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Posts Tagged ‘second week’

Scripture: Philippians 4:4-9

What do you feed your spirit? 

I officiated at a funeral yesterday and the daughter was telling me that she couldn’t face Christmas this year.  There would be no decorations, no gifts, it was too much.  In my own family we are dealing with my grandmother’s decline.  This is not always an easy time of year, the happiness of the season is not present for all.

“Don’t let your spirit become malnourished” it advises in the devotional.  For me, this blog, Advent worship services, images of the nativity scene are all food for my spirit.  Christmas can be Christmas without gifts, without a tree, without lights.  The hubbub is not the point.  Reconnecting with God is. 

I thrive on the liturgical year and these special times when we can devote time and energy to thinking about the Christian story.  Thank you God, for the season of Advent, for this time of focused prayer and study.

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Scripture: Isaiah 12:2-6

Be bold and ask God for what you need.  Comment on this time of prayer in your journal.

I asked God for strength and power for giving birth.  That I would have more than my own during that time.  And I felt God hold me close, give me a hug, tell me that everything is going to be OK, much like a parent does.  And I felt calmed, I felt at peace, I felt that everything would be OK one way or another.

God, thank you for the strength to face the challenge before me.

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Scripture: Zephaniah 3:14-20

Draw an image that portrays the centrality of God in your life.

I don’t know how to draw on a blog (and actually I don’t know how to draw period).  So I guess I’ll have to write about it.  No matter what happens in life, I know that God will be there.  It is the constant of constants, the one thing I can be 100% confident about.  God has been there, God is there, God will be there. 

Because I am a flawed human being, God is not always central in my life.  But it is my constant prayer, that I could put God back at the top, in the center, as my primary focus and motivator.  Help me O God, to make you central once again.

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Scripture: Matthew 23:1-12

What voices have you paid too much attention to lately?  Write about what the voice of God’s wisdom says to you about the path you’re on right now.

I have done a lot of reading lately about medical issues related to pregnancy – looking for answers to my questions, suggestions for ways to combat problems, helpful hints for the stage of pregnancy that I am in.  I actually stopped going to websites that are supposed to provide information and support for pregnant women because I found that they caused more anxiety than reassurance.

Medical advice and information is a good thing.  But when I think that with the right information I can somehow be in control, then it no longer becomes helpful. God’s wisdom tells me that I am not in control.  God’s wisdom tells me to do what I can and then to trust.  God’s wisdom tells me to lay off the worry and to focus on God’s blessings.

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Scripture: Phillipians 1:3-11

What is most real for you right now?

Hmmm, let’s think.  In a week or so, I will be a parent.  That is by far the most real reality that I am living.  I know that everything will change on that day and yet there is nothing more to do to prepare.

Advent is about balancing the reality of the now with the hope for the future.  My reality will soon be caretaker to a newborn.  There are still many things I want to do in ministry, want to experience, want to participate in.  But I know that for now my biggest reality is Mom.  The balance between the now and the hope for the future is one I am feeling acutely.

God, help me to stay in the now while not giving up my hopes for the future.

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Scripture: Malachi 3:1-4

Write about a difficult time in your life.  How did God refine you in the midst of that?

My two years in the Peace Corps as probably overall the hardest time in my life.  I was dealing with physical hardships, loneliness, having to examine my identity, emotional struggles – all in another language and culture.

And yet God used that time to shape me in significant ways.  It was there that I first discerned a call to ministry.  It was there that I had to face hard truths about myself.  It was there that I experienced God in acute and tangible ways unlike any other.  I even sometimes wish that I could be that out of my comfort zone again so as to experience God in such powerful ways.

God does use difficult times to purify us, as much as we don’t like it.

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Scripture: Luke 3:1-6

What do you imagine the vision of God’s salvation might look like?

I don’t really have  good answer for this question.  What does it mean to “see” God’s salvation?  In terms of salvation of the world, I can imagine a time of justice, peace, all being right with the world. 

But I mostly think of salvation in internal terms.  For all flesh to see salvation would be to experience God’s saving grace deep down in your soul.  To have that inner peace, inner joy, understanding of God’s goodness and love.  Maybe if all flesh had that it would lead to justice and peace? 

I guess I’ve never tried to picture a vision of what that would look like.  But it might be helpful to have a more concrete sense of what it is I hope for in this season.

God, help me to imagine and visualize your vision of salvation.

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