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First Pres Joliet

A Daily Devotional from our faith community @ firstpresjoliet.org

Month

September 2015

Grace and peace to you…

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Today’s passage:  “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph 1:2)

Devotional Thought:  Greeters and greetings…sometimes I think we take them for granted. We talk about greeting people in Christian love. “Grace and peace to you…”  We talk about greeting someone we don’t know. When was the last time you talked with someone you did not know.  Have you ever thought that your next greeting might just save a life?

The pastor at a particular church encourages those in attendance to find someone they have never met and introduce themselves. This pastor sees greeting as an important part of ministry. One Sunday, one individual made an effort to meet a man who was sitting near him in the service.  The man was clearly upset…distraught. The church member did not turn away. Instead of going for coffee perhaps, the man stopped and prayed with him. Then he introduced the man to one of the pastors who talked with him for a lengthy period of time.

This simple act of taking time to meet someone new literally saved the man’s life. The day started with the intent to drive his car off a cliff. He was only in church to give God one more chance. God had other ideas. Because of one simple greeting the man was changed.

Don’t look past the opportunity to shake someone’s hand, give them a hug, say hello with a warm and genuine smile. The church has to be about relationships…deep and long-lasting relationships. “For some, this is super scary, for others it is not. No matter the nervousness, it is a powerful part of the local church becoming a close family and is proof to a distraught world that there is a place for them in God’s healing home.”  

“Grace and peace to you…” It can be a life-changer for anyone……..

 

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Rely on the One

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II Corinthians 1:8-11 (NIV) 

II Corinthians 1:8-11 (The Message)

There are times when life implodes, the pressure is overwhelming and you begin to wonder how it is even possible to endure such things.   Here Paul, shares that kind of experience and how devastating it was for them, “so that we despaired of life itself.”  Nevertheless, he goes on to indicate that there is one to whom we can go; one on whom we can set our hope. In such times, we should not “rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.”

It’s so good to know that God delivers those who suffer and that he raises the dead.  Here we also see how significant the prayers of God’s people are for those who know trouble and suffering.  “You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation…”

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This week in prayer

Hi all, sorry for the late post today.

This week has been a interesting week to see. From the Pope Francis’s visit to the U.S. to the escalating situation regarding emigrants in Europe, it seems that everything is on the move. The events of the week made me think of this simple yet powerful prayer by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:

God, help us as individuals and as a world to hear it now before it is too late: “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and God’s justice and all these other things shall be added unto you.”

Be blessed,

Bo M.

Go and do likewise…

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Today’s Passage:  Jesus told the following parable…”a man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead.  Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity.  He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’  Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”  He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Devotional Thought:  I know there is a lot in this passage and it happens to be the one I am preaching on this Sunday.  As I have been preparing the sermon, the following words from John Wesley keep ringing in my ears, “Do all the good you can.  By all the means you can.  In all the ways you can.  In all the places you can.  At all the times you can.  To all the people you can.  As long as ever you can.”  Often, I’m sure, you stop to think about how you can make the world a better place but you are not sure how to do it.  One way is to begin in your own little corner of the world…make it a nicer place through kind words and good deeds.  The Samaritan helped a fellow traveler when no one else would.  “Go and do likewise.”

Another Point of View

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II Corinthians 5:16-21 (NIV) 

II Corinthians 5:16-21 (The Message or MSG) 

Yesterday, Micah encouraged us not to be conformed to the world but to be transformed as per Romans 12:2.  I believe this has something to do with our point of view.

One of the ways we do this is by seeing other people as God sees them.  We are advised in II Cor. 5:16  “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.” (NIV)  “Because of this…we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look.” (MSG)

We know that God sees us by what’s in our “heart,” that is, from “the content of our character.” We have the opportunity to see others from a different point of view than the world as we journey through each day.  We must admit that transformation, reconciliation, change, re-creation, forgiveness and more,… are real possibilities.  We can see others from a redemptive potential point of view.

Anyone can become “a new creation” in Jesus.  The possibility of a transformed life is available for anyone who gives themselves to Jesus; even a thief on the cross, even Matthew the Tax Collector, even prostitutes, even you and me and others we meet.

Today, let’s see others from a Jesus point of view rather than “from a worldly point of view” or “by what they have or how they look.”

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Conformed To What?

Romans 12:2

We are naturally self centered.  We don’t naturally have any desire to make God the center of the universe.  This ends up effecting everything; our goals, ambitions, relationships, values and vices.  Paul was pretty well aware that we’re screwed up people in a screwed up culture and thats why he says: Don’t be conformed, be transformed.  Give it some thought, what’s one way you’ve conformed instead of being transformed?

Wash my feet

The other day I was thinking of personal faith vs. communal faith; and during that meditation I start thinking that when we focus on faith as an exercise of our mind, we miss the faith we find when we commune with God, when we walk along side, when we try to see the world with that bigger lens.

Today I want to share with you a prayer by Origen that seems to capture that deep desire for God:

Jesus, my feet are dirty. Come even as a slave to me, pour water into your bowl, come and wash my feet. In asking such a thing I know I am overbold, but I dread what was threatened when you said to me, “If I do not wash your feet I have no fellowship with you.” Wash my feet then, because I long for your companionship.

Be blessed,

Bo M.

In the beginning…

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Today’s Passage:  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.  Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”

Devotional Thought:  This past weekend was my annual get together with six guys I met at Purdue.  We gathered this year at Purdue and played a lot of golf and went to the football game.  There was a point Sunday where I looked out over one of the holes on the Kampen Course and was just struck by how magnificent life can be.  I thought about our God who created this world from nothing…how God had gifted the course designer with skills to create a challenging yet beautiful course…how God had allowed me to meet and know these 6 guys: Dave, Clay, Bob, Steve, Jeff, and Greg…  When was the last time that you took the time to know and realize the God we worship is indeed awe-inspiring!

It’s a good day when…

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Here are two short passages to help us remember God’s goodness and grace.  It’s a good day when we can dwell in such love.

Psalm 103:2-5 (NIV)

2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Colossians 2:6-7, 13

6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness…God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins…”

It’s a good day when you can visit the hospital and are healthy enough to walk out and go about your life.

It’s a good day when you have someone who loves you and someone whom you can love.

It’s a good day when you understand that God loves you with an extraordinary love in and through the Lord Jesus.

It’s a good day when you allow the love and compassion of Jesus to flow through you to someone else.

When is it a good day for you?

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