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Devotions from Pastor Glen - the week of 4-5-20

4/11/20

1 John 3:2, 3
2 Beloved, we are God’s children now. We will be like him, for we will see him as he is. 3 And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.


During this Coronavirus outbreak, stuck at home for long periods, I am exploring my past. I’m playing pieces on the piano I used to play, reading old favorite books and watching the TV shows I enjoyed when I was younger. What I’ve found is that I’ve changed since then. As a result, I look at things from a new perspective. It almost as if I’m playing or reading or watching something for the first time. I also get a fuller understanding now than I did way back when. So it is with us and God. The older we get, the more we see who God is and how God operates. We have the hope of the future because we are God’s children and, in the end, we will see God face-to-face. As we ponder that joyful reality, we have the hope that we will be more like God with each passing day and year. Those who think about God become more Godly. That is a great thing to look forward to even as we are “sheltering at home!

God of Eternity, we see you as through a dirty windshield. Help us to clean the “windshield of our hearts” so that we may see you clearer and clearer each day. Amen.


4/10/20

Matthew 27:43,50 And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” will come 50 Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last.


This last week or so, I’ve had devotions around the theme of “hope.” But today is Good Friday. It is really hard to hopeful when we gaze upon and ponder Christ’s agonizing death on the cross. It must have been hard for the twelve disciples, because only one of them, John, is recorded at the actual site of the crucifixion. But we are not the twelve disciples. They had been told about his death and that it had meaning, but they did not know “the rest of the story.” We do. We can be hopeful even when we think on Good Friday because we realize what that day means to all humankind. Because he suffered and experience some of the worst pain this world can inflict, we know he understands our pain. Because he suffered, he can help us in our suffering. And in the end, put it to rest. We can be hopeful because his suffering, as horrendous as it was, has purpose. Without his death, there could have been no resurrection. Without his death, there could have been no resurrection for us.

Jesus Christ, we are forever grateful for what you did for us on Good Friday. We are forever grateful that you understand our suffering. Help us to love you as you love us. Amen

4/9/20

I Thessalonians 5:8 “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.”

The end is near- that is what we often hear from doomsayers. The end of civilization. The end of America. The end of our prosperity as we head towards depression. These days it is the Coronavirus. According to some, it will mean the complete end of how we lived up to this moment in history. It is partly true. Many of our casual practices may go the way of the dinosaur. No more washing our hands by a brief pass under the faucet. No more using the same handkerchief or Kleenexes again and again. No more touching a grimy gas pump or door handle without a second thought. Paul reminds us today in First Thessalonians that we don’t get to pick when we live. In that sense “we belong to the day.” His day, with brutal persecutions of Christians, was scary, too. His antidote to the scary things that happen in any age is simple: be serious, not frivolous about living and let our God-given goodness shine. Understand that without God’s protection the world will batter us. What are we to do? Put on the qualities of God like an armor against the evil around us. Faith and love will cover us, and the hope of salvation will protect us from damage to our spirits. How does this work? If we believe in God, we understand that the world was created to be good. The we look for that good the more we see it. If we acting with love toward everyone we meet, it doesn’t guarantee that they will be nice to us, but it makes it more likely, and it keeps their actions from turning into hate in our minds. If we keep in mind our hope of salvation, we remember that the evil of this world will pass and we will be with God forever after. That will help us endure the hardship this world for it reminds us the world’s hardship is temporary.

God of Faith, Hope and Love, remind us of your protection. Encourage us to put on that armor each day and live life with faith, love and hope always. Amen.    Blessed Maundy Thursday

4/8/20

Psalm 143:41-43 (portions) Let your steadfast love come to me, O LORD, your salvation according to your promise. I trust in your word. … for my hope is in your ordinances.

Ordinances (or laws for most of us today) are funny things. We may grumble about them (taxes), try to stretch them (going 63 in a 60-mph zone with zero traffic), or even ignore them. And yet, when we really need laws (if we’re in an ambulance speeding to the hospital with a heart attack) they can be life savers. Imagine how this country would be damaged if people refused to pull over for ambulances. Can you have hope in laws, that they will do what they are intended to do? For that is what the Psalmist says today. Yes, if they’re GOOD laws. We can debate human laws, but in most cases, folks are glad we have them and mostly obey them. Stay at home orders are a pain, but not having our families ravaged or torn apart by illness is a good thing. God’s laws are always good, because God is good. We can always hope in God’s laws. What are God’s laws? The 10 commandments in the Old Testament and the law of love in the New. These laws are worthy of hope, because they simply describe how God made humans to operate best. We follow these laws and trust that things will work out. When we follow God’s laws individually and as a society, they always do.

God Who Made Us, write your laws in our hearts and minds, so that we will live in happiness and peace. Amen.

4/7/20

Psalm 33:18 18 Truly the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love.

Do you fear God? It is confusing for the translators of the NRSV to use the word “fear” here. In English, the word most often means, “be afraid of.” It can also mean “honor” or “respect.” Fear and respect are related: it’s hard to be afraid of someone without respecting their power. In fact, it’s the acknowledgement that the person, creature or thing you fear has great power and that power might hurt you is what most people are afraid of. You don’t fear something that has no power to hurt you. Sometimes the word in Hebrew is translated “stand in awe of.” Why is this translation important? Because fearing God and hoping in God are connected. How? When we’re young, we stand in awe of our parents. They are twice as tall as us, they have almost total power over us. We must trust they will use that power for good. As we grow that respect diminishes somewhat, as we take over control of our own lives. When we’re older, we either hate them for their misuse of power over them, or we honor them for their proper use of power. When we hope in God, we acknowledge God’s power over us. We may remember the good that God has done. We trust that God will use the power of the Almighty for good. Indeed, that is what Psalm 33:18 says. God will help those who acknowledge his power and trust in his use of that power for good.

God Almighty, help us to trust the power you have, that you will use it for good. Thank you that your eye is upon us. Amen.

4/6/20

Psalm 33:18 18 Truly the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love.

Do you fear God? It is confusing for the translators of the NRSV to use the word “fear” here. In English, the word most often means, “be afraid of.” It can also mean “honor” or “respect.” Fear and respect are related: it’s hard to be afraid of someone without respecting their power. In fact, it’s the acknowledgement that the person, creature or thing you fear has great power and that power might hurt you is what most people are afraid of. You don’t fear something that has no power to hurt you. Sometimes the word in Hebrew is translated “stand in awe of.” Why is this translation important? Because fearing God and hoping in God are connected. How? When we’re young, we stand in awe of our parents. They are twice as tall as us, they have almost total power over us. We must trust they will use that power for good. As we grow that respect diminishes somewhat, as we take over control of our own lives. When we’re older, we either hate them for their misuse of power over them, or we honor them for their proper use of power. When we hope in God, we acknowledge God’s power over us. We may remember the good that God has done. We trust that God will use the power of the Almighty for good. Indeed, that is what Psalm 33:18 says. God will help those who acknowledge his power and trust in his use of that power for good.

God Almighty, help us to trust the power you have, that you will use it for good. Thank you that your eye is upon us. Amen.

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