Nuggets of Wisdom

Nuggets of Wisdom

Devotion based on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Crack. You open the fortune cookie and pull out the little paper. You read aloud: “A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.” Thought-provoking, maybe. But profound? Useful? A truly helpful nugget of wisdom? Hardly.

The apostle Paul wrote short, concise sayings too. But he offered far better wisdom and help than anything found in a fortune cookie. “Rejoice always.” “Pray continually.” “Give thanks in all circumstances.” Short. But profound. And helpful!

“Rejoice always.” Joy is a fruit of faith in Jesus. When we belong to Christ Jesus, God wants us to reflect how blessed it is to have forgiveness and eternal life in heaven. It’s deeper than being in a happy mood all the time. Joy is a deep-down blessedness, a quiet, lifelong celebrating that we belong to Christ.

“Pray continually.” All day, every day, we get to talk to God. And even though we are sinners who should be shut out, God listens. Because of Jesus, he listens! He listens to our prayers, whether they are out loud or silent, thought out or spontaneous, from a prayer book or in our own words. He listens to our thanksgiving, as Paul says: “Give thanks in all circumstances.” So much to give thanks for. So many blessings from our gracious God. Though we too often complain or fall into self-pity or a sense of entitlement, our gracious God loves us and forgives us. He gave his own dear Son Jesus to earn full forgiveness for us by his death on the cross. And on top of that, God blesses us with every spiritual blessing in Christ, for time and for eternity.

Short. Concise. But nothing fluffy about these little sayings. They are God’s wisdom. They give his encouragement and daily help. They carry God’s own blessing: “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”

These little sayings don’t belong in fortune cookies. They belong in our hearts and lives.

See series: Devotions

Dear Father, feed me with your divine wisdom. Give me daily joy. Hear my constant prayers to you in Christ. Lead me in thankful living in all circumstances. Amen.

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All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
A surprising sunrise – By Alan Mead

I awoke early as is my custom, to await the morning light and to pray. Although we are on vacation my pattern remains constant, giving balance to the day that is dawning. We are in a wonderful location to capture each sunrise. It has been cold and cloudy. Yesterday the sunrise was a non-event and as I looked out from our balcony I was certain that today’s sunrise would be a repeat of yesterday. The entire sky was covered in cloud, especially along the horizon where I knew the sun would rise. Even so I put on coat and hat, took my camera in hand and left for the beach and quay, prepared for whatever this morning would bring, determined to be there to see and to record.

To my surprise it was a spectacular sunrise. I took several photos and liked one where many birds seemed to be soaring with the morning light.

It is so easy for each of us to live into our limited expectations, sometimes based on experience, at other times because of what we observe. When we live into each moment prepared for something extraordinary, doing our part, so to speak, we put ourselves into that space that is open to grace.

Help each of us, in our ministries and in our relationships, to look for beauty and light, to sometimes be led by our hope rather than by our expectation. O God, bring light and peace into this day that we may soar with joy.

Morning Prayer after another day of violence


Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful, for I have taken refuge in you; * in the shadow of your wings will I take refuge until this time of trouble has gone by. Psalm 57:1

Innocent blood has once again poured out staining pews and crying out for mercy. Violence has again burst unexpectedly into the news and into our minds and hearts. As we live into this time of anger and violence may we live this day as people of hope. As we live into this new day may the light of our hope shine as a beacon that shows safe harbor. May our prayers this day flow as many rivers into the sea and rise to fill the sky with tears that cleanse the hatred from our souls

Morning Hope

Psalm 130:5
“My soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen for the morning, * more than watchmen for the morning.”

As I sit in darkness awaiting the morning light this verse often wanders into my mind. This morning as it came in I remembered actually serving as a watchman on the bridge of a destroyer. I was 17 and I had the watch before dawn. I was tired. I didn’t know what I should look for: anything other than water and sky. As I methodically moved my binoculars in a sweep back and forth on the horizon, I remember hoping that I would see nothing and, that I would be able to stay awake until the morning light. As the hours passed I found myself yearning deeply for the morning.

My prayer flies outward and upward, soaring on the morning wind as it stirs from sleep, growing as it catches and is caught by the prayers of others, waiting actively for the moment when the first hint of light bursts suddenly forth, and almost in an instant, darkness turns to day. May our prayers be a sign of our action that hope may be renewed each morning with the rising sun.


All Saints’ – By Rev. Alan Mead

Today is All Saints’ Day. It is a day when Christians around the world remember and give thanksgiving for those who have died. In many churches I have served the names of all that had died since the previous All Saints’ Day were read aloud during the worship service on that day or, if no worship service was scheduled, on the following Sunday.

When I was younger I participated dutifully and prayerfully. Today, my participation is more filled with the personal memories and the present pain of loss.

As I walked beside the sea earlier today, at low tide, I felt the gentle touch of the wind, the sweet smell of the salty ocean carried gently by the breeze, and listened to the lapping sound of the surf. I looked out over the water, blue today, against a blue sky, and named in my imagination those who I have loved and who are no longer here. I will remember them tonight at worship, also.

May we remember in our hearts and imaginations those we love who are no longer here. Gracious and merciful God, thank you for all whose lives have connected with ours, and who are no longer here. Thank you also for this moment, and for those who are still here; for the mystery of love, for the joy of connection, and for hope.

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