Dec
13
12:00 AM00:00

Amos 6:1-8, While Others Suffer Don't Rest Easy

Key Verse

Alas for those who lie on beds of ivory, and lounge on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock, and calves from the stall; who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp, and like David improvise on instruments of music; who drink wine from bowls, and anoint themselves with the finest oils, but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph! Therefore they shall now be the first to go into exile, and the revelry of the loungers shall pass away.
— Amos 6:4-7

RCL Daily Devotion for Thursday, December 13, 2018

RCL Daily Devotions written by Daniel D. Maurer from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

 Abject poverty. Dump site.

Amos the prophet spoke out against those in Israel who sat in luxury while others lived in squalor. The exile of Israel served as a reminder that a relationship with God requires obedience and a listening heart. What’s more, the Messiah would bring humanity into a new sort of relationship—one of grace.

It’s easy to forget the suffering the rest of the world goes through, especially when we live in relative comfort in the “First World.”

It’s amazing to me—stunning, really—that over 1/2 the world’s population lives on less than three dollars per day. Why is that? More importantly, how is it that we can become more equitable, not just in our family or our community or country, but for the world?

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Amos 6:1-18 (NRSV)

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Dec
12
12:00 AM00:00

Luke 7:18-30, Prophets Still Among Us

Key Verse

What then did you go out to see? A prophet?
— Luke 7:26

RCL Daily Devotion for Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Today’s Daily Devotion written by Rev. Stefanie Fauth. More of Stefanie’s contributions can be read here.

pexels-photo-159935.jpeg

John the Baptist was more than a prophet - no one was more important than him that had been born fully human - and yet, we know he was wild and ate bugs.

Prophets are still among us, preaching truth.

It can be hard to hear sometimes - truth is often going to make us uncomfortable or upset the order of things, or point out what we have done wrong and need to correct.

Can we listen to these messages of prophecy?

How can we know what is of God and what is the ramblings of a confused person?

Pay attention to the truths they point out - the Good News of Christ hasn’t changed, even though the world changes around us!

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Luke 7:18-30 (NRSV)

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Dec
11
12:00 AM00:00

2 Peter 1:2-15, Faith Supported through Love

Key Verse

For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love.
— 2 Peter 1:5-7

RCL Daily Devotion for Tuesday, December 11, 2018

RCL Daily Devotions written by Dr. Kimberly Leetch from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

 Text here, if relevant. Otherwise hide.

Being a person of faith can be hard. Not only does faith require action — goodness, knowledge, self-control — it also requires inner strength — endurance and godliness and the outward expression of all these things — love.

Not only does living with faith require these things, but maintaining faith can also be challenging. Sometimes our faith is tested and we pass with flying colors. When a loved one is sick, perhaps, we rally to their side, fight with prayer, and call upon God. But other times, it seems a faint wind can make us waver — an untimely bill in the mail can set us off for days.

But that’s also the beautiful thing about faith. Its ebbs and flows suggest faith is a living thing — something that breathes, that changes, that moves with us and around us. Faith is not binary — you either believe or you don’t. No, faith is flowing, growing, and constantly evolving. It is a journey, not a destination. Faith not only requires much of us, but it also supports those things it demands. Faith calls for love, but gives love, too.

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2 Peter 1:2-15 (NRSV)

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Dec
10
12:00 AM00:00

Isaiah 40:1-11, Sing Loudly! Sing Strong!

Key Verse

Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, “Here is your God!”
— Isaiah 40:9

RCL Daily Devotion for Monday, December 10, 2018

RCL Daily Devotions written by Daniel D. Maurer from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

 Singing little girl in pink.

Lift up your voices and sing!

One of the few last places where we sing together as a community is in worship, in church. At least it’s like this in the United States and Canada . . .

When I lived in Germany in the late 80s, we often would sing songs in school (and, no, not in “choir class”). Really! I remember distinctly one outing we had in the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) where our whole class sung folk songs on the way up the mountain.

Maybe it’s not that way, anymore. I dunno.

What I do know is that singing can be, and is, a divine activity. Singing brings us to another world and many spiritual practices include it.

What songs do you like to sing? Or are you more of a listener?


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Isaiah 40:1-11 (NRSV)

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Dec
9
12:00 AM00:00

Luke 3:1-6, Storms Rage Inside of Us

Key Verse

He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins...
— Luke 3:3

RCL Daily Devotion for Sunday, December 9, 2018

RCL Daily Devotions written by Dr. Kimberly Leetch from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

 Screaming woman.

Main Idea: The storms that rage inside us deserve more of our attention than the storms that rage around us.

Luke was quite clear about the timing of the events of John and Jesus. Luke made sure we understood that John and Jesus came at a time when Rome ruled completely. Rome had officials in Judea, Galilee, Ituraea, Trachonities, and Abilene. Rome occupied every land of Israel. There was certainly ample evidence that a savior was due.

But when John arrived on the scene, he wasn’t proclaiming an overthrow of the Roman government. He proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. He recognized that Israel was in bondage, not only to Rome, but to its own sins and failings. Israel had become a people of injustice, conflict, classism, discrimination, and an infiltration of Roman influence. While Israel did need liberation from Roman rule, it was the internal struggle that John preached about.

Maybe it’s human nature to look outside ourselves for the causes of our discomfort. When we are distressed, it is easy to blame our partner, our boss, our government. We accuse the economy, social media, environmental hazards. But we often fail to look inside ourselves for the source of our suffering. There will always be external stimuli to ruffle our feathers. How we act and respond is (mostly) within our control. How we show up in the world is up to us. Whether we choose happiness or distress is our choice.

When we prepare our own hearts and minds to receive Christ, when we anchor ourselves in the ways of Christ, then the storms that blow around us have little sway. When we reach inside for happiness, peace, strength, confidence, and righteous living, then we are truly preparing our hearts and minds to see the salvation of God.

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Luke 3:1-16 (NRSV)

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Dec
8
12:00 AM00:00

Luke 1:68-79, Praise be to the Lord

Key Verse

By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.
— Luke 1:78

RCL Daily Devotion Saturday, December 8th 2018

RCL Daily Devotions written by Rev. Stefanie Fauth from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

stained-glass-spiral-circle-pattern-161154.jpeg

The people of Israel never forgot that God had promised them salvation - and when it came in the form of Jesus, that little baby in the manger, there was much celebration!

The image of light is especially helpful in this time of year. In the Northern Hemisphere the days grow shorter and shorter, and we spend a majority of our time in literal darkness - Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects millions of people every year.

That need for light - physically and spiritually - drives our human bodies. Thanks be to God for the spiritual lights - and thanks to the companies that make those sun lamps for winter!

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Luke 1:68-79 (NRSV)

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Philippians 1:18b-26, Living is Christ
Dec
7
12:00 AM00:00

Philippians 1:18b-26, Living is Christ

Key Verse

For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer.
— Philippians 1:21-22

RCL Daily Devotion for Friday, December 7, 2018

RCL Daily Devotions written by Dr. Kimberly Leetch from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

As someone who has experienced a fair share of trials in life (including depression, which certainly casts a shadow on my outlook), these words hit close to home. Paul remarks that living is awesome because we live in Christ. But dying is also awesome because we will live with Christ forever.

Which is better? (Even Paul was reluctant to commit.) Maybe both are equally awesome, equally right, and both are best. Existence will be truly awe-inspiring in ways I cannot even imagine once I am gone. The promise of eternal life in God’s kingdom sometimes looks pretty enticing to one who suffers in this world.

But this life is a gift. One that we ought not take lightly. The band, Building 429 has a song, “Where I Belong,” that suggests that this world is not our home. I disagree (although the song is beautiful and offers a word of hope). This is our home. Today when I wake up, this world is where I live, where I affect change, where I influence others, where I praise God. Here. Now. This world. So, just for today, I will celebrating living in Christ. Dying in Christ will come soon enough.

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Philippians 1:18b-26 (NRSV)

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Dec
6
12:00 AM00:00

Philippians 1:12-18a, Proclamation Comes in Many Ways

Key Verse

What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice...
— Philippians 1:18a

RCL Daily Devotion for Thursday, December 6, 2018

RCL Daily Devotions written by Daniel D. Maurer from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

 Lone tree on gray plain.

Paul recalled his imprisonment often in his later letters. I believe it was so, because he was experiencing it right at that time! Often we forget that the Epistles of the New Testament were, in fact, letters. What do people write about in letters? Well . . . stuff that’s going on. Paul’s imprisonment (a house-arrest, really) was relevant to his situation, but more importantly to the suffering and loneliness we all experience from time to time.

Paul also addressed that different people were “proclaiming Christ” for different motives. Boy, can I relate! There are so many people who follow this or that for various reasons. What matters is that Jesus’ radical grace comes out, no matter what.

How will you proclaim Christ through your actions today?


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Philippians 1:12-18a (NRSV)

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Dec
5
12:00 AM00:00

Luke 11:29-32, The Sign of Jonah

Key Verse

For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be to this generation.
— Luke 11:30

RCL Daily Devotion for Wednesday, December 5th, 2018

RCL Daily Devotions written by Rev. Stefanie Fauth from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

pexels-photo-432197.jpeg

The people of God would LOVE a sign that was really clear and flashy and easy to understand.

We’d love a sign that was a wealthy and powerful leader - but our God is not a God of wealth and worldly power.

God finds power in the humble. The things that are most important to God surprise us, again and again.

Our job is to find a way to ignore what’s flashy and sparkly to find what is good and real in this life - the things given to us by God.

It’s our job to see the signs from God in the humble and lowly and everyday.

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Luke 11:29-32 (NRSV)

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Dec
4
12:00 AM00:00

Revelation 22:12-16, Alpha and Omega

Key Verse

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
— Revelation 22:13

RCL Daily Devotion for Tuesday, December 4, 2018

RCL Daily Devotions written by Dr. Kimberly (Kace) Leetch from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

 alpha and omega

There’s something comforting about knowing that God is “Alpha and Omega,” beginning and end of all things. I suppose for some it might seem like a threat of doom — God will be the death of us all. But for me, God being the beginning and the end means God is all encompassing. Before me, there was God. After me, there will be God. That means every second of every day of my life, there is God.

A weight is lifted when I consider all things in my life are touched by an all-present and unending God. I don’t have to bear the burden of the trials of life. God bears that burden. I don’t have to be punished (accountable, yes) for all the things I’ve done that warrant punishment. God has already forgiven my sins. Knowing there will never be a day when my grace from God runs out means I can live my life as fully as God intends.

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Revelation 22:12-16 (NRSV)

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Dec
3
12:00 AM00:00

2 Peter 3:1-18, Peter Stresses Patience

Key Verse

First of all you must understand this, that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and indulging their own lusts and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our ancestors died, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!”
— 2 Peter3:3-4

RCL Daily Devotion for Monday, December 3, 2018

RCL Daily Devotions written by Daniel D. Maurer from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

 Tower of rocks on beach

The early church dealt with many issues in their time of growth. One subject they addressed was the Lord’s coming. Evidently, there was a significant following that believed that Jesus’ return was imminent.

The Apostle Peter stressed patience for the early community—something that likely was just as difficult then for people as it is today. Although, truth be told, I believe moderns have an even more difficult time for patience.

Most believers I know do not believe that Jesus is coming again anytime soon. After all, it’s been almost 2000 years! Perhaps in this light, Jesus’ second coming is more a philosophical concept than it is a reality.

Yet, all of us yearn for the world to be a better place. We continue to spew out carbon at an alarming rate. Countries regularly posture against each other and the ones who always seem to bear the brunt of injustice are the poor and oppressed. In this, it’s only natural to proclaim, “Jesus, come soon!”

Patience, I believe, is not an inactive or passive action. It is action in realizing that something has not yet been realized. This week, ask yourselves how you may “put your patience to work” in caring for yourself and others.

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2 Peter 3:1-18 (NRSV)

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Dec
2
12:00 AM00:00

Luke 21:25-36, Jesus' Promise

Key Verse

Then [Jesus] told them a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near.’
— Luke 21:29-30

RCL Daily Devotion for Sunday, December 2, 2018

RCL Daily Devotions written by Dr. Kimberly Leetch from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

 Two hands shaking.

Main Idea: Jesus says we can see evidence of his coming all around us.

Jesus is on his way to the cross. As his earthly ministry draws near its end, his words become sharper and more urgent. The Son of Man is coming in a cloud, and the things of this world will pass away. How does he know? In the same way we can see the coming of spring when we witness sprouts on the leaves of the fig tree, so too, we can see the coming of the Son of Man when we witness “signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth.”

This is not to say that every hurricane, tsunami, and earthquake should frighten us into believing the end of days is upon us. No, this is to say that every flood, fire, and meteor shower is a sign that the kingdom of God is near. God’s kingdom – this earth – is now and not yet. This planet is God’s kingdom already, but it has not yet sprouted into the perfect world (devoid of sin and death) that God intends.

The disasters and sufferings are evidence that we are still living in a world that has not been completed in perfection. But the miracles are evidence that we are living in a world that has been touched by the hand of God. Evidence of God’s touch is everywhere – in the regrowth that a forest fire necessarily produces, in the miracle of a new baby that the pains of labor produce, in the compassion we cultivate when we experience a loss.

In this time of Advent, as the world grows darker and we fall into the trap of consumerism, we can take time to reflect on the evidence all around us that this is God’s world, and that God’s fingerprints are all over it. Christ is indeed coming, for us in the form of an infant – the promise of a new world given once again.

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Luke 21:25-36 (NRSV)

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Dec
1
12:00 AM00:00

Nehemiah 9:26-31, Ezra Reminds of God's Mercy

Key Verse

Nevertheless, in your great mercies you did not make an end of them or forsake them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.
— Nehemiah 9:31

RCL Daily Devotion for Saturday, December 1, 2018

RCL Daily Devotions written by Daniel D. Maurer from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

 Man holding soda can.

It can be amazing how creative human beings can be. What’s more is how creative we can be in our justifications of wrongs we commit against our fellows.

Ezra continued to remind Israel of their past misdeeds, not out of self-hatred, but out of love. Ezra the prophet wanted Israel to remember its sin for the very purpose of understanding how gentle and gracious God could be to those who returned to God.

God’s mercy is one that we might be called to emulate. Not everyone has the gift, but it is something that we can foster and nurture in our own lives.

Next time someone does something that offends or hurts you, instead of reacting impulsively, try listening to the pain the other person is experiencing. Mercy starts with understanding.

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Nehemiah 9:26-31 (NRSV)

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Nov
30
12:00 AM00:00

Nehemiah 9:16-25, Ezra Remembers Israel's Disobedience

Key Verse

Even when they had cast an image of a calf for themselves and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,’ and had committed great blasphemies, you in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness
— Nehemiah 9:18-19a

RCL Daily Devotion for Friday November 30th

RCL Daily Devotions written by Daniel D. Maurer from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

 Crying woman.

Ezra continued his recollection of God’s works, but also in this section remembered Israel’s misdeeds. What this means for us today is quite plain: the human condition is one wherein we often openly & blatantly oppose God.

Prior to my recovery from drugs & alcohol, I served as a pastor. Daily I would think through my actions and know—really know—that what I was doing wasn’t God’s will for my life. I would return to passages in the Bible and look at what Israel had done, and think, “Well, I’m just like them. God will forgive me.”

Know what? God did forgive me. And God continues to forgive. That’s God’s business. However, we see a side of God that also cares for us and holds us to accountability.

Returning to a God who is loving and kind then transforms us to do the next right thing in our daily lives.

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Nehemiah 9:16-25 (NRSV)

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Nehemiah 9:6-15, Ezra Reminds Israel of their Roots
Nov
29
12:00 AM00:00

Nehemiah 9:6-15, Ezra Reminds Israel of their Roots

KEY VERSE

And Ezra said: ‘You are the Lord, you alone; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. To all of them you give life, and the host of heaven worships you.
— Nehemiah 9:6

RCL Daily Devotion for Thursday, November 29

RCL Daily Devotions written by Daniel D. Maurer from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

 Woodcut for  Die Bibel in Bildern , 1860, by  Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld .

Woodcut for Die Bibel in Bildern, 1860, by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld.

Ezra the scribe lived at a time when many in Israel had forgotten their roots. Ezra was all about purification, even to the point of tearing his clothing when he discovered that Jewish men had been marrying non-Jewish brides. Of course, the Bible also bears witness to the fact that God's actions could come outside Judaism (Ruth, for example). Still, we can today gather meaning from Ezra's calling—God is God alone, and God was, is, and will be the creator and sustainer of the universe, forever.

I often wonder about creation—existence itself, really. Why is there something and not nothing? As theoretical physicists suggest, creation came from nothing (ex nihilo) billions of years ago. Whether it started with a big bang, or otherwise, we cannot say. But what we do know is that creation and our very existence is a mystery. I choose to embrace that mystery, firmly believing that there is something greater than ourselves at work. Reminding myself of this isn't something that brings frustration or despair. Rather, it urges me forward to believe more vehemently still. 

Perhaps the people in Ezra's time needed that reminder as well. It's so easy to forget the wonder of existence itself and take our lives for granted. Reminders of who is God and who is created sets a firm foundation of a forward-leaning faith. I'm grateful for that reminder.

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Nehemiah 9:6-15 (NRSV)

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