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.


There’s a season for everything

and a time for every matter under the heavens:

a time for giving birth and a time for dying,

a time for planting and a time for uprooting what was planted,

a time for killing and a time for healing,

a time for tearing down and a time for building up,

a time for crying and a time for laughing,

a time for mourning and a time for dancing,

a time for throwing stones and a time for gathering stones,

a time for embracing and a time for avoiding embraces,

a time for searching and a time for losing,

a time for keeping and a time for throwing away,

a time for tearing and a time for repairing,

a time for keeping silent and a time for speaking,

a time for loving and a time for hating,

a time for war and a time for peace.

~Ecc. 3:1-8 (CEB)

In the church calendar we are in the “Ordinary Times”. Easter time is just a memory. Christmas is still just out of reach. Summer is over and the fall schedule has kicked in. Today is just another Monday. What could make it special? But then I get to thinking…

Today God gives you a new opportunity to praise Him. “This is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

Today God provides for you and wants your trust. “Give us day by day our daily bread.” (Luke 11:3)

Today God wants to speak to you through His word. The believers at Berea “searched the Scriptures daily.” (Acts 17:11)

Today God desires to renew your inner person. “The inward man is being renewed day by day.” (2Cor. 4:16)

Today may be an ordinary day but through God’s provisions every day can be special.

Lord, I thank You for providing for my everyday needs. I thank You for renewing me every day. I thank You for Your scriptures that lead me ever closer to You. I thank You for this ordinary day and I will rejoice in all that You have given me. Amen.

Set free by the Spirit

So now there isn’t any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. God has done what was impossible for the Law, since it was weak because of selfishness. God condemned sin in the body by sending his own Son to deal with sin in the same body as humans, who are controlled by sin. He did this so that the righteous requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us. Now the way we live is based on the Spirit, not based on selfishness. People whose lives are based on selfishness think about selfish things, but people whose lives are based on the Spirit think about things that are related to the Spirit. The attitude that comes from selfishness leads to death, but the attitude that comes from the Spirit leads to life and peace. So the attitude that comes from selfishness is hostile to God. It doesn’t submit to God’s Law, because it can’t. People who are self- centered aren’t able to please God.

But you aren’t self- centered. Instead you are in the Spirit, if in fact God’s Spirit lives in you. If anyone doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ, they don’t belong to him. If Christ is in you, the Spirit is your life because of God’s righteousness, but the body is dead because of sin. If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your human bodies also, through his Spirit that lives in you. ~Romans 8:1-11 (CEB)

“Condemnation is a heavy burden to bear. No matter the source of the condemnation and no matter the reason, condemnation crushes the life out of us all when given the opportunity. Many of us live our lives condemned because we have been unable or unwilling to permit that burden to be removed. Sometimes the condemnation is self-imposed, and we just cannot forgive ourselves for what seems to be, in our own estimation, some great failure. Sometimes the condemnation comes from outside ourselves for failures in the eyes of others. Whether these failures are relatively insignificant or enormous, the burden of condemnation is hard to bear. Therefore the words of Jesus- “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way and from now on do not sin again.’ (John 8:11)- are music to our ears. To know that we do not need to carry the failures of the past into the future is good news indeed. Jesus came not to condemn the world but to save the world (John 3:17). The good news for all of us declares that the chains binding us to past failures can be broken; we can be set free to live all our tomorrows without condemnation.

Stop and think for a moment about all those memories that keep invading your consciousness to convince you that you are condemned. And then remember these words of the New Testament; “Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us” (Rom. 8:34). There is no condemnation for those who walk with Christ.

Today offer all the condemnations of the past and present- silly and substantial- to God in Christ Jesus and hear the words of Jesus addressed to you: “Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.” And now give thanks to God that you are free of the burden of condemnation.” ~A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God, Rueben P. Job

Heavenly Father, thank You that I do not have to walk this earth condemned. Thank You that I may leave my failures and shortcomings behind me. Help me to walk this day in the victory You have given me. Help me to hold my head up high with the assuredness that I am a Beloved Child of God, made whole by the sacrifice Jesus made for me. I am no longer chained to who I was before. I am free to live out all my tomorrows without condemnation. Amen.

Process of faith

Jesus told them, “I assure you, it wasn’t Moses who gave the bread from heaven to you, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. The bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

They said, “Sir, give us this bread all the time!”

Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. ~John 6:32-35 (CEB)

“The Biblical promise that if we truly seek, we shall find God is the basis for the journey of the spiritual life. In spite of the difficulties along the way, the times of dryness when nothing seems to be happening, the discouragement and distraction that come to us all, and the times of falling back and wondering if we have made any progress at all, the journey is one from which we cannot turn back. The testimony of the saints of all the ages is that the journey is worth it; that God really is love; and that the love God offers is the most important reality that can be known by any of us. Such knowledge enables a person to have tremendous power to take what happens, to surmount great difficulties, and to grow in the face of tragedy and deep disappointment.

The fruit of the spiritual life is not easily attained. The process of growing in grace is sometimes difficult. It requires persistence which never comes easily for any of us. The old part of us, the part that wants to go it alone and maintain control, keeps asserting itself. There are times when we want to go back to being unaware and half dead. God requires honesty from us, and such honesty can be painful. Because God knows us better than we know ourselves, pretending will not work. God’s knowledge of us demands that we come to terms with who we really are. ~From Reformed Spirit by Howard L. Rice

May I see this day O Lord that You are the basis of this journey I seek. Without You I am nothing. Through You I can be more than I see myself being. Help me today to do the hard work that brings me closer to who You want me to be. Amen.

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