Tag Archives: Christianity

Lent 5B

March 18

The New Covenant

Jeremiah 31:31-34

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.


Prayer Thought

Lord, help me to remember that you have written your law on my heart so that I could new be abandoned.


“One life on this earth is all that we get, whether it is enough or not enough, and the obvious conclusion would seem to be that at the very least we are fools if we do not live it as fully and bravely and beautifully as we can.”

—-Frederick Buechner

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Lent 4 B

March 11

Saved by Grace

Ephesians 4:2-10

2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.

7 But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8Therefore it is said,
‘When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive;
he gave gifts to his people.’
9(When it says, ‘He ascended’, what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.)


Prayer Thought

Lord, we know that you ate our Savior and Redeemer and without you we are lost and alone.


Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all people love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour increasingly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family.

― Henri J.M. Nouwen


 

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Lent Day 20

March 8

Sing to the Lord

Psalm 95

O come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
O come, let us worship and bow down,
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.

O that today you would listen to his voice!
Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
when your ancestors tested me,
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.


Prayer Thought

Lord, help me to remember and not neglect praising your name every day of my existence.


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Lent Day 15

March 2

Raised to Lordship

Psalm 105:16-21

When he summoned famine against the land,
and broke every staff of bread,
he had sent a man ahead of them,
Joseph, who was sold as a slave.
His feet were hurt with fetters,
his neck was put in a collar of iron;
until what he had said came to pass,
the word of the Lord kept testing him.
The king sent and released him;
the ruler of the peoples set him free.
He made him lord of his house,
and ruler of all his possessions.

 


 

Prayer Thought

Lord, sometimes you have great plans for me that I fail to see. Please give me the courage to wait.


 

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

 

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Lent Day 14

March 1

Christ Will Rise

Luke 16:19-31

‘There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.” But Abraham said, “Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.” He said, “Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.” Abraham replied, “They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.” He said, “No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.” He said to him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” ’


Prayer Thought

Lord, give me the commitment to live every day as if it were my last. Allow me to become the one who looks forward to your coming.


“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

― C.S. Lewis

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Discovering Self

What does a Christ-like mind look like as we live in the world? We can see it clearly in the great saints and martyrs, such as Mother Teresa or Albert Schweitzer. I’m drawn as well to the idea William Placher suggests in his book “Narratives of a Vulnerable God” as he uses an illustration from the world of basketball. Professor Placher writes, “In basketball the players who are always asking, ‘How am I doing? Am I getting my share of the shots?’ Those are the ones who never reach their full potential. It is the players who lose themselves who find themselves. And it’s that kind of self-forgetfulness that makes the best players.” And isn’t that the case with all of us in whatever we do?

I read about one of the fastest growing churches in the world, with branches in 2-28-18-332 countries already. It is called the Winners Church, and according to its leaders, it lives by a motto that comes from America’s religious culture. Here’s the motto: “Be happy. Be successful. Join the winners.” People flock to that kind of church, I guess. But it all depends, doesn’t it, on how we define winning? I wonder what kind of church you would have if your motto were “Whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant.” Or about this one for a motto, “Those who want to save their lives will lose them and those who lose their lives for my sake, will find them.”

For the past several years I have lived with the Christian mystics and sought that God would allow me to learn from them. One of the most important lessons they have taught me is the act of putting self behind. In doing so, I place God in front. He belongs there.

If a monk does not think in his own heart that he is a sinner, God will not2-28-18-2 hear him. The brother said, ‘What does this mean, to think in his heart he is a sinner?’ Then the old man said, ‘When someone is occupied with his own faults, he does not see those of his neighbor.’

—-Abba Moses of the Desert

This type of theme of careful introspection resonates very loudly in our grudge-filled and judgmental society. The poet Anne Currin writes, “You’re so devoted to all your grudges, You cherish them like they’re a prize; You hold them with pride on your pedestal Bursting with bliss as your relationships die.” Many years before the poet wrote those words the people of the desert were pondering how to deal with such things. In this saying, the Abba points us directly to our awareness of personal sin and its effect on our behavior toward others.
His advice is quite simple. We are called to believe in our hearts that we are sinners, and sin is our nature. Until we can recognize our nature, it is very difficult to improve our lot. When we turn our energies toward self – improvement we steer away from judgment of others, and towards unity with God. That unity, after all, is our primary goal. Own your sins and ask God to give you the grace to overcome.


Prayer

Lord, give me the wisdom and insight to discover my true self and the grace to live with the knowledge, Allow me to be able to prosper, not because of who I am, but because of what your grace can make me to be, Let your light shine brightly in all my days and your peace rest with me in my nights.

Amen


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Lent Day 11

February 26

Do Not Judge Others

Luke 6: 36-38

36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

37 ‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.’


Prayer Thought

Lord, it is so difficult not to past judgment on the people and things that hurt our world. Give me your insight so that I may live as you will.


If you want to find rest here below, and hereafter, in all circumstances say ‘Who am I?’ and do not judge anyone.

—Sayings of the Desert

 

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Lent Day 10

February 24

The Lord’s Treasure

Deuteronomy 26:16-19

16This very day the Lord your God is commanding you to observe these statutes and ordinances; so observe them diligently with all your heart and with all your soul. 17Today you have obtained the Lord’s agreement: to be your God; and for you to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, his commandments, and his ordinances, and to obey him. 18Today the Lord has obtained your agreement: to be his treasured people, as he promised you, and to keep his commandments; 19for him to set you high above all nations that he has made, in praise and in fame and in honor; and for you to be a people holy to the Lord your God, as he promised.


Prayer Thought

Lord, give me the wisdom to be able to identify the treasures of my life.


“The greatest honor we can give Almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love.”

― Julian of Norwich

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Submission and Humility

One of the fathers use to say, ‘before anything else we need humility: a being ready to listen whenever a word is spoken to us, and to say, “I submit”, because through humility every device of the enemy, every kind of obstacle, is destroyed.

——Dorotheos of Gaza

The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

—-Mathew 23 :11-12


 

Perhaps the definition and function of humility is the foremost issue for anyone who wishes to follow the path of God. Humility is the ability to put yourself last, and to accept hardships that come along with the path of God. For any of us to follow after God, we must have the capacity to submit to God and others. Acquiescing to God is a tough charge, but to others is a near impossibility. We all find submission a problematic part of living. The monk says that submission is the first action, and that all others will follow. Humble wisdom gives us the capacity to sense the good in an act of submission. Further, it is the act of choosing the path that will lead to peace with God and our fellow man. Our day is full of strife and conflict. We live in a time where everyone demands to be heard and followed.

Our challenge is to be humble enough to learn the value of a simple act of submission.


Prayer

Lord Jesus, when you walked the earth,
Your humility obscure your Kingship.
Your meekness confused the arrogant,
Hindering them from grasping your purpose,
Your nobleness attending to the destitute.
Teach me to model after your eminence,
To subject my human nature to humility.
Grant me with a natural inclination
To never view myself greater than anyone.
Banish all lingering sparks of self-importance
That could elevate me greater than you.
Let my heart always imitate your humility.

Amen

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Lent Day 4

February 17

Answer Me, O Lord

Psalm 86

A Prayer of David.
1 Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
2 Preserve my life, for I am devoted to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; 3be gracious to me, O Lord,
for to you do I cry all day long.

4 Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you.
6 Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
listen to my cry of supplication.


Prayer Thought

Lord, please hear me in my times of need and provide a way forward.

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