Reflection or Echo Chamber?

When I was around 13 years old, I remember a friend from church saying something like, “You might be the only bible someone ever reads.” We were talking about how we live out our faith and how we reflect our beliefs in the world through the way we live. It stayed with me. It didn’t necessarily inspire me to read the Bible daily, or memorize a bunch of verses, but it did inspire me to take what I learned and read and live…

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Seeing All There Is to See

But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children— how you once stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, … you approached and stood at the foot of the mountain while the mountain was blazing up to the very heavens, shrouded in dark clouds. Then the Lord spoke…

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In it for the Long Game

Like several congregations in our cluster, my congregation of Immanuel Lutheran is about to start the process of calling a new pastor. I serve on the Mission and Life Committee which has the task of creating a current picture of our congregation as well as a vision of who we might become—who God is calling us to be. Pastor Paul Olsen, our interim pastor, shared this quote at our first meeting:  “Rediscovering our reason for being never ends. It’s always bigger than we…

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The Workbench that Faith Built

Last night I was cleaning out the garage. I vowed to clean out a messy drawer in the workbench that has stood in our garage since we bought our home 25 years ago. The workbench was left by a previous owner, and with its strong metal frame, broad wood surface, handy pull drawer, and red vice, it has figured in every home improvement project we’ve ever done.It was a place for our son to tinker with tools when he was young. It was…

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Transition!

As you see in the previous post, we are in transition here at TVPrays.org this summer as to the frequency of the posting of these devotions. Beginning tomorrow, May 31, we will be posting devotions Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week through the end of August.Living with and in transition is often a disquieting and uncomfortable experience. We have been learning that acutely since the pandemic officially began now more than 15 months ago.While the pandemic appears to be subsiding in our communities…

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Remodel

We’re in the process of remodeling a room in our house. A room. Singular. It’s a smaller one, too—the guest bathroom (not the one pictured above, but similar size and layout).You’d think, 45 square feet or so, not too big of a deal. It should be taken care of in a month or two at the most. Well, one thing has led to another and here we are—4 months later-with materials in the garage and lining up labor to get the job done.…

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Seasons of Salvation

How can I escape your Spirit? Or flee your Presence? If I ascend to the heavens, You are there: if I make my bed with the dead, behold, You are there, too! If I fly on the morning’s wings, and find the ends of the sea, You will guide me and your right hand will cradle me. If I were to say, “if only the darkness could cover me, and the light about me could be like the night.”—even the darkness would not…

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Consider the Psalms

Lent is an appropriate time for reflection and self examination and there is no better place to ground our thinking than with the Psalms. This is a book that is actually made up of several books and inside each we can find songs that reflect many ways of describing our relationship with our God. There about nine major types of Psalms and most contain more than one manner of expression. For Lent however, I wish to focus on the Penitential, the Laments and…

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Migration and Movement

What would it mean for Christians to rediscover their faith not as a system of beliefs, but as a just and generous way of life, rooted in contemplation and expressed in compassion, that makes amends for its mistakes, and is dedicated to community for all? Could Christians migrate from defining their faith as a system of beliefs to expressing it as a loving way of life? Brian McLaren, The Great Spiritual Migration The word migration has deep meaning for me. In a sense,…

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Birthday Reflections

As I write this, I’m celebrating my 29th birthday, enjoying donuts and a latte on my couch. Last year, I celebrated with 25 of my friends, playing games together and all munching on a giant kitchen-island-turned-charcuterie board. COVID-19 has changed so many things, and it has been a year of challenges and struggles, currently feeling pandemic burnout and an ever-present anxiety monster looming.I’ve been reflecting on a specific phrase recently: God of the mountains and of the valleys. I heard it on the…

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Hope for the New Year

Video - Hope prepares the way for the coming of the Christ child. Hope is the foundation from which our faith grows. Hope stirs our hearts toward shared purpose and the future Kingdom of God promised in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. When we hope, we share our faith with the world.

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Believing is Seeing…

I recently received a text from a former staff member, Mike, checking in and sharing that he just watched the Santa Clause movie starring Tim Allen. He shared that, on this particular occasion, he was surprised during this reviewing of the movie. He discovered he was struck by metaphor for faith and the story of Jesus that is contained within this film. He particularly shared how he was struck by a line, “seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing” as true wisdom toward our…

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Waiting for……..

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon...There was also a prophetess, Anna...” Luke 2:25 – 38My childhood memories of Christmas include a lot of waiting. Of course, there was waiting for the time when I could open my presents and, waiting for everyone else to finish opening their presents so I could start playing with my new toys. As I got older, there was waiting to watch others as they opened the gifts I had prepared for them. There was waiting…

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What Is Christian Freedom?

"So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36)."But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness" (Romans 6:17-18)."Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another"…

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Grace, Grief and Voices of Hope

We are 5 months into this pandemic and we still don’t seem to know what is happening to us. The evidence is right before our eyes. There is the ominous daily (steady or rising) count of new cases and deaths from COVID-19. Our public health experts have given us a fairly specific set of practices to follow that could lessen the severity of our suffering significantly, but we as a society are divided as to whether to follow them. We are also conflicted…

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The King’s Speech

One of my favorite movies is The King’s Speech. It tells the true story of King George VI (father of the present Queen Elizabeth). He had a stammer and was terrified of making speeches. He worked for many years with the speech therapist Lionel Logue and the movie covers their developing relationship. The movie won several Oscars – Best Picture, Best Director, and Colin Firth won for Best Actor for his portrayal of George VI. The treatment of the King was not well…

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Healing and Acceptance

There is an ancient Buddhist story that tells of a woman—a mother—whose child died. The mother carried her deceased daughter from place to place begging for help—as if she could still bring her back to life. The mother was turned away time after time, as each person she asked could see that there was no bringing the child back to life. Finally, someone told her that if she went to the Buddha, perhaps he could help.So the mother traveled to the Buddha and…

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Travels of Life

As I write this, I am up in Post Falls by my father’s side. We are traveling together once again. He always loved to travel. We went to North Dakota from Montana often. Although this was a long drive, we always had fun with my dad singing songs and challenging us to road games such as slug bug and the license plate challenge.

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Freedom Blues

“Freedom’s just another word fornothin’ left to looseNothin’ don’t mean nothin’ if itain’t free, no, noAnd feelin’ good was easy, LordWhen he sang the bluesYou know, feelin’ good was goodenough for meGood enough for me and Bobby McGee!”The lyrics above are from one of the greatest songs written, this is verse three of “Me and Bobby McGee.” If you know it then you most likely know that it was written by Kris Kristofferson. It has been performed by so many artists, the most…

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Spring Was On the Way

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me. Psalm 23:4It was mid-March. We were having roller coaster weather as the low-and high-pressure systems battled each other; but our sunny back lawn needed mowing. I’m not able to follow the mower around anymore, though I’ve done it for many years and for a number of years many lawns a week. Now I rely on Larry (my oldest…

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Our New Vocabulary

Words that we did not use just a little while ago are now common in our conversations. Pandemic is now a part of our daily lives. Some other new words are: Covid-19, Corona Virus, Shelter in Place, and Flatten the Curve. We’ve come to use these words frequently, whether we want to or not. We are growing in our understanding of this new vocabulary, as we grow into our understanding of how all of these words and phrases affect our daily routines. Using…

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From Where Shall My Hope Come?

“Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” Luke 24:29 The Gospel for today is one of the most dramatic of all the incredible stories of the resurrection of Jesus, albeit they are all dramatic. This is the story of the encounter of Jesus with two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus. For reasons not identified they don’t recognize him. He asks a series of questions to draw the story out. As they reach…

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Two “F” Words, One Lord

I grew up learning how faith and fear could be understood as opposing forces in the Bible and in our lives of discipleship. This lesson always turned to the story of Jesus and Peter walking on water in Matthew 14:22-33, Peter begins to sink when he becomes afraid. This prompts Jesus to ask why Peter had such little faith and why he doubted. I am one who has been inspired by this approach and who has wondered out loud in sermons, bible studies,…

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Keep the Faith

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3This verse is from the second reading scheduled for this week you would have heard in church. The full reading scheduled is 1 Peter 1:3-9 (NRSV). The reading continues:...and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who are being…

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Sunset and a New Day

Psalm 1:1-6 19 1-2 God’s glory is on tour in the skies,     God-craft on exhibit across the horizon. Madame Day holds classes every morning,     Professor Night lectures each evening. 3-4 Their words aren’t heard,     their voices aren’t recorded, But their silence fills the earth:     unspoken truth is spoken everywhere. 4-5 God makes a huge dome     for the sun—a superdome! The morning sun’s a new husband     leaping from his honeymoon bed, The daybreaking sun an athlete     racing to the tape. 6 That’s how God’s Word vaults across the skies…

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Gratitude

Be Still... Give yourself a minute or more to quiet down and be in the presence of God.Breathe deeply and feel the peace that comes upon you. Read... Paul and Timothy, writing to the Philippian Christians, say this: Don't worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God's peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7 Good News Translation These…

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