Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Psalm 62:1-2

Near Aspen, Colorado, October 2013

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall never be shaken.
Psalm 62:1-2

Micah 4:5

Aspens in the Fall, Aspen, Colorado, October 2013

For all the peoples walk,
each in the name of its god,
but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God
forever and ever.
Micah 4:5

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Isaiah 25:4-9

Aspen, Colorado, October 2013

For you have been a refuge to the poor,
a refuge to the needy in their distress,
a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade from the heat.
When the blast of the ruthless was like a winter rainstorm,
the noise of aliens like heat in a dry place,
you subdued the heat with the shade of clouds;
the song of the ruthless was stilled.
On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines,
of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.
And he will destroy on this mountain
the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
the sheet that is spread over all nations;
he will swallow up death forever.
Then the Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces, 
and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the LORD has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
This is the LORD for whom we have waited;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
Isaiah 25:4-9

For all of the hate, all of the mistakes, all of the pain and suffering inflicted by Christians upon other Christians and upon the world, the love of God still prevails, still overcomes, still shines with the brightness of a thousand, thousand suns.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Luke 10:23

Burrowing Owl, Trinity Lutheran Church back field, Pembroke Pines, Florida, October 2013

Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!"
Luke 10:23

Where have you seen the love of God made manifest this day?
And how have you embodied that love yourself so that others might see our loving God in and through you?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Job 9:11

Bluejay, back field, Trinity Lutheran Church, Pembroke Pines, Florida, October 2013

Look, he passes by me, and I do not see him;
he moves on, but I do not perceive him.
Job 9:11

There are times when God seems so distant, even absent
in our lives. 
We see injustice, poverty, and death;
We experience the sting of gossip,
the turning of the tide,
the darkness of depression,
the paralysis of despair. 

The strength of our faith is not measured
by the volume of our praise,
nor by the robustness of hallelujahs playing upon our lips,
or the frequency of our prayer, 
nor even how often we do the right thing.
Rather it is our willingness in humility to utter through our doubt:
"I believe. Help my unbelief!" 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Psalm 46:1-5

Near Aspen, Colorado, October 2013

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.
Psalm 46:1-5

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Isaiah 25:1,4

Aspen, Colorado, October 2013

O LORD, you are my God;
I will exalt you, I will praise your name;
for you have done wonderful things,
plans formed of old, faithful and sure....
For you have been a refuge to the poor,
a refuge to the needy in their distress,
a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade from the heat.
When the blast of the ruthless was like a winter rainstorm
Isaiah 25:1, 4

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Isaiah 40:4

The view from Independence Pass, Colorado, October 2013

A voice cries out:
"In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
and the rough places a plain.
Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all people shall see it together...
Isaiah 40:4

As ambassadors for Christ we are called to embody that glory deeply and passionately in our life.
Not in some failed attempt at perfection,
but in our honesty, our brokenness,
and in our struggle for humility.

Proverbs 25:13

Ice Cave outside of Aspen, Colorado, October 2013

Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest
are faithful messengers to those who send them;
they refresh the spirit of their masters.
Proverbs 25:13

What is the heart of the message that are you bringing to the world today:
Fear or hope?
Hopelessness or joy?
Light or darkness?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Luke 22:24-27

A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. But he said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
Luke 22:24-27

And how will we embody the heart of a servant today?

Monday, October 21, 2013

John 3:19a, 21

Aspen, Colorado after an early morning snow 

And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light....But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.
John 3:19a, 21 

We can speak of the tension of living our life for Christ and in Christ or for ourselves. We Lutherans talk about this as being simultaneously both saint and sinner. But first, we have to care enough that the difference matters. Coming to the light brings its own risks and is not without some humorous possibilities. Imagine trying to hide things from the light believing that in the darkness Christ can't see what we are doing for which we feel shame. As if the author of all creation, the author of our salvation, won't remember to bring a candle.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lamentations 3:24-26

Snowfall in Aspen, October 2012

The LORD is my portion," says my soul,"therefore I will hope in him."
The LORD is good to those who wait for him,to the soul that seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.
Lamentations 3:24-26

Saturday, October 19, 2013

2 Corinthians 5:17

Aspen Valley, Aspen, Colorado, October 2013

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 
2 Corinthians 5:17

Friday, October 18, 2013

Matthew 18:14

Aspen Forrest, Aspen, Colorado, October 2013

So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost.
Matthew 18:14

Faith does not happen by accident.
It is gifted, nurtured, shared, strengthened, and lived.
It flourishes in community. It is embedded in family.
With everything parents are ready to do for their children, 
even die for them, 
why would we ever believe that others can model for them 
faithful living, what it means to be saint and sinner,
broken, yet redeemed, better than we ourselves?
If faith is not a real part of our life, 
how likely will it be a real part of theirs?

The faith of our children is never served well 
when we declare "Do as I say, not as I do"
so that we in our freedom may relegate faith 
to meaninglessness by our action or non-action.

Church communities exist to love us,
to equip us, to encourage us, and 
to hold us accountable.
But they can never be us,
for our children look to us to be who we have promised to be.
Not perfect, hardly.
But authentic and honest as we struggle in the tension 
between belief and unbelief,
and never uncaring about matters of faith.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Psalm 139:1-12

Aspen, Colorado, Sunset October 2013

O LORD, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
O LORD, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.
Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night,"
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
Psalm 139:1-12

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Psalm 121

Aspen, Colorado, looking east

I lift up my eyes to the hills — 
from where will my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
He who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The LORD will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time on and forevermore.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Isaiah 32:15-17

Aspen, Colorado, October 2013

...until a spirit from on high is poured out on us,
and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.
Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.
The effect of righteousness will be peace,
and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.
Isaiah 32:15-17

And the Spirit has been poured out.
Does justice dwell in the field and forest?
Has righteousness brought peace?
What does God expect of us - 
and if the answer does not unsettle us,
it should. 

Isaiah 1:16-18

Mid-October Snow in Aspen

Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your doings
from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
learn to do good;
seek justice,
rescue the oppressed,
defend the orphan,
plead for the widow.
Come now, let us argue it out,
says the LORD:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be like snow;
Isaiah 1:16-18

When we fail, as we surely will, to open our hearts to the needs of those who are broken, on the margins, the poor, those who suffer from injustice; when we judge them as lacking of our what is required for our attention, empty of worth; then together let us seek forgiveness, turn from our selfish ways, and find forgiveness in our repentance and the transformed life that has been gifted to us and shown to us in and through Christ Jesus.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Luke 14:11

Butterfly, Cedar Key, Florida, October 2013

For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Luke 14:11

There's this song we learned as kids: "They will know we are Christians by our love." The heart of that love is humility. That's how you know it is love and not something else in disguise. Where there is no humility, there is no love. 

1 Thessalonians 5:1-2

Raccoon, Cedar Key, Florida, October 2013 

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-2

When people wonder about the so-called "end times" and buy into the fear that people peddle in the name of Christ, they allow their own faith to be held captive to forces that defy God and turn away from the very source of our strength, our hope and our joy. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ecclesiastes 4:9

Railroad Vine, Cedar Key, Florida, October 2013

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other.
Ecclesiastes 4:9

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

1 Corinthians 13:12

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:12

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Luke 10:23

At Chapel Trail Nature Preserve, Pembroke Pines, Florida, October 2013

Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!"
Luke 10:23

Where, my friends, do you see God made manifest today;
embodied, present, and at work? Is creation singing a song of awe and wonder or is it in the love of a neighbor for you or you for others? 

Monday, October 7, 2013

1 Corinthians 10:31b

White Peacock Butterfly, Chapel Trail Nature Preserve, Pembroke Pines, Florida, October 2013

whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. 
1 Corinthians 10:31b

Not one thing or some things, but everything.
We are called to be perfect as our Father is perfect.
But then we aren't.
We choose that for which we will care and ignore all else.
We choose the easier road, the easier people;
we choose the music which will provide the soundtrack of our lives
and ignore the song of justice, of compassion, 
of unconditional love. 
But there is forgiveness as we turn from our own imperfect ways and seek the ways of God;
Hope found at the cross upon which
the chains and shackles of sin are broken.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Psalm 119:116-117

Damselfly, Shark Valley Visitor's Area, Everglades National Park, September 2013

Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live,
and let me not be put to shame in my hope.
Hold me up, that I may be safe
Psalm 119:116-117a

Thursday, October 3, 2013

1 Peter 3:10-11

Railroad Vine (think morning glory), Shark Valley Visitor's Area, Everglades National Park, September 2013

"Those who desire life
and desire to see good days,
let them keep their tongues from evil
and their lips from speaking deceit;
let them turn away from evil and do good;
let them seek peace and pursue it.
1 Peter 3:10-11

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Psalm 63:1a, 7-8

Male Soldier Butterfly, Shark Valley Visitor's Area, Everglades National Park, September 2013

O God, you are my God, I seek you,
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you...
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
Psalm 63:1a, 7-8

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Psalm 107:28-29

Dragonfly, Shark Valley Visitor's Area, Everglades National Park, September 2013

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he brought them out from their distress;
he made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
Psalm 107:28-29