January 29


This is a difficult time of year for some of us; cold and darkness can cause us to feel lethargic and even sad.  I would love to have cold and snow for Christmas, then immediately enter Spring.  Good thing that God is in charge and not me!  I understand that the rhythms of nature require seasons of cold and warmth.  I even understand that the rejoicing that I feel when I see the crocuses growing is deeper and fuller because I waited in the cold.  But- it is hard now to endure the darkness.  I turn to God for hope and the faith that Spring and warmth and light will come again.

Lord God, who spoke light and life into the darkness, help me to cling to your promises in this dark time.  Help me to rest with confidence in the knowledge that you are the source of light and life in my life, day by day.  In the name of the Light of the World, Jesus Christ.  Amen.


January 27

Yoga sessions begin and conclude with the gesture of praying hands and the words “Namaste”. The words have spiritual significance by encouraging participants to acknowledge the oneness of body, mind and spirit. Our instructor routinely encourages the class to focus and direct our thoughts on the unity of these three.

Connecting to God in prayer can be like an exercise in Yoga. It is important to find a quiet time and space that is comfortable for your body and mind. Begin by acknowledging the regular breathing of your body allowing your mind to focus and concentrate.  Identify in your mind the prayers you desire to share with God. Visualize the people connected to these prayers and be intentional and specific in their prayer needs. Slowly release your prayers to God allowing the syncing of body and mind. Like the practice of yoga, experiencing the oneness of mind, body and spirit through prayer, will bring forth and contribute to a spirit-filled peace.   

During today’s prayer time, be purposeful, allowing your body, mind and spirit to be in unison with each other.



January 25


“Praise the Lord, all you nations!  Extol him, all you peoples!
For great is his steadfast love toward us,
And the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.
Praise the Lord!”
-Psalm 117 (NRSV)

I was driving into work and feeling rather stressed.  I was running late because it was one of “those” mornings.  I stopped at a stop sign and right in front of me was the cloudy sky.   The sun was breaking through the clouds and it was phenomenal.  I sat awestruck at the streaks of light streaming down like slanted translucent columns or an iridescent fan.  My entire mood shifted, and the day stretched before me, full of hope and promise.  How powerful and beautiful and BIG is the Lord!


January 23

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care – then do me a favor:  Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends.
Philippians 2: 1-2, The Message.

 What Does Love Look Like Here?

A friend once said that the response to most any difficult situation begins with the question, “What does Love look like here?”

Let’s think about that.  What if you chose to ask yourself this question before you respond to:

The child who has disobeyed you.
What does Love look like here?

The spouse who has disappointed you.
What does Love look like here?

The friend who has hurt you.
What does Love look like here?

The elderly parent who has frustrated you.
What does Love look like here?

The co-worker who has ignored you.
What does Love look like here?

The store clerk who has been rude to you.
What does Love look like here?

The person you see in the mirror whom you cannot forgive.
What does Love look like here?

 Dear Father,

          Thank you for the power of your love which you share with us without fail. Help us to act in your name – not to react in our own selfishness.  Help us to Love more like Jesus.  Amen.


January 21

I am lucky to sit at a computer desk in a corner, and have one window just ahead to the right, and another window to my left. Tonight there was a gorgeous sunset to give a Technicolor ending to a beautiful day. I am spoiled and I do not think I could work in an office that does not have a window.

My office is in Towson, and my windows look out on the street. I see cars driving by, and people on bicycles, and delivery people stopping to drop off packages. The most interesting are the pedestrians. I can tell how cold it is outside by how many layers of  clothing they are wearing.

If I hear sirens going by, I can look to see if it is a fire engine or ambulance or police car. If I hear a child crying, I can look to be sure the child’s care giver is close by. I can tell time by the position of the sun in the sky. I can see if it is raining or snowing or foggy or clear. And occasionally, I see a rainbow!

A prayer can be like a window. It can help you see God. It can give you reassurance that everything is OK. It can help you decide what to do next. With prayer, you appreciate the beauty and glory of God’s earth. I am spoiled and I do not think I could live a life without prayer.


January 19

I love to watch the birds in our backyard and the woods behind the house.  It’s something I enjoy all year round, but in the winter, there is a special joy in seeing birds on the birdfeeders and in the bushes and trees nearby.  Birds with color in particular seem to brighten an otherwise dreary day.  As I watch the birds at this time of year, I’m reminded that “God’s eye is on the sparrow,” yes even the sparrow.  How much more is His eye on each one of us?  And no matter the time of year, the season of our lives, the state of our minds, or the openness of our hearts—He is there, watching over us.  What a comfort!

Lord, thank you for reminding us in so many big and small ways of Your presence and Your concern for us.  Even in the cold of winter, we can be warmed by Your love.  Just as you keep watch over the smallest of creatures, keep watch over us each and every day, throughout this year and for all of our daysAmen


January 17

Jesus is white, right...

For God, who said “let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6 –NSRV)

Just before Christmas there was a spate of cable and print news stories that focused on the ethnicity and skin color of Santa Claus and, because of an offhand comment of a Fox News Television personality, many of the news stories also focused on the physical appearance of Jesus who like Santa, the speaker claimed, was also white. 

While the news personality, who has subsequently claimed that her comment about Jesus was a joke, continues to back pedal, the historical fact is we simply do not know what Jesus looked like. Our primary source texts for what we do know about Jesus come from the Gospel writers who would not have bothered with describing his appearance even if they did know (remember they were decades removed from Jesus) because that wasn’t the purpose or nature of biographical writing, such as it was, in the time period that the Gospels were assembled. For Matthew, Luke, John and Mark ‘what’ Jesus looked like simply wasn’t a concern – his message was. Still, some would be defenders of Jesus jumped into the media scrum to bash the original speaker and to prove how much more they knew about the topic by claiming that Jesus’ visage was clearly of the “swarthy, middle eastern” variety and that he could not possibly have been a white Caucasian. Again, this is every bit as speculative and unsupported as claiming that our Messiah was a blond-haired, blue-eyed white guy. 

A popular Christmas song tells us that “children in each different place will see the baby Jesus' face , like theirs, but bright with heavenly grace and filled with holy light” and reminds us that it does not matter if you prefer your Jesus ala’ Michelangelo, as an African American figure, or even sporting an Asian appearance and posed vaguely Buddha like (I admit to being partial to the denim wearing ‘cool’ dude you just can’t wait to hang out with as presented in The Shack.). What really matters is that we strive to look beyond our cultural expectations of ‘what’ Jesus looked like so that we can see his true glory and his promise of salvation shining through. 

Dear Lord, help me to see beyond my own expectations of who I ‘think’ you are, or should be, and to instead see that your glory and grace transcends our limited understanding of race or appearance. Help us to truly see you. Amen.


January 15

Romans 8:31: What can we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Luke I: 37 : For nothing is impossible with God.

                Last year about this time, a good friend gave me a daily devotional book, Jesus Calling , by Sarah Young.  Every day since, I have started my day reading the dated entry, the Bible verses that are referenced, and closing with a prayer.  I have discovered that by doing this, I am reminded of God’s promises and how I should expect those to be delivered to me personally in my everyday life.  I have gotten more familiar with my Bible and made note of the verses that speak to me on that particular day.
                As a result of my new habit, each day starts with a feeling of peace and optimism even when I know that the day might be a challenging one!

Most Precious Lord,
Guide me to continue to find out more about your promises each day. Sometimes the message hits us between the eyes, but most often we need to allow time for your promises to be absorbed in a time of quiet reflection. You have given us 24 hours in the day. As I think about that huge block of time, steer me to set aside 15 minutes to invite you into my heart.
Your sacrifice through your son Jesus Christ has taught us that we can “sacrifice” as well. And just like the miracles that happened throughout the Bible, we will see miracles in our own lives.


January 13

Blessings and Thankfulness
Ezekiel 34: 25-27
“I the Lord have spoken,  ‘…I will send down showers in season, there will be showers of blessings.’”

Colossians 1:12
“Joyfully give thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.”

            There is a teapot in my dining room that was a gift to my mother from my father.  It has a prayer of blessing on one side and a prayer of thanksgiving on the opposite side.  As a family, we prayed the blessing before each meal and the thanksgiving at the end of each meal.  I have continued to say the blessing, but have not always remembered to say my thanks at the end of my meals.  We can always trust that we have God’s blessing.  Can He be as sure of our saying, “thank you, Lord”?

Gracious Lord, all too often, we fail to say our thanks to You for all the daily and life-long blessings you shower upon us.  Lead us in the many ways You would have us show how thankful we are.  Put the words of thanks on our lips and in our hearts.  Keep us open to the opportunities to share Your blessings with others – Your love, Your joy, Your comfort, and most of all Your forgiveness.  Thank be to God.  Amen.


January 11

Walking with God

     Adam and Eve walked with God in the Garden of Eden.  This story
stimulates my imagination.  A lush, warm wilderness; a path among
trees and vines heavy with hanging fruit; conversation among those who
loved and trusted each other; the other animals there, unafraid and at
peace with each other.  Later, in the patrarchal stories, we are told
that Abraham walked with God.  Now there is the hard call to leave
home, strike out across the harsh desert to a new land.  But Abraham
trusts, and with God's companionship brings the Hebrew people to the
Promised Land.  Still later, we are told that Elijah "walked with God
and was no more."  No story of Elijah's death, no tradition of his
burial place.  Just God's unending companionship out of life.
Centuries later, Micah's supurb poem declares that all God requires of
us is to "love justice, practice mercy and walk humbly with your God."

   In these stories, walking with God is a metaphor for keeping close to
his requirements and to his person: obedience, trust, and
companionship.  In the Gospels, the disciples literally walk with
Christ along the shores of the Sea of Galilee and the paths of
Galilee and the road to Jerusalem and the cross.  It still involves
obedience, trust, and companionship, but it also involves healing the
sick, feeding the hungry, accepting the outcast.  And we are commanded
to do likewise in obedience and trust and with the assurance of his

Dear God of all peoples, your companionship makes our obedience a joy.
May we always walk with you.  Amen


January 7


Our Loving Heavenly Father ,

Thank you for granting me a new day. As I awake, I am reminded that I must face certain problems of this world today which need resolution. I recognize that some of these I can not handle on my own, that some remain beyond my control.
So, I pray this day for patience, that the Holy Spirit will work in me, such that I may wait peacefully, with the understanding that I am never out of your hands. Take away my doubt and anxiety, and strengthen my trust and faith in you and in your timing for everything.  As I wait, help me to place my confidence in your promises and trustworthiness. I pray this in the name of our patient Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.


January 5

"Remember me, O my God, for good."  Nehemiah 13: 30

Today, I am asking you to pray with me and for me.  I struggle with the words, "I can't."  And I realize I am starting another year with the words, "I can't."  Am I being stubborn?  Am I being resistant?  Am I seeking to blame someone else or something else?  My heart, mind, and soul want to move forward, but I find my body is tagging along behind.  I wonder if my words "I can't" are really God telling me to slow down, breathe, stop gritting your teeth -- you're causing yourself to self-destruct.  Does "I can't" mean I feel like the door has closed and I need to look for the open window?  Does God have a plan for me that I cannot see through my negative words?

Lord, help me to be positive, to open my eyes, to see you in the faces of your children, and in the wonders of this earth.  Lord, guide me, give me confidence, grant me rest, and heal me.


January 3


"So then let's also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us.  Let's throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith's pioneer and perfecter.  He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in  front of him, and sat down at the right side of God's throne.  Think about the one who endured such oppositions from sinners so that you won't be discouraged and you won't give up."
Hebrews 12:1, CEB

O mighty God, you are the source of all my strength.  You lift me up when I fall and hold my hand when I am afraid.  Help me to persevere in the work which you have given me.  Help me not to become discouraged, but to trust in your will being worked out in my life.  Help me to trust in you when I see hurt and pain and loss.  Help me to do that which is given me, while I leave all the rest in your hands.  In Jesus' name, Amen.


January 1

Happy New Year!  

Today is a good day to pause and mark endings and beginnings.  My custom on New Year's is to walk a labyrinth.  As I walk along, following the curving path on the way into the center,  I recall people, events, discoveries, struggles, and joys of the past year.  I use it as a time to remember those people and times that held significance as well as anything else that comes to mind.  I use those steps into the labyrinth as a time to look back with gratitude for all the blessings and opportunities for growth I experienced.  And I give the past year to God.  While in the center of the labyrinth, I pause to offer a prayer for the year past and the year to come.

On the way back out of the labyrinth, as I retrace my steps, I start to dream of the new year ahead.  What is on the horizon?  What plans are on the table?  What would I like to see take place?  Again, loved ones come to mind and I imagine what may come to fruition in and for them.  I think about their growth in the new year.   And I place my life, my concerns, my cares, my hopes, my relationships, and all others that come to mind into God’s hands.
You may want to take this opportunity to walk our church’s labyrinth in the next day or two.  Or you may choose to take time to use the suggestions above to guide your prayer here at the beginning of 2014.  Give this year to God.

Eternal God, prepare us to be your channels this year.  May your kingdom come and your will be done here on earth as in heaven.  Let your will flow freely in and through us.  This day you give us from your great eternity ; this new year now enfold in your loving hold, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.