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.

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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.

Armor

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Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and his powerful strength. Put on God’s armor so that you can make a stand against the tricks of the devil. We aren’t fighting against human enemies but against rulers, authorities, forces of cosmic darkness, and spiritual powers of evil in the heavens. Therefore, pick up the full armor of God so that you can stand your ground on the evil day and after you have done everything possible to still stand. So stand with the belt of truth around your waist, justice as your breastplate,  and put shoes on your feet so that you are ready to spread the good news of peace. Above all, carry the shield of faith so that you can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. Offer prayers and petitions in the Spirit all the time. Stay alert by hanging in there and praying for all believers. As for me, pray that when I open my mouth, I’ll get a message that confidently makes this secret plan of the gospel known. I’m an ambassador in chains for the sake of the gospel. Pray so that the Lord will give me the confidence to say what I have to say. ~Ephesians 6:10-20 (CEB)

These verses from Ephesians are some of my favorite. As I am looking for strength outside myself, I find that these verses promise me strength through God’s armor. Since I am an active person I like the visual given here of putting on specific things to enable me to stand strong. One point that stands out is in verse 13, a warning is given. We are to pick up the FULL armor of God. We shouldn’t be careless and only put on a few of the items before heading out into the world. We need it all, the belt of truth, the breastplate of justice, shoes to spread the good news of peace, the shield of faith. and the helmet of salvation. Leaving off any one of these items leaves us vulnerable. It is interesting to note that all of these things are defensive items that protect and create a wall of protection for us. The only offense we have is God’s Word.

Heavenly Father, continue to help me stand strong. Remind me to place upon myself the full armor You have provided me for my protection as I seek to be your hands and feet in the world. May I carry Your word deep within me this day so that I always know Your truth. Amen

In the world

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If you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. The LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. ~Isaiah 58:10-11 (CEB)

“Everything that comes from God asks for an open and faithful heart.  We cannot live with hope and joy in the end-time unless we are living in a state of preparedness.  We have to be careful because, as the Apostle Peter says:  “Your enemy the devil is on the prowl like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5.8).  Therefore Jesus says:  “Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened by debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life. … Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to hold your ground before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:34-36).  That’s what living in the Spirit of Jesus calls us to.” ~From Bread for the Journey by Henri Nouwen

It is so easy to let my heart become hardened by the world. The problems I see around me, overwhelming. There is too much hurt in the world. Too much evil. At times I just want to bury my head in the ground and just live in my own little space, happy and care free. But I am called to live in this world. I am called to do what I can. I am called to stay awake to the needs that are around me. With God I can obtain the strength I need to tackle some of the issues I see that need tending.

Heavenly Father, this day I pray for Your heart. Give me the strength to not turn a blind eye. Help me not feel overwhelmed by all the needs in the world. Give me a discerning eye to know which tasks are mine to do. Give me the strength I need to follow You into the world today and do what I can. Amen.

Keeping it together

 

But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls. ~Luke 21:18-19 (CEB)

“How can we not lose our souls when everything and everybody pulls us in the most different directions?  How can we “keep it together” when we are constantly torn apart?

Jesus says:  “Not a hair of your head will be lost.  Your perseverance will win you your lives” (Luke 21:18-19).  We can only survive our world when we trust that God knows us more intimately than we know ourselves.  We can only keep it together when we believe that God holds us together.  We can only win our lives when we remain faithful to the truth that every little part of us, yes, every hair, is completely safe in the divine embrace of our Lord.  To say it differently:  When we keep living a spiritual life, we have nothing to be afraid of.” ~From Bread for the Journey by Henri Nouwen

Heavenly Father I thank You for the strength You daily give me to keep it all together. I know that because You love me that there is nothing I should fear. Give me courage just for this day. Amen.

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