for each day, weekly calendar,
June 20 - 26, 2004
Sunday, June 20
Psalm 67 May the peoples praise you, O God… (v.3 NIV)
This weekend my son and I went camping with friends. As we gathered for a hearty breakfast by the fire, we held hands for a blessing. The man who led the prayer ended it like this: “We thank you, Lord, for everything you’ve given us, and we praise you for everything you’ve taken away.” His unselfish prayer reminded me of Job, a man who lost everything he loved. When told of the loss of his possessions and the death of his children, Job fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:20,21). Wow!
Job’s grieving process started with an acknowledgment of the Lord even in the midst of inconsolable pain. As I’ve come closer to God, I have found that praising him is powerful, and its benefits go far beyond positive thinking. Indeed, God inhabits the praises of his people. When we praise the Lord, he comes to be with us more fully in that very moment.
Numbers 14:26-45; Psalm 66; Acts 15:1-12; Luke 12:49-56
Birthdays: Jennifer Dailey, Blake Hostetter, Nada Middleton, Jennifer Morrison, Donald Schaeffer, Liz Sheehan
Anniversaries: Bill and Angeline Eckbert, Robert and Shirley Murphy, Paul and Betsy Owens, Martin and Kelly Ressler, George and Ellie Taylor
Monday, June 21
Matthew 19:13-22 Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me…’ (v.14)
Can’t you just picture this scene? Jesus surrounded by little faces. Children carried by hopeful parents. Toddlers brought by the hand of older siblings. Some kids running around, one petting a donkey, another chasing a butterfly. And yet others looking up at the face of Christ, curiously studying his loving stare.
I imagine the excitement of the parents. Having walked for miles, maybe even days, to get a glimpse of their awaited Messiah, they likely wondered what he’d be like in person. Would he disappoint or surprise them?
As they approached Jesus, the disciples tried to shield their Master from the giggling, hyperactive children. “The Master’s busy”, they may have thought; “he’s important, you know?” Ah, the disciples were so wrong about Jesus at times! The Messiah loved the children. He called them to himself, placed his hands on them and prayed for them. He blessed them, reminding the people that they needed to be like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3).
When we receive the Holy Spirit we are given a new heart. We are born again of the Spirit. Yes, we become God’s children. He welcomes each of us with open arms. He loves the little children. Yes! He loves us!
Numbers 16:1-19; Psalm 89:1-18; Romans 3:21-31
Birthdays: Robert Buhrmann, Scott Lindsey, Jim Swett, Mary Wolcott
Anniversaries: Graham and Susan White
Tuesday, June 22
Matthew 19:23-30 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much... (v.29)
My husband Russell and I have been on a spiritual journey together for some seven years. One rainy evening while walking our two dogs, the Lord spoke to my husband’s heart, calling him into ministry. Not knowing what that meant, we enrolled in a course through the church to help us explore our calling. It became apparent that God was calling Russell into the ordained ministry, and calling me to incorporate my faith into my practice of medicine. As we’ve each answered God’s call on our lives, we’ve become instruments of healing for one another.
As we get ready to sell a house we love to depart for seminary, I rejoice as I read today’s passage. We are leaving behind so many people we love. I’m leaving my work family where my faith has flourished as I’ve shared it with hundreds of patients. We’re leaving behind Give Kids The World, where for three years we’ve loved children with life-threatening illnesses. But we leave with a sense of divine purpose, and with the knowledge that God is with us. Please pray for us as we continue to say ‘yes’ to the Lord, even as I pray for all of you to leave your fears behind, along with anything that would keep you from saying ‘yes’ to our God.
Numbers 16:20-35; Psalm 97, 99; Romans 4:1-12
Birthdays: Carynne Heck, Vickey James, Jim Kragh, Scott Millson, Mike Smalley, Ann Stevens, Mag Whittaker
Anniversaries: John and Carolyn Coleman, John and Barbara Demopoulos, Shelton and Barbara Granade, Sherman and Marie Harding, Jim and Susan Kragh, Doug and Tracy Michola
Wednesday, June 23
Romans 4:13-25 …the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. (v.17)
What an awesome God we serve! He really is everything, the beginning and the end. He created us, redeemed us, transforms us, and leads us back to himself. Abraham understood this. “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations” (v.18). When all seemed hopeless, Abraham decided to live in hope anyway. He knew the Lord would keep his promise because he knew the Lord.
This same God of Abraham sent his Son to walk among us, his Word made flesh. After Lazarus died, Jesus was summoned to the scene. Against all hope, the spoken word of Jesus brought him back to life. Oh, yes! Our Lord is unchanging. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. And he still does that for us today. In the midst of our fears, he reminds us of his perfect love. In the midst of our confusion, he shines his light. In the midst of our bondage he whispers, “You’re free. Take off your grave clothes!” When we feel dead inside, he calls out our name and says, “Get up! I am your King. You have a purpose. I have engraved you in the palm of my hands.”
Numbers 16:36-50; Psalm 101, 109:1-19; Matthew 20:1-16
Birthdays: Micah Ellis, Shelby Roberts, Van Tran
Anniversaries: Father Bob and Julie Gibson, Skip and Beth Jewett, John and Lisa Keating
Thursday, June 24
Matthew 20:17-28 …whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve. (v.28)
The sons of Zebedee (James and John) and their mother were looking ahead to the kingdom, but their focus was not on the Lord, but on themselves. In their naïve understanding of God’s kingdom, they asked Jesus for a special favor: a position of honor and glory in heaven. I imagine they were surprised and perhaps embarrassed to hear Jesus’ reply. Simply put, Jesus said, “I am a King who came to serve and give up my life for sinners; can you come close to that? Can you begin to grasp what I’m doing here?”
What I love about this story is that both James and John went on to follow the Lord faithfully, and their writings imply that it was out of love and devotion rather than selfishness. Although early on they were naïve, I suspect that their hearts were transformed more and more as they received new revelations about the divinity and love of Jesus.
Isn’t it wonderful to realize that God is always changing us from glory to glory, one day at a time? That is the only way we’ll be able to give up our lives as we’re called to do, becoming servants out of love for the Lord and his people.
Numbers 17:1-11; Psalm 105:1-22; Romans 5:1-11
Birthdays: Jean-Marc Allard, Duncan Alvarez, Michele Bunker, Bonnie Copeland, Katey Exum, Carolyn Hicks, Matt Johnson, Nicholas Merrick, Jack Wilson
Anniversaries: Gene and Janice Godbold, John and Beth Isler, Joe and Ginny Minnigan, Robert and Julie Wassum, Mike and Sara Whiting
Friday, June 25
Matthew 20:29-34 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us! (v.31)
Today’s gospel relates the healing of two blind men who relentlessly called out for Jesus despite the crowd’s rebuke. Jesus heard them, stopped, and asked, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ I can imagine their sense of expectancy as they replied, “Lord, we want our sight” (v.33). Although the crowd tried to discourage them from seeking the Lord’s mercy, they shouted even louder as they heard Jesus going by, and they received their sight.
Have you encountered crowds like this on your spiritual journey? Sometimes I seem to carry one around with me, and it can get loud! Thankfully, as I’ve come closer to God, he helps me choose the abundant life Jesus promised over my old nature. Galatians 5:1 says, ‘It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Yet I often hear the crowd, whether externally through people and circumstances, or internally from my own fears, wanting to keep me from receiving this freedom. Ah, but lately, the louder the crowd, the more deliberately God speaks to my heart, reminding me of his creativity, power, and especially his love. The crowd is obnoxious and envious, but God’s gentle whispers bring indescribable peace.
Numbers 20:1-13; Psalm 102; Romans 5:12-21
Birthdays: Gerald Baker, Amelia Bowles, James Everett, Andrew Hicks, Tamara Langford, Marj MacLean, Brock McClane, Adrian O’Brien, David Vena, Sara Whiting
Anniversaries: Alex and Cindy Mackinnon, Steve and Rhonda Nelson
Saturday, June 26
Psalm 107:33-43 He turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs. (v.35)
Today’s psalm is full of wonderful metaphors for what happens in our hearts when we accept Jesus Christ as our savior. The above verses first speak of rivers turned into a desert, flowing springs into thirsty ground. Fruitful land turns into a salt waste, all because of wickedness. This is exactly what has happened to us. Created for blessing, the human race strayed from the path of the Lord by seeking wisdom in the wrong places. Failing to recognize our absolute dependence on God for our very breath, we turned from him and became lost. But by his grace, there’s more to this story.
In his wisdom, the Lord placed in our hearts an inner longing. This longing makes us suffer in his absence, leading us to seek him, often not realizing it’s him we seek. As we recognize our thirst, he offers us himself as living water. He is alive today, and when we give him our heart he pours his Spirit there to resurrect us and lead us back to our Father. When we accept this drink, everything changes. The desert of our soul turns into pools of water.
Numbers 20:14-29; Romans 6:1-11; Matthew 21:1-11
Birthdays: Kimberly Devitt, Ansley Groff, Alexandra Hill, Heather Hugus, Barbara Kiester, Grady Kimsey, Ashley Magill, Pat Marsh, Ellen Miars, Christy Thomas
Anniversaries: Jean-Marc and Marie-Francoise Allard, Thomas and Bess Hinson, Ed and Sandy North, Don and Lisa Tillery, Homer and Mag Whittaker
by Amaryllis Sanchez-Wohlever
Used with permission from
the BIBLE READING FELLOWSHIP