The Prayers of the Saints

In preparing to write this devotion, I checked the lectionary selections for this week and was led to Chapter 5 of the Book of Revelation. The bold imagery pulled me in and I read more. The scene where St. John describes his vision of the Lamb that was slain, standing amid the four fantastic creatures and the twenty-four elders captured my imagination. He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had…

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My Soul Thirsts for You

Verses 1-8 of Psalm 63 are included in this week’s lectionary readings. They express spiritual longing that is like physical longing.O God, you are my God, I seek you,My soul thirsts for you;My flesh faints for you,As in a dry and weary land where this is no water.The psalmist’s soul is thirsty and his body faints with longing like the longing for water. What is the difference between the physical and the spiritual? Does it matter? The psalmist’s whole being, physical and spiritual,…

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Lilies of the Field

When the news of Sidney Poitier’s death came out, I thought about how long it had been since I’d seen him perform, and then I realized I had never seen Lilies of the Field, the 1963 film that won him the Academy Award for Best Actor, so I watched it on Amazon Prime Video. It’s an uplifting story with a strong Christian message. It doesn’t insult your intelligence. I recommend it, although it’s in black and white, has no computer graphics, no explosions,…

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Planning for the New Year

Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.  Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.  Matthew 6:30, KJV I quoted the King James Version of this famous saying of Jesus because it is the one I grew up with.  My mother often referred to it and that is how I best remember it. Our civilization depends on complex planning and management.  This may give us the illusion that we can control the…

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You Have More Treasures Than You Think

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. (Romans, 12:6-8, NIV)This is the season of giving. We’re used to it. We shop.…

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Sing to the Lord a New Song

Thirty years ago, I belonged to a Presbyterian church in Oakland, California. The congregation was mostly elderly. When Pastor Carl asked us to stand, he added, “If you are able.” This church had an intimate atmosphere created by lifelong Christians comfortable with their faith. I enjoyed the short walk from my home to the one Sunday service. It was nice to worship with all the members at the same time.Every voice counted in that small congregation, so I always tried to lend my…

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Think About Such Things

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—thing about such things.(Philippians 4:6-8, NIV)One morning, as I prayed for members of my family, I realized how much anxiety…

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Scorching Heat

On one of the hot days we’ve endured this summer, I suddenly pictured Hagar and Ishmael in the wilderness, unprotected from the scorching heat.Ishmael was Abraham’s (then Abram) first son. When Sarah (then Sarai) despaired of bearing a child, she gave Hagar, her Egyptian slave, to Abram, hoping that Hagar would be able to conceive a child.Once Hagar became pregnant, she looked down on Sarai for being infertile. Sarai made Hagar’s life miserable, and Hagar ran away into the wilderness. Imagine a pregnant…

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Hoarding

A friend recently expressed dismay about a family member’s hoarding habits. This made me reflect on my father's parents. My grandparents were not hoarders in the reality TV sense, as their home was always neat and clean. However, it was stuffed with various collections of objects they treasured, but rarely used. Where they hit the hoarder mark was with their gem and mineral collection. During the Depression, they studied the rocks they picked up on desert rambles in southeastern California. It was a…

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Spring of 2020

This is a story about how I found spiritual support on the internet during the first part of the Covid crisis. First, I make a disclaimer. Social media activities that work for me may not be helpful or appropriate for you. Please use the internet with discernment and caution!In the middle of March, 2020, the Treasure Valley started a Covid lockdown. We all experienced abrupt changes. The last day I worked as a substitute teacher was March 12. Our lockdown was announced a…

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Think on These Things

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.Philippians 4:8, NIVThis verse from Philippians is one of my watchwords. It’s a verse that raises my spirits.The problem is, it dropped out of my mind in the last year. Covid-19, which is far from over, drove it out of my consciousness.The verse quoted above is actually part of Paul’s closing exhortation in his letter to…

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Read more about the article Bread and Daffodils
budding daffodils

Bread and Daffodils

Spring has come again. The earth is like a child, who knows poems; oh, so many . . . Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus Last fall, I planted daffodil bulbs in the front flower bed of the house I had just purchased. I was so excited about having my own home, and being able to plant bulbs again, I sent away for over 200 bulbs. When they arrived, I started digging holes, and discovered that the bark mulch was covering a concrete-like…

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Read more about the article Older
three older people arm in arm

Older

I’ll start with a compliment to Culver’s restaurant in Meridian. A friend and I recently indulged in the turtle sundae at Culver’s, and I have nothing but praise for that taste treat.The employee who took our order gave us the “young lady” discount, which we happily accepted. As we took our sundaes to the outdoor seating area, I observed to my friend that my white hair must be a guarantee of senior discounts. People probably assume I won’t be offended by being offered…

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Hope or Optimism?

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts…

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