Blog (Page 2)

Blog (Page 2)

Daily Devotions

Then you, together with the Levites and the aliens who reside among you, shall celebrate with all the bounty that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house.” vs. 11 Deuteronomy 26:1-11 The Israelites, convinced that the God of their ancestors had directed them to cross the Jordan and take possession of the land, codified thanksgiving as a part of their written law. Each year after the harvest they would take a portion of the firstfruits…

Daily Devotions

Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together. To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord.” vss.3-4 Psalm 122 The ancient Israelites were convinced that God was responsible for their existence as a nation, and enshrined regular festivals of thanksgiving in their law codes. And the people were grateful! Ordinary folks recognized their dependence upon a benevolent God for survival and sustenance,…

Daily Devotions

He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks…” vs. 4a Isaiah 2:1-5 In reading the Hebrew scriptures, it’s easy to get the idea that God was an advocate of war and encouraged the people of Israel to engage in ferocious combat in defense of their land and to subjugate their enemies. More than that, it’s often implied that the Lord assisted in those…

Daily Devotions

Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’” vss. 42-43 Luke 23:39-43 It’s possible to get completely sidetracked by this little exchange between two dying men in Luke’s gospel. Because we wonder about the nature of life beyond death, we look here for clues that can help us construct some sort of timetable for what happens once we draw our last breath.…

Daily Devotions

When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’” vs.33-34a Luke 23:33-38 These words of Jesus are not recorded in the other gospels, but we can be grateful that Luke included them in his. It’s here that we begin to understand more completely the core of Jesus’…

Daily Devotions

He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” vs. 17   Colossians 1:17-20 Early Christians came to believe that the Christ who had been made visible in Jesus of Nazareth was the incarnate Word of God, described in the prologue to John’s gospel. Through the Christ, present in the Beginning, all things had come into existence, and the writer of Colossians adds that, “in him all things hold together.” In other words, Christ is the…

Daily Devotions

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation…” vs. 15 Colossians 1:11-16 There is a solution for those who despair of ever knowing God or of having a sense of God’s presence in daily living. And it’s easier that we might ever suspect. All we need to do is focus on Jesus, the man from Nazareth, and we will be connected to the invisible God through whom the universe came into existence. At least that’s…

Daily Devotions

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” vs. 7 Psalm 46 The psalmist had a strong sense of God’s closeness–to put it in theological terms, he was aware of the immanence of God. To put it even more plainly, God was real to him, palpable and near, capable of being perceived by his senses. When there was danger or trouble of any kind, the psalmist was confident that God would protect him. Some…

Daily Devotions

In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’” vs. 6 Jeremiah 23:4-6 In the midst of uncertainty and upheaval, Jeremiah dared to dream of peace and stability, a time when Judah and Israel would live in safety under the rule of a good shepherd king. The name of this new leader gives a clue to his identity. The one…

Daily Devotions

Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them.” vs. 2 Jeremiah 23:1-3 When Jeremiah uses the word “shepherd” he has in mind the kings of Judah, those who had responsibility for the welfare of the people. So when the “flock” was taken into exile he had no difficulty blaming the abysmal leadership…

Daily Devotions

You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death … But not a hair of your head will perish.”  vss. 16, 18 Luke 21:10-19 During the years of the Jewish Revolt, the followers of Jesus were persecuted and afflicted, not only by the Roman armies but by the Jewish rebels. Many were squeezed out of their homeland–others, while trying to remain faithful to the traditions, were betrayed…

Daily Devotions

And he said, ‘Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, “I am he!” and, “The time is near!” Do not go after them.’” vs. 8 Luke 21:5-9 The gospel of Luke was likely written in the midst of what might be called apocalyptic times. Horrendous things were happening! Roman armies had been summoned to put down a Jewish rebellion and had devastated the country from one end to the other. Jerusalem…