True Happiness

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. . . ~Proverb 4:23 (NIV)

“Wait a little, my soul, wait for the divine promise, and you will have more than enough of all good things in heaven. If your appetite for present things is excessive you may lose eternal and heavenly ones. Use the things of the world, but long for the things of eternity. You cannot be fully satisfied by material possessions, for you are simply not made to enjoy them. Even if you owned every good thing in the world you would not be happy and blessed, for your blessedness and joy is in God, who created all those things. Your happiness is not in what is seen and admired by others but in what the good and faithful followers of Christ seek. Your happiness is in what the spiritual and pure heart, those whose citizenship is in heaven, sometimes experience in this life, though it is meant for the next.” ~From The Imitation of Christ by Tomas a Kempis

Almighty God, in whom I find life, health, and strength, and through whose mercy I am clothed and fed, grant unto me a thankful and faithful heart. In the name and Spirit of Christ. Amen.

Instrument of God

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. ~Romans 6:12-14 (CEB)

“I know that many wiser and better Christians than I in these days do not like to mention heaven and hell even in a pulpit. I know, too, that nearly all the references to this subject in New Testament come from a single source. But then that source is our Lord himself. People will tell you it is St. Paul, but that is untrue. These overwhelming doctrines are dominical. They are not really removable from the teaching of Christ or of his Church. If we do not believe them, our presence in this church is great tomfoolery. If we do, we must sometime overcome our spiritual prudery and mention them.” ~From Fern-Seed and Elephants by C.S. Lewis

Help me this day O Lord to live as You would have me. Help me to be Your hands and feet to this hurting world. Help my focus this day be on You and not me. Amen.

Belief in the Church

We also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews. ~1 Thes. 2:13-14 (CEB)

The Church is an object of faith.  In the Apostles’ Creed we pray:  “I believe in God, the Father … in Jesus Christ, his only Son – in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.”  We must believe in the Church!  The Apostles’ Creed does not say that the Church is an organization that helps us to believe in God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  No, we are called to believe in the Church with the same faith we believe in God.

Often it seems harder to believe in the Church than to believe in God.  But whenever we separate our belief in God from our belief in the Church, we become unbelievers.  God has given us the Church as the place where God becomes God-with-us.

O God, who through the grace of Your Holy Spirit purs the gift of love into the hearts of Your faithful people: Grant me health, both of mind and body, that I may love You with my whole strength, and with a glad hear perform those things which are pleasing to You; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen. ~adapted from The Book of Worship

To truly see

And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul? ~Mark 8:34-37 (CEB)

“Spirituality is about seeing. It’s not about earning or achieving. It’s about relationship rather than results or requirements. Once you see, the rest follows. You don’t need to push the river, because you are in it. The life is lived within us, and we learn how to say yes to that life.” ~From Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr

Heavenly Father, help me to see with my spirit so that I may hear Your words speaking to my heart. Help me to have a full relationship with You. Help me to be Your hands and Feet in the world. Amen.

Invitation to living

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter- in- law against her mother- in- law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. ~Matt 10:34-39 (CEB)

“Choosing life seems like the reasonable thing to do. If given the choice why would anyone not choose life? It seems foolish to choose anything else, to choose anything less than the best. It remains a mystery to me that we often find ourselves choosing what dimensions life and leaves us less than we were before. But we are often unaware of the consequences of our choices until later, sometimes much later.

Jesus always invites us to choose life by forsaking our way of life for his way of life. It is never and easy choice. Choosing to walk with Jesus in a culture that ridicules faithfulness and glorifies violence is to choose a way with coast attached. When you choose to walk with Jesus in a culture that rewards those who take for themselves before thinking about others, you may end up feeling someone has taken advantage of you. And yet, as the decades pass and we look back, it is clear to see that those who sought advantage by taking advantage have in reality lost life. Those who chose to walk with Jesus in the hard decisions and in the good times have discovered richness to life beyond price. At times it may seem that the cost of choosing life is too high, but when you stop and think about it, choosing life is the only reasonable choice to make.” ~Rueben P. Job, A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God

Almighty God, You have sent Jesus to show me how to live. Grant me the power of Your Holy Spirit so that I may follow him in faithfulness all the days of my live. Amen.

Open to God

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God. ‘Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” ~John 6:42-51 (CEB)

“If we are to experience God, we must be open to God, to the mystical, to the divine, appearing in our lives. And we must have an openness that is free of any preconditions about how that will happen. Looking for God in a godly form is the great historical mistake.” ~From In Pursuit of the Great White Rabbit by Edward Hays

Open my eyes O Lord, to see You in the world around be. Open my heart to fill Your love. Open my ears to hear Your whispers of love to my heart. Amen.

Compasssion as my guide

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” ~John 13:34-35 (CEB)

“For a Christian, an economic system is a means to an end- a mechanism for exchanging goods and services. . . . nothing more. We steer our lives by a higher value- the love ethic of Jesus. Central to our bearing the cross is our acceptance of Jesus’ love and our attentiveness to the needs of others. Love, not mammon, must be our guiding light.

Each of us can choose to change out of aspiration rather than desperation. We have the choice to live our faith. But living our faith will require ‘righteousness,’ that is, a genuine relationship with God. Compassion will be our guiding light, our rule I life. Justice will lead us to faithful stewardship- to care for and work on behalf of others in the global community. Shalom will be our reward.” ~From Climbing the Sycamore Tree by Ann Hagmann

Heavenly Father, may I be known this day by the love I show. May I aspire to be more like Jesus in my words and actions. May they be a testament of Your work in my life.

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