At other’s mercy

But you, my Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy; you are very patient and full of faithful love. ~Psalm 86:15 (CEB)

There have been times that I have found myself in a place where I have had to rely on someone’s mercy for my basic needs. I have found myself relying on someone to provide a place for my stuff, food to eat and a space to lay my head for sleep. It can be awkward and uncomfortable being left to someone else’s discretion for meeting these basic needs. I may not get to eat the type of food I like to eat. I may have to share a small space with my whole family that normally would accommodate just one. There may be no guarantee of when I will get to take a shower and even then I may be rushed through it because others need to use the same bathroom. This can cause moments of discomfort, like when I am hungry, tired or frustrated at different ways of doing things.

A recent experience with this has had me thinking about the homeless families who struggle with finding a space to put their stuff and who find themselves at the mercies of others. Unlike my circumstances where I was simply visiting family for a short time where the minor discomforts were countered with joyous times, there are families who have found themselves at others mercies because of tragedy. Unlike my situation, they don’t know the end of their time of depending on someone else to provide for their needs. There are no guarantees that they will be given the basics of food and space.

It can be easy to blame someone for their circumstances and to look the other way. It is easy to say well they did this to themselves so I am resolved of any responsibility. Well the Bible has a lot to say about mercy and that we are to be hospitable. But it is also easy to dismiss a “group” of people. It is harder when I come into contact with individuals and learn about their circumstances. It is hard once I get to know someone not to have compassion.

Compassion is having God’s heart to look past someone’s faults or how they got into their circumstances, yet loving them enough to show them mercy. Mercy could be the shot in the arm that someone needed to rise above their circumstances. Being filled with God’s patience and faithful love I can make a difference in an individual life. I may never change the masses but I may be called to serve in an individual life.

Heavenly Father, when opportunities arise to serve, may I be Your love and mercy. I thank You for those who have showed mercy and compassion to me. Amen.

Invitation to living

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter- in- law against her mother- in- law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. ~Matt 10:34-39 (CEB)

“Choosing life seems like the reasonable thing to do. If given the choice why would anyone not choose life? It seems foolish to choose anything else, to choose anything less than the best. It remains a mystery to me that we often find ourselves choosing what dimensions life and leaves us less than we were before. But we are often unaware of the consequences of our choices until later, sometimes much later.

Jesus always invites us to choose life by forsaking our way of life for his way of life. It is never and easy choice. Choosing to walk with Jesus in a culture that ridicules faithfulness and glorifies violence is to choose a way with coast attached. When you choose to walk with Jesus in a culture that rewards those who take for themselves before thinking about others, you may end up feeling someone has taken advantage of you. And yet, as the decades pass and we look back, it is clear to see that those who sought advantage by taking advantage have in reality lost life. Those who chose to walk with Jesus in the hard decisions and in the good times have discovered richness to life beyond price. At times it may seem that the cost of choosing life is too high, but when you stop and think about it, choosing life is the only reasonable choice to make.” ~Rueben P. Job, A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God

Almighty God, You have sent Jesus to show me how to live. Grant me the power of Your Holy Spirit so that I may follow him in faithfulness all the days of my live. Amen.

To have vision

“Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained,
But happy is he who keeps the law.”
Proverbs 29:18 (NASB)

“True mystics are not necessarily those who have visions, but rather those who have vision. They see the extraordinary, the mystical, in everyday events. If we desire such vision, we will have to give our brains a bath! Our minds must be cleansed of prejudgments about what God looks like. We will have to take a brush and scrub away all those grade school pictures of God and erase all the statements made by saints about their experience of the Divine Mystery. Only then can we begin to see the true picture.” ~From In Pursuit of the Great White Rabbit by Edward Hays

Heavenly Father, give me the vision this day to see the extraordinary in the everyday moments of my life. Help me to see this world and You as You truly would have me see. Amen.

Behind and below

Where could I go to get away from your spirit?

Where could I go to escape your presence?

If I went up to heaven, you would be there.

If I went down to the grave, you would be there too!

If I could fly on the wings of dawn,

stopping to rest only on the far side of the ocean—

even there your hand would guide me;

even there your strong hand would hold me tight!

If I said, “The darkness will definitely hide me;

the light will become night around me,”

even then the darkness isn’t too dark for you!

Nighttime would shine bright as day,

because darkness is the same as light to you! ~Psalm 139:7-12

“Our desire for equilibrium can become an idolatrous attempt to deny a large part of what life is about. The advertising industry achieves a good deal of its success through the message that if only we opt for this or that product, our needs and longings will be satisfied. We learn that life is not yet perfect, but we can fix it by obtaining the right house, floor polish, insurance policy, or therapy. In other words, we are encouraged to believe that there is something wrong with us if things are out of kilter and that life is meant to be lived on a plateau of happiness. The psalms give the lie to this kind of thinking by encouraging us to robustly deal with life as it really is and to find God in disorientation as well as harmony.

 

It is both a relief and a challenge to comprehend that there is no place where God is not. Psalm 139 speaks of the attempt to escape the Creator by soaring into the heavens, going into the depth, or sinking into the horizon where sea and sky meet. The sense that God is behind, in front, and above, laying a hand upon the one who feels searched out and known, makes the omnipresence of the Creator into a felt reality. I pray this psalm and I have to ask ‘Who am I? How can I respond to this all-encompassing presence of God?’ In my time and place I am on holy ground, and as I allow myself to be held in that moment of awareness, I must respond with what is truly in my heart. I tell God that I am afraid, relieved, filled with gratitude, or overwhelmed by a sense of being invaded.” ~From “Sing a New Song” by Elizabeth J. Canham in Communion, Community, Commonweal

Heavenly Father, Thank You for being behind me and going before me. Thank You for knowing the depths and the heights of my life. Thank You for fencing me in even when I thought that I just wanted to be free. Thank You for this time and space to know You more fully. Amen.

True spirit

And when you fast, don’t put on a sad face like the hypocrites. They distort their faces so people will know they are fasting. I assure you that they have their reward. When you fast, brush your hair and wash your face. Then you won’t look like you are fasting to people, but only to your Father who is present in that secret place. Your Father who sees in secret will reward you. ~ Matt. 6:16-18 (CEB)

“How can I make room in my life for the things that really matter? This question plagues most adults in the developed world. We have so many things, so many activities, so many opportunities, and so many responsibilities. Is it possible to find a place for God in our busy lives? Many have answered the question with a resounding, no. Others have answered by filling every moment of every day with activity until there is no time even to think about God. Others yearn to find that sacred space and time but just don’t know how or where to look.

The saints who have gone before us left a legacy of experience in living with God. One learning they pass on to us is the value of fasting as a spiritual discipline. Fasting makes room for God in our lives. The discipline required to relinquish food or entertainment or anything else can often be the opening that admits God more fully into our lives.

Is there a way for you to find regular time and place for God in your life without fasting or giving up some things? Probably not. Therefore the real question becomes, What do you feel called to give up in order to find room for God in your life? Fasting for a season may give you the space, time, and energy to make room for God in your busy life.” ~A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God, Rueben P. Job

Almighty God, deliver me from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind, that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affections, I may worship you in spirit and in truth, through Jesus Christ Amen.  

Set free

Make your ways known to me, LORD;

teach me your paths.

Lead me in your truth—teach it to me—

because you are the God who saves me.

I put my hope in you all day long. ~Psalm 25:4-5 (CEB)

“That which is unforgiven holds us captive. We are imprisoned by the hatred and malice we clutch in our hearts. I do not mean to suggest that forgiveness is easy or even that it is a swift process. No. When wrongs have been committed the last thing one wants, or even should do is claim that the transgression should be overlooked The aftermath of betrayal or injury is unavoidably rage, hate, self-blame, flight, and fight. It is a long and painful process to move through the stages of healing that must be named and claimed as part of you, the pain allowed to work for you, the injurer must rightly be blamed, and power and strength returned to the injured. The, knowing you have experienced pain and overcome it, forgiveness can some as a free act.” ~From The Time Bewteen by Wendy M. Wright

Set me free this day O Lord, from the pain and fears I carry around with me. Help me to gain the strength I need to place blame where it belongs, claiming only my part. Help me to face what needs to be faced so that I may go about my day with a lighter spirit. Amen.

Walking towards the light

And Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he returned to the temple. All the people gathered around him, and he sat down and taught them. The legal experts and Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery. Placing her in the center of the group, they said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of committing adultery. In the Law, Moses commanded us to stone women like this. What do you say?” They said this to test him, because they wanted a reason to bring an accusation against him. Jesus bent down and wrote on the ground with his finger.

They continued to question him, so he stood up and replied, “Whoever hasn’t sinned should throw the first stone.” Bending down again, he wrote on the ground. Those who heard him went away, one by one, beginning with the elders. Finally, only Jesus and the woman were left in the middle of the crowd.

Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Is there no one to condemn you?”

She said, “No one, sir.”

Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on, don’t sin anymore.” John 8:1-11 (CEB)

“It may sound paradoxical, but no man is condemned for anything he has done; he is condemned for continuing to do wrong. He is condemned for not coming out of the darkness, for not coming to the light, the living God, who sent the light, His Son, into the world to guide him home.” ~From  Creation in Christ by George McDonald

Heavenly Father, help me this day to see more clearly the things that I must change. Help me to not be stuck on what I have done wrong. Help me instead to see what I can do correctly this day, this moment. Help me to continue to walk towards Your light. Amen.

Previous Older Entries