Are you catchin’ anything

13124622_10153587462752285_2978298331901738630_n

When they finished eating, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

Simon replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” Jesus asked a second time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Simon replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Take care of my sheep.” He asked a third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was sad that Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love me?” He replied, “Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. I assure you that when you were younger you tied your own belt and walked around wherever you wanted. When you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and another will tie your belt and lead you where you don’t want to go.” He said this to show the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. After saying this, Jesus said to Peter, “Follow me.” ~John 21:15-19 (CEB)

“Thinking all is lost after the crucifixion, some of the disciples go fishing on the Sea of Tiberius- a dismal, depressing fishing expedition. Hot, naked, and exhausted, the disciples try valiantly to return to the way things were before they met Jesus. Suddenly a voice from the shore (big rock thrown here): ‘Catchin’ anything?’ ‘Nah,’ they shout back, more depressed then ever. ‘Then try the other side of the boat!’ the voice yells again. Peter stands up to see who this wise guy is. Wait no, it can’t be- but, yes, it is: the Lord! Suddenly Peter can’t move fast enough. He leaps into the water, and swims to shore, leaving the others to haul in a miraculous catch. His faith grows three sizes in a matter of minutes. The boundaries of what he thinks God can do explode, and his love and gratitude for what God is doing in Jesus Christ, the Lord of Life, is simply too large to fit in the boat anymore.” ~From The Godbearing Life by Kendal Creasy Dean and Ron Foster

I sometimes feel when things aren’t moving the way I think they should go or as fast as I would like it that I lose my sense of direction. Sometimes, Jesus has to ask me, “Are you catchin’ anything?” in order to remind me that I might just be fishing off the wrong side of the boat.

Thank You Heavenly Father, for the redirection of my vision when I become distracted with living. Thank You for the miracles you bring into my life to remind me just what I should be fishing for. Amen.

Gone fishing

13124813_10153587465797285_8789193227053965903_n

So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne. ~Hebrews 12:1-2 (CEB)

“Human beings are ambivalent toward holiness. We are drawn toward those qualities exemplified by a St. Francis or by a Mother Teresa, or by communities who witness to the gospel under severe persecution. Yet we find such qualities disturbing, too far removed from the way we must live our daily lives. Something deep within our existence create a restlessness for God, yet we live and move and work in a culture of technology. Efficiency, and the tyranny of the literal. The hunger for holiness coexists uneasily with the practical atheism of our way of life. Still, the deepest language of the Christian biblical tradition claims that the created world itself already reflects the goodness and recreation. The time and place where these tensions intersect is the gathered church at worship.” ~From “Sanctifying Time, Place and People” by Don E. Saliers in The Weavings Reader

Heavenly Father, may You not find me oblivious this day to the things You would have me to do. Direct my focus towards You. May each step I take be in line with Your will for my life. Amen.

For the lost and the least

13092179_10153587463677285_3685192033666175086_n.jpg

“Now when the Human One comes in his majesty and all his angels are with him, he will sit on his majestic throne. All the nations will be gathered in front of him. He will separate them from each other, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right side. But the goats he will put on his left.

“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began. I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.’

“Then those who are righteous will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

“Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me, you who will receive terrible things. Go into the unending fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels. I was hungry and you didn’t give me food to eat. I was thirsty and you didn’t give me anything to drink. I was a stranger and you didn’t welcome me. I was naked and you didn’t give me clothes to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and didn’t do anything to help you?’ Then he will answer, ‘I assure you that when you haven’t done it for one of the least of these, you haven’t done it for me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment. But the righteous ones will go into eternal life.” ~Matthew 25:31-46 (CEB)

I have never felt ashamed to look at the cross until one day when a young woman came with her child in her hands. She said to me she had gone to two or three different convents asking for a little bit of milk for her child.

She was answered, ‘You are lazy. Go and work!’ And so on.

By the time she came to our house, when I took the child it died in my hands. I felt ashamed to look at the cross because Jesus has given us so much and we could not give even a glass of milk to this little child.” ~From My Life for the Poor by Mother Teresa

Almighty God, in every age you have called out men and women to be Your faithful servants. We believe You have now called us to join that great company who seek to follow You. Grant unto us today and always a clear vision of Your call and strength to fulfill the ministry assigned to us. We pray in the name of Christ. Amen.

Play we must

13124622_10153587463267285_7132399493081481221_n

“Happy are people who are hopeless, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

“Happy are people who grieve, because they will be made glad.

“Happy are people who are humble, because they will inherit the earth.

“Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full.

“Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy.

“Happy are people who have pure hearts, because they will see God.

“Happy are people who make peace, because they will be called God’s children.

“Happy are people whose lives are harassed because they are righteous, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

“Happy are you when people insult you and harass you and speak all kinds of bad and false things about you, all because of me. Be full of joy and be glad, because you have a great reward in heaven. In the same way, people harassed the prophets who came before you. ~Matthe5 5:3-12 (CEB)

“Nothing surpasses the holiness of those who have learned perfect acceptance of everything that is.

In the game of cards called life one plays the hand one is dealt to the best of one’s ability.

Those who insist on playing, not the hand they were give, but the one they insist they should have been dealt- these are life’s failures.

We are not asked if we will play. That is not an option. Play we must. The option is how.” ~From Taking Flight by Anthony de Mello

Lord God, Creator and Redeemer, claim my life and ministry for Your high and holy purpose. Help me to remain faithful and steadfast all day long, and when evening comes grant a peaceful rest in Your presence. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

To follow

13083210_10153587463112285_6410100165275819510_n

“I assure you that when you were younger you tied your own belt and walked around wherever you wanted. When you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and another will tie your belt and lead you where you don’t want to go.” He said this to show the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. After saying this, Jesus said to Peter, “Follow me.” ~John 21:18-19 (CEB)

“To follow Jesus Christ, who was betrayed, wept, bled, and died before he rose again, is to be at high risk of being taken where we had not intended to go. Eugene Peterson pinpoints the trouble with praying: We are often asked to respond in ways that we never intended when we first began to pray.

It matters little where or in what century we are called to live out our Christian life. The witness of those who have gone before informs my own experience, telling me that we are often taken to places where we receive unwarranted accolades and to other places where we receive unwarranted suffering and pain. A disciple, one who chooses to be student and follower of Jesus, is not a ‘self-made person’ and is not on a personally designed journey.

The key word in this theme is taken. Just as Jesus was taken into the wilderness after his baptism, so we are taken into the experiences  of discipleship that we do not necessarily choose for ourselves. We choose to follow Jesus and then Jesus chooses where we will go. It is that simple.

The saving truth here is not that we are taken where we do not want to go; rather the saving truth is that we are not alone. There is One who leads us and foes with us. Jesus arose from baptism and ;the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness’ (Mark 1:12). But even there the angels (messengers of God) were with him and tended to his needs. While we may not choose the place to go, we can choose to remain with the One who sends us and there find comfort, companionship, grace, peace, and joy.” ~Ruben P. Job

Almighty God, help me this day to present my body as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to you. By the power of Your holy spirit make us strong to fulfill my ministry this day. In the name of Christ. Amen.

Love makes the difference

12987041_10153542930327285_7841524204443265408_n

When they finished eating, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

Simon replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” Jesus asked a second time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Simon replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Take care of my sheep.”  He asked a third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was sad that Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love me?” He replied, “Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” ~John 21:15-17 (CEB)

“As I drove up the driveway, our children raced out the front door and met me at the car. Before I could bet my suitcase out of the car, they were telling me about Puddles, the dog that had followed them home from the little store a few blocks away. We had talked nearly every day about the dog we were going to get when we were able to move into the country. Everyone wanted a big dog like a Dalmatian or a black Labrador. But as I got out of the car I noticed a dog that was small and scraggly, of mixed origin, very soon to be a mother, and yet very personable. The chorus of affirmation for the dog from our children was compelling. But I gave no clear answer to their question, “Can we keep Puddles?” I did not want to adopt a dog like this, and I knew I had to move quickly to make sure we did not have a dog and a littler of puppies on our hands.

I suggested that after our evening meal and our shores were completed we would talk about what to do with the dog. Later, when we were all settled down in the family room, and with the dog in the garage, I asked each of the children to tell me why he or she thought we should keep Puddles when we could get a beautiful and large dog. Each of them had a good reason. She needed a home. We would enjoy the puppies. She would be a watchdog. Last I turned to our eight-year-old son and asked him what we should do with the dog and why. His eyes filled with tears and he said, “We should keep her.” I asked him for his reason why we should keep this scraggly dog. He responded through his tears, “Because she loves me.” We kept Puddles. She was with us while our children grew up and when they called home form college and career, their first question was always, “How is Puddles?” She lived with us seventeen years because one little boy lover her enough to save her.

Jesus knew that only love was strong enough to keep the disciples faithful in the days ahead. His repeated questions to Pete were meant to clarify for Peter what the real love of his life was. Only love is strong enough to keep us faithful and the question or qualification is first of all about our love. For God knows what we know: Only love is strong enough to keep us faithful . . . and joyful. May our love for God continue to grow in the presence of God’s love for us.” ~From A Guide to Prayer For All Who Seek God, Rueben P. Job

Almighty God, I thank You for loving me so much. Thank You for the adoption into Your eternal family. May the gratitude I feel for Your love strengthen me as I go about Your will for my life. In this time of prayer, come to me. Speak words of life and love into the depths of my being. May I feel Your presence this day, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

True meaning

12923376_10153542937992285_2206508061106239676_n

The Son is the image of the invisible God,

the one who is first over all creation,

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.

Previous Older Entries