parallel.  In these passages, we understand that the job of witness is sometimes challenging and even dangerous.  There WILL be pushback.  Persecution may even occur.  Jesus warns the disciples that they will face this kind of persecution and even arrest/imprisonment.  That kind of commitment, to bear witness—even when the stakes are persecution or worse is difficult.  In our world today, how deep is our commitment to be God’s witnesses in the world?  How much “persecution” are we willing to withstand?  These are purely rhetorical questions for personal contemplation.  Peace.

Prayer for the Week: Please join your sisters and brothers of St. Peter Lutheran Church as we pray this prayer together.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Scripture for Dwelling: Job 19:23-27, Psalm 17:1-9, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17, Luke 20:27-38

Food for Thought: We worship on the first day of the week because our Savior was raised on that day.  Every Sunday is a “little” Easter.  This Sunday feels more like Easter than many since it is the appointed Sunday with appropriate Scriptures to celebrate the reality of the resurrection.  Live it up this Lord’s day.  Our God is the God of the living.  In our Gospel passage today, the Sadduccees, who do not believe in the resurrection of the dead, try to trap Jesus.  They formulate the convoluted case of a serial widow who marries a succession of seven brothers.  Jesus responds by teaching about God, to whom all are alive and in whom all relationships are fulfilled.

Prayer for the Week: Please join your sisters and brothers of St. Peter Lutheran Church as we pray this prayer together.

WEEK OF OCTOBER 28, 2019

We are continuing this journey about what is means to be missional in life and missional in the life of our church.

Before we dive into more contemplations about being a missional church, I want to respond to a question that someone asked after the sermon last Sunday.  As you remember, our gospel was in Luke and it was centered on the parable of the ‘unjust, angry judge and the persistent widow’.  It was a study on faith and prayer and connecting living faith and living prayer and using that armor to power through the injustices of life that we see happen to others—as well as the injustices that we often see in our own lives.  The person asking the question said, “I get the part about faith and living in faith and not looking back, but…… I don’t know how to do that.  I don’t know how to make that kind of faith happen in my own life.”  I am going to paraphrase the part of last Sunday’s sermon that I believe gives us the kind of guidance that this person is asking about:

  • Live into faith in an INTENTIONAL WAY.
  • This kind of faith requires constant awareness—a way of life.
  • Building this kind of faith means building a life on the Two Great Commandments of Jesus Christ.
  • This kind of faith is not a response to or reaction to situations in life (for ourselves or what we may see happening to others). This kind of faith is a way of life—part of the fiber of our being—WHO WE ARE!
  • Engaging constantly in living, breathing prayer—as a way of life!
  • This kind of faith is built on an ever-evolving RELATIONSHIP with God—not occasional, but daily.
  • This kind of faith actively stands up for the other—the lowly—the weak—the marginalized.
  • This kind of faith pushes through pain and injustice and the things that we cannot understand or control. This kind of faith walks in faith and NOT IN FEAR or INTIMIDATION.
  • This kind of faith ACTS OUT! It is bold and is driven to share faith with others so they may have a taste of what LIVING FAITH looks like and feels like.
  • This kind of faith craves worship and praise to God and intentionally seeks ways to join with others in worship and praise—regularly!
  • This kind of faith relies on God and knows that God is ever-present and all-knowing—even when it seems that God is silent or absent. GOD IS ALWAYS OUT FRONT—LEADING!

I hope these suggestions and guides help to answer that question.  Peace, Tim…. Now—on to our devotions for the week!

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Monday, October 28, 2019

Scripture for Dwelling: Acts 17:1-34

Food for Thought: In this Scripture, Paul, disturbed by the idols that he witnessed all around the City, made his case for the gospel to a skeptical community.  In this setting, Paul is a bit like a salmon—swimming up-stream.  However, he does experience an openness from some to contemplate the gospel and reflect on their perceptions of the usefulness of the gospel in their lives.  The point of this, in the context of our discussion on mission is this:  Paul is bold in this mission work in Athens.  He is unashamed.  He is not simply living in the faith; he is actively and passionately proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ and resurrection in this mission work—knowing that some of his audience are going to reject the message.  You know what is coming next….. in addition to our living in Christ—justified by our faith—how can we boldly and unashamedly proclaim this VERY SAME GOSPEL that Paul is proclaiming?  Where will we go from here in proclaiming this VERY SAME GOSPEL….. The gospel is unchanged; however, the world continues to change.  “Connecting those dots” is the key: how do we connect this unchanged gospel to a constantly shifting world—in a constantly changing world—where many, if not most, people are perfectly fine without God or faith or church or the good news of Jesus Christ in their lives?  The answer is key if we are going to be a missional church in the world today.  Please share your answers with the rest of us!!!

A Prayer for the Week  Prayer for the Week: God of grace and God of glory, on us—your people—pour your mighty power!  We kneel before you to pray and lift our thanksgiving to you for all the blessings of life and the goodness you give us through the gospel.  Precious Lord ignite passion and energy in us to boldly share your good news to a world that is hurting, that is struggling with everything from faith to addiction—struggling with meaning of life to hope for a brighter day.  Precious Lord help us see the connections that you already see—that will actively bring your good news to our community—outside the walls of our church.  Precious Lord, you continue to bless us with resources and volunteers to feed many hungry souls in our community.  Now, help us stretch beyond feeding people in physical ways—to boldly offering them Spiritual food in the good news of Jesus Christ.  We are weak and you are strong.  We are blind and you see everything.  We are deaf and you hear the cries of creation for life and for hope that can only come through you.  Empower us!  Embolden us!  Strengthen us!  We pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Scripture for Dwelling: Exodus 13:3-10, Exodus 14:21-31

Food for Thought: What ARE people searching for?  Whatever it is—God is the key to the answer.  God’s love and redemption ARE the answer.  The good news of Jesus Christ certainly paves the way.  In Exodus, as we celebrate in our Scriptures today, God delivers God’s people from slavery in Egypt and heads them in the direction of THE PROMISED LAND.  This is a powerful account of DELIVERANCE.  That same STORY OF REDEMPTION—POWER OF REDEMPTION—is alive and well today as we face DELIVERANCE FROM WHATEVER ENSLAVES US.  So, to contemplate an answer to the question: What ARE people searching for?  I believe the answer is FREEDOM and DELIVERANCE.  That looks different for many ‘different’ people.  Here is a ‘small list’ of things to contemplate that people are searching for FREEDOM and DELIVERANCE from:

  • Addictions
  • Oppression
  • Hunger
  • Paralyzing sin
  • Physical conditions
  • A life that seems to have little meaning
  • Mental conditions
  • Slavery of their very spirits
  • Many, Many more…

How will we respond to ‘DELIVER’ the GOOD NEWS OF FREEDOM AND DELIVERANCE to a world of people who are searching, struggling—sinking in the sea of despair?  HOW WILL WE RESPOND?

Prayer for the Week: Please pray this Prayer for the Week, as we, the faithful of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Spokane, join together to raise this prayer to God in unity of our faith and trust!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Scripture for Dwelling: Matthew 2:13-15, Mark 1:1-13, Isaiah 40:1-8

Food for Thought: In keeping with yesterday’s theme of EXODUS as freedom and deliverance, let’s look at these other examples of exodus and redemption in the Scriptures.  The Matthew passage shows how God re-routed Joseph and his family to bring them out of Egypt into safety while Herod was on the baby-killing rampage, which risked Baby Jesus’ life.  The Mark passage uses a “new” exodus imagery that is related to the Isaiah 40 passage in his understanding of the coming ministry of Jesus Christ and the liberation—freedom—salvation—that Jesus’ life will provide.  John the Baptizer proclaims this message.  These examples are armor in our suit of mission!

Prayer for the Week: Please pray this Prayer for the Week, as we, the faithful of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Spokane, join together to raise this prayer to God in unity of our faith and trust!

Thursday, October 31, 2019—We have Trunk-or-Treat this afternoon!!!

Scripture for Dwelling: Exodus 15:1-21

Food for Thought: Rejoice!  And again, I say, REJOICE!  When we contemplate being a missional church and what we share with the world, let’s never neglect to share joy.  For the past couple of days, we have been talking about exodus and freedom.  I love the fact that when God’s people made it to the other side of the Red Sea, the first thing they did—AND IT WAS INSTINCTIVE—was to praised God in song and praise!  This kind of celebration can be contagious.  We need more of this kind of celebration in worship today!

Prayer for the Week: Please pray this Prayer for the Week, as we, the faithful of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Spokane, join together to raise this prayer to God in unity of our faith and trust!

Friday, November 1, 2019—Today is the official All Saints Day, which we will celebrate in a few days when we gather on All Saints Sunday!

Scripture for Dwelling: Roman 6:1-23

Food for Thought: How do we relate our biblical theology of redemption, with its exodus roots and its fulfillment AT THE CROSS, to life in mission for the people of God in the world TODAY?  One powerful answer is: we must keep the cross as the center of our message in our engagement of God’s mission in the world.  This means that we must keep the cross as the center to every dimension of mission that we engage in.  Let’s always remember:

  • Only in the cross is there forgiveness, justification, and cleansing for guilty sinners.
  • Only in the cross stands the defeat of evil powers.
  • Only in the cross is there release from the fear of death and its ultimate destruction altogether.
  • Only in the cross are even the most difficult to control of enemies/evils reconciled.
  • Only in the cross will we finally witness the HEALING OF ALL CREATION.

This is a powerful message that we called to share in mission with the world.

Prayer for the Week: Please pray this Prayer for the Week, as we, the faithful of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Spokane, join together to raise this prayer to God in unity of our faith and trust!

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Scripture for Dwelling: Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18, Psalm 149, Ephesians 1:11-23, Luke 6:20-31

Food for Thought: Let’s get ready for tomorrow morning.  In holy baptism, God makes saints out of sinners.  In holy communion, God forgives the sins of all the saints.  In the assembly on All Saints Sunday, we give thanks for all the saints “who from their labors rest,” who have fought the good fight, and who have gained the crown.  In the same breath, we petition our God for the strength to hear and to heed admonitions of the Lord Jesus in the gospel reading in Luke.  Recalling that we have been sealed by the Spirit and sustained by the Savior’s body and blood, we keep on keeping on as God gives breath, to the praise of God’s glory.  In our gospel reading today, Luke 6:20-31, in echoes of the prophet Isaiah and Mary’s song of praise, Jesus reveals surprising things about who enjoys blessing and who endures woe.  He invites his disciples to shower radical love, blessing, forgiveness, generosity, and trust, even to enemies and outsiders.

Prayer for the Week: Please pray this Prayer for the Week, as we, the faithful of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Spokane, join together to raise this prayer to God in unity of our faith and trust!

As you finish today’s devotion, I hope you are planning to be with us tomorrow morning for our All Saints Sunday Festival Celebration.  We will celebrate at 10:00 AM.  During the service, we will commemorate loved ones and friends that have gone before us.  Alleluia!

 

ALL SAINTS FESTIVAL SERVICE OF HOLY COMMUNION

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2019

10:00 AM

EEEK OF OCTIBER 28, 2019

 

WEEK OF OCTOBER 21, 2019

Last week, we prayed together each day of the week and asked God to show us new ways that we may enter into connections and evangelism with our community—with our sisters and brothers and their children in our Hillyard Neighborhood and in our City of Spokane.  This cannot be a one-week commitment.  We have to make this kind of prayer a part of our daily prayers into the future—unending.  We have to make this kind of prayer part of our identity as a church—as a church that is committed to pray together to discern God’s will in the church, with our members, and in the community where we serve.  In our gospel passage for this coming Sunday, there is a resounding theme.  That theme is “pray without end and do not be discouraged”.  I have to say that again, “PRAY WITHOUT END AND DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED.”

In our contemplations about engaging in evangelism as part of our identity, we should consider what it means to be a MISSIONAL CHURCH.  In many places, the word “MISSIONAL” has become a ‘buzz-word’ for churches that worship in diverse and charismatic ways.  It has also sometimes been a label for churches that “plant” new churches in new communities across their areas.  But, what does it really mean to be “MISSIONAL”—sent by God—engaged in God’s mission?  It has never been our mission and it never will be!  We are privileged and called to engage in advancing God’s Mission in the world.  In our Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, we have a slogan or tag line that proclaims:  GOD’S WORK:  Our hands.  It indeed is God’s work and we are only the vessels to carry out God’s Mission.  We are the conduit for the Spirit to flow through to reach the world of people in need.  Our Scriptures and thoughts this week will take us on that journey.  The idea of “MISSIONAL CHURCH” is so large, that it seems we should spend several weeks in these contemplations.  Peace to you all!  Please continue to give me feedback about these devotionals!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Scriptures for Dwelling: John 3:11-21, John 14:1-31 (Yes!  The whole beautiful, powerful chapter!), John 17:1-26 (Again, the whole beautiful, powerful chapter!), Acts 13:1-12

Food for Thought: Here we consider that God the Father sent the Son into the world.  And God the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit into the world.  And Father, Son, and Holy Spirit send the church into the world.  There is a term that has been used since the middle of the twentieth century and it names this multi-layered sending as a description for the church.  This term uses two Latin words: missio Dei.  The translation is “mission of God” or “sending of God”.  Linking the mission of God to all the members of the Holy Trinity and then linking the sending to us—the church—is a powerful thought.  The “MOVEMENT” that is described in “SENDING” is action oriented.  In God’s Mission, to me, this implies that we can never be complacent in engaging in and advancing God’s Mission in the world.   Regardless of our ages, our resources, our current work in God’s Mission—we must be disciplined and committed to listen to God for new (and maybe even challenging) new avenues for God’s Mission in the world.  We can be sure that the Holy Spirit is moving constantly— churning and swirling in our world.  God is ALWAYS out in front of us.  God is always many steps ahead of us.  How do we respond?  Are we praying and LISTENING to God for new directions and new guidance in how to move with the Holy Spirit in missio Dei?

Please pray our Prayer for the Week, as we, the flock of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Spokane, join together as one voice before God—our God who HEARS all our prayers.

A Prayer for the Week Prayer for the Week: Holy God—Great God—God of the Universe—we bow down to you and lift our praise to you.  We offer our thanksgiving to you for all the blessings that you so freely give to us. You bless us in the joyous times in our lives—and in the times of sorrow, loss, disappointment, or failure.  God, make us a beacon of Christ’s light in this dark world.  Speak to us that we make speak to others.  Guide us—lead us—route us—in the ways that you would have us carry out your mission in our community—our City—and in this world.  God help us make the connections in our community to sustain and grow our congregation so we can continue to raise up pastors, feed hungry people, and do the other things that you lead us to do.  God, take our mustard seed faith and grow it, bless it, advance it to GIANT MUSTARD TREE FAITH.  We claim victory in your Holy Name.  We know, that through faith, that you are our Advocate—our fuel—and our foundation.  We are here.  Work through us!  We pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  Amen.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Scriptures for Dwelling: Genesis 9:8-17, Exodus 3:7-12, Genesis 15:1-6, Jeremiah 1:7

Food for Thought: In his book, The Mission of God’s People, author Christopher Wright, poses the question: If we, the church are being sent…. what are we being sent to do?  “Sending” of people to do God’s work is not exclusive to the New Testament and the sending of the church.  God “sends” plenty of people in the Old Testament.  Let’s look at examples of God’s sending of people in the Old Testament in today’s readings.  God sends Noah to gather creatures, his extended family, and build an ark, so that they may float on a journey of salvation from a world that was too wicked for God to tolerate.  God sends Moses to deliver God’s people from captivity and slavery in Egypt.  Abram, later Abraham, was sent, at a very old age, to build a legacy of descendants with more descendants than there are stars in the skies; and to live in Covenant with God as God’s people.  Jeremiah was sent to proclaim God’s Word.

Please pray our Prayer for the Week as we, the flock of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Spokane, join together as one voice before God—who HEARS all our prayers.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Scriptures for Dwelling: Acts 20:25-27, Ephesians 1:3-14

Food for Thought: Chris Wright also points out that “It is not so much the case that God has a mission for his church in the world, as that God has a church for God’s mission in the world.  Mission was not made for the church; the church was made—and SENT—for mission—God’s mission in the world.  You have heard me say it before, it is NOT our mission, it is God’s mission.  God is “out front” of any plans or paths that we could ever consider taking in mission.

Please pray our Prayer for the Week as we, the flock of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Spokane, join together as one voice before God—who HEARS all our prayers:

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Scriptures for Dwelling: Luke 24:46-48, 1 Peter 2:1-10

Food for Thought: Where are we to engage in God’s Mission?  Many churches, over the past five or six (give or take) decades have become very INWARDLY FOCUSED.  In the past decade (or so), many churches have literally tried to survive to “keep the lights on”.  These kinds of churches are focused inside their four walls.  They have little consideration for God’s mission in the world.  Don’t get me wrong, we are expected to come together as a church, and worship God.  We are called to engage in Word and Sacrament.  Coming together regularly, in God’s name, keeps us in Christian bond and common goals.  There is little in the world that I look forward to more than coming together in our Sanctuary to worship God together, singing together, praying together, and celebrating our Sacraments of Holy Communion and Baptism.  However—if all we were to do is to come together to worship, then we would only be focused within our four walls.  The mission of God is OUT IN THE WORLD AROUND US.  We live in a City where there is rampant homelessness.  There are dozens of people each day that wander through our property and even pitch their tents and sleep on our property for the night.  There are literally hundreds of people that find their way into our food banks and in our free community breakfasts.  These are DEFINITELY examples of OUTREACH.  These are definitely examples of engaging in God’s mission in the world to take care of those who need our help.  The questions I continue to ask: “Is God calling us in any new directions in our outreach and mission?”  “Where may God be calling us next—beyond our current outreach?”  What does the next chapter of God’s Mission through St. Peter Lutheran Church look like?

Please pray our Prayer for the Week as we, the flock of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Spokane, join together as one voice before God—who HEARS all our prayers.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Scriptures for Dwelling: Galatians 4:4-7

Food for Thought: This passage is about FREEDOM.  We are freed by the death and victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We are freed by the peace and power of the Holy Spirit.  We are empowered by our resurrection with Christ.  We are empowered by the energy and movement of the Holy Spirit.  This kind of empowerment and energy gives us the fuel to engage in God’s Mission in the world—outside our four walls of worship.  This is our foundation and fuel to move in directions where God is calling.  Where is God calling us over the next 2 years?  The next 3 years?  The next 4 years?  The next 5 years?

Please pray our Prayer for the Week as we, the flock of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Spokane, join together as one voice before God—who HEARS all our prayers.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Scriptures for Dwelling: Jeremiah 31:31-34, Psalm 46, Romans 3:19-28, and John 8:31-36

Food for Thought: Tomorrow, on Reformation Sunday, we will celebrate the heart of our faith: the gospel of Christ—the good news—that makes us free!  We pray that the Holy Spirit would continue to unite the church today in its proclamation and witness to the world.  In the waters of baptism, we are made one body; we pray for the day that all Christians will also be on at the Lord’s table.  In our passage for tomorrow:

Jeremiah—The renewed covenant will not be breakable, but like the old covenant, it will expect the people to live upright lives.  To know the Lord means that one will defend the cause of the poor and the needy (Jeremiah 22:16).  The renewed covenant is possible only because the Lord will forgive iniquity and not remember sin.  Our hope lies in a God who forgets our transgressions once we have asked for forgiveness.

The Psalm—The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold (Verse 7).

Romans—Paul’s words stand at the heart of the preaching of Martin Luther and the other Protestant Reformation leaders.  No human beings make themselves right with God through works of the law.  We are brought into a right relationship with God through the divine activity centered in Christ’s death.  This act is a gift of GRACE that liberates us from sin and empowers our faith in Jesus Christ.

In our Gospel Reading in John—Jesus speaks of truth and freedom as spiritual realities known through his word.  He reveals the truth that sets people free from sin.

Please pray our Prayer for the Week as we, the flock of St. Peter Lutheran Church in Spokane, join together as one voice before God—who HEARS all our prayers.

Reformation 1      Öèôðîâàÿ ðåïðîäóêöèÿ íàõîäèòñÿ â èíòåðíåò-ìóçåå gallerix.ru

TOMORROW IS REFORMATION SUNDAY.  WE WILL CELEBRATE THIS DAY WITH

A FESTIVAL SERVICE OF HOLY COMMUNION AT 10:00 AM.  ALL ARE WELCOME!

WEEK OF OCTOBER 14, 2019

Last Sunday, we had a call for prayer to God to help us bring the children and youth back into our congregation.  This brings us again to the conversation we were having a few weeks ago about EVANGELISM!

We can be assured that God is out front of all of this!  We can be assured that God has a plan!  We can be assured that God is moving in this community—even when we do not see where God is moving.  But, how do we respond to God’s call?  What do we do to engage in GOD’S WORK—OUR HANDS in this community in response to our call to evangelism?  How do we connect with the families—the parents—and the children—to build a healthy group of children in our Sunday School, our Worship Services, and in every part of St. Peter Lutheran Church experience?  This is not about building numbers in our church; it is about connecting God’s children together and worshipping and serving and celebrating the Good News for ALL ages!  Prayer is a good starting point.  Prayer is a good way to get the dialogue going with God.  We need to pray individually.  We need to pray together.  Prayer is the starting point, but must be continued daily forever!  Prayer has to be a way of life.  We need better awareness about what we are facing and how we can engage in our evangelistic plans.  We need to talk about evangelism.  We need to make this part of our routine conversations when we come together to worship, to meet, or for whatever reasons we are gathering.  Then we need an action plan—a realistic action plan—one that starts with appropriate goals and then builds on itself as goals are accomplished and we progress.  It is pretty safe that the “build it and they will come” kind of strategy just does not work any longer in church evangelism.  We already have a beautiful church and we are already here and have been here for a long time! Let’s pray our Prayer for the Week together each day as we focus again on Evangelism and Outreach.  Let’s look at the following five things in this week’s devotions:  1-what does God say about children? 2-what does God’s word say about faith and prayer and God’s promise? 3-how do we listen/hear God’s call to us? 4-how do we take “dialogue” or “talk” into action? 5-Reaching outside into the community we live in to engage in “God’s work [with] our hands”!  Then, the next week, we will have daily devotions around the discussion of “what does it mean to be a missional church?”

Monday, October 14, 2019

              Let the children come to me (2)      Let the children come to me 3 (2)

Scriptures for dwelling: Mark 10:13-16, Matthew 19:13-15, Deuteronomy 6:6-7, 2 Timothy 3:14-15

Food for Thought: Jesus puts a very high priority on the value of children in the Kingdom of God.  Jesus wants to hear from the children.  In Jesus’ eyes, children are not supposed to just be seen, but also heard!  In the passages in Deuteronomy and 2 Timothy, we see the importance that God places on teaching children in the ways of God and God’s word.  We know this is our responsibility and calling.  Now… our prayer is for God to lead us in ways to see how we can connect with the parents of our local children.  It takes a strong connection with and commitment from the  FAMILY—the PARENTS—with the Church Leaders—to create a magnet of Word and Sacrament and JOY that DRAWS young families and children into the church.  We have talked much, through these parables in Luke, about the MANY lures and distractions of the world that pull people away from God…. And then there are those parents who now have children, who, themselves, were not raised in church families and church homes.  They have no center of God in their lives and that makes it even more difficult to connect.  Difficult and challenging—yes!  Impossible—NO!  I hope you still have your MUSTARD SEED from last Sunday!  Let’s pray together…

A Prayer for the Week

Prayer for the Week:  All-knowing God—Creator and sustainer of the universe, we lift our praises to you.  We lift our thanksgiving to you for all you do in our lives and in our world.  God, you know our challenges here at St. Peter Lutheran in connecting with young families to bring children back into our flock—children to build a future for your church and your work here in this community of Hillyard—in Spokane.  God soften our hearts, open our eyes, heighten our ears, and stir our hearts—to listen to your call—to HEAR your call in this community and in this world.  God, where are you leading us?  How are you leading us in mission and outreach in our community with children and young families?  God, speak to us so that we may speak in your holy name in this community.  Continue to bless our strong food ministries and show us, lead us, guide us— in the paths that you would have us go to bring your children—parents and their little ones—back into your flock here.  Holy God, help us build a future for this congregation through the connections you lead us to make in this community today.  We pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God—now and forever!  Amen.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Scriptures for dwelling: Romans 4:13-25

Food for Thought: We have to have faith.  We talked about mustard seed faith growing into the mighty mustard seed tree!  And—our prayers need to be earnest and ask God for guidance in ‘bringing them in’ or ‘bringing them back’.  And then, we must HOPE AGAINST HOPE—BELIEVE AGAINST RESISTANCE—CLAIM VICTORY IN THE NAME OF GOD!  Abraham was a VERY old man and God promised him that he would have more descendants than there are stars in the skies.  Abraham, in his NINETIES, was not convinced and his wife, Sarah, laughed at God.  God has a plan and we need to prayerfully discern that plan—BELIEVING AND HOPING AND KNOWING that great things happen when we engage in GOD’S WORK with our hands!

Please pray our Prayer for the Week as we join as one—the body of Christ—praying together.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Scriptures for dwelling: James 1:19-25

Food for Thought: I love this passage!  In our Lutheran reservations about anything that borders on works-righteousness, this Scripture gives us our marching orders—as God’s people—as Lutherans!  We know that we do not earn our salvation by good works.  However, when we are living and mustard TREE faith, the works are bound to pour out of us like the waters of Niagara Falls!  We cannot be just hearers of the Word about evangelism and reaching out to children and their families.  We must have BOOTS ON THE GROUND!  How do we do that?  It takes dialogue—discussion—consensus—action plan—COMMITMENT—and then GO!  GO!!!  ACTION!  Are we ready to move?

Please pray our Prayer for the Week as we join as one—the body of Christ—praying together.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Scriptures for dwelling: Hebrews 13:1-25

Food for Thought: How DO WE take our dialogue—our discussions—our plans and goals—into ACTION?  This is not easy.  We have to discern the direction God is leading us.  We need to agree on this, as a Church.  Then, it takes the FIRST STEP into action.  The NEXT STEP will be easier than the first.  This Scripture reminds us to ACT in God’s name and to ACT IN FAITH.  We are wrapped in the blanket of God’s grace.  We are definitely called into God’s mission as church.  The ACTING part is often where we fall short.  If we want to connect with these young families and children in Hillyard, we already know that they are NOT coming to us automatically.  So,,,, we must GO TO THEM!  Are we ready?

Please pray our Prayer for the Week as we join as one—the body of Christ—praying together.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Scriptures for dwelling: Acts 1:8, Acts 13:47, Mark 16:15, Romans 10:13-14, 1 Chronicles 16:23

Food for Thought: Evangelism is not a passive activity.  It is not something that we simply discuss.  It is not something that we “hope for” and then sit back and wait.  It is not something that is going to happen without serious prayerful guidance and “boots on the ground”.  It takes hard work on the ground.  God’s call is clear, which see from our Scriptures today, WE ARE CALLED TO GO OUT AND “BRING THEM IN”.  Yes!  We are the EVANGELICAL Lutheran Church in America!

Please pray our Prayer for the Week as we join as one—the body of Christ—praying together.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Scriptures for dwelling: Luke 18:1-8

Food for Thought: Let’s get ready for tomorrow!  In the Gospel passage for tomorrow morning, Jesus tells a parable of a hateful judge who is worn down by a widow’s pleas.  Jesus is calling God’s people to cry out for justice and deliverance.  For if an unethical judge will ultimately grant the plea of a persistent widow, how much more will God respond to those who call?  Where is God calling us in this community to cry out for justice and deliverance for God’s children?  There are so many homeless people in our City and our neighborhood.  St. Peter Lutheran Church Food Ministries are reaching out to literally hundreds of people each month.  Are there other ways that the voice of God’s people can cry out on behalf of “the least of God’s children” who suffer constantly in mind, body, spirit, resources, and opportunities in life? This is a “tough” one, but God expects us to face up to the “tough” challenges that constantly face God’s children—God’s people!

Please pray our Prayer for the Week as we join as one—the body of Christ—praying together.

WEEK OF OCTOBER 7, 2019

I was asked by some to share the words of the song that I used last Sunday in the sermon.  The song was written by a Christian recording musician named Phil Wickham.  The song is called Living Hope and here are the words.

Living Hope

How great the chasm that lay between us—
How high the mountain I could not climb.
In desperation, I turned to heaven,
And spoke Your name into the night.
Then through the darkness,

Your loving-kindness
Tore through the shadows of my soul.
                                        The work is finished, the end is written—                                                 
Jesus Christ, my living hope.

Who could imagine so great a mercy?
What heart could fathom such boundless grace?
The God of ages stepped down from glory
To wear my sin and bear my shame.
The cross has spoken, I am forgiven.
The King of kings calls me His own.
Beautiful Savior, I’m Yours forever—
Jesus Christ, my living hope.

Hallelujah!  Praise the One who set me free!
Hallelujah!  Death has lost its grip on me!
You have broken every chain—
There’s salvation in Your name.
Jesus Christ, my living hope.

As we celebrate Jesus Christ, our living hope, let’s also pause to celebrate the living hope that the peace and power of the Holy Spirit brings to life, and the hope that Creator God, God the Father brings to life.  Our hope is embedded in the love and power of our Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!

Often, we look to the New Testament to see God’s movement in grace and redemption.  The Old Testament is also full of God’s grace and redemption!  I love the Old Testament!  In this week’s Daily Devotions, we will focus on the REDEEMING LOVE AND REDEEMING GRACE that we find in the Old Testament in God’s unending support of God’s people.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Scriptures for dwelling:  Genesis 6:1-7:1

Food for thought:  God was so disappointed that he had created humankind, because of the rampant wickedness of humans, that God decided to destroy all life on the earth with a flood.  All life—with the exception of Noah and his family and the creatures that God commanded Noah to bring with them on the ark.  God’s love for humankind is clearly seen in the grace and protection—salvation—that God gave to Noah, his family, and the creatures gathered in the ark.  Noah was a good man, but Noah was not a perfect man, yet God chose to save Noah and his family from destruction.  That is God’s grace in action!

Prayer of the Week:

A Prayer for the Week

Redeeming God—God of Wholeness, as we kneel to pray together, we lift our praise and thanksgiving to you.  You are so good to us!  God, when we are blinded by the glare of this world, give us eyes to see and minds to know that you are with us in every good and bad situation in our lives.  You are forever present!    When we are broken in mind, body, or spirit—when we hit rock bottom—when we have lost our way, Lord pick us up and dust us off, and show us healing and wholeness that can come only from you.  Hold us close and mold our fragile lives to live and walk in faith and not in fear.  Lord, when our time comes to join you, open your arms and bring us home as the faith we walk in now becomes the sight of our own eyes for eternal life.  We pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Scriptures for dwelling: Genesis 12:1-9, Genesis 15:1-6, Genesis 17:1-8, Genesis 18:10-15, Genesis 21:1-7 (I know!  I know!  There are a number of verses today, BUT these verses are necessary to tell the story!  If you can, read Genesis Chapters 12-18 to get the full picture!)

Food for thought:  Abram (pre-Abraham) was a rich herdsman and landowner.  God called Abram to be a leader of his people.  God chose Abram and made God’s Covenant with him.  God promised to give Abram, later Abraham, more descendants that there are stars in the sky.  Abram and his wife, Sarai, were around 90 years old and believed that they were past their child-bearing days.  God still promised Abraham and Sarah that they would indeed bear a child of their own flesh and blood.  Against all the obstacles, God’s grace prevailed.  Isaac was born in Chapter 21!  God’s Covenant with Abraham was a firm commitment that God’s grace ‘made good on’!

Prayer of the Week:  Please join your fellow sisters and brothers and pray this prayer.  God hears our prayers.  God knows when we are praying together in thoughts of unity.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Scriptures for dwelling: Exodus 4:1-17

Food for thought:  Moses doubted God at every turn in his call to leadership.  But, God, in God’s graciousness, guided Moses.  Moses appeared to be as flawed as they come.  He was arrogant at times.  He was very stubborn, and he was very doubtful of God’s abilities to groom him into an influential, charismatic leader.  NOW—here comes the GRACE….God faithfully walked with Moses.  As time went on, Moses learned how to faithfully obey God.  God used this blemished shepherd to lead his wayward sheep out of captivity by the Egyptians.  God chose to listen to and to walk closely with Moses, who was a known murderer in his youth.  He killed another man with his bare hands.  That kind of love and acceptance from God truly is:  GOD’S GRACE!

Prayer of the Week: Please join your fellow sisters and brothers and pray this prayer.  God hears our prayers.  God knows when we are praying together in thoughts of unity.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Scriptures for dwelling:  Judges 10:6-16

Food for thought:  It is hard to keep track of the number of times that the Israelites rebelled against and grumbled against God, yet God rescued them.  Throughout the early Old Testament, the Israelites broke God’s commandments, worshipped false gods, and often doubted.  Time and again, they turned away from God, did whatever they wanted, lost God’s protection, suffered great consequences, returned to God, and begged God to rescue them—over and over and over!  Our faithful God showed them grace and redemption—over and over and over!

Prayer of the Week: Please join your fellow sisters and brothers and pray this prayer.  God hears our prayers.  God knows when we are praying together in thoughts of unity.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Scriptures for dwelling:  Psalm 51

Food for thought:  It is generally accepted that Psalm 51 was written by David, as repentance after he committed adultery with Bathsheba.  David was quite a character.  He lusted, stole, fornicated, lied, and even killed.  Yet God saw David’s heart and loved David unconditionally.  David is the ultimate example of God’s unmerited favor—grace.  It is very evident in the Book of Psalms that David loved God—deeply loved God.  It is hard to believe that David ever truly strayed away from his deep love for God.  However, David made some terrible decisions and did some despicable things, just as we all do.  The key for David is that he always turned from his sin and repented.  God always forgave him.  That is a bountiful example of GOD’S GRACE!

Prayer of the Week: Please join your fellow sisters and brothers and pray this prayer.  God hears our prayers.  God knows when we are praying together in thoughts of unity.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Scriptures for dwelling:  Luke 17:5-10

Food for thought:  Let’s get ready for our worship service tomorrow.  On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus instructs his followers about the power of faith and the duties of discipleship.  He calls his disciples to adopt the attitude of servants whose actions are responses to their identity rather than works seeking reward.  We, as Lutherans, as very cautious about any kind of action(s) that even remotely resemble “works righteousness”.  This Gospel lesson gives us perspective directly from Jesus.  It shows us that works are still important in our lives of true discipleship.  HOWEVER, we know that those works will NOT earn our Salvation in any way.  Salvation comes freely by God’s grace as we walk put our faith in GOD ALONE!

Prayer of the Week: Please join your fellow sisters and brothers and pray this prayer.  God hears our prayers.  God knows when we are praying together in thoughts of unity.

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 30, 2019

Jesus Christ My Living Hope

What shall we say?  What words or explanation will we use?  How do we, the body of Christ in the world, respond when we are asked tough questions about God?  How do we show that the faith we proclaim in our words is truly the faith that we live in our lives—completely?  When a family is struggling with the loss of a young child and we are asked, “Where is God in the tragic death of this child?  Why?  Why?”  Or, when a natural storm destroys the homes and businesses of thousands of people and they struggle with the basic provisions of food and water and we are asked, “Where is God in this tragic destruction of lives and property and the environment?  Why?  Why?”  When we see people who are homeless, suffering with addictions, hungry, suffering from emotional and mental troubles, and barely hanging on to life, and we are asked, “Where God is all these struggles? Why?  Why?”  When we see a friend, neighbor, loved one, or family member suffering from the physical destruction of cancer or some other debilitating disease, and we are asked, “Where is God in the suffering?  Where is God in the pain?  Why?  Why?”  What shall we say?

First, God is Omnipresent.  That means that God is always present—in every fiber of the universe—at all times.  God is in the pain and suffering.  God is present when the doctor or nurse gently comfort their patients.  God is present when you hold the hand of a parent who has lost a child and you simply cry together—no words are necessary.  God is there.  God is present in the rebuilding efforts after a natural disaster.  God is present in the workers, the builders, and the planners to restore life to normal.  God is a restoring God.  It is all about HOPE; but it is HOPE that we can count on—it is really all about PROMISE!!!

Now, let’s celebrate our gift of LIVING HOPE through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in our lives and in our daily devotions for this week…

Monday, September 30, 2019

Scriptures to READ and DWELL IN:  1 Peter 1:3-9

Food for thought:  This is a VERY EXCITING Scripture when we contemplate those questions about “Where is God?” or “How could God let that happen to us or to others?”  This gives us the NEW HOPE—LIVING HOPE—through the death and RESURRECTION of Jesus Christ.  This is the promise of God!  There are no maybe’s in this promise.  It is the real deal through the grace of God and through the death and RESURRECTION of Jesus Christ.  With Christ, we are RESURRECTED!!!  God is “there”—God is “present” in the good and in the bad and God promise that our TRUE and LIVING FAITH WILL get us through those trials of life.  It is in this promise that we can share the Good News—the PROMISE of GOD to others who are struggling with “Where are you God?”  Believe me—believe the promise—GOD IS THERE—ALWAYS IN EVERY WAY!!!  Alleluia!

A Prayer for the WeekGod of Hope and God of Promise—all praise and honor and glory be to your Holy Name.  We lift our praise and thanksgiving to you for all the blessings of life.  God, when our humanity causes us to question where you are in the trials of life and in things that we do not understand, help us to live in your promise that you are always with us to the ends of the ages.  When we suffer pain and trials or when we see others suffer pain and trials, help us to live in faith and confidence that your healing hands and redemptive nature will make all things whole in the end.  Give us hearts to love you above all and to spread your Good News to others and those in need, as we show them in our lives and actions that we love them as our ourselves.  We pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God—now and forever.  Amen.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Scriptures to READ and DWELL IN:  Romans 5:1-11

Food for thought:  This part of the Word of God gives us the promise that all brokenness is made whole through God—in the end.  This gives us the PROMISE that all the brokenness of this life—not just our sinful nature—but all the trials and pain of this life—WILL BE made whole in God in the end.  When people who do not live in faith and have no relationship with our Triune God go through pain, suffering, loss, challenges, and tribulations in this life, I always wonder where they turn.  Most of us would say that our faith sustains us and brings us through the trials of life.  Where do they turn?  What is their foundation?  How do they find HOPE in their troubles and loss?  I am afraid that too often, they do not find that HOPE in their troubles and loss.  They are consumed by the fires of the trials and have no place to turn—except their own frail selves.  To me, this is a clear call for us, the BELIEVERS—the FAITHFUL—to share the Good News of God through Jesus Christ to the world.  Christ is the Light and for unbelievers, who live in darkness, this could help them live into a life of HOPE and LIGHT and out of the darkness!

Prayer for the Week: Please pray our Prayer for the Week as we are all doing.  Praying this Prayer together unifies us as the body of Christ in the world!!!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Scriptures to READ and DWELL IN: Romans 12:9-12

Food for thought:  Our New Revised Standard Version translation of this Scripture puts Verses 9-12 under the heading: Marks of the True Christian.  When we live-into our faith in God and we love God with our whole heart and our neighbors as ourselves, God gives us that promise of HOPE.  Verse 12 tells us to REJOICE IN HOPE, BE PATIENT IN SUFFERING (Yes!  God is always there in every way and there will be wholeness in the end.) Then we are encouraged to PERSEVERE IN PRAYER.  To strengthen our communion with God, our relationship with God, and our very faith formation, PRAYER IS ESSENTIAL.  Daily—lingering prayer—the kind of prayer that listens in the quietness of that time just as much as it talks to God.  We often think of prayer as the time we “talk to God”.  Prayer is a two-way communication and there must be equal opportunity for LISTENING TO GOD too!

Prayer for the Week: Please pray our Prayer for the Week as we are all doing.  Praying this Prayer together unifies us as the body of Christ in the world!!!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Scriptures to READ and DWELL IN: Romans 15:7-13

Food for thought:  This passage reminds us of the inclusion of God.  God’s love and grace and redemption is for all peoples—Jews and Gentiles alike.  In Verse 12, we are reminded that promise that the Prophet Isaiah gave in that the “Root of Jesse shall come”.   This is the promise of the coming of the Messiah—Jesus Christ.  The coming of the Messiah brings HOPE.  The life of the Messiah brings HOPE.  The death and the RESURRECTION of the Messiah ENSURES HOPE!  This passage ends with a REJOICING: “May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Prayer for the Week: Please pray our Prayer for the Week as we are all doing.  Praying this Prayer together unifies us as the body of Christ in the world!!!

Friday, October 4, 2019

Scriptures to READ and DWELL IN: 1 Corinthians 2:6-13

Food for thought:  God is God.  We are NOT God!  We are human creatures—created by God.  In our faith, we live in the promise and hope of being with God for eternity in a world beyond this life.  We CANNOT imagine who God is and what God’s power is really like.  We are human and limited.  We CANNOT imagine this place we call heaven “that God has prepared for us”.  We understand that no eye has seen the glory of the Lord.  No ear has heard the glory of the Lord.  No human heart has conceived the power and glory and majesty of the Lord.  But we are invited into a relationship with our Triune God so that we can taste the glory, and wisdom, power, and might of our God through our relationship with our Risen Savior Jesus Christ and the PEACE and POWER of the Holy Spirit.  Alleluia!

Prayer for the Week:  Please pray our Prayer for the Week as we are all doing.  Praying this Prayer together unifies us as the body of Christ in the world!!!

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Scriptures to READ and DWELL IN:  Let’s get ready for tomorrow morning.  Our Gospel reading for tomorrow is Luke 17:5-10.  On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus instructs his followers about the power of faith and the duties of discipleship.  He calls his disciples to adopt the attitude of servants whose actions are responses to their identity rather than works seeking reward.  Another reading for tomorrow morning, which is in keeping with the theme of our weekly devotions, is 2 Timothy 1:1-14.  This message written from Paul to Timothy is a personal message of encouragement.  In the face of hardship and persecution, Timothy is reminded that this faith is a gift of God.  He is encouraged to exercise that faith with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Food for thought:  We, as Lutherans, are generally very sensitive to anything that borders on “works righteousness”—earning our Salvation through good works.  That was one of the major issues that Martin Luther had with the Church, resulting in the Protestant Reformation of the Church.  As Lutherans, we understand that the price for our Salvation was paid by Jesus Christ on the Cross and that we Justified in our Salvation—saved— through GRACE ALONE—by FAITH ALONE—in JESUS CHRIST ALONE—as promised in GOD’S WORD ALONE!!!  We are not saved by our own efforts or works, as we see in Ephesians 2:8-9.  Grace means that God loved, forgives, and saves us not because of who we are or what we do, but because of the work of Jesus Christ.  HOWEVER, and YES—EVEN FOR GOOD LUTHERANS—this Gospel reading for tomorrow reminds us that the works/actions/deeds will pour out of us as a result of WHO WE ARE—as CHRISTIANS!!!

Prayer for the Week:  Please pray our Prayer for the Week as we are all doing.  Praying this Prayer together unifies us as the body of Christ in the world!!!

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 9, 2019

What is God calling us to doAs I shared in the sermon last week, I strongly feel that God is calling us, St. Peter Lutheran Church, to reach deeper into our community to feed people in the Spiritual food of the Good News of Jesus Christ.  We are part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  We are “evangelical” in the sense that we are called—we are commissioned—directly by Jesus Christ, to “GO” to the ends of the earth to spread the Good News and to baptize in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Recall Matthew 28:16-20—The Great Commission).  To the “ends of the earth” starts right here!  It starts here in our Hillyard community—in Spokane—in Washington.  Our food ministries are feeding the hungry in a very powerful way for their physical needs.  NOW!  Let’s re-energize ourselves in feeding people with Spiritual Food!!!  Let’s pray individually and pray together that God will reveal where God desires us to “GO” in living into God’s mission in our community.  WHAT IS GOD CALLING US TO DO?  WHAT IS GOD CALLING YOU TO DO?  Let’s spend time every day on our knees in prayer strengthening our relationship with our Triune God and seeking clarity on WHAT GOD IS CALLING US TO DO?

Here is our daily prayer for this week, as we contemplate “what is evangelism” and “how is God calling us into a movement of evangelism so that we walk-in and live-in God’s mission in the world”?  Please add this prayer to your other “prayers” each day of this coming week!  As we pray together, God will listen!

A Prayer for the WeekHoly and Mighty God, we bow before you to praise your Almighty Name!  We come with thanksgiving for all the blessings that you give us in our lives—as your children and as your church.  God, empty our hearts and minds of any distractions of the world we live in.  Open our hearts and minds to better understand what you are calling us to do—both individually and as St. Peter Lutheran Church in Hillyard-Spokane, WA.  Give us vision, ideas, and creativity as we listen to your call.  God, give us courage and strength to break out of our routine patterns and comfort zones as we contemplate walking in faith in our community to tell your stories and spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Give us eyes to see the path where you are leading.  Give us ears to hear the message you would have us share.  Give us hearts of love for you—above all—and our neighbors as ourselves.  We pray these things in the Name of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God—Now and Forever!  Amen.

Monday: September 9th—Scriptures: Psalm 135:1-3, Philippians 4:4-9—Evangelism is a complex journey with many facets.  One important part of Evangelism is spreading the goodness of the Lord.  In these Scriptures today, we lift up thanks and praise to our faithful God, who is with us always—in the good and in the bad!  Evangelism is living a life example and sharing with others the kind of peace that can come only from our Triune God!  Please pray our Daily Prayer for this week!

Tuesday: September 10th—Scriptures: Isaiah 6:8, Romans 11:29, 2 Timothy 1:9—Evangelism is also about our willingness to listen to God’s call—to HEAR God’s call—and to respond.  It is about our willingness to “GO”!  This is tough one for us here at St. Peter.  I know that most people are wearing MANY hats in our mission and ministry.  How do we even think about wearing another hat of evangelism?  When we get on our knees and pray and strengthen our relationship with God and to God’s call, God will SHOW THE WAY!  Regardless of age or health or any restrictions of this life, God will equip us to fully engage in God’s mission when we are OPEN AND WILLING!  We have to “step into” that direction where God is calling!  Please pray our Daily Prayer for this week!

Wednesday, September 11th—Scriptures: Isaiah 45:2, John 3:16, Romans 10:5-15—Our reading in Romans today really sums it up.  When we are in union with God—TRULY IN UNION WITH GOD—God will provide the resources and the path for evangelism.  The pay-off, if we need one, is the peace that we can only find through God—NOT the world!  How beautiful are the feet of those who are in true union with God and who LIVE GOD’S MISSION and bring the Good News to the people!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Please pray our Daily Prayer for this week!

Thursday, September 12th—Scriptures: Matthew 9:37-38, Psalm 25—PRAYER IS THE FUEL OF EVANGELISM.  You cannot drive a vehicle without gas.  You cannot engage in God’s mission for evangelism without prayer.  Prayer is our time for developing powerful and everlasting bonds with our Triune God.  Please join me on your knees as we pray our Daily Prayer for this week!

Friday, September 13th—Scriptures: Acts 13:47—Evangelism is about the Good News of Jesus Christ and how Jesus, directly and through the church, are the light of the world.  Let’s pray together and listen and see where God is leading us in our community to be the Light of the World in the world that is pretty dark these days!  Please pray our Daily Prayer for this week!

Saturday, September 14th—Let’s get ready for tomorrow!!!  Our Gospel Reading for tomorrow is Luke 15:1-10—Jesus tells two stories that suggest a curious connection between the lost being found and sinners repenting.  God takes the initiative to find sinners, each of whom is so precious to God that his or her recovery brings joy in heaven.

I can see how this Scripture directly relates to our contemplations about “What is evangelism” and “What is calling us to do in ministry and mission at St. Peter Lutheran Church in Hillyard-Spokane, WA”?  How do you see this passage relating to our current conversations on evangelism and God’s mission in our community and world?  Please pray our Daily Prayer for this week.

WEEK OF AUGUST 26, 2019

Sunday, August 25th: We’ve had a wonderful day of worship.  We are freed through the love and salvation of Jesus Christ.  I love the fact that our Gospel passage today ends with the people rejoicing for the goodness of the Lord.  I can visualize them singing and dancing and praising God for the good things that God has done.  We live in the hope and promise that Jesus heals every “bent” condition of life that we face.

Bent Woman Healing

Let us leave this holy Sanctuary today rejoicing and praising God for the great things that God has done and continues to do and will do forever!  Our chains are gone!  Our chains are broken!  We have been set free!

Broken Chains

As we leave here today, EMPOWERED BY THE FREEDOM, LOVE, FORGIVENESS, AND SALVATION OF GOD, let’s read the Word of God together and pray together for the next seven days.  Here are some suggested Scriptures (just a few verses for each day) to read and ‘pray over’ as we contemplate the following questions:

Monday, August 26th: How are we, as a church, living in Jesus’ commandment to love others as ourselves?  Can we do more?

Scriptures:  Matthew 22:34-40; Ephesians 4:2; 1 Peter 4:8; John 15:12

Prayer:  Precious Lord, open my heart—open my very being to love you with my whole heart and to love others as you taught.  Open my eyes to see the paths that you have for me so I may live into the kind of love that your example clearly gives.  I pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, that lived each day of his earthly life to teach us all how to love.  Amen.

Tuesday, August 27th: How are we, St. Peter Lutheran Church, living into the Great Commission, to make the most significant impact in our community, our world, and our church?

Scriptures:  Matthew 28:16-20 (The Great Commission), Acts 1:8: Acts 13:47, Mark 16:15

Prayer:  Lord of creation—Lord of Light, give us the eyes to see and the ears to hear the message of your mission here on earth—that you would have us proclaim in your name.  Give us courage and strength—patience and understanding—words and messages—for your people as we live into your Great Commission.  We pray these things in your holy name.  Amen.

Wednesday, August 28th:  We are God’s church—existing in the world around us!  Our food ministry feeds many people in Hillyard—PRAISE GOD!!!  Are there other needs in Hillyard, in OUR community—in Spokane—in our City—that we may be a part of addressing?

Scriptures:  Romans 15:1-7; Luke 6:31

Prayer:  Precious Lord, take my hand and lead me.  Sometimes I live in selfishness.  Sometimes I ignore others as I am absorbed in my own interests.  Lord, free me from the chains of selfishness and help me understand how my gifts and abilities may be used in your mission of love and redemption.  I pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.  Amen.

Thursday, August 29th:  What does it mean to be “God’s work—our hands”?

Scriptures: Psalm 90:17; Colossians 3:23-24; Colossians 3:17

Prayer: Kind heavenly father, thank you for the gifts and blessings of life.  Help me use my light as a beacon of your love—your grace—your forgiveness—as I do my part in advancing your mission in this world where we live.  I pray these things in the name of Jesus, Redeemer of the world.  Amen.

Friday, August 30th: “This little light of mine—I’m gonna let it shine—let is shine—let it shine—let it shine!”  Is MY light as bright as it could be in this world OR could I possible upgrade my light to a higher watt bulb?

Scriptures: Matthew 5:14-16; John 8:12; 2 Corinthians 4:6

Prayer: God of strength and understanding, groom me in ways that my light shines brighter than the distractions and evils of the world.  The world is full of darkness, and with your help, I, we, the church, can shine brighter than the evil of this world as we engage in your mission in this world in your holy name.  Amen.

Saturday, August 31st:  Let’s get ready for tomorrow… Our Gospel reading tomorrow is Luke 14:1, 7-14.  In this passage, Jesus observes guests jockeying for position at the table.  He uses the opportunity to teach his hearers to choose humility rather than self-exaltation.  Jesus also makes an appeal for hosts to mimic God’s gracious hospitality to the poor and the broken.  How does this passage to apply to us in Hillyard today?

Scripture: Luke 14:1, 7-14

Prayer:  Holy God, as we dwell in your Word, help us hear the message that you would have for us to hear.  We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, who lives with you the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.