Compassion is learned

Suffering is a journey deeper into the heart of life.  From the movie The Human Experience

 

How shallow we can be if we have had very little problems in our lives. We just float through each day wondering why other people seem to struggle so. Compassion for those suffering is hard to grasp since we have nothing to measure it against. Travail in life is not what we would choose. But the fire of its pain brings the beauty of understanding and love for those who suffer.

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Compassionate God, you sent you son to suffer and in so doing chose to experience our pain, sorrow, and  grief. Help us to use what we have learned in our own trials to ease the path of others.

 

A Quiet Day

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.1 John 2:2

A quiet day. Jesus is in the tomb. It is all over. His body was taken down and wrapped for burial. On this day he is gone. Take time on Holy Saturday to pause and think about what sort of day it was for the disciples.

Prayer: “Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom.” Taize

 

Maundy Thursday

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”         Matthew 20:28

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It is so difficult to believe that someone would give his life for me. I don’t feel worthy of such a sacrifice. Think about it. You are standing on a street corner and a car comes up over the curb. The person next to you pushes you out of the way and is killed instead of you. Knowing this I would have to live my life differently.

That is why, knowing Christ’s sacrifice, I need to look carefully at how I am living my life.

Prayer:  Jesus, thank you for sacrificing your life for me. I am unworthy of your love. Bring my life closer to your example. Amen

 

 

 

No fear

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.                              John 14:27

 

do not be afraid 2I really wish that I were never afraid. Fear can take over when something goes wrong. We have so many things to fear: poverty, homelessness, crime, disease.

We could spend each day cowering in our homes afraid to go out. Some people do. But God doesn’t want us to live like that. He has given us his peace. All we have to do is take it. Sounds easy but it never is.

 

Prayer: Father and Mother of us all, remind us that we are your children and you wish only good for us. Help us to grasp onto your promises and your peace and never let go. Amen

 

 

Being Christian

Going to church no more makes you a Christian than standing in a garage makes you a car. Garrison Keillor

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I love this quote. It reminds me that just attending church each Sunday doesn’t make me a Christian. Neither does attending Sunday School and church events. It is so easy to fall into complacency. I have to do more than that. Being a Christian is deeper, more taxing, more uncomfortable. Becoming a car might be easier.

Prayer: God of wisdom, I need to understand that I must “Go forth in the name of Christ” and do your work. Amen

 

 

Do I follow through?

Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand. Mark Twain

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“Love your neighbor as yourself, turn the other cheek, follow me.” These are passages from the bible that I do understand. There are many more. The trouble is that they call me to be a better person. Who they ask me to be seems impossible. How can I learn to be the Christian you want me to be.?

Prayer: Lord help me! I do understand these words you have given me but I don’t seem to be able to follow through. Help! Amen

Just love!

Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.   

~G.K. Chesterton

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We are told to love the Lord Our God with all our souls are all our hearts and all our minds. We are not told to prove that God exists. We are just told to love Him. Can we turn loose of all our trying to understand all of this and just love?

Prayer: God of love, help us learn to just love you with all that we are. 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