Until we meet again

We know that if the tent that we live in on earth is torn down, we have a building from God. It’s a house that isn’t handmade, which is eternal and located in heaven. We groan while we live in this residence. We really want to dress ourselves with our building from heaven— since we assume that when we take off this tent, we won’t find out that we are naked. Yes, while we are in this tent we groan, because we are weighed down. We want to be dressed not undressed, so that what is dying can be swallowed up by life. Now the one who prepared us for this very thing is God, and God gave us the Spirit as a down payment for our home.

So we are always confident, because we know that while we are living in the body, we are away from our home with the Lord. We live by faith and not by sight. We are confident, and we would prefer to leave the body and to be at home with the Lord. So our goal is to be acceptable to him, whether we are at home or away from home. We all must appear before Christ in court so that each person can be paid back for the things that were done while in the body, whether they were good or bad. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 (CEB)

“Nothing will give us so much strength as being fully known and full loved by fellow human beings in the Name of God. That gives us the courage to drink our cup to the bottom, knowing it is the cup of our salvation. It will allow us not only to live well but to die well. When we are surrounded by loving friends, death becomes a gateway to the full communion of saints.” ~From Can You Drink the Cup? By Henri J.M. Nouwen

So whether I am here on earth or if I am heaven I have the confidence of the love of the saints who love me now and the saints who have gone before me.

I thank You this day O Lord for the love You have shown me through others. The love I have been shown gives me the courage to go forth each day to love others. Instill in me the confidence to be Your hands and feet and to go about Your work. Amen.

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A prayer

But you, Israel my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, offspring of Abraham, whom I love, you whom I took from the ends of the earth and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “ You are my servant; I chose you and didn’t reject you ”: Don’t fear, because I am with you; don’t be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will surely help you; I will hold you with my righteous strong hand. ~Isaiah 41:8-10 (CEB)

“My God, in these quiet moments I caught a glimpse of your vision for me. Inspire me, my God, to carry into the everydayness of my life all to which I aspire at such a moment as this. May my faith have feet and hands, a voice and a heart, that it may minister to others- that the gospel I profess may be seen in my life.

I go this hour to encounter the routine of duty with a new vision. Equip me for my common tasks, that I may this day apply myself to them with fidelity and devotion. And not for myself alone do I pray:

Bless homemakers, mothers, and servants, who minister in the home and who maintain sacred sanctuaries to which tired persons return at the end of day.

Bless doctors and nurses. May their work reflect God’s love and pity to those who leave this earth today.

Bless the teachers, the school administrators, and those who labor to keep school buildings clean and pleasant for those who study and learn there.

Bless coal miners and all who toil in grime and darkness, that we may enjoy clean and pleasant lives.

May your blessing rest upon all men and women who minister to others. May each one come to know the joy of partnership with you.

I give this prayer to you who inflames my soul with vision and desire, that I may be a faithful laborer in the fields you have assigned to my stewardship. Help me to be a good and faithful steward.”  ~Norman Shawchuck

Help me to take a moment this day Lord to not take so much for granted. May I remember all who work so hard yet go unseen. Amen.

To be fully immersed

If we were united together in a death like his, we will also be united together in a resurrection like his. This is what we know: the person that we used to be was crucified with him in order to get rid of the corpse that had been controlled by sin. That way we wouldn’t be slaves to sin anymore, because a person who has died has been freed from sin’s power. But if we died with Christ, we have faith that we will also live with him. We know that Christ has been raised from the dead and he will never die again. Death no longer has power over him. He died to sin once and for all with his death, but he lives for God with his life.  In the same way, you also should consider yourselves dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus. ~Romans 6:5-11 (CEB)

Fully immersed in this world, Christians belong to no world. Instead, while teased by each hope and every vision, they know them to be only hints of the new heaven and the new earth rooted in divine promises. And our yearning to become lost in God only intensifies our tears over the thought of leaving this life. Christian existence is a joyful nonsense. In a culture of self-realization, the Christian’s call is to renounce self; in the face of noise, silence is the preference; in a world of competition, the Christian’s declaration is that the winners will be losers and the losers winners; in a culture whose economy is intent on consumption, the Christian insists on simplicity; in a culture structured by possessions, the Christian insists upon a high standard of life; and at every point, the Christian exposes the emptiness of fullness for the sake of the gospel’s fullness of emptiness. ~From The Art of Spiritual Direction by W. Paul Jones

In the noise and the chaos of life help me this day O Lord to exist in joyful nonsense. In this day to day culture of noise and self-centeredness help me to live simply. May I get lost in Your presence fully immersed in Your love. Amen.

Living transformed

“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its saltiness, how will it become salty again? It’s good for nothing except to be thrown away and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on top of a lampstand, and it shines on all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven. ~Matthew 5:13-16 (CEB)

“When we think of models of the transformed life, we naturally turn to the saints of the past or look at more contemporary heroes of faithfulness like Mother Teresa or Douglas Steeve. Because we do, we often overlook those near us who daily claim the power of God to live life at a higher level than it could be lives alone.

Living a transformed life is not possible on our own. Most of us do not live up to the best that we know how to live. Deep within we know that there is room for improvement. We can do better. Connecting our desire to do and be better with God’s amazing grace creates a partnership that transformation.

We know that living a transformed life means living at God’s direction with grace-given capacity. This is more than we can do on our own, and, in fact, living the transformed life does not mean trying harder. It means trusting more and staying close to the only One who can make us more than we are.

As we learn to put our trust and faith in God, we become open and available to receive God’s forming and transforming power in our own lives. In our better moments we know that it is God at work within us that provides the transformation. This is the day to claim God’s leads to presence and help as you live the transformed life.” ~From A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God, Ruben P. Job

May Your Presence be in my life today O Lord, transforming me into a light that shines for others to see. I thank You for the grace you so freely give me every moment. Thank You for making me more than I am on my own. Amen.

Filled up to overflow

Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and his disciples, “The legal experts and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat. Therefore, you must take care to do everything they say. But don’t do what they do. For they tie together heavy packs that are impossible to carry. They put them on the shoulders of others, but are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. Everything they do, they do to be noticed by others. They make extra-wide prayer bands for their arms and long tassels for their clothes. They love to sit in places of honor at banquets. They love to be greeted with honor in the markets and to be addressed as ‘Rabbi.’ “But you shouldn’t be called Rabbi, because you have one teacher, and all of you are brothers and sisters. Don’t call anybody on earth your father, because you have one Father, who is heavenly. Don’t be called teacher, because Christ is your one teacher. But the one who is greatest among you will be your servant. All who lift themselves up will be brought low. But all who make themselves low will be lifted up. ~Matthew 23:1-12 (CEB)

A cup is a container for holding something. Whatever it holds has to eventually be emptied out so that something more can be put into it. I have learned that I cannot always expect my life to be full. There has to be some emptying, some pouring out, if I am to make room for the new. The spiritual journey is like that- a constant process of emptying and filling, of giving and receiving, of accepting and letting go. ~From The Cup of Our Life by Joyce Rupp

The fullness of God ever waits upon an empty vessel. This is a grand practical truth, very easily stated, but involving a great deal more than one might, at first sight, imagine. The entire Book of God illustrates this truth. The history of the people of God illustrates it; and the experience of each Believer illustrates it. Whether we study the Book of God, or the ways of God—His ways with all—His ways with each, we learn this most precious truth that “the fullness of God ever waits upon an empty vessel.” This holds well with respect to the sinner, in his first coming to Christ; and it holds good with respect to the believer, at every stage of his career, from the starting post to the goal.

Heavenly Father, fill me up till I overflow. May I then overflow into those around me.  I thank You for Your Book that illustrates Your vast love for me. Help me to pass that love on to others. Amen.

Unceasing love

So when we couldn’t stand it any longer, we thought it was a good idea to stay on in Athens by ourselves, and we sent you Timothy, who is our brother and God’s coworker in the good news about Christ. We sent him to strengthen and encourage you in your faithfulness.  We didn’t want any of you to be shaken by these problems. You know very well that we were meant to go through this. In fact, when we were with you, we kept on predicting that we were going to face problems exactly like what happened, as you know. That’s why I sent Timothy to find out about your faithfulness when I couldn’t stand it anymore. I was worried that the tempter might have tempted you so that our work would have been a waste of time. Now Timothy has returned to us from you and has given us good news about your faithfulness and love! He says that you always have good memories about us and that you want to see us as much as we want to see you. Because of this, brothers and sisters, we were encouraged in all our distress and trouble through your faithfulness. For now we are alive if you are standing your ground in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you, given all the joy we have because of you before our God? Night and day, we pray more than ever to see all of you in person and to complete whatever you still need for your faith. Now may our God and Father himself guide us on our way back to you.  May the Lord cause you to increase and enrich your love for each other and for everyone in the same way as we also love you. May the love cause your hearts to be strengthened, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his people. Amen. ~1 Thessalonians 3:1-13 (CEB)

All of God’s life is available to each of us already, but not yet. Ordinary suffering will not be taken away, not the suffering we must face when we bear witness to God’s love and are met with the world’s hostility and scorn. But our suffering will have meaning, will be lifted up, transformed by the unceasing love of God. ~Robert A. Jonas from Henri Nouwen:  Writings Selected with an Introduction by Robert A. Jonas

Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your transforming grace that has worked its wonders within me. May I this day be an example of Your light to someone who may need it this day. May I be a blessing to someone amidst their trials. Help me be Your love to the world. Amen.

To live intentionally

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus. Turning to them, he said, “Whoever comes to me and doesn’t hate father and mother, spouse and children, and brothers and sisters—yes, even one’s own life—cannot be my disciple. Whoever doesn’t carry their own cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

“If one of you wanted to build a tower, wouldn’t you first sit down and calculate the cost, to determine whether you have enough money to complete it? Otherwise, when you have laid the foundation but couldn’t finish the tower, all who see it will begin to belittle you. They will say, ‘Here’s the person who began construction and couldn’t complete it!’ Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down to consider whether his ten thousand soldiers could go up against the twenty thousand coming against him? And if he didn’t think he could win, he would send a representative to discuss terms of peace while his enemy was still a long way off. In the same way, none of you who are unwilling to give up all of your possessions can be my disciple. ~ Luke 14:25:33 (CEB)

“The Christian way is different: harder, and easier. Christ says, ‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work:  I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down . . .  Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked- the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself:  my own will shall become yours.’” ~From Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Christ wants our hearts, but he also wants us to count the cost. He wants a life time full-fledged commitment from us that is lasting. I also think we need to count the cost every day. To give my whole life to Christ requires me to live my life intentionally. If I am to live for Christ I cannot walk through this world aimlessly.

Heavenly Father, Help me to focus my actions on Your will for this day. May all I do be for Your glory. Help me as I try to be a true disciple. Help me to show Your love to those I meet this day. Amen.

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