BURSTING AT THE SEAMS
"No trial has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it." - 1 Corinthians 10:13
Do you ever feel like you have “information overload” or have been inundated with TMI (too much information)? It seems as though we can only take so much before we start “bursting at the seams.” Like this utility tower, we start spouting out in every direction, sometimes by laughing, crying, yelling, or some other outburst, in order to release the pressure building within us.
Remember that there will be occasions when God takes us through a time of correction and testing. When we respond the way He wants us to, and not the way we want to, He then brings us out of it and pours His blessings upon us. Many times we want the blessings of God without the testing and correction, but some impurities in our life will only come out with increased pressure. Don’t despise this happening. Look to God and allow Him to finish the work.
Glorious God, help me to see all situations as a blessing from You. When You give me more than I think I can handle, let me watch how You turn it into something much better than I could imagine. Amen.
TAGS: Prayer, Reflection
STANDING IN LINE
"If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing." - 1 John 1:9
I entered the church early and made my way over to the line. It was just starting to form so it wasn't too long yet.
Looking around, I thought I recognized the man who was two persons ahead of me. He was dressed in casual clothes and he sure looked familiar, but I just couldn't put a name with the face. "Good thing he wasn't right next to me," I thought. After all, what would we talk about?
Everyone was fairly quiet. Nobody really talking to anyone else. The man in front of me was checking his phone, and we just cordially smiled at one another.
Boy, I sure wished I could remember the name of the man two persons ahead of me. Now it was starting to bother me.
The line slowly inched forward, each one taking his turn. Then it was time for the man two persons ahead of me. He turned and closed the confessional door behind him.
Then I recognized him.
He was the priest who presided at Mass the day before. But today he was a sinner like me.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
TAGS: Prayer, Story
ASH WEDNESDAY INVITATION
“Yet even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart … “ – Joel 2:12
Too often, we approach Ash Wednesday with liturgical gloom and doom. It’s the “black sheep” of the family of dark solemnities in the liturgical calendar, failing even to garner status as a holy day of obligation. But when painted in this light, it’s easy to miss its beautiful invitation to claim our brokenness, embrace our vulnerability, and stand in solidarity with all those who do the same.
The difference between the good in us and the bad in us is sometimes frightfully thin. We so often fall short of the Faith we claim. We have treated people as things and we have treated things as if they were valuable people.
Lent is a season that reminds us to repent and get our lives centered, our priorities straight, and our hearts clean. This holy season offers us a new chance to say, "yes" to the Lover of our Souls who created us and who made us in his own image. Lent is the time for a restoration project that will reveal the beauty of God’s design for us, showing once again the scale, proportion, and priorities intended by our Maker.
Lent is a season of hope and with ashes on our foreheads and hope in our hearts, we go forth to love and serve. For by God’s grace in Christ, we do not have to stay the way we are.
God is ready to heal our woundedness, to make us more whole than ever before. Ash Wednesday is our call to make room for the divine dance to work its sacred magic within us.
Lover of my Soul, as I begin this year's Lenten Journey, turn my attention to the things that matter most to you. Amen.
TAGS: Prayer, Reflection
HEAD IN THE CLOUDS
“'Who will bring me down to earth?'” - Obadiah 1:3
Have you ever known someone who is so stuck on themself? Seems like they walk around all day with their head in the clouds. "Smell me," we say about them.
But has that "someone" ever been you? Have you ever been so "puffed up" after making a great play in a ballgame, hearing a thunderous ovation after a performance, getting a pat on the back after signing a tough business deal, or acing an examination at school?
While those can be worthy reasons to celebrate, we must remember the source of the good that has happened to us. If not, we will, usually, inevitably, be quickly reminded of that source.
God has a knack of bringing us down to earth in a flash. That great day you had yesterday turns into a day of disasters today. We've all been there.
Enjoy the moment. Proudly keep your head in the clouds. But know your God brings you down to earth. Make the ride a smooth one.
Father God, as you remind us through your Word: "Though you soar like the eagle, and your nest is set upon the stars, from there I will bring you down." (Obadiah 1:4) Thank you, God, for the ride. Amen.
TAGS: Inspiration, Prayer
Needed some inspiration.
The tagline for this blog is "looking at little life moments with a spiritual eye." Looked around. Looked outside. Looked inside. Looked at life. This eye was not seeing much spiritual.
A single thought; a single idea. That would start it off. Nothing. What was missing? Just not feeling it.
The simple, the plain; the ordinary. Then it came ...
The beauty of a single flower. So perfect in its imperfection. A creation of God. From nothing comes forth something at His command.
Thanks be to God.
THE WORK OF CHRISTMAS
Now that the tree is out on the curb, and you settle in for a long winter’s nap, savor these words called “The Work of Christmas” by African-American theologian Howard Thurman.
When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry,
to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.
Find the lost, and if you are the lost, may you know you have already been found by Love itself.
Heal the broken, and if you feel broken, know that you are whole, as is, even with all your cracks. That’s how the Light gets in.
Feed the hungry, and if you are hungry, may you find that spiritual food that fills one forever.
Release the prisoner, and if you are imprisoned, may you be freed from the bondage of self.
Rebuild the nations, and if you love this nation, give it your best self by voting, by serving on a jury, by speaking truth to power.
Bring peace among the people, the kind of peace that comes from within that nothing outside can diminish.
Make music in the heart and in the heart of this awe-filled, awesome world, sing your song, the one you alone came here to sing.
SOURCE: "Breathe in your new life" by Regina Brett, 12/25/2022
HUNGRY FOR THE LORD
As 2022 comes to a close, we make New Year's resolutions in an attempt to want to improve our lives. While there's nothing wrong with self-improvement, the most important area of our lives that can always use improvement is our spiritual life. Instead of New Year's resolutions we often make and fail to complete, what about making 2023 the year we revitalize our prayer life?
LORD, HUMBLE ME
One of the biggest sins we can easily fall into without recognizing it is the sin of pride. We read our Bibles, bow our heads in prayer and attend church regularly. But if we're not careful, our spiritual growth based solely on our behaviors can lead to comparison and, eventually, pride. Let's live our lives like Jesus with a posture of humility. Let's seek to give grace-filled responses to those who oppose us politically, personally, or spiritually.
LORD, GIVE ME PEACE
As we round the corner of a global pandemic, mental health issues are on the rise. Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders plaguing people today. And Christians are not immune. Just as our bodies break down in this broken world, our brains sometimes break down too. There is no shame in getting professional help or using medication if needed.
LORD, GRANT ME GRACE
As we struggle to surrender our pride and become humbler, it is easier to treat others with kindness than to treat ourselves. Sometimes the hardest person for us to forgive is ourselves. The more grace we grant ourselves, the more grace we grant to others. Let's ask God to give us an extra measure of grace as we process through past pain, forgive ourselves, and move forward into becoming the examples of Christ God desires for his people.
LORD, HEAL OUR LAND
As the world continues to be an uncertain place, and large corporations make it more difficult to speak about the gospel freely without fear of persecution, the world is more divided now than ever. To regain our voice within society, we must be a people who are willing to reach across the aisle and unite with people who are diametrically opposed to our viewpoints. The Lord desires unity for his people, not division. Let 2023 be the year we achieve unity in America and around the world.
LORD, HELP ME TO SEE
Although we may see the circumstances around us, do we really see people the way Jesus would want us to see them? May God grant us new ways to see the world around us.
LORD, MAKE ME MORE LIKE YOU
The best way we can be examples of Christ is to demonstrate the fruit of the spirit in our lives. Without the Holy Spirit, we cannot claim to know God. Therefore, our actions should be evident in the holy spirit's presence in our lives. Pray and ask God for ways to cultivate these fruits every day in your life.
LORD, SEND ME
We sing the hymn "I Surrender All" in church, then go home and try desperately to cling to all the things of the world that are most important to us: our health, and finances, to name a few. Are we serious about dedicating our lives to God's will? Let's assume a posture of being willing to go, minister to others, and do anything the Lord chooses to do with our lives.
Instead of settling for the same old stale resolutions, let's resolve to have the best prayer lives. Let's give over every area of our lives to Him and make 2023 the year we need revival not only in our hearts but in the world. Let's be a nation hungry for more of the Lord instead of hungry to exalt ourselves.
On this Feast Day of St. John of the Cross (December 14), let us reflect on one of his writings, “Advent Poem.” Each of us is called to be pregnant with Love, with Light, with Mercy that we give birth to in our neighborhood: “each of us is the midwife of God.”
If you want, the Virgin will come walking down the road
pregnant with the Holy and say,
“I need shelter for the night.
Please take me inside your heart, my time is so close.”
Then, under the roof of your soul,
you will witness the sublime intimacy,
the divine, the Christ, taking birth forever,
as she grasps your hand for help,
for each of us is the midwife of God, each of us.
Yes, there, under the dome of your being,
does creation come into existence eternally,
through your womb, dear pilgrim,
the sacred womb of your soul,
as God grasps our arms for help:
for each of us is His beloved servant never far.
If you want, the virgin will come walking down the street,
pregnant with Light, and sing!
ADVENT PRAYERS 2022
Lord Jesus, we wait in joyful hope for you. Come into our hearts so that when the time comes, we will be prepared to join you in everlasting joy. Amen.
Father in heaven, during this second week of Advent, help us see clearly the times when we have sinned. Accept our sorrow for having pulled away from you, and give us firm resolve to stay close to you. Amen.
Help us, Lord, not to dampen the joy of others. Remind us this week to rejoice always and to pray without ceasing. Amen.
Holy Spirit, inspire us to live every day as if Christmas were just a week away. Amen.
"What? No parking here? Oh, I didn't think that pertained to me."
Excuses. We all use them to wiggle out of situations, or defend something we know we should or should not have done.
But excuses aren't truth, and only truth is from God.
Defend your actions with truth, not with excuses, as "the truth will set you free" (John 8:32). Excuses will only defile you.
Spirit of Truth, guide me at those times when I want to put myself above the truth. Let the truth prevail. Amen.
TAGS: Prayer, Reflection
"Looking at little life moments with a spiritual eye."