Archive for February, 2009

Counting Our Blessings

February 27, 2009

“I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live, That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil – this is the gift of God.” Ecclesiastes 3:12-13

Lord, it is in times of trial that we are reminded of what matters most in our lives: the love of our families, the comfort of friends who listen to our hopes and our fears, and the strength that comes from your sustaining presence.    We thank you for the opportunity to seek help and to help others as we rebuild our lives. We thank you for food enjoyed and shared in the company of those we love.  We thank you for those who teach us new skills and those who help us heal.  We thank you for new births among us.  As we care for the sick, the aging, and those near death, we thank you for their lives, and for the bonds of affection and knowledge and shared experience that shape our world.  As we enter the spring season, we thank you for the warmth of the sun, the song of birds, and all of the beauty of the natural world which reflects your love and care for us.  We thank you for your promise of eternal life – a promise that helps us to face the unknown.

Lord, help us to see and accept your many gracious gifts, and walk in your ways.


Encouraging One Another

February 22, 2009

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. . . Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you. Ephesians 4:29, 31-32.

Lord, in these hard times help us to speak to each other words of hope, optimism and faith–faith that we can and will overcome economic disaster and personal loss.  Help us to speak to each other the words of encouragement that can help us persevere.  Let us speak words of praise when deserved, ask questions that open the path to new ideas, and share the comfort of your word.  Help us to speak to each other with honest words, including words of pain, sorrow, and accountability.   Let us move away from words of blame, shame, hatred, and distrust, and find instead words of sharing, caring, and forgiveness.  Help us O Lord find words that can build bridges —  bridges between rich and poor, black and white, old and young, east and west, and between the other differences that divide.  Help us move forward together, O Lord, as one country, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.


Serve One Another In Love

February 15, 2009

. . . But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather serve one another in love. . . . If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.  Galatians 5:13, 15

What are the acts of a sinful nature? You have warned us O Lord against hatred, discord, jealousy, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy. (Galatians 5:20-21).  In this time of national trial, help us turn away from these habits of the sinful nature.  Help us to listen to each other, accept the need to try new paths, and above all, to care for those in need. Help us to seek accountability in ourselves and not just in others, be open to new information, and be willing to make changes as new knowledge is gained. Help us to forgive past wrongs, focus on the common good, and build toward a future where all can prosper. Give us wise leaders, and let the mockers fall by the wayside.  (Proverbs 9:7-12).  Heal our hearts O Lord, and help our country.


Compassion, Caring and Courage

February 7, 2009

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, 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.  Matthew 25:35-36

Lord as unemployment rates soar, we pray for those without jobs.  As foreclosures increase, we pray for those who have lost their homes.  We pray for the hungry, the homeless, those who need and cannot find afford medical care, those who are without heat or adequate clothing, those in schools without resources, and those who are without hope.  We pray for those who lash out in anger, seek relief in drugs, or abandon those they care for.  We pray for children and spouses who fall victim to the anger and despair of those they depend on.  Give us the courage Lord to reach out in compassion, to share what we have, and build countless bridges of caring through feeding, sheltering, clothing, and reaching out to those who are battered by the current economic storm.  In the words of your apostle (1 John 3:18), “let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” In Jesus’ name we pray.