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Transcript of Daily Devotions for Easter - Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church · 2017-07-28 · Daily Devotions...

  • Daily Devotions for EasterBy and for members and friends of

    Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church

    IntroductionTo claim to be a Christian is claiming to follow Christ Jesus. The Bible

    is God’s story. This project hopes that every member and every participant at Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church will read more of the Bible and struggle to understand some of its passages.

    Several people read the assignment and struggled with the passages yielding this booklet. Now it is your turn to open your Bible, to read the passages and consider the daily devotions below.

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  • Please thank everyone who contributed to this book, both those who signed their articles and those who preferred to write anonymously.

    The AssignmentMembers and participants of Temple Terrace Presbyterian Church were

    invited to read each of the Bible lessons from the daily lectionary for one day between Easter and Pentecost and to reflect on one of those lessons, optionally concluding with a brief prayer. Selecting passages this way helps us read more of the Bible, beyond our favorite passages. This also results in some difficult and unfamiliar passages and caused many people to struggle.

    Sunday Scripture lessons come from the lectionary used for Sunday morning worship. Pastor Robert wrote those reflections anticipating they may relate to the sermon on those days.

    About the LectionaryThe two-year Daily Lectionary comes from the Presbyterian Book of

    Common Worship (Westminster John Knox Press, 1993) where it was adapted from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer; it may also be found in the Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study, published each year by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). This lectionary is intended for personal study and reflection, as well as daily prayer in individual or small group settings. In a two-year period, this lectionary allows users to read through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice, moving sequentially and systematically through large sections of scripture. Two morning psalms and two evening psalms are provided for each day, so that the readings may be framed by prayer, using the words of the psalms. Users of this lectionary may choose to read all the lessons in one sitting, or may distribute the readings throughout the day as a part of the practice of daily prayer (a common pattern is Old Testament in the morning, Epistle at noon, and Gospel in the evening).

    The weekly lectionary covers much of the Bible on a three year cycle.

    Sunday, March 27th: Easter SundayIsaiah 65:17–25; Psalm 118:1–2, 14–24; 1 Corinthians 15:19–26; John 20:1–18

    Some people view the resurrection, perhaps even the whole of religion

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  • as a Get-out-of-jail-free card or life insurance. When I die, God will surely bring me into heaven.

    But this is only half the story. Since all things die, we know that our bodies will also die. Following

    Christ, we can fearlessly face death, even our own death. Thus the resurrection becomes for us life assurance. Assuring us that we might dare to experience life fully. We need not let past misadventures rule our future for the resurrection proves that in Christ Jesus our old lives are gone and a new life has begun.

    Who has inspired you to live life to the fullest?Robert Shaw

    Monday, March 28thMorning: Psalm 97; 145; Evening: Psalm 124; 115; Exod. 12:14–27; 1 Cor. 15:1–11; Mark 16:1–8Mark 16:1-8 – For terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone for they were afraid.

    So often, when we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory we are afraid. We have an expectation that events in our lives will proceed with normalcy and then something strange and uncomfortable happens. Jesus had explained to his followers what would happen to them and him, yet they fled “for terror.” And the young man in the tomb retold Jesus earlier words. Still they ran in fear. Where had the trust and faith gone?

    We know that the women did eventually tell their story. Now we know the story of Jesus and his resurrection and his promise to us. Yet we still act as if he disappeared from the tomb without a plan. He had reassured his followers then. He reassures us today. Faith, trust, and hope, not fear is what he would ask and want for us.

    Susan Sampson

    Tuesday, March 29thMorning: Psalm 98; 146; Evening: Psalm 66; 116; Exod. 12:28–39; 1 Cor. 15:12–28; Mark 16:9–20

    Psalm 98 speaks about the marvelous things the Lord has done and rejoicing. I remember as a teenager the TV showing the war, and the upheavals and assassinations and then there was a blizzard as usual on the

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  • plains, but when the snowing stopped there was such pure whiteness and beauty and winter gave way to spring and the robins and other song birds that gave hope the world would be OK, God was still in charge. Now years later, with all the crisis in the world God is still in charge, in my Florida back yard in February are the robins and other song birds. There is the picture of history of man reaching the moon and the earth from the moon and from current pictures from the space crafts of the earth is so peaceful and beautiful. You see none of the crisis and strife that are occurring. Yes no matter what is happening in the world or my personal life God has it all worked out. I just have to be still and listen to the earth rejoicing.

    Mary Bauman

    Wednesday, March 30thMorning: Psalm 99; 147:1–11; Evening: Psalm 9; 118; Exod. 12:40–51; 1 Cor. 15:(29) 30–41; Matt. 28:1–16

    God rules the world and those that defy his rule should be prepared for retribution. Those that worship him will receive a just and righteous judgment from him throughout their lives. We must worship and praise him in our lives. He is the Lord God Almighty. All under his rule should take warning and seek out his mercy which is freely and justly given. God can be asked and will answer the prayers of his people. He will forgive us of our transgression of him. All that is asked is to humble ourselves before our God, exalting him to the highest. He is our lord, and God of all things.

    Mo Rendahl

    Thursday, March 31stMorning: Psalm 47; 147:12–20; Evening: Psalm 68; 113; Exod. 13:3–10; 1 Cor. 15:41–50; Matt. 28:16–20

    1 Cor. 15:42-44: So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption and is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in honor. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is natural body and a spiritual body."Devotional:

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  • As human beings we all live in natural bodies which vary greatly from person to person. At death God calls us with the body that is sown in corruption, and if all is well, raises our body to incorruption. Likewise, he raises the body from dishonor to honor and from weakness to power, and most importantly, raises our natural body to a spiritual body; so that we can live all the days of our life and dwell in the House of the Lord forever.

    Ona Z. Riggin

    Friday, April 1stMorning: Psalm 96; 148; Evening: Psalm 49; 138; Exod. 13:1–2, 11–16; 1 Cor. 15:51–58 Luke 24:1–12Church means many different things to individuals. A mentor taught me that music helped to set a mood for the service, and that we, as musicians, must take the words and the music and seriously own them to successfully create such a mood. The words of David reach into so many facets of worship; they speak in a special way to musicians. They speak to the glory of God with his magnificent creation. They call for the people to give the Lord the glory due his name. When I am participating in the music , I feel David’s words telling me that in this way, I am adding to the praise of God and, hopefully, inspiring others to feel His presence during their worship. He calls on us to Praise the Lord.

    Janice Owen

    Saturday, April 2ndMorning: Psalm 92; 149; Evening: Psalm 23; 114; Exod. 13:17–14:4; 2 Cor. 4:16–5:10; Mark 12:18–27

    Psalm 92 is a Psalm of worship. Worship is perhaps the most worthy of all activities of you all Christians, for it brings pleasure to God as well as pleasure to us. The expressions or acts of worship as the Psalmist says is “to give thanks” and “It is good to give thanks to the Lord.” Good in the sense of nurturing and beneficial as a good breakfast to start the day or a simple

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  • surprise and pleasure of finding a $20 bill as I put my hand inside my coat this morning, making me $20 richer than I was second ago. Or a pleasure of having every traffic light green as I drove to work I thank God and praise Him for such little pleasures. Do you?

    When we start our day with praise and thank giving, God our good Shepherd will provide our needs of the day (Psalm 23). Apostle Paul writes "Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." (Philippians 4:6). At times I wonder, why will not God give us the things we need without our making petition to Him in prayer and claiming His promises? Undoubtedly because we need to come before Him with proper attitude of heart to receive His favors and appreciate the divine Grace of Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all of us.

    The God who delivered Israelites out of Egypt with wonders and power will deliver us from all evil and bad things that may come our way today, He who provided the Heavenly Manna will provide for our Needs. Therefore let us exalt and praise Jesus the God of the living. Our Lord Reigns. May the praise of Jesus be in our mouth all day every day.

    Pon Athilingam

    Sunday, April 3rd: 2nd Sunday of EasterActs 5:27–32; Psalm 150; Revelation 1:4–8; John 20:19–31

    The hardest part about learning to swim is learning how to breathe. New swimmers learn how to breathe while standing in water no deeper than their chests. They lay the sides of their heads on the water inhale, rotate their faces into the water and blow bubbles then rotate back to where they began to take another breath. After a few minutes of practice, most can fluidly inhale, rotate, blow bubbles, then rotate back for their next breath.

    Surviving a difficult week requires similar skills of knowing how to breathe in the Holy Spirit. Begin each day with prayer, inhale the Holy Spirit while sitting quietly on rising from bed or at breakfast. Then while out in the world, amid toil, temptations, and trials, blow bubbles, short breath prayers. When life is more difficult, take occasional prayer breaks, remembering that God is no further away than your next breath.

    And with that Jesus breathed on them and said,"Receive the Holy Spirit."

    — John 20:22

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  • Once you learn how to breathe spiritually, you will learn to take irksome days in stride. Your coworkers, even adversaries will ask how you keep centered.

    Robert Shaw

    Monday, April 4thMorning: Psalm 97; 145; Evening: Psalm 124; 115; Exod. 14:21–31; 1 Peter 1:1–12; John 14:(1–7) 8–17I have experienced several close calls in my life, when a matter of inches or seconds had determined my fate. They have been as if God had held back a disaster. Close calls remind me that each day we receive is a gift from God. The question is how will we use the gift that we have been given.

    Anon.

    Tuesday, April 5thMorning: Psalm 98; 146; Evening: Psalm 66; 116; Exod. 15:1–21; 1 Peter 1:13–25; John 14:18–31

    Amber Moore

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  • Wednesday, April 6thMorning: Psalm 99; 147:1–11; Evening: Psalm 9; 118; Exod. 15:22–16:10; 1 Peter 2:1–10; John 15:1–11Moving has prompted us several times to consider what we need and what is merely cluttering our lives. That which we have not used recently, we would set aside for sale or donation or for the trash. John 15 also calls us to consider the spiritual clutter in our lives, throwing out that which is merely clutter so we can focus our lives on being useful for Christ.

    Anon.

    Thursday, April 7thMorning: Psalm 47; 147:12–20; Evening: Psalm 68; 113; Exod. 16:10–22; 1 Peter 2:11–3:12; John 15:12–27Psalm 47 – We are to praise the Lord in all things, all day every day, Praising God makes our life complete. Praising God reminds us of God’s Greatness. We can praise God in many ways with our body, hearts, minds, and deeds. Like food is nourishment for our physical bodies, Praising God is nourishment to our spirit. We are reminded in this Psalm that God is King over all the earth. That the war is over! We need to remember God has already defeated Satan, sin, death and hell. We have plenty to praise Him for. We need to make a conscious effort to praise God always for His power, love and undeserved grace.

    Dear Lord, may we remember daily all You should be praised for. Amen Mary Tisdale

    Friday, April 8thMorning: Psalm 96; 148; Evening: Psalm 49; 138; Exod. 16:23–36; 1 Peter 3:13–4:6; John 16:1–15Since the time of Noah people have ignored, derided, condemned, and even persecuted people of faith. In John 16 Jesus told his disciples that this would continue and they, we, should not be discouraged by non-believers, but that we should trust the presence of the Holy Spirit to give us the words we need when we talk with others about our faith.

    Anon.

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  • Saturday, April 9thMorning: Psalm 92; 149; Evening: Psalm 23; 114; Exod. 17:1–16; 1 Peter 4:7–19; John 16:16–33

    Psalm 23 – David’s Psalm of joyful declaration of his confidence in the grace of God. A couple of years ago at Wednesday night Bible Study a friend spoke about this Psalm and it has since become one of my daily devotionals. I find myself turning to this Psalm in the early pre-dawn hours when I need the calming reassurance of God’s presence. And, at the end of my day to give thanks for God’s grace in all the day has brought to me.

    There are many new translations of Psalm 23, but I always find myself drawn to the poetry of the King James Version I learned as a child in Sunday School: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;

    he leadeth me beside the still waters.He restoreth my soul;

    he leadth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

    I will fear no evil for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.

    Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

    Susan McNaught

    Sunday, April 10th: 3rd Sunday of EasterActs 9:1–6 [7–20]; Psalm 30; Revelation 5:11–14; John 21:1–19

    Have you ever had a life changing event? Lost a job? Retired? Suffered the sudden death of a parent?

    When you graduated from school did you suddenly feel disoriented? When the unusual happens, when the familiar pattern of life had

    suddenly vanished, we suffer a disorienting loss of the purpose.Remember for a moment how you might have coped with a loss. Did

    you: Visit the school you had attended for years and chat with your teachers or with younger students?

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  • I remember sitting at my father's desk after he died. I had gone there to figure out how to file his final return, but sat for a long time, just looking at the things in his desk drawer.

    Many retirees report getting dressed for work, and then remembering they do have to go to work any more.

    The disciples' world had been turned totally upside down. Their friend and mentor, their savior had died, was buried, and was raised from the dead. So they went fishing and caught more than they had expected.

    Robert Shaw

    Monday, April 11thMorning: Psalm 97; 145; Evening: Psalm 124; 115; Exod. 18:13–27; 1 Peter 5:1–14; Matt. (1:1–17) 3:1–6

    Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, taught Moses how to set up an appellate court system, a system that we use today with local courts deciding minor cases and appealing more difficult cases to county, state, and federal courts. The Presbyterian Church uses this same system: congregations elect elders to discern among them divine guidance on matters of local interest, Presbyteries discern the will of God in regional matters and for matters that local elders appeal to the collected wisdom of their neighboring congregations. Synods and the General Assembly are called on to draw the wisest from each of the Presbyteries who together discern the will of God.

    When have you called upon a larger group to discern a question? When have you delegated your authority to others to speed discernment?

    Anon.

    Tuesday, April 12thMorning: Psalm 98; 146; Evening: Psalm 66; 116; Exod. 19:1–16; Col. 1:1–14; Matt. 3:7–12

    Have you been baptized with fire?I had the pleasure of baptizing a father and his two daughters one

    Sunday. (Their mother had already been baptized, and we received her that Sunday by reaffirmation of faith.) I had expected that the father had gotten baptized to support his daughters and had hoped that he would grow in faith gradually becoming more and more active in the life of that

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  • congregation. Instead he changed dramatically from being merely present during events to seeking opportunities to contribute and even leading activities all within a few months. He had become enflamed with passion for the work of God.

    Anon.

    Wednesday, April 13thMorning: Psalm 99; 147:1–11; Evening: Psalm 9; 118; Exod. 19:16–25; Col. 1:15–23; Matt. 3:13–17

    The problem of the Trinity is falsely presuming Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three separate gods with distinct gifts: creating, redeeming, and sustaining. But Paul in his letter to the Colossians, in describing Christ Jesus affirms all of these gifts thus affirms the unity of the one True God. How might you modify your prayers to affirm the oneness of God who created the world as the Spirit that hovered over the face of the deep at the beginning of time, as the Christ who calls us into one body, as the Father who has redeemed us?

    Anon.

    Thursday, April 14thMorning: Psalm 47; 147:12–20; Evening: Psalm 68; 113; Exod. 20:1–21; Col. 1:24–2:7; Matt. 4:1–11Matthew 4:1-11Jesus was led by the Spirit to the wilderness, and was continuously tempted by the devil. He was tempted again and again by the devil, but resisted. Jesus was in the human form, and he was able to resist the actual devil! Pretty amazing if you really think about it. Jesus had no food or shelter in the wilderness, which puts him definitely in need, but he was still able to say, “No!” and used the scriptures to make a point on top of that. He made our modern challenges seem simple. This should teach us all that decisions can be made easily, right?

    Jeanne Carignan

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  • Friday, April 15thMorning: Psalm 96; 148; Evening: Psalm 49; 138; Exod. 24:1–18; Col. 2:8–23; Matt. 4:12–17Psalm 49 has been paraphrased for t-shirts as: “Who ever dies with the most toys, still dies.” But those who are rich in faith, can weather wealth and poverty, fortunes and misfortunes.

    Anon.

    Saturday, April 16thMorning: Psalm 92; 149; Evening: Psalm 23; 114; Exod. 25:1–22; Col. 3:1–17; Matt. 4:18–25

    A recent study links parental involvement with church with positive outcomes in their children. I would like to believe that church in and of itself makes the difference. But as Paul wrote to the Church at Colosia, how we clothe ourselves makes the difference: “You must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Anyone could do this. The church merely makes it easier by teaching wisdom and singing psalms together.

    Anon.

    Sunday, April 17th: 4th Sunday of EasterActs 9:36–43; Psalm 23; Revelation7:9–17; John 10:22–30

    Our daughter enjoys found art, the process of finding items considered as trash and arranging them into new pieces that tell a new story. She would collect old bottle caps, interesting shards of glass, parts of dolls, buttons, machine parts. After she had assembled these items, not as their designed has envisioned, but as new interesting commentaries on society. The rusted gears no longer turned or turned other gears. The dolls are no longer useful as toys. And bottle caps become wheels or saucers or …

    Is it possible that God does similar things with us? Taking our brokenness, our weaknesses, our failures, and making them new possibilities, new objects for ministry.

    Robert Shaw

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  • Monday, April 18th Morning: Psalm 97; 145; Evening: Psalm 124; 115; Exod. 32:1–20; Col. 3:18–4:6 (7–18); Matt. 5:1–10Colossians 3:19

    Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly. There will be times when spouses have disagreements. Husbands, if you feel anger, take a breath, close your eyes, and remember why you fell in love with your wife.

    Prayer: Dear Lord, please help me to do something nice for my wife today to show my love for her. Amen.

    Anon.

    Tuesday, April 19th Morning: Psalm 98; 146; Evening: Psalm 66; 116; Exod. 32:21–34; 1 Thess. 1:1–10; Matt. 5:11–16

    How does the news about you spread into the world around you? Paul had left Macedonia to teach the gospel in other places, but the

    news of the faith of the Macedonians had already reached those places.Whatever you do and say this week shows how your faith in Jesus fills

    your life. How does the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting guide your relationship with the people you meet?

    Anon.

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  • Wednesday, April 20th Morning: Psalm 99; 147:1–11; Evening: Psalm 9; 118; Exod. 33:1–23; 1 Thess. 2:1–12; Matt. 5:17–20

    Thursday, April 21st Morning: Psalm 47; 147:12–20; Evening: Psalm 68; 113; Exod. 34:1–17; 1 Thess. 2:13–20; Matt. 5:21–26

    Shortly after learning to drive, our daughter had taken a turn too wide and knocked down a neighbor’s mailbox. We quickly apologized to him and offered to fix it. Purchasing the replacement post, painting it and installing it became our project. A project that I enjoyed doing with her.

    I wonder how much enjoyment God received in making a new covenant with Israel after Moses had broken the first set of tablets. I wonder how much we please God when we return to his paths.

    Anon.

    Friday, April 22nd Morning: Psalm 96; 148; Evening: Psalm 49; 138; Exod. 34:18–35; 1 Thess. 3:1–13; Matt. 5:27–37

    Rich or poor, wise or foolish, everyone is equal when it comes to death.

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  • My mother died from terminal cancer three years ago. I would give everything, so she could live but it was not to be. It did not matter how much money or possessions I had or could give because my mother was dying slowly, and I felt helpless. As I read Psalm 49, I found comfort in…

    “My mouth shall speak wisdom;the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.”

    After my mother died, I mourned and grieved. No one is immortal; we all must eventually die.

    “No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him.”

    My mother had been in pain and had suffered more than most could bear, but she had lived a righteous and godly life always putting the needs of others before her own.

    “But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself.”

    My mother is now at peace in heaven. She has been received and now dwells in the House of the Lord.

    Josee Campbell

    Saturday, April 23rd Morning: Psalm 92; 149; Evening: Psalm 23; 114; Exod. 40:18–38; 1 Thess. 4:1–12; Matt. 5:38–48Exod. 40:18–38I had to read this one 3 times. It appears that there was a certain procedure that had to be followed by Moses and others before “something special” would happen to the tent that was used to cover the ark. The Lord gave them the procedures, then the glory of the Lord would come to the tent/tabernacle. A cloud would appear over the tent by day, and it was lit from inside all night. Until the cloud was taken up (evaporated?) the people were to stay put. When the cloud disappeared during the day, they knew to travel onward. The Lord was actually communicating directly with these people! Jeanne Carignan

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  • Sunday, April 24th: 5th Sunday of EasterActs 11:1–18; Psalm 148; Revelation 21:1–6; John 13:31–35

    Who would you invite to dinner?Occasionally on arriving at a crowded restaurant with dozens of people

    waiting for a table I wonder if I could convince another couple to share a table with us, so the hostess could sit us four to a table instead of two at two different tables. I wonder if the hostess might be able to seat us sooner and if we might meet another interesting couple. But such an impromptu meeting could have all kinds of unintended negative consequences.

    Peter ran into several unintended negative consequences after accepting an invitation to visit the home of a Roman military leader.

    So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?”

    This difficult passage reminds us that the Holy Spirit continually challenges us to welcome people different from our way of life. Even those who might confront what we consider important and essential to following Jesus.

    Robert Shaw

    Monday, April 25th Morning: Psalm 97; 145; Evening: Psalm 124; 115; Lev. 16:1–19; 1 Thess. 4:13–18; Matt. 6:1–6, 16–18

    When I read Matthew chapter 6, verses 1–6, I immediately thought of a situation that occurs annually and two observations from earlier in the day. Each year, an acquaintance makes a point of telling me that she helps serve a meal at Metropolitan Ministries. She goes into great detail about the individuals in need and frequently includes judgmental comments about their appearance or attitude. Every year, I wonder what compels her to tell me this. After reading this passage, I immediately thought of her and two anonymous acts of assistance that I observed today. The first was in our church office. Like most Sundays, cans of donated food for the food pantry is left in/by the office. No note attached, no one saying, "I made this donation." The second observation was at a traffic light frequented by individuals who are homeless. Anonymous drivers with outstretched arms offering money or food, who moved on once the light changed.

    Heather Brown

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  • Tuesday, April 26th Morning: Psalm 98; 146; Evening: Psalm 66; 116; Lev. 16:20–34; 1 Thess. 5:1–11; Matt. 6:7–151 Thessalonians 5:1-11

    We do not know the time of the coming of the Lord. But if we study and practice the word of the Lord and praise Him we do not need to fear His coming.

    Terry Tisdale

    Wednesday, April 27th Morning: Psalm 99; 147:1–11; Evening: Psalm 9; 118; Lev. 19:1–18; 1 Thess. 5:12–28; Matt. 6:19–24

    Be joyful always? Pray at all times? Be thankful in all circumstances?Really? What was Paul thinking in his letter to the Thessalonians? He

    had experienced some rough treatment having been flogged more than once, having to escape a city being lowered over a wall in a basket, suffering a long undisclosed malady. Was he really thankful in all circumstances? How could I be joyful after a terror attack? But perhaps if I remember to pray at all times I might better recognize God in all things. I might see and be thankful for those helping in times of trouble and for the ground work of support that God had taken centuries to put in place for me. Perhaps I might become a beacon of joy pointing beyond myself to a new reality in Jesus Christ and to God’s eternal kingdom.

    Anon.

    Thursday, April 28th Morning: Psalm 47; 147:12–20; Evening: Psalm 68; 113; Lev. 19:26–37; 2 Thess. 1:1–12; Matt. 6:25–34

    How are you worthy of the life that God has called you to live? God gave each of us unique skills for furthering Christ's mission in the

    world. But effectively using those skills in the world to make a difference will

    bring about change, and change will cause some people to get upset and oppose what we believe the Spirit calls us to do in the world. They may even persecute us for bringing changes that substantially advance the

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  • Kingdom of Heaven. Unfortunately, the reaction of others to change may be a leading indicator that we are making a difference using the skills God has entrusted to us. Thus the Apostle Paul and his colleagues “boast about the way you continue to endure and believe through all the persecutions and sufferings you are experiencing.”

    How well are you using your skills this day to further God’s mission in the world?

    Anon.

    Friday, April 29th Morning: Psalm 96; 148; Evening: Psalm 49; 138; Lev. 23:1–22; 2 Thess. 2:1–17; Matt. 7:1–12Matthew 7:1-12

    Ask and you will be given what you ask for. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will open, For everyone who asks, receives.

    I asked for a child, and I received a son three years later. I once again asked for another child, and I received a second son. Now both are grown, and while enriching my life and my husband's life, they have given me granddaughters, a grandson, and a great granddaughter. These children have enriched our lives beyond our expectations. God has been good to us.

    Lord, we thank you for this wonderful opportunity to watch 3 young ladies and 1 boy grow towards adulthood. Amen

    Eileen Nystrom

    Saturday, April 30th Morning: Psalm 92; 149; Evening: Psalm 23; 114; Lev. 23:23–44; 2 Thess. 3:1–18; Matt. 7:13–21

    I really wish false prophets would carry a sign or some obvious mark like red horns protruding from their foreheads. Instead we must watch what they do and test what they say. Do they seek to find that which is good in each person or are they quick to take on God’s role of sowing fear that grows in to turmoil between strangers or do they seek to find the image of God in each and every person and cultivate that with love? For when we get to know someone close enough to observe the fruit that they bear, they might also get to see the fruit that we bear and thus learn the gospel through us.

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  • Anon.

    Sunday, May 1st: 6th Sunday of EasterActs 16:9–15; Psalm 67; Revelation 21:10, 22—22:5; John 14:23–29

    I had many interruptions that week, several years ago, as well as several urgent tasks that delayed my sermon preparation later and later in the week. So on Saturday morning I took my laptop to to our daughter’s softball game, hoping to make a little progress while watching her over the top of the screen. At first the sun was in my eyes. I moved my chair a few times. But even when I could find that exact angle, with the sun out of my eyes and the screen shaded, I could barely read my notes, and I couldn’t really remain aware of the game. Finally I realized why I had come to the ball park and put my laptop away.

    Paul does not say exactly how the Spirit of Jesus had kept him from entering Bithynia before giving him a vision to go to Macedonia or how they the Spirit had prompted him to choose the city of Philippi. But once he had arrived the Spirit had great success extending the Church.

    How has the Spirit led you to new adventures?Robert Shaw

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  • Monday, May 2nd Morning: Psalm 97; 145; Evening: Psalm 124; 115; Lev. 25:35–55; Col. 1:9–14; Matt. 13:1–16

    Tuesday, May 3rd Morning: Psalm 98; 146; Evening: Psalm 66; 116; Lev. 26:1–20; 1 Tim. 2:1–6; Matt. 13:18–23

    Sing! Dance! Let your whole body tremble with the joy of the LORD!Hear the music of the wind rustling the leaves. Watch the sunlight

    dancing in a mountain stream. Listen to the tympany of rain on the roof punctuated with the cymbals of thunder and lighting.

    Lift up your heart and praise God all peoples. For the creation is awesome. For our union with one another is amazing. For the grace to live is astounding!

    Anon.

    Wednesday, May 4th Morning: Psalm 99; 147:1–11; Evening: Psalm 9; 118; Lev. 26:27–42; Eph. 1:1–10; Matt. 22:41–46

    Psalm 9 states that the Lord sees all humans as equal. The Lord knows

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  • how strong, and fragile, we all can be. Knowing that the Lord loves us, warts and all, is so amazing, and the love never ends.

    Most of us have had big scares in our lives. Whether we get through that moment or die, we can know that God is truly with us all the way! I’ve had only a few good scares, but learning to take a big breath and knowing that God will tell me the right thing to do is of utmost importance and comfort. In other words, don’t panic! I’m still learning how to do this, and wish I had learned how to put it into action as a child. God will know me forever, so I guess it’s never too late!

    Jeanne Carignan

    Thursday, May 5th: Ascension of the LordMorning: Psalm 47; 147:12–20; Evening: Psalm 68; 113; Dan. 7:9–14; Heb. 2:5–18; Matt. 28:16–20

    In worship I celebrate joyously all the wonderful works of the Lord our God around me and all that He has done through His Son Jesus Christ. I want to sing His praises and make beautiful music in His glory! When Jesus suffered death and rose again, He ascended

    with the “blast of a trumpet”! What joyous songs we sing to praise Him!

    Arlene McGonigle

    Friday, May 6th Morning: Psalm 96; 148; Evening: Psalm 49; 138; 1 Sam. 2:1–10; Eph. 2:1–10; Matt. 7:22–27

    I will have faith in the Lord’s purpose for me and he will be my rock in times of trouble. When I am feeling stressed, depressed, or lost, I remember that we are God’s

    masterpiece, and His grace has saved us and guides us through all our trials.

    Arlene McGonigle

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  • Saturday, May 7th Morning: Psalm 92; 149; Evening: Psalm 23; 114; Num. 11:16–17, 24–29; Eph. 2:11–22; Matt. 7:28–8:4

    To every good building, the cornerstone is vital. Every subsequent stone is lined up with it. So it is with Jesus. With Him as the cornerstone of our faith, we have only to line up with Him and we all become a strong monument and testament to Him.

    Each Sunday, I’m given something new that helps me to better understand and align with Christ

    and what He needs from me to make His world a more perfect place. Thanks be to the lord Jesus Christ!

    Mike Finney

    Sunday, May 8th: 7th Sunday of Easter – Mothers’ DayActs 16:16–34; Psalm 97; Revelation 22:12–21; John 17:20–26

    If I put a carefully wrapped gift on your front step and you carefully step over it or perhaps nudge it aside, or worse put it in the trash, is it still a gift?

    Mothers have given us the gift of life, perhaps nurtured us for most of our lives, this gift we had no choice but to accept. Most children on reaching adolescence, if not sooner, will exert their independence and try to run away from being nurtured, to reject the gift of food and sustenance.

    Christ offers us the gift of grace all we need to do is to answer his call and come and take the gift, so we might be happy and eat from the tree of life.

    Robert Shaw

    Monday, May 9thMorning: Psalm 97; 145; Evening: Psalm 124; 115; Josh. 1:1–9; Eph. 3:1–13; Matt. 8:5–17

    The first lesson Joshua received from God included a reminder to read the whole Law as part of worship. I usually choose Scripture lessons for Sunday from the readings listed in the Revised Common Lectionary. The

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  • readings in this guide come from the Daily Lectionary. These two lists cover most of the Bible so we read beyond our usual favorite stories and read passages we might otherwise ignore. How might you broaden your reading of Scripture?

    Robert Shaw

    Tuesday, May 10th Morning: Psalm 98; 146; Evening: Psalm 66; 116; 1 Sam. 16:1–13a; Eph. 3:14–21; Matt. 8:18–27

    When an important guest comes to visit, who would you send into the fields to tend to the chores of watching the sheep? Jesse had sent his youngest son, the one who was least likely to impress Samuel. But God saw something in David that set him apart for future leadership. When have you mentored someone and helped that person to fully answer God’s call?

    Anon.

    Wednesday, May 11th Morning: Psalm 99; 147:1–11; Evening: Psalm 9; 118; Isa. 4:2–6; Eph. 4:1–16; Matt. 8:28–34

    Having changed careers more than once, I am convinced that individuals may have different callings at different phases in their lives, callings that may contribute to future calling or to answer a particular calling for a particular time.

    What special gifts have you received from God for this year? How might you use those gifts and experiences to build up the body of Christ this week?

    Anon.

    Thursday, May 12th Morning: Psalm 47; 147:12–20; Evening: Psalm 68; 113; Zech. 4:1–14; Eph. 4:17–32; Matt. 9:1–8Psalm 113

    God guides us and watches over all nations;Sing praises to the Lord.

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  • He elevates the spiritually needy to the table of the healthy.Sing praises to the Lord.

    The Lord blesses us with family and friends.Sing praises to the Lord.

    All day today and everyday,Sing praises to the Lord. Amen

    Lori Shaw

    Friday, May 13th Morning: Psalm 96; 148; Evening: Psalm 49; 138; Jer. 31:27–34; Eph. 5:1–32; Matt. 9:9–17Jeremiah 31:27-34

    I feel that this is one of the Old Testament’s “Predictions” of the coming of Jesus. They may not have known that it would be a half human/half God, but there would be the end of old laws, and a new beginning where the Lord would remember their sins no more. “I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah” which seems to me that the Lord wants the Jews to adhere to the new ways, not like the covenant which he started with those he brought out of Egypt.

    Jeanne Carignan

    Saturday, May 14th Morning: Psalm 92; 149; Evening: Psalm 23; 114; Ezek. 36:22–27; Eph. 6:1–24; Matt. 9:18–26

    I hope that in some small measure these short devotionals might have strengthened your union with the Lord and have helped you to put on the whole armor of God so that you will be better equipped to withstand the uncertainties and evils that will come upon you in the days ahead. I wish you might be spared of these attacks, but they come from every direction, challenging each person’s faith. They may come as illness or accident. Or perhaps great success leading you to think you accomplished much all by yourself. Instead God is working through all and in all. God has more than just your back.

    Robert Shaw

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  • Sunday, May 15th: Day of PentecostGenesis 11:1–9; Psalm 104:24–34, 35b Acts 2:1–21; John 14:8–17 [25–27]

    A new church member showed up in worship wearing his firefighting equipment: insulated pants and coat, air tank and mask. His hard hat he carried under his arm. “I read about the Holy Spirit dancing like flames,” he said gesturing at his suit.

    He was right to come prepared. The Holy Spirit is very unpredictable. When people get caught up in it even Presbyterians have been known to extoll the benefits of Church membership. They have been known to work long hours maintaining the building, even volunteering for Presbytery committees. And a few people get so fired up, that helping out with a local mission has not been sufficient but they have gone to other countries all over the globe, even unsafe places, to use skills they have learned to further the Gospel and demonstrate the power of Christ.

    How has the Spirit set you afire?Robert Shaw

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    IntroductionThe AssignmentAbout the LectionarySunday, March 27th: Easter SundayIsaiah 65:17–25; Psalm 118:1–2, 14–24; 1 Corinthians 15:19–26; John 20:1–18

    Monday, March 28thMorning: Psalm 97; 145; Evening: Psalm 124; 115; Exod. 12:14–27; 1 Cor. 15:1–11; Mark 16:1–8

    Tuesday, March 29thMorning: Psalm 98; 146; Evening: Psalm 66; 116; Exod. 12:28–39; 1 Cor. 15:12–28; Mark 16:9–20

    Wednesday, March 30thMorning: Psalm 99; 147:1–11; Evening: Psalm 9; 118; Exod. 12:40–51; 1 Cor. 15:(29) 30–41; Matt. 28:1–16

    Thursday, March 31stMorning: Psalm 47; 147:12–20; Evening: Psalm 68; 113; Exod. 13:3–10; 1 Cor. 15:41–50; Matt. 28:16–20

    Friday, April 1stMorning: Psalm 96; 148; Evening: Psalm 49; 138; Exod. 13:1–2, 11–16; 1 Cor. 15:51–58 Luke 24:1–12

    Saturday, April 2ndMorning: Psalm 92; 149; Evening: Psalm 23; 114; Exod. 13:17–14:4; 2 Cor. 4:16–5:10; Mark 12:18–27

    Sunday, April 3rd: 2nd Sunday of EasterActs 5:27–32; Psalm 150; Revelation 1:4–8; John 20:19–31

    Monday, April 4thMorning: Psalm 97; 145; Evening: Psalm 124; 115; Exod. 14:21–31; 1 Peter 1:1–12; John 14:(1–7) 8–17

    Tuesday, April 5thMorning: Psalm 98; 146; Evening: Psalm 66; 116; Exod. 15:1–21; 1 Peter 1:13–25; John 14:18–31

    Wednesday, April 6thMorning: Psalm 99; 147:1–11; Evening: Psalm 9; 118; Exod. 15:22–16:10; 1 Peter 2:1–10; John 15:1–11

    Thursday, April 7thMorning: Psalm 47; 147:12–20; Evening: Psalm 68; 113; Exod. 16:10–22; 1 Peter 2:11–3:12; John 15:12–27

    Friday, April 8thMorning: Psalm 96; 148; Evening: Psalm 49; 138; Exod. 16:23–36; 1 Peter 3:13–4:6; John 16:1–15

    Saturday, April 9thMorning: Psalm 92; 149; Evening: Psalm 23; 114; Exod. 17:1–16; 1 Peter 4:7–19; John 16:16–33

    Sunday, April 10th: 3rd Sunday of EasterActs 9:1–6 [7–20]; Psalm 30; Revelation 5:11–14; John 21:1–19

    Monday, April 11thMorning: Psalm 97; 145; Evening: Psalm 124; 115; Exod. 18:13–27; 1 Peter 5:1–14; Matt. (1:1–17) 3:1–6

    Tuesday, April 12thMorning: Psalm 98; 146; Evening: Psalm 66; 116; Exod. 19:1–16; Col. 1:1–14; Matt. 3:7–12

    Wednesday, April 13thMorning: Psalm 99; 147:1–11; Evening: Psalm 9; 118; Exod. 19:16–25; Col. 1:15–23; Matt. 3:13–17

    Thursday, April 14thMorning: Psalm 47; 147:12–20; Evening: Psalm 68; 113; Exod. 20:1–21; Col. 1:24–2:7; Matt. 4:1–11

    Friday, April 15thMorning: Psalm 96; 148; Evening: Psalm 49; 138; Exod. 24:1–18; Col. 2:8–23; Matt. 4:12–17

    Saturday, April 16thMorning: Psalm 92; 149; Evening: Psalm 23; 114; Exod. 25:1–22; Col. 3:1–17; Matt. 4:18–25

    Sunday, April 17th: 4th Sunday of EasterActs 9:36–43; Psalm 23; Revelation7:9–17; John 10:22–30

    Monday, April 18thMorning: Psalm 97; 145; Evening: Psalm 124; 115; Exod. 32:1–20; Col. 3:18–4:6 (7–18); Matt. 5:1–10

    Tuesday, April 19thMorning: Psalm 98; 146; Evening: Psalm 66; 116; Exod. 32:21–34; 1 Thess. 1:1–10; Matt. 5:11–16

    Wednesday, April 20thMorning: Psalm 99; 147:1–11; Evening: Psalm 9; 118; Exod. 33:1–23; 1 Thess. 2:1–12; Matt. 5:17–20

    Thursday, April 21stMorning: Psalm 47; 147:12–20; Evening: Psalm 68; 113; Exod. 34:1–17; 1 Thess. 2:13–20; Matt. 5:21–26

    Friday, April 22ndMorning: Psalm 96; 148; Evening: Psalm 49; 138; Exod. 34:18–35; 1 Thess. 3:1–13; Matt. 5:27–37

    Saturday, April 23rdMorning: Psalm 92; 149; Evening: Psalm 23; 114; Exod. 40:18–38; 1 Thess. 4:1–12; Matt. 5:38–48Exod. 40:18–38

    Sunday, April 24th: 5th Sunday of EasterActs 11:1–18; Psalm 148; Revelation 21:1–6; John 13:31–35

    Monday, April 25thMorning: Psalm 97; 145; Evening: Psalm 124; 115; Lev. 16:1–19; 1 Thess. 4:13–18; Matt. 6:1–6, 16–18

    Tuesday, April 26thMorning: Psalm 98; 146; Evening: Psalm 66; 116; Lev. 16:20–34; 1 Thess. 5:1–11; Matt. 6:7–15

    Wednesday, April 27thMorning: Psalm 99; 147:1–11; Evening: Psalm 9; 118; Lev. 19:1–18; 1 Thess. 5:12–28; Matt. 6:19–24

    Thursday, April 28thMorning: Psalm 47; 147:12–20; Evening: Psalm 68; 113; Lev. 19:26–37; 2 Thess. 1:1–12; Matt. 6:25–34

    Friday, April 29thMorning: Psalm 96; 148; Evening: Psalm 49; 138; Lev. 23:1–22; 2 Thess. 2:1–17; Matt. 7:1–12

    Saturday, April 30thMorning: Psalm 92; 149; Evening: Psalm 23; 114; Lev. 23:23–44; 2 Thess. 3:1–18; Matt. 7:13–21

    Sunday, May 1st: 6th Sunday of EasterActs 16:9–15; Psalm 67; Revelation 21:10, 22—22:5; John 14:23–29

    Monday, May 2ndMorning: Psalm 97; 145; Evening: Psalm 124; 115; Lev. 25:35–55; Col. 1:9–14; Matt. 13:1–16

    Tuesday, May 3rdMorning: Psalm 98; 146; Evening: Psalm 66; 116; Lev. 26:1–20; 1 Tim. 2:1–6; Matt. 13:18–23

    Wednesday, May 4thMorning: Psalm 99; 147:1–11; Evening: Psalm 9; 118; Lev. 26:27–42; Eph. 1:1–10; Matt. 22:41–46

    Thursday, May 5th: Ascension of the LordMorning: Psalm 47; 147:12–20; Evening: Psalm 68; 113; Dan. 7:9–14; Heb. 2:5–18; Matt. 28:16–20

    Friday, May 6thMorning: Psalm 96; 148; Evening: Psalm 49; 138; 1 Sam. 2:1–10; Eph. 2:1–10; Matt. 7:22–27

    Saturday, May 7thMorning: Psalm 92; 149; Evening: Psalm 23; 114; Num. 11:16–17, 24–29; Eph. 2:11–22; Matt. 7:28–8:4

    Sunday, May 8th: 7th Sunday of Easter – Mothers’ DayActs 16:16–34; Psalm 97; Revelation 22:12–21; John 17:20–26

    Monday, May 9thMorning: Psalm 97; 145; Evening: Psalm 124; 115; Josh. 1:1–9; Eph. 3:1–13; Matt. 8:5–17

    Tuesday, May 10thMorning: Psalm 98; 146; Evening: Psalm 66; 116; 1 Sam. 16:1–13a; Eph. 3:14–21; Matt. 8:18–27

    Wednesday, May 11thMorning: Psalm 99; 147:1–11; Evening: Psalm 9; 118; Isa. 4:2–6; Eph. 4:1–16; Matt. 8:28–34

    Thursday, May 12thMorning: Psalm 47; 147:12–20; Evening: Psalm 68; 113; Zech. 4:1–14; Eph. 4:17–32; Matt. 9:1–8

    Friday, May 13thMorning: Psalm 96; 148; Evening: Psalm 49; 138; Jer. 31:27–34; Eph. 5:1–32; Matt. 9:9–17

    Saturday, May 14thMorning: Psalm 92; 149; Evening: Psalm 23; 114; Ezek. 36:22–27; Eph. 6:1–24; Matt. 9:18–26

    Sunday, May 15th: Day of PentecostGenesis 11:1–9; Psalm 104:24–34, 35b Acts 2:1–21; John 14:8–17 [25–27]