Monday, September 21, 2009

September 18th - 21st - Reflection


Isaiah 28:14-38:22
O LORD, be gracious to us; we wait for you. Be our arm every morning, our salvation in the time of trouble. - Isaiah 33:2
Galatians 3:23-6:18
Bear on another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. - Galatians 6:2
Psalms 62:1-65:13
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken. - Psalms 62:2
Proverbs 23:19-24
Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old. - Proverbs 23:22

It's hard to come out with a decision that you have made that you fear may disappoint someone that you respect and look up to. I have tip-toed around this very same kind of conversation with my dad. But once my fear is overcome and the talk begins; I always walk away with a new perspective on life. I walk away knowing that, though life may not be easy at times, I will walk away and begin anew. I walk away determined to move forward in a new direction. I walk away charged and gifted with the spirit to move forward.

God is like that with each one of us. He stands behind us when we come to Him with our issues and problems. Sure, He's seen it all before. But we must be bold enough to face our Father with the issues we face. Day after day, come to our Father and speak with Him. Day after day, come to Him for advice and council and direction. He will faithfully lead though this life and give us whatever it is we need.

It's hard to come forth...but when we come forth...there will always be One to listen and guide.

Thanks be to God!

Lord, I have come to You this day with my day. Lead me and guide me in the actions I take, in the decisions I make, and in the love I show to those You choose to place in my life. ---Amen

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

September 13th-17th - Reflection


Isaiah 12:1-28:13
You will say in that day: I will give thanks to you, O LORD, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, and you comforted me. - Isaiah 12:1
2 Corinthians 13:1-13
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. - 2 Corinthians 13:13
Galatians 1:1-3:22
...yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law. - Galatians 2:16
Psalms 57:1-61:8
But I will sing of your might; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. - Psalms 59:16
Proverbs 23:9-18
Apply your mind to instruction and you ear to words of knowledge. - Proverbs 23:12

God heals. God heals in more ways than we can fathom. God heals in ways that we can't understand. God heals in other ways that we can understand.

I remember a childhood friend of mine name Ricky. He died of cancer when I was 6 or 7 years old. I would play with Ricky every day he could play. I can remember talking to Ricky's Mom and she would try to explain to me what was happening to Ricky and why he was tired some days. I didn't fully understand it all. Ricky died after I moved away. Ricky had leukemia. I always carried a school picture of Ricky with me through life. Now it is in some keepsake place at home (I hope I can still find it). But years later, my son Bryan married Becky who had a couple of children. One of the children, Jake, had gone through something similar to what Ricky went through, except Jake didn't die. It's a disease similar but not the same. So God gave the gift of Jake to me. In Jake I see Ricky. I see a childhood friend to play with. A friend to talk to. A friend that can share and knows the pains of this world and the way to live through the pain to find the great joy of life. Joy in the simple, wonderful gifts God has given.

As I read the Word, I see a people that struggle with sin and separation from God. I see a people that struggle with illness and death. But I also see a God who is relentless in taking those who wish to be with Him back. God goes out of his way to bring the healing we need, especially when we give up on ourselves and give to God. God heals in and through the struggles. The struggle may continue until that great day. But for now God still works through us one at a time and in groups together to bring healing to this world. Thanks be to God!

Lord, I pray for all those in need of healing. Healing in the small and big sense of the word. Bring healing to those I love and to those I don't know. Bring healing and the comfort that only You can bring as we boldly reach out to Your open arms. In Jesus name...Amen

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 10th-11th - Reflection


Isaiah 6:1-12:10
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness-- on them light has shined. - Isaiah 9:2
2 Corinthians 11:16-12:10
My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness." - 2 Corinthians 12:9a
Psalms 54:1-55:23
But surely, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life. - Psalms 54:4
Proverbs 23:1-5

As we look back on the events of that horrible day of 9-11 we see death, pain, evil, suffering and destruction. We also see love, rescue, care, compassion, loyalty, and the heart of God. Our God knows all about this world. Our God has felt what we feel. Our God has become one with us and knows what we experience. Our God chose to come to us. Our God chose to die for us. Our God chose to be with us in Spirit. Our God chose us, to be with one another and with Him, in the love of Christ.

As we look back on the events, we see an active God working through you and me, to raise the cross of love to all the world. We also see the active evil of sin, death and the devil, alive in destruction.

As I look back at all the contrast, I choose to stand with God, as God has stood by me, and for me, in the death, pain, evil, suffering, destruction and pain of the cross. That's hope! That's love! That's Jesus!

We reflect today and remember the lives lost and give you thanks and glory for their brief time with us. Be with those close, that mourn the deaths so dearly. Give them comfort and hope. Be with us as we stand by Your side, as You stand by ours, and lead us boldly forward in the direction and actions You would will for us this day. ---Amen

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

September 9th - Reflection


Isaiah 3:1-5:30
On that day the branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and glory of the survivors of Israel. - Isaiah 4:2
2 Corinthians 11:1-15
I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! - 2 Corinthians 11:1
Psalms 53:1-6
Fools say in their hearts, "There is no God." - Psalms 53:1a
Proverbs 22:28-29

I wonder if I sound like the dogs in this video to God? I kinda hope so! Each one of these dogs seems to try their best to please the master. And in each case the master is pleased. Even if it all seems a little funny, the master is pleased. Even if it doesn't quite come out right, I guess it really does, because the master is pleased.

But what about those times I don't please the Master? Those times I turn away? Those times that I am sent into exile for my sin? What about those times that I turn foolish and act as if there is no Master? What about those times?

My hope is in those times that the Master would reach out to me and train me and discipline me and teach me faith and trust and give me a hope that one day I can again please the Master. If I just look at the Word I can see that hope, that teaching, that trust and that faith in the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ.

I would be glad to sound just like those dogs to my Master and bring a laugh and a smile to my Master's face.

Lord as I go in Your Name this day, teach me, discipline me, give me hope and faith, that I may speak Your language of love and bring a joyous smile to Your face and laughter in Your voice this day. ---Amen

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

September 8th - Reflection


Isaiah 1:1-2:22
The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master's crib; but Israel does not know, my people do not understand. - Isaiah 1:3
2 Corinthians 10:1-18
For it is not those who commend themselves that are approved, but those whom the Lord commends. - 2 Corinthians 10:18
Psalms 52:1-9
I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. - Psalms 52:8b
Proverbs 22:26-27

Did the dog really want to swing? Did the dog really enjoy the swing at first...or even at last? Did the dog trust the owner?

I'm not sure about the first couple of questions. For me it was hard to tell if that dog wanted to be in the swing. It did appear to me that the dog began to find joy in the swing. But I think that, for sure, the dog trusted the owner. And with that trust, I think the dog found joy in doing what pleased the owner or master.

Is that somewhat similar to our relationship with God? If we but trust in His Word and Way we will find joy in pleasing our Master. After all in the pleasing of God we find joy. In the pleasing of God we find laughter and a sense of love. When we feel that we are pleasing God and see the joy in His face we feel commended by God. We feel His praise for having done what pleased Him. And we trust in His steadfast love forever and ever. Trust the Owner and find joy in pleasing Him.

Lord, may my actions this day be the actions You would have me take to please You and bring a smile to Your face. I trust in Your guidance this day. ---Amen

Monday, September 07, 2009

September 5th-7th - Reflection


Ecclesiastes 10:1-12:14
Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun. - Ecclesiastes 11:7
Song of Solomon 1:1-8:14
Set me a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. - Song of Solomon 8:6
2 Corinthians 8:1-9:15
As it is written, "The one who had much did not have too much, and the one who had little did not have too little." - 2 Corinthians 8:15
Psalms 49:1-51:19
Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me. - Psalms 51:5
Proverbs 22:20-25

We started as one and we will end as one. Indeed when we meet at the foot of that cross we will all again be one in Christ Jesus. It seems we let our differences divide us. Differences in how we think about God, differences in how we act, differences in how we treat another and even differences in physical appearance.

Born into sin we struggle with the differences. We struggle with prejudice. We struggle with the differences, yet in the end we are united in what is common. In common, is the salvation received through the gracious act of our Savior. A Savior so sweet the His Light is pleasing for our eyes and we have a commonality to unite us in His Love. A love so deep and a passion so fierce that He gave His very life that we may leave our differences and be united in Him.

May we all see that fierce passion that rises from the grave in love to unite us at the foot of the cross, even with all of our differences in a unity of love and a Spirit of bold flashes of great light, in union with Him. It's time we work towards that unity, today, and tomorrow.

Lord, forgive our sinfulness in our differences and unite us in our common love through Jesus Christ, now and forever. ---Amen

Friday, September 04, 2009

September 4th - Reflection


Ecclesiastes 7:1-9:18
But whoever is joined with all the living has hope... - Ecclesiastes 9:4a
2 Corinthians 7:8-16
I rejoice because I have complete confidence in you. - 2 Corinthians 7:16
Psalms 48:1-14
He will be our guide forever. - Psalms 48:14b
Proverbs 22:17-19
Incline you ear and hear my words and apply your mind to my teaching; for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips. - Proverbs 22:17-18

It was just one thing after another. Unbearable things at that. Death that scars life forever. But on the open waters once again, the author of the hymn reflects; "It is well with my soul." Joined with the Living Hope, he knows that his life will go on and he knows with the assurance of the Living Hope that one day will come, that will hold a great communion of souls. But for now the Living Hope will be his guide forever. He inclined his ear to the Word of the Living Hope and applied his mind and his actions and lived his life. He lived his life through those vast baptismal waters where one gets lost to self and finds the Living Hope of our gracious God and Savior. Thanks be to God!

Lord, today as I dip once again deep into the baptismal waters, as I get lost beneath the surface, and face sure death; raise me up with You in that Living Hope that renews, forgives, refreshes, gifts and sends me forth with Your Word on my lips, to proclaim Your glory and honor to all the world. ---Amen

Thursday, September 03, 2009

September 3rd - Reflection


Ecclesiastes 4:1-6:12
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other... - Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a
2 Corinthians 6:14-7:7
For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will live in them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. - 2 Corinthians 6:16b
Psalms 47:1-9
Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. - Psalms 47:6
Proverbs 22:16

I'm not quite the same anymore. Something has changed. It's been sad at times. A loss of a leg, a job, an injury, an illness, even the mourning of a death; we have been changed by something. It always helps when there has been someone there to pick us up. To show us a new way. Things won't be the same anymore, but things can get better.

A soldier hears the laughter of a boy who has new artificial legs that allow him to run and play. The soldier sees this and has a choice. Stay in his self pity and sorrow, or change. The boy comes along and lifts the soldier up with laughter and joy. The soldier decides to change. Are we going to decide to change? Are we going to change and accept our plight? Are we going to see the laughter and joy God has graciously given us in this lifetime of struggle? The choice lies with each one of us.

But for sure, God will pick us up. God will pick us up one way or another. Maybe through the laughter of a little boy. Maybe through a friend. Maybe God will be more direct, but for sure, God will pick us up and give each one of us the chance to decide.

Will you sing praises to God? Will you change and laugh with God in joy? Or will you wallow in self-pity? Will you change?

Lord, open my eyes to Your presence this day. Open my eyes to see the Child full of laughter and joy. The Child who overcomes this world of sin, pain, illness and death. The Child who chose to change and love us. Lord, open my eyes to You this day. And may I change in laughter and praise of all that You have done. ---Amen

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

September 2nd - Reflection


Ecclesiastes 1:1-3:22
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: - Ecclesiastes 3:1
2 Corinthians 6:1-13
For he says, "At an acceptable time I have listened to you, and on a day of salvation I have helped you." See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation! - 2 Corinthians 6:2
Psalms 46:1-11
"Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth." - Psalms 46:10
Proverbs 22:15

The more I seek you. The more I find you. I want to sit at your feet, drink from the cup in your hand, lean back against you and feel your heart beat. This love is so deep. It's more than I can stand.

There does seem to be a time for everything. And it always seems to be the "right" time. Especially in our walk as disciples. We walk in the presence of Jesus. Seeking Him along the way each day. As we walk the day we look around and find him in so many unexpected places. Some days it seems I'm blind to His presence and then other days it's as if I can't help but to find Him.

And in those days that I feel most in need of the cup from His hand and His back to lean upon; His love presents itself as such a deep love that I can't understand that the presence of His love overwhelms and envelopes and fills to overflowing.

And that's the time! That's the very time of salvation. Salvation from the troubles, pain or whatever it is that has become a burden that day. The help I so much have desired and the love I have sought has taken place in my being. So, I sit and be still, and in His presence wonder at the awe of His power and grace and love. This love so deep, it's more than I can stand.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. Be still and still and melt into the love of God.

Lord, I'm still...may I melt into that great Love that You are, in Your presence this day. ---Amen

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

August 29th - September 1st Reflection


Job 31:1-42:17
Does he not see my ways, and number all my steps? - Job 31:4
2 Corinthians 3:1-5:21
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. - 2 Corinthians 5:21
Psalms 43:1-45:17
O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling. - Psalms 43:3
Proverbs 22:8-14

Pain, death and tragedy seem to be able to strike at any time. Strike the good and the bad equally. It seems as if God isn't looking over us when all this happens. We begin to wonder, why me? Haven't I been good enough? Think of what was going through the mind of Job or even the mind of Steven Chapman. Why me? God, if you see my ways and number all my steps, why me?

But then again, why Him? Why Jesus? Why did Jesus come to this world and for our sake become sin who knew no sin. Why did Jesus do this so that I might be made righteous? God sent His Light and Truth to lead you and me to that holy hill. It's not about why's about why Him. And the why Him makes all the difference. The why Him resides in the deep love God has for His children. A deep love the surpasses the tragedy, surpasses the illness and yes even surpassed the death to bring a new life, risen in glory and truth and light and life and righteousness.

Why me?...Yes Lord Me!...I want it to Me!...Choose me...For I have seen Your glory shining so brightly through the truth and light of Your Son Jesus Christ who became sin so that I might be righteous. Thanks be to God!

Lord when the pain comes I know of One who overcame it all for my sake and I give You eternal thanks for permitting me to feel the pain and to know the illness and to go through the battles of this world so that I may sing much more passionately and loudly of a Savior who has come to me and to the world that we may all have a hope of Truth and Light and Life in Him. ---Amen