These thoughts are from SSJE are so very true. There are limits to our energy, time and space. We can only do so much. It is important to know when those limits are reached and do the things we need to survive. If we over do we are no use to anyone.
All of us have parts of our lives that need protection for the simple reason that they are precious. By setting up intentional boundaries on our space and limits on our time, we can create an enclosure that fosters those precious qualities and experiences which the demands of life would otherwise devour.
– Br. James Koester, SSJE
God has plans for us. these plans include us having a better understanding of how we should live. Telling us has not worked so God decides to SHOW us. He leaves heaven to become a man…a man who lives the life that we need to live. He did this for us. Now we need to follow that man in everything that we do.
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall ever be in my mouth.
How often do we stop to praise and thank God. If we go to church we do praise Him there but do we really think about it or is it just habit. Have you ever lifted up your hands in praise to God. Just the lifting of our hands is focusing our hearts and our bodies on God. Some churches are comfortable with this…some not but we can do it at home. Praise God every day!
Prayer: Gracious Lord, you are worthy to be praise with glad voices. We bless and praise your name. We are grateful for you love and compassion. Be with us each day of our lives. AMEN
18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites, and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him. 19 I myself will call to account anyone who does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name.
It is easy to apply the words spoken about “a prophet” to be applied to the words spoken by Jesus. The whole ministry of Jesus is spent telling us and showing us how God wants us to be. How well do we listen? How well do we apply the lessons? It is hard not to see ourselves in the place of the man told to give up everything he had. Could we do it?
How closely are we following the message of Jesus?
Today I want us to think about Mary’s answer to the angel. What if an angel appeared before you and asked you to do something that would shake you to the core and change your life forever? Would you hesitate? Would you wonder if the whole thing was not real? You would have to endure the disdain and censure of everyone you knew. You could end up being an outcast or stoned to death.
I am not sure what my answer would be. What would you do?
Luke 1:34-38, 46-55
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
46 And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
Matthew 22:36-40 [Full Chapter].
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
If only we could live out these two commandments. How much is it to ask? There are no lists of do’s and don’ts just two simple statements. However, for us flawed humans they are the hardest things to do. If only the whole world could live this way!
We cannot embrace God’s forgiveness if we are so busy clinging to past wounds and nursing old grudges.
T. D. Jakes
It is so easy to hold onto grudges and past hurts. We can actually enjoy chewing over the hurt and savoring our pain. We can think back and relive the emotions and it gives us a kind of satisfaction.
This kind of thinking is toxic. The only person being harmed by it is us. God has promised us forgiveness of our own mistakes. How can we approach him with these thoughts foremost in our minds. To heal ourselves we must let go of hurtful memories and discard grudges. That healing will bring us to God ready for forgiveness.
Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you. Saint Augustine
We can pray to God and know that he will hear. We can depend on God. But we can’t sit back and do nothing. We are God’s hands and feet. Jesus didn’t just sit and expect people to come to him. He traveled, he reached out to the homeless, the downtrodden, the sick. He couldn’t have done that sitting in his home. He had to go out. We have to do the same. Sitting in the pew in church is a good thing to do but that is not our major task. We have to go out of the door and follow the steps of Jesus as he walked among the people.
Matthew 6:34 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
I don’t know how many times my grandmother quoted this verse to me. Of course it was the King James version but the meaning is the same. I don’t know why it is in my nature to worry but I know that I am not alone. This is one of the things I am trying to change in myself. When I fall into a worried state I sing or listen to the Taize hymn. Here are the words. I have posted the Spanish sung version because it is so beautiful. Listen and sing along using the English words. (unless of course you speak Spanish)
Nothing can trouble,
nothing can frighten.
Those who seek God shall
never go wanting.
Nothing can trouble,
nothing can frighten.
God alone fills us.
A prayer from the New Zealand Prayer Book of the Anglican Church. This is another of the prayers that I find so dear to my heart. The wording always makes me think in a different way. See if you like it.
Be present, Spirit of God,
within us, your dwelling place and home,
that this house may be one where
all darkness is penetrated by your light,
all troubles calmed by your peace,
all evil redeemed by your love,
all pain transformed in your suffering,
and all dying glorified in your risen life. Amen.
Think about us being the dwelling place of God and his home. I plan to use this prayer every day.