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
Going to church no more makes you a Christian than standing in a garage makes you a car. Garrison Keillor
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
“To listen to some devout people, one would imagine that God never laughs.” Anon
Have you met Christians ready to pummel you with their God? Or the one for whom anything to do with God is a totally serious business. They never laugh when they are talking about him To them, God is a wrathful, angry God. One from only the Old Testament. Jesus taught us about another God. The God who wants us to have a cheerful face. The New Testament God is the one I follow. Christ didn’t have a grumpy face. He went to parties. He drank wine. His face was full of love.
Prayer: Intimate God, let us show a cheerful face to others that we might draw them to you. Help us to teach them about Jesus. Amen
Prayer: Thank you loving God for continuing to give us a chance. We just don’t seem to learn. Forgive us our sins. Amen
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
“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
““To fear the Lord is the beginning of freedom.” ~ Ecclesiastes 1:14a
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
It is in the ordinary duties and labors of life that the Christian can and should develop his spiritual union with God.”
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
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
By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet. Thomas Merton
Thomas Merton felt himself changed by reading scripture. We might think well that was centuries ago and it won’t happen to me.
Not so, Thomas was a man of the 20th century and lived a somewhat risqué life before he found God. The Bible did change his life and his way of thinking. It could happen to us. Reading the Bible daily and with real attention could make us see things differently as Thomas did. Try it!
Homework: Read the Bible this week with all your attention for at least 10 minutes.
Prayer: Generous God, you gave us the Bible as a guide in our lives. May we actually pick it up and not just read but absorb it. Amen
We are always on the anvil; by trials God is shaping us for higher things.
Henry Ward Beecher
We weren’t promised a rose garden. We were promised that God would never leave us. Having a life free of problems may not be the thing that makes us beautiful in God’s eyes. The Bible reminds us that pottery is put into the flame to make it beautiful. In times of trial turn to God and come out of the trial refined by him.
Prayer: Ever present God, go with us into the flame and bring us out made beautiful for you. Amen
Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. Robert Louis Stevenson
A lot of times I hear people say: “I prayed for my friend and nothing happened.” “I tried to talk to someone about God but it didn’t change anything.” That may be what we see but we may never know the final result. It is amazing years later to have someone say: “you helped me when I was down.” We need to keep on spreading those seeds.
Prayer: Loving Jesus, you know that we have become self conscious talking about you to others. We feel uncomfortable and usually can’t see any result. Remind us to spread the seed and let you do the rest. Amen