Tuesday Numbers 17:1-11

Prayer: Come, Lord Jesus, come into our hearts, share with us your Word, and teach us to live as you would have us live. Amen.

Stop complaining

And the staff of the man whom I choose shall sprout; thus I will put a stop to the complaints of the Israelites that they continually make against you.

The people were complaining.  They lost confidence in their leader because they were having a tough time.  They began to think that things were better before.  They made things seem so bad that they were ready to rebel. Sounds like the Hebrews in today’s text, but it could be about the church around the corner.

God doesn’t like complaining from the people He has given so much grace and forgiveness.  He has told us that He knows our pain and our troubles.  In Moses’ day He gave them a sign as an example of His promise.  From the Staff of Aaron, came buds, blossoms and ripe almonds.  For us He sent His Son, also descended from Aaron who brought us mercy and grace and eternal life.  Now why do we complain?  God did not abandon the Hebrews, and He will not abandon us.

Our devotion writer declares; “Today we worship God, the great and holy One, who persistently works in our midst, daily filling the universe with a sacrificial love that will not be stopped.  In Baptism we have been joined to the death and the resurrection of Jesus, joined to God, who will not give up.  Thanks be to God!

Prayer: “Gracious God, fill us with a spirit of perseverance as we live in your love.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.”


Numbers 17:1-11

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Budding of Aaron’s Rod

17  The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the Israelites, and get twelve staffs from them, one for each ancestral house, from all the leaders of their ancestral houses. Write each man’s name on his staff, and write Aaron’s name on the staff of Levi. For there shall be one staff for the head of each ancestral house. Place them in the tent of meeting before the covenant, where I meet with you. And the staff of the man whom I choose shall sprout; thus I will put a stop to the complaints of the Israelites that they continually make against you. Moses spoke to the Israelites; and all their leaders gave him staffs, one for each leader, according to their ancestral houses, twelve staffs; and the staff of Aaron was among theirs. So Moses placed the staffs before the Lord in the tent of the covenant.

When Moses went into the tent of the covenant on the next day, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted. It put forth buds, produced blossoms, and bore ripe almonds. Then Moses brought out all the staffs from before the Lord to all the Israelites; and they looked, and each man took his staff. 10 And the Lord said to Moses, “Put back the staff of Aaron before the covenant, to be kept as a warning to rebels, so that you may make an end of their complaints against me, or else they will die.” 11 Moses did so; just as the Lord commanded him, so he did.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Monday John 1:35-42

Prayer: O God, teach us through your Word, in Christ. Amen.

Andrew, Apostle

39 He said to them, “Come and see.”

Our devotion writer tells a story about visiting family and a four year old nephew, being so excited, pulls them by the arm to show them his bedroom.  He is so proud to show them his the important things in his life.  Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever been invited like this by a child?

What was Andrew getting himself into?  Jesus called Andrew to come and see. Our devotion writer points out; “As Andrew responded and followed the call to come and see, he didn’t have a clue what kind of invitation he had accepted.”  But after he had, he went back to get his brother Simon, who later is called Simon Peter.

Like a child, Andrew was so excited that he had discovered the Messiah that he had to share it with his brother. Are we also so excited about knowing that we have discovered the Messiah that we can pull people we meet by the arm and bring them to meet Jesus?  You know, to show them the important things in our lives.

Andrew didn’t know what he was getting into, as our devotion writer puts it; “None of us do.  For the invitation into Jesus’ life is also an invitation into his death and resurrection. Christ invites: ‘come and see.’ Take his hand and follow.  What you will see will delight and amaze you.”

Prayer: “Jesus Christ, invite me again each day to come and see, and give the courage to follow you. Amen.”

John 1:35-42

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The First Disciples of Jesus

35 The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). 42 He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sunday Luke 21:25-36

Prayer: O come, Lord Jesus, come.  Come to us through your Word and through your angels and teach us your ways. Amen.

The First Sunday of Advent

30 as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near.

Happy New Year! to the church. Today begins a new church year.  We begin with the Words of Jesus telling us to be on the lookout for signs that He will return to us in glory. Every year many trees and flowers bloom and sprout leaves in the spring. We know from this that summer is soon to be here.  As there are signs of summer, there are signs of fall, winter and spring.

Many people go through their lives waiting for signs from God.  It is easy living in this chaotic world to miss the signs that God is sending to us.  Maybe we can’t see the forest for the trees.  When we slow down and open our hearts and our eyes there may be many signs that we are missing.

These signs from God can be simple smiles from strangers, words of encouragement from a friend, or a word from a sermon or a song from the choir.  In order to see the signs, we need to be looking for them.

The kingdom of God is coming.  Jesus tells us there are signs and we need to be ready and watchful so we are not caught unaware.  As we begin Advent we look forward to Christmas and not only birth remembrance of Jesus, but also His return and the new world He creates.  Some also believe that in our lives from generation to generation, we are experiencing this new world in subtle ways with birth and life and trials and tests until we meet Jesus face to face after we die.

In all of these signs we can find hope.  In the case of the lilac bush our devotion writer writes; “The lilac has become a sign of hope and new life to me. I see their blossoms, inhale their fragrance, and remember that someday our waiting will be over.”

Prayer: “Almighty God, be with me as I wait.  Help me to see signs that you are near, through Christ. Amen.”


Luke 21:25-36

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Coming of the Son of Man

25 “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26 People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

29 Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 30 as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Exhortation to Watch

34 “Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, 35 like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Saturday 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13

Prayer: Almighty and Gracious God, we wait for your kingdom with the hope we find in your Word; show us more today, in Christ. Amen.

Face time

10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the new church year.  Advent comes once again.  Today after Thanksgiving we can still look back and be thankful for what we have accomplished or endured or both.  We, as our devotion writer, can marvel at the wonders that electronic technology has brought us.  You know, instant video calls from iPhone to iPad across thousands of miles.  We can see the live faces of loved ones almost no matter where they are in the world.  We can hear their voices and show what we are doing.

Back in the day we had to depend upon US Mail.  Long distance phone calls were expensive and we were tied to a phone line, usually at home.  Pictures were out of the question.  Photos had to be developed and could take a week to have the film processed to see how the pictures turned out.  What can be done across the miles in seconds now; used to take up to a couple weeks.  Children born today will take this instant video world for granted. The miles are not nearly as far away.

Back in Paul’s time there was no US Mail, messages were sent by courier.  It  was much harder to communicate, but still communications were important in the body of Christ.  Even more difficult was meeting face to face because it is important even today to gather in community to see facial expression and hear voices.  It is important to worship together and to share in the Spirit.  Without worship with others there is much missing in our spiritual lives.

Our devotion writer explains; “We need each other in the body of Christ.  We cannot be disciples in isolation.  We walk the journey of faith together.  So we gather in community as the church not only to worship and be renewed by God, but to renew each other in actual face time, in fellowship.  To be together in real space and time each week restores our ability to follow God, who is with us in Spirit until the day we at last see Christ face to face.”

Prayer: “Incarnate God, bring life to our gatherings as we spend time together as your body. Amen.”


1 Thessalonians 3:9-13

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith.

11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. 12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you. 13 And may he so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Friday Psalm 25:1-10

Prayer: Thank you, God, for your many blessings and for your Word which speaks to us, in Christ. Amen.

Waiting and hoping

Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.

Waiting on God should not compare with waiting on people.  We know that people are fallible, and sometimes we just don’t trust some people with being on time.  Even some we might wait a lifetime to see if they will do what they have promised.

Our devotion writer uses an example of being stood up on a date.  She goes to a restaurant and waits patiently for the man to show and even after an hour he doesn’t show.  She doesn’t want to admit that she has been stood up so she makes excuses in her mind.  The paranoia proceeds to the thought that she will never find that partner of her dreams. Our devotion writer declares; “so many times we put our hope in other people and they disappoint us. Maybe we are waiting for them to be something they simply can’t be—our all in all.

So it’s not a good idea to put God to the human test.  He is the only one we can depend upon. Our devotion writer explains; “Put your hope in the Lord.  God may seem to delay, but will never stand you up.  God is the only one who will not disappoint.

Prayer: “Christ Jesus, help me to forgive the shortcomings of others and to place all my hope in you. Amen.”


Psalm 25:1-10

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Psalm 25

Prayer for Guidance and for Deliverance

Of David.

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust;     do not let me be put to shame;     do not let my enemies exult over me. Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;     let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord;     teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me,     for you are the God of my salvation;     for you I wait all day long.

Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love,     for they have been from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;     according to your steadfast love remember me,     for your goodness’ sake, O Lord!

Good and upright is the Lord;     therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right,     and teaches the humble his way. 10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,     for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thursday Matthew 6:25-33

Prayer: Lord God, we pause especially today to give you thanks for the bounty that you have blessed us with, and to share with family and friends as you have provided. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Day of Thanksgiving

33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Today’s text reminds us that God cares for us and He gives us enough clothing, food and shelter. He gives it to us in many ways.  For many of us we have way more than enough.  When we stop to think about it we can see that we have much to be thankful for.

Our devotion writer tells us about a sign that she saw on the way to work; “What if you woke up tomorrow with only what you thanked God for today?”  The question was a good one to cause us to think what it would be about for us.  Our devotion writer writes; “God doesn’t want us to give thanks in order to cling to the things we have.  God calls us to live with an attitude of gratitude and hold what we have in open hands so we can share it with others.”

There will always be a temptation to focus on what we don’t have instead of what we do possess. Every television commercial tries to convince us that we are missing something. They draw our attention away from gratefulness and toward neediness—or merely want.

I think it is also about just giving thanks.  We often forget to give thanks to God as we go through our days.  We have much to share and more for which to be thankful. A spirit of thanksgiving is a choice we can make every day, not just on Thanksgiving Day.

Prayer: “God of harvest, make us bold to share what you have given us with those in need. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”



Matthew 6:25-33

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Wednesday Jeremiah 33:14-16

Prayer: O God, your Word gives strength and wisdom; share with us today, in Christ. Amen.

Holy living stones

16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety.

Jeremiah foretells the coming of Jesus Christ and a day when there will be peace in Jerusalem. Our devotion writer has visited the ancient city and walked some of the very stones steps walked by Jesus, who came to fulfill Jeremiahs words.  Yet war and conflict still abound. Our devotion writer tells us about seeing a group of Palestinians and Israelis who meet hoping and seeking peace in Jerusalem.  The situation today is not what they want for their children.

It is also not what God wants for us.  Even in the days of Jeremiah, the future is in the hope of Jesus’ return.  We can only praise and thank God for those days we have with peace in this world, for some, there is no peace in sight; only hope.

14 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.

Let is prepare for His coming by sharing our faith and making disciples of others, who do not know the hope and promises of God.

Prayer: “Prince of peace, guide us to work for reconciliation in conflict and safety in danger. Amen.”


Jeremiah 33:14-16

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Righteous Branch and the Covenant with David

14 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment