And in times and places where there was not much persecution, people could become and continue Christians who neither were nor professed to be very devoted persons.
How will be behave when we are the persecuted? Will we fade into the background or stand up and be counted? Many of us are living in easy times and have not been tested. What will you do?
“A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.”
– Carl Sandburg
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
Hope is some extraordinary spiritual grace that God gives us to control our fears, not to oust them. Vincent McNabb
I am one of the worst for worrying about things. I cross every bridge before I get to it. When something is really wrong fear can rule my world. We shouldn’t expect all our fears to disappear. This is the real world. But by leaning on God’s grace can I begin to hold fear in check and rely on hope.
Prayer: God, our father and mother, we turn to you as to a loving parent. Help us to remember that you love us and want only the best for us. Help us to bind up fear and put it away. Amen
I have always loved the 23rd Psalm. Especially the part about going down into the valley. God promises to be with us. It says his rod and staff will be there. God is with us in our darkest days. He is the light at the end of the tunnel. No matter how bad things are feel the loving arms of God holding you close and know that you are not alone.
Have you ever felt so far down that you couldn’t see any way out? This is what happens to those who contemplate or choose suicide. Living in this kind of darkness is miserable. Strangely enough many of the mystics have been there. It is called “the dark night of the soul.” This is when you can’t imagine God being with you. You may not be able to pray at all. Your belief in God is shaken to the core.
Even though I have never been so far down as to contemplate suicide I have been in a place where I can understand that suicide feels like a peaceful solution. When we are in this place I have felt one thing that has brought light into the darkness: the prayers of others. If you feel yourself sliding down into darkness send out a plea for help. Ask others to pray. Know that they are praying and those prayers will be your lifeline out of the abyss.
Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects.
If someone asks you for prayer follow through for you may be someones light.
Advent brings so much for us to ponder. What is the meaning of Christmas? How can I get ready for Jesus? What does this season mean to me? Can I stop long enough to remember what it is all about?
We have to look toward Christmas with a ready heart.
Loving God, help us to turn from the busy-ness and dwell on the gift of God. AMEN
We are waiting. Most of the time we don’t wait patiently. We want things to happen now! We are poor examples of your love but we know there is better to come. We have to wait for the goodness that on the way. Spend the time in advent looking forward to the birth of Christ. A blessed baby sent to redeem us and show us how to live each day.
Amazing God, you knew we didn’t understand you and so you sent your son. Thank you. AMEN
11 Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.
Some prayers begin “Intimate, infinite God. God is both with us every moment and a God beyond our understanding. He is always there for us. There is always help at hand. Depend on it!
Amazing God, you are always present for us during the good and the bad. Thank you for loving us so much. AMEN
Psalm 22: 1-22
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
and by night, but find no rest.
This Psalm is used during lent. It is a cry for help. We also cry out to God for help and we don’t always see an answer. It is one of the difficult things that Christians deal with. Why would a God who loves us so leave us to suffer? It seems that either God is not there or not answering. I wish that I had a perfect answer to this problem. I don’t but I do trust that God loves us and wants the best for us. The best may not be what we expected.
I heard about a minister who was dying with a very painful disease. Everyone was praying for him to be spared. It did not happen. What did happen is that the pain stopped and the last days of his life were blessed to be pain free. For this he thanked and praised God.
Sometimes the answer to our prayers is not what we asked but it always is the answer of our loving God.
God of mercy, we know you hear our prayers and love us beyond measure. Help us to not expect to know all the answers. AMEN
I may have shared this before but I absolutely love this from Romans. It gives me hope that no matter what God will be there for me and you.
Romans 8:37-39 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen and Amen