Looking for spiritual refreshment? God Pause email devotions are short, meaningful reflections on the following Sunday's lessons and gospel delivered directly to your email box. By Sunday, you'll be ready for an extra meaningful worship experience. 

Our devotion writers are Luther Seminary alumni. Their reflections are a gift to you and to the church.


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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I tell people that I don't want to do things that add years to my life. When it's my time to go, I want to go! And the older I get, the faster the years seem to fly by. So I notice how brief the distance is between the words "living" and "dying" in verse 21. Like the dash between the dates on a tombstone—one so quickly follows the other.

Whatever years we have, Paul says to live them in a manner worthy of the gospel. One aspect of that worthiness is unity—" ... striving side by side with one mind ... " I find it sad that the two things that should unite us as Christians are the two things that divide us the most: communion and baptism. Both sacraments are outward signs of the inward grace that is freely ours. May we also be able to show that same grace to one another.

Dear Lord, we thank you for your Spirit which unites us into one body of Christ. Help us to give up our need to be right and replace it with a need for you. Amen.

Laurie Neill
Family Life Pastor, First Lutheran Church, Fargo, N.D.
Master of Divinity , 2012

Philippians 1:21-30 (NRSV)

21 For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain.
22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer.
23 I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better;
24 but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you.
25 Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith,
26 so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.
27 Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel,
28 and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God's doing.
29 For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well—
30 since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

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This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.