Fear not

Fear is not an unknown emotion to us. —–Neil Armstrong

All of us have known fear and we will know it again until life ends. It is what we do with the fear that matters. We may not be able to think it away or push it down into some dark place. The trick is to keep on in spite of it and hold on to God for support. I love the part of the 23rd psalm that says “thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Comfort is available to us. We just have to ask.

fear not

Ever present God, you are there waiting on us to call. Comfort us in our times of fear. AMEN

Hope

Hope is some extraordinary spiritual grace that God gives us to control our fears, not  oust them.-———————Vincent McNabb

hope 4

Hope is one of the most precious things that God has given us. We need hope to get up each day. We use it to start a new project or a new job. We have hope. Thank God for it.

God of compassion, thank you for the gift of hope. AMEN

Pottery is fired to make it beautiful

We are always on the anvil: by trials God is shaping us for higher things. —-Henry Ward Beecher

God is busy shaping us into the best that we can be. Sometimes we forget that growing can bring pain. Pottery is fired in a kiln to make the beautiful vase that we see. Life may not be easy but God has promised to be with us.

firing pottery

Loving God, help us though the tough thing in life and remind us that we can use them to your service. AMEN

There is still a chance!

A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.————–Carl Sandburg

All the news about the world around us is so bad. There is so much evil and pain. I Don’t know if it really is worse 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.

good things

Than you, loving God, for continuing to give us a chance. We just don’t seem to learn. Forgive us our sins. AMEN

Go Down, Death (a poem/sermon)

After writing about death on my blog I decided to post the poem that I posted there. It is one of my favorites and I would love to go to God in this way. blog

Go Down, Death

James Weldon Johnson1871 – 1938

 (A Funeral Sermon)

Weep not, weep not,
She is not dead;
She’s resting in the bosom of Jesus.
Heart-broken husband--weep no more;
Grief-stricken son--weep no more;
Left-lonesome daughter --weep no more;
She only just gone home.

Day before yesterday morning,
God was looking down from his great, high heaven,
Looking down on all his children,
And his eye fell on Sister Caroline,
Tossing on her bed of pain.
And God’s big heart was touched with pity,
With the everlasting pity.

And God sat back on his throne,
And he commanded that tall, bright angel standing at his right hand:
Call me Death!
And that tall, bright angel cried in a voice
That broke like a clap of thunder:
Call Death!--Call Death!
And the echo sounded down the streets of heaven
Till it reached away back to that shadowy place,
Where Death waits with his pale, white horses.

And Death heard the summons,
And he leaped on his fastest horse,
Pale as a sheet in the moonlight.
Up the golden street Death galloped,
And the hooves of his horses struck fire from the gold,
But they didn’t make no sound.
Up Death rode to the Great White Throne,
And waited for God’s command.

And God said: Go down, Death, go down,
Go down to Savannah, Georgia,
Down in Yamacraw,
And find Sister Caroline.
She’s borne the burden and heat of the day,
She’s labored long in my vineyard,
And she’s tired--
She’s weary--
Go down, Death, and bring her to me.

And Death didn’t say a word,
But he loosed the reins on his pale, white horse,
And he clamped the spurs to his bloodless sides,
And out and down he rode,
Through heaven’s pearly gates,
Past suns and moons and stars;
on Death rode,
Leaving the lightning’s flash behind;
Straight down he came.

While we were watching round her bed,
She turned her eyes and looked away,
She saw what we couldn’t see;
She saw Old Death.  She saw Old Death
Coming like a falling star.
But Death didn’t frighten Sister Caroline;
He looked to her like a welcome friend.
And she whispered to us: I’m going home,
And she smiled and closed her eyes.

And Death took her up like a baby,
And she lay in his icy arms,
But she didn’t feel no chill.
And death began to ride again--
Up beyond the evening star,
Into the glittering light of glory,
On to the Great White Throne.
And there he laid Sister Caroline
On the loving breast of Jesus.

And Jesus took his own hand and wiped away her tears,
And he smoothed the furrows from her face,
And the angels sang a little song,
And Jesus rocked her in his arms,
And kept a-saying: Take your rest,
Take your rest.

Weep not--weep not,
She is not dead;
She’s resting in the bosom of Jesus.

From God’s Trombones by James Weldon Johnson. Copyright © 1927 The Viking Press, Inc., renewed 1955 by Grace Nail Johnson. Used by permission of Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Books USA Inc.

Lord Jesus, let us find the faith to know you will be with us in our hour of death. AMEN

God with us

scar

God never promised that life would be free of problems. There is no magic wand that can be waved to banish our troubles. Our strength to survive each day comes from God’s promise to be with us. Each struggle that we get through gives us the wisdom to survive the next. God helps us to learn and gain the strength to fight the next battle.

Intimate God, we give you thanks for your love for us and your healing presence in our struggles. AMEN

Grasp peace

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

Finding-Peace-in-a-Turbulent-World-Part-1--1024x683

I 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, depression, anxiety, job loss.

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

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

Worry

worry-quotes_luzdelaluna_6I have been a worrier my whole life. My grandmother always told me to “sit down in that chair and worry as hard as you can and then get up and see if it did any good.” Needless to say it never did. God tells us not to worry but to count on him to care for us. If only we could shut off the worry. Each time worry pops to the surface turn your mind to God and his promises and keep doing it!

Amazing God, you have made a promise to us. Help us to take it to heart.

Afraid?

Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world. Ralph Waldo Emerson

I is so easy to be overwhelmed by fear. So much is going on in the world. People are shot by people with emotional problems. Terrorists set off bombs. There is illness and problems with insurance to cover it. Children (and us also) are more stressed than ever. The news is depressing. What can we do?

There is only one thing. Turn to the Lord our God. He is our strength. He places us on a rock that is higher. We are safe from the raging floods. He is always with us.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me.
do not be afraid
Comforting Lord, we turn to you in the midst of our fears. Hold us close and help us withstand the storm. AMEN

Hope

Prayer breathes hope, and a prayer without hope is a sinful prayer. John Sergleff of Cronstadt (1829-1908}, My Life in Christ.

hope4This brings the question why pray if we don’t have hope? Advent is the season of hope. A season of expectation. We are waiting….waiting for everything to change forever. Cling on to hope, pray with hope, wait with hope.

Gracious God, you have promised us the one to come. We will bear the waiting and continue to hope. AMEN