Monday Beginnings

Sunrise and sunset
Your rhythms offered for all
every morning, every evening
without fail.

Breathe in and out
Sight, sound, touch, taste, smell
every day, every night
without fail.

As long as we are here
we are still together
every moment, every hour
without fail.

Attentive to work or rest
laughing or crying
Your words remain faithful
without fail.

Celebrations and sorrows
Ordinary and miraculous
Life here and there; profound gifts
without fail.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made
    and all their host by the breath of his mouth.
He gathered the waters of the sea as in a bottle;
    he put the deeps in storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the Lord;
    let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him,
for he spoke, and it came to be;
    he commanded, and it stood firm.

– Psalm 33:6-9


God, as we embark on our Monday beginnings, we welcome your assistance and presence. Let our steps be ordered by your Spirit even when we are unaware. Where work is started, let it bring good to our lives…the “good” that honors the life you give us today. Where rest is embraced, may it bring peace. When tears of sorrow or joy need release today, let them flow like fountains; watering our souls and reminding us how wonderfully you’ve created the world. Every beginning is an offering from you. We are grateful; we receive. Thank you for loving us. We need you, Lord, and we trust you completely. Amen.

Monday Joy

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”

The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.
– Lamentations 3:22-26

I often think of how gracious God was in giving us something new every morning. The new expression of sunrise, while the rhythm remains steadfast. The new song of the birds, though the familiar melodies. The new breath in our lungs and the new beats of our hearts…that have never before been expressed!

Every moment of every day is an unfolding of something new God is creating. While that “new” is being discovered and lived one hour at a time, there is also a steadfast presence that does not change. The love and grace of God is always available and ready to be offered. The peace that only God can give, is accessible in the humble asking.

However we come into this Monday, God is right here with us. On game or not; feeling it or not; scared to death or celebrating your greatest accomplishments…the presence of the Creator is standing at your side. Listen for that voice as you walk through this week. It is far beyond the opinions and noise that swirls around with hope of distracting us from God’s wisdom that comes in the pause. Listen.

God, this morning we pause to reconnect and remember your presence and faithfulness. We embrace the mercies you give for this day. We give thanks for the compassion and love you hold; ready to come quickly and abundantly as we seek. It is our desire to honor you with the gift of life you have provided today. Help us, Holy Spirit, to do it well. We welcome your JOY into our lives. We love you, LORD, and we trust you completely. Amen.

I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. – Jesus in the Gospel of John 15:11

TODAY: Proverbs 27:1

Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring forth.

– Proverbs 27:1

When I was growing up we had a houseboat on Barkley Lake. That is where we spent hours running trot lines, learning how to water ski, and spending time with other families up and down the slip. It was adventure and rest; discovery and learning. This all began with our parents and another couple renting a houseboat for their vacation each summer. Those experiences led to the purchases; our boats were docked right across from one another. We were neighbors on land and water. When we were at the lake, it was all just about that moment.

The name of our houseboat was, TODAY. It often inspired conversation and intrigue. My mom was the one who suggested it and we all agreed, not fully understanding what that name might hold for us and our family. I still remember the peacefulness of watching the moon on the lake at night, early morning fishing, and the fun of learning to ski. Each day its own blessing, each day its own challenge. All a gift.

Today is our blessing. May the Lord walk with you; with us.

Lord, thank you for this day and all you offer with it. Help us to appreciate the gift of this moment that was newly created by your hand, and will never be again. Please allow us the joy of your presence; it is the greatest gift. May our steps today be directed by you in every way. Amen.

Proverbs 17:1

Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting and strife.
– Proverbs 17:1

Morning fog rising, summer 2022

May the peace of Christ be in your home;
in your waking and work,
your coming and going.
May joy and laughter take a seat

at your table;
and your rest bring refreshment

to your soul. Amen.

Monday Morning in June

Summer has its own rhythm. The heat of the sun reminds me how important perspective is when seasons change. We all do things in the summer that we don’t do other times of year. Water and lightening bugs; cookouts and watermelon. Vacations for some; camps and retreats for others.

I have an annual practice of reading through the book of Proverbs in the summer. These verses of wisdom are reminders. They quicken my mind and spirit. Ancient wisdom rises to the surface and foolishness is placed in the light where it can be seen for what it is.

This book of wisdom encourages, corrects, clarifies and makes me think. It’s funny how much I need the reminders! Thus, every summer I return to these words.

I read whatever chapter matches the date. Today, June 13th, is Proverbs 13. Just looking for one sentence that I can carry through the day. I don’t worry so much about missing a day, I just do this through June-July until I’ve read all 30 chapters of the book. It’s my summer renewing of the mind.

Occasionally a friend will join me in the reading and it makes for good conversation as the summer days pass. It is a great practice for parents and children – especially adult children. It’s a great practice for friends, couples, groups…whomever is up for the blessing of engaging in the adventure.

Pride only breeds quarrels,
But wisdom is found in those who take advice.” – Proverbs 13:10

This weekend I attended the 92nd birthday party of a distant cousin and a Celebration of Life for a 100 year old friend. In both places I was surrounded by my elders. Men and women who have shared life wisdom, both by example and conversations. What a treasured gift!

As you begin your week, perhaps a dip into the pool of Proverbs wisdom will refresh your mind and spirit. You won’t be alone; I’ll be reading with you.

God of wisdom and mercy, thank you for providing a way for us to encounter your ancient teaching. Thank you for people who have eyes to see and ears to hear. Give us a humble character, Lord, to listen; and courage to follow when this gift comes from you. Forgive us for our pride in thinking we know so much. Open us to what you offer; we need you. We welcome your Spirit to teach us.

Today

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything. – James 1:4

Facing the wind, 2021

I encountered this bird on Amelia Island last year. I have never forgotten the moment. He stood there for the longest time. The wind blowing in his face. His feathers all ruffled and worn. He was shaking. Every few seconds I thought he would blow over or give up and fly away. To my untrained eye he seemed determined to stand in the wind and gather up courage and focus for the day. I wondered if this was his morning prayer.

When I think of what it takes to stay the course when we are tired or frustrated or feeling like what we’re doing is not making a difference, I think of the way James teaches about challenges and trials. It frames my attitude and thought process. If there is something waiting for us after a season of perseverance, James reminds us that it is worth the waiting. It is worth the patience, diligence and whatever else you are mustering up to walk through each day. Something more than eye can see is happening. Perseverance comes with a blessing. It is something we trust and hold on to when the days are hard. Hold on today; prayers are all around you.

Lord, thank you for being with us when we are living through seasons of challenge. Please bring patience enough for today, and hope that fills the spirit and offers peace. Protect and guide, as you have promised to do; your wisdom is our greatest source of help. We trust you completely, Father, and we love you. Thank you for your faithfulness! Amen.

Monday Prayer

The morning peace arrives differently for all of us. But it still arrives. God is faithful. I pray God shows up for you in exactly the way you need today. 

God bring peace to bedsides where people are making transition. Let the presence of the resurrected Christ standing guard with them be very clear today. 

Bring peace to the people we love who are healing. Let their cells receive nutrients and care; let their blood flow richly through their bodies; fill their lungs with your breath of life and sooth the rhythm of every heartbeat. Free their minds from anxiety and fear.
Thank you for equipping the medical teams with your healing grace. May their compassion and skill be guided by you.

Give strength to the ones who are weary but still face the day of long hours. Equip every person for each call and task. Cover them with safety and give wisdom in decisions.  

Please grant rest to those who have a holiday and slower pace. Give them joy and restoration however they need it. 

Where hope is needed, merciful God, please provide the flame that causes us to catch our breath and say, “it must be the presence of Lord with us!”  

Thank you for the creative ways you respond when we ask for help. Open our spirits to see you and receive. We trust you, Lord, and we love you. Thank you for being right here! 

Lunes por la Mañana en Guatemala

Rooster calls across the dark morning tell me to rise, a new day has come. Before the people move or I can launch my mind to the work ahead, every bird, animal and plant is making a clear claim of praise for the faithful rise of the son. Villancico; song of praise. Santa Maria is invisible; the clouds shield any human sight of her presence.  Nublado.

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

Morning Prayer
God, thank you for the creation that never ceases to praise you for the morning’s arrival. You have ordained another day; you speak it into being for all creatures.  And whether we wake with heaviness or joy – you are here with us. Please walk with us wherever our steps trod today, we need you. Clear our minds of fear and shame. Remove the weight of worry. Fill our spirits with your grace and mercy. Remind us that we were created with your love, and we cannot destroy what you are making whole. Where we are broken – keep mending and restoring. When we are moving too fast – redeem within us your pace. Wherever love needs to pour over our wounds, we welcome your presence however you come. We trust you completely. Let it be. Amen. 

Treasured

“Is it raining?”
“No…the leaves are falling.”
How beautiful is the sound of falling leaves and all that the woods speak as we walk along the path. 

The prophet, Malachi, writes about God’s interactions with the people of Israel. The people have grown weary of dealing with evil and seeing wickedness prosper. They complain and God responds:

“You have spoken arrogantly against me,” says the Lord.
“Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’
“You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What do we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty? But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly evildoers prosper, and even when they put God to the test, they get away with it.’”

Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name. “On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not. – Malachi 3:13-18

When we are surrounded by reports of awful acts in the world or standing face to face with insults and language that attempts to reduce us to dirt, it helps to simply stop and listen to the one who created us. What I love in this brief glimpse into Malachi’s story, is that there are some people among the Israelite crowd that choose to do something different than stay in their weariness and complaint.  They talked to each other. They remembered God’s character and faithfulness. They chose to trust God and stay on the path of holiness. And God noticed.

We don’t always feel like God’s treasured possession, but that IS who we are called to be. As messy or weary as we may feel on any given day – what we ARE is God’s treasured possession. As strong and powerful as we may think we are on any given day – what we ARE is God’s treasured possession. These are truths we embrace, receive and acknowledge because they remind us of who God is and who God created us to be. We don’t have to manufacture this; it IS because of God’s presence in our lives.

As you start your Monday morning, may you know that the path of righteousness leads to fullness of life for you. Remember the One who created you and guides you in the way you are to walk through this day.  You are God’s treasured possession and no circumstance or person, nor any power operating in this world can take that away. Be loved! 

How has God reminded you that you are loved and treasured? Write it down. Remember it in times that weariness is present. God is with you.

Prayer: Lord, lead our paths in ways that honor you. We trust you and we love you. Amen.

Kari Jobe: Your Nature

Transitions

I love the way fall arrives. Every day there is a change, some signal that transition is happening. We anticipate the beauty that will come. We delight in the changes that we enjoy. We sigh (and maybe complain a little) about things we don’t embrace so easily: like an hour less of daylight!

Creation tries to teach us to receive it all, and trust that something right and amazing is unfolding. If I stop at the stream long enough I will see things falling away. Hedge apples drop to the ground. Leaves turn colors and float to some landing place. All the while, something new emerges. The deer is in pursuit, focused for the season. The squirrels prepare for winter, gathering up all they will need. Frost sneaks in the early morning hours and covers the earth, preparing for the winter on its way. All waiting for a child’s spirit to notice.

Perhaps God speaks in these transitions. Reassuring us that we are not alone in any season. Reminding us that way leads to way. Encouraging us to trust the Creator to keep guiding us along the path. Walk slowly and watch. Walk softly and listen. The whispers of the Spirit arrive in many ways.

Creator God, we welcome you to reveal yourself to us today. We invite the whisper of your Spirit to stir us from our slumber. We ask for the grace of your help – giving us wisdom in moments we most need it. Bring hope into our days and fill us with your Peace. Amen.

Fix My Eyes on You