My part

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He said to them, “ I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. I tell you, I won’t eat it until it is fulfilled in God’s kingdom.” After taking a cup and giving thanks, he said, “ Take this and share it among yourselves. I tell you that from now on I won’t drink from the fruit of the vine until God’s kingdom has come.” After taking the bread and giving thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “ This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, he took the cup after the meal and said, “This cup is the new covenant by my blood, which is poured out for you. ~Luke 22:15-20 (CEB)

“When we invite friends for a meal, we do much more than offer them food for their bodies.  We offer friendship, fellowship, good conversation, intimacy, and closeness.   When we say:  ‘Help yourself … take some more … don’t be shy … have another glass,’ we offer our guests not only our food and our drink but also ourselves.  A spiritual bond grows, and we become food and drink for one another other.

In the most complete and perfect way, this happens when Jesus gives himself to us in the Eucharist as food and drink.  By offering us his Body and Blood, Jesus offers us the most intimate communion possible.  It is a divine communion.” From Bread for the Journey by Henri Nouwen

Although Christ’s death, burial and resurrection swung open the gates of heaven for us, we must be willing to do our part. We must pick up our own personal cross and choose the will of our Father over that of our own- several hundred times each day.

The only way I can do this is to have Jesus inside, alive, powerful, loving and acting through me. This great sacrament is fully revealed not through the intake of bread and wine but through the outflow of Christ through me.

In Jesus’ name, I claim the power promised to those who believe. I choose to live, love and act this day as if I have Jesus in my heart. Amen.

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Lest I forget

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Take care that you do not forget the LORD your God, by failing to keep his commandments, his ordinances, and his statutes, which I am commanding you today. When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks have multiplied, and your silver and gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied, then do not exalt yourself, forgetting the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrible wilderness, an arid wasteland with poisonous snakes and scorpions. He made water flow for you from flint rock, and fed you in the wilderness with manna that your ancestors did not know, to humble you and to test you, and in the end to do you good. Do not say to yourself, “My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth.” But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today.~Deut 8:11-18 (CEB)

It is so much easier to call out to God when life is rocky, much easier to remember that He is my source of strength when I am feeling so weak. But when my path is clear I forget who fought those battles for me so that I can live in grace. I forget who provides the food for my table, the warmth for my house, a place to put my head or the clothes that I wear. I forget who has given me that security I am now feeling.

When I forget who has provided that calm my eyes look away. I begin to think that it was by my mighty strength and my glorious abilities that got me where I am. But my strength and abilities only last so long and if I don’t look quickly back to their source I lose all power from within.

Lord, help me to take care to not forget the source of the very air I breathe when I come into Your promises. It is by Your strength and power that I am who I am, Your beloved child of God. May I never forget. Amen.

Little by little

10153804308977285If you say to yourself, “These nations are more numerous than I; how can I dispossess them?” do not be afraid of them. Just remember what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs and wonders, the mighty hand and the outstretched arm by which the LORD your God brought you out. The LORD your God will do the same to all the peoples of whom you are afraid. Moreover, the LORD your God will send the pestilence against them, until even the survivors and the fugitives are destroyed. Have no dread of them, for the LORD your God, who is present with you, is a great and awesome God. The LORD your God will clear away these nations before you little by little; you will not be able to make a quick end of them, otherwise the wild animals would become too numerous for you. But the LORD your God will give them over to you, and throw them into great panic, until they are destroyed. ~Duet 7:17-23

Sometimes it feels that God is not answering our prayers. Or it feels like the situation is more than we can do. I like these verses from Deuteronomy because it reminds me that even though my trials may seem great I just need to remember the signs and wonders God has already done in my life. Just as he has been there for me in the past, He continues to be working for my good. (Jer. 29:11) Little by little God is already making changes, even if I can’t see them. The timing is slow so that when I come into the promises He has made me I will be ready to stand up under this new life and not crumble.

God is doing the hard work. He is clearing a way before me. I only need to be ready to step into that promised land once He has my path cleared.

Heavenly Father, there are some days that it is hard to remember Your promises. I take my eyes off you, see my present circumstances and soon am overwhelmed again. Today I recall to mind the signs and wonders that You have already done in my life. Today I will hold my head up high and watch You do the work. Amen.

Union with Christ

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I rejoiced with those who said to me,

“Let’s go to the LORD’s house!”

Now our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem!

Jerusalem is built like a city joined together in unity.

That is where the tribes go up— the LORD’s tribes!

It is the law for Israel to give thanks there to the LORD’s name,

because the thrones of justice are there—

the thrones of the house of David!

Pray that Jerusalem has peace:

“Let those who love you have rest.

Let there be peace on your walls;

let there be rest on your fortifications.”

For the sake of my family and friends, I say,

“Peace be with you, Jerusalem.”

For the sake of the LORD our God’s house

I will pray for your good.

~Psalm 122 (CEB)

 

“The goal of the Christian life is union with Christ, but such union is only dimly and occasionally realized in this life by most of us. Nevertheless, the pilgrimage toward the goal is one of joyful discovery that Christ is with us whether or not we realize that presence. We are given new opportunities for relationships with others along the way. We find new possibilities within us that we had not thought possible. The adventure of the Christian life is one that demands all we can give it. But the testimony of the ages is that the goal of the adventure is well worth the struggle. The hungry heart of the pilgrim is fed along the way.” ~From Reformed Spirituality by Howard L. Rice.

Heavenly Father, as I travel ever closer I thank you for those whom I have met along the way. I thank you for Christ presence ever within me and for new possibilities ever on the horizon. Amen.

Good friends

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People brought to him a man who was paralyzed, lying on a cot. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man who was paralyzed, “Be encouraged, my child, your sins are forgiven.” ~Mat:9-2 (CEB)

Good friends, everyone should have some. These friends did for this man what he could not do for himself. Jesus, seeing their belief healed him. I can think back to paralyzing moments in my life that friends stepped in or stepped up when I could not.

A pastor friend of mine tells a story of a kid he knew who had gone through some hard times. He told Bob that he had friends who saw the way he had been living. If only they had said something about his lifestyle he would have turned back sooner. They knew the choices he was making and had remained silent.

That story makes me sad every time I hear it. How often have I remained silent when a friend might have needed a gentle reminder of who they are and whose they are? Was there a time I thought maybe it was none of my business and turned the other way? Did I not have enough faith?

Lord, forgive me for my sins of omission!

Heavenly Father, please give me the courage today to say the things that must be said. Forgive me when I am weak and remain silent. Amen.

Thirsty?

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Whoever drinks from the water that I will give will never be thirsty again. The water that I give will become in those who drink it a spring of water that bubbles up into eternal life. ~John4:14 (CEB)

We were created with a longing for the Creator. This desire to know and be known by the One who made us and loves us can often be overlooked, denied and buried under an avalanche of personal pursuits and interests. This thirst can go unnoticed for a long time, but then some event in life invites or forces us to pause. When we pause we find rushing towards us an awareness that something is missing. A deep longing or desire takes up residence and when it is filled with God we know that real life is impossible without the companionship of the One who first gave us that gift of life and who sustained us all along, even when we were unaware. We know for certain that we need living water; we need what only Jesus came into the world to give us if we are to really live.

What is my part is all of this? My part is to recognize the deep need for God that resides within me and to offer a space in my heart for God. My soul thirsts for God! The good news I find is that through Jesus Christ my thirst can be satisfied!

Heavenly Father, I recognize this deep desire within my that longs for You. Today and every day I invite you to live within me.  Fill my heart so full that it overflows and cannot be contained. May I then turn to another empty heart and share what spills out. Amen.

Simply living

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Whoever is faithful with little is also faithful with much, and the one who is dishonest with little is also dishonest with much. ~Luke 16:10 (CEB)

This came across my computer at a very timely moment. But that isn’t unusual when you go looking for answers to prayers. I have been struggling with the in-between times of things. I know that God has a purpose for me. I know that that purpose is in front of me but that purpose is not right now. I struggle with what I am to do in the waiting. Waiting for the moment I am to carry out what God wants me to do. Waiting is not one of my strengths:

“The largest part of Jesus’ life was hidden.  Jesus lived with his parents in Nazareth, “under their authority” (Luke 2:51), and there “increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and with people” (Luke 2:52).  When we think about Jesus we mostly think about his words and miracles, his passion, death, and resurrection, but we should never forget that before all of that Jesus lived a simple, hidden life in a small town, far away from all the great people, great cities, and great events.  Jesus’ hidden life is very important for our own spiritual journeys.  If we want to follow Jesus by words and deeds in the service of his Kingdom, we must first of all strive to follow Jesus in his simple, unspectacular, and very ordinary hidden life.” ~Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey

Ok, I know this truth. Living my simple, ordinary unspectacular life is still in God’s will for my life. Being ready for the moments He calls me to service is important but even more important is just living everyday life to the best of my ability. My greatest claim to fame may be how I live my hidden life. It is those moments that only God sees that show our true character. So when we are faithful with the small hidden parts of our lives then He knows we are ready for something bigger.

Heavenly Father, Help me in my times of waiting. Help me in this in-between time of searching for Your will on my life. May I continue to grow in wisdom, stature, and favor with You. Amen.

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