Transformation

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The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the LORD are sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb. ~Psalm 19:7-10 (CEB)

What if, instead of reading the Bible, you let the Bible read you? … What would happen if we approached the test less aggressively but even more energetically and passionately? I wonder what would happen if we honestly listen to the story and put ourselves under its spell… not using it to get all our questions about God answered but instead trusting God to use it to pose questions to us about us. What would happen if we trusted ourselves to it – the way a boy opens his heart to a girl, the way a patient trusts herself to an oncologist? ~From A New Kind of Christian by Brian McLare

What would happen if we changed our opinion that the purpose of scriptures was not what we can get from God but to learn how to be “at-one-with-God”, that the overarching theme of Scripture has to do with transformation made possible through learning to live a ‘with-God” life.

Just what would a transformed life look like if I approached reading my Bible in this way?

Heavenly Father, help me to transform into who You would have me be as I read Your words this day. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14). Amen. 

Forsaken

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As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread. ~Luke 24:28-35 (CEB)

There are many references to people in the Bible who have felt forsaken or alone. Quickly scanning books like Job, Lamentations and some of the Psalms finds people with these feelings. Jesus too experienced that feeling of forsakenness. But Jesus was able to move from that forsaken lost place to feeling the confidence of a beloved child of God. The resurrection becomes the final proof that God can be trusted.

“Jesus’s journey from that forsaken feeling to confident trust gives hope to us in our times of loneliness and fear of being forsaken. If the theologians are right and God never does forsake us, we can remind ourselves frequently of God’s presence. Establishing a way of life that intentionally makes us present to God is one way of removing the feeling of God’s absence. Regular times of prayer and regular times of corporate, worship offer opportunities with the One who made us and loves us.” ~Rueben P. Job

Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your word. I thank You for sending Jesus into this world. May I model my life after his in all I say and do. Give me the strength to also say “Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46). Amen.

Prayer and worship

The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy, and like a strong man runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them; and nothing is hid from its heat. ~Psalm 19:1-6 (CEB)

We have lost the sense of the sacred in what we do. Every act we do can be a form of prayer. Fixing dinner can be prayer. When I smile that can be a prayer. Painting a picture or singing a song that can also be a prayer. When I do anything that brings joy to the Creator of the world, it is a prayer. It is a sacred act. Often we forget that the ordinary daily movements of life can be sacred.

Also taking notice of He’s creation around me can also be a form of worship. When I notice the changes of light with the time of the day or the season; the suddle colors of the hours before sunset as they change to amber and gold then into the darker shades of night… the songs of the birds, the wind on my face…   Every time I stop and notice I can feel the tension release from my stomach, my shoulders relax and my thoughts clear. For that one moment in time when I say “Ah”, I worship the One who created that ever changing scenery.

May I not be too busy this day to be in worship and prayer, O Lord. May I recognize the sacred in each moment of this day. May I not forget to see Your wonders around me. May I ever be thankful for the simple moments in live. Amen.

True happiness

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Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.~ Phil 4:6-7 CEB

“As we grow older, we tend to become control freaks. We need to control everybody and everything, moment by moment, to be happy. If the now has never been full or sufficient, we will always be grasping, even addictive or obsessive. If you’re pushing yourself and others around, you have not yet found the secret of happiness. It’s okay as it is. This moment is as perfect as it can be. The saints called it the “sacrament of the present moment.” ~From Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr

Living in the moment is the truest form of happiness. When I am reliving the past (good or bad) or worrying about the future I forget the now. God is in the now moments. God is in the moments that I listen to my son rattle on… and on and on. God is in the moments that I stand still long enough to hear the words my daughter sings drift out of her room. God is in the moments I slow down long enough to swing on my porch and talk with my husband.

There is a fine line between being prepared for the future and trying to control its outcome. May I not find myself falling into the trap of controlling this day. May I find the joy of the now.

Heavenly Father, help me to remember today to stop and smell the season’s smells, to notice the beauty around me from sunrise to sunset, the music in the air. Help me remember to not be aggressive or obsessive trying to control my happiness. Let me instead be present in this moment that you have given me. Amen.

My prayer for you

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This is why I kneel before the Father…  I ask that he will strengthen you in your inner selves from the riches of his glory through the Spirit. I ask that Christ will live in your hearts through faith. As a result of having strong roots in love, I ask that you’ll have the power to grasp love’s width and length, height and depth, together with all believers. I ask that you’ll know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge so that you will be filled entirely with the fullness of God.
Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us; glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus for all generations, forever and always. Amen.
~ Ephesians 3:14, 16-21 CEB

Stop and remember

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Jesus’ disciples had forgotten to bring any bread, so they had only one loaf with them in the boat. He gave them strict orders: “ Watch out and be on your guard for the yeast of the Pharisees as well as the yeast of Herod.” The disciples discussed this among themselves, “He said this because we have no bread.” Jesus knew what they were discussing and said, “ Why are you talking about the fact that you don’t have any bread? Don’t you grasp what has happened? Don’t you understand? Are your hearts so resistant to what God is doing? Don’t you have eyes? Why can’t you see? Don’t you have ears? Why can’t you hear? Don’t you remember? When I broke five loaves of bread for those five thousand people, how many baskets full of leftovers did you gather?”
They answered, “Twelve.” “ And when I broke seven loaves of bread for those four thousand people, how many baskets full of leftovers did you gather?”
They answered, “Seven.” Jesus said to them, “ And you still don’t understand?”
~ Mark 8:14-21 (CEB)

Sometimes I forget to stop and remember. I forget to slow down and understand. I forget to grasp the meaning that Jesus has for me. I forget to see. My eyes are not on Him.

When I don’t hold on to the truths that Jesus has shared with us I find anxiety and a restless heart robbing me of the peace that is promised when I place my trust in God. I stand there wondering why I am anxious… oh, I forgot to trust God again.

Life sometimes is too full. It holds so many opportunities with activities and distractions. When I find myself so busy is it any wonder that I grow anxious and lose my sense of peace and tranquility?

Heavenly Father, today I choose to remember that You alone are able to care for all that exists; I can trust my all from the smallest concern to the largest. Today I search out Your wisdom and love. I know that when I place my trust in You the gifts of peace, hope, calm and joy will be mine in abundance. Amen.

Forever

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Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. ~Luke 21:33 (CEB)

Today I needed to hear words that would never pass away. We live in a world with constant disappointments. Someone lets us down, someone doesn’t do what they promised. Sometimes things just don’t go the way we planned… or hoped. But Jesus’ words will never change. There is steadiness in what I read in the Bible. I know that I can count on God to be and do what He says he will do. Human beings will disappoint. I know I have disappointed others who counted on me. But it does my heart good this morning to see the words in print telling me… that though it may seem that nothing lasts forever God’s Word remains.
Lord, it can be hard to bounce back from disappointment but I thank You this day that You will never disappoint. I thank You that Your words are true and will last forever. Amen.

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