“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3
I was cleaning my bookshelves a while back and came across a book that I hadn’t given much thought to in many years; it is the Prayer Book of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. Let me tell you how this little 80-page book blessed my life.
It was just after Thanksgiving time in 1995 while I was working as a pastoral assistant to a Catholic Pastor in Massachusetts. He was a great priest and a great friend. However, he was also great at volunteering me for projects! (I will admit that I really didn’t mind at all)
We traveled to Boston one afternoon to visit with the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy; what an amazing ministry they have. While taking a tour of their lovely chapel, we noticed that their prayer books were a torn and tattered mess that consisted of a folder of mismatched cards and papers. Continue reading
Can God do this? Can God fix this? Can God move mountains? Can God do the seemingly impossible when all around you say that it is impossible?
The answer is YES!
Recently someone I know reached out to friends and family asking for “divine intervention and good intentions” in a very private matter. I messaged that I would keep them and the family in my prayers. The reply from my friend was “no divine intervention will help”. This hurt my heart as I know that somewhere deep inside, this person knows the truth. Yet somehow over the years a conscious choice to deny the truth of God’s realness, goodness and grace was made.
Some may think that life altering crises happen only to people that have made the conscious choice to ignore or reject God. Oh if that were only true. Time and time again, we see historical evidence recorded throughout the Word of God of the days, weeks, months, years even generations of chaos, calamity and turmoil that erupted in and around the lives of God’s children – divorce, death, adultery, sickness, prison, torture, disgrace, scandal, ridicule, demons, treachery and betrayal – to name a few. In each of these instances, God shows us that there are times the road to the miraculous travels through the ugly, wicked and evil – and it does so because of FAITH – faith that is sure and certain and confident.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” Hebrews 11:1-2 NIV
It is easy to go through life’s disappointments, failures, fears and uncertainties and lose whatever faith in God you might have. Once you begin to question His reason for the pain and turmoil in your life, you can very easily come to the conclusion that God’s really doesn’t care about you or your crises. And if He doesn’t care about you, then He is not a loving God and if He isn’t a loving God, then why would you spend your time believing in some fairy tale. Sound about right? Continue reading
“So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.” “Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?” So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.” 1 Kings 19:19-21 NIV
Elijah, a Prophet, was commanded by God to anoint several Kings as well as anoint Elisha as his protégé and successor. Until that time, Elisha was a farmer plowing his family fields, driving a team of oxen behind the plow. Just living his life.
In an instant his life is transformed when Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. At that time a man’s cloak was a prized possession. It served as his protection from the weather and any other dozen uses. But in this instance the cloak denoted the office of Prophet. The act of Elijah covering Elisha with his cloak was to show that he would be come Elijah’s successor. Elisha dropped what he was doing and ran after Elijah. But he stopped him and asked to be allowed to go back and say goodbye to his parents, to which Elijah agreed.
This is a re-post of this article first written in 2015. How sad is it that all we need do is to change the name of the Church or Synagogue and it is as relevant today as it was three years ago.
My heart hurts today. The news on every channel is filled with images from South Carolina and the senseless killing of nine precious saints in the AME Church in Charleston. My heart weeps for the destruction.
satan has stepped up his unholy boldness; he is no longer lurking in the shadows. Oh no, he is taking his evil right to Main Street America.
his pervasive evil now invades our homes to steal our children right from their beds only to rape, maim and murder the innocents – all done in the name of evil. And satan laughs.
Evil now walks upright in the full light of day directly through the front door of our schools and opens fire on the innocents – killing all in its path; leaving a trail of destruction and tears that can never be repaired, never be forgotten – all done in the name of evil. And satan laughs.
Evil now boards our airplanes – unafraid and undaunted. It takes control and three thousand innocents are murdered – all done in the name of evil. And satan laughs.
“As we are approaching the end of this age, we will come to see that those things which are to be shaken shall be removed and only those things which are not to be shaken shall remain. May we therefore seek for things unshakable which come through the spirit of wisdom and revelation.”[i]
Recently we began an all Church Bible Study called Experience Life by Pete Briscoe. In the week two study, we are challenged to develop and deepen our relationship with Jesus by committing ourselves to spending time with Him, becoming more the person He desires us to be. “Discipleship requires Discipline” “We have a new life in Christ – a relationship with our living Lord!” Just as when we meet a new friend, we want to get to know them better, we do this by spending time with them – talking, learning about them, their past, their likes, their dislikes, etc. “For the Christian, isn’t that what spiritual growth really is – getting to know Jesus better, communicating with Him, learning what He likes and doesn’t like, and adapting our lives to His?” Continue reading
“What’s the big deal about not being born again; after all I’m a good person. It’s not like I’ve ever killed anyone. I’m not a bank robber. Sure I might cuss from time to time, but God knows that I don’t mean it. I know that I am going to Heaven.” I have heard this statement from many people over the years. My response is usually… Really? Are you absolutely positive?
In John 3, we read about the interaction of Nicodemus, a religious leader, most likely a member of the Sanhedrin (the ruling council) and Jesus. Nicodemus sought out Jesus in the cover of darkness without other members of the Sanhedrin to learn from the man named Jesus. He needed to determine fact from rumor about Jesus. Though Nicodemus was a learned man, he still had questions. He wanted to know more and he knew that Jesus had the answers.
“The wise man in the storm prays to God not for safety from danger,
but deliverance from fear.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
I used to live in the Hill Country of Central Texas. We lived in a modest home right across the street from the amazing Lake LBJ. We were in close proximity to where the Lower Colorado joins the Llano River. It was such a beautiful area; we were blessed to call it home.
Central Texas, at that time, had been in a severe drought for quite a number of years. Many of the lakes on that river had dried up, Lake LBJ, however, was a constant level lake… so we were able to enjoy it immensely – drought or no drought.
It was about 2 years after we moved there, that the drought broke. And oh did it break. The rains started and it didn’t look like it was ever going to stop. Thankfully, our home was up on a little knoll… with all of the flooding, it looked like we lived on our own tiny little island, just big enough for our little house and our cars.
God Hates Me! Okay maybe He doesn’t hate me, but at the very least He is mad at me! He’s just waiting to get a hold of me and punish me. I have sinned so much, there is no way that He could ever forgive me. If I can’t forgive myself, why would He forgive me.
Sadly, that is the prevailing opinion of many Americans today. God is unrelenting. He is vengeful and angry. How could He ever forgive me for what I’ve done?
Gods promise in Isaiah 54: 9-10 gives us the hope and assurance we so need.
9 “In the time of Noah I promised
never again to flood the earth.
Now I promise not to be angry with you again;
I will not reprimand or punish you.
10 The mountains and hills may crumble,
but my love for you will never end;
I will keep forever my promise of peace.”
A Daily Invitation to Friendship with God: Dreaming With God to Transform Your World by Bill Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Your Daily Access to Heaven’s Wisdom, Creativity, Purpose, and Power. When people are in love they dream together. The same is true for your relationship with God. He wants to share the secrets of His heart—His thoughts, plans and purposes—with you. The Maker of Heaven and Earth wants to dream with you!”
A Daily Invitation to Friendship with God by Bill Johnson is a devotional of sorts taken from the writings of his book “Dreaming with God” The book is divided into ten sections that include: Co-Laboring with God, The Creative Edge, The Value of Mystery, The Language of the Spirit, Invading Babylon, The Practical Side of Things, The Spirit of Revelation, Celebrating the Living Word, Redesigning our World and Pulling Tomorrow into Today. Continue reading
Spoken From the Heart: Choosing Grace by Cheri Swalwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Do you know what it means to “choose grace?” Do you ever stop to think about all the times God showers us with His grace? Yes, through unexpected blessings, but more importantly through undeserved salvation.
I’m still trying to grasp the full meaning of the word grace in my everyday life. However, I do know this: It comes in many forms, is seen through a variety of people, and God gives us countless opportunities to pass it on to others throughout our lives.”
Spoken from the Heart – Choosing Grace by Cheri Slawell reads just as the title suggests… from the heart – the heart of the author. Over the course of 32 “lessons” Ms. Slawell shares not just her heart, but also her triumphs, failures, joys and heartbreaks all bundled together in God’s Grace in her life.
The easy style of the author made this book a joy to read. It felt more like sitting across from her, sharing a cup of tea while she relates her stories. A very well done book. Thank you for allowing me to read it.
*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through the “For Readers Only” group at The Book Club Network, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
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