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Monday, August 31, 2015

the will, monday

Monday, August 31

Opening Prayer: Lord God, may your will be accomplished in and through my life this day.  By the power of your Spirit and in the name of your Son I pray.  Amen.

Scripture: Romans 8:28-30

Journal: How is the process of being conformed to the image of his son going?  How are you more like Jesus than you were a year ago?  What is a specific area that is still in need of being conformed to his image/will?

The soul must just leave itself in the hands of God, and do what he wills it to do, completely disregarding its own advantage and resigning itself as much as it possibly can to the will of God. (Interior Castle by Teresa of Avila)


Closing Prayer:  Father, conform us to the image of your son Jesus; that the world might know that we belong to you.  Amen.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

the will, sunday

Sunday, August 30

Opening Prayer: God unto whom all hearts are open and unto whom every will speaks, and from whom no secret thing is hidden, I pray You cleanse the intent of my heart with the ineffable gift of Your grace, that I may perfectly love You, and worthily praise You.  Amen. ~The Cloud of the Unknowing

Scripture: Romans 12:1-2

Journal: What is God’s will for you?  What has had a transforming impact on your will these days?  How is that bring your will into closer alignment with his will?

      To do for yourself the best that you have it in you to do—to grit you teeth and clench your fists in order to survive the world at its harshest and worst—is, by that very act, to be unable to let something be done for you and in you that is more wonderful still.  The trouble with steeling yourself against the harshness of reality is that the same steel that secures your life against being destroyed secures your life also against being opened up and transformed by the holy power that life itself comes from. (The Sacred Journey by Frederick Buechner)


Closing Prayer: Lord, I am yours; I do yield myself up entirely to you, and I believe that you do take me.  I leave myself with you.  Work in me all the good pleasure of your will, and I will only lie still in your hands and trust you.  Amen. (The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

repentance, saturday

Saturday, August 29

Opening Prayer: Search me, O God, and know my heart!  Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139:23-24)

Scripture: Psalm 139:23-24

Journal: Hold yourself completely open before God today.  Allow him free reign within you.  Allow him to search the depths of your heart.  Allow him to show you what he finds.  Write about that in your journal. 

To repent is to come to your senses. It is not so much something you do as something that happens. True repentance spends less time looking at the past and saying, "I'm sorry," than to the future and saying, "Wow!" (Wishful Thinking by Frederick Buechner)


Closing Prayer: Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; see for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—then guide me on the road to eternal life. ~The Message


Friday, August 28, 2015

repentance, friday

Friday, August 28

Opening Prayer: Oh Lord Jesus, make me happy enough in you to avoid sin, and wise enough in you to avoid danger, that I may always do what is right in your sight. In your name I pray, Amen. ~Tim Keller

Scripture: Joel 2:12-148

Journal: What do you think is the purpose of repentance?  What is it designed to accomplish within us?  How is God longing for you to return to him?

     Martin Luther opened the Reformation by nailing the “Ninety-five Theses” to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.  The very first of the theses stated that “our Lord and Master Jesus Christ . . . willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” 
     On the surface this looks a little bleak.  Luther seems to be saying Christians will never make much progress in life.  That, of course, wasn’t Luther’s point at all.  He was saying that repentance is the way we make progress in the Christian life.  Indeed, pervasive, all-of-life-repentance is the best sign that we are growing deeply and rapidly into the character of Jesus.  Consider how the gospel affects and transforms the act of repentance.
     In “religion,” the purpose of repentance is basically to keep God happy so he will continue to bless you and answer your prayers.  This means that religious repentance is selfish, self-righteous, and bitter all the way to the bottom. In the gospel, however, the purpose of repentance is to repeatedly tap into the joy of our union with Christ to weaken our impulse to do anything contrary to God’s heart. ~Tim Keller


Closing Prayer: May we return to you, O God, from our many wanderings.  May we return to you, O God—each and every day—with all our hearts.  May we return to you with fasting and mourning and weeping.  May we rend our hearts, instead of our garments, and return to you, O God.  Amen.   

Thursday, August 27, 2015

repentance, thursday

Thursday, August 27

Opening Prayer: Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.  When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.  Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.  I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.”  And you forgave the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:1-5)

Scripture: Psalm 32:1-11

Journal: What are the results of having an unrepentant heart?  What happens when we turn to God in confession, asking for forgiveness?  How is that a part of the process of repentance?  Where does this need to happen in your heart or life? 

To repent is to adopt God's viewpoint in place of your own...In itself, far from being sorrowful, it is the most joyful thing in the world, because when you have done it you have adopted the viewpoint of truth itself and you are in fellowship with God. ~William Temple


Closing Prayer: You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. (Psalm 32:7)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

repentance, wednesday

Wednesday, August 26

Opening Prayer: Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. (Psalm 51:1-4)

Scripture: Psalm 51:1-19

Journal: What words or images can you relate to or identify with most from this Psalm?  What speaks to your heart?  What speaks for your heart? 

     Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement; he is a rebel who must lay down his arms.  Laying down your arms, surrendering, saying you are sorry, realising that you have been on the wrong track and getting ready to start life over again from the ground floor—that is the only way out of our 'hole'.  This process of surrender—this movement full speed astern—is what Christians call repentance.  Now repentance is no fun at all.  It is something much harder than merely eating humble pie.  It means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years. (Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis)


Closing Prayer: Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.  Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.  Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:7-12)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

repentance, tuesday

Tuesday, August 25

Opening Prayer: O Lord, allow your word this day to open us up to whatever you long to do within us.  Let it cut us to the heart and make us more into the people you desire us to be.  Amen.

Scripture: Acts 2:37-41

Journal: What has cut you to the heart lately?  Why and how?  Did it bring you to the point of repentance?  What did that look like?

     Repentance is not an emotion.  It is not feeling sorry for your sins.  It is a decision.  It is deciding that you have been wrong in supposing that you could manage your own life and be your own god; it is deciding that you were wrong in thinking that you had, or could get, the strength, education and training to make it on your own; it is deciding that you have been told a pack of lies about yourself and your neighbors and your world.  And it is deciding that God, in Jesus Christ, is telling you the truth.  Repentance is a realization that what God wants from you and what you want from God are not going to be achieved by doing the same old things, thinking the same old thoughts.  Repentance is a decision to follow Jesus Christ and become his pilgrim in the path of peace. (A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson)


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, give us the strength and the courage to follow you more closely—whatever that may look like—from this day forward.  Amen.

Monday, August 24, 2015

repentance, monday

Monday, August 24

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us hear your words this day: “The time is fulfilled, the kingdom is at hand; repent and believe the gospel.”  And give us the grace and the strength to do just that.  Amen.

Scripture: Mark 1:14-15

Journal:  What does the word repent mean to you?  Why do you think it is usually tied to the word believe?  What does repentance look like in your life right now?  What do you need to turn away from?  How is God calling you to turn toward him?

Biblically speaking, to repent doesn't mean to feel sorry about, to regret.  It means to turn, to turn around 180 degrees.  It means to undergo a complete change of mind, heart, direction.  Turn away from madness, cruelty, shallowness, blindness.  Turn toward the tolerance, compassion, sanity, hope, justice that we all have in us at our best. (Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons by Frederick Buechner)


Closing Prayer: Turn us away, O God, from our self-centered patterns, agendas, and plans.  Turn us away from our pride and arrogance and control.  Turn us away from all of the attitudes and behaviors that ultimately lead to sin and death.  And turn us back towards you once again, our good and holy God; that we might be conformed to the image of your Son more and more each day.  Amen.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

repentance, sunday

Sunday, August 23

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to see our lives today as you see them.  Help us to see what you celebrate and help us to see what breaks your heart.  Give us the courage and the strength to come face-to-face with the whole truth.  And help us to turn away from our sin and turn towards you.  Have mercy on us.  Amen.

Scripture: Mark 1:1-8

Journal:  How does John the Baptist’s message speak to you today?  What nerve does it strike?  Where in your life are you in need of repentance?

Repentance, then, meant reorienting one’s life around this reality.  It meant repenting of the old ways of obstruction and joining in the great paving of the path, in demolishing of every man-made impediment between God and God’s people, and in the celebrating of God’s wild, uninhibited presence filling every corner of the earth.  It meant getting baptized in rivers and getting out of God’s way. (Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans)


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you that Mark begins his gospel with a call to repentance.  Therefore, we cannot avoid or deny how significant it is in the life of faith.  Give us a clear view today, Lord Jesus, of what repentance needs to look like in our lives.  In your name and for your glory we pray.  Amen.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

intention, saturday

Saturday, August 22

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to never lose sight of the one thing because of the many things.  We get so distracted and anxious at times.  Help us always to choose the better part; the part that will not (and cannot) be taken from us—you!  Amen.

Scripture: Luke 10:38-42

Journal: What has you worried and upset these days?  What things are distracting you from Jesus?  Do you really believe that he is the better part?

     Most of our conflicts and difficulties come from trying to deal with the spiritual and practical aspects of our life separately instead of realizing them as parts of a one whole.  If our practical life is centered on our own interests, cluttered up by possessions, distracted by ambitions, passions, wants and worries, beset by a sense of our own rights and importance, or anxieties for our own future, or longings for our own success, we need not expect that our spiritual life will be a contrast to all this.  The soul’s house is not built on such a convenient plan: there are few soundproof partitions in it.  Only when the conviction—not merely the idea—that the demand of the Spirit, however inconvenient, comes first and IS first, rules the whole of it, will those objectionable noises die down which have a way of penetrating into the nicely furnished oratory, and drowning all the quieter voices by their din. (The Spiritual Life by Evelyn Underhill)


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, may we never miss the important by being consumed with the urgent.  Give us the strength and the wisdom to always choose the good part—sitting at your feet and listening to what you say.  Amen.

Friday, August 21, 2015

intention, friday

Friday, August 21

Opening Prayer: O God, center our lives ever and always only around you.  In the name and power of Jesus.  Amen.

Scripture: Acts 2:42-47

Journal: What was the early church’s life centered around?  How?  What is your life centered around?  What does God want your life to be centered around?  What does that look like?  What practices does that involve?

     When most of us think of the word balance, we think of a life with equal amounts (or right amounts) of everything—a life in which our work and play and family and friendships and faith all receive comparable amounts of attention and energy.  In the spiritual life, however, the word balance must be defined differently.  As a matter of fact the word balance might not be the most appropriate word to use at all—the word centered might be more accurate.  Because in the life of faith, balance means having Christ as the center around which everything else revolves.  Thus, life is only balanced when everything is centered on Christ.  Christ is the hub of the wheel; the focal point of our lives that allows life to function the way it was created to function.  So the question becomes not “Do I have enough of God in my life?” but “Is Christ the center of my life?  What does my life revolve around? And what are the things that I need to make a regular part of my life in order to keep Jesus in the center?”  The answer to these questions will determine a lot as we try to live the life God most wants us to live.


Closing Prayer: Lord God, show us those things that need to be a regular part of our lives as we try to live them in you.  Show us the rhythms and the practices that will grow and nurture the life of your Spirit within us and among us.  Amen.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

intention, thursday

Thursday, August 20

Opening Prayer: Father of all humanity, you call your children to walk in the light of Christ.  Free us from darkness and keep us forever in the radiance of your truth, until we come at last to live with you on high.  We pray this in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen. (The Little Book of Hours)

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 7:17

Journal: What is the life the Lord has assigned to you?  What does it look like to live that life with intention and purpose?

     More recently I’m beginning to understand that, in my life with God, the word discipline means the endeavor to create space in my life in which God can act.  Discipline means being intentional about preventing everything in my life from being filled up.  The diligent watchfulness guards my soul from intrusions that crowd out God.
     Marking off space for God to be at work is a challenge because God likes doing things with me that I hadn’t counted on.  He likes to decide the agenda rather than docilely going along with my carefully scripted list of activities.  If I leave God too little space, the desires God has for me and for our time together simply don’t happen.  This is the why of solitude with God.  I simply make room for God to do what only God is able to do.  Yet the excuses I make (to myself and to others) for not making this space are endless.  Why would I want to cheat myself out of God’s deepest longing for me?  Is it because I don’t trust God?  Is it because I’m addicted to being in charge?  Is it because I’m simply afraid to let go and rest in the silence of God’s presence?
     If I am ever to enjoy a rhythm of solitude and silence, I will always need to exert some effort.  However, the effort is not to be building outwardly but to protect that little cell of my heart, the part of me where God and I get to be together—to protect it and then to find the solitude where God will enter and spend time with me. (Running on Empty by Fil Anderson)


Closing Prayer: : O Jesus, our redemption, love, and desire, may your love constrain you to pass over our evils, sparing us, and having answered our prayer, may you satisfy us with your face.  Amen. (The Little Book of Hours)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

intention, wednesday

Wednesday, August 19

Opening Prayer: Lord, I am yours; I do yield myself up entirely to you, and I believe that you do take me.  I leave myself with you.  Work in me all the good pleasure of your will, and I will only lie still in your hands and trust you.  Amen. (The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith)

Scripture: Colossians 2:6-7

Journal: What does it look like to walk in God?  How does that take place?  What does it look like to be rooted and built up in him?  How will you make that a possibility in your daily life?

     I had come to wonder sometimes at the lack of depth in my prayer.  I began to worry, too, at the sense of imbalance in my life and at the lack of centeredness as well.  I began to wonder if those things had a connection to my prayer.  I began to realize that the longing that I had, and have, for the presence of God could no longer be filled by a few stolen moments of extemporaneous prayer.  I began to have a sneaking suspicion that prayer was a larger and deeper and richer and more astonishing thing than I had known before.  I began to desire a way of life that was more like the lively and reasonable sacrifice that is called for by the words of the Eucharist.
     Although my life had been spent largely in the church and around people of faith, I had had a growing sense that I could go no deeper in my journey without some manner of instruction and experience in some ways of prayer other than the one I already knew.  “We fool ourselves if we think that such a sacramental way of living is automatic,” wrote Richard Foster once, in a book about prayer and discipline.  “This kind of living communion does not just fall on our heads.  We must desire it and seek it out.  We must order our lives in particular ways.” (A Good Life by Robert Benson)


Closing Prayer: O my God, teach me to seek you, for I cannot seek you unless you teach me, or find you unless you show yourself to me.  Let me seek you in my desire, and desire you in my seeking.  Let me find you by loving you, let me love you when I find you. ~St. Anselm of Canterbury

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

intention, tuesday

Tuesday, August 18

Opening Prayer: Lord God, place a fire deep down in my soul, a fire that constantly makes me yearn for more and more of you.  Help me to never settle for any less than that.  Help me never to settle for a boring, mundane, half-hearted, lukewarm spiritual existence when you desire so much more for me than that.  Through Jesus.  Amen.

Scripture: 2 Peter 1:3-11

Journal: Do you have a plan for your spiritual growth?  What is it?  What will keep your faith from becoming ineffective or unfruitful?

Reflection: It is unlikely that we will deepen our relationship with God in a casual or haphazard manner.  There will be a need for some intentional commitment and some reorganization in our own lives.  But there is nothing that will enrich our lives more than a deeper and clearer perception of God’s presence in the routine of daily living. (Ways of Prayer: Designing a Personal Rule by William O. Paulsell, Weavings, Sept./Oct. 1987)


Closing Prayer: Father, You alone know what lies before me this day.  Grant that in every hour of it I may stay close to you.  Let me today embark on no undertaking that is not in line with your will for my life, nor shrink from any sacrifice which your will may demand.  For my Lord Christ’s Sake.  Amen, (A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie)

Monday, August 17, 2015

intention, monday

Monday, August 17

Opening Prayer: Holy and Infinite God, full of mystery and the source of all life and love, let me walk with you this day in all that I do.  Give me the grace and the strength to move toward you in any and every way possible; both in faith and in practice.  And, at the end of this day, may I love you more intimately, know you more deeply, and follow you more closely than I did at its beginning.  In the name of your Son Jesus.  Amen.

Scripture: 1 Timothy 4:6-16

Journal: What does it mean to train yourself for the purpose of godliness?  What does that look like in your life?

Once having the vision, the second step to holy obedience is this: Begin where you are.  Obey now.  Use what little obedience you are capable of, even if it be like a grain of mustard seed.  Begin where you are.  Live this present moment, this present hour as you now sit in you seats, in utter, utter submission and openness toward Him.  Listen outwardly to these words, but within, behind the scenes, in the deeper levels of your lives where you are all alone with God the Loving Eternal One, keep up a silent prayer, "Open Thou my life.  Guide my thoughts where I dare not let them go.  But Thou darest.  Thy will be done." (The Sanctuary of the Soul by Thomas Kelly)


Closing Prayer: O God, my Father, help me always to fix my hope firmly on you, the Living God.  Help me to live a life that is totally immersed in you, and in the things and the practices that will train me to be more and more like you.  For your Kingdom and for your glory.  Amen.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

intention, sunday

Sunday, August 16

Opening Prayer: Late have I loved you, O Beauty, so ancient and so new, late have I loved you!  And behold, you were within me and I was outside, and there I sought for you, and in my deformity I rushed headlong into the well-formed things that you have made.  You were with me, and I was not with you. ~St. Augustine

Scripture: Psalm 90:1-17

Journal: Are you living the life God most wants to live in you?  If not, why not?  What does it mean to ask God to number our days?

     How do we go about living the life that we most deeply long to live?  How do we live a life of depth and quality with God, which will lead to a life of depth and quality with our families and our friends and our world?  It doesn't just happen, say the saints and the poets, it takes some reflection and intention and desire.  “We fool ourselves if we think that such a sacramental way of living is automatic,” Richard Foster once wrote.  “This kind of living communion does not just fall on our heads.  We must desire it and seek it out.  We must order our lives in particular ways.” 
     Call it Christian practice, call it spiritual disciplines, or call it means of grace, but somehow we have to prayerfully consider how to move in the direction of the life we think God most wants to live in us.  The church fathers called that somehow a Rule of Life.  St. Benedict's rule is the most famous example.  It involves identifying what we most want our lives to be about—in St. Benedict's case, prayer—and then figuring out, as best we can, how we will move in the direction of making that life a possibility; creating space and time for that life to be able to happen.  The happening of it is ultimately up to God, but making the space and the time is our part.  We must listen and pray and plan and order our lives in certain ways, so that at the end of our days we don't find ourselves wondering how we've somehow missed it. 
     St. Benedict wrote a rule to order his life, and the life of his community, around the practice of prayer; in his heart and soul he knew that everything else must revolve around that.  Everything else would involve the things that were necessary to make a life of prayer possible: in order to pray we must eat, and in order to eat we must work, and in order to work we must rest, all in order that we might pray.  A holistic approach to life for sure—spiritual, physical, vocational, and relational.  His rule became the simple rhythm that his community lived by.
     If we are serious about living the life we most deeply long to live, it must be the same for us.  It won't just fall on our heads either.  We must begin to live our lives purposefully and intentionally.  What is the old adage?  "If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time."  We must begin to live by a thoughtful and prayerful rule as well. (Becoming by Jim Branch)


Closing Prayer: I ask you, Lord Jesus, to develop in me, your lover, an immeasurable urge towards you, an affection that is unbounded, longing that is unrestrained, fervor that throws discretion to the winds!  The more worthwhile our love for you, all the more pressing does it become.  Reason cannot hold it in check, fear does not make it tremble, wise judgment does not temper it. (The Fire of Love by Richard Rolle)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

compassion, saturday

Saturday, August 15

Opening Prayer: Here, Lord, I abandon myself to you.  I have tried in every way I could think of to manage myself, and to make myself what I know I ought to be, but have always failed.  Now I give it up to you.  Do take entire possession of me.  Work in me all the good pleasure of your will.  Mold and fashion me into such a vessel as seems good to you.  I leave myself in your hands.  Amen. (The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith)

Scripture: John 13:1-17

Journal: Do you understand what I have done for you?  What does it look like in your life to be a foot-washer?  How will you follow his example?  How will that happen today?

     This is the Season of Love.  What happens in us is the miracle of discovering our potential to care for others.  And so, we become foot-washing, water-walking, healing, beatitude people.  Our lives begin to bless.  We are compelled to respond to the Word of God, to speak in the Holy Name, to live out our ministry of love.
     We are fragile vessels whose love often gets tired.  We need to be converted over and over again.  And so, the healing act of our growth continues.  We empty ourselves that we may be filled.  We uproot that we may proclaim.  We take off our masks.  We call forth gifts.  We bless.  We wash feet.  And somewhere between the shedding of our masks and the foot-washing, we discover that it is not so much what we do that touches lives as who we are becoming.  And so we rest in the truth that what is most important is not how much of ourselves we leave with others, but how much we enable others to be themselves. (Seasons of the Heart by Macrina Wiederkehr)earth


Closing Prayer: Christ has no body now on earth but yours; yours are the only hands with which he can do his work, yours are the only feet with which he can go about the world, yours are the only eyes through which his compassion can shine forth upon a troubled world.  Christ has no body now on earth but yours. ~Teresa of Avila

Friday, August 14, 2015

compassion, friday

Friday, August 14

Opening Prayer: O God, we get it wrong so often, majoring on things that are not majors to you.  Help us to hear your word and your voice today, reminding us what you really want from us.  And then help us to do it.  Amen.

Scripture: Isaiah 58:6-12

Journal: What do you think God really wants from you?  How do these verses speak to that? 

The hardest thing about really seeing and really hearing is when you really have to do something about what you've seen and heard. ~Frederick Buechner

Compassion is the sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what it's like to live inside somebody else's skin.  It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too. (A Room Called Remember by Frederick Buechner)


Closing Prayer: Lord God, send us into the world today as your agents of peace and love.  Help us to care for those who are in desperate need of care.  Help us to feed the hungry and comfort the afflicted and clothe the naked.  Help us to fast from “self” and feast on You.  In the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

compassion, thursday

Thursday, August 13

Opening Prayer: Lord, open our eyes that we may see you in our brothers and sisters.
Lord, open our ears that we may hear the cries of the hungry, the cold, the frightened, the oppressed.  Lord, open our hearts that we may love each other as you love us.  Renew in us your spirit.  Lord, free us and make us one.  Amen. ~Mother Teresa

Scripture: Micah 6:6-8

Journal: What does it look like to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God?  How is God calling you to do that today?  In the future?

     Love is one of the most misused words in our language.  It is unfortunate that a word so precious has become so abused.  Love is a Word that can become flesh in each of our lives.  This fleshed-out Word of Love is a mystery.  It is the Mystery of God living and acting in our lives.  It is the Mystery of God ministering through our touch, and though our voice.  It is God seeing through our eyes.
     Love is blind, we like to say, but no; Love is not blind.  The ego is blind.  All it can see is itself.  But Love is not blind.  Love is pure vision!  God, seeing through us!  The more we will notice a great healing taking place in the world. (Seasons of the Heart by Macrina Wiederkehr)


Closing Prayer: Lord God, give me a willing and compassionate heart, that I might be your instrument of peace and love in a world filled with pain and despair.  In the name of Jesus I pray.  Amen.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

compassion, wednesday

Wednesday, August 12

Opening Prayer: Spirit of Wisdom, may we bear your love for humanity by bringing good news to the poor.  Acting according to your will, we will come to know your reign, where all will be seated at your heavenly banquet.   Let us bring food to the hungry, healing to the violated, and presence to the lonely.  Teach us to shine like the stars in our relationship with God, with our neighbor, and with all of creation.   Lead us in promoting peace and integrity through our everyday challenges. May your comforting embrace bring us compassion for others.  Amen. ~William Purcell

Scripture: Luke 4:14-21

Journal: What does it look like in your life to bring the good news to the poor?  To proclaim liberty for the captives and recovery of sight to the blind?  What does it look like to set at liberty those who are oppressed and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor?  What does Jesus want this to look like in our lives? 

The question is not: How many people take you seriously?  How much are you going to accomplish?  Can you show results?  But:  Are you in love with Jesus?  Perhaps another way of putting the question would be:  Do you know the incarnate God?  In our world of loneliness and despair, there is an enormous need for men and women who know the heart of God, a heart that forgives, that cares, that reaches out and wants to heal.  In that heart there is no suspicion, no revenge, no resentment, and not a tinge of hatred.  It is a heart that wants only to give love and receive love in response.  It is a heart that suffers immensely because it sees the magnitude of human pain and the great resistance to trusting the heart of God who wants to offer comfort and hope. (In the Name of Jesus by Henri J. M. Nouwen)


Closing Prayer: Lord, please open my eyes.  Please let me see those around me that are in need of my compassion.  Compel me to listen to them, to hear their needs.  Give me the heart to be interested in their troubles and provide for me the means to help them.  I want to be compassionate.  I want to be like you that had so much compassion for the world that you sacrificed your Son on a cross for us.  I want to have that kind of heart for the world that I will do all I can to be a voice for the oppressed, a giver to the poor, an encouragement for the disabled.  Amen. ~Kelli Mahoney