JESUS’ LOVE FOR JERUSALEM
“Just then some Pharisees came up and said, “Run for your life! Herod’s on the hunt. He’s out to kill you!”
Jesus said, “Tell that fox that I’ve no time for him right now. Today and tomorrow I’m busy clearing out the demons and healing the sick; the third day I’m wrapping things up. Besides, it’s not proper for a prophet to come to a bad end outside of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killer of prophets,
abuser of the messengers of God!
How often I’ve longed to gather your children,
gather your children like a hen,
Her brood safe under her wings--
but you refused and turned away!
And now it’s too late. You won’t see me again
until the day you say,
“Blessed is he
who comes in
the name of God.” Luke 13:31-35 (Message)
Prayer: God of the covenant, in the mystery of the cross you promise everlasting life to the world. Gather all peoples into your arms, and shelter us with your mercy, that we may rejoice in the life we share in your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
CHRISTIANS SHOULD BE DIFFERENT
“For a whole year they met within the church, and taught a large company of people; and in Antioch the disciples were for the first time called Christians.” Acts 11:26 (RSV)
The followers of Jesus were being called Christians “in Antioch” because they not only believed in Christ but they showed in their lives they were Christ-like.
Faith might make a Christian but how we live our live proves it. St. Paul wrote, “It is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me.” (Phil. 3:7) His world was turned inside out and upside down by Christ. Christ was his all in all and that was all Paul needed to follow.
Think of those who you say are “True” Christians. I read somewhere that, “It was nothing that you said that first made me wish to be a Christian, it was the beauty of holiness which I saw in your face.”
“True” Christians are indeed different. They turn the other cheek, give away their coats, walk a mile to help another and “love your enemies, bless them that curse you and pray for them that persecute you.” Matt 5: 44.
A Christian looks upon God as their motivator, guide, and help mate. God loves us and gave His Son; Christ loves us and gave Himself for us. Love should be the driver that motivates our actions for serving God and our fellowman. Christians are in this world but not of this world.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, What the world needs today is more Christians who will be “true” in all that the Word means and is. Help them to step up and be “true” to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen
THANK YOU, GOD
“See, God has come to save me. I will trust in him and not be afraid. The Lord God is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.” Isaiah 12:2 (NTL)
Lord, we thank you for this day. Thank you for our being able to see and to hear and for all the blessings you place upon us. We’re blessed because you are a forgiving God and an understanding God. You have done so much for us and you keep on blessing us. Forgive us this day for everything we have done, said or thought that was not pleasing to you. We ask now for your forgiveness. Please keep us safe from all danger and harm. Help us to start this day with a new attitude and plenty of gratitude to you. Let us make the best of each and every day to clear our minds so that we can hear and see you.
We never know when God is going to bless us. Let us always be mindful of God’s loving kindness to us. Good things happen when we least expect them.
Prayer: Precious Lord, Thank you for your unconditional love and for your saving grace through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen
BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS
“I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word…” John 17:20 (RVS)
“Wheaties—Breakfast of Champions.” This is the slogan General Mills used to convince us that a bowl of Wheaties was the way to begin a successful day of victories. Nutritionists tell us even today that breakfast is important. However, just as important as food is to feed our bodies, prayer is to power our spirit.
Jesus showed us how to live a powerful prayer life. He began his day in prayer. Then he went out to teach, heal and preach. He even prayed most of the night before he faced his trial and awful hours on the cross. (John 17)
Prayer championing isn’t easy, but Jesus knew that he needed to talk with God about everything he was doing. We, too, must be a champion of prayer and bring everything to God. Prayer will help us know what God wants us to do. Many times there are things that are hard to do, yet, prayer will help us have the strength to succeed. Just talk to God as Jesus did. Prayer is our Breakfast of Champions.
Prayer: Father, Son and Holy Spirit make us mindful of being Champions of Prayer that we might know what you want us to do and then do it. Amen
YOU ACCEPT ME, DOUBT AND ALL
“Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “O man of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:31 (RSV)
God, you don’t know personally about how to grow old, do you? You are forever.
However, I’m getting older. I see it in the mirror, the actions, the limitations, in my forgetfulness and in the people whom I meet daily.
You know my mind, that maze of thinking that gets jumbled. All the messages that say “relax”, “exercise”, “get more involved”, “do this?”, “don’t to that”. I sigh. Lord where is my faith? Where? In you, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I know.
I look to you for guidance through the scriptures, prayer, worship, communion and fellowship with others. These are your times, Lord. I feel closer to you at these moments. Nothing else matters, just knowing you are there and I’m loved by you. You accept me, questions, doubts and all.
One day, perhaps, I’ll be able to push all doubt away and put “whole” trust in you. Until then, Lord, please don’t give up on me.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for being there when we doubt and question. Your love and understanding are a constant source of wonder. You are forever faithful to us. Amen
EVEN IN DARKNESS GOD’S LIGHT SHINES
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5 (RSV)
Winter months are a time of frost, when you hear the crunch of the pure white snow beneath your feet. Everywhere you look you see the snow glistening like the most beautiful of diamonds. In the early hours one can look out a window to see the full moon lighting up the sky. The light is so radiant one can see for great distances, in contrast to the dark, framing a beautiful scene. The snow lined limbs of the trees and the shadow of the large tree trunks on the snow are a beautiful reminder of the
greatness of our Lord.
The bright moon reminds us of His light as it says in Psalm 56:13 “I may walk before God in the light of life.” How awesome that we can rest assured that God will provide us the light to show us the way through our frosty February.
The shadow of the tall trees standing so solid and sturdy, providing shelter for God's creatures, takes us to Psalm 57:1 - a prayer written by David that could have been written by any of us. "Have mercy on me, O God, Have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed." What could be more comforting than to know we can find comfort in the shadow of our Lord's wings whenever we need it.
As we watch the snowflakes in the air, we are reminded that each one is unique unto itself but together they make a beautiful snowfall. 1 Corinthians 12 reminds us that God has made us each different but He has given us all the gifts and talents we need to love one another, to do His work here on earth, to walk through the months of winter serving God, living life.
Yes, the final vision, the pure white snowfall expanding as far as one can see: no marks, no foot prints, nothing but smooth, pure white snow. As one's eyes gaze upon this greatness of our Lord we are reminded of His love for us, reminded of His sacrifice for us so that we can be cleansed and made as white and pure as the snow, reminded in Matthew 5:8 that our hearts can be pure. "Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God." What an assurance that we can take with us each day of this winter.
Prayer: Lord, as we each day look at the snow, may we pray and “Rejoice and be glad.” (Matt. 5:12). Knowing the greatness of the Lord put before us, as He reminds
us in Matt. 5:16, “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven”. Amen.
ARE YOU THE ANSWER TO CHRIST’S PRAYER?
“O righteous Father, the world has not known thee, I have known thee; and these know that thou hast sent me. I made known to them thy name, and I made it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17: 25-26 (Message)
Christians pray, and one of the most amazing Biblical examples of this to me is in John 17, where Jesus prays for His disciples. These were Jesus’ friends and family. Sometimes they were list, but Jesus loved them all.
Jesus prayed that they each would find victory in their Christian life through the rough and tumble life that they lived. He prayed that they would demonstrate the Christian life in the ordinary work of their world.
Jesus prayed or unity of his disciples. He prayed that they not have divisions, exclusiveness, or competition among themselves. He desired a unity of personal relationships filled with the love of God that would tear down barriers.
Jesus prayed that God would protest his disciples from attacks of the evil one by seeking God’s help during those difficult times.
We all know loved ones, neighbors, friends or people in the community who are going through challenges. We pray often for those who are ill, but what about shut-ins or those who are lonely, those who are having financial difficulty. Perhaps we should start praying for those whose lives are invisible, (those who walk into and out of church without a greeting or conversation) those whose joy is fragile. Can we feel their pain and lift them up in prayer? As we do this—as we lift the loveable and not so loveable up in prayer—don’t we become the answer to Christ’s prayer? Praise be to God.
Prayer: Precious Lord, we pray that we accept the challenge to pray for all peoples daily as you have asked us to do. Let us all become the answer to Christ’s prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen