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Friday, September 29, 2017


Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, let me give something beautiful to you this day—my adoration, my attention, and my affection.  Amen.

Scripture: Mark 14:1-9

Journal: What do you want to give to Jesus today?  What is he longing for from you?



she has done a beautiful thing to me. ~mark 14:6

i pour out my love
the contents of my heart
upon your head
my dear lord jesus

i give you my heart
my adoration
my affection
my delight

may it be like perfume
on your head


Closing Prayer: Father, I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will. Whatever you may do, I thank you: I am ready for all, I accept all. Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures. I wish no more than this, O Lord. Into your hands I commend my soul; I offer it to you with all the love of my heart, for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands, without reserve, and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father. ~Charles De Foucauld

Thursday, September 28, 2017

knock, knock

Opening Prayer: O God, my Father, I have no words, no words by which I dare express the things that stir within me.  I lay bare myself, my world, before you in quietness.  Brood over my spirit with your great tenderness and understanding and judgment, so that I find, in some strange way, strength for my weakness, health for my illness, guidance for my journey.  This is the stirring of my heart, O God, my Father.  Amen. ~Howard Thurman

Scripture: Revelation 3:20-22

Journal: How is God stirring you these days?  How is he knocking?  What does it look like to open the door and let him in to that part of your life or heart?  What is he saying to you today?

Reflection: The presence of God is never intrusive.  He will not break the door down and bust into your life; that is not his way.  Instead, he will stand, knocking and calling.  He will wait for us to hear his voice and to open the door.  Thus, there are two parts to this equation, the hearing and the opening.  Both are a necessary.  Once we hear and open, then, and only then, will he come in, draw up a chair, and invite us to taste and see that he is good.


Closing Prayer: Come in, Lord Jesus.  I hear your voice and I open the door.  Come, be with me, dine with me, and speak to me.  Give me the life and the intimacy my soul most deeply longs for.  Amen.

Monday, September 25, 2017

give all

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to realize that it makes your heart glad when we give you all we have to give—no matter what that might be.  Give us the strength and the courage to give you all of our love, all of our affection, all of our attention, all of our possessions, as well as all of our time and energy.  You gave it to us, the least we could do is give it all back to you.  Amen.

Scripture: Mark 12:41-44

Journal: What is God asking of you today?  How is he asking you to be like the widow?

Reflection: Turn and look at the pattern of life of the normal, ordinarily resourceful human being.  As I look at my life, I see a wide variety of scattered loyalties, scattered and splintered devotions.  Some basis of order, of integration, does govern my experience, but it is likely to be a secondary principle, rather than a primary one.  A man’s principle of integration around which the details of his life move in constellations, may be his work, his vocation.  Or it may be something less significant, his golf, his neurosis.  Every human being has a series of little centers of integration in his life that express themselves perhaps in simple habits, simple etiquettes with reference to things that are of no basic or perhaps no ultimate consequence.  Have you ever seen someone whose whole life became disorganized for the day because the breakfast coffee was cold?  That’s what I mean.
     Instead of all this absorption with detail, Jesus insists upon an absolute loyalty to God.  The questions which he raises about our pattern of life are these: “Do you dare yield the ‘nerve center’ of your consent to what you believe is the will of God, as your basic principle of integration, rather than to some secondary something, important as that is to you—vocation, family, business, anxiety, money, position, class, race?  Do you dare shift the center of focus of your being away from these significant loyalties, that have defined the character of your living, and embrace what, deep within you, you know to be the ultimate devotion of your life?”  Your life is the lung through which your loyalties breathe.  If you are not willing to yield complete loyalty to the will of God, if you prefer to give first place to your secondary loyalties, you may try to establish a way of relating yourself to Jesus that will not disturb the pattern of your living.  On the other hand, if you do accept Jesus’ way for you then there is introduced at once into your life a principle that at first reduces to complete chaos the whole network of your relations.  That is what Jesus says.  Do you wonder that he can find no place to be at home in our whole world?  Do you wonder? (The Growing Edge by Howard Thurman)


Closing Prayer: All to Jesus I surrender, all to him I freely give.  I will ever love and trust him, in his presence freely give.  I surrender all.  I surrender all.  All to thee my blessed savior, I surrender all. ~Judson W. Van de Venter

Friday, September 22, 2017


Opening Prayer: Lord God, forgive us for wanting to just nibble on the edges of faith rather than committing ourselves to the whole thing.  You gave your all for us and you require all of us in return.  Help us to feed fully on you, and to stop feeding at the table of this world any longer.  Amen. 

Scripture: John 6:53-57

Journal: Why do you think this teaching was so hard to accept?  What is God really asking of us?  What is he asking of you this day?  Are you willing to go there?

Reflection: We, who have heard the call of our God to a life of entire consecration and perfect trust, must do differently from all this.  We must come out from the world and be separate, and must not be conformed to it in our characters or in our lives.  We must set our affections on heavenly things and not on earthly ones, and must seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, surrendering everything that would interfere with this.  We must walk through the world as Christ walked.  We must have the mind that was in Him.  As pilgrims and strangers, we must abstain from lusts of the flesh that war against the soul.  As good soldiers of Jesus Christ, we must disentangle ourselves from the affairs of this life as far as possible, that we may please Him who hath chosen us to be soldiers.  We must abstain from all appearance of evil.  We must be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ’s sake, hath forgiven us.  We must not resent injuries or unkindness, but must return good for evil, and turn the other cheek to the hand that smites us.  We must take always the lowest place among fellow-men; and seek not our own honor, but the honor of others.  We must be gentle and meek and yielding, not standing up for our own rights but for the rights of others.  We must do all that we do for the glory of God.  And, to sum it all up, since He who hath called us is holy, so must we be holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith)


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to be more committed to your kingdom and your glory than I am to my own.  Give me the strength and the courage to choose your hard and demanding way, rather than a life of ease and comfort.  Help me to feed on you, rather than feeding on the things this world has to offer.  Amen.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Opening Prayer: Lord God, help us to trust you, whatever season we find ourselves in.  Amen.

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

Journal: What is your season of life these days?  What is beautiful in your life right now?  What is he making beautiful?  What is hard?  How is He making the hard into the beautiful?

Reflection: He has made everything beautiful in its time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)  I don't know about you, but I have a difficult time just letting things be beautiful.  It seems like I am always trying to analyze, or explain, or turn something into a message (or a blog post), rather than simply enjoying the beauty of it.  If, indeed, God has made everything beautiful in its own time, why not just go with it?  Why not take what he has said for what it is, and simply embrace and enjoy the beauty of the thing (or person, or season, or event) that is before (or within) us?  Let it be beautiful.  Embrace the beauty.  Enjoy the beauty.  Or wait patiently for the beauty he is making.  Let it wash over you and transform you—that's what beauty does.  That's who God is.


Closing Prayer: Lord God, do a beautiful work in and through us this day, for you make everything beautiful in its time.  Make us beautiful.  Amen.

Monday, September 18, 2017


Opening Prayer: How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. (Psalm 84:1-4)

Scripture: Psalm 84:1-12

Journal: What is occupying most of your inner space these days?  What is the effect on your soul?  What would it look like to allow God to occupy that space?

Reflection: Exterior retirement is not sufficient to engage and satisfy a heart which would really withdraw itself from creatures to be occupied on itself alone, but interior retirement is likewise necessary, which is a spirit of recollection and prayer.  A soul which is separated from all amusements of the senses seeks and finds in God that pure satisfaction which it can never meet within creatures.
     A respectful and frequent remembrance of the presence of God occupies the mind, and an ardent desire of pleasing Him and becoming worthy of His love engages the heart.  It is absorbed in Him alone.  All things else dwindle into nothing.  It buries itself in its dear solitude and dies to itself and all things in God.  It breathes only His love.  It forgets all but to remember only Him.  Penetrated with grief for its infidelities it mourns incessantly in His presence.  It sighs continually for the pleasure of seeing and possessing Him.  It nourishes itself with reading good books and with the exercise of prayer.  It is never tired of treating with God on the affairs of salvation.  At least it humbly supports the irksomeness it may experience and with a view of honoring His sovereign dominion by the complete destruction of sin itself, it renounces all desire of finding any other satisfaction than that of pleasing Him. (The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis)


Closing Prayer: Dwell in His house, O my soul, find your strength in Him.  Set your heart on pilgrimage and trust in him at all times.  For this is life.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


Opening Prayer: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.”  (Psalm 91:1-2)

Scripture: Psalm 91:1-16

Journal: Where is your heart and soul dwelling these days?  What is the result?  What would it look like to dwell in the shelter of the Most High?

Reflection: Apparently one leads to the other.  If I dwell in the shelter of the Most High, I will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  Thus, if my soul is not at rest, it is because I am dwelling in something other than the shelter of the Most High.  I may be dwelling in my fear and anxiety.  I may be dwelling in my need for achievement and affirmation.  I may be dwelling in my desire for security and control.  But I am certainly not dwelling in the shelter of the Most High.
    The shelter of the Most High is a place of safety and security, even in the midst of the chaos and craziness of this life.  It is a haven, a refuge, a fortress.  It is a place that allows me safe harbor from the storms that continually batter me, from the inner voices and enemies that constantly attack me.  It offers me space—space to breathe, space to be.  Therefore, I do not have to worry about defending myself, or making a name for myself, for the Almighty is there to guard and protect me.  He is there to deliver me and to honor me.  Thus, I can rest in him.


Closing Prayer:  Lord God Almighty, give me peace and confidence in your strong and tender care, that my soul may find rest in you.  Amen.

Monday, September 11, 2017


Opening Prayer: I have set the Lord always before me.  Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 16:8)

Scripture: John 15:5-9

Journal: How aware of God are you throughout your day?  What does it mean to abide in him?  How do you stay in constant contact with him?

Reflection: All true prayer somehow confesses our absolute dependence on the Lord of life and death. It is, therefore, a deep and vital contact with Him Whom we know not only as Lord but as Father. It is when we pray truly that we really are. Our being is brought to a high perfection by this, which is one of its most perfect activities. When we cease to pray, we tend to fall back into nothingness. True, we continue to exist. But since the main reason for our existence is the knowledge and love of God, when our conscious contact with Him is severed we sleep or we die. Of course, we cannot always, or even often, remain clearly conscious of Him. Spiritual wakefulness demands only the habitual awareness of Him which surrounds all our actions in a spiritual atmosphere without formally striking our attention except at certain moments of keener perception. But if God leaves us so completely that we are no longer disposed to think of Him with love, then we are spiritually dead. (No Man Is an Island by Thomas Merton)


Closing Prayer: Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. (Psalm 84:4)

Sunday, September 10, 2017


Opening Prayer: So many things, Lord Jesus, are vying for my attention and affection this day.  Help me to give all of myself fully to you this day.  Amen.

Scripture: Luke 10:38-42

Journal: What are you consumed by these days?  What is that producing within you?  How can you become consumed with Jesus instead?  What does that look like?

Reflection: Martha and Mary were consumed.  One was consumed with all that needed to be done, and the other was consumed with the One who had just come into their home.  One was filled with anxiety and frustration, and the other was filled with a sense of wonder and awe and delight.  One was totally overwhelmed by the demands that were upon her, and the other was overwhelmed with the Person that was before her.
     There is a key lesson here: Whatever you are consumed by is what will grow larger and larger within you.  It is just a part of being human.  Each of us will be full of that which he or she is continually focused on.  If I am focused on myself and my circumstances, I will be full of my own anxieties, agendas, and frustrations.  But if I am focused on Jesus, I will be full of peace and joy and love.  Martha was consumed with worry, and Mary was consumed with Jesus.  Which one would you prefer?


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to sit at your feet this day and listen to what you have to say.  Then let that determine what I will do, and how I will do it.  I want to be consumed with you, not consumed with myself.  Help me to do just that.  Amen.

Friday, September 8, 2017


Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, you often used children to teach us truths about life and leadership.  Help us to know what it means to receive the little children.  Help us to fully understand how we must become like little children in order to be more fully like you.  Help us to stop trying so hard to become, and aspire to become least instead.  Make us more like you.  Amen.

Scripture: Luke 9:46-48

Journal: How are you trying to be awesome these days?  For whom?  What would it look like to shift toward making yourself least?  How will you do that today?

Reflection: I spend way too much time and energy trying to be awesome, when what Jesus really wants from me is to make myself least.  That is because he knows that, as odd as it sounds, becoming least is the pathway to life and freedom.  Becoming least is a beautiful thing because it sets us free from the need to be awesome.  When we finally stop trying so hard to become great, we can finally become all that God desires us to be, all that he created us to be.  There is no pressure to be anything other than our beautiful, God-breathed selves.  And, thus, there is the freedom to stop taking up all of the space.
     Good leaders know this all too well.  The best leaders never take up all of the space, they actually make space for God, and then for others, in a way brings about life and love and genuine community.  True leadership—which is exactly what Jesus was trying to teach his disciples—is about equipping, empowering, and enabling, not doing it all ourselves.  It calls those around us to become the very best version of themselves.


Closing Prayer: Give me the courage today, Lord Jesus, to make myself least, that you would be made great.  Amen.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


Opening Prayer: Father, you sent your Word to bring us truth and your Spirit to make us holy.  Through them we come to know the mystery of your life.  Help us to worship you, one God in three persons, you reveal yourself in the depths of our being, by proclaiming and living our faith in you.  Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen. (The Liturgy of the Hours)

Scripture: 1 Timothy 4:7-16

Journal: What are you doing to nurture your life with God these days?  How do these verses encourage or speak to that?  What is your plan for your spiritual growth going forward?

Reflection: You do not have to do these things; not at all.  God does not, I regret to report, give a hoot.  You do not have to do these things—unless you want to know God.  They work on you, not on him.
    You do not have to sit outside in the dark.  If, however, you want to look at the stars, you will find that darkness is necessary.  But the stars neither require nor demand it. (Teaching a Stone to Talk by Annie Dillard)


Closing Prayer: Abba, this is Your day. I want to be at Your disposal. I have no idea what these 24 hours will contain. But before I begin, I want You to know, that from this moment on, throughout this day, I am Yours.  Help me to be a branch that remains in the Vine, to lean on You, to draw strength from You, and to have You fill my mind and my thoughts. Take control of my senses so that I am literally filled with Your presence and power and dynamic. I want to be Your tool, Your vessel today. I can’t make it happen. Without You I can accomplish nothing. And so, I’m saying, Abba, fill me with Your Holy Spirit today.  ~Fil Anderson

Monday, September 4, 2017

many will see

Opening Prayer: Sing your new song in and through me this day, O God, that those around me might hear it and come to trust in you.  Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 40:1-1-3

Journal: What song is your soul singing these days?  What happens in the hearts of those around you when they hear the song your soul is singing these days?

Reflection: It is so easy for us to lose perspective at times.  Trouble or hardship hits and we are immediately swept away, caught up in our own needs, doubts, and concerns, losing track of the bigger picture.  In such times, life becomes all about us and, as a result, we are cast to the bottom of the slimy pit of doubt and self-pity.  Wallowing in the mud and mire of our own desperation and need.
    I don't know why we should be so surprised when trouble comes our way, it is a regular part of life in this fallen world.  In fact, it comes so often that it should probably be more of a surprise to us when it doesn't come.  But, nonetheless, somehow it still catches us off guard and throws us into disorder, which we always assume is a bad thing.  But it is not.  In fact, disorder is now a part of the Divine order: birth is followed by death, which is followed by rebirth.  Order gives way to disorder, which then leads to a new order.  You see it all over the pages of scripture, particularly in Psalm 40.  Life is going along fine, then, one day, we find ourselves at the bottom of the slimy pit.  The next thing we know, God turns toward us, lifts us up, and sets our feet back on a rock.  Not only this, but he then proceeds to put a new song in our mouths.  A hymn of praise to our God, no less.
     That is where we begin to get a glimpse of a bigger picture.  Many will see.  The whole thing was not about us at all, it was about him.  Sure God cares deeply for us and wants us to know his love and his care and his provision, but it does not stop there.  In fact, it only begins there.  Because after he has heard and lifted and set us, after he has put a new song in our mouths, those who watched the whole thing unfold, those who have heard the beauty of that new song, will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.  The whole thing was about him, not just about us.  It was meant to help tell the story of his redemptive power and unfailing love.  Our trust is meant to breed trust in those who witness it.  There is a Divine order, even in the disorder.  There is an intent of God behind the content of life.  God desires a new song, not only for us, but for those that hear the song he has put in our mouths.  So we had best pay careful attention to the song he has given us, and be grateful for it.  But, most importantly, we must keep on singing it.  For when we do, many will see.


Closing Prayer: May many see and fear and trust in you this day, O Lord.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

press on

Opening Prayer: Grow, dear friends; but grow, I beseech you, in God’s way, which is the only effectual way.  See to it that you are planted in grace, and then let the divine Husbandman cultivate you in His own way and by His own means. (The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith)

Scripture: Philippians 3:12-21

Journal: Where are you needing to press on in your life with God right now?  What do you think the next step in growing toward maturity looks like for you?  How will you begin to move that direction?

Reflection: Now if you are to convey that spiritual certitude, it is plain that you must yourselves be spiritually alive.  And to be spiritually alive means to be growing and changing; not to settle down among a series of systematized beliefs and duties, but to endure and go on enduring the strains, conflicts and difficulties incident to development.  “The soul,” says Baron von Hugel, “is a Force or an Energy: and Holiness is the growth of that energy in love, in full Being, in creative, spiritual Personality.”  One chief object of personal religion is the promoting of that growth of the soul: the wise feeding and training of it.  However busy we may be, however mature and efficient we may seem, that growth, if we are real Christians, must go on.  Even the greatest spiritual teachers, such as St. Paul and St. Augustine, could never afford to relax the tension of their own spiritual lives; they never seem to stand still, are never afraid of conflict and change.  Their souls too were growing entities, with a potential capacity for love, adoration and creative service: in other words for holiness. (The House of the Soul and Concerning the Inner Life by Evelyn Underhill)


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, every single day the choice is before us to either believe that you are who you say you are and to follow you, or to be filled with doubt and despair and follow our own plans, schemes, and devices.  Lord Jesus, give us the grace, the strength, and the wisdom to choose you, this day and every day.  Amen.

Friday, September 1, 2017

guided service

Opening Prayer: Our Father, here I am, at your disposal, your child, to use me to continue your loving the world, by giving Jesus to me and through me, to each other and the world.  Let us pray for each other as we allow Jesus to love in us and through us with the love with which His Father loves him. (Seeking the Heart of God by Mother Teresa)

Scripture: Luke 22:24-27

Journal: Where do you find yourself in these verses?  What would it look like for you to follow Jesus’ example of servanthood?

Reflection: It is a particularization of my responsibility also, in a world too vast and a lifetime too short for me to carry all responsibilities.  My cosmic love, or the Divine Lover loving within me, cannot accomplish its full intent within the limits of three score years and ten.  But the Loving Presence does not burden us equally with all things, but considerately puts upon each of us just a few central tasks, as emphatic responsibilities.  For each of these special undertakings are our share in the joyous burdens of love.
    Thus the state of having a concern has a foreground and a background.  In the foreground is the special task, uniquely illuminated, toward which we feel a special yearning and care.  This is the concern as we usually talk about it or present it to the Monthly Meeting.  But in the background is a second level, or layer, of universal concern for all the multitude of good things that need doing.  Toward them all we feel kindly, but we are dismissed from active service in most of them.  And we have an easy mind in the presence of desperately real needs which are not our direct responsibility.  We cannot die on every cross, nor are we expected to. (A Testament of Devotion by Thomas Kelly)


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to have your heart and your mind when it comes to serving.  Guide and direct us.  Help us to gladly take the lowest place and gladly serve those you have called us to serve.  But help us also to never see ourselves as the answer to anyone’s need; only you can be that.  Amen.