Tag Archives: Belief

Give Us This Day

Matthew 6:11

Give us this day our daily bread,

 

For years I have prayed for people by making lists of the things I thought they needed.

And when I finished the list, I didn’t know how to continue praying for them. The other day I came across a new idea from the scripture as this verse from the Lord’s Prayer jumped out at me.

I suddenly realized I’ve wandered from the idea of God giving us what we need. I find this idea fascinating and have written about it before. But I have not applied the idea to prayer.

I imagined someone for whom I pray regularly. I could not know everything they might do in one day. I could not come up with a list of things I thought they might need for the day. This scripture suggested I pray that God would fill in the needs.

So, I began to pray for their health and needs and moved to asking God to give them whatever they needed for that day.

I was reminded that we don’t need the same things every day. One day I need courage and the next I need hope. Unless I call and request you to pray for certain things, you don’t really know what I need, but God does. And when I pray ‘God, give them everything they need for today,’ he goes into action.

That is so simple, yet so deep. Everything you need. I really like it. It comforts me and helps my worry that I am not praying for the right things for you, yet I am praying more specific than ‘help her/him/them.’

Give them everything they need for today. And tomorrow I pray for that day.

And when we need wisdom in making decisions that will affect the future, God sends the kind of help we need to make the best decision today.

Tomorrow we will pray for what we need and God sends what we need to follow through .

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A New Dictionary

I sometimes struggle with the basic religious language in today’s way of thinking. I hear it in secular productions – books too – the terminology of worship. But the ‘one’ they worship turns out to be men, ‘false gods’ or cultic.

As a result, I sometimes struggle with terms like surrender, giving oneself up for God, giving everything to God, live for the glory of God, and righteous. They are often presented as unreasonable demands of false gods.

I realize these terms have been taken from the Christian dictionary. But I’m afraid when I talk about them I end up sounding like the fantasy/magical culture of today. And the non-religious already have trouble understanding our intent.

I ask God help to find new ways to express the concepts to kids and people who see the fantasy, and lead them to the God of all gods. I feel like I’m starting all over. Perhaps we are back to the many gods culture of Paul’s time.

In my own personal relationship with God, I realize I cannot avoid these concepts for myself. I find myself stepping back before I remember they borrowed our dictionary, I didn’t borrow theirs. They are valid concepts for me.

There is a difference I need to remember: magic/fanciful false gods end up being selfish, with self-serving motives. People end up being mere tools for accomplishing goals. In the end, all the pretty words are harmful.

On the other hand, the end results of God’s words, are aimed at redemption. Of preserving and transforming me into my best, and helping others find their path to God. Not making everyone into ‘little gods,’ but people who know God.

The way our secular thought uses worship is giving one’s self up for God. But its tone is negative…. The person is gone…. Really gone. But in the Christian’s experience, there’s something mysterious about it.

The self we offer in worship takes a risk because of trust, and is not lost, but returned to us as a transformed, beautified person.

 

 

 

 

 

Compassion

God, I drove through what some cities call ‘the district,’

And saw the homeless, the down and out, the dirty,

Standing in doors of bars and cafes, looking out at something I couldn’t see.

And I thought to myself

These are your creations too

You love them as you love me.

When I drove through the rougher neighborhoods

With their little kept houses, motorcycles and souped up cars,

Where people drink and fight at home.

And I thought with an ache in my heart,

God, these are your people too.

As your church we – I – need to be reaching them.

As I walk through my territory

I look at the streets, apartment complexes,

Small homes … family places.

And I think to myself,

Here, too, they love and fight, sometimes in quiet desperation;

Many not knowing they too are your people.

Give me wisdom to know how to put love into action,

To what groups to give financial support,

In what causes to get involved.

I cannot reach everyone personally,

But I can give out pieces of your living Spirit

To anyone, everyone, with whom I come in contact.

Help me not to withdraw into my business like a shell,

When dealing with those different than I,

But always share your warmth and acceptance.

ON THE WAY

Matthew 9:18 – 22 (NIV)

18 While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.”19 Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.

20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”

22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.

 

On his way to another healing Jesus was interrupted.

On his way to helping someone, another asked for help.

His thoughts were focused ahead to the one at his destination

But as he went he stopped and helped the woman in front of him.

 

Some became impatient.

Some were puzzled.

Very few knew what was happening.

But she did – and so did Jesus.

 

Some also have suggested the scriptures at the end of the gospels

That say go ye to all the world….

Are better understood as saying

As you go to all the world, take the good news with you.

 

On the way to work or play, or eat out or meet your accountant,

One the way to funerals, or weddings, or births, or the hairdresser,

One the way to your desk, or worship, to serve or be served,

Stop and see the person in front of you.

 

See the person whose stress shows.

See the person who just needs a listener.

See the person who faces a challenge.

See the person who needs something you can supply.

 

A smile, shared laugh, a pen, a few extra dollars, a word of appreciation,

Your jacket, the ability to pick up a dropped item, a hand to open a door.

A push so someone’s shopping cart, a word of encouragement,

Better yet, recognize the person brimming over with good news – celebrate with them!

 

As you go along your way,

Take the good news of God’s presence in the world with you.

Scatter blessings and be the reminder things can be different

Remind people all is not negative, cold or impersonal by being personal, warm and positive.

 

The conversation between Jesus and the woman he healed on his way to another healing

Took but a few minutes – perhaps he had stopped to let someone pass,

Or got slowed down by the traffic and she took advantage of the moment to touch him,

But her courage and his response changed her life and leaves us with this reminder.

 

As you go,

On the way to the next thing, when you get slowed down,

Don’t forget to respond to the person in front of you.

When they are in need, or reach out – reach back.

 

Additional reference:

Matthew 28:19

New International Version (NIV)

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, 

baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

 

 

LIVING LIFE BACKWARDS?

The speaker told the congregation about a rowing team she was on in college.

The rowers sit with their backs to the goal, facing a person.at the end of the boat.

The rowers’ job is to row, following the directions of that person,

And the person who faces forward guides the rowers to the finish line

In their final race, with qualifying heats over, they finally were neck and neck,

When their guide crashed them into a bridge.

 

Her text was God’s words “for I know the plans I have for you…”

Using her illustration, God sits at the end of the boat

And we are the rowers who have our backs to the goal.

We cannot see what is coming but the one facing forward, God,

Knows the future and directs us from that point of view

 

We talk about stepping into the future, facing the future,

But really all we know is the present and past,

So in reality, we are facing the past and stepping backwards into the future.

All we really have is hope, trust,

And faith in someone who will not crash us into a bridge.

 

Starting with Old Testament stories, through Revelations,

We gain an understanding of how we can expect God to handle our trust.

And if we insist on crashing into bridges, which we sometimes do,

God doesn’t withdraw,

But allows the trouble and then supplies wisdom and strength to endure.

 

As I consider the past, I can trust that the God who worked then still sees the future.

He still knows the plans for a hopeful future he had for them, us – me –

Have not changed since he first promised Israel’s exiles he had one.

And he will hear my prayers for courage when

– keeping my eyes on him – I step backwards into the future.

 

Jeremiah 29:11-12

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray I will listen.”

Look UP!

Isaiah 63:7-19
Vs 8 He said, ‘They are my very own people. Surely they will not betray me again.” And he became their Savior. Vs 11 Then they remembered those days of old when … they cried out “Where is the one who brought Israel through the sea…Where is the one who sent his Holy Spirit..?”

I see a picture of a people,
Having neglected the vital relationship with God,
Have become weary, self absorbed, bent over with cares.
Finally they say to themselves,
“Where is that God who used to be with us? “
God hears, says these are my people. Surely they will listen now,
And prepares a savior.
When the people straighten and look up,
God already has the savior ready to send.

For centuries Isaiah’s words have been acknowledged
To be speaking of the events we know as Christmas.

So again, I see the picture of a people who are bent over
Who are weary with self-absorption,
Troubled at the chasms that have grown up between us,
Searching for new ways to satisfy the old needs that never go away.
And when, or if, we straighten, look up, and ask
“Does it have to be this way? Is there not a better way?”
God has already prepared the answer.
He doesn’t ask us to return to our ancestors’ way of living,
Or an antiquated philosophy – he calls us to return to his presence.
In doing so, we turn from the negative and begin the journey to wholeness.

This time of year most of our moods lighten in the festivity.
Some of us hide behind preparing the season for everyone else,
Hoping for a different outcome that will be more satisfying this year,
While others truely find momentary fulfilment in the preparation.
We all hope to carry the spirit with us into the next year –
But too often when the season is over, the joy goes with it.
So why don’t try something new? – look up!
God is waiting for that first realization we need something more than we have.

Look up.
Ask, “Didn’t there used to be a different way?”
Let God remind us there is joy in believing he is with us.
Let God remind us he wants to live in us and help carry the load.
Let God remind us when we turn around to look for him,
He is already standing there, his face toward us.
Let God remind us of the name of Jesus, Emmanuel –
God with us.
He has already sent a savior,
But we call it Christmas.

I CONFESS I LOVE MY LIFE

When you’ve been doing the same thing for a while
Restlessness sometimes sets in.
Needing refreshment, you look around at other people’s lives,
And wonder if you need to do something new or different.

In such a state, I went visiting – spent some time in other people’s homes.
And, you know, my life doesn’t seem so dull.
I asked myself how I could handle some of the things they face.
And God let me know what I lacked, and what I had.

I’ll take my stresses,
The ongoing problems, my financial status,
The home I live in,
Even the stain in the bathtub I can’t seem to get rid of.

So, I choose the life God has given me.
I choose my journey with the failures and successes.
I embrace my lack of certain abilities and the talents I have been allowed;
Thankful for the spouse God has given me, and the people in my life.

So, with a deep breath, expectation and dread, hope and worry,
I turn toward the new year.
With another breath, I accept what is, with my failures and successes,
And not yearn for what I do not – or ever will not – have or achieve.

Okay, let’s get on with it.
God has given me things to do, a person to be.
I confess, I do love my life,
And with that confession, I give it all back to God.

God Is Not MY God (Alone)

So, here I am in a place of opportunity
I would have never had if it weren’t for my husband’s ministry.
One of many opportunities through the years.
And once again I realize how narrow my perspective of God gets.

Here I am, in the presence of God
In a completely different cultural setting than my own.
Words are familiar, but in a new setting,
And I can join into familiar lyrics and tunes with different tempos and rhythms.

And I remember God is not tied to form
Or ritual,
Or order of service,
Or anything else that calms me and sets my atmosphere for worship.

There are people who worship without music
(Which I cannot imagine.).
There are people whose entire worship is a written script
(How dry, where’s the joy?).
There are people who have no script at all… not even bulletins
(It’s okay – they sing all the songs without written words – by heart).
There are people who cannot be quiet in service,
(Whose joy spills into robust singing and vocal approval.)
There are people who touch God through languages I will never understand,
(But God’s spirit still touches my heart.)
And God works in and through us all.

I am reminded that while God isn’t confined to my box,
He fully inhabits my life, and my culture, and my method of worship,
Allowing me to express who I am and need to most effectively worship.
While all the time encouraging me to grow, change and be more than I am.

And that is what we all have in common: God isn’t confined to anyone’s box.
Yet he fully inhabits the lives of those who ask, any culture, and any method of worship,
Allowing all his children to express who we are, and what enables us to enter into worship.
While all the time he encourages us to grow, change and be more than we are.

One of life’s greatest blessings for me is to have what I believe and think about God
Spoken to me in words and phrases that are completely unlike my own.
When another person expresses the call of God on their life.
And it looks so very different in action, yet is the same in principle.

Spirits soar and boxes expand just a little
As we begin to understand and grasp the tension between
Our inability to understand the complete scope and totality of God’s work,
While, at the same time, experiencing the extreme, personal, nature of My relationship with God.

Wednesday and Thursday’s Prayer

God, Help me look at today.

I’m reminded of living near the ocean in the Northwest.
By Wednesday many people’s talk
Had already turned to the weekend’s visit to the beach.
No matter the season, many live for the weekend’s coastal adventure.

God, help me live today in your presence.
Help me do something for your kingdom each day,
Move closer to a goal, do something useful,
And/or work on the skills that bring me pleasure.

Help me be thankful for today
In spite of mid-week weariness.
If I concentrate on today’s joys and challenges,
The week’s road doesn’t seem to stretch so far beyond the horizon.

If there are preparations to be made,
Help me keep them in the right perspective,
Joyfully looking forward, without dread, or losing today’s importance.
Help me bask in today’s space and time.

Prayer meeting is pretty much part of the past, but not the need for it.
At mid-week I need that refreshment of spirit:
A gathering of resources for the longevity of my joyful attitudes.
Help me find something to enhance worship on this day.

Each day has its own feel
But the middle days get lost in the turning toward the weekend.
Help me make the best of this day,
In a way that makes me a better person for all days to come.

Monday Morning Prayer

God, Wake me up.

Open my mind to the possibilities of the week.
Help me plan so things that must be done are resolved.
But help me joyfully anticipate the messiness of the week.

Help welcome the things that break into my routine,
Accept the unwelcome challenges you present me,
React in wisdom, grace, and welcome growth.

Help me willingly participate in the laundry of life:
Those things someone has to do no matter what else happens
For the upkeep of family, religious and professional life.

Be the silent partner in all my interactions,
Whether it be my beloved, extended family, children, friends, business associate, or a clerk.
Temper my anger, my unhappiness when my desires are blocked, and even my celebration of personal triumphs.

The week is yours.
The possibilities are limitless.
Come, let us begin.

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