Read

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

flowers

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

 

 

Don’t CHOOSE to sin


When lip service to some mysterious deity permits bestiality on Wednesday and absolution on Sunday, cash me out.                                                  Frank Sinatra

Get_out_of_jail_free

 It has always puzzled me that some people think it is fine to do wrong because they can be absolved of it. This is wrong thinking. The things we confess to God and ask for forgiveness should be slip ups. Choosing to commit sinful acts because we can be forgiven is not how God expects us to behave. His forgiveness does not give us permission to choose to sin.

Prayer: God of grace, remind us we must choose the right path. We cannot choose wrong because of his forgiveness. It is a gift of grace when we stumble not a get out of jail free card. Help us to remember this. AMEN

Forgiveness frees

The glory of Christianity is to conquer by forgiveness.              William Blake

forgiveness frees

 Sometimes it is so much easier to hold on to our anger than to forgive. We may be using the anger to give us energy. It seems that the whole world is about finding someone to blame. We feel empowered by our anger. We feed on it. The truth is that anger drains us, uses up our energy and makes us ill. This is not what Christ said. He told us to forgive our enemies. The church tells us before we come to communion to turn loose of our grievances with others.  We must forgive. Forgiveness heals.

Prayer: Forgive us as sins as we forgive the sins of others.

 

See into heaven

Tears are often the telescope by which men see far into heaven.
Henry Ward Beecher

tears 2

 When our tears come they usually flow from grief or pain. They flow for ourselves and sometimes for someone else. Tears pull us from our routine day-today existence. Whatever caused them has stopped us in our tracks. We step back from the ordinary and frequently reach out to God for help. So they do cause us to see into heaven and know that God is there. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to let your tears flow.

Prayer: Thank you, God for being our help and strength. Remind us that Jesus wept. Amen

 

Prayer changes us

Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.
Soren Kierkegaard

mother theresa

One of my favorite prayers talks about God’s unchangelessness. God never changes I count on it. But if we spend time with God in prayer we are different. Don’t forget to spend time with God. He is worth the effort.

Homework: Take time to pray for five minutes each day this week.

Prayer: Faithful God, you wait on us to come to you. You are there with us but we don’t talk with you. Help us to take the time to be with you. Amen

 

Don’t create God

You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image, when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”  Anne Lamott

We have to be careful about how we imagine God. We can’t expect God to think exactly what we think. After all, God is God. Jesus spent a lot of time telling us about God and the Kingdom of God. We need to spend more time reading the Bible.

Every-time-you-read-the-Bible

Prayer: Patient God, you know that we keep trying to create you in our own image. Remind us that it is the other way around. Amen

 

 

 

 

Cross to crown

No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.
William Penn

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 did it!

 Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, we have to see it as something done by us.

John Stott

father forgive them

 For many years we Christians blamed the Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus. It was easier to do this than to accept that had we lived in his time and place we could have been a party to his death. We are not blameless even now. We kill him again each time we don’t acknowledge that was are Christians, each time that we hurt someone else or don’t do something the we know is right. We kill him little by little.

Prayer: God of forgiveness, we are sinful people and we fall off the path all the time. Help us to think before we act. Amen

 

 

Understand

It is so easy to make snap judgments about others. Today I did a mediation. My initial thoughts had we favoring one side. I always have to shove these thoughts aside and wait to hear the whole story. The whole story is the answer and we don’t often know it. We judge without understanding. Judging is not up to us. Understanding is.

Judging-quote-image-2014

 

Watch out for envy

A Psalm of David. 

Psalm 37:1-7

envyFret not yourself because of the wicked,
    be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass,
    and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    so you will dwell in the land, and enjoy security.
Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your vindication as the light,
    and your right as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
    fret not yourself over him who prospers in his way,
    over the man who carries out evil devices!

We read part of this Psalm in church this morning. I was struck by verses 1 and 7. Too often we are envious of those who seem so much better off than us. It is so easy to wish that we could be rich or famous. Maybe someone else’s life seems easier. God reminds us to not sink to envy. It just makes us unhappy. We must no “fret” about those who seem to do well. For one thing we are not traveling in their shoes. Their life may not be as perfect as it seems. Peace and happiness have nothing to do with what we have. It is more about how we live.