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Posts Tagged ‘journal’

Scripture: Psalm 25:1-10

What is your favorite image of God? (Parent, wind, rock, mother hen and lover are some examples to consider.)

The answer to this question is constantly changing, the one that I always seem to come back to is the image of “wonderful counselor” from Isaiah. It’s probably because I got my start in ministry as a camp counselor. For me a good counselor encompasses a lot. They can be a friend you hang out with, a disciplinarian when they need to be, a mentor, a protector, etc.

Being a counselor was like what I imagine being a parent must be like, except for only about a week. Without getting into a long drawn out dissertation on why I won the Parent Lottery or writing the same post as Beloved. Let’s just say that wonderful counselor is my favorite image of God.

God, help me to do my best to embody all that I can in order to reflect your love to others.

Blessings,
Buttface

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Scripture: Psalm 25:1-10

What is your favorite image of God? (Parent, wind, rock, mother hen and lover are some examples to consider.)  Write about or capture this image in your journal.

Probably the most common image of God for me is that of loving parent.  I imagine this is most likely because I have been fortunate to have two loving parents and been able to witness many other family members and friends act as loving parents.  Sometimes they are soft – encouraging, embracing, advocating, marveling, beaming. Sometimes they are hard – correcting, denying, redirecting, grieving, admonishing.  But always it is done out of love.

This is how I see God.  God loves me more than I can imagine, but this doesn’t always feel good.  Sometimes God corrects me, God denies me things, God grieves the things I do wrong.  But God also embraces me unconditionally, encourages and strengthens me, marvels at creation and is a beaming and proud parent when I do things to usher in God’s kingdom.

The prayer today is to ask for God to heal our image of God so that we can love and get to know God more deeply.  I realize that this loving parent image is not a complete image of God and can be healed in many ways from when I try to make God into an image I can understand or relate to.  So God, heal this image, expand this image, reshape this image.  And remind me always to stand in awe of what I will never truly understand or grasp – your amazing love.

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Scripture: Luke 1:67-79

Find the most vivid image in this Scripture and write about how it connects with your life.

“He has remembered his holy covenant”, that we “might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness
before him all our days.”

In Jesus’ birth, God has remembered his holy covenant, his promise to Israel.  Through Jesus, we can serve God without fear.  We have been freed from fear, from legalism, from hopelessness.  It was probably hard to see in the birth of a baby.  It was even harder to see in a shameful death on a cross.  But we have been given light when we sit in darkness, our feet have been guided in the way of peace.  This is the awesomeness of Christmas, the incarnation, God with us, remembering his covenant, setting us free.  This is what I hope to keep in the forefront of my mind throughout Advent.

God, help me to remember what Christmas signifies.  Keep me on the path of peace.

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Scripture: Matthew 21:33-46

Name the ways you honor what God has placed in your care.

Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is the child that literally has been placed in my care.  This pregnancy has not always been easy and I have been on a very restricted diet.  People often comment on how “good” I’m being by not eating dessert.  But I would only be hurting my child by eating what I am not supposed to.   This child is helpless and relies only on me to provide what it needs – how could I possibly do otherwise?

Most other situations in life are not quite as straightforward.  If I don’t take care of things in God’s kingdom, maybe somebody else will.  In fact, the tenants in today’s Scripture were wrong for thinking that they knew more than God.  I think that as a minister, this is key.  It is easy to get caught up in thinking that I know best, that my way is best, that if I don’t do it that God won’t work.  My most often confession is a lack of trust.  Trusting that God can work – through me or in spite of me, using my gifts but also using other people’s gifts, putting things in my care and putting decidely more not in my care.  And of course, discerning between the two.   I honor God most by remembering that I am not God.

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Scripture: Matthew 21:33-46

Name the ways you honor what God has placed in your care.

I hate to beat a dead horse, but God has placed my upcoming child to my care. I hope that in the coming years I will honor God by nurturing, loving, supporting our child. I also try to honor God’s gift of “some” athletic ability by getting off my butt (with some nagging from Beloved). In the last year I have played recreational league softball (BTW we WON the D league championship), competed with Beloved, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law in the Pole, Pedal, Paddle (we weren’t last…thanks to the Bearded One), finished an Olympic distance triathlon (also not last…Beloved was 3 months pregnant), walked a marathon with my mother-in-law (she actually walks WAY faster than me), and now I’m playing recreational league basketball. Needless to say I’m active. I have been blessed with a healthy strong body and I do my best to use it.

God has also blessed me with an ability to relate to youth. I try everyday to honor God by being present in their lives, whether it’s going to a play, game, concert, visiting them in the hospital, or listen to their stories. Being there is important.

God help me to continue to recognize my gifts and share them with ALL of the people around me.

Blessings,

Buttface

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Scripture: Amos 4:1-13

Express in your journal how your actions have sometimes fallen short of God’s expectation for you.

Where do I start?…

The moment I felt as if I had fallen the most short of God’s expectation took place in Elkins, WV. It was my second year of seminary and I was already deep in the ordination process, I was there to watch West Virginia play in the NCAA basketball tournament and visit an old friend. A lot of things happened that night, the least of which was WVU loosing on a last second basket to the University of Texas. The only way I could describe that night is Black Friday. That night I fell as far from God’s expectations as I could. In fact, I was afraid that I had ruined any chance that I would ever had to respond to my call from God. I had SCREWED up BIG TIME!

God was and is faithful, from that moment I have been resurrected, my old life was fading away, I started living into my new life comfortable in my call Christ. I often look to that day as when I finally let down my guard and let God guide my life. I feel as if I have gone from the furtherest away from God’s expectation to as close as I can get at the moment.

God, thank you for sticking with me, thank you for waiting on me knowing that my life would eventually fulfill your expectations. Continue to be with me, work with me, help me to live up to your call on my life.

Blessings,

Buttface

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Scripture: Jeremiah 33:14-16

Write about what you would like to God to set right in the world.

“Right” answer: Equality, peace, end to poverty, compassion, you know the biggies

“Honest” answer: Not to worry about money, be cured of diabetes, my grandmother to die peacefully, my mom to be free of the burden and guilt of an only child and caregiver, for my dad to lose the weight he needs to live a healthy life with a healthy heart, for my sister to find where she is called, for my child to be born healthy, for my wife to be healthy and get enough sleep in order for us to be “good” parents, fro my child to grow up in a world where the can be free to be who they are no matter what that is, and to lose 10 pounds.

(that last one I could probably handle on my own…just lay off those cookies)

Blessings,

Buttface

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