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First Pres Joliet

A Daily Devotional from our faith community @ firstpresjoliet.org

Author

Bosifes

Disruptive Change

Take a look around you

Today we look at Acts 10- Peter and Cornelius. Looking forward to your input.

Blessings,

Bo.

A vlog on the Holy Spirit

Are you ready to serve?

Once a week we will have a Video Blog. Today’s Scripture passage is: Acts 1: 12-17; 21-26. I would invite you to engage with the text and the post, and let us know your questions or what do you think about the passage above.

Be Blessed,

Bo .

Saul vs. Paul

Welcome! Our Vlog take two! This week we are in Acts 9 following Saul on his way to Damascus.

Looking forward to your insights, questions and comments.

Be Blessed, Bo M.

Joy in waiting

Zechariah 2:10-13

10 “Shout and be glad, Daughter Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the Lord.11 “Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. 12 The Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem. 13 Be still before the Lord, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.”

What is the feeling that grips your heart when you are “in waiting”? Is excitement? Or anxiety? Or maybe fear? How about joy? Or maybe you become impatient? How about something that you cannot put your finger on but has your whole person and body on the edge?

Waiting is something that hits all of us differently. In part because we come to that “in waiting” time of our lives from different point of views, and sometimes with different expectations, or different foundations. And Christmas is a reminder to us all that “in waiting” is about our heart, and how we respond each and every year to the birth of Jesus.

For the people of Israel, the prophets spoke time and time again about that promise, and the wait for that promise was passed on generation to generation. With each prophecy, with each new reminder of the promise, their hearts were faced with the question: Will this ever come to pass? Will I ever be able to see the promise of God?

For us the answer to that question is really simple: We had seen the promise come to life in Jesus. And yet we still look at Christmas with great anxiety, waiting for a new miracle to come alive in our hearts, but maybe we just need to look into our hearts and discover the inner joy, the peace, that is already there because of what God has done.

In a way Christmas is our pep rally, reminding us of all that God has done, as a foreshadow of what can do. So let this season be a season of joy, peace and great excitement for the things to come, because the Lord has come.

Be blessed,

Bo M.

When God entered our world

Colossians 1:15-20

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstbornfrom among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Celebrating Christmas is so much more than remembering the birth of a baby in a little village some long time ago. It is the celebration of the first promise made by the creator of the universe to the first two people who enjoyed the paradise. In a way is a picture of reconciliation and the start of a new relationship between the God and people. And in another way is a call to all humanity to see who God is.

So when we look and celebrate Jesus birth, we remember our story from the time of creation, our fall and the promises of God, we remember walking with God in the early hours though the dew of Eden, and the love of a creator for his creation. In Christ, the invisible, the one we thought distant and removed from our world, the God of universe enters our world. Christmas cards have a magical way of capturing that feeling of peace, and calm that the birth of Christ brought in our world. But that peace is o much deeper than the card, it is a peace that broke the chains of sin, that brought the world back a place where God with open arms welcomes the creation back to him.

But even more than that, it is an invitation to walk again hand in hand with the creator. In Christ, God has flesh, he is walking in front of us, showing us what it looks like to live in that deep and wonderful relationship with the father. As we follow Jesus, we learn again who God is, his plan for us and our world, and how to live “your kingdom here on earth, as it is in heaven”.

I want to encourage you today, to celebrate that peace, to step out in confidence that God’s love is surrounding us even at times like this.

Be blessed.

Bo M

Lord, hear my prayer

I would like you to pause for a moment and read out loud Psalm 143:

 

Psalm 143

A psalm of David.

Lord, hear my prayer,
    listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
    come to my relief.
Do not bring your servant into judgment,
    for no one living is righteous before you.
The enemy pursues me,
    he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in the darkness
    like those long dead.
So my spirit grows faint within me;
    my heart within me is dismayed.
I remember the days of long ago;
    I meditate on all your works
    and consider what your hands have done.
I spread out my hands to you;
    I thirst for you like a parched land.[a]

Answer me quickly, Lord;
    my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
    or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
    for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
    for to you I entrust my life.
Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,
    for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
    lead me on level ground.

11 For your name’s sake, Lord, preserve my life;
    in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
    destroy all my foes,
    for I am your servant.

Anxiety is present in all of us at this time. It is our daily bread just as much as we seek to be faithful or find comfort in God’s promises. People of God, no matter when or where experience that. It is part of us, part of the human experience.
Time and time again we come to experience it, and sometimes it will overwhelm our spirit. This does not make us less of a people, this does not speak about less of a faith, and it certainly does not speak about the way God sees us in times of struggle.
And yet, as Christians we will experience all of it: the doubt, the fear, the despair. Why? Because we are human.
Kind David’s life is a reminder to all of what it means to be open about the things that weigh heavy on our hearts. If we follow his life, we rejoice with him in his faith, we cry with him as his he’s overwhelmed by the circumstance, we cheer him on as he ventures into battle, and cry with him as we identify with his weaknesses.
Today’s Psalm is about dealing with those deep feelings of not being strong enough, of losing faith and fearing for his life. And yet from the cry of his soul, his faith peaks up time and time again. It is like a small flower bloom after a long winter. Fragile and yet powerful. Small and yet ready to grow.
I read this psalm a few times today because I can find myself in it, I can identify with David, with his anxiety, his feelings, and I can see my faith in it as well.
Today I would like to pray and ask God to sprinkle that seed of faith and life that is in our hearts so it will bloom and we can all find peace and strength for the day ahead.
Be blessed,
Bo M.

Some thoughts on Cain

Psalm 32,Genesis 4:1-16,Hebrews 4:14-5:10

Have you ever asked yourself why is confession such an important thing in the Scriptures?

If we think of Cain and Able’s story in the light of who God is, their story can be seen as a very cruel story, a story where God is taking sides, a story where you can’t point to and just say: God is unjust. After all, both brothers brought their offering, both of them did the work that was required of them, and yet one rips the rewards while the other one is left with an eternal curse.

This is one of the heart stories of the Bible. Especially if we miss the depth of the story.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

If you do right… Those words capture the heart of this conversation. Obligation vs. Service, Act of Service vs. blind Obedience. Cain failure came from missing God’s heart, missing the connection, the deep relationship that comes from understanding and following God’s will.

By contrast, Abel looked at his work as an act of worship, a way to stay connected to God and serve.

When all comes together, this is a story about knowing and be known. If we believe that God knows everything, we acknowledge that God knows the intent of our heart, the reason we do the things we do, and what we are made of. It is that our relationship with God it is forged, it is here that we find meaning and set the course of our lives.

As we go through the Lent season let us keep an open heart, let us open our hearts to God in a way that helps us receive God’s grace and helps us know God’s heart.

Be Blessed,

Bo M.

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