"The LORD is my strength and my shield ..." - Psalm 28:7
The cross on the side of the road in Tennessee was massive. You certainly couldn't miss it as you drove along the highway. What did it mean? Why was it there?
Perhaps it was to offer protection and guidance. Perhaps it was to make you think. Perhaps it was to make a statement. Perhaps it was to honor Our Savior, Jesus Christ. Perhaps it was to waken weary travelers.
A Google search revealed that this cross "towers over the freeway and shields Christian travelers from its next-door neighbor, a XXX porn store."
So, it was indeed to offer protection and guidance, to make you think, to make a statement, to honor Jesus Christ, and to waken weary travelers as it "sprouted" from the bushes along the road.
In all likelihood, its placement was not a coincidence.
My Loving Savior and Protector, You alone know how to shield and protect me from the evil one, and to waken the weariness within me so as not to go astray. Thank you. Amen.
TAGS: Prayer, Story
The title above is a slogan often used in the recycling industry. Seems like it could be used in our everyday spiritual life as well.
For those times when you don't know which road to take, way to think, words to say, or thing to do, remember: "when in doubt, throw it out."
You have two choices. Would my thought, word, or deed fit more into the world's "bin," or in God's "bin"? God's "bin" is always the better choice when confronted with a perplexing situation. It is better to be safe than to cause adverse effects by following what others deem to be right.
Just like that plastic bag or plastic cup, without absolute knowledge of right versus wrong, simply make the inconclusive, but seemingly better, decision to follow the path of God and place the situation in His "bin".
God of unfathomable knowledge, lead me to always choose You. Amen.
TAGS: Prayer, Reflection
Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash
"The human heart plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps." - Proverbs 16:9
The lid on the new washer was taller than the one on the old washer, so it hit the cabinet doors above the washer when open. There seemed to be two options: (1) raise the cabinet, or (2) put some kind of a "stopper" on the cabinet. While option #1 was probably the cleaner solution, it seemed way too difficult, so option #2 became the better choice.
Now the question was: what kind of a "stopper" to put on the cabinet? Brainstorming resulted in a few creative options like felt pads, some kind of a rubber product, or something hung on the doorknob such as a cotton ornament or a velvet pouch.
Online searches turned up some possibilities but a clear solution did not present itself. Who would have guessed that a routine trip to a crowded grocery store would provide the answer?
God works in mysterious ways if you are open to them! After picking up groceries and working our way to the check-out, one aisle seemed crowded so we took another aisle to slither our way down. It just so happened that this aisle had cat toys in it. There it was: "Lamb Chop." It's perfect! Placing it between the two doors provides the perfect padding for the washer lid to rest on. It's easily removable when you need to open the cabinets, and it's attractive (and cute) when left in place.
If God hadn't steered us down this aisle, we never would have found Lamb Chop. Leading us to the right place at the right time was all in His perfect design!
Lamb of God, thank you for directing our steps to Your way. Help us to see Your hand in everything and make the most of every opportunity. Amen.
TAGS: Prayer, Story
Come Creator Spirit,
Renew me with your strength.
Purify me with your love.
Strengthen me with your hope.
Empower me with your justice.
Cover me with your protection.
Surround me with your compassion.
Illumine me with your mercy.
Console me with your fire.
Motivate me with your power.
Humble me with your passion.
Satisfy me with your presence.
Complete me with your grace.
Hear and answer me in my need.
© Rev. Michael Pavlakovich
Click HERE to pray the Novena to the Holy Spirit for the Seven Gifts. Starts on Friday, May 19.
"For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal." - 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
Have you ever felt so down like you're in a chasm or deep hole that you just can't crawl out of? Are you feeling like the walls surrounding you are caving in on you, brick by brick, one by one? Do you wonder how you're ever going to get out of this "funk"? Do you need to put caution cones around you so that others will avoid you and not be the brunt of your depression and anger?
Become childlike. Look up. Look beyond. See the God waiting for you with outstretched arms. Imagine your arms outstretched, reaching out to your mother or father waiting to hold you in their arms, close to their heart.
Instead of looking at the bricks falling in, look at the bricks as building blocks to be constructed into a wonderfully-made work of art, created as you are by the God who loves you.
Just remember: this too will pass. The pit you are in will be restored again, and patched over so that all signs of your present troubles will be removed.
O Master Carpenter, patch over the holes in my life. Be my bricklayer to rebuild me anew in Your love. Amen.
TAGS: Inspiration, Prayer
"But they refused to listen; they stubbornly turned their backs and stopped their ears so as not to hear." - Zechariah 7:11
How well do you listen? Do you give your undivided attention to the person speaking to you? Or is your mind wandering, thinking about the next thing you have to do or want to say?
God is speaking to you, perhaps directly, or most likely, indirectly through the person speaking to you. Are you listening? Or have you "stopped your ears" so as not to hear?
Stop what you are doing ... right now. Stop. God is speaking to you. Are you listening?
My God, turn my back to see your face. Unblock my ears to hear your voice. Come, come into my heart. I want to listen to you. Amen.
TAGS: Inspiration, Prayer
Dear Lord, your disciple Peter wanted to know who would betray you. You pointed to Judas but a little later also to him. Judas betrayed, Peter denied you. Judas hanged himself, Peter became the apostle whom you made the first among equals. Lord, give me faith, faith in your endless mercy, your boundless forgiveness, your unfathomable goodness. Let me not be tempted to think that my sins are too great to be forgiven, too abominable to be touched by your mercy. Let me never run away from you but return to you again and again, asking you to be my Lord, my Shepherd, my Stronghold, and my Refuge. Take me under your wing, O Lord, and let me know that you do not reject me as long as I keep asking you to forgive me. Perhaps my doubt in your forgiveness is a greater sin than the sins I consider too great to be forgiven. Perhaps I make myself too important, too great when I think that I cannot be embraced by you anymore. Lord, look at me, accept my prayer as you accepted Peter’s prayer, and let me not run away from you in the night as Judas did.
Bless me, Lord, in this Holy Week, and give me the grace to know your loving presence more intimately. Amen.
--"A Prayer for Holy Week" by Henry J. M. Nouwen
"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
"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
“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
"Looking at little life moments with a spiritual eye."