Sunday, February 8, 2015

Turn my Sorrows into Joys

Dear Lord, Almighty God, 
You who are able to calm the troubled seas and turn water into wine, 
I ask you to calm my soul and turn the my sorrows into joys. 
Forgive me for my many sins, for hurting others, 
for so many actions that I should not have done, for so many actions 
that I should have done. 
I am so sorry that I so easily stray from Your pathways 
     ending up in places that I would rather not be. 
Give me the strength to forgive others who have knowingly or unknowingly hurt me.  
Help me  let the petty barbs go; let me hand them over to You.  
Do not let me act as if I am 7 instead of 70.  
Do not let me stoop to swapping silly, childish verbal blows 
     with those who would hurt me. 
Help me to remember that it is better to save a relationship than to win an argument.  
Help me to remember that my purpose is to help others.  
Let me become the person You intended for me to be.  
Help me to look at others as You intended them to be; 
     let me see You in others; 
     let me celebrate them, not destroy them.
Help me to empty myself of me so that I can be filled with you. 
Be with those I love;  
may they walk in the light of Your love, peace, and mercy; 
may they know You and follow You and not be tempted 
     by the idols and evils of this world.  
Let them understand that this world is not our home; 
  something better lies ahead for us all
     --an eternal home with You if we will choose it. 
Father, help me to deal with this last conflict; let me let You lead. 
Give me faith to believe that You will put the pieces of broken relationships 
     back together in Your time, not mine. 
I thank You; I praise You; I honor You; I love You.

In Christ's name I pray.    Feb 8, 2015

Getting Older

Lord, I am such a mess some days.  
I don't remember as well as I used to; 
and  my body certainly doesn't function as well as it once did. 
 I am nearing my 70th year of life which doesn't sound that old 
     until I look at the mirror and see my tired, wrinkled face.
I thank You for what has been a wonderful life 
and praise You for all the blessings You have given me: 
     family, friends, shelter, food, assurance of Your Love, 
          Presence, Strength, and Comfort each day.  
Father, I love You, Your Son, and the Holy Spirit 
Who remains with me to guide me, encourage me, protect me.  
Help me to be the person You have created me to be.  
Keep me from straying from Your shelter. 
Help me to love others, to forgive others 
     as You have forgiven me my many sins.  
Let all I say, think, and do be in accordance with Your will.  
Help me to be Your hands and feet
     to those in my world who have a need.  
Forgive me when I try to take Your place, and 
... when I think I know how to do things better than You.  
Forgive my many sins. 
Let me be a blessing to someone today.  
In Christ's name.  Feb 1. 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Our loving, protecting, encouraging Abba

Merciful and Mighty God,   
Master Creator of the Universe, 
Lover and Protector of those whom You have created.  
Be with Your children who are sick, lonely, frightened, 
     grieving, depressed, estranged from You.  
Let us feel Your comforting presence 
     bringing the assurance that we are not alone, 
     for You are not even a breath away from us, 
     You will always be holding us to Your bosom, 
     Your love will never willingly let us go.  
Let us remember that You, unlike us, our friends and family, 
     do not break Your promises.   
Lord, help us to remember 
     that we are not worthless in Your sight. 
Instead, we are the crown of Your creation, 
     so important that You chose to make us in Your own image. 
Help us to see ourselves as You see us, 
     not as the world sees us. 
Give us strength to keep our concentration on You; 
     keep us from being influenced by the cruel words 
         of those who hate us.  
Help us to believe in You, 
     to believe that You are a Loving God;
     Who never rejoices in seeing our failures and inadequacies.  
Assure us that we can turn to You; 
     share our joys and concerns with You 
     no matter how small or petty others think they are.  
You are our loving, protecting, encouraging Abba 
     who has given us bounteous riches of the world 
          You have created for us.  
You are our Abba who wants us to be all that we can be;
     to do all that we can do to make our lives acceptable to You.
Thank You, Precious Father, for the goodness, the blessings 
     You have provided for us.  
Forgive us for being hard-headed, stubborn people 
     who whine too much and who say "thank you" too  little. 
Thank you for Your goodness and mercy.  
Hold us close today as we speak, travel,   .  
Let us stay close to You showing justice, love and mercy to others. 

In Christ's name       1-27-15 (Mab)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Lord, empty me of self and fill me with You.
Remove from my heart the desire to take revenge
for the hurt I have received from those who I think
      should love me.
Remove from my heart all traces of jealousy
      stemming from my insecurities.
Help me avoid the urges to indulge in pity parties
      because I don't get my own way,
      and others don't give me
      the attention and glorification
            I selfishly think I deserve.
Let me serve with a glad heart.
Let me show abundant mercy instead of spitefulness.
Let me bestow grace to others.
And let me love,
     especially the despised, the rejected, the lonely.
Lord, let me remember
     that You are God,
            and I am not.
Let me be still and quiet
      and content to let You be God.
Let me trust Your promise of eternal life
      for those who believe in Jesus Christ,
               Your beloved Son.
Help me take up my cross and follow You
      confident that You will never ask more of me
               than You and I can do together.
Show me where I need to go, what I need to do.  
Let Your kingdom come, Lord.
Let Your Will be done

      on earth as it is in Heaven.                     (Mab)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Lessons from the Guineas

While John and I were visiting his cousin Randy one afternoon, we watched a line of guineas pompously marching to the bird pen. As the guineas approached the open gate of the pen on the side where the gate was pulled back to make a small angle with the pen, the first two guineas, walking in tandem, smartly went around the gate, hopped over the threshold, and entered the pen.
     All of the other guineas behind them, however, followed the third guinea’s lead; and instead of going around the gate into the pen, they all walked into the center of the angle where the gate touched the pen.   They then looked as if they were moving in a sideways “V”!!
    The third guinea stopped when he literally couldn't go any farther because he was jammed between the fence and the gate.   The other guineas following him continued to move forward until they too had to stop because they had bumped into him.  They had crowded so tightly into him that he couldn't move forward or backward.  After several seconds, the birds finally gave up, turned around, and marched back into the woods.   Randy then had to walk behind them and herd them into the pen from the other direction to make sure that they were safely home at last!

While it was amusing to watch the little guineas,  the incident reminded  me of how we humans can also get ourselves into similar predicaments when we brainlessly follow the leader.  
1. We can run into dead ends with no instructions for getting ourselves out of a situation.
2. We must watch where we are going and not assume our companions know the way to go; we must question them and pay attention to the world around us. 
3. And then, when we can’t find the way to our shelter, we need a leader who is bigger, more powerful, and smarter than we are who will have compassion on us and herd us into a safe place. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

May 25, 2014 Call to Worship

May 25, 2014 Call to Worship 
( revised from church bulletin)              
Let us set aside this Sabbath
              as a most special day
              to rest our tired bodies,
              refresh our weary minds,
              renew our sagging souls
              and gather our scattered lives.
Let us celebrate this Sabbath day
              and offer praises to God
              for His creative, providential power,
              for his grace and loving kindness.
Let us give God thanks and praise
              for all the many awesome blessings,
  the generous mercies we receive each day.

Revised Prayer of Confession
(from church bulletin May 25, 2014)

O God, our God, we confess to You
                  that we have lifted up our souls
                                    to what is false.
                  We have deceived ourselves and others.
                  We have led a life that is not worthy of
                                    our Sovereign, Jesus Christ.
                  We have imprisoned others
                                    and not set them free.
                  We ourselves are bound by
                                    our prejudices and inhumanity.
Forgive us, O God,
 for we cannot live
in our deceit
and unfaithfulness.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How to Read the Bible

The B-I-B-L-E                                                                 
When I was in my first childhood, I looked forward to singing favorite songs when I went to Sunday school: “Jesus Loves Me,” “Fishers of Men,” This Little Light,”  “Jesus Loves the Little Children,” and, let’s not forget “The B-I-B-L-E.”  (“Yes, that’s the book for me!”)
And, what is the B-I-B-L-E?  Of course, we all know that it is the Word of God, for indeed, the words in this great book are “God-breathed”; and how amazing is the first verse of the Gospel of John: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (KJV)  The Word is God!!  How awesome to think about that sentence!!  The Word is God!!    
A couple of weeks ago one of the writers of my Sunday School materials challenged the way I read my Bible. First of all, he referred to the Bible as God’s symphony.(And what music could ever be sweeter than that which the Creator of the Universe has composed?). Secondly, he said that the Bible is “God’s painting of His indelible love and lament.” (And what artist’s work could be more effective and impressive than the original works our God, who planned the natural beauty of our world, has designed?) Thirdly, the writer called the Bible God’s literary epic “expressing such yearning compassion for humanity that He invites us to join Him in His ongoing story.” (And what literature could be more beautifully written than that story which God Himself has plotted?) 
Since Sunday I have been questioning the spirit and attitude with which I read my Bible.  As a retired high school English teacher, I always watch the writer’s craft as I read, highlighting or copying phrases or sentences I want to remember so, yes, I do agree and will argue that the Bible is a literary epic.  I have no problem with the writing I find there.  But I am concerned about listening for God’s symphony when I read.  Do I hear the music, the various sections of the orchestra led by a masterful Conductor?   Do I recognize and enjoy the crescendos, the violins, the harmony? At the same time, I am also concerned about seeing and absorbing the beautiful images God paints to illustrate what I am reading.  Do I take time to  see the brilliant colors and spectacular scenes that only God can create?  Or do I just read my verses as quickly as I can so I can hurry on to check my email, watch television, or do something else? Do I miss the joy and pleasure that reading the Bible with my ears and eyes as well as my mind will provide?  What do I put into my Bible reading?  Before I begin reading,  do I ask God to open my heart to the message, to enable me to read with all of my senses, to experience all the feelings He has provided for me in His Word? 
There is certainly no doubt that I need to slow my daily life-pace down and truly appreciate God as a master composer, artist, writer;  I need to appreciate the Bible as a work of creation  about creation.  Music, painting, and literature, three mediums that give beauty and inspiration to a life, and in the Bible there are examples of them all if I will just pay attention.  I pray that as I read the Bible now,  I will savor the music, the paintings, and the literature I find there.  And, when I do, reading the B-I-B-L-E, which is still the book for me, will be a richer experience.