“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master. ‘If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’

“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning. ~John 15:19-27 (CEB)

“The Church is in the world to save the world. It is a tool of God for that purpose; not a comfortable religious club established in fine historical premises. Every one of its members is required, in one way or another, to co-operate with the Spirit in working for that great end: and much of this work will be done in secret and invisible ways. We are transmitters as well as receivers. Our contemplation and our action, our humble self-opening to God, keeping ourselves sensitive to His music and light, and our generous self-opening to our fellow creatures, keeping ourselves sensitive to their needs, ought to form one life: mediating between God and His world, and bringing the saving power of the Eternal into time. We are far from realizing all that human spirits can do for one another on spiritual levels if they will pay the price; how truly impossible and unchristian it is to ‘keep ourselves to ourselves.’” ~From The Spiritual Life by Evelyn Underhill

Give me strength this day O Lord, to be Your hands and feet in this world. Help me to transmit Your love to those around me. Help me to be more sensitive to others needs. Amen.

Tools of grace

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. ~Romans 12:1-2 (CEB)

“Discipline in the Christian life is not a luxury. Without it we become confused, lost our way, compromise our principles, and discover that we are not the people we had intended to be. No one is so sturdy in the faith that the temptation to surrender bit by bit does not erode conviction. Days go by and we discover that, instead of growing in grace in these days, we have wasted them.

These, ‘means’ to whose use we are tied . . . are a positive set of directions for the Christian life often called the ‘means of grace.’ . . . These means of grace are not a method of deserving God’s grace, but a pattern by which we enable ourselves to be receptive to grace and remove the barriers that God permits us to erect as the price of our freedom. These tools, or aids, are ways by which we open ourselves to God’s free grace. In using them, we shape our lives in order to become open to God’s presence. They give our Christian pilgrimage a definite shape, in an age in which there is a general sense of loss of directions and confusion about right and wrong, along with an accompanying sense of God’s absence.” ~ From Reformed Spiritually by Howard L. Rice

Heavenly Father, continue to shape and mold me. Remove all barriers that keep me from Your will. May I continue to transform through daily renewal of my mind. Amen.

Known by love

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. ~James 5:7-11 (CEB)

“The persons and ministries of John the Baptist and of Jesus himself, both rich in the practice of activities designed to strengthen the spirit, were held constantly before [early Christians]. So, wherever early Christians looked they saw examples of the practice of solitude, fasting, prayer, private study, communal study, worship, and sacrificial service and giving- to mention only some of the more obvious disciplines for spiritual life.

These early Christians really did arrange their lives very differently from their non-Christian neighbors, as well as from the vast majority of those of us called Christians today. We are speaking of their overall style of life, not just what they did under pressure, which frequently was also astonishingly different.’ ~From The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard

Help me this day O Lord, to prioritize my day. May my life reflect my faith. May my actions speak of Your love. Guide me in the way I should go. Amen.

The saints who came before

Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles ‘feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet. ~Acts 4:32-37 (CEB)

“The way early disciples lived mystified people around them because the disciples seemed to live in another world, the principles that guided them clearly differed from those that guided others. They practiced a way of life both beautiful and mysterious. Their lives made sense only if one knew that they were living by the power and guidance of God. Their lives were governed by the reign of God and not by the press of politics of the call of culture. They were different because they chose to live their lives in obedience to and in the presence of God. Their radical love for God and neighbor resulted in dramatic actions that perplexed all who observed them.

When we move securely into the reign and presence of God, our lives also take on a beautiful and mysterious quality because God’s presence and principles are being expressed in all that we are and in all that we do. Our actions prompt sometimes gratitude and sometimes perplexity in others. They prompt sometimes joy and gratitude within our lives and sometimes weariness when our radical actions are misunderstood.

But we are not alone. The first-generation Christians lived this radical faith every day. Their actions caught the world’s attention both positively and negatively, but their actions- like ours- were not calculated to bring a response; rather, their actions and ours are a response. A response to God’s amazing grace that accepts us, assures us, sustains us, and always holds us close in the embrace of divine love. Such radical grace prompts a radical response.” From A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God, Rueben P. Job

O God, prepare me, through the active presence of Your Spirit, to come before You worthily and to ask of You rightly; enlighten my understanding; purify my every desire; quicken my will to instant obedience to Your Word; strengthen every right purpose; direct me in Your way; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen. ~adapted from The Book of Worship

The depths of my heart

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. Accordingly, we urged Titus that as he had started, so he should complete among you this act of grace. But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you — see that you excel in this act of grace also.

I say this not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.” ~ 2 Cor. 8:1-15 (CEB)

“It takes practice to learn not to censor our prayer. But trying to keep secrets from God is like the three-year-old who covers her eyes and declare, ‘You can’t see me.’ God sees into our hearts more clearly than we do. Indeed, God is the one who prompts us to look at what we have swept under the rug of our repressions and rationalizations. The Spirit awakens us to what lies hidden within- sometimes gently, sometimes with a jolt, but always so God can work with our conscious consent to free us for growth.” ~From Soul Feast by Marjorie J. Thompson

Heavenly Father, You know my heart, You know my thoughts, You even know those things I hid from myself. Help me to be true to You that I may serve You more fully. Give me the courage to awaken the depths of me heart. Amen.

To speak from my heart


Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. ~2 Cor. 1:3-11 (CEB)

“Many of us have absorbed tacit or explicit taboos about what we are permitted to bring into prayer. We may have learned, for instance, that doubt, anger, hatred, or despair were inappropriate to express to God. Yet we know what happens to human relationships when negative feelings are suppressed. Communication becomes artificial or breaks down; the two parties become emotionally estranged; intimacy becomes impossible. Why should we imagine it is different with God? In prayer, we need to speak whatever truth is in us: pain and grief, fear and disappointment, yearning and desire, questions and doubt, hope and faith, failure and weakness, praise and thanks, despair and sorrow, anger and yes, even hatred.” ~From Soul Feast by Marjorie J. Thompson

Help me O Lord to speak from my heart. Help me to remember that feelings just are, they are not right or wrong. Help me to be real in this time of prayer so that there will not be a wall between You and me. Amen.

Help me O Lord to speak from my heart. Help me to remember that feelings just are, they are not right or wrong. Help me to be real in this time of prayer so that there will not be a wall between You and me. Amen.




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Larger than me

And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium.  And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. ~Acts 13:48-42 (CEB)

“Prayer is larger than any of us. It is less a question of bringing prayer into our hearts than of bring our hearts into prayer; not drawing water from the sea to fill a bath, but being immersed in an immense ocean and becoming one with it.” ~From Toward God by Micheal Casey

Almighty God, this day may I feel that my heart is connected to Yours. Fill me with Your presence. Empower me this day and guide me along the path I am to go. Amen.

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