The Pronoun Makes a Difference

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

“Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.” [Matthew 6:9-11]

“Did you know that 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life?  That is about one in nine people on earth. The vast majority of the world’s hungry people live Continue reading The Pronoun Makes a Difference

Who Reigns?

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

“Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” [Matthew 6:9-10]

 I remember a conversation with a parishioner years ago who was very upset with a Presbyterian pastor who authored a book critical of a past U.S. President.  She was certain that it was not proper to criticize a President of our great nation. Yet, every Sunday we do not pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Our president and nation are the greatest, may everywhere on earth be like America.”  Now don’t throw rotten tomatoes please, but the reality is The Lord’s Prayer is political. Continue reading Who Reigns?

Simply Pray

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

“Pray then in this way: ….”  Matthew 6:9

Note: We pray this day for all who were directly impacted by the tragedy of September 11, 2001, with the loss of those whom they loved. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers.

This is the way that Jesus introduces what we have come to know as “The Lord’s Prayer.”  These words are not part of the prayer, and so they’re often overlooked when the prayer is studied, but they hold an amazing truth that should not be missed.

“PRAY then….”  Not “IF you pray” or “HOW DARE you pray!” but simply, “PRAY.”  Jesus voices an expectation that we WILL pray. Continue reading Simply Pray

Whenever You Pray

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others.” [Matthew 6:5]

“Hey, didn’t Jesus say that only hypocrites pray out loud or something like that? Sorry, I decline the invitation to pray out loud today.” Yes, I have heard this passage referenced when asking people to pray, but I don’t think Jesus was talking about praying out loud per se. Jesus was talking about… Continue reading Whenever You Pray

Find Rest

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul.” [Matthew 11:29]

I find rest for my soul amidst the natural world, whether I am in the canyons of Lake Powell, the hills of Crafton, or sitting by the pond in my backyard. Seeing my life connected to a larger whole has a way of opening my soul to the something more I call God. Jesus says to his disciples, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.” Continue reading Find Rest

Do Not Lose Heart

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

“Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.” [Luke 18:1]

Do you ever get discouraged? Have you ever been ready to give up, because you don’t feel like you are getting anywhere? If you have, then you are not alone. It is difficult not to lose heart in the midst of difficult circumstances or when problems continually pile up. Jesus knew what the disciples were about to face, Continue reading Do Not Lose Heart

Quick to Judge

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

“Let both of them grow together until harvest.” [Matthew 13:30]

Have you ever worked hard, only to have something or someone spoil it? Speaking in another parable, Jesus said to his disciples, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field.” Yet, “An enemy came and sowed weeds among the good seed.” As followers of Jesus, we work hard to sow good seed, Continue reading Quick to Judge

Trustworthiness

Wednesday, August 7, 2019 by Rev. Ron Duvall

“… the LORD came to Abram in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.’  But Abram said, ‘O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless…?’”  [Genesis 15:1-2]

            This occasion is not the first time that God had promised Abram and Sarai (Abraham and Sarah, before God changed their names) a child, but it was the first time that Abram challenged God to make good on the promise.  “You say I’ll have a great reward, huh?” Abram said, “But I have no heir.  What good will it do me if I have no one to pass it on to except my servant!?”

            I don’t think that God expects us to understand everything (or even a little) about God’s purpose for us – it would be an awfully small purpose if we could.  Continue reading Trustworthiness

What’s Your Perspective?

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

“Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” [Colossians 3:2]

 “So, if you are serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it,” writes Eugene Peterson. Yet, what does this practically mean for us day in and day out? Peterson gives us some advice saying, “Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert… see things from Christ’s perspective.” Being serious about living this new resurrection life means Continue reading What’s Your Perspective?

Revealing Prayers

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.” [Luke 18:10]

Have you ever spent time reflecting on your prayers? Are they mostly petitions for others or pleas for help? Are they sincere confessions or litanies of gratitude? What pronouns do you use when you pray? Are they singular or plural? Jesus sets the stage of this parable by describing two diametrically opposed people. A respected church man, a Pharisee, and a despised collaborator of the Roman oppressors, a tax collector. Then Jesus, in the context of the parable, shares the content of their intimate prayers to God. Continue reading Revealing Prayers