We cannot embrace God’s forgiveness if we are so busy clinging to past wounds and nursing old grudges.
T. D. Jakes
It is so easy to hold onto grudges and past hurts. We can actually enjoy chewing over the hurt and savoring our pain. We can think back and relive the emotions and it gives us a kind of satisfaction.
This kind of thinking is toxic. The only person being harmed by it is us. God has promised us forgiveness of our own mistakes. How can we approach him with these thoughts foremost in our minds. To heal ourselves we must let go of hurtful memories and discard grudges. That healing will bring us to God ready for forgiveness.
A prayer from the New Zealand Prayer Book of the Anglican Church. This is another of the prayers that I find so dear to my heart. The wording always makes me think in a different way. See if you like it.
Be present, Spirit of God,
within us, your dwelling place and home,
that this house may be one where
all darkness is penetrated by your light,
all troubles calmed by your peace,
all evil redeemed by your love,
all pain transformed in your suffering,
and all dying glorified in your risen life. Amen.
Think about us being the dwelling place of God and his home. I plan to use this prayer every day.
Yesterday I experienced a “God moment.” I was at a physicians office and he indicated I needed to schedule some surgery. The surgery is a simple one but you never know what will be found. A woman came and led me to her desk to set everything up. I was moved by the fact that in her cubicle there were wonderful quotes from the Bible and other words of encouragement. I mentioned that I was happy to see those words in a somewhat stressful moment. She and I began to talk about our faith and her compassion and caring were present in every word. Before I left she and I hugged.
We wonder if we can see Jesus in our everyday lives but he is visible in people we meet. He was there with us as we talked and shared. Open your eyes. Jesus is there.
I say that I seek you
But is that true?
I look for you
In the noise
Of mindless music
The television’s endless voice
I hunt for you
By being in charge
By filling each moment
By running away
When things are good
I don’t remember you
Or call for you
When I am lonely
I cry to you
No matter how
I ignore you
You will listen
He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters;
I have always found this verse from the so loved psalm intriguing. Why does it say “he makes me?” There is an easy answer to that. We are so busy…so prone to never stropping that we don’t slow down. God wants us to stop. He wants to us to just rest in the beauty of nature and listen for his voice. He wants us to hear the babble of the brook and dip our hands into the still waters.
Take the time to take your rest.
Psalm 103: 1-5
Thanksgiving for God’s Goodness
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name.
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and do not forget all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good as long as you live
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
I always cling to this Psalm when things are rough. It is so perfect when I am stressed. What could be better than verses 3-4. I need my sins forgiven and my illnesses healed. David was right on target. This is a God of goodness and mercy. Thank him every day.
As we sit and wait to see what Hurricane Dorian will do I drew on one of the many verses in the Bible that tells us to rest in the arms of God. It is amazing how many verses remind us that God is with us at all times.
do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
Mark 3:25 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.
Unfortunately this seems to be the culture we live in. There is so much division that people can no longer hold a civil conversation. It is so frightening that the divisions are increasing. Years ago in the US there was another man who talked about standing together. We may not be able to do it again until we are invaded by aliens and we have to all join together to stay alive.
This morning I attended the Lutheran Church that I used to work for. These are the words of the confession that was used today. For me, they were moving and powerful. I hope you find meaning in them.
God of mercy, we confess that we have sinned against you, against one another, and against the earth entrusted to our care. We are worried and distracted by many things, and we fail to love you above all else. We store up treasures for ourselves and turn away from our neighbors in need. Forgive us, that we may live in the freedom of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
God, give us work til our live shall end and life til our work is done.
The New Zealand Prayer Book
This is something I think about a lot. I do feel that we are here for a reason and each of us want to finish our task. Sometimes it is not possible but our lives still have meaning. We leave things behind us like ripples in a pond. God has given us life. Now it is up to us to use it well.