February 27

Events that do not destroy you only make you stronger. I find that when life goes on uneventful as usual, we are less likely to pray, or praise God than we maybe should be. But when you are faced with a tough obstacle in life, you often blame God for putting you through pain or in an uncomfortable situation. When you overcome this, you are incredibly grateful to him and you praise him, but it eventually goes away. Time passes, and you forget the mercy your God has shown you when you were unworthy.
Just take this time to remember your incredible merciful God, even if your life is currently uneventful, and you are, in your mind, not currently in need of prayer for help from your eternal Father.


February 25

Lord of gentleness and patience, you know what is in my heart.  Please help me to take a deep breath and pause in those times when my answer may be hard or unkind.  Please help me to see the other person through your eyes and learn to love them as you do.  Please be gentle with me and help me to be gentle with the people who challenge my ability to respond lovingly.  In the name of Jesus Christ, who loved us all beyond imagining, Amen.


February 23

Is there Rest + Delight in your Sabbath?

The word, Sabbath, means to stop or to keep.  It is usually defined as a day of religious observance and abstinence from work.  Traditionally, for most Christians, the Sabbath is Sunday and often consists of some formal or informal worship time to experience what God has created for us.

Or not.

In the days of the Old Testament, one of the important things the Sabbath provided for God's people was a day of rest from slavery.  So, what enslaves you on the Sabbath? The office. Electronics. Shopping. Family obligations. Food. Your list could be endless. 

Let's face it.  For many of us, our Sabbath has become dry and routine and not very different from the other six days of the week. 

Perhaps God has something else in mind for you.  Try this definition: Sabbath = Rest (from the things that enslave you) + Delight (in what God has created for you). 

If you truly celebrate your Sabbath with Rest + Delight, what would it look like?  Could there be celebration in your worship? Delight in this day that God has created for you? Could you be free -- if just for this day -- of the things that enslave you?

My bet is that in your Rest + Delight, you will hear what God has been telling you all along.

By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all his work.  Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating He had done.  Genesis 2:2-3.

Jesus said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.  So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.  Mark 2:27.


February 21

The sun is warm and bright, and fills my body and my spirit with warmth! Surely it has melted all the snow…  but I look outside, and the snow is almost as deep as it was when freshly fallen. The ground is still fully covered with a blanket of ice and snow.

Sometimes I make a prayer, and I think that God has ignored me. But I have faith that God will answer my prayer, just as I have faith that Spring will return, and the blanket of snow will melt, and the flowers will return!


February 17

   I often hear people say that they would never want the president’s job.  It does age the person in office!  Whether we agree with the current president’s policies or not, we agree that he has a difficult position.  He deserves our prayers.  As we work peacefully for what we believe is right in government, we look to the Lord for guidance.  God’s kingdom is one of justice and freedom and equal rights and peace.  Not all Christians will agree on how we should try to make the kingdom a reality here and now, but we all agree that we should be striving for that goal.  Let’s join together in prayer for our leaders today and every day.

Lord God of justice and mercy, we ask you to bless and guide our government leaders.  Help them to act with the interests of the people in their hearts and to abandon self-interest.  We especially ask your blessings for President Obama.  May the lessons we have learned from the successes and mistakes of the past and the directions of Scripture be in his heart and mind.  In name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.


February 15

Happy Valentine’s Day, God loves you!

As we slip past another Valentine’s Day, I again reflect that this holiday is a consumer contrivance to sell chocolates, cards, flowers and helium balloons.  It is a holiday that, IMHO ranks right up there with “Sweetest Day,” “Mother-in-Law Day,” and “National Safe Boating Day” as genuinely unnecessary.  After all, even the Catholic Church no longer recognizes the feast day of Saint Valentine, from which the holiday was originally derived.  That said, I will admit that I have succumbed, or perhaps, wisely invested in a Valentine’s Day card for my spouse (whom I dearly love) but still I resent the ‘scheduled’ nature of this holiday.  

For love, as we know, follows no set schedule; it happens when it happens, and when it does, it is a gift that is given freely.  As Jesus’ life, death and resurrection demonstrated, love in all its many forms is an act of courage, of trust, and of forgiveness.  Love requires strength to give, and it requires strength to accept, and it certainly does not conform to any calendar.  I don’t require a card-store infused holiday to remind me of how very blessed I am to have the love of my wife and my family, but I do need to continually seek God’s help to guide me in those relationships.  Each and every day, I thank God for my family, for their love and I pray for the courage to model and to share His love for me with others.


February 13

Everlasting Love

Love is on our minds today because of Valentine's Day, but it may have been difficult for some people to do all they had planned for the day.  The weather here has been atrocious, making it hard to shop or make gifts or even to think too much about such plans.  We get distracted by other things like getting ready for the storm.  Doesn't that happen all too often, every day?  We get distracted by many things in life and forget to express the love we feel for others, not just our Valentine sweetheart.  God calls to act in love every day, but I know that I often fail.

Loving Lord, you love us all the time, no matter what.  Please help us to show love to all those around us, every day.  Help us to put aside distractions and live as you want us to live.  In the name of Jesus Christ whose love knows no bounds.  Amen.


February 11

By Any Other Name

 A friend of mine is having a baby and starting to think about names.  They know the gender so they can choose names that fit the gender.  They may consider a family name or a name that has special significance for them.  They are also trying very hard to choose a name that has the least possibility of being used to tease when the child gets older.  This is important, because the child’s name will form the child’s identity to some extent.  Think about your name.  How do you feel about it?  How has it influenced you over the years?  God changed people’s names when a life changing event occurred, such as Abram becoming Abraham because of God’s covenant with him or Simon becoming Peter because Jesus chose him to head the early church.  Their new names literally named their new roles with God and the world.  What name do you think God would give you for the relationship you have with Jesus right now?

Lord, you understand me better than anyone and know how my name has influenced who I am.  Please help me to be the person you want me to be, regardless of my name.  Please make me fit the names of “Hope” and “Joy” and “Patience”.  Amen.


February 9

This weather has been crazy.  I don’t think the schools have had a full week in weeks!  I’m tired of shoveling and scraping and salting and freezing.  God, why can’t we get a break and have a few days of clear skies and 40 degree temperatures?  Then, I think of the pictures and interviews on TV of refugees from violence and of victims of abuse and … .  OK, God, I have food and people who care about me.  I mostly have electricity.  I have coats and gloves and boots.  I am safe.  Thank you, God, for all my many blessings.  Please keep my eyes open for the chances I have to help those without those blessings.  Amen.


February 7

Prayer of Thanks 

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the promise of a new day.  I offer a prayer of thanks today, having come through a time of need for physical and spiritual support.  I thank you for the wisdom and insight related to recent surgical decisions.  Thank you also for the skill and compassion you placed in the doctors and nurses who helped me in the hospital, creating such a positive outlook for recovery.  Once home, I am thankful for the number of family, friends, and members of our community of faith who openly conveyed their prayers for your healing power and their kindest words toward recovery.  Thank you for your continuing presence throughout this process, and I pray that I may be ready to offer others similar support in the future.  In  the name of the healing Christ, Amen.


February 5


Luke 6: 18-19-  "who had come to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were being cured.  And all the people were trying to touch Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all."

I was looking at samples of websites today, flipping through and found the word SOZO.  Like most of us that spend a lot of time on the computer, I “googled” the word.  Sozo is a Greek verb and noun which means to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction; to save a suffering one, to make well, heal, restore to health, renew.  This one Greek word, sozo, indicates a connection of body, soul, and spirit, and the process of saving our souls through grace.  If I could read the New Testament as it were written originally in Greek, I understand the word sozo is used many times.  It’s just that we need so many English words to translate one simple, yet complex, 4-letter word.

Thank you, Jesus, for coming into our world to give us SOZO – to heal and save us, to restore and renew us through your grace.  I thought more about you today by discovering this word and learning about others who strive everyday to be more like you and live to SOZO.


February 3

O God of all the nations, we pray for those who mourn.  Give them
comfort and the warmth of your presence.  We pray for those who suffer
loss or pain, separation or hunger, loneliness or guilt.  Make us
agents of your love which heals and gives hope and strength to endure.

We thank you for the gifts of life and family, friends and companions,
and most of all for your dear companionship at our sides.  You have
adopted us as daughters and sons, as the sisters and brothers of your
Son, who has showed us your nature as unconditional love.

We pray for our church, that it may be a beacon of that love in our
community, welcoming all who need.  May your spitit be in our spirit.

Oh God, we yearn for peace in our world.  Hasten the coming of your
kingdom, when hatred and violence will be no more.  Teach us to strive
for that day.

Accept our gratitude and our prayers in Jesus' sacred name.  Amen


February 1


 What do you do when God does not answer your prayer request?   I am helped with this question by Evelyn Underhill, a British lay person who was a prolific spiritual writer in the first half of the 20th century. As a radio personality and a spiritual director, she was a proponent of contemplative prayer and of heart-felt faith in everyday life.  Her writing sounds amazingly contemporary to me.  In her little book “The School of Charity”, originally published in 1934, she indicated that God will never do for us what we can do for ourselves.  Yet at the same time, the Holy Spirit has a way of meeting us in the stresses and cares of our daily lives with a hard-to-describe presence which can surprisingly change our approach to what we are facing.

     There is so much to learn through prayer and intentionally waiting on God.  God can come to us in surprising ways. Prayer can deepen our experience of the moment which turns our interpreting awareness inside out.  So what first appears to be a dead end, even in prayer, may be in reality a door to a greater understanding and peace. 

     One way to know when we are receiving God’s surprising grace is when an answer we receive is not what we expected.  Another way to sense we are getting a nudge from God is when the word we receive is not our idea.  Some of my favorite times with God are when an idea, a direction, a perspective or an attitude shifts, so that I almost don’t recognize what comes out.  A friend of mine who wrote a book says that he heard someone reading out loud from a book one time and he thought – ‘my, that idea is pretty profound.  I like that!’ Then we he looked to find out who wrote the book, he was shocked to see that the book was his!   

     When we are in the Spirit’s flow, we may speak and act in surprising ways, even to ourselves.  This is just the way life with God is! 

     God, help us to get out of the way of ourselves.  Show us how to put our own interpretations aside long enough to gain your approach to our need. Lead us to quiet our minds so that you can get through what you long to communicate and to accomplish within us.  You offer us surprising grace and we are eternally grateful!  Amen.