Monday, March 31, 2008

Easter: Monday, March 30, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

Exodus 14:21-31

We see in the story of the crossing of the sea God intercede on behalf of the people. He clogged the Egyptians wheels, and threw them into the sea. One of the Biblical narratives we see is that God will fight for His people, He will come and stand on their side in their moment of need. We see it here in the Exodus, we see it as Scripture tells us that He is the God of widows and the fatherless, we see it as He heals the sick and brokenhearted, and we see it as He forgives us our sin.

Today, know that God stands with His people!

New Testament Lesson

1 Peter 1:1-12

We see above that God stands with us His people, we see here that His people will be tested, thought. That just as gold is refined through fire, so must our faith be refined. We will face tests and struggles and fights of the faith. We will face dark nights of the soul, we will face tears and worries. We face this these at different times in our lives.

But, do not despair! These trails strengthen our faith; they strengthen the soul. They make us stronger and more mature in faith! And, we never face them alone, for even in these tests, God is with us

Gospel Lesson

John 14:1-17

This is that great passage that so many of us have heard at our moment of grief. It is one of power text that speaks to us in our moment of great need. It comforts us, it consoles us, it speaks to us. Do not let you hearts be troubled. Through life will come and pain will come and trials will come and loss will come and confusion, and all the things that will pass through our lives, they will all come. Do not let you hearts be troubled. For where He is, there we will be also. He has not left us orphaned and He will return to us.

Today, do not be troubled. He is with us.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Easter: Thursday, March 27, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

Exodus 13:3-10

We see the importance of two things in this passage. First, remembering. The Lord tells the people, first remember that you were once slaves. Remember who you once were and where you once were. Second, telling. Tell the children about how the Lord delivered you. Tell the people how the Lord was great and merciful to you.

Remember and Tell. Those are two good things for us to do as well. We need to remember what the Lord has done for us. And need to tell others about it.

New Testament Lesson

1 Corinthians 15:41-50

Paul tell us that there will be a Resurrection of the dead. There will be new bodies in heaven. There will be life that is full and different and eternal. And he tries his best to explain it to us in this passage. But, ultimately, it is a mystery. We know that in eternity we have have full life and joy and peace. We know that there will be no more sickness and pain and death. We know that we will walk with God and He with us. But, every last detail, we don't know.

That is why we must trust and have faith. And know that in the end, God will take care of everything that can't know. Where we don't know or understand, we must trust. For we trust in a God that is worthy of our trust.

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 28:16-20

The last command He gave the disciples upon the earth was go. Go and make disciples. Go and tell the good news. Go. That is our command as well. We are to go where the Lord has called us. We are to go where we are commanded. We are to go where their is need. He told them to go. He commands the same to us. Go.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Easter: Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

Exodus 12:40-51

We see the openness and acceptance of God in this passage. If someone wants to observe the Passover, all they have to do is follow the certain steps listed, and they are welcomed, and considered of their own. We see that God is always calling more and more folks to follow Him. He's always casting wide the doors to everyone and saying, come on in. He's always imploring more and more folks to follow.

And that is part of our job. We are called to throw wide open those doors and tell the world, there is a God that loves you and wants to know you. Come follow me, and I will show you.

New Testament Lesson

1 Corinthians 15:29-41

Just like in our day, there were folks that were curious, how is this all going to shake out in the end? What will happen when the Lord returns? What will our bodies be like? What will heaven be like? What happens to the folks that are already dead.

Paul, on one hand, assures us that God will take care of everything. Everything will be done according to His plan and according to His way. We don't have worry about all these things. In the end, God will work everything out as it should be. But, also notice, Paul doesn't explain everything either.

There is a mystery to God. There is a mystery to faith. There are just some things we'll never know. We'll just have to take those on faith, trusting in God. We know He will work it all out. We'll trust Him with the details.

Gospel Lesson

Matthew 28:1-16

I just love in Matthew's account how the angel just sits on the stone. My son Thomas, who is actually 17 months old today, when he does something that he is either proud of, or does something he know he shouldn't do, will look at you smile with a look of, see what I've done?

I can almost picture the angel kind of smiling, saying, look what God has done! That's also the smile we should have one our face. Look what God has done, in the life of our church, our family, our own lives. We should always have that smile, if not on our face, then close at hand, to say, look what God has done!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter: Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

Exodus 12:28-39

We see here the Lord delivering His people. And notice how the Lord turns things around here. The ones who were slaves are now the ones the ones calling the shots. They leave, and they ask the Egyptians for their gold and sliver, and they give it over. The Lord has a way of turning things upside down. The slaves leave with the blessings of the Masters. The foolish are used to shame the wise. The cross is means of salvation. A child shall lead us. All these are Biblical concepts, and each of them does not make sense in the way that we are used to thinking

For God's ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways and thoughts are higher than ours. We just have to trust in Him to do what He said He would do. He made a way for the Israelites and will make a way for us as well. If we just believe.

New Testament Lesson

1 Corinthians 15:12-28

As I told the congregation on Easter, that's the Super Bowl for us. Easter is what it is all about. It is what it all comes down to it. It is the point of our Faith. We are an Easter people. The empty grave is what makes us Christian. Without it, the cross is just a bloody sign of torture. Without it, evil, sin, death, and the grave have the last word. Without it, the hope that we now feel is in vain.

But, we know that the grave was empty. And we know that we have hope. And we know that the power of sin, death, and the grave have been defeated! And we know that we have reason to rejoice. So, let us rejoice today. Let us be thankful. For He is alive, and the grave is empty. Let us rejoice!

Gospel Lesson

Mark 16:9-20

This is one of the more controversial passages in all the Bible. In fact, many of our Bibles have a note right above this passage saying that the earliest accounts of Mark didn't includes this passage. And, plus, it has some unusual stuff in there. So, shouldn't we just ignore it and move on to Luke?

I say no, because after all, it is still in there, and we can't just ignore something in there. So, what are we to make of it? Perhaps the fact that those that believe upon Christ have a power that others don't have. Or maybe something that others deal with, we dont' have to. What I mean by that is this: those that believe have no reason to be afraid. Fear should have no hold on us. For God has won, the victory is achieved, and nothing, not even the grave, can do us eternal harm. Now, in this moment on the earth, things will hurt, and things will sting.

But, in the end, in eternity, God has won. And we have the victory. What should we feel discouraged, why should we fear? For God has won!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter: Monday, March 24, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

Exodus 12:14-27

We see here one of the constant refrains in the Old Testament. God tells the people to do something, and then He says, now when your children ask, why are we doing this, you can tell them it was because we were once slaves and the Lord has freed us. We see in the Law and in the Exodus, every time something happens, they build and altar so when they children see it, they can explain what happened.

This does two things that we should do. First, we must remember. We must remember what God has done for us. We must remember how His grace has been made known to us, day after day. Second, we must pass down. We must share, we must tell other about what God has done. We must teach the children, and we must teach those that do not know. We must proclaim the goodness of God to everyone, through our words, and more importantly, through our lives.

New Testament Lesson

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

One of the things that Paul did was that He preached the simple Gospel. He didn't try to drown the people with controversial theology, He simply told them that Christ died for them, and was resurrected. Sometimes we try to make things more complicated than they really are. I heard someone say once that Christianity is not very hard to understand. It's just hard to live out. The Gospel is simple. God loves us. He loves each of us enough that He was willing to sacrifice His own Son for us. But, the sacrifice was not in vain, for it brings us back home; and the grave could not hold Him down. We see through the empty tomb that live, mercy, and grace, in the end will win.

Let us rejoice today in God's victory, and our victory!

Gospel Lesson

Mark 16:1-8

In Mark, when they see the empty tomb they are bewildered at what happened and they are afraid. Of the four gospels, Mark has the shortest Easter scene. Here, they simply come to the tomb, and don't know what to thing. For, the dead are not supposed to rise. But He has.

That is the power of Easter. The dead are not supposed to rise. Sins are not supposed to be forgiven. Hearts are not supposed to be healed. Families are not supposed to be restored. Life is not supposed to win. But through the power of Easter and the power of God, good does win! Life does win! Grace does win! Love does win! Let us be thankful for all the good that God has done.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Maundy Thursday, March 20, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

Lamentations 2:10-18

Today begins the two darkest days in the life of the church. Today is Maundy Thursday. This is the day we remember the institution of the Lord's Supper, and remember His betrayal. Today, this is the day, when we remember the abandonment of our Lord. The day we remember the suffering that He endured. Today, we remember what He suffered for our sake.

And we read in this Old Testament Lesson that suffering is something that many that serve God have experienced. We see Jeremiah suffer as he sees his city of Jerusalem destroyed. We see that there are times in life when pain and sorry come. And in this day, we see that our Lord suffered as we each at times suffer. And we know that in that, we suffer not alone.

New Testament Lesson

1 Corinthians 10:14-17, 11:27-32

Just as there is one cup, we are all one that believe in Christ. And we remember that on this night, our Lord was betrayed for each of us. For each of us, and for all the church, for all those that believe, He suffered and died.

Gospel Lesson

Mark 14:12-25

One this last night, before He was taken, the Lord wanted to leave something with His people that would strengthen them, that would support them, that would help them in their hours of need. Today, before He was taken, He left with us His Body and His blood. He left with us this meal.

Tonight, I hope you are able to be with your church and take a moment to remember what He has given us. If your church does not worship on Maundy Thursday, I encourage you to take a moment and remember the betrayal and remember His suffering. And remember this meal He has given. Take time tonight, to remember.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Today, please keep the Dickerson family in your prayers.  

Today, just a quick devotional thought from our friends at Christian Quote of the Day

You can read all the manuals on prayer and listen to other people pray, but until you begin to pray yourself you will never understand prayer. It’s like riding a bicycle or swimming: You learn by doing.
Luis Palau

Monday, March 17, 2008

Holy Week: Monday, March 17, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

Lamentations 1:1-12

We see in this first day of Holy Week that the reads start off with Lamentations. This is the book of the Bible where Jeremiah gets his nickname, the "Weeping Prophet."  He writes these words as he stands among his city, Jerusalem, which has been completely devastated by the invaders. He stands among the ruins of this once magnificent and beautiful city, that is now laid to waste.  And his heart was broken. 

As we draw close to the cross this week, do we take time to notice the cuts upon the back, and the sides, and the face of our Savior? Do we take the time to notice the beatings that He received?  Do we pause and remember insults hurled?  The men that pulled His beard or spit upon Him? To reflect upon all He endured for our sake and for our Salvation?  

New Testament Lesson

2 Corinthians 1:1-7

During Holy Week, as we draw close to Good Friday and the cross, it is easy to allow ourselves, though, to think only of the cross. Paul reminds us today, that as great as the sufferings of Christ were, greater still is the consolation and love that flows from the empty cross. Remember, the cross was not suffering for sufferings sake. Thought the work of the cross and the empty grave of Easter, the power of sin, death, and the grave are defeated. Great is the suffering of the cross. Greater is the victory of the empty grave.

Gospel Lesson

Mark 11:12-25

They had made the Temple not into a place of worship, but into a place of profit.  People were not able to worship God unless they were able to buy the right dove of birds for the sacrifice.  Instead of being able to freely come to God, worship and receive what He had for His people, they had to do through all the constants that these men had placed upon them. You must be the right bird.  You must come in the right way. You must stand in the right way.  You must sing and chant in the right way.  You must do it only as we tell you to.  

Jesus said, no, you can come freely to God. I shared in my sermon yesterday that people are not dying today for religion. There is enough religion out there.  People are not desperate for religion. They are desperate for the grace and love of Jesus. They are desperate for relationship. 

The money changers where selling religion. Jesus was offering relationship. Today, may we realise our true need. And may we find the relationship, the friendship, that He is offering today.  

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Lent: Thursday, March 13, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

Exodus 7:25-8:19

We see now what began in previous passages.  Pharaoh had hardened his heart to the point that even when his own magicians said, this is the hand of God, he couldn't believe. He had become too hard and God's grace could not penetrate it.  Pharaoh knew what he was supposed to do, he knew what God wanted him to do, but he would not do it. And that is when trouble really begins to set in. 

When we feel the Lord calling us to do something, and we do not do it, eventually we will not be able to feel what He is calling us to do.  CS Lewis said in 
The Screwtape Letters,
"The great thing is to prevent his doing anything. As long as he does not convert it into action, it does not matter how much he thinks about this new repentance. Let the little brute wallow in it ... let him do anything but act ... as one of the humans has said, active habits are strengthened by repetition but passive ones are weakened. The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.” 
Pharaoh felt what God was calling him to do, but did not act.  And because of that, his heart was hardened to where he couldn't feel what God wanted him to do.  May we always act upon what God is calling us do and to be. 

New Testament Lesson

2 Corinthians 3:7-18

One of the great messages of the New Testament is this; we are free to approach God. We can approach God without any hesitancy, without any fear, without and worry. We have the ability to come before the thrown and have access to God.  We can approach Him any time we want, and in  most any way we want. How awesome is that!  The creator of all that is, both seen and unseen, desires communion with us!  Let us take advantage of that and boldly approach Him.  

Gospel Lesson

Mark 10:17-31

In Jesus day, it was felt that the rich were more blessed by God.  And so for Jesus to say that it would be harder for someone rich to enter into heaven than for the camel to go through the eye of the needle shocked them. They were not used to hearing that.  But for Jesus, it was not about money. There were rich folk that followed Him, there were poor folks that followed Him. What mattered wasn't what they had, it what mattered was their need. 

Did they understand that their need for Him was greater than anything else in life?  Remember in the Sermon on the Mount?  He tells folks its better to cut off your ear and eye, if it caused you to sin.  His point in that, and in this, is that we should let nothing keep us from God. Not what we have or what we don't have.  Not what we desire. We must subject all these things to God.  

So, being rich or poor doesn't matter to God. What matters to God is that His first in life, above all things. And if we seen that our need for Him is primary, then everything else falls into place. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lent: Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

Exodus 7:8-24

Notice in this passage we see Pharaoh harden his heart, or have his heart remain hard. In a few passages later we'll see that passage where it says that the Lord hardened his heart.  Before the Lord hardened his heart, Pharaoh first began the process of hardening it himself. And we see that in this passage, Pharaoh sees the works of the Lord, sees what the Lord is doing, and rejects it. 

Perhaps the hardening of the heart was not even on purpose. Perhaps it was just a rejection of what God was doing and wanting to do. I don't think that many of us would say, "sure, I want my heart to be hardened."  But I think that if we are not very careful, when we reject what God is trying to do our live, in the life of our church, in the life of our community, in the life of the world, we greatly run that risk.  

New Testament Lesson

2 Corinthians 2:14-3:6

Paul here says we are the aroma of Christ. I love that image.  On the third Sunday of every month, when we have our men's breakfast (by the way, that is this week, guys!) when I walk into our CMC building, the first thing I experience is the smell of bacon cooking, sausage, and all the other great smells of the breakfast table.  Your mouth starts watering just thinking about it. 

That is how we are supposed to be. When folks are around us, that sweet "smell" or presence of Christ should be all over us. And just as when I smell that bacon cooking, I can't wait to eat, so should it be that when folks are around us, they can't wait to meet and experience that Jesus that has so transformed our lives. We are the aroma of Christ.  What a blessing.  

Gospel Lesson

Mark 10:1-16

Everyday when my children see me, they want to run and jump into my arms. This is not because I'm an exceptional father.  There many, many ways that I could and should improve as a father. This is simply because they love their dad. 

Do we as the children of have the same joy, same excitement, same passion for the embrace of our Father as my children have for me?  I think part of what we lose as we grow older is that childlike excitement just seeing your parents after a day of school or daycare. Perhaps what it means to come to God as child is to simple eagerly desire to be in His presence as a child longs to be in the presence of their parent.  

May we have that desire today. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lent: Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

Exodus 5:1-6:1

We see here that faith is always about something you can't see.  The people didn't see their deliverance. They only saw that they were being mistreated and they were forced to work harder.  Their eyes saw only abuse, and that made it hard for the eyes of their hearts to see deliverance. 

That is where faith steps in.  Faith allows us to believe and see the things that appear to be impossible. Their eyes didn't see how they could be free.  Their faith knew that it could be so. 

It is just hard to believe when our eyes can't see. That's why the Bible calls faith a gift. For through His grace, through our walk with Him, through knowing Him, even when we can't see, we can believe.  

New Testament Lesson

1 Corinthians 14:20-40

We see Paul's continued concern for the body of Christ. Everything mentioned in this passage, its primary concern is for the body. There are even times, Paul says, that we must humble ourselves and not do what we feel like doing, not do what we feel maybe even led to do, if it is not for the good of the body. That is our primary concern. For if the Body of Christ is strong, the believer will be encouraged and those are not believers will be led to faith.  

Gospel Lesson

Mark 9:42-50

Let us not cause one of the little ones to fall.  Remember in this life, there are always eyes watching us. There are always folks watching how we live, how we talk, how we care, how we treat one another.  As these eyes are watching us, our faith can really shine though.  So, let us live lives of grace and mercy, and as we do that, God will be glorified.  

Monday, March 10, 2008

Lent: Monday, March 10, 2008

Happy Anniversary to my sweet wife for putting up with me for 7 years.  You have me to follow my calling, never complaining.  You have made me a better man, father, and preacher.  I love you.

Old Testament Lesson

Exodus 4:10-31

One of the things we are prone to say when the Lord calls us to something is to day, I can't do that.  Surely anyone but me, I'm not gifted.  I can't teach.  I can't do whatever it is.  We all feel that way at times.  That is a common thought at times. Today, we see Moses felt that way.  

We see Moses say, but Lord, I can't.  And what did the Lord do?  He gave him someone to help him.  We are right to a point. We can't do these things that the Lord has called us to alone. We need each other. We each need our Aaron. Someone that can help us do the things that God has called us to do. Remember, we don't walk this road of life alone, we walk it together. We need each other.  To accomplish all that God wants to do in us and through us, we need each other. 

New Testament Lesson

1 Corinthians 14:1-19

We see Paul echo these thoughts in Corinthians today. He reminds us that we we do in church is useful for the building up of the entire body of Christ.  Through worship and teaching and preaching, we are called to build one another up. We are called to build up the body. He says that the more useful gift would be prophesying, because in that, everyone is built up.  

In the building up of others, we will find life, as well. As important as it is to have an Aaron to help us in what we are called to do, we also need to be an Aaron that is trying to accomplish what God has called them to.  It is not just that we others, but other folks need the gifts that we can give. That is the joy of church, we find what we need, and we are able to help others find what they need. And through all that, we are drawn closer to God, and each other. 

Gospel Lesson

Mark 9:30-41

I love the last verse in this passage.  If we give even a cup of cold water, then we've done something.  Jesus doesn't always call us to what we may think of as "great things." He simply calls us to be faithful.  Be faithful with all that we have and all that we are.  Be faithful with the little things. And if we are faithful, God will do the rest. He doesn't always call us to climb the mountain. He calls us to be faithful. And if we are faithful, the mountain climbing will take care of itself.  

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Lent: Thursday, March 6, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

Exodus 1:6-22

We see here the two Hebrew midwives that did the right thing, even though it was disobeying the Pharaoh.  Augustine wrote in the 6th century that we are citizens of two cities. The City of God, and the City of Man. We have dual citizenships. We are to faithful citizens of both. We are to do what is requited to be citizens of both. But, we must always remember which is our hire priority: the City of God.  Today, based off their actions, the midwives were in the wrong, in the City of Man. But, their hire allegiance was to the City of God, and because of their faithfulness to their true home, they were rewarded. 

Remember, our true home is not this earth. That means that are to live by the rules of the City of God. We are to do right, at all times. We are to love, at all times. We are to show grace, at all times. We are to be ambassadors of God, at all times. For in doing that, we will actually be better citizens of the City of Man as well. For when we live for God, we make everything around us better as well.  

New Testament Lesson

1 Corinthians 12:12-26

As we talk about how we are one in Christ, let us also remember that we are not all the same, either. We have different gifts and graces. We have different talents. We are different things we are called and able to do.  We are are one, but we are all different. And that diversity is a good thing. For God needs each of us to do what we are called to for the church to be the church. We need hands and feet and arms and heads for the body to be the body. 

But, we must take care not to feel bad or discouraged because we might not all have the gifts of others. I cant' sing a lick. That's ok. There are others that called to sing.  I need to use my gifts for the glory of God and the good of the kingdom. And if we each use our gifts as we are called, God will be glorified.  

Gospel Lesson

Mark 8:27-9:1

We see Jesus tell us today that the true way to life is to lay down our lives for Him and for others.  Living only for ourselves will leave us empty. Living only for what we want and what we desire will leave us lacking.  Living only for what we want is a true way to sadness. 

But, when we lay down our lives and life for Him, when we lay down our lives and live for the good of others, we find life great than we could have ever imagined. Today, may we find life, and may we find that life in living for Him.  

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Lent: Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

Genesis 50:15-26

This passage has one of my favorite verses in all the Bible.  Joseph says to his brothers, what you intended for evil, God intended for good.  God was able to bring good even out of the worst possible situation.  Even this, the attempted killing of their brother, God was able to bring some good out of. The power of God is not that He always stops bad thing from happening. The power of God is that He can bring some good out of even the worst situation.  

New Testament Lesson

1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Once again, Paul talks about unity. There is so much division in the Corinthian church, he just keeps pounding this thought.  They are divided over theology. They are divided over practice. They are divided over baptism. They are divided over communion. They are divided over everything. Sounds  kind of like the modern church, huh?  

But Paul says, remember, it is the same spirit that is at work in you each. It is the same spirit of God that is at work, and if that spirit is at work in each individual and in each individuals gifts, shouldn't there be unity among us all?  If the same spirit is at work, then shouldn't all of us that are full of that spirit work for the same good and the same goal?  For, that spirit makes us one.  

Gospel Lesson

Mark 8:11-26

We see that the disciples never fully understood. He'd perform some great act, or give some great teaching, He'd do something amazing. And they would just look at Him dumbfounded. And while we are sometimes amazed at their thickheadedness, it can also give us hope. For, we don't always get it the first time, do we? We don't always understand.  We don't always do right. We aren't always who He calls us to be. 

And if He didn't give up on them, He won't give up on us, either. Today, rejoice in the fact that we have a gracious and loving Savior.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Lent: Tuesday, March, 4, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

Genesis 49:29-50:14

One of the important facts of the Bible is that we stand not alone, but we stand with all those that have gone before.  Jacob, or as he is called, Israel, wants to be buried with his ancestors.  He wants to be buried where his father was, and his father's father.  He wants to be laid to rest there among his forefathers. 

Family matters.  Tradition is important. What has been done in the past has a great impact upon the present.  We must never be too quick to rush ahead to the future that we forget the lessons that we have leaned in the past.  And let us never be too hasty to forget those that have gone before us.  

New Testament Lesson

1 Corinthians 11:17-34

Paul continues his talk about communion by warning the people that they should respect what happening at the table. In that day, communion was not as it is now, a wafer and bread, and juice or wine.  It was a meal.  And some folks were able to arrive early to the meal and eat all the food and drink all the wine. Paul says, don't do that. Respect your brothers and sisters.  For we gather at the table not as individuals, but as a community. Communion is not a singular experience, but we commune both with God, and with each other.  We join each other at the table, and we join all those that have gone before that are with the Lord as we speak. 

Gospel Lesson

Mark 8:1-10

With a few loaves and fish, He was able to feed the multitudes.  Imagine what He do through us today!  Imagine the good that He can do through us. For as we find just how great His love is for us, we will see just how much He calls us to love each other!  

Monday, March 3, 2008

Lent: Monday, March 3, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

Genesis 49:1-28

We see Jacob blessing each of his children before his life ended. It would be these twelve that would be the fathers of each of Israel's tribes. It was through these that God would work, God would be worshiped, and would make himself known.  These twelve, none of them perfect, would be the people through whom God would do so much. All we have to do is look at the promises that were made, look at the lives that were lived, look at who these folk were, and in that, we are reminded that God doesn't just used those that we think that are perfect. God uses each of us; all that are willing. God can use us.  He used these 12 in spite of their misdeeds. So can He use us.  

New Testament Lesson

1 Corinthians 10:14-11:1

I love as Paul references communion here. As we break one bread together, so are we one in Christ. There are so many things in this culture that try to tear us apart. So many things that try to separate us. As those that believe upon Christ, shouldn't we be the most unified? Shouldn't we be one?  Since we share the same Lord, shouldn't we be one?  Think about all that we each have in common.  We share more than than we disagree about. And think of all that we can do together ! Imagine what God could do through our combined forces!

We share the same Lord.  Let's share the same love of the Lord!

Gospel Lesson

Mark 7:24-37

(If you click this link, you'll see I had to change bible websites.  During this devotional, Ornemus messed up, so I switched over to the TNIV)

We see Jesus healing everyone.  We see life springing out all round Jesus. Wherever He went, life erupted.  It just flowed out from Him. People were lifted, God was praised, good was done.  Everywhere He went, this just happened. 

Have you ever been around someone that just lifted your spirits?  Someone that made you feel more alive?  Someone that just made you smile by being around them? That is what Jesus did.  And that is what He still does. Just drawing close to Him through reflection and the word and prayer and lift our spirits. So can service to others.  So can worship. So can forgiveness.  In all that we do in service to Him, we can find our very spirits lifted. 

So, today, if you are in a funk, do something kind for someone else, and see if it doesn't lift your spirits. For, when good is done in His name, every one's spirit is lifted.