Date: 1/19/2015 07:36 - Subscribe


This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and
be glad in it. Psalm 118:24


"There's so much to be grateful for, words are poor things."
Marilynne Robinson


Loving God, your goodness is all around us. But sometimes
it seems overshadowed by pain, death, and suffering.
Assure us in times of doubt that you are the God of
resurrection. May our lips sing you praise, and may our
lives be a living sacrifice to you. Amen.

Common Prayer

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Date: 1/17/2015 07:56 - Subscribe

Peter opened his mouth and said: "Truly I understand that God
shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears Him
and does what is right is acceptable to Him." Acts 10:34-35

Today I'd like to tell you about a country church, which was
having an old-fashioned mission festival.

It was -- in the life of the congregation -- a big deal. For a year,
men and women of the parish planned, worked, cooked and
cleaned to make a good impression on the expected influx of
visitors. When the week came, everything went according to
plan. Even the weather seemed to cooperate.

Everything was perfect, except for one fellow who hung around
on the outskirts of the festivities.

His clothing was torn and tattered, his appearance, grimy and
grubby. His face sported a week's worth of stubble. No, this
was not the fashionable, unshaved look of the men's clothing
catalogs, this guy was just grungy.

Now, I wouldn't have you think, not for a moment, that the fellow,
who was not "one of them," was in the least bit intrusive. He
wasn't. He didn't panhandle. He didn't look longingly when the
plates of food were handed out. He didn't bother the children or
the women. He was just there. Of course, most of the time the
outsider was forgotten.

Finally, the last day came. People sang with a greater gusto
than anyone could remember; the choir was dynamic in its
praises. Then from the back of the gathering came the fellow
who was not one of them. Wives whispered to their husbands,
"Somebody ought to stop him." Husbands nodded, but nobody
moved. The fellow reached the front of the congregation, stepped
into the pulpit, and spoke. The man, who was not one of them,
quoted Peter: "Truly I understand that God shows no partiality,
but in every nation anyone who fears Him and does what is right
is acceptable to Him."

The man continued, "This week, I was physically among you,
but I was never, as so many of you have been saying, 'one of
you.' Nobody included me or invited me to the activities. No one
shared a meal." Then he added, "Most of you averted your eyes
and made me invisible." After that the man preached a wonderful
sermon about how the Lord Jesus came to seek and save sinners
-- all sinners.

This is just this devotion's way of saying, "Be nice to each other
... all the others."

When I was The Lutheran Hour Speaker, I visited all types of
congregations: established ones, mission ones, big ones, little
ones, rural and city ones. After a while I discovered why some
churches seemed warm and others not.

Churches that were warm, and growing, made a person feel like
he was a long-lost relative who had returned home. This means,
this Sunday when you are encouraged to say, "Hello" to those
around you, don't just turn to your spouse and children. Be brave
and make everyone feel like he's home.


Dear Lord, even as You have loved and welcomed me into your
family of faith, may I do the same for others. In Jesus' Name.

Pastor Klaus
Lutheran Hour Ministries

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Date: 1/15/2015 06:23 - Subscribe


I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for
the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring
out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison
those who sit in darkness. Isaiah 42:6-7

Voice of the day

The sea is the pitiless social darkness into which
the penal system casts those it has condemned,
an unfathomable waste of misery. The human soul,
lost in those depths, may become a corpse. Who
shall revive it? Victor Hugo


As we closed our doors this morning and walked
freely through the church door, other doors slammed
behind other people, and they do not know if or when
they will open again: doors in prison cells and torture
chambers; doors separating families, doors in labor
camp units. Let us ask Christ, who came to set all
people free, to enable us to experience his freedom
and to bring freedom to others. Amen.

Pax Christi

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Date: 1/14/2015 07:57 - Subscribe

We all come to the world with a purpose and
mission for our lives. But it’s not the size of the
mission that determines the greatness of the
person. Rather, it’s the size of the person that
determines the greatness of his or her mission.

Some of us were sent here to fulfill huge
missions; others were sent for much smaller
purposes. Some are called to be spiritual
leaders. Others are called to be chimney
sweepers. It doesn’t matter what our job in
this world is. It’s how we do it and how we treat
others in the process that determines our
greatness in God’s eyes.

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Date: 1/12/2015 08:03 - Subscribe

“Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing
is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5).

Moses encountered God at the burning bush. What’s the first
thing that God instructed him? “Take off your sandals, for the
place where you are standing is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5).
There are many ways to understand this command, and here
is one of them: God was telling Moses — and all of us — to
remove anything that separates us from Him. We are standing
on holy ground – ground ripe for miracles and holiness. The
only thing it will take to fully activate the holiness of our lives
is to let go of anything holding us back from God.

We all have our hang-ups. We are all born with shortcomings.
Our job is to remove the barriers that separate us from God.
For some of us it might be a tendency to get angry. For
another person, it might be a harmful addiction. For another
person, it might be a false belief or a leftover fear that no
longer serves us. Still, for others, it might be an attachment to
material wealth, honor, power, or any of the other many
obstacles in our walk with God. We need to lift these things
off us and out of our lives. We need to grind them up and
destroy them.

What’s keeping you from God? What’s holding you back from
being your best? Remove the obstacles and break through the
barriers, so that like Moses, you might come close to God and
merit the privilege of doing His work on the holy ground of our
lives. Take away the obstacles between you and God, and
activate your best life yet.

With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein

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