From fear to courage

It was still the first day of the week. That evening, while the disciples were behind closed doors because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with joy. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you. ” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you don’t forgive them, they aren’t forgiven.” ~John 20:19-23 (CEB)

“To feel fear is not unusual and sometimes it is a necessary and life-saving experience. Fear alerts us to the dangers that could harm us or even take our lives. However, when our fears dictate all our actions, we can become paralyzed and incapable of thinking clearly or living faithfully.

The disciples, victims of their fears, were behind closed and locked doors when Jesus appeared to them. Once the reality of his living presence was clear, their fears gave way to courage. Ever since Jesus appeared to the disciples, Christians have discovered that there is no need for fear when one is in the presence of God. To walk with God not only rebukes our fears and sends them away but also increases our courage.

To walk with God is to be reassured of direction, guidance, and strength for our daily journey. What do we have to fear when we are in God’s presence and care? Nothing at all! This does not mean that we will be spared discouragement, disease, or death itself. It does mean that we will never be alone. It means that we will be given strength to meet the demands of our daily lives. It means that we will receive wisdom to judge wisely and well in the directions we must take. It means that we will know the joy and tranquility of living in the presence of God in every circumstance of life. From fear to courage is the natural journey of all that walk with God. ~From A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God, Ruben P. Job

Lord, You have promised to meet those who seek Your face. Come now and reveal your presence to me as I make myself present to you. Walk with me through this day guiding my steps with Your wisdom. May I feel Your peace and tranquility as I go about my work, knowing that I am never alone. In the name of Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

He wont abandon me

Then Moses called Joshua and, with all Israel watching, said to him: “Be strong and fearless because you are the one who will lead this people to the land the LORD swore to their ancestors to give to them; you are the one who will divide up the land for them. But the LORD is the one who is marching before you! He is the one who will be with you! He won’t let you down. He won’t abandon you. So don’t be afraid or scared! ” ~Deut. 31:7-8 (CEB)

“Fear kills a mind and soul by slowly obliterating the visions we hold for our lives. That we should not fall prey is a constant theme in the scriptures. God does not want us to succumb to the chilling and killing aspects of fear; God encourages people not to be afraid of the circumstances in which they find themselves. It seems that one of God’s favorite themes is ‘Do not be afraid’ or ‘Do not fear.’ Perhaps God repeats this theme so often because we so often fear circumstances that confront us in our lives and ministries.

God is not suggesting that we will not confront fearful realities in our lives. God is simply promising not to abandon us to fearful circumstances but to go with us through the dark night of fear, danger, and uncertainty.

Fear, left to eat away at us, finally brings us to a ‘little-death.’ We must not deny our fear or avoid dealing with the fearful moment. In scripture God never suggests an escapist attitude as an antidote for fear. The many ‘do not be afraid’ promises in scripture do not suggest that we shun the fearful prospects in which we find ourselves, but God consistently promises to be with us in the dark and ominous moment.” ~Norman Shawchuck

Almighty Father, I thank You for being with me in the darkness. Thank You for guiding me and giving me strength. I know Your promises are true and that You will not let me down or abandon me. You march before me with Your light showing me the way. I will not give into fear this day, In Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.

Called out

Later, Jesus himself appeared again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberius. This is how it happened: Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two other disciples were together. Simon Peter told them, “I’m going fishing.”

They said, “We’ll go with you.” They set out in a boat, but throughout the night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples didn’t realize it was Jesus.

Jesus called to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”

They answered him, “No.”

He said, “Cast your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”

So they did, and there were so many fish that they couldn’t haul in the net. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard it was the Lord, he wrapped his coat around himself (for he was naked) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they weren’t far from shore, only about one hundred yards.

When they landed, they saw a fire there, with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you’ve just caught.” Simon Peter got up and pulled the net to shore. It was full of large fish, one hundred fifty-three of them. Yet the net hadn’t torn, even with so many fish. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples could bring themselves to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread, and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. ~John 21:1-14 (CEB)

“For those who profess and call themselves Christians, the lens through which everything else is interpreted is a person: Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection. Just as the lover never plumbs the mystery of the beloved, so we do not exhaust the mystery of Jesus. This, at first, seems a strange claim. But it is not less extraordinary that contemporary ‘messiahs, saviors, and gurus’ possess the consciousness of modern men and women . . . . A walk on a Saturday evening through the streets of a busy city reveals what models, exemplars, paradigms are operating in the lives of the people.

We cannot do without a paradigm to help us live. As a believer, I keep bumping into Jesus. I wander away, and there he is, perhaps in the eyes of someone on the street. There is no escape for me. Nor do I want there to be.” ~From Soul Making by Alan W. Jones

Almighty God, in every age You have called out men and women to be Your faithful servants. Be with me this day as You call me to join in the work of Your hands. Grant me this day and always a clear vision of Your call and strength to fulfill the ministry assigned to me. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

The word was life

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word was with God in the beginning. Everything came into being through the Word, and without the Word nothing came into being. What came into being through the Word was life, and the life was the light for all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light. ~John 1:1-5 (CEB)

“When the Word became human, Jesus Christ lived the same relationship in a human mode and it is in their relationship that we are called to share. Like the Word, like Jesus in the flesh, we are invited to live our life here on earth as a journey toward God.

Throughout the Gospels there are two salient aspects of the identity of Jesus. He is from the [Creator], sent by God to accomplish a task. Secondly, the human journey of Jesus is one that leads back toward God. It is this movement back toward God that is opened to believers of all generations. In following Jesus, we are shown the way that leads toward the [Creator]. Our life is not aimless; it has a destination. We have not been left to wander in the desert; the Shepherd has dome to seek what is lost and brings us home.” ~From Toward God by Micheal Casey

Lord God, You are the source of all truth, wisdom, justice and love. Lead me this day of service in service to You. Help me to constantly rest my life upon the eternal foundations of Your love and presence. Amen.

 

Come on down

When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” . . . Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.” ~Luke 19:5, 9-10

“All spiritual disciplines are to help you trust this personal experience of yourself, which is, not surprisingly, also an experience of God. People are usually amazed that the two experiences coincide: when we know God, we seem to know and accept our own humanity; we also meet God. We don’t have any real access to who we are except through God, and we don’t have any real access to God except through forgiving and rejoicing in our own humanity.” ~From Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr

Jesus came into the world to call me down out of the tree of observation. It takes a meeting with Jesus to find our true selves. In our search for ourselves we find that only through God can we realize who we really are and begin to value our uniqueness. With everything that God created He claimed it “good”. He knew my name before I was conceived. God knew me in my mother’s womb. As He watched my heart beating He declared me beautiful.

Almighty Father, I thank You for sending Jesus into the world to call be down out of that observation tree to a full life of community. Help me to reach out to others this day. May I show the same patience and serenity that I have been shown. Amen.

God’s promises depend on God

Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. . . . See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. ~Rev. 3:20, 22:12 NRSV

“It matters not whether you believe in life after death or resurrection or pie in the sky when you die. God’s designs do not depend upon your assent. Rather, you can depend upon God’s ability to bring to pass those things regarding which God has spoken. The awesome promises of God depend upon God and not whether you can or cannot believe God’s promises.” ~Norman Shawchuck

No matter how I mess up God’s promises do not change. Whether I do my part God’s plans will continue on. There is a huge release of pressure when I realize it is not all hinged on me and my abilities. But then there is also the realization that if I am not on top of things…. I will get left behind. If I am not ready and willing God will find someone else to do His work.

Almighty God, help me to be about Your will this day. Help me to hear Your nudges in the direction You wish for me to go so I may be about Your work. Amen.

True meaning

 

The Son is the image of the invisible God,

the one who is first over all creation,a

Because all things were created by him:

both in the heavens and on the earth,

the things that are visible and the things that are invisible.

Whether they are thrones or powers,

or rulers or authorities,

all things were created through him and for him.

He existed before all things,

and all things are held together in him.

He is the head of the body, the church,

who is the beginning,

the one who is firstborn from among the deadb

so that he might occupy the first place in everything.

Because all the fullness of God was pleased to live in him,

and he reconciled all things to himself through him—

whether things on earth or in the heavens.

He brought peace through the blood of his cross.

~Colossians 1:15-20 (CEB)

 

“Living in awareness of the risen Jesus is not a trivial pursuit for the bored and lonely or a defense mechanism enabling us to cope with the stress and sorrow of life. It is the key that unlocks the door to grasping the meaning of existence. All day and every day we are being reshaped into the image of Christ. Everything that happens to us is designed to this end. Nothing that exists can exist beyond the pale of His presence (“All things were created through him and for him”- Col 1:16), nothing is irrelevant to it, nothing is without significance. ~From Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning

O God, who through the grace of Your Holy Spirit doth pour out the gift of love into my heart, grant me health, both mind and body, that I may love you with my whole strength, and with a glad heart so that I may perform the things that I am called to do for Your glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Just a little walk with Jesus

On that same day, two disciples were traveling to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking to each other about everything that had happened. While they were discussing these things, Jesus himself arrived and joined them on their journey. They were prevented from recognizing him.

He said to them, “What are you talking about as you walk along?” They stopped, their faces downcast.

The one named Cleopas replied, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who is unaware of the things that have taken place there over the last few days?”

He said to them, “What things?”

They said to him, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth. Because of his powerful deeds and words, he was recognized by God and all the people as a prophet. But our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him. We had hoped he was the one who would redeem Israel. All these things happened three days ago. But there’s more: Some women from our group have left us stunned. They went to the tomb early this morning and didn’t find his body. They came to us saying that they had even seen a vision of angels who told them he is alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women said. They didn’t see him. ”

Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! Your dull minds keep you from believing all that the prophets talked about. Wasn’t it necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then he interpreted for them the things written about himself in all the scriptures, starting with Moses and going through all the Prophets. ~Luke 24:13-27 (CEB)

 

“There are times when all of us long for the companionship of Christ. When we are facing some deep loneliness that seems to darken the brightest day, some great sorrow that has broken out heart and changed our lives, or some heavy burden that comes through no action or fault of our own. At times like these we long for the presence of one who speaks our name, understands our plight, and can break the hold of loneliness, sorrow, despair, and burdens we bear.

There are other times when we are at the peak of our powers and all is going well that we want someone to walk with us, to share the challenge, excitement, and reward of the path we have chosen. We desire a companion who can appreciate the challenge and victory of life in the days when all is well.

There are still other times when we need a companion to whom we can say thank you. There are those times when we are overwhelmed with gratitude. We know that the goodness we enjoy is not just the result of our good work but that someone else had a hand in our sell-being, comfort, and success.

At times like these it is good to remember that the risen Christ walks beside us- awaiting our invitation to stay with us, break bread with us, interpret life for us, give us hope, and share in our thanksgiving.

May we, like the disciples before us, have our eyes opened to recognize Christ as he comes to walk beside us this day.” ~Rueben P. Job

Almighty God, You who have sent Jesus into the world to suffer, die, and rise again for my sake, help me to experience Your transforming resurrection power within my life. I offer my prayers in the name and spirit of Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.

Chosen

You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear the fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another. ~John 15:16-17 (NRSV)

“’I am with you always.’ This is the eternal source of our daily life of prayer: This is not technique. We are in deep waters of the most intimate of all possible relationships that flow to us- forever fresh and new- from minute to minute. And, as with all that lives, open-ended, unexpected, asymmetrical, and unfolding…

You might think of or picture yourself walking with Jesus or sitting across from him. Ask him as you might a beloved friend, ‘What can I do each day to respond from my heart to your presence? What is best and most real for me?’ You may wish to ask these questions of the living Jesus Christ each day: ‘How can I best experience your transforming friendship today? What way can we best share and talk together today?’ How do you feel like responding at this moment?

It may appear that each day will differ. Or you may feel the inner suggestions to have one main way of prayer for a period of time. Whatever suggestion surfaces will be in rhythm with the type of person you essentially are- because that is the person God created and loves.” ~From Feed My Shepherds by Flora Slosson Wuellner

Almighty God, by the power of Your Holy Spirit open my eyes, ears, heart and very life to Your presence so that today I may worship and serve You in faithfulness, be blessing and healing reminder of Your love to all I meet this day. In the name of Christ, Amen.

 

My deepest power

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made know to you everything that I have heard from my Father. ~John 15:13-15 (NRSV)

“The great spiritual teachers are not concerned about domination and power in the sense our culture uses it. Their power is in descent, not ascent. I find, in fact, my deepest power is what Jesus visualizes on the cross as powerlessness. We Christians believe that the crucifixion of Christ- utter powerlessness- is his moment of greatest power. This recognition is at the core of all spiritual teaching. It is a recognition that dramatically turns one’s reality upside down. It is a paradox, a dilemma, and finally becomes a choice.” ~From Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr

I know, O Lord, that if I follow close to You nothing shall be able to separate me from Your endless life and love. Give me the grace to make Your word my home, that I may know You more intimately and follow You more closely. Amen.

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