Saturday, December 31, 2016

Lord of heaven and earth,      
Creator of the firmament,
Father of all mankind,
Thank you for this day,
     a day in which I can shine
     and glorify You in all I do,
Help me to stay focused on You
     and be mindful of Your will.
Let my thoughts and deeds
    be in accordance with Your plans.
Help my heart be so pleasing to You
     that Your heart can live within it.
Let me be a joy to those I meet;
     don't let me be a pain,
     the kind of person others avoid.
Don't let me wear out my welcome,
     or my presence be chalk squeaking on a blackboard.
Let me turn the other cheek to difficult people.
Let me be a good forgiver when I am hurt.
     a cup of kindness to those who are hurting,
     a loving touch to my neighbors, even the difficult ones.
Let my life be a worship service for You,
     full of prayer, singing Your praises, preaching the truth
          of Your mercy, grace, peace, and love.
Let me be a beacon that draws others to You.
Forgive me when I am so full of myself
     that others cannot see anything of You in me.
Thank You for Your unconditional love
     for being my eternal, sustaining God
     Who always fulfill promises and Who cannot lie.
Let me always remember Your promise of eternal life.
Keep me from being the reason another falters
     in his walk with you.
Instead, plant in me seeds of courage and desire
     to share the message of salvation in Jesus
     in such a way that they will want to know You too.
I thank You for all the saints who encourage me.
As I go on session, let my attitude be positive.
Work within me and make me uplifting and selfless.

                        In Jesus' name I pray. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

I believe that angels visit us disguised in human flesh. I think God sent one to me Christmas eve at a time when I was worn out with the busyness of the season, a husband's birthday dinner on the eve of Christmas eve, and other commitments. I don't know my angel's name and probably won't recognize him if I ever see him again, but I wish I did. I would love to have him in my life every day. 

I met him at Wal-Mart, my last stop before hurrying home. I needed a Christmas card for my husband, who always picks out the most special cards for me. Unfortunately (or fortunately for me), there were lots of other people trying to find cards too. I waited a few minutes; then, when no one showed any signs of moving so I could get close to the cards, I very loudly asked if anyone would please pass me a "husband" card. A sweet, young lady reached over and handed me a card she had seen. At the same time, the young man standing beside her said he'd seen a really good card for a husband, took it off of the shelf, and told me this was the "husband" card I needed to get. ( At this point, all I wanted was a card with the word "husband" on it!!! I usually look for humorous and this one looked sappy.)

Anyway I thanked him for the card and turned to leave, but he wasn't satisfied. He boldly insisted I read the card he had given me--right then!!. I thought, "He has some nerve and doesn't understand how exhausted and busy I am." I just wanted to get out of Wal-Mart and go home. 

Nevertheless, deciding to humor him, I opened the card, read it, and discovered one of the most beautifully worded cards I've ever seen, a wonderful tribute to a husband who has remained true and supportive for almost 50 years. As I mentioned this to my young friend, his face lit up as he then shared with me that he and his wife were celebrating their 20th anniversary that day. He added three important factors in their lasting marriage; all three involve putting God first and letting Him direct their marriage.

Finally, as I was leaving, this wonderful young man put his arms around me and hugged me. What a joyful experience!! What a special Christmas gift of caring and sharing he gave me when I needed it, a gift more precious than a bunch of shiny baubles, a gift of love. I'm sure he had a Merry Christmas; I did.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Heavenly Father, Loving God,
When I do not stop  to enjoy the quietness
     of time spent with You,
     my spirit becomes troubled, restless,
     filled with the world and its sinfulness. 
The busy "busyness" of my days 
     prevent me from replenishing  my spirit.
Lord, show me how to prepare my soul
      so that You can feed it with healthy fruits
      that will sustain holiness  within me.
Pluck out the insidious, noxious weeds
     of pride, jealousy, anger, self-pity, self-righteousness,
     those sins of my worldly flesh
     which grow so rapidly, chocking and killing
     the  good fruit of the spirit.
As Jesus has prepared a place for His saints in heaven,
Help me prepare my heart, my soul,
     the core of my being , 
     as a place for the Holy Spirit to live.
Lord, calm me when I am being difficult,
     when relationships with others are prickly.
Let me feel Your presence around me
     when I am feeling lost, unloved, abandoned.
Let me put my arms around others,
     encourage them, affirm their importance,
     celebrate them, love them instead of maligning them,
     feeding off of their inadequacies,
     enjoying their discomforts.
Forgive me                                                                          
     when I do not sacrifice myself for others,
     when I do not love unconditionally,
     when I whine instead of praising,
     when I do not rejoice  because I am  Your child.
Forgive me when I waste money on fluff
     ignoring the needs of those  hurting in ways
     I have never experienced.
Forgive me for becoming too involved
     with petty remarks,  insignificant acts, criticisms of others.
Help me discern the really important words and deeds .
Forgive me when I fail to glorify Your name,
     when I do things that are not in accordance with your will.
Forgive me when I I spend too much time pondering
     ways in which others disappoint me.
Let me remember the Royal Commandment
     and love my neighbors as I love myself.
I know what You expect me to do,
     how You expect me to behave,
     but I do not always do what I am called to do.
Forgive me when I do those things I should not do,
     choosing not to do those things I should.
Lord, let there be health in me let my heart be Your heart.
Work within me, use me to do Your will.

Bless me, guide me, let me love.   In Christ's name. 

You know my thoughts
     before I do.     
You knit together the threads of my being
     my mortal, mental mechanisms,
     my brain waves, my tongue.
You know my life experiences,
     the joys and hurts that have molded me.
You know what makes me work,
     what operates my actions and reactions,
     my failings, my moods.
You know my strengths,
     my weaknesses, my flaws.
Be with me as I interact with others.
Keep me focused on what I myself am doing,
     not on what others do.
Let my thoughts be positive and constructive,
     not negative and destructive.
Stop me from diving into the shallow pond of self-pity.
Let me dignify the concerns of others.
Remind me that I swim in a huge sea of humanity
     in which I must discern the needs of others
     if I am going to live harmoniously with them.
Remind me that I must love others
     who share this ocean with me
     if we are all going to find peace and joy
    instead of doubt and fear.
Show me how to find the safe havens, the buoys.
Show me how to know when I am in danger
     and lead me back to You.
Let me be Your arms and legs as I swim
     to the shore of Your eternal kingdom.
Let me always pray that I do all things
     in accordance with Your Will,
          not mine, Lord.
Let me bring honor and glory to Your name.

               Amen and amen. In Jesus' name.