WE ONLY HAVE TO ASK – because we are God’s partners. Many of us find it difficult to think of ourselves in that way, as God’s partners in ministry. It is one reason why we can develop a relationship with God. God loves us unconditionally, forgives our sins, bridges the gap between us and sets us free to choose the way of living with God. God overcomes the evil that would get in the way of knowing God fully. God is ready to literally move heaven and earth to be our partners in the work of the new creation and wants us to be a part of the plan God has for us. God is with us all the time and hears our deepest desires. God answers our prayers and guides our decisions. God wants us to prosper, in the way that benefits us and others too. In a recent article from Christianity Today, the author reminds us “The crisis is urgent, and I feel powerless. … perhaps feeling small is the best reminder to pray. Prayer is how we actively practice believing, so simply, so confidently, … It’s where we “let petitions and praises shape our worries into prayers, letting God know our concerns” (Phil. 4:6–7, The Message). Prayer is never the last resort of God’s people. It is our first point of action.”

Many of us feel unworthy to be God’s partner or to have the right to ask anything of God in prayer. If we think we would “bother God” by asking for help, then we do not understand how much God loves us, and what that love means. God is our partner, even when we don’t realize it. We have an invitation to accept God within us and we respond by listening for the help God is offering. Praying for ourselves to be opened to hearing God is a way to begin. God will not punish us because we haven’t listened. We only need to begin letting God in. God has grace to overcome all our fears and doubts. Once we begin, there is nothing to stand in the way of the process God will work in us. Only our own fear can stop it. Let go of the fear and believe we are loved by God. Let God teach us to live a fuller, more joyful life. Learn what it is like to be yoked to Jesus in the work God gives and know what it is to find and use our gifts and talents for the benefit of others. Then we will know fulfillment. We are all called to be partners in God’s work, every one of us. Our lives will be fulfilling and focused. Partner God, turn off the fear and doubt we hear in our heads and let love for you fill us instead. We are grateful for the choice to be in partnership with you. Teach us how to answer your call.  Amen.     PEACE     


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IS A GIFT FROM GOD – to those who open to God acting within. When we open to let God guide us and help in our growth, we will be given gifts and abilities which will enhance and enlarge our effectiveness to do God’s work of love. A gift, which is perhaps more subtle and not often talked about, is the ability to be a loving presence wherever we are. The children’s song “Let Your Little Light Shine” comes to mind here. It is in letting the light from God’s love shine in and through us that we become a presence of love.

This presence can be lived out in many practical ways. We may get anxious as we consider how God needs us to act in the world. So the first step in becoming at ease with this role is to pay attention to what the Holy Spirit is giving us. There will always be resources we are given. The Holy One will never expect us to act without everything we need to be successful. The second step is to just be, taking all that we are within us, in every situation we find ourselves. In practical terms, this will mean being present in the moment, while letting go of the past and future. When we let this happen, together with our reliance on the Spirit, we will be able to be present. Our energy will be added to our surroundings and anything living in the vicinity. This means that anything we have accepted from God will also be available to those around us. [It is important to have our own circle of love around us, as protection from evil or selfish intentions in the area.] The third step is to be alert to those around us, in order to see if our presence is specifically needed in the situation. Sometimes we can just be silently there, while we wish our love from God to all who are open to receiving it. This is sometimes called “taking the temperature of the room.” We might then talk to anyone we know or someone we don’t know. This is not as random as it might seem, because God is also present in the space. When we are connected, we will be drawn to or nudged in particular directions. In responding to what we hear, we will be given words that are helpful to those in need. Or we may be urged to do something. As long as we stay in contact and trust that the Holy Spirit is acting together with us, we will have no need for anxiety or fear. We will not be alone or left without resources. There will be no need for panic on our part. We will be protected and supported when we go into a situation connected to the Spirit. It is an amazing experience – to not only feel the presence of the Spirit with us and then open to being present in the situation and let God’s love flow through us and outward to all who are open to receiving it. This is, in practical terms, how we live out the love and gifts we are given.  Romans 8: 29 “God knew what [God] was doing from the very beginning. [God] decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him.”  This process, described above, is all designed by God, so that when we put ourselves in the care of Christ’s Spirit, we will be empowered to do wonderful acts of love through what we are given. Some of us are thinking “Oh that is way to hard to do.” If we are trying to do anything in our own strength, then, yes it is hard. That is why I share this process with you. I pray you may come to see and then experience this act of love. Follow the steps and rely on the Spirit. When we do it in trust, it will happen.  O loving Savior, we are grateful to be offered this partnership in doing this loving work. Prepare us and sustain us, as we learn to be a loving presence where we are. Show us how to become the love and light to those around us, opening others to the power of your love. Calm our fears and give us a clear vision of this ministry. In your saving grace, we pray.  Amen.     PEACE    

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OR A LIFE OF WORKING FOR SALVATION – It is critical to know the difference. What is a redeemed life? It is the fulfillment of the earthly life of Jesus and why he lived it as he did. Because of that act of sacrifice through love, our sins have already been paid for. It is the ultimate gift of a God who loves us so much, that he demonstrated its immensity in a death to the world and a resurrected life full of hope and promise. This new life we are offered can only be accepted with gratitude. It can never be earned. When we can begin to understand this, then the true meaning of Easter will begin to come clear for us.

Much of the world and even many Christian churches are failing to be clear about understanding this fundamental truth. We can never earn our way to salvation and a blessed life with God. And yet, there are so many who think they are not worthy of God even noticing them, that they believe they must try to be good and live a good life, in order to earn this worthiness. Begin to listen to what is said about how we should live and what we should do, as people talk about this. You may be surprised how often we say what kind of a life we are trying to live. Even the most selfish may say things like “I mind my own business” or “I don’t want to give any trouble to anyone” and “I am trying to live the best life I can.” Even most pastors will say things like “we need to TRY to live a good, righteous life to please God.” This is what is known as earning our way to heaven. There are even church groups who demand this kind of behavior or they are thrown out. None of these can or will ever work because it is not the way God has designed it.   James 1:5f  “If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.

God created a universe of love and then offered it to us, as a gift. God risked a perfect world so that we could have choices. The nature of a relationship with the Holy One that we have freely chosen and accepted is much different than one that is forced or coerced. So for thousands of years, our Creator kept offering this loving relationship to us. Most rejected it and lived a life of barriers. Then the life and death and resurrection of Jesus was given as the ultimate gift and most have still turned their backs. God has never wanted this to be the uphill struggle so many of us make of it.  With the Holy Spirit within us, it is never more than one step to the blessed life God is offering. It is too precious to be treated like a commodity. It is evil who feeds us the lies of the world that we must try hard and work to exhaustion to be good enough for heaven. God’s love is so pure, there is nothing that cannot be wiped away, as we wipe away tears. We are already forgiven and loved with limits. There is nothing else beyond that to earn. The door is always open to us, as soon as we stop trying and just say “Thank you.”   O loving redeemer, we are in fear and terror of the evil in the world. It corrupts of hearts and minds, leading us away from from your love and acceptance. Help us feel the love that overcomes all that. Give us the vision to see the world you offer us, and the courage to say yes, with grateful hearts.  Amen.     PEACE




SO THAT WE MAY COME TO BELIEVE – and change our lives through the choices we make. After the famous story of Thomas and the Risen Jesus in John 20, there is an interesting conclusion to the chapter.    “ 30 The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.”  Whether we are expecting our believing to turn our lives around or support our continuing to follow Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God, these two verses are a statement of hope.

Some of these other signs are in Luke and John. Today, let’s look at what this says and doesn’t say. First, verse 30 proclaims the disciples as witnesses to these signs of God’s power working in Jesus. Then we are given the reason we have these signs. Overcoming his physical death is the greatest of these signs we see from Jesus. The sheer weight or importance of this happening lends credibility to Jesus saying he is the Son of God. It makes it possible for us to believe that statement. Finally, we are shown the result of believing this. We are given life just by the power of Jesus’ name. To support this idea, we know from elsewhere in the gospels that Jesus’ name has great power when we invoke it in prayer. His name has the power to cast out evil. Many other acts can be accomplished for God through the power of the name Jesus.

We have just scratched the surface in looking at what can be accomplished for God through our believing. It opens the door to a different and more powerful way to live in this world. The act of believing sets us on a path to a way of accomplishing the things we are called to do. The power of Jesus becomes a force within us, around us and behind us, supporting and guiding all we will do from this point on. We will experience what it means to have the resources we will need to be born in us. Dear Jesus, who has risen from the dead, and displays the power we can trust, we are grateful. As we make our choice each day to believe in the power of your name, show us how to find the way you wish us to follow. Lead us through the wilderness and swamps of this life in the world so that we may be a part of the new world you will show us. In your powerful name Jesus, we pray.  Amen.     PEACE

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AND PRAISE GOD – for all the wonderful things the Lord has done. “Tell the nations what God has done. For great is the Holy One of Israel who lives among you.” Isaiah 12 is very short, just 6 verses, but tells us a powerful story. For the Israelites in exile in Babylon, it was meant to bolster their confidence, especially with the ending, “For great is the Holy One of Israel who lives among you.” There were many that succumbed to the evil around them in a foreign land and so forgot the Lord and all their nation had achieved because of the blessings God had given them. It was convenient to believe in a god who lived in only one place and could not leave that place. Isaiah calls his people to remember all God had done and was still doing, even though they were not in Israel at the time. God was greater than one who was struck in one place. It is a great message of hope, that God was living among them, and loving them, despite their no longer living in the Promised land.

We are not so different from the exiled people of God, we who live in a land where the church has lost its former perceived glory and influence on the culture. When we lose touch with our relationship with God, we can easily lose hope as well. We can debate about how great our past effect on the culture really was, but we live in the here and now, and God is also with us, offering the guidance and wisdom we need to do the work God has for us to do in the present. It does not help us or God’s plan, to get stuck in the past, and wallow in what did not get accomplished. That will only feed the evil intentions, who are very willing to build on negative thoughts and guilt. Instead, we can choose to listen to the voice of God, who offers us hope, and love for our souls. Now, at this time, we need to remind each other of what God does within us, allowing us to not only carry on. We can even thrive as we approach our lives in different ways and discover how we may still love each other. God calls us to do the work of love, and help God overcome the evil that would get in the way of love.  Comforting God, we thank you for all the great things you have done in the world and in us, and we look forward to the great things you offer to accomplish in and through us for the future. Grant us your guidance and perseverance as we place ourselves in your hands, doing the work, and using the gifts we have been given, for your glory and honor. We will trust in you and let go of our fear.  Amen.    PEACE   

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BEYOND OUR 5 SENSES – is a gift from God. This is not hocus-pocus or something out of fantasy writing. Instead, it is one of the facets that develop in us as we grow in our relationship with God.

This is how many of the characters in the Bible accomplished what God asked them to do. God asks us to lift our heads and hearts out of the muck of the world, so that we may begin to see what God has put within us and around us. We are loved beyond anything we can understand. Through this love, we are able to raise our senses beyond what they are now, with God’s help. As the Psalmist once did, we may raise the question, “Who am I, Lord, that you are mindful of me?” (Psalm 8:4) In another Psalm, we hear the affirmation of just one of the many ways God cares for us. “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” (Psalm 68:19) Think of the glorious lives we could live if we can visualize how God is carrying the weight of our burdens. We need not be exhausted by carrying what God can lift off our backs. This is the beginning of what it could mean to live beyond our senses. God will help us teach our brains and our hearts to see life without the heavy loads that stop us from making a difference in our own lives and the lives we could touch with the renewed energy – the result of learning to live life in the way God is ready to show to us.

“God will supply all your needs according to the glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19  In our growing relationship with God, we begin to internalize and trust these kinds of understandings of what our working together with God does for us, while also knowing the new ways that God makes it possible for us to act. When we are willing to let go of our fear that evil wants us to carry, we will begin to see the world as a different place than we might have seen before. The first difference may be a vision of what creation is meant to be. Hurt and anger will fade, as we see more and more of the beauty of God’s creation. This includes more than the glorious beauty of nature. We will begin to see people who are blessed by God, showing how much joy and good humor are within them. Evil prevents us from seeing all this until we are ready to say things like “Thank you God for my life and the love you give me.” Evil cringes and runs away from gratitude and love. Even making these kinds of statements, before we entirely feel them, will banish evil and open our hearts to receive more love and the blessings God has promised and given to so many others before us. The world is not a reliable source to tell us about what is beyond our 5 senses. Most of these blessings are hidden from the world. Evil makes sure they continue to be hidden. Reaching out to God will break the invisible barrier. We will then begin an ever-growing relationship into the blessings and gifts waiting for us with God. Then God will expand our capacity to see a vision of what God’s new creation can be, with our help.  O God, who has loved us all from the beginning, we are grateful. Help us reach out to you and begin or increase our lives of love and grace with you. As you have shown us through the suffering of Jesus, you are there with us, no matter what we may have to carry. You will lighten our burdens and set us on the path of a new way to live. We are grateful for the promises and for all you have done for us, so far. Guide us in how we live from here, so that we may grow in your loving embrace and learn how to open that love to others. In the name of Jesus’ love and sacrifice.  Amen.     PEACE    

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OVERCOME FEAR AND DOUBT – just as Jesus did with Thomas. The women had seen the early evidence of Jesus’ overcoming death. Then some of the disciples also had experiences of Jesus’ resurrection. Thomas was not among them when any of this happened. Many of the others were gathering in community for support in their grief. This does not seem to be the way Thomas wanted to process his anger over Jesus’ death. We all have the choice to handle our emotions in extreme situations in ways that seem to work best for us. Thomas chose to sink into his anger and fear. Then we read in John 20,  26  Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

Reading between the lines, we see that Jesus knew how Thomas was struggling. So he reached out to Thomas. We are told elsewhere that the rest could not touch him before he ascended. Somehow Jesus made an exception for this struggling disciple.  “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

28 “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. 29 Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

Are we able to believe without seeing? Thomas had a unique opportunity that Jesus gave him at the time of his need. Jesus knew Thomas and made it possible to turn the situation around for him, with that offer to touch him. Jesus knows each of us and will turn us toward the path we need to travel by the opportunities we are given. It will be a blessing for our lives if we accept the choice we are given. May we learn from Thomas’s opportunity and let Jesus overcome our anger, fears and doubt.  O Risen Lord, we are grateful for the gifts of love and forgiveness your death on the cross made possible. Help us accept these gifts and let go of all the emotions we hang onto. Show us how we may live in your love and not need other emotions to protect us from the ugliness of the world. Guide us with the strength and courage that comes from you, to live out our calling of loving and serving those in need.  Help us see the vision of how different and fulfilling our lives can be when we work with you.  Amen.      PEACE    

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IS GOD – our Creator, Jesus, our Redeemer and the Holy Spirit. We may worry or even agonize, at times, over how we can connect to God and this love. Through a long illness, I began to do just that. Then during a meditation, it was layed out before me, so I could see how it works and all the connections that are in place to show how it happens within each one of us. The connections are all there, born with us, by virtue of who created us. God created us all, with the idea of wanting a relationship with us. Jesus, then, made the connection to all people, past, present and future, as a teacher and by his death and resurrection – to redeemed and forgive all sin, binding up our souls in love and grace. Third is the constant connection of Jesus’ Spirit, our closest connection, and the one that makes sense of all the mystery. This Spirit bridges all the gaps, so that we may come to feel how strong all these connections can be.

These three aspects of God are the major connections the Holy One has put in place. Yet, these are by no means the only ones. A comparison to a spider web may help here. Webs made by certain spiders are quite precise and even geometric. There are spokes that run from the center to the outer edge and are then connection points to something fixed, that does not move. Then there are many cross strands running between the spokes to bridge the gaps in between. What results is a lace like structure that is very strong. If one part of the web should suffer damage from outside forces, the rest remains in place. We have such a web of connections surrounding us. There are myriad ways that God has designed into our relationship, to make additional connections, like a web. These come about as we live and through the work of the Holy Spirit. In JOHN 7, we hear about this gift of Jesus, who, here, promises this connection.  37 On the last and most important day of the feast Jesus stood up and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.  38 If anyone believes in me, rivers of living water will flow out from that person’s heart, as the Scripture says.”  39 Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit. The Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet been raised to glory. But later, those who believed in Jesus would receive the Spirit.”  Then in JOHN 8, Jesus gifts us with another connection:  “I am the light of the world. The person who follows me will never live in darkness but will have the light that gives life.”   As we read scripture, we can find the unimaginable number of connections there really are. It is a demonstration of how strongly God has planned for us all to be connected. Even those who are not religious have these connections. I have often marveled at how loving and kind many can be, who are not religious. Yet, they know some kind of urging or calling to be loving and merciful those in need. We can all know the power of these connections to the Holy One, through prayer and the intention to stay in the presence of the Spirit. There will be forces that work to break our connections. They can be restored through asking, in prayer.   O Holy One, who show yourself to us in so many ways, we are grateful for all the connections. Thank you that these many connections are so strong. We ask that these strands continue to hold us in love and grace,, that we may follow our path walking in the presence of these bonds you offer us. Help us walk in this sure and certain presence every day.  Amen.     PEACE     

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WHILE WE LET GOD GUIDE US – not trying to be obedient on our own, and failing when it gets hard. We fool ourselves, and believe the evil around us, if we think we can be obedient to God, without God’s help. God wants to be in our lives and is not impressed by us trying to be “strong” and doing it all on our own. This living with God is not a game of impressing God, either. We are listening to the wrong people or those who don’t have a relationship with God when we believe we should be independent and show God we can do this all by ourselves. The world urges this mindset and the institutional church has also championed this. That is not what a life with God is like. God is already with us, inside us, and knows how we struggle and the fears we have, yet still loves us without malice or judgment.

We are Christ’s beloved, and he is ready to carry our burdens with us. When Jesus says, 28 “Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest.  29 Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives”, he is saying that we don’t have to be a hero, and carry our burdens by ourselves. God does not want us to suffer in this way and is not impressed by it. So Jesus then says, 30 “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” A yoke is a wooden apparatus, with a space for the heads of two oxen, and is designed to help hold them together, to work in tandem, so they can work safely and efficiently. This is the picture Jesus shows us, of how he will work together with us, arm in arm, to bear our burdens with us, and lend us the strength to get through our suffering. This is what obedience really is, faithfulness in practice. Opening ourselves to God, letting go of our pride, and relinquishing our need for control, in order to gain a life of humility, working in tandem with the Holy Spirit, to do what we are called to do.     Loving and compassionate God, who is willing to work right next to us, we are grateful. Help us learn to walk with you in faith, knowing you will be the guiding strength and direction, as we walk the rocky path you have given us. Increase our thankfulness and joy, as we learn to trust your love that will never get us lost.  Amen.     PEACE    

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WE TALK WITH GOD – in an intimate relationship, where we know God knows all about us. Let’s get real for a minute here. At some point, as we grow in our relationship with God, we may get beyond only praying written prayers and really open our hearts to God.. For in expressing the groanings of our hearts, we are admitting them to ourselves while we also give them to God. So pray with a sincere heart to God, instead of those who babble out someone else’s prayer, or as the Pharisees prayed. When we pray to God, we first acknowledge God is already within us and knows us better than we know ourselves, as we hear in Romans 8:  “the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”  God created us and knows all the gifts and abilities given to us and within us. God loves us unconditionally and has in mind what we might become. So it is just silly, when we pray at God, as if God does not know every hair on our heads and all that we are thinking. When we pray this way, it is fear that is in control and we will have no end of frustration and many obstacles standing in the way of a happy life. Jesus teaches us in Matthew 6:  “when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask.” When we pray to God letting go of fear, in all earnestness and sincerity, with love and gratitude for God, we will know God’s loving response.

Some days it may be hard to start our prayers with God. If we have no words, they are not necessary. God knows our hearts and desires. In our minds, we can lay ourselves at God’s feet and cry out, or try this, as Colossians 3 tells us, “sing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” God will give us the ability to get up and accomplish what God has in mind.  17 “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  Beloved and merciful God, we are grateful for your loving and forgiving nature, which is so open to us and our cries for help. Protect us from evil influences and guide us toward a deeper relationship, where we feel confident and assured of your unconditional love and forgiveness. Guide us in this path throughout every day. Keep us connected to the lessons from Jesus and certain in the power from the Holy Spirit.  Amen.     PEACE    

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IN FAITHFUL LIVING – is the pattern we see in Proverbs 3. It is a clear and reassuring description of what it means to live a life faithfully following the commandment to love God and then to love others.   5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.” We hear echoes of what Jesus spoke about much later, to rely on God in order to love others, not in our own strength. We will be frustrated in trying to love on our own, because God is the source. So in order for this to work, we have to be strongly connected to that source. Only then will the energy flow freely and with the power that God gives us. It is like plugging in to God. Until we do this, our results will be unpredictable and we will be at risk from evil turning our intention into something else – fear, jealousy, anger or even hate.

13 “Happy are those who find [God’s] wisdom, and those who get understanding …18 It is a tree of life to those who lay hold of it; those who hold it fast are called happy.” In verses 13 and 18 we are told just how vital it is that we connect to God, in order to love others. I have spoken about self interest being a motivator, and here we see it in verse 18, that we will find happiness when we connect to the love and wisdom God offers. The very end of the chapter puts it in perspective though – 35 “The wise will inherit honor, but stubborn fools, disgrace.” I am motivated by the sight of all the trees coming to life again, and think of the love and care God has put into the complicated system of life that keeps the cycle renewing itself each spring. Recently, this tree was just beginning to show signs of new life, and in just two days, was displaying the strength of the life force within it more openly. I see and connect to this life force – the wisdom of God, who is so great as to create all of life and wishes us to be a channel of love. As we consider our lives each day, it may help to observe the plants and trees around us. They are an assurance of the steadfastness of God’s love shown through creation, in the midst of turmoil. Wise and loving God, we thank you for the abundant evidence all around us, showing your power and wisdom. May we reach in and connect to you, gaining the strength you offer us. Guide us in using these resources to love others, as you have shown us.  Amen.     PEACE    



IS A PRACTICE OF SEEKING GOD – and living an ordinary life of devotion to God. We do not need to practice extraordinary ways of praying to God. We may pray on our knees, but God is not impressed with this kind of prayer over other ways of praying and seeking God. Praying only at special times or with words designed to impress does not at all sway God’s heart. Instead, we are to live ordinary lives, where we love others without expecting gain for ourselves. God knows our heart and there is no hiding our inner thoughts from God. We are as transparent as water to God. Everything we say or think is known by God. When we are honest with ourselves, we are most able to be a channel for God’s love to flow through us to others around us.

In Luke 11 Jesus tells us how to seek God in this way:  9 “So I tell you, ask, and God will give to you. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will open for you.  10 Yes, everyone who asks will receive. The one who searches will find. And everyone who knocks will have the door opened.” This is one way to come into a relationship with God, and begin the transformation by the Holy Spirit, into an ordinary, day in and day out, living as God directs us to live, kind of life. Behold the beloved of Christ, all who seek will know that God is already in us, guiding and supporting our lives, even when we did not know it.  O God who loves us in extraordinary ways, come into our ordinary lives and teach us how to love without fear, while we listen in prayer every day for your direction. Thank you for your unconditional love and understanding in all we do for your people. Amen.     PEACE   

side view photo of woman kneeling on grass field with mountains in the background



AND MAINTAINS THE CONNECTION – of an unbreakable bond between us and God. In a relationship with God, we are not totally responsible to keep the connection, nor are we chained in that relationship. God’s grace is the real glue that holds us in this loving bond and keeps up the connection to hear and feel God’s presence. It is a connection of choice though. When we are willing to place ourselves in God’s care, to follow a life of faith, it is God who helps us hang onto the ribbon. Many who think of themselves as Christian, also think that they must do the hard work of living a Godly life, resisting sin, and maintaining the connection all alone. Then when this proves to be too difficult, they blame themselves Many in the institutional church blame them as well, for not believing hard enough and for not being obedient.

The truth is that God and the grace we receive is what makes a faithful life possible. Our “work” is to choose to listen to God every day and respond as the Spirit leads us. It is only in this kind of relationship that we live the life Jesus offered us. It is a free flowing dynamic kind of life that is exciting and humbling. Yes, God wants to live with us in this way. God wants and accepts us as we are and God will help us grow into what God needs us to be. Jesus never talked down to anyone or thought them unworthy of coming to him. So there can be no reason to prevent us from beginning a life with God. We are already living with God, because God is within us all. We only need to acknowledge God is with us, and begin by opening our hearts in prayer.  Ever-present God, we are grateful for your love within us. Help us see your love in us, and know that when we are able to love others, it is because you are there, showing us what that love is like. Guide us as we grow in understanding this love and show us how to live always in love for you and others.  Amen.     PEACE    

woman with yellow backpack standing on hanging bridge with trees



KEEPS OUR FAITH ALIVE – and it is only in this way that it happens. There are a number of books out there that suggest methods for refreshing our faith, or restoring a feeling we once had. These gimmicks  seem to be directed at those who have a belief, but not a relationship. It may help us feel as if we are really doing something we should, to get closer to God. Lots of people and churches would have us believe there is a formula for keeping our faith. If we do this or that in a certain order every day, then this will get us into God’s good books and all that will fix the problem. The trouble is this isn’t the way to make the connection to God. In John 6: 35 Jesus said, “I am the bread that gives life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” When we come to Jesus in humility, confessing our need for a living connection, this is the beginning of a relationship with God. And Jesus also says in Matthew 11: 28 “Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest.  29 Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives.  30 The burden that I ask you to accept is easy; the load I give you to carry is light.” This is the description of the relationship Jesus wants with us. It is more than a once and done decision to believe. Instead, this is a day in and day out 24/7 kind of relationship with our creator, savior and comforter. It is like a family relationship, in an atmosphere of never-ending love and acceptance.

The quick fix books exist to address the problem of a stale faith, or a burned out perspective on God and the church. With a living and active relationship with God, it is not possible to feel burned out or stale, unexcited or bored by our faith. When we do stray from our path, or lose our focus of where God is leading us, there is only one way to get it back, and that is with God’s help and direction. We pray to God, in humility, and ask forgiveness, and guidance to return to the path God has given us. There will be no judgment or anger, only love for those who have strayed and are now returned. As we see in the parables, God welcomes us back into loving arms, just like the Prodigal Son.  Gracious God, accept us back into the unconditional love and mercy you offer us, and guide us on the path you have set for us, and are walking along with us. Amen.     PEACE   




TO ALL WHO LOVE GOD – no matter what is happening in our lives. Psalm 30 tells of God’s delivering of the people from enemies, as well as healings and restoration from sorrow. Those who love and praise God will receive these gifts and even more. No matter what we suffer through the night, we will be given “joy in the morning.” Paul tells us in Galatians 5 that among the gifts from the Holy Spirit comes love, peace and joy. There are many things in life that can give us an experience of joy – creation itself in all of its examples, wonderful music, beautiful art, a baby or a child, and those we love are all sources of joy, channeled through them from the original source – God, the ultimate source of love, peace and joy. There are many reasons why we experience joy and sometimes it seems to be random, not connected to anything.

I woke early one morning, and without warning, a feeling of pure joy came from the center of my body. I felt awe at the wonder of it. I also noted that it was not something I thought, although we can think of joyful things. It is unexplainable and there is no reason why it should be. Thankfully, God created the world in a way that not everything can be explained in rational thought. God chooses to sometimes act in mystery and the wonder of it all becomes part of the experience too. God is teaching us to live by faith and to go beyond reducing everything to rationality. I love the French phrase “joie de vivre”, meaning joy of life, a delight in being alive. I love the sound of the words and the emotional concept they so perfectly send, that living in God we can know this pure joy of a different and blessed life, on a different plane than those who are trapped in fear. When we love God and devote our lives to doing God’s work, we will live a life of love, that is spontaneously peppered with experiences of joy. Even the world around us will begin to look different to us, color and aromas may be more intense. Happiest of all, those who also live in peace, love and joy will stand out to us. We will be encouraged by the way they live their lives. Our connection to God will be stronger. Through all of this, we will become more confident to act more boldly for God.  Loving God, we thank you for all the blessings you share with us, the gifts you bestow in the Spirit – love, peace and especially JOY. Teach us to be grateful and learn how to share your joy with others, that they may come to know your joy too.  Amen.     PEACE    

content multiethnic colleagues joining hands after coming to agreement



FOR JESUS HOLDS NO CONDEMNATION – because we will be greeted with love. We hear in the Gospel of John 5:  24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears what I say and believes in the One who sent me has eternal life. That person will not be judged guilty but has already left death and entered life. 25 I tell you the truth, the time is coming and is already here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will have life.” There is no guilt or judgment spoken here. There is only a message of acceptance, when we believe in God. This is a promise – one that is available to all of us.

The message of guilt that so many of us think is what we face from Jesus is not what Jesus said at all. It is unfortunately a message that the church hierarchy has sent over the centuries, in order to make people behave. Many in the church of the past and the present, have failed God by telling lies about what Jesus expects of us. It suited their purposes and filled their desire for power to control others. They have tried to put themselves in a place of authority over others, with anything but love as their intention. And yet even they are able to be forgiven. God does not place conditions on who will be forgiven and who will not. There is NOTHING that can stand in the way of a relationship with God, no sin, no guilt so awful that God will not forgive us. Never believe the message of fear that others may try to make us believe. With God, all things are forgiven. No one needs to feel unforgivable. God loves us now and will always love us, as a loving parent and a partner in the work of transforming the world into God’s new creation.  Gracious God, we thank you for your grace shown as unconditional love for us all. Give us the understanding to believe in this great gift, and accept it. Let your love rain down on us, that we may feel it and share it with others.  Amen.    PEACE   

woman stands on mountain over field under cloudy sky at sunrise



THROUGH READING THE BIBLE – does more than we can imagine. Just like everything else with God, when we put ourselves in a state of being influenced by reading scripture, or being open to God speaking to us through the Bible, we will be surprised by something in the experience. I don’t think I have ever read a passage for the first time, or after many times, when I haven’t had something new jump out at me that I haven’t heard or seen before. This is the Holy Spirit reaching out to touch us. We will always find new meaning in it. It is, in fact, the work of the Holy Spirit connecting us in that experience. For as long as we have had scriptural accounts, they have had the sense of living stories of God and the people who encounter God. So we do not just read the words, but the Holy Spirit impresses those words and their meaning on our hearts and minds. We can never know what will happen until we begin the process and the more open we are the more exciting will be the result.

Praying Bible passages is another way we can experience the Bible in a deeper and more unique way than reading. This can be done in whatever way works for us. Starting with a story or section that is already of interest to us, prayerfully read it several times. If it is something short enough to memorize then close your eyes, which will remove distractions and repeat it several times. A third way would be to pray before reading for: insight, understanding, or whatever you might need at the time, to continue God’s work. However we read, whatever version we use, and whatever way we pray, the Bible will always be a blessing in our day, will bring us closer to God, and what God now has for us to do.   Creator and sustainer, we thank you for including us in your living presence in the Bible. May we continue to be inspired and equipped to do your will through it.  Amen.     PEACE   

man sitting on sofa reading book



OPPORTUNITIES – to continue our lives with the love and support of loved ones, even when they pass on to a new and different life. God does not separate us from that love. In fact, it is not in God’s nature to do that. Instead, God has provided ways to continue those loving relationships in a different manner. The spirits of those loved ones are never far from us and are communicating love to us every day. Society does not treat well those who have God-given gifts to communicate spiritually with those who have passed on. Many have suffered ridicule when they are really all about love and being the pathway to bring that love from our loved ones in another realm to comfort and guide us. So many of these folks are living in relationship with God and acknowledge the gifts and abilities they have as being from God. This is the key to sorting through the claims out there. When we are connected to God, it will help us discern whether they are connected to God in what they are doing and the intention for what they do. As far as the Bible is concerned, in 1 John 4, we are told to test the spirits. There are folks out there who would seek to take advantage of grief-stricken people. The defining point is whether that person is channeling love and God, while passing on the love from our loved ones in the spiritual world. Anything else is to be avoided.

The Bible has passages that are very unloving in the attitude toward those who are called to be intermediaries. Yes, we should be aware of their motivation and guard against evil, but translators in the past have been influenced by evil spirits too. Otherwise, why would they be so unloving in blanket statements about mediums and those who see or hear spirits? There are also many other stories of interactions with supernatural beings that God approves. It is not something to be feared if we ourselves should see or hear something. In past centuries, fear and need for control of others have done way too much to generate fear about those who have passed on. In book after book, I have heard writers say that their own experience is all about love, from God and from those who have gone before us. So do not fear experiences that are out of the ordinary. Test and make sure they are loving. Then open to what the message of love is. The message from God is that love opens us to new experiences of growing in love. If we are to experience God’s love in personal ways, the experience is bound to be unusual and not in keeping with worldly ideas. The very nature of having experiences of love from God helps to protect us from evil. Evil is always willing to move into a void so if we are filled with God’s love, there is no place for evil. Seek out God’s love and let it fill us up. Pray for this to be accomplished in us.

Loving God, we are grateful for ways you reach out to us in love. Help us see unusual experiences full of love as being from you. Guide us away from fear and trust your love for us is stronger, and will stay in us, if we allow it. Give us the openness to let you stay in our hearts, and see your love in others too.  Amen.     PEACE    




IS WITH US – and is supporting and caring for us, can be the difference in how well we get through our days. I confess, that many times, I have let distractions of all sorts get between me and God. There have been times when I let go of my practicing consciousness prayer and the results are not pretty and not what I want in my life. I have let negativity creep in and take over. Everything is harder, certainly not joyful, it affects others around me in negative ways and I don’t like myself very much. I remember a time long ago, when I felt like this most of the time and I never thought it possible that it would return. But then, here I am, and it stinks.

One morning, the words of one of my favorite hymns started going through my head. I stopped and began praying and singing it in my head. Psalm 91 is what came to mind and “On Eagles Wings” is the song based on that Psalm. It is comforting and at the same time uplifting. The music soars and adds to the message the words bear. 14 ‘The Lord says, “Whoever loves me, I will save. I will protect those who know me. 15 They will call to me, and I will answer them. I will be with them in trouble; I will rescue and honor them. 16 I will give them a long, full life, and they will see how I can save.”’ Psalm 91 NCV

It is not lost on me that God reminded me of the song and the Psalm, because I was unconsciously calling to God for help. Something in me said uncle and cried out to God. God had not gone away and responded to me with love and support. This same support and connection is available and ready to come to us all. Gracious and loving God, may we all know your love and support – when we need it and when we think we don’t.  Amen.     PEACE   

Check it out on line.  





CAN HELP US LIVE BETTER – and fulfill our calling from God. It is a focus on something like breathing, as this short resource below explains, or it could be looking at something like a flower or other still object.  This practice of focus, on a simple object or a process, like the air as it comes through our nose, helps to calm us from a stressful or distracted state. It allows us to stop our scattered thinking and refocus our being on one thing. If simple techniques don’t work, try an activity that needs complete concentration and coordination, like walking on a line in a sidewalk,  or tossing a pebble back and forth, from one hand to another. These activities need focus and have little consequence. We are then stronger and more able to pick up our lives again in a better and less stress-filled frame of mind. If we are able to move into prayer from there, so much the better.

I believe we are able to do this because of the way we have been created by God. This is a gift from God, allowing us to renew our minds and hearts, while letting go of the things that are sending us off in unproductive directions. It is easy to teach ourselves how to practice this. Next time we feel out of control in the midst of a whirlwind around us, let us stop and take 5 minutes to return our focus to God and the task at hand. For instance, if you find yourself in a crowded space and cannot see something to fix your focus on, do this. Take out your phone and find a picture of a loved one. If looking at the picture isn’t enough, imagine yourself with the person or people. Love adds energy to our efforts, to give us the focus we need. This is a blessing each time we use it. Even children can be taught to do this, and it will bless their lives, as well as everyone around them too. Many school districts are using mindfulness exercises with students who get angry, instead of punishment routines. It is proving to be very effective and may stop escalating behavior. This technique will serve to pull us all out of a less desirable and unproductive state. When this works for you, share it with others.   Loving God, remind us of this tool you have provided the next time we need to stop the madness and refocus on living our lives for your kingdom, and spreading the love to all those around us.  Amen.     PEACE   


boy looking on a tidied desk



SOMETIME EACH DAY – can be a time of cleansing and focus. Besides acknowledging God is with us all of the time, taking time each day to bring us back to a focus on God and get rid of everything that is distracting us away from what we want to accomplish that day with God, and especially what God wants us to do. It is a renewing experience. Asking God to rid us of all evil influences in our vicinity is very helpful to restore the energy we need to be effective in whatever we are doing. Asking God to remove all the thoughts we don’t need to finish what we are doing is a very freeing experience. God wants us to be able to work effectively and with as little frustration as possible. The energy we are given for whatever we do is a precious resource and we can learn to remove obstacles, with God’s help, that get in the way of the wasting of that energy.

Practicing love is another powerful way of renewing this energy. Romans 12 helps remind us of the purpose of our lives.  2 “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

I am a knitter and I’ve found it is a helpful way for me to renew my energy. Knitting can be a spiritual exercise to help return our focus. It is also a practice that supports focusing prayer. So besides the consciousness prayer, I also use knitting as one technique to refocus my energies. Being an empath, that is being attuned to what others are feeling around me, can be draining and I have found knitting to be very supportive to bring myself back into harmony with God, after being around selfishness and greed. The inherent mindfulness of the practice of knitting with its repetitive nature and rhythm is very conducive to the renewal of our hearts, minds, bodies and spirits. Because it has a physical aspect to it, it can help bring us back into wholeness with God and ourselves. Other activities may help to restore wholeness – running or walking gets us out into the natural world which adds its own elements of a renewal. Praying during this activity is an easy addition. Enjoying Spring and its renewal of the earth is supportive of the work of refocusing ourselves on God.  Oh renewing God, may we find practices which help renew our focus on the spirit you have put in us, that we may have new energy for your work of spreading love and acceptance. Teach us how to find and use these ways to help others who are searching for you.  Amen.     PEACE    

man meditating on a tree log



IS ONE OF LOVE AND SUPPORT – as we walk through our lives each day. In our walk with God, we are given support for whatever burden we are carrying that day. We hear this in Matthew 11,  28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” This support from God lightens our load to the point where it should not make it at all hard to do what we are called to do that day or any day. When we learn to use the energy and gifts God has given us, we will feel ready and eager to face each day with love and joy in our hearts and a willingness to give them to others. We receive from God and joyfully share these blessings with all whom we meet. It is a well that will never grow dry, when we are willing to give as freely as God gives to us.

There is a phenomenon in our culture, as well as others, that tells us to take on the burdens of those we love, as if this could lighten those burdens they are carrying. This can be extended to others outside our family and usually involves worrying over their problems. This seems to be encouraged in women, although many men may do this too. I was shown this in myself a while ago and I was appalled at how illogical this is. We are taught to see this as an act of love. It is very destructive to us and our ability to live out our lives as we are called, by God, to live them. The burdens of others become oppressive and too much to bear. We have no way to choose how to handle them for the person they belong to, so we cannot resolve them. They are stones around our necks and serve to pull us down to a point where we are not able to function properly in our own lives. If we try to force others to resolve the burdens, we will usually encounter resentment and anger. This will only lead to hurt, since we have been operating from a place of love. Whether we believe that our choices to fix their problems are better or not, they are not our choices to make. God has given that right to each of us to make our own choices. In examining our hearts to see if we, indeed, have been trying to carry the burdens of others, we can pray for the help we will need to change the way we have been handling this kind of situation. First, we can lay all the burdens at God’s feet. That is where they belong. Then God will help us transition from our old behavior to a healthier approach to loving others. We may also become more aware of the support from God we are given each day. From ancient times, many have seen the yoke as a device of burden, tying us to another to carry a load. Jesus helps us see the yoke as a device of sharing our burden with him. As the quote indicates, Jesus may even be pulling more weight than we are. At times in our lives, we may need this much help. Sometimes, it is enough for us to just be present in the situation, while Jesus is doing the heavy lifting. Grief is one that comes to mind. When we are in a state of grief and pain, we are supported and even carried from day to day. God, in great love, is willing to do that for us. It does not work for us to replace God’s efforts for others. Only God’s love can accomplish what is in God’s design.  O loving and supportive God, we are thankful for your love and support each day. We are grateful that, even when we feel unworthy of it, you still love us unconditionally. Help us see if we attempt to carry burdens that are not ours to carry. Help us trust that you are in the lives of others, to do just that. Show us how to effectively support those we love. Thank you for the yoke of support Jesus offers us.   Amen.     PEACE    




FOR GOD CALLS US TO USE THEM – to glorify God, and for purposes only God can know. There are lists of gifts in several places including 1 Corinthians, Romans and here in Acts 2.  18 “In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on my servants – men and women alike – and they will prophesy.” These lists are only a small beginning of the many gifts God provides us though. We are called to discover our gifts and with God’s guidance, to learn how to use them. God will need us to use them in some way for the New Creation. In the meantime, they are meant to be a delight and enrich our own life and for others in our lives, as well. So watch for the signs God gives us, to see what gifts we have been given and for knowing how we should develop them. Be ready for others to support that growth and for opportunities to use our gifts for the joy of others. They are meant to be shared freely. However, if they are not shared, they will only wither and die, no more to be a blessing to us or anyone else. If we choose to let them develop in us, we may find that they can become the center and delight of our lives. Some of our gifts could become the reason we have to get up in the morning or the motivation we need to get through a tough day. Our gifts can be a blessing if we embrace them or a curse if we try to bury them or turn away.

Gifts are something we are good at, as well as being somehow drawn to do, giving us back a feeling of fulfillment. Depending on our relationship with God, using our gifts may have further benefits. We may experience a growth beyond what we expect and a joy we cannot logically explain. If we examine our lives in light of this understanding, the gifts should stand out for us, without a doubt. At the root of these gifts will be love and joy. We will feel a passion for expressing our gifts, especially if we are tapped into how God wants us to use them. My life’s experience of developing consciousness prayer and learning to write about it has been such an experience for me. I am humbled at how God has used me and thrilled to be a part of such a life-affirming enterprise. May we all have eyes to see our gifts and be led to use them for God and the joy they will bring.  Gracious God, may we all find and understand the gifts with which you have blessed us and learn how we can serve you while using them, to assist in the work of your new creation, now and as it is to come.  Amen.     PEACE   

potter and clay



BREAD THAT DOES NOT SPOIL – unlike the hoarded manna, Jesus offers us something much better. Two favorite activities in my life have been gardening and bread making. Both of them are opportunities to be involved with God, who gives life to the process. In gardening, it seems obvious that we do the planting, while God gives the growth and makes the harvest possible. In making bread, it may seem as though the baker does all the work, but the yeast is what makes the desired results possible and it is God who has created the life force in the yeast to make the dough rise and the properties of grain, that make the texture unique. For breakfast on Thanksgiving and Christmas, we make fried bread and my older son has taken on the job of making the dough, using a turn of the 20th century bread maker, essentially a pail with a dough hook, that is turned manually until a beautiful elastic ball of dough results. It is allowed to rise once, then rolled out to about 1/2” thick, and cut into 3” squares. Then the magic begins. They are put into a hot frying pan of bacon drippings and browned on the first side. By then the dough has warmed, and begun to rise. They are turned over, and they really rise quickly at this point. The result is something heavenly, that may look like a square English muffin, but when split and buttered is light on the inside and crispy on the outside. My sister insists that you must cook them in bacon drippings, to add even more to the flavor. If there are any cold ones left, we use them like English muffins in the toaster. Nirvana!

The origin of this is either England or Northern Ireland, although other cultures have their own versions. I don’t know who conceived it, so I give thanks to God who gives the bread life. In John 6, shortly after the feeding of the multitude with fish and bread, Jesus talks about himself as the bread of life.  32 “Then Jesus said to the people, … ‘it was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven. My Father gives you the true Bread from heaven.  33 The Bread of God is He Who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ … 35 Jesus said to them, “’I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me will never be hungry.’ ”  Whether we enjoy homemade or bakery bread, the spiritual bread Jesus provides offers us a depth of living that is unavailable for purchase. Making and enjoying our own homemade bread may be a wonderful experience. The bread from Jesus surpasses anything that can be produced by humans and is truly a life-sustaining force. May this power manifest itself in our lives, for the work we are called to do in the world. Loving God, who creates the life in us and sustains us with the spiritual food we need to survive, we are grateful for this devotion. Just as you provided the manna for all the years the Israelites were in the wilderness, we look forward to your sustaining love every day. Help us live and grow in love and understanding, guiding us into the life you have called us to live.  Amen.     PEACE    



IN AN EVERYDAY EXPERIENCE- is something God wants to do with us. When we know that God is love and we know God loves us, we are on our way to becoming complete. If we, in turn, love others, they feel respect from us and the dignity and love that comes from God. In the past, when we haven’t done this, it is not always our intention to withhold love. We just have not gone far enough. In order to stop the disappointment we feel when we don’t seem to manage to be loving, we can instead form a partnership with God. This means we will be more effective and successful in what God would have us do. We start our day by asking what God wants us to do. Our day will, indeed, go better when we begin with a collaboration between us and God. These words from Proverbs 3 can help us:  “Let your heart keep my words.  2 For they will add to you many days and years of life and peace.  3 Do not let kindness and truth leave you. Tie them around your neck. Write them upon your heart. … 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not trust in your own understanding.”  

We seem to be culturally programmed to try and do our best on our own. Then when it doesn’t work out, we turn to God for guidance. This is even the method the church has encouraged. As an example, when we decide to fulfill our mission by helping others, we often do things for other people, whom we see as needing help because their lives are a bit of a mess. This sets us up against them instead of working with them to reach a solution. It says to them that we think we have the answers for their lives and there is something wrong with them because they have problems. In the act of creation, God has given all of us the right to make choices for ourselves and determine our own life’s path. Not all of us have the same resources to make decisions, but we still want to make them. Seen in this light, helping others can become a matter of getting more resources to those who want to make better choices for their lives. That is the way we help in a climate of love and respect for one another’s right to determine their own lives. Anything else doesn’t work, and it isn’t how God expects us to act with love toward each other. God does not see a person in trouble as any less of a candidate for love and respect. We are all the same in the sight of God, who loves us all. In living out our partnership with God every single day, we will be shown how we can let go of our old patterns of thinking. We will be led to ways that are more respectful and loving in all that we do. This is the power of God’s love and grace working in us, that will help us be more effective and achieve what God asks us to do.   Gracious God, help us to see others in the way you see them, and stir our hearts to help in the way you would have us lend support. Show us the joy that comes from living each day in collaboration with your work of love.  Amen     PEACE  



– WHICH IS STRONGER?  It depends on who is influencing us at the time. Fear is the tool of evil, working in us in very subtle ways, undermining our confidence, encouraging self-doubt, and fostering a critical nature. We have all had times when we let evil creep into us. There are even cultural habits that support and encourage these behaviors, and so encourage and give a voice to evil in the world. God can help us recognize these habits and through grace and love help us turn away from evil ways of living. It takes a choice from us, while the strength to do it comes from God. John 4 reminds us,  15 “All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. … God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face God with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. 18 Such love has no fear because perfect love expels fear.”

Practicing love is the best way to defeat evil. When we love God and each other, in the strength and knowledge we get from God, evil shrivels and runs away to find a more willing host. Evil recoils when we invoke the name of Christ and state our love for him, along with our desire to follow Jesus. Evil and love are both energies, but because we live in a world created by God, love will win over evil every time, when we connect with God.  20 If someone says, I love God,but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 21 And God has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.  

God promises we need not live with fear when we are in God’s hands. Since we are so supported by God, we can use a repetitive prayer or mantra to block and chase away evil. It may be general or as specific as we need it to be. We may invoke the name of Jesus, as in “in the name of Jesus, be gone” or say “Leave me, evil. I live my life of love with God.” The intent is most important and the words will be given to us. Make it short so it may be repeated easily. God has spoken the truth to us. So we can believe evil will recede in this process. I can testify to it working many times. Most of all, Jesus assured us it would.  Loving God, prompt us to ask your help to protect us from evil. Chase it from our lives, in order to live with the love that strengthens us for the journey. Open our eyes to recognize the subtle forms of evil around us and guide us to commit to loving you and others every day, always with your help and strength.  Amen.     PEACE     



TO THE VERY END OF THE AGE” – comforting words that come from the very end of the gospel of Matthew. Jesus tells us clearly that we are not alone. In the work we do every day, no matter what that may be, we always have the choice of doing that work with divine help or alone. Our choice will be influenced by how we see our life and work. We may start by seeing our work as an exciting adventure

in our lives with our creator. We may also see that perspective as we grow into our relationship with the Holy One. Sadly, some of us may never see work in that light. However we are led, may we pray for all those who struggle. Every one of us may have been in uncomfortable places of not knowing which choice to make or not knowing we have resources we can call upon in a situation. We all have self interest and it is healthy to know what that is, so we will know how it will color our reactions, and then use it to make decisions. This can all be done with God’s guidance and happens more easily when we do it that way. The results will be far more effective and fulfilling when God has had a part in this work. This is a part of God’s grace at work in us all. It is the very reason why Jesus can call to us to do God’s work in the world.  “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”  [from the Message]

The Great Commission Matthew 28 [NLT] –  16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” When we look at this whole commission from Jesus, we see what Jesus has in mind. He promises his presence because he has a job for us. Jesus is about to go to the Father, and just before he goes, he sends out his followers to do the work they have been trained to do. Then he bestows on them this gift of the Holy Spirit, his presence with them every moment, to love and support them in whatever they will encounter. Jesus knows what they do will not be easy. They will have great need of the support he offers through the Holy Spirit. We still may doubt at times, just as the disciples did. Do not fear. Since Jesus has done this before, he will continue to do it again and again, in each one of us, so that our work may be done in an atmosphere of the presence of the Holy Spirit, with his guidance and support. Precious Holy Spirit, may we feel you with us every moment, knowing you will support us in whatever work you set before us. Cast out our fear, and light our paths with love and truth.  Amen.    PEACE  



 AS THE FATHER HAS SENT ME, I AM SENDING YOU.”   On the first day of the week, the very same day he appeared to Mary Magdalene, we hear in John 20 that Jesus also appeared to his disciples. “Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! ‘Peace be with you.’ ”  That simple act, of being in the locked room with them, may seem like magic – but it wasn’t magic. It was the power of God in Jesus, being displayed for the disciples. He is no longer a physical body as we understand it, but a unique state that God is using to make a point. Did the disciples fully take in the significance of the experience? They were probably somewhat overwhelmed by what was happening. Moments before, they were in this locked room because of fear of the Jewish authorities. What did they have to fear? We don’t know the details here. Implied in the passage is the fear that they would be arrested, as Jesus had been before them. But what Jesus says to them, after this powerful greeting, is designed to take them out of their fear.     

Let’s look first at the greeting and see the power it has. Jesus is bestowing a blessing on these people full of fear. He is giving them PEACE, a gift from God, a blessing that they may feel the peace of God. We can think of this as a oneness with God. This is beautifully described in Psalm 27 and shows how this oneness with God dispels fear.   1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation – so why should I be afraid?”  Jesus is saying – let go of your fear. Be present in God, who does all the things described in the Psalm and more. Then being in a state beyond fear, he tells them that he is sending them out into the world, just as the Father had sent him.   “21 Again he said, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.’ 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven.’ ”  This is an important reminder for us all, who call ourselves Christians. We are called by God and we are sent into the world, just as Jesus sent the disciples. We go with the blessing of the PEACE OF GOD. We are not carelessly sent. We are given all the resources we will need to do God’s work. Prayer is the pathway that connects us to God’s peace and the way to know all the resources that God gives us. This is why I end each day’s blog with “PEACE”.    O God of love and power, we thank you for the gifts and abilities you bestow on us. Help us learn to be thankful for them, and to use them for your purposes. Guide us as we choose to put them to work in love and through the Peace of God.  Amen.     PEACE     



I HAVE SEEN THE LORD! ” – and I have talked with him! Of all the accounts in the gospels, I find the one in John 20 the most compelling and even arresting. Mary Magdalene is alone at the tomb, crying. She has seen the tomb empty and two angels seated where Jesus’ body had been. 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” She tells them that “they have taken away my Lord.” She turns and sees a man who asks her again why is she crying? “Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Then comes the most dramatic moment of this scene. Jesus says her name, “Mary.” She cries out in response, “Teacher.” Her recognition of him by simply hearing her name said in love is poignant.

Jesus directed her to go and tell the others the good news. Imagine the joy she is feeling, along with the great relief, knowing that her beloved Jesus is not dead. He is risen from the dead, just as he had told them he would do. So she doesn’t simply go to the others, and make a casual announcement. She must have run, carried by the emotions she feels. Mary bursts in on the gathering of the disciples and followers, shouting with great joy, “I have seen the Lord!”  We can imagine she may have shouted it more than once, because she feels so much joy over this news. In their fear, the rest had not dared to hope this would happen. Now it has. And Mary is the one who gets to tell it. She is consumed by joy, but also humbled by the privilege. What unaccountable love she must have felt, for her beloved Jesus is alive, and needed her to tell the others.

It may not seem as dramatic, but we too are needed, to tell the others about the love God has shown us, that Jesus is not dead, but alive! He has triumphed over death for our sake, so that we are saved for a new way of living, a joyous and exciting way of life, walking with God every day. And to receive this life, we need only say, yes Jesus, forgive me and thank you for this great love you offer. It is a reason to live joyfully every day and motivation to tell others about the great gift of love and forgiveness we are offered. This is our true path – to turn a corner, leave fear behind and walk away from all the old habits the world taught us. They are not meant to lead us where we need to go. Only the acceptance of the forgiveness offered by the risen Christ will bring us to the path where we find true fulfillment of who we are created to be. On this path, we will find joy, love and peace.  O Risen One, we are grateful for the opportunity to live a fulfilled life where joy, love and peace are the norm, totally unlike what the world can offer. Help us overcome the fear that keeps us from that life and the glorious daily walk we are offered. Show us glimpses of what our life might be. Help us find ways of beginning to live in this way and share it with everyone we meet. Give us the smile, born of inner assurance, that will draw others to want to know the source of our joy. Continue the mantra within us. HE IS RISEN !!!  Amen.     PEACE      

May be an image of sky, twilight and nature



BUT WHERE HAS HE GONE – and why did he disappear? Uncertainty was still in the community of followers, after Jesus’ death. It was slowly revealed to a small number that something very strange had happened. Who knew the significance of such an unexplainable outcome? It was not as simple a transition as the gospel stories would make us think. Humans need time to process events, especially with the added element of grief. Caught up in these emotions, it was difficult to remember the predictions. If we empathize with the women who were there to finish the care of the dead body and then discovered the empty tomb, we can feel the fear and turmoil within them that early morning. It was not a joyous event for them, at first. Even with the appearance of the angels to reassure them and dispel their fear, it didn’t seem to really help the tremendous loss they felt with the body missing. Add that to the grief they already carried for the death of their beloved Jesus.

Then they heard the words [Luke 24] that connected them to Jesus – “Why do you look for the living among the dead?  6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:  7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”  8 Then they remembered his words.”   May we remember Jesus’ words and know his presence in us, especially when we meet fear and uncertainty. Those words are even stronger than when Jesus said them because he is now risen. All he promised is coming to pass. Our salvation is a certainty. With Jesus, we can be a part of the exciting plan for God’s new creation finally coming to be. ALLELUIA, CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED !!!  O Risen Lord, we are humbled by all you have done – in your life, death and finally the resurrection for us. Help us learn and grow into the person we have been created to be. Lead us to the life of love and grace provided for us, that we may fulfill our calling to be your disciple, while we spread your love to others. Thank you for the reminder of Easter.  Alleluia.  Amen.     PEACE     

 The Promise Fulfilled !!!


TO THE ASSURANCE JESUS GIVES US – we will experience the reward of Easter. There was one disciple who did not fall away in the turmoil and fear of the events around Jesus’ death.   26 “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’  27 Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.”   We know very little of the details but there was only John at the foot of the cross. The other disciples were not there. This says something of the faith and courage John displayed that day. John is an example for us of the kind of behavior in uncertain situations we need to ask for, in prayer.

None of the disciples knew exactly what would be happening that week, as they entered Jerusalem. They were trying to keep up with it all. So by the time it was all over, John was the only one left to offer support and love to Jesus. The rest had scattered in fear. They had a human reaction to a frightening situation. John must have been operating on a different spiritual level. He had been closer to Jesus. Perhaps he was given a vision of what was required of him. All the disciples had been given the same spiritual resources as John, though something seems to have clicked in him that didn’t in the others. We are all given the same opportunity to receive the spiritual resources that were given to the disciples. Eventually, they all rose to a better plane of spiritual behavior, using what they had experienced with Jesus and with the work of the Holy Spirit within them. They were provided what they needed, to do the work of God they had been called to do. Through prayer, we can also realize the potential for acting in God’s name, to do the work God has for each of us to do. God will do this in us when we open ourselves up to let the Spirit work in us. May we all know this blessing and willingly use it for God, acting out of the assurance that the resurrection did indeed happen. Our Lord and Savior lives in the present with us.  Ever-present Jesus, we are grateful for your abiding and loving presence in each of us. Give us the understanding to rely on your power you have put within us, from our birth. Help us connect to you inside of us, knowing how loving and beneficial your guiding Spirit is in our lives. Help us let go of fear, so we may learn to trust that you want only good for us and for others. Use what you have given us to spread love and mercy everywhere we go. In the name of you, beloved Jesus, who gave up your life so that ours might be more complete.  Amen.     PEACE    


AS JESUS GIVES UP HIS SPIRIT – in the final moments of his earthly life. Since the night before, when he was arrested and taken to jail, Jesus had endured mocking and scorn, ridiculous questioning over and over, only to be beaten without mercy. He had stripes of red welts and torn flesh from the whips and perhaps chains the Romans had used to beat and degrade him. For Jesus was accused of calling himself another king of the land, so said the Jewish authorities. There could be only one emperor. But for the Jews, he had called himself the Son of God, a blasphemy to them, who knew only the God of Israel. This could not be tolerated, or it might upset the delicate balance for the Jews, now living in their own country under Roman occupation. They were very afraid and could not see the hand of God at work in their very midst. Jesus endured all this and then dragged his own crossbar to Golgotha, sustained through all this suffering by the Father, who was with him in all the agony.

If we ever have cause to doubt the great capacity of Jesus to love beyond all human suffering, it is expressed for us in John 19.  14 ‘It was the day to get ready for the special religious gathering to remember how the Jews left Egypt. It was about noon. Pilate said to the Jews, “See, your King!”  15 They spoke with a loud voice, “Take Him away! Nail Him to a cross!” Pilate said to them, “Do you want me to nail your King to a cross?” The head religious leaders said, “We have no king but Caesar!”  16 Then Pilate handed Him over to be nailed to a cross. 17 Jesus carried His own cross to a hill called the Place of the Skull.  18 There they nailed Him to the cross.’  [New Living Translation]  In contrast to all this brutality near the end of Jesus’ earthly life, as he hangs on the cross, struggling for every breath, he turns to those few who are with him in his last hours – his mother, her sister, and Mary Magdalene, plus the one disciple, John. He acknowledges their devotion to him in asking John to care for his mother, as if she were his own.  26 “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.”  27 Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.”  [NRSV]

With that act of devotion and love satisfied, he speaks one last word, a completion of the process he had been talking about with the disciples, of not leaving them without help for their calling. He spoke of a comforter, who would be with them, to guide them in the work God had called them to do. In one last act of love and devotion, he gives up his spirit, to be our comforter and guide.  30 “When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”  May we, in great humility, also receive this spirit into our lives, so that we may walk in the way Jesus has set for us all, to complete the calling we have all received. Merciful God, whose grace and love supports us through our pain, help us feel a bit of our Lord’s pain today. May we grow in our capacity to act from love when we see a need in others. Teach us how to see as Jesus saw, using eyes of love.  Amen.     PEACE     

grayscale photo of the crucifix


AS HE PREPARED FOR DEATH – he prayed to the Father in heaven and asked God to glorify him. He had told all those who were following him, about God, and through him, they had come to know God. The time of Passover was celebrated together as a spiritual community. As a part of this, the foot washing and the last supper with his followers took place. Then he went on, as we hear in John 17, to include all those in the future that will come to know him.  “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me . . .”  Jesus is promising that just as he and the Father are one, we will also be one with them in the faith. Through believing and faithfulness, we will be together in an unbreakable bond with our God. Jesus’ prayer is for the community – the disciples and followers of the time and all those in the future would be a part of God’s fellowship in the future – drawn together by the word and Spirit and through our relationship with God.

As Jesus prayed in the garden, he may have been including the community of God’s people, while he allowed God to prepare him for the events that were about to unfold. This focus of why he was here – to bring together and energize  God’s children – was one of the reasons he could face the imminent future. This unbreakable bond is why we know God is with us, in everything that happens to us. Just as the Father was with Jesus in everything he was about to experience throughout his trial, death and resurrection, Jesus declares God is with us as we walk or crawl, skip, stumble or run through our lives. In whatever obstacles we meet, we have a comforter and guide. Throughout the history of God’s people, many had forgotten that God wanted a relationship with them. So Jesus is making it plainly understood here – we are in relationship with God and one another. The community is the basis of everything. The beginning of verse 21 is particularly dear to me. “that they all may be one” is, not only central to our faith, it is also the central idea for the United Church of Christ, the denomination I am part of, and have been all my life. That verse is not only a declaration that we all are one in Christ, but that it is our goal to treat others in that loving way. It is a hope that the world may be transformed into a community where this is truly the reality. It also speaks of an attitude of justice, where there is no difference in the way we treat each other. Finally, it is a description of the way things will be when God’s New Creation comes to us all. As we pray with Jesus in the garden, walk with Jesus and see him betrayed, is put on trial and crucified, we feel the pain but know we are all one in him, as he suffered and died for our cleansing, and will give us strength for our journey.   Loving and merciful God, who is with us in every experience of our lives, we are grateful. Thank you for your presence in all trials and joy. Teach us to extend that same love and mercy to all others around us. Guide us in seeing everyone as you see them, in utter love, without judgment. Help us pass on your words of love and mercy to all.  Amen.     PEACE  

silhouette image of person praying


THROUGH MANY STAGES – as we grow with God, through prayer and action. As we live with God every day, the love that is God moves us into new and unknown experiences. We may not feel ready until we are tested. If God is moving us, then we are ready. God has been preparing us for new and bigger challenges God needs us to face. We have been given lives of purpose, in order to help change the world and bring it into God’s sphere of love. God needs us. If and when we have taken God into our hearts, we will begin to know how God wants us to help in the plan of transforming the world with love. This is not the burden the world tells us it will be. Just when we are feeling overwhelmed, we can remember these words of Jesus, from Matthew 11, and know God is and will always provide the support we need to do God’s work – 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Because we are human and imperfect, we have trouble relying on this promise from Jesus. When we are living with God in our hearts, we may take a leap and do something to see if it is true. God will forgive our testing and lack of trust, while providing just what Jesus said would happen. Our burdens no longer feel heavy and the weight is literally lifted from us. It becomes easier to do this the next time. We move forward in our path of learning how to love God, ourselves and the world.

When we allow God to live within our hearts, we keep moving forward, changing into the person we were created to be, instead of being weighed down by the world. Each time we let our day move toward living with God, we grow closer to loving God from our very souls. When we approach this level of loving God, our selves have not disappeared. We have actually become brighter and our light shines into the darkness of the world, a beacon to those looking for God’s light and truth. As we love God from our souls, we will see more clearly how we have been created to share what we have been given, in ways that glorify God and honor the work of God’s transforming love in the world. Everything that we find joyful to do has some practical application God has in mind for our ministry in the world. Even our past suffering has a purpose in God’s matrix. Our lives are blessed with purpose, in this life and beyond. That is the connection at the soul level – that we know God’s love is with us every step we take. Our steps are sure and untroubled. We will be contributing substantially in this life and beyond, to the great work God is doing in our midst – of loving us and loving creation without boundaries or limits. God will transform creation and needs us all to be a part of this vital work. When we reach for God from our souls, we will know the certainty of this love and mercy transforming all the ugliness and hatred in the world and we will see our part in God’s plan.  God of love and mercy, we want to be your servant in the work of transforming the world through love. Bless our souls and help us see the vision of what our place in your work is. We are grateful for the transformative power that is working within all of us.  Amen.     PEACE    



JESUS DIED FOR EVERYONE – yes all of us. “ God is the One who made all things, and all things are for God’s glory. He wanted to have many children share his glory, so he made the One, who leads people to salvation, perfect through suffering.” Hebrews 2: 10  When we consider this verse, we see part of God’s plan at work, that God loved us enough to plan his only son’s life with a purpose – to redeem our sin. There is nothing more considered and mindful than this. When God gave us free will, sin came into the picture. So God planned for a way to release the hold sin would have over those who ask for forgiveness.

As we approach the experiences of Holy Week – Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, we need to consider the suffering Jesus endured for each of us. In John 10 Jesus forewarns us that he is a “good shepherd” who gives his life for the sheep, who literally makes his body the door of the sheepfold, to protect the sheep from thieves and robbers who would not think twice about killing anyone who got in their way. We then hear that the authorities tried to take Jesus from the crowd, but he slipped through their fingers. Later in John 15 he directs all who heard him, to “love one another just as I have loved you”, and describes the extent to which this love should go – “the greatest love one can show is to lay down his [or her] life for a friend. You are my friends”, he tells us. We are called by God to live as Jesus showed us how to live. We gain strength when we humble ourselves before God and share a little of the suffering and sorrow endured for our sake. Consider and contemplate this and God will support us as we put ourselves into the place where Jesus showed us so much love as to lose his own life for our redemption. What an spectacular gift that is !!!  O loving God, we are humbled by the experiences of Holy Week and the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, for our sins. We are blessed by the unearned love you shower on us all. Help us to return your grace by loving those around us, no matter who they are. Guide us in the footsteps of Jesus in this present world, that we may be part of the reconciliation you have in mind for us all.  Amen.   PEACE  


KNOWING HE WOULD BE KILLED AND DID IT ANYWAY – with strength and courage, and to fulfill God’s goals. Near the end of chapter 13 in Luke, it says some Pharisees warned Jesus that the authorities were looking for him. “Herod Antipas wants to kill you!”  Jesus did not waver. He continued on his journey of teaching the disciples and preaching to the crowds that gathered, and those that were following him. We get two important messages from this: first that this ministry was too important to change the course he had set, and second, that he would not let fear get in the way of doing what God had set as his path to take.

It is all the more impressive, that we know how Jesus was determined to do God’s will, no matter what the risks or outcome. He entered Jerusalem as the next step in the great task of spreading the gospel, as God had shown him. He met the challenge with the strength and courage given him by God. Jesus modeled this for us, so we may do the same, relying on God as well, not in our own strength. The human side of Jesus felt pain and fear just as much as we do, but he opened himself to God, with the knowledge that God would support him in whatever he was asked to do. We, like Jesus, can know the ways God has ready for us, to follow our path, and persevere no matter what evil puts in our way. God’s love will support us in our faithfulness.   O God, who shows us our pathway, may we connect to you and know the way to dispel evil, when it blocks our pathway. We are thankful for the unwavering love we are shown, and the infinite forgiveness available as we stumble along toward the goal you have shown us. Guide us with your presence each day, as we share your love with others.  Amen.     PEACE    


AS THOSE WHO FOLLOW CHRIST – we are called to journey through life in this way. For many of us, this seems impossible to make happen. If we follow the advice we hear around us, even if it comes from a church source, what we hear may not be very helpful. The worldly influence in the church has so thoroughly melted into what many Christians think that it can be hard to figure out what is sound and what isn’t. So how do we get to this state of abiding in Christ? If this is our goal, then God’s grace will guide us, as we allow God to do that. In Matthew 11 we hear some good counsel.   28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”   As we talked about recently, this passage shows us how God gives us energy for the work we are called to do and all the other tasks in life. It comes to us through the connection to Jesus’ Spirit as we walk each day in this guidance.

When we abide in Christ, we will learn about how to live a life we are called to live. We will be shown the paths to walk and the ones to avoid. This is a product of a personal relationship, a part of our transformation into the life God wants for all of us. Through prayer and learning to hear God’s voice within us, we will come to the place of abiding in Christ. Through living in the grace from God, as we spend successive days abiding in Christ, we will be graced with the expectation that life will be different and joy-filled. Living in the abiding love of God in Christ, we will see and be grateful for the expectation and assurance of our days being filled with love, as long as we continue to allow God in Christ to abide within us. This comes from our allowing God to work in us. We give up control to God, knowing to the very core of our being, that God is better at guiding us than our feeble attempts are at making the right choices. We give up control to be a part of something much bigger than ourselves.

We can expect to be a part of a great movement of love and what that is able to accomplish. We will be able to expect a different world, one that is very different from what seems like the reality around us. We will be blessed with the vision of what the world as the new creation of God will look like and feel like. For many of us, this vision alone will get us through difficult days, and allow us to still have joy in our hearts, and an eagerness to face the next day too. Most of all, we will be given new eyes that allow us to see the world’s influences that we can reject, instead of letting them take us down destructive paths. God will be helping us make the choices for good. We will be able to see the choices toward love.   Great and loving God, we are grateful for your abiding love that comes to us in Christ. We are humbled by our invitation to be able to live and work in this state of abiding in Christ and the gifts that life brings with it. We are in awe of the choice we have to live in Christ each day and the expectation and assurances about a life lived in love can bring to us. Thank you for this opportunity and give us the strength and wisdom to use these experiences to share the love and vision with others around us. We pray in that abiding love of Christ for us.  Amen.     PEACE    


BRIDGES THE GAP BETWEEN THE BIBLICAL IDEAL – and our ordinary lives. To labor on through life’s difficulty, with only Biblical ideals is to leave God out of the process. Having the inspiration of the Bible as our only guide is leaving out the immediate revelation of the Holy Spirit – not acknowledging that God is with us now, to inspire and help us with the decisions we make and is present with us, always. If it is our aim, our heartfelt desire, to follow Jesus in the way we live, then we need to add the Holy Spirit’s input as well. In fact, we can not possibly live our lives for God without the Holy Spirit’s [God’s] input. This means we have to develop a relationship with God, however that might begin. Guessing what God wants, after reading the Bible stories is not fulfilling the path Jesus showed us. It would be like trying to follow directions to finish a project, with the directions written in an unknown language. We wouldn’t get very far into the project, and then get discouraged. So the Holy Spirit is our interpreter, helping to translate how we follow the general path and then to know what particular adaptations we need, to make progress toward completing the project.

The apostle Paul is the best-known example of those who relied on the Holy Spirit to do the work God had for them. The New Testament did not exist as we know it. There were very few written stories, so it was from the personal testimony of Barnabas and other early Christians, in addition through the Holy Spirit that Paul gained the authority to teach the gospel and plant churches, as well as pass that all on to us, through the letters he wrote to the new churches. Paul never knew the human Jesus, so he relied on the Holy Spirit to keep him on the path and to know what God wanted him to do in each situation. In Acts 14, we hear how Paul and Barnabas had preached God’s word to non-Jews and were received into the hearts of the people, while many Jews reacted with jealousy.  26 From there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had completed. 27 When they arrived, they called the church together and related all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith for the Gentiles. 28 And they stayed there with the disciples for some time.  Barnabas and Paul were empowered and directed by the Holy Spirit, through God’s grace, to accomplish what God needed them to do.

Following Paul’s example, we are not able to faithfully accomplish what God wants each of us to do until we also have such a relationship. Then we will know how the Holy Spirit is helping us fulfill our call. God is with us, showing signs every day, to let us know we can trust God to be there, while helping us in our calling. Watch for the signs God is leaving for us to find, in our minds and along our path.  Loving God, who walks with us 24/7, we are grateful. You are always there to help our thinking and when we make our choices. Help us rely on you more and more, as those choices become more like the choices Jesus would make. You are with us as we encounter others. You put love and understanding in our hearts, so we may see others the way you see and love them and us, in all our imperfections. Help us trust the results of the choices we make, when those are the ones you would have us live out.  Amen.     PEACE     


AND THEN SUPPLIES ALL OUR NEEDS – out of love, not to manipulate us. Many through the ages have considered God as manipulative or coercive in how we are treated. It may seem like that to some of us. If we look at it from the perspective of what we know about God and God’s actions, we can see it differently. God is first and foremost acting from love. Creation came about through love and we are part of creation. God created us in order that we would have relationships with God and each other, all in an atmosphere of love and joy. Jesus reminded us that the two great commandments center on love. Since true love cannot be coerced, we were given free will, in order to love God through our choice.

Self interest is a part of everything we do, by design. So when we consider our choices in life, we naturally think of how they will affect us. When we make choices that lead us toward God, it will always be in our self interest because of God’s love for us. Choices toward God will never harm us. When Moses led the Israelites from Egypt into the wilderness, God supplied their need for food and water, but also a longing for God. They got distracted many times and got into a lot of trouble because they lost focus. We have been imprinted with a longing for God to match the longing God has for a relationship with each of us. That longing plays out in us in many ways and when we respond – it leads us to many blessings. It also leads us to the grace we have available to us. In Philippians 4: 19 Paul says, “My God will use the wonderful riches in Christ Jesus to give you everything you need.” So in love for all of creation and our creator – may we pray, as in verse 23, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.”  Loving God, we are grateful for this grace-filled love, present from the beginning of creation, and given freely to us every day.  Teach us how to accept this gift, and then to share it with others, without limits.  Amen.     PEACE     


COMES DIRECTLY FROM GOD – and is channeled through us to fight for what must be, in order to bring God’s creation to fulfillment. Injustice of any kind is the antithesis of love. How can we possibly have an atmosphere of love and respect for one another while there is unjust behavior in the situation? Many have shown us that the way to combat injustice is that very love that shows us how we can live with tolerance and mercy for one another. Non-violent protests that began in Selma so many years ago were a weapon of love that eventually won the fight. Jesus own example of steadfast love and non-violent reactions to injustice can inspire us to ask God’s help in following that path.

Where there is injustice, there is judgment. Who of us is perfect enough to judge anyone else? We are reminded of this in Paul’s statement in Romans 3:  23 “Everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious standard, ” but we gain the strength and tools to fight injustice and judgment, with what we see in verse 24, “all need to be made right with God by grace, which is a free gift. They need to be made free from sin through Jesus Christ.”   Christ sets us free from sin, and gives us the gifts we need to fight injustice, through God’s grace, received through prayer. This means we have not earned any of it, but through the power of God, we are enabled to do God’s will, and fight the injustice around us. We can rise above unjust treatment, in the power we are given by God when we do it in the name of God and for the outcome God has set before us. I know this does not sound logical. However, throughout history there are examples of those who trusted in God and this process. There are far too many to be named. At anytime, when we can say “wait a minute, this is not right,” we have stood up for justice and have brought mercy into the situation. This is God working in us because it is only through God that we know what mercy is. May the power of God’s grace and love flow through all of us who ask for it, so that we too may fight injustice for God.   Loving and powerful God, we sometimes doubt your ability to work through us to change injustice. Help us to depend solely on your grace and love, working so powerfully in us to change the injustice in our world. Help us leave fear behind, that prevents any change for the good. Instead give us the courage to believe you will act through us in power, to show mercy and love to others, for your dear sake.  Amen.     PEACE    


AND THEN ACT – in response wherever it is needed. In Matthew 25, Jesus explains why we are called to respond to human need.  “35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ …  ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  More than 175 years ago, church folk from some of the Congregational Churches in Connecticut answered God’s mandate and followed what Christ would have done in the face of injustice. They visited African prisoners, taken from the ship Amistad, in the jail in New Haven, CT. Aid and comfort didn’t stop there. They figured out how to communicate with them, and then sued the government on their behalf, for their right to be treated as human beings, against the claim of their owners who thought of them as property.

The article linked below shows sketches of some of the captives. The faithful, seeing them as God’s children, while others viewed Africans as sub-human, saw to it that these captives were clothed, fed and sheltered until the landmark Supreme Court decision came down. Then the freed Africans worked and lived in Connecticut two years more, until they and more church folk raised the money to go back to Africa and establish the country of Liberia. I feel humbled by what these faith ancestors of ours did for those who had no voice in a foreign land. It was not a popular thing to do, as they listened to Christ’s voice. Those people who partnered with the captives were living out, in mercy, the words from Hebrews 13 – “Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. 2 Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!  3 Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. … For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you. 6 So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear.”   O God, who loves prisoners and free people alike, we ask for your guidance in these troubling days, to act as our ancestors did, fighting injustice in whatever ways we can, knowing that you give us the wisdom and strength to do it, following Jesus’  path.  Amen. PEACE  



HOWEVER WE CAN DO IT – needs to be real for each of us. There are as many ways to begin a relationship with God as there are individuals created by God. God knows who we are and has placed in us unique ways to connect with our creator. It isn’t as hard to figure out these connections as we might think. For many of us, the touch point is a need we have. We only have to pay attention to the clues God gives us and not discount what is happening. Since God wants to be in a relationship with each of us, and knowing the exquisite care God has used in the creation of all that has been brought into being, how could we doubt that God has provided ways for each of us to make the connection to our creator?  Psalm 23 speaks uniquely and profoundly of how we can know God in our lives, and what God is already doing in us.   1 “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.  2 God lets me rest in green meadows; I am led beside peaceful streams.  3 God renews my strength. I am guided along right paths, bringing honor to God’s name.  4 Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me, Lord.”

As I have prayed about and thought about my childhood I can remember many experiences I had that were God connecting to me, letting me know there was a comforting presence offering unconditional love. When I learned to meditate, I discovered that God had been giving me a similar experience as a child when I would go to sleep. As I grew up in the church, I know that other people brought God to me, through scripture, by offering up what God meant to them, and living lives of love and devotion to God. God has ways of working within us, supporting us even before we come to God and commit our lives. God’s ways are often subtle. We need only watch, listen and feel for God, to realize how close God’s presence is. When we stop dismissing experiences we wonder about, it will no longer delay making a stronger connection to God. These hints are invitation, full of love, forgiveness and grace.   Loving and reaching God, we are grateful that you take us in and surround us with your gracious love. Help our senses to be open to knowing your presence around us and in each of us. Guide us to know the love and comfort you offer all of us, for the blessings it brings with it. May we use that love and comfort to share that love with others today, for all of us need to know this love.  Amen.     PEACE    

person holding white flowers


OR TRYING TO BE A CHRISTIAN WITHOUT GOD.  5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born from water and the Spirit, you cannot enter God’s New Creation.  6 Human life comes from human parents, but spiritual life comes from the Spirit. 7 Don’t be surprised when I tell you, ‘You must all be born again.’ [John 3]  There are many ways to come to God and many ways to live our lives for God. Until we come to God, we are like God’s enemies because we don’t know what God wants us to do. We may study scripture and go to church, but until we commit ourselves to live for God and follow the ways Christ has shown us, we have failed. It is actually by God’s design that we should fail without the Holy Spirit.

With spring beginning, I think of gardening, which I have done all my life. I had a vision recently, of early humans who were trying to garden, but only using their bare hands. It didn’t go very well and soon they were figuring out what tools would lessen the frustration and improve their results.

In order to tend the garden of life where God has put us, to do the work God has for each of us, we have to be equipped with the tools we will need. Many of those tools are already there in us, although we may not know how to use them. God’s grace and love are the keys that will unlock those tools. Love and grace cannot be earned by our work. They are given to a willing heart when we are ready to open our hearts to God. It also takes the spirit within us to keep us on the path, once we have started.  Without the connection to the Spirit, it is like expecting a train to reach its destination without the track to take it there. Trying to be Christian without God in constant contact with us is like that train. We can never have the wisdom to know what God wants us each to do to bring the new creation into being without that contact. The Spirit is like the train tracks and we must remain in contact to get where we are called to go. We are invited to become part of the glorious train trip it will be, to get us all to the desired destination.   Loving and gracious God, we are blessed by the gifts we are given, once we become open enough to recognize them. Nurture our growth into becoming gardeners who will help cultivate your new creation. Guide us in the specific ways you need us to do your work as we listen to the Holy Spirit within us. Help us share this experience with others who seek your love and forgiveness.  Amen.     PEACE    

man watering the plant during daytime


WHEN WE REACH OUT TO GOD – in prayer and, in humility, to ask for understanding. We will be guided to grow through the suffering to learn new truths from God. If we resist asking God for help, then our suffering is likely to go on for a while. Fortunately, God forgives us our stubbornness and perhaps even has a sense of humor about how we are fumbling around, trying to tough it out ourselves. The operative word here is love – that God loves us even when we resist submitting to God, who offers us the path to gain understanding. Love is the response we need, to acknowledge how we are loved by God and that since we are loved unconditionally, we are forgiven and gain strength for the new level of understanding we get after the suffering we have endured. 

In Psalm 66 we hear what God has done and will continue to do. “17 I cried to God with my mouth and praised God with my tongue. 18 The Lord will not hear me if I hold on to sin in my heart. 19 But it is sure that God has heard. God has listened to the voice of my prayer. 20 Honor and thanks be to God! God has not turned away from my prayer or held His loving-kindness from me.

Whether we are aware or not, we are surrounded, in a cocoon of love and grace, giving us the tools we need to deal with new situations in our lives. We gain resilience to face new things and are blessed by the grace that will support us. It is when we are not acting like we have these resources, that our suffering starts and then increases the longer we hold out or let evil influences make it even worse. Nothing about suffering is what God wants for us. Yes, we can learn when we suffer, but could we still learn these life lessons, and perhaps better, if we are walking with God, as we learn. Let us pray for strength and resilience from God, as we stumble through what should be easier if we learn with God, instead of on our own.   O God of love and understanding, we humbly ask for forgiveness of our willful nature, when we think we can do it all. Help us learn how we can work with you and the guidance you offer, so we may accomplish more than what we see. We are grateful for your vision of the world as it can be. Help us to be involved in the great work we are called to help you do.  Amen.     PEACE    

mirror fragments on gray surface with the reflection of a person s arm


CHANGES OUR BODY’S CHEMISTRY – and improves our outlook as well as our longevity. Scientific research, dating back almost 60 years, shows the benefits that we and those around us are physically improved when we act in love and do what the world considers to be “good deeds”. Love has chemical, as well as spiritual effects on our bodies, changing the immune system, hormones and nervous system with unimagined benefits. It triggers “the ‘feel good’ chemicals like dopamine and endorphins”, that can even give us an emotional high. “Scrooge is a good example”, says Stephen G. Post, Ph.D, professor of bioethics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “He comes alive because of his benevolent affections and emotions. What’s really happening is that he’s tapping into the whole neurology, endocrinology, and immunology of generosity.”

We can see God’s action in all of this when we look for it. It shows the infinite care and detail with which we have been created. Better yet, we have been given the power to improve our lives and those around us, when we act the way God wants us to act with love toward others. Love generates benefits – improved health, longer lives, more enjoyment of life, with an increased sense of our connectedness to God and others around us. Joy is the result of unrestricted love. When we make the decision to love, we are rejecting the fear that holds us back and the evil intentions that want to stop love from spreading. The article below clinically suggests that this ability is placed in us as a mechanism of survival. I suggest that God has much greater intentions in mind. Love is the basis of life. Love takes us beyond simply surviving to thriving and growing. Without love, we die. It is the core of our connection to God. When we open ourselves to receive it, love awakens us to new and better experiences of life, not just for ourselves, others too. Love is creative and generous at its core. When we spread love, only God knows how far the effects will go. So may we pray with love, to open ourselves to send God’s love to all we know and beyond that, to those in need of love. Loving and joyful God, who has shown us that the basis of life is love, guide us to connect to you and others through love. Let love show us how to treat one another. Lead us to the power only love can create, for the work we are called to do for you.  Amen.     PEACE    

You Are So Loved


ST PATRICK WAS A FAITHFUL SERVANT – who lived a life of devotion to God and advanced the Christian church. A son of a wealthy Christian family in England, he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland as a teenager and made to work as a shepherd for 7 years. He had a dream where he was told he must leave Ireland and then walked 200 miles to the coast and sailed back to England. He felt called to the priesthood, studied in France and in another dream was called to remember the Irish people. He returned to Ireland and established many monasteries across the Isle. The number of priests working with him was multiplied and they followed God, in order to bring the gospel to all the people of Ireland. Those monasteries were later responsible for copying most of the vital books about the faith, saving them from being lost when the barbarians in Europe destroyed the originals.

Clearly, St Patrick and the priests who worked with him believed the great commission Jesus gave his disciples in Matthew 28.   18 “Jesus came and told his disciples, ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ ”  Just like St. Patrick, we are all called to do some work for God. It may not be as far-reaching as the work of St. Patrick. It is important and it will go undone if each of us does not do what we are called to do. When we love God and want to follow God, we are also called for some particular job. We are not called to do that job without tools and the help and support we will need to accomplish whatever it is. God through the Holy Spirit is ready to give us everything we will need, just as Jesus’ words promised. Our job is to accept the work and depend on the guidance God will give us, in order to get it done. What is the job we are each called to do? Have we answered?  Loving God, who called and equipped St. Patrick, speak to us. Give us words of encouragement and assurance.Then help us hear them. Give us a shove, when we need it to accomplish the work you have for each of us to do. Thank you for the never-ending love and support you give us so generously. May we let go of our fear and take up the staff you offer, to begin the journey of growth and service.   Amen.     PEACE


May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of God’s hand.


CAN ONLY COME FROM GOD – not from the world. There are many ways that the world gives us feedback on how we are doing. As children, there are many adults who are all too willing to give us opinions about what and who we should be. As we grow, we will have ideas from within ourselves to add to the voices around us. It gets confusing and we can even become depressed as we try to figure out who we are and who we are meant to be. I recently heard about a young man who believes he is bad within himself because this is what he hears from the community. He is African American and Muslim, which puts him in the cross hairs of discrimination and cruel criticisms. He has made mistakes and has learned from them. He works diligently in the community and contributes his gifts and talents in his job and to those in need. Yet he is prevented from seeing himself in a positive light because of the predominant message from loud voices that would denounce him on the basis of his color and religion. This attitude erodes the very principles of the Constitution, and yet these discriminatory voices think they are upholding some sense of protecting the “American way.” These are not voices of love or compassion for others. So why listen to them?

Some of us have been taught to accept the loudest voices or the ones that keep up the same message. Others of us have been coerced into believing we do not deserve anything except the criticism we hear. We may even believe in the inevitability of our lives not working out for our benefit. This is not God’s plan for any of us. It has never been and it will never be what God wants for us. It comes down to what we choose to listen to. It will not be easy to hear God in the midst of all the other noise around us until we pray for help. If we know God’s love, it is our job to speak about it to everyone we know. For the voice of God in the world is our voice. We are the voice in someone else’s wilderness. We may never know if we have saved a life by telling others about God’s love. By this same principle, we need only listen to God within us to know our own worth. The world is never a reliable source. Only God can show us if we are going in the direction we need to go. If we rely on God to give us the feedback we need, we will not stumble off our path. 105  “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. … 115  Get out of my life, you evil-minded people, for I intend to obey the commands of my God.” Psalm 119  We are called to spread God’s message of unconditional love. No person is unacceptable to the Holy One. Therefore they cannot be to us. Prayer is the answer to seeing others through God’s eyes.  Loving and merciful God, help us see that your love extends to all. Guide us in sharing divine love to ALL whom we encounter. Let our lives be a beacon of your light in a world that struggles to be assured of your unconditional love. May we be instruments of that love for all those in need of knowing what it feels like. May we be your light in the darkness.  Amen.     PEACE   

adult air beautiful beauty


THERE IS GOD – offering us a path to salvation. Jesus began his earthly ministry by facing down the evil one. Then he went out to the seaside and began recruiting disciples, for a life like nothing they had ever known. They left all they had – family and work, a place to call home and all their possessions, a very scary thing to do. Jesus must have made them a compelling offer, a call they could not refuse. Have you ever felt compelled by God’s call, or has it been more subtle?

All my life I have been concerned for those who have cobbled together a life they think of as Christian. It is a hybrid of the culturally dominant lives that unbelievers live, with varying amounts of beliefs and practices they think are the best they can come up with, so that it resembles a life with God, but is not. This is what my husband has called a cut flower faith. It has no roots in a relationship with God and a community of faith. It has been cut and pasted together, and at the slightest trial in life, it withers and dies, as cut flowers do. It becomes of no use to them, just when they need God’s support. I am being somewhat provocative here, without being judgmental. They have tried, and not gotten much help from the institutional church. We all will fail without God to help us grow. There is a difference between those who have a faith that is growing, and those I describe here. I am making no judgment of them because only God knows which is which. I am expressing concern and caution. Whatever we have as a faith is doomed to fail us if it is not grounded in a relationship with God, as honest and human and messy as that might be.

In John 15, we hear Jesus describing this relationship.  7 “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.  9 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.”   Please join me today in praying for all those who struggle with believing they can have a religion of their own making, without coming to God in repentance, that God may open their hearts and minds with love. As we read in Micah, “and what does the Lord require, but to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.” May we all find a way into a journey with God.  Steadfast and abiding God, we are humbled by your constant love for us, and the invitation to live with you and to bear fruit, with you as our guide. Help us grow in relationship and understanding of how you need us to live and use the resources you make available, for your work of love. Amen.     PEACE  

man sitting on black and red exercise equipment


CALLING IN THE NIGHT – After a voice woke him many times out of his sleep, the young boy Samuel finally says, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”  In First Samuel, Chapter 3 we hear that at that time, “the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.”  So it is not surprising that Eli, the priest, didn’t realize at first, the voice in the night calling to the boy was God speaking to the young Samuel. We can be grateful that God showed us about being called, through this story of Samuel’s call to serve God. This story makes real the idea that God does speak to people, calling us to become part of God’s plan. Have you heard when God has called to you?

Sometimes life places demands on us. These days I have fewer external demands, but writing has its own way of expecting things from me. My writing didn’t really start until the early ’90s. One night I was trying to go to sleep and I was flooded by ideas that came flying at me. They were finally so compelling, I just had to get up and write them down. It was a full-blown plot for an historical mystery about Christian families and the underground railroad. When I got up to write, it was to honor the idea and the source that gave it.

This is one of many ways that God has entered my conscious mind and given me help for living. What ways have you experienced God in your life? Begin expecting to see what is just a little out of the ordinary and unexpected. Thoughts we know we didn’t have or words we are given we know we didn’t think are coming to us from God, as support for our lives. When we are prodded with an idea more than once, take it seriously. It is the Holy Spirit prompting us. I have encountered many who have acknowledged similar experiences. God wants us to succeed in life and make a better life for all of us. It is what God’s new creation is all about.  Unexpected God, you surprise us with the things you introduce into our lives and we are grateful. Help us look for these serendipitous events and feel the joy they bring. Keep us in your abiding love and show us new ways you need us to serve you and pass on your love.  Amen.     PEACE       


IS TO LOVE – God, ourselves and others, all others. This is so important that Jesus says the first and greatest commandment is “to love God, with our whole hearts, mind and body.” The second is almost the same – we are “to love each other as we love ourselves.”   But then the crunch comes – it is much easier to say it than to actually do it. Some of us are easy to love and others may seem hard or even impossible. So how can we do what Jesus tells us we must do?

Well, the answer is we can’t do it, not in our own strength. We need to listen to the Holy Spirit in us, teaching us how to look at others through God’s eyes. This is a product of a spiritual process of opening ourselves to the Spirit. One way this might be done is to picture ourselves, during meditation, as a flower that is opening, unfurling our petals to welcome the Spirit. Then we ask for the help we need. When we allow it to happen, we begin to see others in a different way, without judgment or jealousy. This is not magic. God’s grace and love transform us when we choose to let it happen. Try this method and see how it works. Before going into a situation where there are some difficult to love people. We can begin praying for God to help us see them as God does. Ask for ways of dealing with them in creative and different ways than we have used in the past. I know the experience will be different because I know when we ask for God’s help and are sincere, help comes and it will be powerful. Watch for unexpected ways or sources of help, too. In this way, we are likely to find people who will support us, who we never were open to before. We are a light in the wilderness to others, so that when we act out of God’s love, it is a signal to others who are also in tune with living this way. Acting for God always holds hidden blessings. We never need to doubt this will happen. As soon as we ask, God will have already begun the process in us. We will be given the resources and support we need. We only have to begin by opening to God and then trusting. Love and God’s grace will be our strength from there onward.  Loving and powerful God, whose vision is for us all to live together in love, we are grateful that you come to us and act in us to help us do better. Guide us in seeking ways to love others, as you love them. Help this become a part of who we are as your children.  Amen.     PEACE     From the book: BECOMING, A Practical Journey through Lent.    

Love your neighbor billboard