February 29

Happy Leap Day!  This day is a reminder to me that time is a human construct.  We invent ways to manage the universe which God created and continues to create.

Almighty God, thank you for creating us as curious and creative beings, in your image.  Thank you for putting us in a universe that is mysterious and beautiful.  Help us to remember that you are the one in charge, you are the ultimate creator, and that you are ever more mysterious and beautiful than anything which you have created.  In Jesus' name, Amen.


February 27

This week trust God with your challenges, requests, prayers, decisions and questions by saying each challenge out load and responding with Proverbs 3:5.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.
                                            New International Version

What is the direction for my life in retirement?
Guide my children and grandchildren to grow spiritually and live a faith-centered life?
Show my faith in this decision. 
Provide results that can determine treatment for healing?
What is the best choice for my family?
Ensure safety on this journey.
Where is home?
Equip me with skills to understand and accept others.
Focus my actions on what you determine is important. 

Trusting God with the outcome is the answer. Proverbs 3:5 is the response.


February 25

Jesus talks about what would later be known as “The New Commandment”: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one I have loved you… By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”(John 13: 33-35). This is the most important thing Jesus says; he repeats himself in John 15: 12-13: “This is my commandment that you love one another, as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” This second verse serves not only commandment as to how we should live our own lives, but also as testimony to how much he loves us, that he would lay down his life for us.

We show our love for others by being friendly people to those we have never met, by giving our time to others without expecting pay or reward.

And the world will know we are Christians for our love.


February 23

Dear Father,
Thank you for the gift of this day.
Thank you for your promise to handle all of my problems today. Every day.
Help me to stop wasting this time – precious  time -- in worrying and controlling and striving. Help me to free up this time for you.
You bless me each morning with a fresh start. A new day. Another chance.
What will I do with that fresh start today?
What can I do for you?

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3 Common English Bible.


February 21

I was reading an article about reasons some people give for their actions.  The author of the article rightly noted that all the reasons were self-centered.  This isn't right for me, or I am choosing another something that will be better for me, or I need to have this.  How much of what we do is motivated by what we want or what we perceive is our need?  How often do we turn to God and ask if our decision is what God wants?  How much are we able to get outside of our own skin and see the world from God's perspective?  We have only to read the Bible to get a good idea of what God wants us to do- love, show mercy, love, do justice, love.

"Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience.  Accept each other with love, and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together."
Ephesians 4:2-3


February 19

           Love is one of those strange, indefinable ideas that have emerged in the world. We may know what “love” is according to its dictionary definition, but when it comes to defining love in our own words, our own words are pitifully inadequate to capture the essence of “love.”
            Everyone tries to define love at one point or another – psychologists, scientists, theologians. Probably, the people who have come close to explaining it are the poets, artists, and writers.
            Of course, speaking of writers, the Bible is full to overflowing with references to love. For example, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength.” – Deuteronomy 6:5. Or, “A new command I give you – love one another. As I have loved you, you must love one another.” – John 13:34. Or the old familiar standby, “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16.
            Then there’s also the well-known passage, from 1 Corinthians 13, the “Love” chapter, where Paul is describing to the reader the best way of all. There is no need here for me to relate the entire chapter here, though I will close with the passage starting at verse 8:
            “Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.
            “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” (New Living Translation)
            So in the end, it’s okay if we don’t fully understand what love is. We have had glimpses of it, and that will be enough to sustain us for the time being, because one day, we will understand it perfectly.

            Until then, let us always remember the last verse, verse 13, of this chapter: “Meanwhile, these three remain: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love.”


February 17

It has been such a roller coaster with the weather that I don't know if I'm coming or going or staying put anymore!  I get up in the morning and turn on the news to see what schools are doing and what the forecast is.  I walk the dog with trepidation: will we need his sweater, will we slip down the sidewalk, will I need to carry him through the deep snow to the shallow snow, will we need an umbrella?  How shall I dress?  What do I face if I make out of my neighborhood?

It feels unsettling, but the truth is that every day is an unknown.  We don't know what we will face, who we will encounter, how the day will go.  That is an excellent reason to begin every day with prayer.  Even before you get out of bed, maybe in those moments after you hit the snooze button, you can give your day to God. Then, when you arise, you could spend more time with God.  Maybe you could read a devotional or spend some time in silence listening to God.  However you connect with God, prayer is the best way to move into the day, whatever it may hold.

Almighty God, you know all things.  You know what each day will hold for us.  You know the joys and opportunities and the challenges that await. Please help us to turn to you every morning, to lay our day and our responses to that day into your hands.  Help us to act and speak in love, as your children.  Help us to rest secure in the confidence that you are at our side in every moment of every day.  In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, Amen.


February 15

School is closed today for President's Day.  We remember the founding presidents on this day, but let us also hold our current president and future president in prayer today.  The position of president has got to be one of the hardest jobs in the world!  Let's hold President Obama in prayer.  Let us pray that we make wise decisions in the coming election, and that God's will be done now and always.


February 11

We began Lent yesterday as we received ashes on our forehead to remind us that we are creatures, created beings and not the Creator.  We are mortal and our bodies will eventually become dust, ashes, earth.  It is a humble way to begin a season that is designed to bring us closer to Jesus.  Humility isn't always the way we approach Jesus.  Don't we sometimes approach Jesus with great familiarity?  Actually, I don't think that the two are mutually exclusive.  We should approach even those we know best with humility.  No matter how well we know someone, we don't assume that we know how they feel or what they think. We humbly acknowledge our limitations.  Of course, our limitations are boundless in our relationship to Jesus!  So- we begin this journey to grow closer to Jesus by humbly acknowledging that we are limited mortal creatures, who are made of dust and earth.


February 9

Many people underestimate the power of intercessory prayer (praying on the behalf of others). I imagine God is delighted when we pray for others.When our family members or friends are facing challenges such as health or financial problems, loss of loved ones, or other challenges in their lives, do you pray for them before helping them in other ways? Time after time, I have seen God's guidance, comfort, healing power, and peace after people have prayed for someone. A friend
shared that she had felt God's love and peace during her son's open heart surgery when she expected to experience fear. She knew that many of her friends were praying for the doctors and her family during her son's surgery, and she said she felt her friends lifting her up in prayer. Let us bring our prayers for others to God and experience the power of intercessory prayer!

...since you are helping with your prayer for us. Then many people can thank God on our behalf for the gift that was given to us through the prayers of many people. 2Cor 1:11 CEB


February 7

Waiting can be difficult for those of us in our American culture.  We don't like it.  We are taught to avoid it at all costs and to be grumpy if it proves unavoidable.  Personally, I can actually enjoy waiting.  It forces me to pause, maybe even rest.

Thank you, Lord, for forcing me to pause, to reflect, to perhaps even start a conversation with someone I never would have engaged.  Thank you for unexpected connections and for the joy of rest. In Jesus' name.  Amen.


February 5

This was the view out of my kitchen window a couple of Sunday's ago.  The snow had stopped falling, the sky was clear, and the sun was rising.  The curtains were closed when I first walked into the kitchen.  I was startled by the light trying to peek through.  I pulled back the curtains to find the sun gazing in, just over the snow wrapped bush.  "Hello!"  "Good Morning!"  What a wonderful surprise this was.  Thank you, Lord, for your bright surprises.  Thank you, Lord, for making me smile.  Thank you, Lord, for your beautiful gifts.


February 3

                After the blizzard ended last month and the 29 inches of snow had surpassed the record books, a friend of mine prepared to go out and shovel out his car.  It was a job he never liked and this one almost overwhelmed him.  He’d never seen cars parked helplessly in that much snow.  And he had to tackle  the job of digging it away so he could even get into his car let alone drive it anywhere.

                With weariness he dressed for the job and went out to start.  But he was only going through the door to get out there when he caught a breath of fresh air and saw the world sparkle in the bright sunlight;  his heart lifted. He dug for a time and looked at his watch in preparation for his first break; he was surprised at how much snow he’d already moved.  He wasn’t prepared for that; he thought he’d only be more depressed, only to think negatively on how little he’d accomplished, and how soon he’d have to start again.  Then as he rested, some folks who were doing the same job with their cars rested and came over and talked with him, and the chat- time proved wonderfully refreshing. He was surprised at how good he really felt as he returned to the job at hand; he returned to it with a smile, not a grumble. And so it went.  This chore he’d taken on with so much reluctance  and that he felt would end in utter exhaustion of both body and good sense ended with his feeling satisfied and alive with the sense of a job well done.

                My friend is a person of faith, and he said he did a lot of praying before he started, asking God to be patient and understanding of his depressed  mood and negative attitude.  But when it was over that was not how he felt at all.  He pondered a moment and then went and read a passage from Isaiah that he was particularly fond of but hadn’t been thinking about as he started.  It goes like this: “…those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,  they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Is. 40:11) 

                God breaks into our weary days with contacts from sun and nature and friends, renewing us in spite of our depressed moods and low expectations.  Thanks be to God!