The greatest gift

 

After these events, the LORD’s word came to Abram in a vision, “Don’t be afraid, Abram. I am your protector.Your reward will be very great.”

But Abram said, “LORD God, what can you possibly give me, since I still have no children? The head of my household is Eliezer, a man from Damascus.” He continued, “Since you haven’t given me any children, the head of my household will be my heir.”

The LORD’s word came immediately to him, “This man will not be your heir. Your heir will definitely be your very own biological child.” Then he brought Abram outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars if you think you can count them. He continued, “This is how many children you will have.” Abram trusted the LORD, and the LORD recognized Abram’s high moral character. ~Gen. 15:1-6 (CEB)

“The greatest gift I have ever received from Jesus Christ has been the Abba experience. ‘No one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him’ (Matt. 11:27). My dignity as Abba’s child is my most coherent sense of self. When I seek to fashion a self-image from the adulation of others and the inner voice whisperers, ‘You’ve arrived; you’re a player in the Kingdom enterprise,’ there is no truth in that self-concept. When I sink into despondency and the inner voice whispers, ‘You are no good, a fraud, a hypocrite and a dilettante,’ there is no truth in any image shaped from that message. ~From Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning

Lord God, in whom I find life, health, and strength, through whose gifts I am clothes and fed, through whose mercy I have been forgiven and cleansed, be for me guide, strength, Savior, and Lord all the days of my life. I offer my prayers through Christ. Amen.

When spirituality dawns

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” ~John 20:19-22 (CEB)

“Real spirituality dawns when our life with God becomes as real as the problems and joys we experience each day. Until then we live in two different worlds- one, a seemingly real, practical and demanding world; the other, a wistful, so-called ‘spiritual’ world. In our daily activities, we may see ourselves enmeshed in the world, perhaps burdened. However, in our prayer we walk in the mystery of God, we dwell in peace, and we wish we could simply remain there.

This separation cannot remain if all our life is to be filled with real meaning, peace, and awe, no matter how violent or stormy our days may become. When we are truly prayerful we join both worlds. As we become naturally aware of God throughout the day, we journey in both worlds simultaneously. That is truly the spiritual life.” ~From Everyday Simplicity by Robert J. Wicks

Lord, You have promised to meet those who seek Your face. Come now and reveal Your presence to me this day. Help me walk in Your mystery and dwell in your peace. In the name of Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

He won’t 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.

Included

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.

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.

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.

 

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