Unstoppable

July 24, 2014

Unstoppable ~ Ron Buford

That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria…Now those who were scattered went from place t0 place, proclaiming the word.  From Acts 8:1b-8

Unstoppable in the face of horrific persecution, early Christians continued proclaiming the Jesus story. Persecution seemed to stimulate Christianity’s spread, farther and faster, to Judea and Samaria.

Jesus promised! “you shall receive power after the Holy Spirit is come upon you and you shall be my witnesses.” NO, it did not free them from suffering, imprisonment, and death…but from the prisons of powerlessness and fear. Their unstoppable acts became an unrelenting witness to a skeptical world.

Saul’s seemingly unstoppable energy for persecuting Christians eventually collides with the energy and light of the Jesus of the persecuted. He later writes to Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and of a sound mind..”

Are you afraid of today? Fear has no power over us as it does not come from external circumstance, but form our internal disconnect from the God of all power. May the Holy Spirit rest and bide within you today, granting you unexplainable, unstoppable power.

God did it for me and [God] will do the same for you.

PRAYER: Gracious God, help me believe, release, grasp, and conduct your possibility power…not for myself, my love, my family, but as one of many witnesses to your power at work in the world. Thank you. Amen!

Taken from the United Church of Christ devotional, God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 219.

God's Dwelling Place

July 22, 2014

God’s Dwelling Place ~ Donna Schaper

For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my god than live in the tents of wickedness.”  From Psalm 84

                Living in the courts of the Holy is a great understanding of an ordinary day. We go in, we go out. Doors mark our time. We are not stuck anywhere. We are people on the move, from one holiness and one strength to another. We go from strength to strength.

                Unfortunately we are habituated to living our courtless lives. We find ourselves spending tie in the tents of wickedness, whether we want to or not. We imagine that our 401K’s ups and downs define our security. They do not. We imagine that having health insurance is the key to having health. It is not. We imagine that very little can be done to stop crime or properly reform criminals. Indeed, when we stand at the gate of the holy, we are filled with ideas for forgiveness, reparation, renewal of those, including us, who have “gone wrong.” There is nothing permanent about the tents of the wickedness for us or for criminals. What is permanent is the court of the holy. We can spend every day there.

                When we imagine our lives as doorkeepers to the courts of the holy, we let go of what we think is the norm on behalf of a new normal. We live a different way, as people who “wake up and smell the possibility,” in the great works of Alice Walker.

PRAYER: Spirit of the Living God, tell us what it is that keeps us from being good doorkeepers. Give us detail. And then send us to the gates and let us move in and out of holiness with joy and gratitude. Amen.

Taken from the United Church of Christ devotional, God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 217.

When You Feel Like Quitting

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January 16

When You Feel Like Quitting ~~ Ron Buford

Do you love me more than these? From John 21:1 – 25

The disciples high hopes inspired them to drop their fishing nets and follow an odd new teacher named Jesus, who would show them a world beyond their wildest dreams. Their hopes had then been –. Jesus had been executed. "Now what?” they asked, "after Jesus, who should we love?"

Here, it is as though Peter says, "Hell, I'm going back to my old love… Fishing." The others joined them. Fishing all night, they catch nothing… Until the resurrected Jesus mysteriously appears. And then the old magic is back. They are inundated with fish. They have breakfast with Jesus – – like old times.

Jesus then teaches them one more lesson. Here he asks Peter, "Do you love me more than you love these fish? Don't you remember? I called you away from the safety of fishing for fish to fishing for God's dangerous dreams and dreamers on the earth. Though you feel like quitting, don't quit. Though you will surely suffer for it, don't quit. Others will get rich financially and you won't, but don't quit. Keep loving through the mystery of uncertainty to experience a sustaining abundance of divine joy… Just don't quit."

PRAYER: Gracious God, I want to be the person you've called me to be for today. Please help my love for you overcome doubt, discouragement, and fear. I love you more than these. Amen.

 

God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 18.