Friday, September 20, 2013

Prayers for Everyone

From Sunday's reading:  First of all, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.  1 Tim. 2:1-2

I don't stick my nose into politics very often, but I truly believe this is where a lot of "Christians" get it so wrong.  Instead of praying for the politicians in power that they don't like, they complain about the poor job they perceive that they are doing.  Those people who do nothing but complain and rile up others need to read these two verses.  Instead of bashing Obama or Rick Perry or whoever, pray for them, that they may make the right decisions to keep us safe and for the benefit of the nation.  Prayer is a much more powerful force than complaining ever could be, because in God's economy, the positive influence of prayer will always trump the negative complaining spirit.  Let the light shine in the darkness to overcome it.

Lord God, I pray that you guide and direct those in authority over this nation so they may make right decisions and just actions for the peace and welfare for us all.  Amen. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Search diligently for the child

'Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.'  Matthew 2:8

We all know this passage - it gets read during the Christmas season.  These are the words of Herod - tongue in cheek, because he has no intention of worshipping the child born to Mary.  But today I would like to separate it out and take it at face value.  Go and search diligently for the child.  This is something that we are all invited, encouraged, even admonished to do - to search for Jesus.  And when we find him, spend time with him, to understand what his presence means to our life.  And then take word of him out into the world so that others may come also.

This Sunday is Invitation Sunday - this is the time we are invited to go out and to tell others and to invite them to know Jesus also.  Don't go out as one determined to "save others," but go out as one who desires to enrich the lives of others.  Go out as one who has found a depth of meaning that informs and enhances your everyday life.  Go out as one who wants to share the wonder and glory that we have seen through Jesus Christ.    

Lord Jesus Christ, be with us and reside in us that we might know the depth and breadth of your love and wisdom.  Instill in us the courage and desire to go out and to invite others in; to be willing to share the fullness of your love and grace with at least one other person this week.  Amen.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Imprisoned for Christ

I want you to know, beloved that what has happened to me has actually helped to spread the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to everyone else that my imprisonment is for Christ;  Phil. 1:12-13

There is one thing that we can definitely say about Paul - he made the most of every situation.  When he was imprisoned, he saw it an opportunity to teach his captors about Christ.  In today's world, most people see an imprisonment as an opportunity to talk about injustice and oppression, but not Paul.

I ran across a quote this morning by Bill Meyer, "Every thought is a seed.  If you plant crab apples, don't count on harvesting Golden Delicious."   Attitude is nine-tenth's of the struggle we face in life. Our attitude controls how we see ourselves and what we are ultimately going to get out of this life.  Episcopal Priest Martin Bell wrote a song called "Walls and Things;"  The first verse says:  

I'm always running into walls and things.
I fall down a hundred times each day.
But I'll pick myself up, dust myself off.
I've decided that life is just that way.

And I create the world I live in -
By each and every choice I make today.
And when all is said and done, I'm the only one
Who can make the world a better place to stay.

I think it has a lot to say to us today.  We can't always control the things that happen to us and the world quite often throws dirt up in our face.  Too often, people in today's world  behave a victims - either blaming others for their trouble, or expecting someone else to "make it right."  But we are the ones who choose how to respond, how to behave in any given situation.  Paul saw those situations as opportunities and through both word and action he was able to influence his environment.  He took what was intended to be negative, and turned it into a positive for the Lord.  And it all starts with attitude and the choices we make.  

Lord, help us to be like Paul, choosing to allow God to work in us and through us rather than complaining about our circumstances.  Help us to be a positive influence in the world around us and an example of Godly love.  Amen.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Proper 18 - Psalm 139

Psalm 139

1   LORD, you have searched me out and known me; *
     you know my sitting down and my rising up; 
     you discern my thoughts from afar.
2   You trace my journeys and my resting-places *
     and are acquainted with all my ways.
3   Indeed, there is not a word on my lips, *
     but you, O LORD, know it altogether.

There are people who live a secret life - one they find hard to share with others - not because it's a bad thing, it just is.  My mother was a very private person and I tend to take after her because that's the way I was raised.  But it probably has more with my insecurities than anything else.  I used to say that I was shy and then I learned about being introverted and I latched onto that concept.  It is true, I am introverted, but that's not the whole story.  It is fear that keeps me bound - I'm afraid that I don't have anything to say that anyone wants to hear.  That might seem to be an oxymoron because I can get up and preach without that fear.  But when I'm preaching I'm delivering God's word, not my own.  Anytime I see it as "my words," I fall flat on my face, and that happens more times than I want to remember.

Lord, you have searched me out and known me - So, Lord, since you know me so well, abide with me in all my ways.  You know when I've fallen and been less than you desire.  You know when I have failed to listen and failed to respond.  You know when I have strayed from your ways and blundered into an un-charted path or muddled around in a swamp.  But still you love me and hold me.  So guide me and direct me that you may be the guiding light that I follow - free from fear, free to be myself, just the way you made me.  Amen.