No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.
Remember the old hymn that says “if you cannot bear the cross then you cannot wear the crown.” The Christian life is not easy. Sometimes it seems that way to us since we are at the end of an age when to be a Christian was the easy path. Everyone else (who mattered was Christian. Anyone who wanted to get with the in crowd went to church. You were accepted if you were Christian. Not so any more. The number of Christians is declining and we don’t have to go to church to be socially acceptable. It may even be becoming a detriment. What will you do then?
Prayer: Lord Jesus we have been complacent for too long. Help us to see that being Christian requires sacrifice. The cross is for us not the crown. Amen
We come up with wonderful plans for Lent. We decide to pray more, do more, give more. And then we slip. One day goes by without us doing what we planned. Don’t worry about it. Pick up the next day and just keep on. We are imperfect. God is aware of our failings. He forgives us. Get up and keep going.
Do we really understand grace? Do we get that this gift is greater than any we have ever received or ever will. The fact that grace is a free gift of God does not remove us from responsibility. It is not a get out of jail free card. Grace carries with it the fact that God loves us so much that we are given this gift before we respond…..and respond we must. Living out the message of Christ and follow his word is our response.
Generous God, you are willing to give us the gift of grace without any promise on our part. Help us to respond with hearts full of love and willingness to be your hands and feet. AMEN
Micah 6:8 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
8 He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
This is such a wonderful verse and sounds so simple. What could be easier? Actually the question should be what could be harder? Are we always kind? I doubt it. Do we walk humbly? For us this is counter-culture. We need to keep this verse in front of us and read it every morning.
O Lord, our God, you ask so little and yet to us it seems to be too much. Help us to write this verse on our hearts. AMEN
God made me on a morning when he had nothing else to do.———-C.F. Lloyd
We can often feel this way about ourselves. We can’t imagine that we have any skills or talents to offer. We feel useless.
One quote that I have always loved is “God didn’t make junk.” Each of us has something to offer. Each of us has gifts that God has given us. We just have to recognize them and put them to use for his kingdom. We are worthy….God made us.
Imaginative God, you made each of us unique. Help us to find and use the gifts that you have given us. AMEN
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8 New International Version (NIV)
Many times I have heard people say, “you are what you eat.” It seems to me that we are also what we think, If we spend all of our live talking about bad or unhappy things, then we are unhappy. If we concentrate on happy things, then our outlook is different. This piece of scripture hits the nail on the head. We need to be thinking of noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable things.
Direct our thoughts, Lord. We need your guidance and help to keep thinking good things. AMEN
Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it. ——-Buddha
We all want to do some great work and change the world. We keep trying to find our niche. The problem is that our niche may be the simplest thing. Each thing we do matters. There is nothing too small. Just taking food to someone sick may be the thing you are called to do. Don’t waste time trying to be things you are not. Be the best you- you can be.
Imaginative God, help us to see that everything matters and no job is too small. AMEN
Kindness has converted more people than zeal,science, or eloquence. ———Mother Teresa
In church we often hear the word evangelism. There are those who call it the E word and run whenever someone whats them to go out and do it. We are thinking of this word in the wrong way. To go out and tell people about our faith is fine but to live out that faith speaks volumes. We need to live so that people ask “why are they so kind and loving?” This is what will draw people to Christ.
Lord Jesus, you showed us how to live. You drew people by your works. Help us to do the same. AMEN
Self is the only prison that can ever bind the soul. ——————Henry Van Dyke
It is easy to get lost in ourselves. We can’t help it. Self seems to be the only things we have. It is understandable that we put ourselves first. However, we are called to put God first. It is a difficult thing to do but we have to keep trying. I don’t know if we will ever achieve it until we are united with God but we have to try.
God of the universe, keep reminding us that you come first. Help us to keep trying. AMEN