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.
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.
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
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
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
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
We have all heard this verse many times especially during stewardship campaigns. I suspect that few of us are really cheerful givers. Getting us to pledge to the church is like pulling teeth. I don’t know what is wrong. Are we worried about having enough for ourselves? Are we afraid to commit to something? Is the church not important enough to us? I don’t know the answer. Do you?
Prayer: Giving God, you give us so much and I’m not sure that we see it or appreciate it. Help us to focus on what we have and need and not on what we want or desire. Remind us to support your kingdom with our money and our time. Amen
““I screamed at God for all the starving children, and then I realized that all of the starving children were God screaming at me.”
This reminds me of the old story about the man who heard about a flood on the radio and said God would take care of him. The water rose and he ended up on the roof of his house. A boat came by and offered to save him but he declined saying God would save him. A helicopter came and tried to help him from the roof. Again he refused saying god would provide.
The man drowned and when he reached heaven he demanded from God “why didn’t you save me?” God replied: “I sent a news report, a boat and a helicopter. What are you doing here?”
We expect our answers from God to be extraordinary and ignore the things in front of us.
Prayer: God of wisdom, forgive us when we are blind and don’t see the messages you send. Amen
Ash Wednesday is tomorrow and Lent is here. We have always heard about giving up things for lent but it is also time to take something on. Make a decision to add something that helps others. Each day I like to choose something in my home that can help someone else…… things that can be given away to charity. I put them aside to be donated at the end of Lent.
With all the things going on today about Christianity we wonder how all of this is going to go. There is one things that we all have to remember. No matter what is going on around us we have to continue to follow the path of Christ. Each of us matters. Each of us can make a difference.
Today I am sad. There is nothing wrong with being sad when things are tragic. We can be sad about a child getting cancer or a best friend in trouble. It’s what we do with the sadness that matters. First we turn to God. Sharing our sadness with God brings his love and peace. Taking the strength that God gives we can help where we can and share his love.
Chronic illness, whether mental or physical, is so draining. It can be a struggle to get through each day. It takes the knowledge that God’s love is with us no matter what. Even if life is difficult it is still important and you have something to share with the world. When I visited sick and shut-ins as a parish nurse they always felt they could do nothing to help anyone. I reminded them that prayers are needed and possible even though ill. There is always something we can do to help heal the world.
As we move into the New Year keep in mind that spirit of Christmas and spread joy, peace, kindness, love and hope.