Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘peace’

Make Us One


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I take notes when I listen to the sermon in church. It helps me  internalize the message in a way that sticks. Then, I can share with my husband, Bob, whose mind wanders during sermons. We discuss it on the way home and I read my notes to him. Usually they are in poetic format. That’s how my mind holds on and interprets.

Here is my take on Rev. Jean Johnson’s message from John 17: 2-26.

MAKE US ONE

May the love I have for you
Also be in you.
May my words echo in your heart
And ring loud and true.

Each day I pray for you and yours,
For health and strength and peace.
My prayers include family and friends,
My kids, my sis, my niece.

I pray for us and our health, too,
And ask for family unity.
Jesus prayed that we be ONE –
Mend divisions between you and me.

From time’s beginnings, splits occurred –
From Adam, to disciples, to now.
Jesus asked God to make us one
Stop our bickering somehow.

Set aside our differences.
Teach us, Lord, to pray
That we can love as Jesus loved.
Make us one today.

Amen?

 

 

 

Morning Prayer


Lord, thank You for the morning –
For the quiet of the night –
For the stillness of the dawning –
For the promise of the light.

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Thank You for the candles
Which flicker in the room,
Twinkling in the starlight,
Eliminating gloom.

Their gentle light reminds me
There’s strength contained in fire;
So manage and and maintain it.
Unchecked, its results are dire.

Like candle flames, my life is
A flicker on the earth.
I thank You for my parents
Who loved and gave me birth.

Work in and through me, Jesus;
Let Your Light shine intense.
With God all things are possible.
His outreach is immense.

I pray for all my children –
And each grandchild as well.
I thank You for their presence.
Give them peace and patience – Make it swell!

Thank You for the promise
Of each new, unlived day.
Help me make the most of it
By walking in Your Way.

In Christ’s Name I pray,
Amen

 

Peace and Purpose


Living with Peace and Purpose

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Do you have a sense of purpose out of which grows an increasing peace in your life? One of the groups of people with whom I volunteer is the Madison Valley Medical Center Auxiliary. This week we presented to the CEO of our MVMC a check for $8,000. The money represents the proceeds from our recent fundraiser, a Home Tour. Volunteering to help that event happen was a pleasure. The ladies all worked together amiably. The homeowners were gracious, hospitable, and generous. We had determined in advance what the local need was: the replacement of a portable x-ray machine for the hospital.

In presenting the check to hospital, the ladies had a sense of “Mission Accomplished” and looked forward to finding and fulfilling a need for next year. As we look ahead, however, we are mindful of the fact that this check does not begin to pay the balance owed by MVMC for the cost of this life-saving equipment. We are like the child picking up starfish on the shore and throwing them back into the ocean. “Look at all those stranded fish! What difference does it make to throw ONE back?” Well, as the child responded, it makes a difference to THAT one!

Isn’t that what life boils down to? Making a difference for that ONE? That’s my life’s purpose: one act at a time, spread God’s love. Find a need and fill it – or begin the process of filling it. Every starfish counts! What is your purpose? Find it – and be at peace!

When Troubles Shower You


Today’s sermon was titled, “Out of the Whirlwind.” It was presented by a guest pastor, Rev. Carol Shellenberger.  As is my habit, I listened to the message and took notes poetically. The message was based on Job 1:1, and 2:1-11. Through my filters and personal experience, here is what I heard her say:

Job was faithful and blameless.
He was upright, loving and kind.
God was praising him to Satan,
“Job’s the most respected man you’ll find.”

Satan told the Lord, “Job is protected;
He has everything and is richly blessed.
If you take it all away from him,
He will curse you to your face like all the rest.”

So God allowed Satan to do whatever
Against all he owned, and eventually to him.
For 37 chapters, Satan took his health and wealth.
Job’s life was gruesome; he felt doomed and grim.

Finally in the 38th chapter, God spoke to Job.
Essentially His message was, “I am God, you know?
Where were you when I made the earth?
Who are you to talk so much and question so?”

It wasn’t God telling Job not to complain.
It was God setting boundaries and establishing power.
God is indeed all-powerful, The Omnipotent.
Job responded, “No one can oppose your mighty shower.”

It is alright to shout and complain
When life showers you with troubles galore.
God doesn’t promise you freedom from trouble;
He promises you PEACE and so much more.

I know my notes only partially reflect the message the preacher intended today. But, I think I caught the flavor of her message. Job has always been a troublesome book for me. It doesn’t paint a very pretty picture of God. Not the loving, compassionate God I want to turn to in time of trouble! So, when troubles shower you, how do you find comfort in studying Job? Misery loves company? Job survived it so I can, too? Nothing is so bad that with faith and perseverance, we can’t endure it?

I have a friend with a brain tumor. Her pain is so intense some weeks that a shower is not possible. The water hitting her body hurts too much. There is no cure. It’s inoperable.

Another friend who was the caregiver for her mom who had pancreatic cancer, lost her five-year-old daughter in an accident just weeks before her mom died. A month later my friend was diagnosed with breast cancer.

A cousin whom I dearly love has been through the trauma of bankruptcy. She and her husband lost their home and their business in the recent economic downturn. From a position of wealth, security, and family harmony, she suddenly was homeless, broke, and facing marital difficulties as a result of the financial strain.

You have friends or loved ones, family members, neighbors who struggle against seemingly insurmountable odds, too, don’t you? How do they cope? Some take seem to manage better than others. What makes the difference? Job cried out to God, but he never lost faith. He complained bitterly, but he never stopped believing. In the end, God replaced his home, his animals and crops, his wealth and his health. The family he lost could not be replaced, but he found new love and he found peace again.

When troubles shower you, the message of Job is this: do not let the sorrow overtake you. Do not let the shower wash away your faith in God. Keep your conversation open with God. Complain bitterly, question His motives, ask WHY as often as you want – but in the end, know God is God. He will not forsake you. Heaven awaits.

The bulletin at church had a very meaningful Prayer of Confession followed by an Assurance of Pardon. Let me share it with you.

“Redeemer God, we like to see ourselves as Job saw himself – blameless, upright and God fearing. We would like to present ourselves before You, worthy of Your bountiful love and care, but we know we are not. Some of us avoid all news that is bad. Some of us imagine that there is little news that is good. Some days we exchange places with each other.

Forgive our customary silence that says nothing and does less. Forgive our usual despair that dreams of shadows and hopes for night. Forgive our lingering doubt that wonders where You are. Help us to hear You calling us in the whirlwind, reminding us to whom we belong. Come, Spirit of God, to inspire our speech, our vision, and our trust.

God’s hope is more tenacious than our despair;
God’s joy is more resilient than our grief;
God’s love is more compelling than our disgust.
By grace, we are gathered to God.
By faith, we rest in God’s promises of forgiveness and restoration.
Friends, believe the Good News.
In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.”

God is with you.

By God’s Omnipotent Power, be at peace.

Looking for Tranquility?


Sermon by Pastor Jean Johnson
Madison Valley Presbyterian Church
Ennis, Montana
Based on scripture – Mark 10:35-45
Notes by JanBeek –  October 21, 2012

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Are you looking for tranquility?
Is the church your source of peaceful speech?
Is Jesus Christ the answer to all your troubles, friend?
If you itch or hurt, can the church’s arms reach?

Jesus’ disciples, James and John, believed
Sitting at Christ’s side was their goal.
Rubbing elbows with God would produce
Peace and comfort to fill every hole.

Jesus told His disciples they were clueless.
They didn’t understand the pain He’d endure.
They told Him, “Yes, we can drink of Your cup.
We can be baptized with You, oh sure!”

Were they really able to share it all?
Like them, we need to understand:
Following requires sharing the suffering,
Living with the pain discipleship demands.

To proclaim the Good News is to tell
The Truth of what God’s message includes.
Walking and talking like Jesus means
Nails and the cross, as well as the love He exudes.

Are you looking for tranquility?
Is the Peace of Christ what you need?
Remember that path is rough and tough.
But the pain is worth the cost –  indeed!

My Daily Life


As I go about my daily life,
I’m conscious of God’s presence..
I know God lives within me;
God’s light is my existence.

As I choose the things to do each day,
I reflect on His Will in prayer.
I know that wherever I am,
The Holy Spirit also is there.

If I frown and drag my feet each day,
If I begrudge my work and grumble,
My attitude will become contagious
And I’ll cause those near me to stumble.

But if I smile and do my work with joy,
Then God’s love will shine right through.
That’s my prayer for my daily life –
May God’s love and peace rub off on you!

Amen?

Birthdays Bubble By


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     Have you read Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life? I’m reflecting on Warren’s description of our SHAPE (Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences) as I write in my journal each morning. It’s a journal designed to recount the five purposes Warren has written about – and apply them in our daily walks. When I spend quality time reflecting, words bubble out like the birthdays that zip on by – faster and faster as time goes by!

Birthdays Bubble By!

When I think of the abilities
My God has given me – 
The music, joy, enthusiasm – 
And birthdays that bubble by with glee,
I want to share them all.

When I think of the personality
My God has gifted me – 
The confidence and gregariousness
That come bubbling out so easily,
I want to care for all.

When I think of the experiences
My God has granted me – 
The love, the depth of sweet success
That radiate so freely,
I want to bare my all.

When I think of the future
My God has promised me –
The peace, the quiet wisdom
That grow so constantly,
I want to heed God’s call!

     Do birthdays bubble by for you? Does acknowledging your gifts of S.H.A.P.E. make you want to heed God’s call? What is Your God calling you to do with your Spiritual Gifts, your Heart full of love and gratitude, your Abilities and Personality, and your Experiences? Share, Care, Bare your soul to the Giver of your gifts, and Heed God’s call today! You are made wondrously unique – and what you have to give is unique. Birthdays bubble by – – – time’s awastin’ – – – Let’s blow outta here!!

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