Good morning! My name is Deborah Van Heest and welcome to this morning's devotion. The theme for this Sunday is "Speak Truth to Power" and I find no greater example of this than Jesus' own life. After his baptism, he spent forty days and forty nights being tested and tempted by Satan and then he returned home to preach. He was anointed to preach and he didn't hesitate to stand right up and say what was true and right. I look at his life and I am in awe. His journey, his story, changed the entire world, and his example - living and dying for us- even after years and years and years of telling and retelling, still influences my life. I am one person, nobody of any mention, and yet I am special, loved and worthy because of Him. And so are you! Every aspect of Jesus' journey impacts me and speaks truth to the power of God. How does it influence you?
In speaking truth, Jesus' life is our example. I can feel his joy when sharing a meal with his family or his disciples, and I can identify with his quiet reserve when he's hounded by a rowdy crowd. I can feel his pain when his friend betrays him and I can empathize with him on that final night in the garden when he needed time alone to pray. All these things and more influence me because I've allowed God, through His power, to change my life. That transformation allows us to bear witness to the spirit of truth to others through our actions and our words. When have you witnessed God's truth in your own experience? Please share with me now.
We need to recognize God's Truth when we hear it and that's often hard. Saying what's right and true like Jesus did, is not always easy. People reject uncomfortable truths, and we know it wasn't in Jesus' nature to be mean or petty. He didn't call out the negative, but gently reminded them of God's blessings and how those blessings were not intended for a select few and neither was the redeeming presence of Christ through the Holy Spirit. Salvation is for everyone. I think that's the most important lesson here, given the year and time, 2022. Let us break down the walls that divide us from each other and us from the Lord. God's love extends beyond ourselves, beyond our family, our community, nation and religion. We are first and foremost servants who live Christ's mission for the benefit of all; from the rich to the broken and lost. Ephesians 4:15 says, "speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ."
May we keep love in our hearts and let us always speak truth to the power of God.
Author: Deborah Van Heest
This is Kathy Wolfe. Welcome to this morning’s devotional.
Today we are centering on A Call to Ministry and our scripture is from Luke 4:14-21. This scripture tells of Jesus’ return to Galilee after he has been baptized and spent 40 days is the wilderness. He tells the people in the synagogue that he has been sent by God to preach the good news to the people.
The thing that is important to know is that Jesus always knew what his ministry was. He knew that he was the Son of God.
We don’t always know what our call is. Is it the sudden urge to call someone that you haven’t spoken to in a while? Is a request to do something completely out of our comfort zone? We have to be open to learning what our mission is and to act on those promptings.
So, as we go into next week let us consider the Mission Prayer -
God, where will your Spirit lead today? Help me be fully awake and ready to respond. Grant me the courage to risk something new and become a blessing of your love and peace. Amen.
May we go forth in love, ready to respond is my prayer.
Author: Kathy Wolfe
Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. Tomorrow is Martin Luther King Jr Day, the only federal holiday that is a national service day. What a wonderful way to honor Martin Luther King Jr. He was a man of dedication, commitment and humble service. He was a man who lived his convictions trying to bring peace and love to our country, using Jesus as his model. As I’ve contemplated Dr. King I’m drawn to his quotes. I believe the best way to share the peace and love that he described is to share his actual words.
One of Dr. King’s images he used in his last speech, “I Have a Dream”, was that of a Drum Major. He spoke of the Drum Major instinct – that instinct to be first in order to be the most important. “But that isn't what Jesus did; he did something altogether different. He said in substance, "Oh, I see, you want to be first. You want to be great. You want to be important. You want to be significant. Well, you ought to be. If you're going to be my disciple, you must be." But he reordered priorities. And he said, "Yes, don't give up this instinct. It's a good instinct if you use it right. It's a good instinct if you don't distort it and pervert it. Don't give it up. Keep feeling the need for being important. Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be first in love. I want you to be first in moral excellence. I want you to be first in generosity. That is what I want you to do."
When I walk through the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial, I stop to read the quotes that offer the depth of his message. "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere… Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." It reminds me of a favorite passage from Doctrine and Covenants. (163:4a) “God, the Eternal Creator, weeps for the poor, displaced, mistreated, and diseased of the world because of their unnecessary suffering. Such conditions are not God’s will. Open your ears to hear the pleading of mothers and fathers in all nations who desperately seek a future of hope for their children. Do not turn away from them. For in their welfare resides your welfare.”
We mustn’t allow ourselves to become complacent, believing our contributions to the welfare of others is inconsequential. Every kind word, every kind act is meaningful and may be the only encouraging gesture of compassion and worthiness a person may encounter that day.
Dear God, our leader of justice and love, direct us in ways of compassion. Turn our eyes so we see the pain, hunger, loneliness and needs of others. Ignite our passions to serve so we may show others their worthiness and your love. Help us to say, “Here I am, Lord, send me.” In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Bonnie Barber
Welcome to the Sunday Morning Devotion. If you are like me you are feeling rather harried at this very moment. It’s difficult to enter into time with God when your mind is thinking of a hundred other things. So let’s take a deep breath. Inhale deeply. Exhale fully. Dear God, clear our minds. Wash away the lingering emotions of worry and stress. Remove the clutter of thoughts that hang on like filmy fragments of cobwebs.
Perhaps we should work hard to align our gifts to our perceived view of God’s plan for us. But could that actually impede our progress? Instead of focusing on “his will for ME”, we need to focus only on “HIS WILL” Don’t chase your call but chase the God who calls you.
The words in the hymn “The Summons” says
“Will you come and follow me
If I but call your name?
Will you go where you don't know
And never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown,
Will you let my name be known,
Will you let my life be grown
In you and you in me?”
Let’s look at those words again. “Will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?” Yes - Chase the God who calls you.
If we can but clear the clutter of our will and allow God’s will in our lives, we might hear God’s call more clearly. Embrace the quiet where God resides. Don’t just expect a push; be ready for the nudge. By all means, use the gifts and talents that God has given you. But don’t limit yourself. God knows you are able to do so much more. He might be preparing you for something that has never even been on your radar.
“Lord, your summons echoes true
When you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you
And never be the same.
In your company I'll go
Where your love and footsteps show.
Thus I'll move and live and grow
In you and you in me.”
May we open the door of our mind and our heart to allow the breath of God to enter in. As the breath of God fills the very center of our being, may the mighty wind or the gentle breeze of God’s call be heard.
Author: Bonnie Barber
[The words of "The Summons" are printed with permission under ONE license 722962.]
Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. Are you a stargazer? I was disappointed last night that it was raining. I was hoping for a clear night where I could view the stars. The rain was intermittent, but it was just enough to keep me inside, stars or no stars. I’ve been thinking about the star that shown so bright at Jesus’ birth. So bright that men could use it to navigate their way to Jesus. If there were no star – how would they have found Jesus? We don’t have that particular star, so how do we find Jesus?
What shines bright in your life? What person or event has been an important part of your journey to Jesus?
I look back I have to place my parents as the star. For them, going to church was important and we went every Sunday. But my parents didn’t only take me to church, they were part of church. My father was the Christian Education Leader. My mom was an active behind-the-scenes person, offering her time and support to the church events. The scripture that defines my mom is “Feed my sheep”. Our home was a meeting place for church outdoor dinners and get-togethers. Church was established as an important way of life. My parents were my star. Who was yours?
Is there an event in your life that was life-changing that led you to Jesus? I know there have been several events that have shone brightly for me. My introduction to Community of Christ has had a significant, over-the-top influence. I found Community of Christ as a teenager when dating my boyfriend, now husband. Within that body of people, I found an exercise of faith that was astounding. People shared their faith so personally. People from all walks of life taught classes, gave sermons, and shared personal testimonies where they saw the hand of God and the Holy Spirit active in their daily lives. It was those testimonies that changed the way I looked at my life. They helped me see God in my every day. And those testimonies were stars leading me to Jesus.
I also label God as a star. God led me to Jesus and leads me today. It is through God’s word. It is through God’s strength and comfort where I lay my head. It is His hand that guides me and holds me up. It is His patience, and it is His grace. It is His overwhelming love for all people. I will stop in a crowd and look around and my mind explodes as I realize anew that God loves each and every person that I see. I don’t know all these people. There are so many strangers, and God loves them all and walks amongst them. God leads me to Jesus.
How has God been a leading star for you? What events or people have been instruments of God’s heart and hands in your life? Whoever, whatever and wherever your star has been, keep your eyes on that star. There was only one star that led the shepherds and the wise men to Jesus. We have many stars. May those stars shine bright in your heart, mind and soul every day and lead you on. And may you be that shining star that illumines another person’s path to Jesus.
Author: Bonnie Barber, Co-Pastor, Washington DC Community of Christ