Hope

“A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.”
– Carl Sandburg

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The world seems to be getting worse and worse. I don’t know if it really is more evil or just that we learn about it so much quicker. Sometimes it is hard to believe that there is any hope for mankind. Yet good things still happen and babies are born. I guess God hasn’t given up on us yet.

 

Prayer: Thank you loving God for continuing to give us a chance. We just don’t seem to learn. Forgive us our sins. Amen

 

Choose God

““To fear the Lord is the beginning of freedom.”  ~ Ecclesiastes 1:14a

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 It is a very strange fact that in giving ourselves freely to God we become free.  It is in “fearing” God that we gain our very souls. To “fear” him is acknowledge that he is God and he is in control. Yet his way of control is to give us freedom of choice. We can choose him or not. We can love him or not. We can “fear” him or not. It is up to each of us.

Prayer: Intriguing God, your way to control is to turn loose. Help us to use our freedom for your kingdom. Amen

 

 

Angry words

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

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My father always told me to not respond in anger to someone who is angry. Good advice but not so easy to follow. When someone is yelling at me about something it is very hard to keep my cool. I can feel my heart racing and my mind gearing up for battle. I’m ready to yell back. Yet very little is solved in anger. Most problems are resolved when everyone calms down.

Prayer:  Gentle Jesus, help us to think of you and respond lovingly to someone who is angry. Amen

 

 

Works are not the whole story

As the apple is not the cause of the apple tree, but a fruit of it: even so good works are not the cause of our salvation, but a sign and a fruit of the same.     Daniel Cawdray

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We are saved by grace through faith. We can’t work our way into God’s good graces. However, we can’t truly be following Jesus if our belief in him doesn’t produce good works. The more we follow in Christ’s footsteps the more fruit we will produce.

Prayer: Father, let our faith produce the good fruit that you expect of us. Amen

 

 

Human judgments vs God’s choice

The tendency to turn human judgments into divine commands makes religion one of the most dangerous forces in the world.”  Georgia Harkness

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It seems to me that more evil is done in the world in the name of religion than for any other reason. We automatically think of Islam and their fanatic suicide bombers. We tend to forget that Christianity has had its share of purges and killings. Too soon have we let the Inquisition fall from our memory. We become sure that we know what God wants and push our beliefs on everyone. Anyone who doesn’t agree is evil. This is not what Jesus taught.

Prayer: Lord God, there is so much hatred in the world. Help us to turn the face of love toward those who hate and teach them about your love. Amen

Show your love

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things

I Corinthians 13: 4-7

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We hear this so often at weddings that I don’t think we really pay attention to it any more. But these are words to live by. How many times am I arrogant or rude or boastful? How many times do I insist on my own way? I need to wake up and smell the coffee. These words apply directly to me!

 

Prayer:  Forgiving God, I am guilty of letting these words slide right by me. Help me to take them to heart and live by them. Amen

 

Religion is like holding on to a rock in the middle of a raging river; faith is learning how to swim.”       Source Unknown

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Religion can be a wonderful thing but it is not the thing we strive for. Faith is the thing we seek. Faith is not just miraculously there one day. We have to work at. When we first start to swim we spend a lot of time sinking to the bottom. Even once we know how we can falter in a huge wave or use up all our energy staying afloat and sink. Faith is not a noun but a verb. It is not something we can hold in our grasp but something we must use. Faith is not knowing you can step out over the precipice but not being sure about it and still stepping out.

Prayer: Increase our faith day by day and give us the courage to use it. Amen

 

Do each daily task for God

It is in the ordinary duties and labors of life that the Christian can and should develop his spiritual union with God.”
Thomas Merton

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There is a wonderful little book called Practicing the Presence of God  by Brother Lawrence. Brother Lawrence did ordinary, everyday tasks such as washing dishes and planting vegetables. Yet everything he did was dedicated to God. Each task was done for the glory of God. He made each task holy. How different life would be if we could all do this.

Prayer: Glorious God, help us to understand that the simplest task is done for you. Remind us that everything we do each day is holy. Amen

 

 

Use what you have

Your talent is Gods gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.              Leo Buscaglia

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Some people have obvious talents. They can sing or write books or act in plays. Most of us don’t even realize we have talents. The things we can do seem so ordinary. Who would care if I could teach a class …so many others can too…or compute someone’s taxes or paint their house for them? I’m just an average Joe. But God cares. No matter if you think you can’t do anything for his glory he knows that you can. Every skill can be used for the glory of God.

Prayer: Lord, help is to see and use the things we can do for the glory of God. AMEN

 

Jesus, Jesus

To holy people the very name of Jesus is a name to feed upon, a name to transport. His name can raise the dead and transfigure and beautify the living.”           John Henry

 One of the most amazing ways to pray is to simply repeat the name of Jesus. It is a soothing and enlightening way to meditate on God. Somewhere in the process our petty problems seem to disappear and we can feel “the peace that passes all understanding.” This may not happen every time but if you continue the practice it will come. I often use this song repeating it over and over.

 

Prayer: Lord, we have asked you before to teach us to pray and you gave us The Lord’s Prayer. Help us pray our way into your presence in many different ways. Amen