Congregational Church of Hooksett

Daily Devotionals for Week of April 13, 2020

Dear Friends,Attached and below are the daily devotions for this week.  Please keep in mind too that the UCC has a daily devotional you can also tap into enjoying. This is the link: https://www.ucc.org/daily_devotional – you can subscribe to this devotional and it will be automatically sent to your email address each day!Blessings and peace,Pastor Jenei

Monday, April 13, 2020:  Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; Exodus 14:10-31; 15:20-21; Colossians 3:5-11(Click to see the scripture)

Dear Friends,

I typically awaken the first Monday after Easter just spent, worn out.  Holy Week is always a roller coaster ride.  This year has been worse. Adding to the yearly emotional and spiritual stress of the week, we are starting to see our friends, neighbors, and acquaintances begin to be ill and even dying.  And, we haven’t even come to the peak of this terrible situation. 

Yet, I awakened this morning strangely energized. It was as if God had said you have 364 opportunities of “sonshine” to show compassion (to self and others), to share my love, to fight for justice, to change.  525,600 minutes. No, I have not seen “Rent” lately and yet, I think the same sentiment in the play is what God laid on my heart today.  How am I going to measure this next year? 

If you had asked me 364 days ago if I would be at home on Easter morning, I would have laughed and said, only if I was dead! Maybe I was and maybe this Monday I am reborn?! You may never really know where a year will take you, but measured in love it seems to bring you around in a never ending circle, a cycle that holds 525,600 minutes to express, feel, share, and reverberate God’s love all around.  

Happy New Year!  

Blessings and peace,

Pastor Jenei

Today’s Prayer: Dear God, every minute of every day let me show your love. Amen.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2020: Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; Exodus 15:1-18; Colossians 3:12-17(Click to see the scripture)

Dear Friends,

Paul’s prayer and advice for the church in Colossae today seems very fitting.  Listen to Paul’s words as if they were being spoken to you. (This is The Message Version). 

12-14So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.15-17Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

Sounds like great advice to maintain sanity, family relationships, and spiritual wellness, while we shelter in place. Thanks Paul, for a timeless message!

Blessings and peace,

Pastor Jenei

Today’s Prayer: Gracious God, As I am in the house, I’m having a hard time figuring out how to do for others that which promotes your love.  Sing, dance, treat myself and others with compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, and discipline. Let me this day be even-tempered and quick to forgive an offense. Amen!

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Wednesday, April 15, 2020: Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; Joshua 3:1-17; Matthew 28:1-10 (Click to see the scripture)

Dear Friends,

Our Gospel passage has us revisit the discovery of the empty tomb. It makes sense that on “hump day” we step back and relook at that moment of learning Christ has overcome death! It’s about midweek that we forget the wonders that have taken place the weekend before and the next weekend seems far away.  I hope that as you read the passages today you find a sense of wonder and awe again. Easter was only four days ago.  You are still new! Your spirit is still renewing! Don’t let the drag of the week create an obstacle for your “a hump.” Level that mound out by rolling back your own stone and stepping into new life!

Blessings and peace,

Pastor Jenei

Today’s Prayer: God of Grace, Remind me again that I can live into your Grace every day! Remind me that the Spirit stands ready with me for renewal and freshness. Amen. 

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Thursday, April 16, 2020: Psalm 16; Song of Solomon 2:8-15; Colossians 4:2-5 (Click to see the scripture)

Dear Friends,

The Song of Solomon is a hot love letter! I know, I know, the “Church Fathers” would have us look at the letters allegorically as Christ loves the church, but wow! I know when we talk about books of the Bible during confirmation, the kids usually blush when we start digging into this read.  For us today, I think it reminds us that passion is not dead. Romantic passion is a part of the blessed cycle of life that God has created.  It’s nothing shameful! It is everything to be celebrated.  And, in this time of Covid-19, exercise caution and safety first, and remember, that a saucy love letter shared appropriately is a beautiful expression.  The bottom line, metaphorically, allegorically, and spiritually, God loves us!

Blessings and peace,

Pastor Jenei

Today’s Prayer: God of Creation, Let us sing praises for the wonders of your creations! Amen.

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Friday, April 17, 2020: Psalm 16; Song of Solomon 5:9-6:3; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 (Click to see the scripture)

Dear Friends,

I have a strange confession. Our son has gotten me addicted to Animal Crossing on our Nintendo Switch.  Late at night, we go and play together.  We are on an island that we have to grow into a popular tourist attraction.  We plant and fish and harvest and build tools. We contribute to the museum with our fossil finds.  Mostly, what I get out of this is spending time with my 17 year old son who is now “far too grown” to play games with his momma.  I missed those days of drawing and coloring and playing together.  We started a journal as to our adventures together on this island and how we are creating this “paradise” together.  We are literally shaping the lives of the islanders and the island itself. The play time together is actually shaping me- to be a better person, to give up a little self-righteous dignity, to appreciate the modern lingo, to relax and celebrate together, and so much more. I could go on and on.  

What does all this have to do with a daily devotional with God? 

Lots! As much as Covid-19 has harmed and killed. I am hearing and experiencing stories of renewal – of lost contacts found again – of connections despite distance – of appreciation of life and freedom in the face of loss and separation.  Our church members have been regularly expressing to me the WHY church is/has been important to them.  There is a silver lining in this dark dark cloud.  I guess I needed a silly game to and willing son filled with the Holy Spirit (even if he doesn’t know it) to show me.

I hope that you will give yourself permission to experience the work of the Holy Spirit in new ways!

Blessings and peace,

Pastor Jenei

Today’s Prayer: Spirit God, thanks for the subtle and not so subtle ways of reminding me you are active in our lives. Amen.

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Saturday, April 18, 2020: Psalm 16; Song of Solomon 8:6-7; John 20:11-20 (Click to see the scripture)

Dear Friends,

Our message from the Gospel reading can be seen in many ways – and today, at least for me, I think it’s about finding peace.  It’s really hard to do that right now – find peace, that is. The messages that I receive of people getting sick, dying, supply shortages, and questions of when the peak will finally be known, makes it hard to find some peace amidst all the worries.  

One thing that I have not done since all of this shelter in place has started is to take my personal Sabbath. As I am finding it harder and harder to find peace each day, it struck me – I haven’t given myself much time for peace.  I haven’t practiced what I’ve preached (and promised to my deacons and our PRC).  So, I will send out our sermon message late tonight to be shared and I am going to take a real Sabbath day tomorrow. If there is an emergency please still feel free to contact me and start with EMERGENCY, otherwise I will not respond to text, email, and phone calls tomorrow. I plan to put my Sabbath day back into my weekly routine. Again please know you can contact me! And, I will respond on Monday unless you specify it is an EMERGENCY. In the regular time, my Sabbath was Friday and Saturday. I will take one day in Sabbath here forward until we return.  I haven’t set the day yet and it will most likely be Friday or Saturday. I will let everyone know the day starting next week.

Please help me in praying for peace. Many thanks!

Blessings and Peace,

Pastor Jenei

Today’s Prayer: God of love, I need your peace. I need the peace that only YOU can offer. Let me take the time to hear your welcoming words – Peace I give to you! Amen.