On the Way to the Springs and Palm Trees

July 29, 2014

On the Way to the Springs and Palm Trees ~ Ron Buford

He cried out to the Lord; an the Lord showed him a piece of wood; he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet. From Exodus 12:22-27

The trip was going badly as he led the children of Israel out of Egypt. In this moment of desperation, Moses did the three things we should all do. First: call on God – in good times and bad. Second: be open to God’s answer when we sense an answer – even when it seems…well, strange. And, finally, we should act on what God reveals through the sacred texts, prayer and impressions or hunches we get on our daily prayerful walk with God.

It’s not always easy. Would you have thrown that piece of wood in the water? I doubt that I would have. I might have been more afraid that I’d look desperate or foolish.

How does one know the will of God? Sometimes you don’t know. Sometimes you have to take the risk, the leap of faith. And after taking the risk, you will know because the bitter undrinkable water in your life will become sweet and healthy. If it doesn’t work, don’t be too proud to change course... but notice how Moses’ temporary solution eventually leads the people to an abundance of water.

So it is in life. In conflict, add a little sweetness. In time, it will lead you and those in conflict to a greater abundance of peace.

PRAYER: Gracious God, help me bring calm and peace to a troubled situation in my life, my family, my community today. Help me take the risks needed to make peace. Bless the effort and help it lead to an abundance of peace. Amen

Taken from the United Church of Christ devotional, God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 224.

Aggression, Revenge, and the Prince of Peace


February 3

Aggression, Revenge, and the Prince of Peace ~~ Matt Fitzgerald

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." - Matthew 5:9

My mother told me this story years ago: During the run-up to the war in Iraq, a group in my hometown printed yard signs that read, "Say NO to War." Incensed, another group produced signs that said, "Say GO to War." One of her neighbors posted a "Go to War" sign in his yard. Then, a few months later while putting up his Christmas lights he placed an illuminated plastic crèche next to it.  
This is the balancing act the world asks Christians to practice: aggression, revenge and the Prince of Peace all living in brightly lit artificial unity. Of course it is impossible. So the world's solution is to reduce Jesus to decoration, while bowing down to violence. You can guess which piece of lawn art was still standing on February 2.  

We can box Jesus up and put him in the basement next to the Christmas lights, but we cannot keep him quiet. He insists, "Blessed are the peacemakers." He says it with his mouth. And then he says it with his life. Even as the world alerts us to God's absence, Jesus gives us God's presence: a new way to live, a life of uncomfortable blessings. For he promises that if we receive his beatitudes we'll be reviled, persecuted, slandered. That's life with God. Good thing the alternative is so absurd.

Prayer: Dear God, give us the courage to receive Christ's uncomfortable blessing. Amen.


From the United Church of Christ Still Speaking Daily Devotional.

The Peace of God


January 9

The Peace of God ~~ Kenneth L. Samuel

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And he peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember that I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really love me, you will be very happy for me, for now I can go to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that you will believe when they do happen. John 14:27-29 (NLT)

There is always a certain peace to be found in the presence of those we love and cherish. There is a warmth and satisfaction in a loved one’s presence that the word cannot adequately express. We love people so much that we determine to keep them with us always, and we assume that if they love us they would never want to depart from us.

We are not comfortable with the love of someone who has to leave us temporarily in order to come back to us eternally. Still, perhaps the greatest expression of our love for someone is our willingness to let the person go.

PRAYER: God, give us the faith to let go of our temporal securities as we reach toward eternal assurance. In the transitions fo those who are dearly departed, help us to find abiding love. Amen.


God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 10-11.