The Fullness of Life and Joy

Monday of Christmas Week
Isaiah 44

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


The theme of blessing continues strongly in this chapter filled with God’s loving move upon God’s people. The blessing is the stronger as we celebrate Christmas. Look at the extent to which the Lord goes to redeem us and to have divine life present in us.

The cry of the Lord rises in verses 21 ff. after God has described the emptiness of idolatry in detail. Your Creator is also your most loving parent who wants to share everything with you, the beloved. God will forget all your sins; just return to the Lord with all your heart. Nothing less than the whole heart of God is focused upon you; God wants nothing less in return.

We have anything but a boring, distant God! Let the fresh loving joy of the Lord in this chapter quicken the fullness of life and joy in your own heart.


Mondays are dedicated to the Prophets
In the seasons of Advent to Epiphany this year, we read Isaiah chapters 40 to 55.


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Conceiving the Word

The Fourth Sunday in Advent
Luke 1:26-38

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.


The Annunciation – Murillo 1660-65

The angel Gabriel’s exalted words to Mary would not have happened without her permission. God does not impose God’s will on anyone. “Let it be to me according to your word,” says Mary. She gives permission for God to act in her in the most extraordinary manner possible. In the quiet of Mary’s soul, God shapes the deepest designs for redemption. She says “Yes.” The Son of God takes flesh in her womb.

The same gift of conceiving the Word can happen to you; you will need to give God the same permission as Mary did.

Ponder this passage carefully and let the Holy Spirit prompt you to say with your whole being, “Let it be to me according to Your Word.”


Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from The Revised Common Lectionary.


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The Passing and the Lasting

Thursday of the Third Week in Advent
1 John 2:12-17

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.

If you were to describe your spiritual states before God as a member of a family, what would you call yourself? Are you a “father,” a “spoiled child”? How might others in a family see you with an honest perception of how you are? John does this in the church community to whom he is writing.

Whatever is your assessment of spiritual growth, the words in verses 15-17 need to be taken to heart. Reflect upon what is passing in your life and what lasts forever. Take the three-fold assessment that John makes of the world and meditate on them until their truth comes home to you. Take this with you today and always: “He who does the will of God abides forever.”


Thursdays are dedicated to the New Testament, except the Gospels. During the seasons of Advent to Epiphany this year, we read the three letters of John.


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Receive and Believe

The Third Sunday in Advent
John 1:6-8;12-28

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.

Karl Walenda, father of the famous family of tightrope walkers, once crossed over Niagara Falls. As he was about to go, he struck up a conversation with someone standing by to watch the feat. Karl turned to the person and asked: “Do you think that I can do it?” “Of course you can,” came the reply. “You’re Karl Walenda!” Karl responded, “Then if you really believe me, jump on my shoulders and go with me!”

The heart of today’s reading is the two words, “receive” and “believe.” Receive Jesus and believe in him. “Believe” in John’s Gospel means an active, total surrender to the Lord. The key words become two dynamic aspects of one reality. When you surrender to Jesus, he enters your heart to dwell there.


Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from The Revised Common Lectionary.


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Applause for Creation

Wednesday of the Last Week in Kingdomtide
Psalm 47

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.

I remember a delightful evening many years ago, walking with some dear brothers on the lovely grounds of the former novitiate of St. Andrew-on-Hudson in Hyde Park, New York. We asked ourselves, “Why do we only applaud when someone performs? Why don’t we clap for God’s beautiful creation … like that tree over there?” We began to applaud the tree, turning to other ones whose beauty was revealed to us the more we clapped. There was simple, clear joy in our abandon.

For our Jewish ancestors, clapping the hands for the Lord’s victory over enemies was as spontaneous as our society’s standing ovation after a great performance, or during a ticker-tape parade of heroes on Broadway in New York City.

Do not allow secular settings to be the only ones for applause—especially since clapping first began with the sacred. Applaud God in all manifestations of the divine in creation.


Wednesdays are dedicated to the Psalms.


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The Open Book of Life

The Last Sunday in Kingdomtide – Christ the King
Matthew 25:31-46

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.

There comes a time of judgment for you and me—the moment at our deaths when we will stand before King Jesus with the Book of Life open. While salvation depends upon accepting Jesus as Lord and not upon our works, there is a connection to accepting Jesus that must be seen in action. There are consequences in our surrender to the Lord that need to be evidenced in our sensitivity to the needs of others and to meeting those needs. No one ever presuming to give his or her life to the Lord ought to be blind to the needs summary that Jesus offers in this chapter.

Jesus said, “The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). Are you doing the will of the Lord now as was outlined in the criteria for eternity in the reading for today? Spend time in the quiet, until any defensiveness within yields to surrender in action to the Lord.


Sundays are dedicated to the Gospels from The Revised Common Lectionary.


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God Is Our Refuge

Wednesday of the Twelfth Week in Kingdomtide
Psalm 46

Nick reads the one-minute introduction.

Someone once said: “The only thing you need is the ground beneath your feet.” In a world which creates so many needs, we are tempted to find absolute only what is relative.

However, today’s psalm goes even further. “We will not fear even if earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea” (v. 2). Here is a psalmist whose only trust is in the Lord as his refuge. Though the ground is removed beneath his feet, his confidence in God is unshaken. The twentieth century theologian, Paul Tillich, referred to God as “The Ground of our being.”

Feel the contrast in v. 4 as the image of the peaceful stream brings joy. Verse 10 sometimes translated as “Be still and know…,” means simply this: “Stop your doing and let God act.”


Wednesdays are dedicated to the Psalms.


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