Archive for the ‘prayer’ Category.

Light and Love Ahead

 

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To him who led his people through the desert, His love endures forever. Ps 136:16

When they had heard the king, they went their way, and behold the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. Matt 2:9

Christmas is a season of light and joy, when all Christendom celebrates Jesus’ birth. It’s a good reason to celebrate. After all, Jesus’ birth, life, suffering, death and resurrection are the means to our eternal salvation.

However, many struggle to find joy this season. Grief, loneliness, addictions, unemployment, heartache, family problems, illness and a host of other issues rob humanity of the joy of Jesus’ birth. These desert places are difficult and real. Maybe you walk such a desert path this Christmas season.

Consider Mary and Joseph’s difficult journey to Bethlehem. She was very pregnant, riding on a donkey and too poor for amenities that might have made the journey easier. How uncomfortable that ride must have been! They were exhausted, worried, fearful and miserable. Perhaps they wondered if they had made a mistake in venturing out of Nazareth. They must have doubted they were on the right path.

But they were exactly where they were supposed to be. The Old Testament clearly prophesied the Savior’s birth in Bethlehem. God’s mercy brought Mary and Joseph to the City of David for a reason. Their difficult place was for our benefit. Their desert had reason and a purpose. Though they struggled, they were triumphant in the end. God confirmed His word with angels, a magnificent star, wise men, a chorus of angels and adoring shepherds.

Your desert place is also part of God’s plan, and you will see the reward if you persevere. Listen to His voice. Pray for wisdom to navigate rocky paths. Trust Him to guide you along your difficult journey. While there is no pat answer or easy fix, remember there is light and love ahead. Look toward the manger where your Redeemer is born. Do you see the shining star? In spite of your suffering, there is light and love ahead. Don’t give up.

 

 

 

Place Your Own Mask Before Helping Others

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Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Matthew 7:3

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:5

Yesterday on our Delta flight, the stewardess instructed us to place our own oxygen masks in an emergency before trying to assist others. Why? If we lose consciousness due to loss of oxygen, we will be of no good to anyone else.

Jesus says basically the same thing in the above passage. As humans, we are quick to notice the faults of others while remaining oblivious to our own. After a lifetime of trying to make others change, I realize that my efforts have been in vain. How much wiser to work on myself instead of trying to force change on others. Only then will I be strong enough to help someone else.

 

Today and Every Day, Pray for Discernment by Guest Blogger, Sunna Herrera

Thank you, Sunna Herrera, for sharing your insights.

“By the Word, by the Spirit, by faith, by submission to the Divine Will, and by resistance to any appeal to self and sin we discern between the way of God and the path of the destroyer.” V. Raymond Edman from ‘Disciplines of Life’

The enemy emphasizes the past, with its mistakes and heartaches;  the Comforter exalts the present help of our Lord.  The devil delights in taunting us with our weaknesses, and the Lord reminds us of the wealth of His riches in grace.  Condemnation concerns itself with our failures;  conviction shows us the faithfulness of God.  The tempter teases us with immediate gain, at any cost;  the Trustworthy One tells us of the faithfulness of God.  The father of lies magnifies our problems, by showing their hopelessness, impossibility, and pain;  the God of all grace reminds us of the promises, whereby we can hope against hope:  for “suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character;  and character, hope;  and hope does not disappoint us.”  Romans 5:3-5

The enemy would have us see the hosts of evil against us rather than the hillsides covered with ministering spirits.  (2 Kings 6:15-17).  He would keep us dwelling upon the injuries from others, until we become ineffective in service, rather than forgetting the things that are behind and pressing forward.  (Philippians 3:13-14)  The gift of discernment is remembering that the evil one can drag us down into the mire of earthly life—but we must make the conscious choice to “Love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and strength.”  We are to live by the Word of God.  As we submit ourselves without reservation unto God, and resist the devil, the latter will flee from us (James 4:7).

The Right Man for the Job

The King planned an important mission.  It would mean the rescue of many, a life saving venture to bring great glory. This mission would answer prayers, bring deliverance and reap eternal rewards.

“Whom shall I send?”  His voice boomed over the valleys.

“I’ll go, my Lord,” Strength said.  His chest puffed with importance and he flexed his biceps in excitement. “Choose me.  I’m in the prime of life.  I promise not to fail.”

The King shook his head.  “You’re not quite right for this assignment,” He said. “There are giants to slay in other parts of the kingdom.”

“I’ll go,” Religious said.  She folded her hands in piety and gazed downward in an attitude of respect.  “You heard my vows.  You know I will go wherever you send me.”

The King shook his head and smiled.  “I have need of you in other places,” He said tenderly.  “This job is for someone else.”

“I’ll go,” Intelligence said.  He clutched several diplomas and wore a tweed jacket with leather patches on the elbows.  His hair stood out in disarray, and wire rimmed glasses rested on the tip of his nose. “I have degrees in logic and administration.  I’ll put together a plan to achieve your goals quickly.”

The King shook his head. “Thank you, but I have need of you in other places.  This mission requires different skills.”

“I’ll go,” Bravery said.  He curled his hands into fists and took the posture of a boxer.  “Bring it on!  I’m not afraid of all the devils in hell.”

The King shook his head again.  “Your bravery is needed elsewhere.  I have need of someone with greater courage.”  He scanned the valleys, hills and streets of the cities.  He knew just the person for the job.  His eyes rested upon an ordinary looking man named Simple, well past the prime of life, slightly balding with a middle-aged paunch.

“Will you go for me?” the King said.  “I have need of you.”

“Me?”  Simple said. “You’re mistaken, my lord.  I’m too old!  You know my failing health. You can’t possibly mean me.”

“My son,” The King said, “The strength of man is a useful gift, but it often turns into pride.  My kingdom is built upon humility and the wisdom that comes with age.”

“But I have failed you many times,” Simple said.  “I have broken many promises to you.  Surely you are mistaken.”

“This time will be different,” the King said with such tenderness that Simple’s eyes welled with tears.  “I will go with you each step of the way. You will not go alone.”

“But I lack education and training,” Simple said. His voice cracked and tears filled the grooves in his cheeks. “I am afraid.  Surely there is someone better suited for this task.”

Simple’s expression of anguish caused tears to well in the King’s eyes, too.  How much the King loved him.  Their relationship had grown over years of early morning prayer times.  The King knew the man’s heart, knew his dedication and genuine sweetness.   When the King looked into the man’s heart, He saw all the attributes He himself had planted within him.

“Your weakness is your greatest treasure,” the King said and placed his hand on Simple’s shoulder.  “It forces you to depend upon Me alone.”

“Are you sure?” Simple said.  It seemed the King’s touch left a burning mark on his shoulder, not unpleasant, but hot as fire.

“It is in weakness that My strength is revealed.”

They spent the rest of the morning strategizing for the mission.  “You must not neglect our early morning sessions,” the King said.  “I will give you marching orders for each day.  As you follow them, you will achieve the goal.”

“It sounds too simple,” Simple said.  He thought for a long moment and then grinned.  “I think I’m your man.”

“I know you are, Son,” the King said.  “We’ll do it together.”

 

Prayer by Charles de Foucauld

In my office I have a poster in front of my desk with this beautiful prayer of abandonment.  It is most appropriate during these final days of Lent, and I thought to share it with you.  I hope you are blessed by it as much as I have been.  Candace

 

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