Category Archives: Daily Bread Devotional

Daily Bread March 18

Knots…
Joseph Andrews of Independence, MO, USA


I lift up my eyes to the hills- from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. -Psalm 121:1-2

“Restless Weaver, ever spinning threads of justice and shalom;
dreaming patterns of creation where all creatures find a home;
gath’ring up life’s varied fibers-every texture, every hue;
grant us your creative vision. With us weave your world anew.
“Where earth’s fragile web is rav’ling, help us mend each broken strand.
Bless our urgent, bold endeavors cleansing water, air, and land.
Through the Spirit\’s inspiration off’ring health where once was pain-
strengthen us to be the stewards of your world knit whole again.”

-O. I. Cricket Harrison, \xc2\xa9 1973 United Church Press, Community of Christ Sings 145

My wife often has a crochet hook in her hand as she creates lap robes for hospital patients; baby blankets, hats for grandchildren; etc. The yarn can cause much frustration, especially at the end of the skein, when it tends to knot up. She stops and tries to coax it back into a straight line. Hoping to help her, I secured a yarn winder to wrap the skeins into perfect balls so she can continue her work. There are times when a knot in the yarn refuses to loosen, and I have no recourse but to cut the knot out and retie the ends.  She easily works in the ends of the knots so they are invisible in her finished project.

Life is like those skeins of yarn. It goes along well for a time with no worries, and suddenly there’s a huge knot. Perhaps a job is lost, a sudden medical emergency, a broken commitment. We must take care of the knot in order for life to go on.

Jesus was familiar with fishing nets that had to be mended. Many of his disciples were fishermen skilled at making and mending nets, and getting the knots out. Life’s problems also challenged them with knots. Jesus used imagery from their occupation to explain that they must use the same care and devotion in bringing his message to the world.

Going through “knotty” issues in life makes us better equipped to encourage others in the world around us. Sometimes, it means cutting the knots out and weaving two ends together. Whatever issues we face, God has promised to help us. We will find God ready and willing to help us unscramble the knots in our lives. We hear Christ’s promise, “Come to me…and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Prayer Phrase

We are one in Christ.

Spiritual Practice

Week Four: Think Globally, Act Locally

Journal/Reflect

The world conference community represents spiritual communities from cities, towns, and villages around the world. Each comes with distinct experiences that impact how they see, hear, and respond to the community as a whole. Some issues that are discussed will seem far removed from your own daily realities, but they may be close at heart for someone else. Notice your own local context as preparation for this global gathering. What dreams inhabit your community’s imagination? What concerns rest on people’s hearts? What practical matters impact your ability to share in ministry? Where is the Spirit at work in the realities you encounter in your daily life? How does your own local context and experience both restrict and expand your ability to engage in broader dialogue?

Today’s Prayer for Peace

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Daily Bread March 16

The Spiral Journey
Velma Ruch, Herald Publishing House, 1994, reprint 2018, pp. 36-39


From Summoned to Pilgrimage: The Temple as Focus of a Pilgrim People

Heed the urgent call to become a global family united in the name of the Christ, committed in love to one another, seeking the kingdom for which you yearn and to which you have always been summoned. That kingdom shall be a peaceable one and it shall be known as Zion. -Doctrine and Covenants 161:6b

Graceland [College] was in need of an acting president who could guide the college for a time after President William T. Higdon had been called to be an apostle. In the search process my name had come up. Frankly, I was terrified. In all my years of service at Graceland such an eventuality had not crossed my mind. I was perfectly happy in the role I was already fulfilling and had difficulty imagining how I could effectively function in another. I spent some sleepless nights struggling with what my answer would be if the question of such service should come. I felt that without more assurance than I then had, I could not serve.

In the midst of this. came Baccalaureate Sunday. I sat in my gown and hood with the rest of the faculty listening to the chapel choir sing an anthem based on God’s question to Isaiah, “Whom shall we send and who will go for us?” All at once, I was granted a vision down the path I had come in life, and an intense remembrance of God’s blessings as individual incidents stood out in my mind. Imprinted on the memory were the words, “These were given to you for a purpose. Use them in pursuing your further call.” I no longer doubted that I would be asked to serve and what my answer must be. It was a week later that the Board of Trustees made the request, and I said yes. In the succeeding year I found once again that the God who calls goes before us and prepares the way.

The spiral calls us to a remembrance that is a spiritual discipline. In early Christian vocabulary, it was called “the examen.” It was a looking back in order to make an accurate assessment of our situation, to recognize our failures and our victories, and to gather insight and strength for the further journey.

Remembrance is healing work. We remember the sadness, the failures, as well as the joy, to better understand our lives. …That is what the spiral journey is all about. The forward movement may sometimes require the backward step…Like movements and themes of a symphony, the old themes appear and reappear, though never in the same pattern. Gradually we come to discern the wholeness toward which the symphony is moving. So it is that remembrance and revelation are always joined. At each reappearance of a theme from our past, we see more clearly the direction our lives should take.

Prayer Phrase

We are one in Christ.

Spiritual Practice

Week Three: Co-Creating the Future with God

Journal/Reflect: World Conference is an invitation to co-create the future with God as we discern where the Spirit is leading on a variety of topics that have impact for the church and the world. An important part of discernment is releasing our own agendas to become more available to God’s bigger vision. Gently notice what you are carrying into this experience that the Spirit may be inviting you to release. Notice also where you feel the life-giving Spirit opening up new possibilities and ways of seeing that you are invited to embrace.

Today’s Prayer for Peace

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Daily Bread March 15

Life…
Grace Andrews of Independence, MO USA


Show us your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation. Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts. -Psalm 85:7-8

The high school class was shocked when a substitute arrived and explained that their teacher’s husband had suddenly died over the weekend. With great sadness they carried on with their studies through the following week. She was a beloved teacher and they missed her good teaching. They wondered how she would manage without her husband.

She returned, a little less enthusiastic, but glad to see each one and wanting to enrich their lives. She moved by rote, more or less, throughout the day. Then she suddenly said, “Class, close your books. I want to share something important with you. I have faith that each of us is put here on earth to learn, to love, to appreciate life and give what we can of ourselves. None of us knows when this fantastic experience will end. It may be taken away in a moment. It is my fondest wish that all of you will make the most out of every single day. Promise me this: Today, and every day, notice some little thing you’ve never seen before. It could be light coming through the trees, or a child learning to ride a bicycle for the first time.  It could be a rainbow in the sky, or birds flying in perfect formation. Cherish these things-they are the ‘stuff’ of life that God has put here on Earth for us to enjoy.” She gave wise counsel to her class.

God’s beauty is all around and God’s promises are sure. I once knew a man who boasted that he had collected a great deal of money during his lifetime by picking up stray coins on the ground. But he totally missed God’s free and abundant blessings by not looking up. May we each day see with our eyes God’s special blessings and store them in our hearts. We can worry and fret over our world situation, or we can be uplifted by seeing life’s many beautiful things. “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the little things that take our breath away” (Vicki Corona, “Tahitian Choreographies,” 1989).

Prayer Phrase

We are one in Christ.

Spiritual Practice

Week Three: Co-Creating the Future with God

Journal/Reflect

World Conference is an invitation to co-create the future with God as we discern where the Spirit is leading on a variety of topics that have impact for the church and the world. An important part of discernment is releasing our own agendas to become more available to God’s bigger vision. Gently notice what you are carrying into this experience that the Spirit may be inviting you to release. Notice also where you feel the life-giving Spirit opening up new possibilities and ways of seeing that you are invited to embrace.

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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Daily Bread March 14

Equality
Marjorie Middleton of Silver Spring, MD, USA


You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. -Matthew 5:38-44

My most vivid memory of my father was in New Mexico when I was four years old. Born in Washington, DC, my father took an assignment as a social worker for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

My dad, mom, three sisters, and I traveled to the Mescalero and Apache Tribes. Upon arrival, I needed to go to the bathroom. I ran into the adobe house and opened the first door I saw. It was the basement! I tumbled and fell from the top cement step. Dad seemed to know I needed him. He bounded down the stairs and rescued me, taking care of my bumps and cuts. I felt safe and loved.

After six years on the reservation we returned to DC. The 60s were a time of racial stress throughout the United States. But as African Americans living on a reservation, we were sheltered, knowing nothing about prejudice. Dad was a leader: respected and well liked.

Driving back, my parents educated us. They told us about Martin Luther King’s peaceful movement and about his murder. Dad talked about depending on God, even if we encountered prejudice and ugliness. In Mississippi we stopped at a gas station. My brother had to use the bathroom. The attendant told my Dad that “Negroes” were not allowed and we’d need to go “round back” to use the outhouse. My brother learned a lesson in manhood as my Dad told the attendant why he was wrong.

Continuing, my Dad explained, “…if we stand up for Christ, He will stand up for us! When things appear hopeless, just forgive-the Lord knows, and nobody escapes judgment.”

Part of a new community, we connected to people and a different reality. We flourished in a diverse District of Columbia, and later in Maryland. We encountered prejudice every now and again, but blessed with Christ’s presence we became more inclusive. We knew the meaning of equality.

Now, I am assured my prayers, praise, and worship change some part of our battered world.

Prayer Phrase

We are one in Christ.

Spiritual Practice

Week Three: Co-Creating the Future with God

Journal/Reflect

World Conference is an invitation to co-create the future with God as we discern where the Spirit is leading on a variety of topics that have impact for the church and the world. An important part of discernment is releasing our own agendas to become more available to God’s bigger vision. Gently notice what you are carrying into this experience that the Spirit may be inviting you to release. Notice also where you feel the life-giving Spirit opening up new possibilities and ways of seeing that you are invited to embrace.

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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Daily Bread March 10

Be Led by the Spirit
Ron Harmon, Council of Twelve Apostles


Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished…When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time. Then Jesus, filled with the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and a report about him spread through all the surrounding country. -Luke 4:1-2; 13

Several years ago, I found myself in a wilderness of sorts. I was running from one church activity to the next. Exhausted, I found it increasingly difficult to find meaning and renewal in the frantic pace of church life. It was like watching an action movie in which I was the lead actor living someone else’s script. How did things get so out of hand?

It was about this time I began work on the Leading Congregations in Mission pilot design. I became painfully aware that I was trapped in a wilderness of busyness with little time to be fully awake to God’s movement in me and around me. My deep yearnings led to writing the words of the Mission Prayer. I needed a simple reminder that it was not about my agenda, but the Spirit’s leadings into a fuller way of life in the Spirit with others.

For me the temptation was busyness, the illusion that I was somehow in control when the opposite was true. The words “God, where will your Spirit lead today?” were a radical shift from my attempts to engineer a path to the future. As I prayed these words each day I sensed a growing affirmation of the Spirit. “Help me be fully awake and ready to respond” became my daily challenge to slow down and be fully present with others. I began to look for less efficient and more relational ways to communicate with others.

I wish I could I say am now fully awake. What I can say is that I have caught glimpses of a much more fulfilling and Spirit-led way of life. Not every meeting must end with an action plan. Moments of simple conversation can be transformative, and I am surprised at what I never noticed before.

Prayer Phrase

We are one in Christ.

Spiritual Practice

Week Three: Co-Creating the Future with God

Journal/Reflect

World Conference is an invitation to co-create the future with God as we discern where the Spirit is leading on a variety of topics that have impact for the church and the world. An important part of discernment is releasing our own agendas to become more available to God’s bigger vision. Gently notice what you are carrying into this experience that the Spirit may be inviting you to release. Notice also where you feel the life-giving Spirit opening up new possibilities and ways of seeing that you are invited to embrace.

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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Daily Bread March 08

Presence
Zac Harmon-McLaughlin of Independence, MO, USA


The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in. -Isaiah 58:11-12

Where are you right now? Perhaps some of you are still in bed. Maybe others are just finishing a long day. Others may be in a place they may rather not be. Wherever you are, I want you to pause right now. What does it smell like? What do you see? What do you hear? What do you notice?

Now, take a breath. Slow down. Breathe. Listen. Be still. Just for a second. Do you see God?

Lately I am trying harder and harder to simply be present and to be still. So far, every time I slow myself down to notice the present moment and be still in it and breathe it in, I am overcome by the power of the Divine.

The other night at the end of a very long, busy, and frustrating day, I was getting my daughter ready for bed. We were running around her room laughing and playing hard and then all of a sudden we both stopped. She came over to me, placed her head on my chest and began to breathe. It was so powerful and unprovoked! Instantly I was overcome with an awareness of the Holy Spirit.

It happened the other day while I was sitting at my desk sending out emails. A big gust of wind and blowing leaves grabbed my attention. The busy pace of my life slowed as I noticed the wind. Again, I was overcome with an awareness of the Holy Spirit. It wasn’t a difficult practice, long meditation, or even a conscious affirmation of God. It was simply a willingness to notice.

Moments like this keep happening. The more I slow down to really notice a given moment, the more I begin to be aware of belonging in the holy. So this is my invitation to you, my friend. Pause. Stop. Breathe. Listen. Repeat.

Prayer Phrase

We are one in Christ.

Spiritual Practice

Week Two: Unity in Diversity

Journal/Reflect

World Conference is a living practice of unity in diversity and blessings of community. We enjoy seeing sisters and brothers from around the globe, but also acknowledge that cultural differences can be challenging for us when we discuss issues we care about deeply. How is the Spirit seeking to widen your capacity for receiving the wisdom, experience, and stories of people who think differently from you?

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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Daily Bread March 04

Uncommon Devotion
Julie Conway Sword of Gainesville, FL, USA


God is calling for a prophetic community to emerge drawn from the nations of the world, that is characterized by uncommon devotion to the compassion and peace of God revealed in Jesus Christ. -Doctrine and Covenants 163:11a

My neighbors recently took a year-long planned vacation to New Zealand and Australia. Though Mary was battling chronic leukemia at their departure, the trip appeared to be going well. But at one point her condition demanded immediate treatment and hospitalization. After only a few weeks she passed away in Sydney, Australia.

I could only imagine Jim’s grief, returning home without Mary to an empty, cold house. My heart went out to him. From my own experiences I knew how he might feel. What could I do, I prayed.

The evening of Jim’s scheduled return, I took some hot soup, fresh cornbread, and a flower to greet his arrival home. The next day I listened to his long, tear-shedding story. Since Mary had been my friend, too, I wept with him. Then in a few weeks Mary’s box of ashes arrived at their home, presenting another stepping stone in Jim’s grief cycle.

God is calling: Yesterday? Tomorrow? Today? Now? God is calling for a prophetic community-one that reads the signs of the times in the lives of those around us, that is characterized by uncommon devotion to the compassion and peace of God revealed in Jesus Christ. Where is God calling us next?

Prayer Phrase

We are one in Christ.

Spiritual Practice

Week Two: Unity in Diversity

Journal/Reflect

World Conference is a living practice of unity in diversity and blessings of community. We enjoy seeing sisters and brothers from around the globe, but also acknowledge that cultural differences can be challenging for us when we discuss issues we care about deeply. How is the Spirit seeking to widen your capacity for receiving the wisdom, experience, and stories of people who think differently from you?

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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Daily Bread February 28

An Attitude of Wholeness
Kathy Robinson of Independence, MO, USA


In the many places where you are called to labor, the forces of darkness and destruction are active indeed, and seem to hold sway. Your hearts are burdened by the magnitude of the tasks that are yours in bringing the light of my gospel into such darkness. -Doctrine and Covenants 157:16

Many of us recall the years of hope and sacrifice as the church moved toward building the Temple. We know well the scripture from Doctrine and Covenants 156:5 that tells us “the Temple shall be dedicated to the pursuit of peace…reconciliation and healing of the spirit…By its ministries, an attitude of wholeness of body, mind, and spirit as a desirable end toward which to strive will be fostered.”

So, as we approach the anniversary of the dedication of the Temple, it is not surprising that we begin to think again about what an “attitude of wholeness” really entails…for each one of us. And, that wholeness is a “desirable end toward which we ideally are striving”!

For me, as a long-time member of the church and as a nurse, I wonder: Am I striving towards wholeness (and well-being) of my body, mind, and spirit? I begin to reflect on how I am a created being of God-and how much God loves me (and you)…and how much God wishes for each of us to be as whole as we can be.

One of our Enduring Principles is that God wants all people to experience wholeness of body, mind, spirit, and relationships. As a church, we have long believed this, but are we really “living for wholeness”? Are we careful about what we eat and drink, how much we rest and exercise, how we handle our emotions and stimulate our brains…and how we relate to others, hopefully with love and compassion? Hmm. I’m not sure I am doing this too well!

As I prepare for the anniversary and celebration of the Temple, I am committing myself to focus more on my health and wholeness. Will you make this commitment with me? Let’s truly celebrate the Temple and its meaning in the world-and also be reminded how much our loving God hopes for our wholeness!

Spiritual Practice

Week One: Sacred Anticipation

Journal/Reflect

What does World Conference mean to you? How has World Conference been an experience of blessing and transformation in your own life? Where do you sense the Spirit’s movement and invitation as we anticipate this upcoming World Conference experience, in whatever ways you plan to participate (whether remotely or in person)?

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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Daily Bread February 25

Summoned to Pilgrimage
Velma Ruch, Herald Publishing House, 1994, reprint 2018, pp. 7-8.


As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise. -Galatians 3:27-29

From Summoned to Pilgrimage: The Temple as Focus of a Pilgrim People

The [church] is facing the greatest challenge in its history. It is no less than whether we shall rise to the opportunity of a spiritual awakening that is global in its dimensions and intended for the blessing and salvation of all, or whether we shall be satisfied with the blessings that have already been ours and content ourselves with business as usual.

The summons to renewal and recommitment came through the call to build a Temple. Though such a building has been the dream of our people from the very beginning, there were always reasons why its fulfillment was delayed. Timing was of the essence. We had some serious growing to do before we could even consider being the people to whom God would entrust so great a task. We had to be reminded that the essential meaning of the Restoration is our call to be healing and redeeming agents “inspired by the life and witness of the Redeemer of the world” (Doctrine and Covenants 156:5e). We had to understand that we were a “world church,” not just an “American church.” We needed to be able to minister without stereotypes and defined roles of male and female. We needed to see human beings in their wholeness, each accepting others in their worthfulness. We had to grow into a new respect for those different from ourselves and give them the freedom to develop into the people God had designed them to be. We needed to develop greater competence in service and be able to be leaders in the movement toward justice and peace.

Fortunately, the Lord did not wait for us to become totally proficient.

Spiritual Practice

Week One

Sacred Anticipation

Journal/Reflect

What does World Conference mean to you? How has World Conference been an experience of blessing and transformation in your own life? Where do you sense the Spirit’s movement and invitation as we anticipate this upcoming World Conference experience, in whatever ways you plan to participate (whether remotely or in person)?

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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Daily Bread February 24

Love Your Enemies
Barbara Carter, Council of Twelve Apostles


But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. -Luke 6: 27-28

Several times in my life I have felt hate; times when I have been under attack by what some would call enemies. Those are hard times, and I have not always responded in a way that reflects my true heart’s desires. In the midst of one of those times, I heard and learned the essence of this passage in Luke in a profound way.

I was struggling with how to bring leadership in a time of change, turmoil, and distrust.  As I was praying one morning, the words “You are called to love” kept coming into my consciousness. My response was, “What if I don’t have love within me?”

The reply was, “Hold them in my love.” So I cupped my hands in front of me and began to visualize groups of people and individuals in my hands. As I placed them there, I focused on God’s love swirling around them, flowing through each person.

This practice continued for several weeks. One day I realized I was able to love the persons I had been holding. It wasn’t a superficial love. It was a deep love that surpassed outward actions or words spoken.

This spiritual practice does not remove my responsibility to bring healing and wholeness to relationships. It empowers it. I have two sets of porcelain hands, one on my dresser and one on my desk. They invite me daily to hold people in God’s love. Sometimes I place objects that represent individuals in those hands. Often, I place a very small globe of the world.

Prayer Phrase

God is here today. (“Dios est\xc3\xa1 aqu\xc3\xad” CCS 150)

Spiritual Practice

Breathing in the Spirit

Find a comfortable but alert position and begin to breathe deeply. With each breath, feel yourself relax, releasing anything that feels constricting. Imagine that each breath is the wind of the Spirit moving through your being, stirring up what is most alive in you. Relax into the flow of the Spirit and notice what awareness or invitation emerges.

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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