Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Sunday Prayer

After a week where it seemed that so many who are dear to me were suffering or in turmoil of various kinds, I arrived to church this morning feeling so very desperate, broken, and in great need. 

As we sang "Our God Reigns,"  I prayed and pleaded with God. 

Perhaps you are in a similar place and need words to replace the groans which is all that seems to come these days.  Here are a few of mine I share with you. Let's pray and trust the Lord hears the cries of the righteous and delivers them from all their trouble. 

Break cycles of bondage.
Be bigger, Jesus. 
Pour out resurrection power to overcome all that seeks to steal, kill and destroy. 
Do not hold darkness at bay; push it back.
Show Your might and mercy, your kindness, compassion and power. 

Shake us. Uproot all that needs uprooting. 
Make us fertile soil. 
Bring a harvest through the pain of this. 

Be our rock of refuge that stands firm.
Be not moved in our shaking.

May we not return evil for evil,
injustice for injustice, 
disrespect and hatred for disrespect and hatred. 

Help us to do good and not withhold, 

to love You and out of that love to go the extra mile, 
to be inconvenienced, 
to lay up for ourselves treasures in Heaven rather than on this earth, 
to be led by Your Spirit and bear the fruits of Your Spirit. 

Fill us as you empty us.
Fill us with Your love that is selfless,

with your grace that does unto others what we would have done unto ourselves. 

Give us empathy, a pause to think and feel for another. 

Fill us with gentleness 
and joy
and peace 
and faithfulness. 

Thank You that You do good unto all who love you, who call upon your name.
Thank You that You will not put your people to shame. 

Monday, April 06, 2015

The Monday After

There was a sense of let down when I woke up this morning. 
What now?
What for today?
Easter celebrations are over. 

I am having to remind myself that Easter celebrations for me, a Christian, are never over. 
Today, I celebrate afresh, again and for always--
     Christ is risen from the dead, 

     Trampling over death by death

I walk out onto my stone porch, leaving my over-sized sliding glass door open behind me so I can hear the words to Matt Maher's "Christ is Risen" blaring from our speaker and with my arms stretched out wide, eyes scanning the trees to search for buds of life amidst the dead limbs, I defiantly declare, 
     O death, where is your sting?
     O hell, where is your victory?
     O Church, come stand in the light.
     The glory of God has defeated the night. 

So today, when I am tempted to give in to discouragement, loneliness and let down, I resolve to remember, "God has defeated the night." Any night of the soul over me has no welcome and no claim on me; it has been defeated. 
I will persist to proclaim it. 
I will believe it. 

And when I walk the yard and fear the life of plants and bushes was stolen from this past winter, one of the coldest Maryland has seen in decades, I will purpose to pay mind to the life that remains and praise the One who gives life, sustains life and calls awake what lies dormant and dead. 

Friday, April 03, 2015

What's so good about Good Friday?

At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might dare to die. 
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through Him!       Romans 5

What other god has done this or would do this? 

The God, who justly could pour out His wrath on us, full fury, because of our selfishness, our shortcomings, our laziness and our living for ourselves.
This is the same God who saves us, rescues us, justifies us, makes us right by Himself? 
His own Son's blood. 
His Son, 
whom He loved and shared perfect communion with, 
who never did any wrong, 
who only ever chose to do the right thing. Every time. 
who obeyed even to the point of death. On a cross.

This selfless Son He gives up for us. 

What other god does this?
Demands a sacrifice and then provides the most spotless, perfect sacrifice History has ever known--on this day we remember as Good Friday. 

Good indeed for all those who flee to the merciful covering, the justly justifying, the never failing love of Jesus's blood.