Devotional Booklet March-2

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    Church of the Nativity

    Daily Devotional

    Voices From the PewMarch

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    As the deer longs for the water-brooks,

    so longs my soul for you, O God.

    My soul is athirst for God, athirst for the living God;

    when shall I come to appear before the presence of God?

    Psalm 42:1-2

    Prayer is our connection with God, the discipline that helps our souls stay aligned with Gods will. Dailyprayer is the most basic of Christian disciplines, helping us remember that God is present in all the joyoussorrowful, mundane, and ordinary parts of our lives. By maintaining a steady diet of daily prayer, we lear

    to open our hearts and minds to Gods will, and grow to recognize Gods voice as it speaks in our hearts.

    Most of us, however, stay so busy so much of the time that it is hard to make time for daily prayer, or evenwhen we make time for it, it is hard to keep our minds focused. One way to approach this problem is to

    begin with daily devotions. This collection of daily devotions, spiritual exercises, and prayers was created

    a group of people from Episcopal Church of the Nativity, Scottsdale. These are prayerful people who havfound ways to share the prayers of their hearts with you.

    I hope that as you begin to use this book, you will find your mind enlightened and your heart opened to thpresence of the living God, for whom our souls are athirst.

    Many thanks to Lani Sambach, the editor of this collection, and Mina Rafferty for her assistance.

    In Christ,The Rev. Susan Brown Snook

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    March 1.

    Spiritual Exercise

    Worship this week. Really worship. Use Saturday evening to begin

    preparing for worship. Set aside a time of solitude when you can

    reflect on the power and the glory of God. Meditate on His love for

    you. Go early to church and spend time worshiping and thanking

    God. Pray for those around you that they might be moved by God

    during the service. Above all, allow yourself to truly feel the

    presence of God moving among the people.

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    March 2. David Bolger

    Luke 17: v. 5-6. The apostles said to the Lord, Increase our faith! And the Lord said, If you had faith

    as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this sycamore tree, be rooted up, and be planted in the sea,

    and it would obey you.

    Weve all heard those verses all of our lives, but until I was blessed to become part of Church of the

    Nativity a little over 2 years ago, I never took the Lords admonition personally. But in the last two years,

    I have learned that faith is best demonstrated by action. For me, there is no better place to put faith into

    action than here at Nativity. What the mustard seed has come to mean to me is that my newness, my

    size in terms of the length of my affiliation with this parish really has nothing to

    do with my opportunity to serve to put my faith in action. And I believe this is

    true for anyone who chooses this church as their own. Whether youre a mustard

    seed like me or a sycamore tree in terms of how long youve been in this

    Nativity community, the door of service is open and the light of faith is always on.

    If you want to serve, there are no waiting lines or seniority lists, and tenure isnt

    required. Whether you have a lot or a little time or treasure to give, whether youre

    reading this after a few weeks, a few months, or a few years at Nativity, you have a

    place and an opportunity to have your faith increased through your actions. Just

    listen. Just ask. And it will happen.

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    March 3.

    The kind of religion that God requires, and will accept, does not consist in weak, dull, and lifeles

    wouldings those weak inclinations that lack convictions that raise us but a little above

    indifference. God, in his word, greatly insists that we be in good earnest, fervent in spirit, and that

    our hearts be engaged vigorously in our religion: Be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord (Rom.

    12:11)

    And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? To fear the Lord your God, to

    walk in his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all

    your soul (Deut.10:12). This fervent, vigorous engagement of the heart is the fruit of a real

    circumcision of the heart that alone has the promise of life. And the Lord your God will circumcis

    your heart, and the heart of your children, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with al

    your soul that you might live. (Deut. 30:6)

    Jonathan Edwards Religious Affections

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    March 4.

    Jesus the Very Thought of Thee

    O hope of every contrite heart,O joy of all the meek;

    To those who fall, how kind thou art!

    How good to those who seek!

    But what to those who find?

    Ah, this No tongue nor pen can show;

    The love of Jesus, what it is

    None but His loved ones know.

    Bernard of Clairvaux

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    March 5. Jean Mesropian

    Yesterday is history,

    Tomorrow is a mystery,

    And today is a gift;

    Thats why they call it the present.

    Eleanor Roosevelt

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    March 6.

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    March 7. David Deppen

    One of the most serviceable images of the Christian life is the Journey the

    Pilgrims Progress. And if our life is a journey, then Lent is a particular and specialeg of that progress a journey within a journey through a wilderness. The fortydays of Lent are meant to contrast with the fifty days of Easter the fast before thfeast the time of contemplation, of taking private stock of oneself, before the joyforgiveness and rebirth promised in the Resurrection. This journey into thewilderness is like the forty days our Lord spent alone preparing Himself for His

    public ministry. It is a time to evaluate life and recommit ourselves to our Christiacalling. All that Nativity offers in its Lenten program is intended to help you inmaking your particular journey more meaningful. I invite you to approach this Lenten journey as mature or maturing Christianmen and women. May you grow in it to a new and richer understanding of Godslove in the gift to us of His Son.?

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    March 8. Shelley Byrnes

    He answered, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with allyour soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love

    your neighbor as yourself.'"

    (Luke 10:27)

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    March 11.

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    March 12.

    Lent is a promise of hopeof a way out of whatever darkness we may find ourselves in. Not

    because of Lent, but because of what lies at the end of Lent. Easter! The Queen of Seasons!

    The promise of new life, of rebirth, of the death of winter and the death of sinyes, and the

    death of death itself. Easter is the goal; Lent is the way. And because Lent is a lengthening

    process, a process of growth and change, Lent provides us with wonderful opportunities for

    dealing with our lives in new and more positive ways.

    Of course we can skip Lent altogether by ignoring it. Then we run the risk of missing all that

    Easter promises and brings with it. But when we make the investment to keep a holy Lent in

    the words of the Prayer Book by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting and self-

    denial; and by reading and meditating on Gods holy Word, into better, more spiritually-

    attuned and mature Christians. Lent is not just an optimal exercise for the devout it is for us

    all. Go for it!!!

    My Dear People

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    March 13. Joy Wiseman

    St. Paul in Phillippians 4:8

    Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,

    Whatever is pure, Whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable;

    If anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.

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    March 14.

    Though you couldnt tell by watching him at youth group, David had a social anxiety disor

    He struggled in social situations to the point that he avoided school dances, sporting events, and

    parties. When in an uncomfortable situation, he would hyperventilate and start shaking. Sometim

    he would even pass out.

    David later explained that church was the one place that he felt comfortable. When asked t

    think through what made his church experiences different, he said, I cant really explain what m

    this place different, but I know that I feel Gods love when Im with these people.

    Christian community is powerful stuff. Its hard to describe because, in many ways, Gods

    for us is beyond words. The difference here is the Holy Spirit in our m

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