Tuesday, October 28, 2008

When God Popped a Shirt Button With Pride

When Jesus chose to be baptized by John I'm sure Jesus' Abba and he had discussed the idea ahead of time in prayer. They jointly decided it was the right thing to do. I can't imagine that God the Father's voice peeking out of the clouds was part of that plan. I think God saw his son walking thru the River toward John and could almost not contain his joy. He saw it as the beginning of his Son's public life. He knew that the world would be hearing their message of unconditional love. He wanted to burst with pride over his son. His only son, Jesus was to set the wheels in motion. Ashe saw Jesus take the step toward accomplishing their design God could contain Himself no more. Like a new father who walks out of the delivery room to shout, "It's a boy!" God the Father said, "This is my Beloved Son".

Oops, did you hear that? It was a button popping off God the Father's shirt!

That's how Jesus looks at me, too. Just because it's hard for me to imagine doesn't mean it isn't true. God loves me completely and unconditionally- warts and all. He thinks I'm beautiful (its uncomfortable to type that). He appreciates that I've tried as much as I have. He's long ago forgotten anything I did wrong because of is generous mercy. It's not about me tho- this is all about our faithful, generous and almighty God. Praise Him!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Deliver Us From Evil (Not the movie)

Wherever we go, God is there to take our hand and guide us. Even in danger, God will help us to know what to do. The last petition to God the Father is also included in Jesus' prayer: "I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one." The Lord who has taken away our sins and pardons our faults also protects us and keeps us from evil. The person who entrusts her or himself to God does not dread the devil. "If God is for us, who is against us?"

When we ask to be delivered from the Evil One, we pray as well to be freed from all evils, present, past, and future. With the world in the situation that it is in right now, not just financially but also morally, let us all pray this petition to God, our Father with confidence.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

And Lead Us Not Into Temptation

You surely know what it’s like to be tempted so you know what you’re praying about here! Your own personal experience let you know we need to pray this prayer. When you had not eaten in 40 days the devil offered you bread. He does that to me all the time. When I’m on my last thread of energy and overwhelming crises occurs. Maybe it’s not a crisis; maybe it’s just an acquaintance who is terribly annoying. Maybe I’ve decided to fast and my co-workers go out to lunch that day or my girlfriends want to go out to eat. Maybe my prayer that day was full of good intentions and shortly afterwards I get impatient and angry with someone. It could even be that I go to my prayer space and do everything else but communicate with you Lord. That’s a regular one. The evil one seems to like to distract me from you. Well, of course he does. The potential is great for him. Without your strength I’m nothing. Without food from you I’ll stay hungry. Without your grace I’m empty. He’d like that- and so I pray:
Help me in those situations Lord God, please. I don’t want to ruin this. I honestly do want to do the right thing by you. I sincerely with to be used by you for your purpose, not mine. A wasted life for me would be serving my own needs and wants.
I have only one lifetime in which to love you. I really do want to love you through it all...through the everyday of it. So please, Lord, share with me the strength you had in the desert when the devil offered you bread and you resisted. Lead me not into temptation. Lead us all to you!

Monday, October 06, 2008

As We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us

After 10 years of friendship I was betrayed, misunderstood and cut off. I was eliminated from my former friend’s life overnight. Although it occurred almost 1 year ago I still do not understand what happened at all.
Then a family member became hostile and aggressive.
Then a co-worker practically destroyed our program that was designed to help others.
All this happened at the same time. I was devastated. I am hurt. I didn’t initiate any of these situations but I was feeling their effect.
But when I pray this phrase - as we forgive those who trespass against us- I’m asking Jesus to forgive my own sins in proportion to the way I forgive others. I’m having trouble with this. I KNOW I’ve sinned and need forgiveness and God doesn’t deserve to be treated the way I’ve treated him. It breaks my heart to think I’ve treated Him poorly after all He has done for me. No friend deserves to be treated that way, but Jesus deserves much more.
But my former friend treated me poorly. My family member did worse that that. The co-worker’s actions made my daily job miserable for 10 months and it’s still difficult. All this happened at the same time. Surely Jesus doesn’t expect me to forgive them while I’m in such pain…and when they were intentionally hurtful…but so was I. I was intentionally self-willed when I sinned. Sin is a deliberate choice, by definition. That’s what I do when I’m demanding, angry or impatient. God will forgive me when I forgive them.
WOW. You strike a hard bargain Jesus. Sometimes you have to pretend you feel something and act that way until you feel it. And sometimes you have to pray for the forgiveness of others and believe it happened though you may not yet feel it. It has been said that your emotions eventually catch up with your actions. So today, my Lord, I forgive my angry friend because you asked me to. For the same reason I forgive (with the help of your grace) my family member and co-worker. That doesn’t mean I can be in their presence tomorrow as though all is well. I’m just doing what you asked me to do and hoping you’ll allow my heart to catch up soon. I do want to follow your will! I know I’m feeding into the devil’s plan if I don’t forgive and I don’t ever want to be the cause of that. I’ll accept whatever graces you give me in this regard Jesus! Forgive my sins to the degree that my forgiveness of others is sincere.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

And Forgive Us Our Trespasses

Yes Lord, we know we’ve sinned. That’s not a question. It’s obvious. We are –all of us- selfish proud sinners. Once in a while our sinfulness brings us to our knees and shames us. We walk past a beautiful big green lawn that has a ‘do not trespass’ sign on it and we intentionally stomp across that lawn. We play touch football on that lawn. We ride our bikes around the sign. We don’t care about the lawn or the sign or the owner of the property. We want what we want when we want it.
How do you bear with us Lord? You gave us everything we need and asked us only to obey 10 Commandments. In return we intentionally ignore your request. Periodically we ask –or you tell us- how we are doing. You give us a glimpse of our own sinfulness. It’s just plain ugly Jesus! In the face of your generosity there are no other words to describe our willfulness. So we beg you Lord, please forgive us our trespasses. Show us your mercy though we do not deserve it. We act like we know it all and we don’t. We think we’re in charge and we’re not. We are willful and obstinate while you are nothing but merciful and patient. Please have mercy on us Lord.