'grace' Tagged Posts

'grace' Tagged Posts

Daily Devotions

In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.” vs. 17 Acts 2:14-21 From the disciples’ perspective what had happened with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was unprecedented. All the old presuppositions about how God works in the world had been turned upside down, and from now…

Daily Devotions

I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.” vs. 11 John 15:9-12 These words are said in the context of Jesus’ last conversation with the disciples and indicate that he was well-pleased with them, and that their presence brought him joy. We know that feeling, that sense of satisfaction that a parent can have in looking around a festival table at the gathered faces of children…

Daily Devotions

Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody. With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.” vss. 5-6 Psalm 98:5-9h We know that temple rituals involved the offering of sacrifices on the altar, but the Levites who ran the temple organization were also responsible for music making and the chanting of psalms. They would have included professional musician–singers and instrumentalists who regularly would…

Daily Devotions

So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ He replied, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him.” vss. 30-31 John 12:16-18 There has been a Jewish presence in Ethiopia for thousands of years, and some of them regularly traveled to Jerusalem to worship at the temple. Luke here recounts how an official of Queen Candace…

Daily Devotions

So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.’” vs. 25 John 20:19-25 Thomas missed out. He wasn’t with the other disciples when Jesus appeared and breathed his spirit on them. And rather than accepting their testimony, he added tension by adamantly…

Daily Devotions

Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.” vss. 11-12 Psalm 51:6-11 For a couple of generations these verses were regularly sung as a part of liturgical worship in many congregations. We probably didn’t intentionally memorize them, but they became embedded in our brains nonetheless. For many they were a reminder that one of the main…

Daily Devotions

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.” vs. 1 Psalm 107:1-3 Occasionally, especially in the middle of Lent or a particularly upsetting news cycle, it’s helpful for people of faith to pause and give thanks to the Lord for the relentless and unceasing love that undergirds our being. Sometimes we’re like old crows as we plod through life. Distracted by everything that moves or glitters we spend our days flitting from…

Daily Devotions

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him.” vss. 35-36 Mark 1:35-39 Mark tells his readers that the morning after being besieged by the crowds in Capernaum, Jesus got up early, and went in the dark to a deserted place for prayer. Because the geography of Galilee has changed little in 2000 years we know that he…

Daily Devotions

‘Food will not bring us close to God.’ We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” vss. 8-9 1 Corinthians 8:1-6 Anything can become a divisive issue in a congregation! Among other things the Corinthians were struggling with whether or not it was appropriate to eat food that had been offered to idols.…

Daily Devotions

I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” vs. 8. Mark 1:5-8 Our scriptures indicate that there is a difference between water baptism and spirit baptism. The one is connected with John the Baptist and the other with Jesus. Jesus himself received both, being baptized in the Jordan River by John, and then anointed with the Holy Spirit when he came up out of the river. The early church adopted baptism with water…

Daily Devotions

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” vs. 4 Mark 1:1-4 When Mark wrote his gospel, very likely the first of the four we have in the New Testament, he didn’t include any stories about angels or shepherds or the birth of a baby in Bethlehem. Perhaps he hadn’t heard of such things. But he does know about John the baptizer and his ministry in the wilderness of Judea, and…

Daily Devotions

God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” vs. 9 1 Corinthians 1:7-9 The faithfulness of God has been so woven into the fabric of the universe that we often don’t even see or recognize it. It’s just there: the sun rises, the earth continues on its journey through space, the rains and snows come, and life flourishes in spite of our careless stewardship. Most of the time we don’t…