Do I follow through?

Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand. Mark Twain

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“Love your neighbor as yourself, turn the other cheek, follow me.” These are passages from the bible that I do understand. There are many more. The trouble is that they call me to be a better person. Who they ask me to be seems impossible. How can I learn to be the Christian you want me to be.?

Prayer: Lord help me! I do understand these words you have given me but I don’t seem to be able to follow through. Help! Amen

Angry words

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

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My father always told me to not respond in anger to someone who is angry. Good advice but not so easy to follow. When someone is yelling at me about something it is very hard to keep my cool. I can feel my heart racing and my mind gearing up for battle. I’m ready to yell back. Yet very little is solved in anger. Most problems are resolved when everyone calms down.

Prayer:  Gentle Jesus, help us to think of you and respond lovingly to someone who is angry. Amen

 

 

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

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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

 

 

What can I give them?

 

“There is one thing more I wish I could give to them (my family) , and that is the Christian religion. If they had that and I had not given them one cent, they would be rich. If they have not that, and I had given them the world, they would be poor.”       Patrick Henry

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 What do we want to leave as a legacy for our children. Most of us immediately think about our possessions. We want to have some money or property to leave them. Since I am now in my golden years I realize that possessions matter little if I haven’t taught them to love God. If they have no faith to support them when things don’t go well then I have given them nothing.

Prayer: God of love, help us to put teaching about you at the top of our priority list. Help us to set aside other demands and bring our families to church. Amen

 

 

God expects

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.       Galileo Galilei

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For a long time religion and science were at odds. At some times they still are. Some people find the theory of evolution and God’s creating everything to be in conflict. There is the fear that we will uncover some fact that makes God irrelevant. But I think God gave us not only our brains but also our curiosity about the world around us. I don’t think he is concerned about what we will discover.

Prayer: Amazing God, help us to use our minds and our curiosity to bring about your kingdom on earth. Amen

 

Use this prayer

This is the prayer we used today at Ash Wednesday Service. It is a prayer we all should use.

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Most holy and merciful God,
we confess to you and to one another,
and before the whole company of heaven,
that we have sinned by our fault,
by our own fault,
by our own most grievous fault,
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done and by what we have left undone.
We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not forgiven others as we have been forgiven.
Have mercy on us, O God.
We have shut our ears to your call to serve as Christ served us. We have not been true to the mind of Christ. We have grieved your Holy Spirit.
Have mercy on us, O God.
Our past unfaithfulness, the pride, envy, hypocrisy, and apathy that have infected our lives, we confess to you.
Have mercy on us, O God.
Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation of other people, we confess to you.
Have mercy on us, O God.
Our negligence in prayer and worship, and our failure to share the faith that is in us, we confess to you.
Have mercy on us, O God.
Our neglect of human need and suffering, and our indifference to injustice and cruelty, we confess to you.
Have mercy on us, O God.
Our false judgments, our uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors, and our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us, we confess to you.
Have mercy on us, O God.
Our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of concern for those who come after us, we confess to you.
Have mercy on us, O God.
Restore us, O God, and let your anger depart from us.
Hear us, O God, for your mercy is great.

Love

Today being all about love the most important description of it comes from 1 Corinthians 13. Nothing says it better.

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13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; 10 but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. 13 So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

God chooses

 Genesis 1:1-2  In the beginning God created  the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters. 

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I have always love this image. The idea of God choosing to create a world is…I can’t find a word wonderful enough. The Spirit of moving. Notice that in this version Spirit is capitalized. The Spirit is a facet of God. God is not one thing but many things. A God way beyond our understanding. Know that this is God. Infinite and unknowable until He chooses to become a man.