My prayer this day

To this end we always pray for you, asking that our God will make you worthy of his call and will fulfill by his power every good resolve and work of faith, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. ~2Thes. 1:11-12 (NRSV)

Make us worthy, Lord, to serve our fellow men throughout the world who live and dies in poverty and hunger. Give them, through our hands, this day their daily bread, and by our understanding love give Peace and joy.

Lord, make me a channel of thy peace, that where there is hatred I may bring love; that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness; that where there is discord, I may bring harmony; that where there is error, I may bring truth; that where there is doubt, I may bring hope; that where there are shadows, I may bring light; that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.

Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted; to understand than to be understood; to love than to be loved; for it is by forgetting self that one finds; it is by dying that one awakens to eternal life. Amen. ~From Something Beautiful for God by Malcolm Muggeridge

Remembering to say “Thank You”

On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men with skin diseases approached him. Keeping their distance from him, they raised their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, show us mercy!”

When Jesus saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” As they left, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw that he had been healed, returned and praised God with a loud voice. He fell on his face at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus replied, “Weren’t ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? No one returned to praise God except this foreigner?” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up and go. Your faith has healed you.” ~ Luke 17:11-19 (CEB)

I am thankful for holidays and traditions that slow me down and help me to remember to refocus my attention. Life gets so hectic. I don’t mean to be ungrateful. I don’t mean to overlook those things that God does for me. “Thanksgiving” reminds me that I need to think about the things that I am thankful for. “Thanksgiving” reminds me that I need to say thank you more often. “Thanksgiving” reminds me that I need to show my thankfulness by reaching out to those around me.

Thank you Lord for the signs you place in my life that redirect my focus to You. I thank you for the simple things I daily overlook. I thank you for a warm place to lay my head. I thank You for family and friends that love me. I thank You that I can choose the foods I eat and that I that I don’t have to go to sleep hungry. I thank You that I can worship you without risk to my life. Help me to see these blessings regularly. Amen.

In the end

A day is coming that belongs to the LORD,

when that which has been plundered from you will be divided among you.

I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem for the battle,

the city will be captured,

the houses will be plundered,

and the women will be raped.

Half of the city will go forth into exile,

but what is left of the people won’t be eliminated from the city.

The LORD will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle.

On that day he will stand upon the Mount of Olives, to the east of Jerusalem.

The Mount of Olives will be split in half by a very large valley running from east to west.

Half of the mountain will move north,

and the other half will move south.

You will flee through the valley of my mountain,

because the valley of the mountains will reach to Azal.

You will flee just as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Judah’s King Uzziah.

The LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

On that day, there will be no light.

Splendid things will disappear.

On one day known to the LORD, there will be neither day nor night,

but at evening time there will be light.

On that day, running water will flow out from Jerusalem,

half of it to the Dead Sea

and half of it to the Mediterranean;

this will happen during the summer and the fall.

The LORD will become king over all the land.

On that day the LORD will be one,

and the LORD ‘s name will be one.

The entire land will become like the desert

from Geba to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem will be high up and firmly in place

from the Benjamin Gate to the place of the former gate,

to the Corner Gate, and from the Hananel Tower to the king’s wine vats.

People will dwell in it;

it will never again be destroyed.

Jerusalem will dwell securely.

This will be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the peoples who

swarmed against Jerusalem:

their flesh will rot, even while standing on their feet;

their eyes will rot in their sockets;

and their tongues will rot in their mouths.

On that day, a great panic brought on by the LORD will fall upon them;

they will all grasp at the hand of their neighbors;

neighbors will attack each other.

Even Judah will fight in Jerusalem.

The wealth of all the surrounding nations will be collected:

gold, silver, and a great abundance of garments. ~Zech. 14:1-11 (CEB)

“Every United Methodist preacher since the time of John Wesley has been asked a series of questions before being admitted into full membership in an annual conference. The first question is, ‘Have you faith in Christ?’ The second question is, ‘Are you going on to perfection?’ Seventeen more questions follow, and every candidate is to be led in discussion and understanding of the questions by the resident bishop of the area.

Once during the turbulent sixties, Bishop Gerlad Kennedy was asking these historic question of candidates standing before him in the presence of the annual conference session. When asked if he was going on to perfection, one candidate responded ‘No!’ Bishop Kennedy quickly replied, ‘Then where are you going?’ It was an appropriate question then, and it is an appropriate question now- not only for preachers but also for all Christians.

Where are you going? If you continue on the course you have charted, where will it all end? So often we discount Christ’s return, forgetting that in many ways Jesus Christ has never left. Or we begin reasoning that since Christ has never left. Or we begin reasoning that since Christ has not returned yet, why think about it? But the truth is that at the very best, our lives are short and soon we will have reached our destination, whether Jesus Christ will have returned in a cosmic unfolding or not. Are you going on toward God? If not, where are you going? It is always a good time to review and if necessary redirect your life toward God.” ~Rueben P. Job, A Guide for All Who Seek God

Almighty God, as you have given Jesus Christ to be Savior and Lord, grant us now grace to accept and rejoice in our salvation and in His lordship. Amen.

Set my life aflame

You are the one who created my innermost parts; you knit me together while I was still in my mother’s womb. I give thanks to you that I was marvelously set apart. Your works are wonderful—I know that very well. My bones weren’t hidden from you when I was being put together in a secret place, when I was being woven together in the deep parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my embryo, and on your scroll every day was written that was being formed for me, before any one of them had yet happened. God, your plans are incomprehensible to me! Their total number is countless! If I tried to count them—they outnumber grains of sand! If I came to the very end—I’d still be with you. ~Psalm 139:13-18 (CEB)

“My God, every fiber of my being vibrates at the touch of your grace- whereby I am given the privilege of being your child. My joy at your overwhelming gestures of love and the high privilege you extend to me of entering into your life invades my being with an acute sense of your ever- nearness. In response to this, my Lord, I offer praises to you.

Yet, my Lord, I am often cold toward you. I forget to love you for long periods of time- and this to my own harm and regret. Forgive me, Lord! Everloving God, set my life aflame with love for you only. O my God, I long to reflect your image through the world so that others might observe your doing in me and themselves be convinced that you love them also. Amen. ~Norman Shawchuck

Beyond my understanding

You surround me—front and back.

You put your hand on me.

That kind of knowledge is too much for me;

it’s so high above me that I can’t fathom it. ~Psalm 139:5-6 (CEB)

“If any doctrines within the whole compass of Christianity may be properly termed fundamental, they are doubtless these two, -the doctrine of justification, and that of the new birth: The former relating to that great work which God does for us, in forgiving our sins; the latter to the great work which God does in us, in renewing our fallen nature. In order of time neither of these is before the other; in the moment we are justified by the grace of God, through the redemption that is in Jesus, we are also ‘born of the Spirit;’ but in order of thinking, as it is termed, justification precedes the new birth. We first conceive [God’s] wrath to be turned away, and then [God’s] Spirit to work in our hearts. ~From “sermon 45” by John Wesley

Almighty God, Thank you for the good work you do in me every day. I thank You for going before me, coming behind me and walking beside me everyday. Amen

Known and loved

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God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘ I am has sent me to you. ‘” ~Exodus 3:14 (CEB)

“I am! Here is the home of the spirit, where we can hear and say, ‘I am,’ a kingdom of persons, a life larger than life. When God says ‘I am,’ all nature replies ‘Thou art,’ according to Christopher Smart, the mad poet of the eighteenth century, but then Jesus says ‘I am’ and we too can say ‘I am,” I have learned, and God says ‘Thou art,’ as if to say

You are,

You are known,

And you are loved.

~From The Homing Spirit by John S. Dunne

Creator Lord, who is and was and always will be, to say You know my name astounds me. To say I am loved by You leaves me humbled. I am who I am because you touched my heart. Thank You for calling to me. Amen.

You call me friend

No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. ~John 15:15

“We talk about God in the third person. We teach about God. However, we don’t teach about our spouses or about good friends. We introduce them, not teach about them. Too often we relate to God as a myth or a theorem to be talked about and not as a friend.” ~Norman Shawchuck

O Lord, You are my closest friend from my youngest years. I remember talking to you from the time I was small. Yet I have to confess that though you are my dearest friend I find at times it hard to speak of You to others. Why do I fear to share something so precious? Why do I fear to share the reason for my light, my hope in dark times? I confess this to You O Lord, to ask of You strength and courage today to share with others what You have done for me. Open my mouth when I find it hard to speak, still my heart and quiet my mind so that I may simple tell others of the love You have shown me. This I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Recipient of God’s limitless grace

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. ~Matt. 6:25-34 (CEB)

“We would be very upset with millionaires who lived in life-robbing poverty because of ignorance or personally choice. We would be very disappointed in someone who had enormous wealth but refused to spend any of it for even the simple resources to sustain life. Why then are we not outraged about Christians by the millions who live as though God were dead and God’s grace were exhausted? Could it be because we live that way so often ourselves?

The good news we share with one another is the gospel’s declaration that no matter where we are in life we are the recipients of God’s limitless grace. We can have peace, joy, assurance, comfort, hope, tranquility, confidence, and companionship with our Creator and beyond that, life eternal. With a life bank full of such gifts we are indeed rich. And yet, so often I permit myself to slip into poverty thinking and poverty living. I feel anxious, alone, fearful, faithless, without joy, and sometimes without hope. I feel this easy because I have forgotten and lost grip on the inheritance that God gives me anew every morning.

Many of us live in spiritual poverty because we have forgotten who we are as God’s children and who God is as our loving and almighty Creator. The fact that you are reading these words suggests that you are reading our even now to claim your full inheritance as a child of God. May God grant grace and wisdom to do so more and more today and every day of your life. Claim your inheritance and live as God’s beloved child today.” ~Rueben P. Job, A Guide for All Who Seek God.

Lord God, You who are the source of all truth, wisdom, justice and love lead me through this day of service to You. Help me constantly to rest my life upon the eternal foundations of Your love and presence. Save me from haste and confusion, from wrongful desire, and the net of evil. Through the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit, enlighten, instruct, and guide me all the day long. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Taste and see

I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it. ~Psalm 34:1-14 (ESV)

“You called, shouted, broke through my deafness; you flared, blazed, banished my blindness; you lavished your fragrance, I gasped, and now I pant for you; I tasted you, and I burned for your peace. ~From The Confessions  by Saint Augustine

Almighty God, You never gave up on me. You have pursued me, wooed me, You have gently turned me towards Your Love. I will never be the same now that you have touched my heart. Guide my steps so that I may never stray again away from Your love. Amen.

A God that woos

Teach me your way, O Lord,

That I may walk in your truth;

give me an undivided heart to revere your name.

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,

And I will glorify your name forever. ~Psalm 86:11-12 (RSV)                                                                       

“God is, above all else, a being of immense beauty. It is this beauty that continues to draw us and enfold us in eternal goodness. This mysterious Beloved is forever wooing us, longing for us to be totally immersed in love of the purest kind. As I look at my life, I count as my greatest blessing the gift of God’s own essence. Being able to know this wondrous God of beauty, being embraced and welcomed home time and again, all of this is truly powerful.

I see this immense goodness of God reflected in every variety of people and in all the facet of the universe that sing out the goodness of the Creator. Each one mirrors the essence of God’s beauty. Each one is a vessel filled with manifestations of the Creator. I know this beauty, also, within myself, in the silent encounters deep within my own being. Every once in a while, each of us senses, for a moment, this rare blessing of the touch of God. Brief as it is, it is enough to remind us that there is an underlying harmony beneath all the chaos. There is an eternal beauty giving a loving texture to all of life.” ~From The Cup of Our Life by Joyce Rupp

I thank You, Heavenly Father, for blessing me with another day. You are my greatest gift. You are my biggest treasure. You are the music my heart sings. I thank You for calling to me every morning. Amen.

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