God of all creation – Guide our steps into this day Ground our feet in your peace Set our eyes on eternity Wash away our anxieties.
For you, Holy God, are the great redeemer The healer, the justice maker You – the restorer of all things To the way you created life to be.
Guard us from our own distractions Judgments against our neighbors Public slander of strangers Untended wounds within us Flowing out into your streets.
Lift us to your higher rock Fill us with mercy and justice Spirit of compassion and love Wisdom that resides in the deepest Silence where our hearts Come. Help us
Listen Rest Listen
And wait for you to show us The way of faithfulness now.
We love you, Lord, and we trust you completely. In your presence, we are full of your joy. You are the creator of this day; you have given this time in history the blessing of your presence. We yield ourselves into your hands, in the name of the resurrected Christ, Amen.
Psalm 15 Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain?
The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart;
whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others;
who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind;
who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.
Whoever does these things will never be shaken. (NIV)
At a time when it often feels like everything is being “shaken”, the words of this ancient prayer land differently for me. I’m reading it silently and then out loud. My pen is underlining words to sear the wisdom a little deeper.
No slander. No slur. No wrong to a neighbor. Speaking truth from the heart. Keeping an oath even when it hurts. What a different experience we would all have if we intentionally practice what is contained in the five verses of this prayer! But not just a “different experience” …
The Scripture says there will be dwelling in the holy space.
The result is not that challenges and difficulty cease. The result is not being shaken by the difficulties that are part of this life. “Whoever does these things will never be shaken.”
Jesus urged his disciples to “abide” in him. Stay connected. Let’s dwell together. “Apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) That is the way that leads us into the holy space.
A practice that may assist when we feel the desire to say or do what we know is harmful, is simply to name that with the Lord, and ask for help to not act in destructive ways. If the slurs and slander of another are not acted upon, the harm is not spread. Speaking to God or a trusted spiritual friend about our feelings allows us a holy space of confession. A space where Christ meets us and works on our hearts. We work it together. We clear what doesn’t need to set up dwelling; we let go so we can receive what is good.
The blessing in the holy space of confession is found in another prayer, Psalm 32. Read it here: https://bit.ly/holyspace
Keeping an oath may hurt, breaking covenant destroys. The LORD is the one who redeems. If life is shaking you right now, reach out for the one whose hand is already reaching for you. Your Creator can be trusted.
Lord, as we pray this prayer together with the words of Psalm 15, give us grace to live with you and in you. Thank you for receiving us as we are and restoring us to the wholeness you gave your life for us to have. We love you, Lord, and we trust you completely. Amen.
Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. – Acts 8:4
Have you have been scattered? You begin somewhere and then everyone disperses? It often begins when we graduate high school and everyone moves along to their “next chapter”, whatever and wherever that may be. We all have different experiences; some being scattered many times, others finding a solid landing place that serves well for a lifetime.
When we are scattered, we carry something within us wherever we go. That’s what happened to Philip. It was in the early days of the church. Stephen had just been publicly stoned to death because he proclaimed the resurrection of Christ. All the people except the apostles, were scattered.
The people who killed Stephen were quite confident in their judgement of Stephen. They believed they were “protecting” God’s people and the faith. Saul, a devout and deeply faithful Pharisee, began strategically moving home to home condemning people for believing in Jesus. He placed them in prison. He was certain he was God’s messenger and agent; he justified these destructive actions. Saul was being “faithful”.
Philip was among the many who were scattered during this hard season in the early life of the church. He carries within him the faith and story of a Savior who came to earth to redeem, restore, and fulfill God’s kingdom on earth. It was a radical proclamation, and it was a story with tangible love and grace that many had never experienced.
This story was a personal transformation that Philip lived every day. People were healed in encounters with him. The Spirit led him to random strangers who were seeking for what they did not know. He had no campaigns, videos, or internet to spread what God had given him; he just had what was within, what had been given by Christ.
In our modern and widely accessible world of the 21st century, it may help us to pause and remember how powerfully God moves in the one-to-one conversations, when all you have is what you carry within your heart, mind, and spirit. You may even be scattered today. My work often takes me to other communities; sometimes it is like being scattered. It often feels like a holy scattering.
When the Pharisees asked Jesus about when the kingdom of God would come, he replied that it is not something that comes with your observation; “the kingdom is within you”. And then he turned to his disciples:
He went on to say to his disciples, “The days are coming when you are going to be desperately homesick for just a glimpse of one of the days of the Son of Man, and you won’t see a thing. And they’ll say to you, ‘Look over there!’ or, ‘Look here!’ Don’t fall for any of that nonsense. The arrival of the Son of Man is not something you go out to see. He simply comes. (THE MESSAGE – Luke 17:22-24)
Wherever you go today, I pray you carry within you the redemptive love and grace of Christ. Whether offered with words, actions, or the sheer gift of presence, may you be scattered to bless all who you meet upon the path. And may there be love however and whenever you return “home”.
Lord, we don’t always comprehend the fullness of your mysterious grace. We don’t have to understand it all. We walk by faith because we believe in you. Keep us humble enough to follow where you lead us today, and courageous enough to joyfully share whatever you have given us to offer. Thank you for the scattering that blesses. Thank you for the landing places that help us experience love as “home”. We love you, Lord. We trust you completely. Bless your people who are on the move today. Amen.
The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all of my heart. He helps me and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. – Psalm 28:7
I don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe an extra hour of sleep or time to walk Oreo before the sun was bright. Perhaps it was simply the cooler morning air beckoning me outside. Or maybe someone’s prayer whispered in the dark. Whatever happened – I woke up with joy. Even a sense of relief.
And not only joy, I woke up with songs! Songs of gratitude. Songs I could not fully explain. I remember riding with my grandfather Lester on the country roads of Western Kentucky when I was very young. It was a rare occurrence. Usually when Grandma was out of pocket for some reason and I had the gift of time with him. We were always going to check on a field or livestock, pick up seed or grain; working.
He would make up songs and sing them as we drove down the road. They seemed like songs of joy to me. He didn’t have a singer’s voice particularly, so he wasn’t singing to hear himself. But he sure did love to sing as we drove down the road. I was mesmerized.
It was as if a song was in his heart and he just had to let it out. They were songs about whatever was going on in life. And silly songs. A lot of silly songs! Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised if his way is somehow being cultivated in me.
In my kitchen cabinet there is a shelf full of random coffee cups. You know…those cups you receive as gifts or pick up somewhere along the way. Every morning when I open it up I have this little decision to make of what coffee cup “feels right” today.
With a song in my heart and on my lips; with gratitude for God’s kindness and presence; with love that often cannot be contained, I reached into that cabinet and grabbed this cup…
What is the song in your heart today? Whether lament or gratitude; praise or love you can’t contain…it’s always good to sing! And by all means, cherish today; it is a gift and will not come again.
May God’s peace be in you today. May you sense how deeply you are loved by your Creator. May the grace of Christ surprise you with a song that rises within you and offers you joy. Cherish today.
Before I begin – You have created Before I brush my teeth – You have established the day I watch your sun rise It changes every moment The beauty is too great for me to capture You are creating, moving, establishing I stand in wonder.
Forgive me when I begin the day with dread or fear or arrogance instead of gratitude and awe. Thank you for the sun rise that reminds me: “All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being“.
Forgive us when we enter life’s moments with condemnation, pointing fingers at our neighbors; many of whom we do not know, and judging those we do. Forgive us when we want so much to be on the side of whatever is “right” that we have no more space to love. Or learn. Or listen for what you may be saying.
Your sunrise reminds me how quickly you create and establish new things. Every second of every moment moving mountains, changing minds bringing spirit, removing idols crumbling, building, shedding, breaking, healing, restoring, transforming…. And we stand in awe of You.
Help us position ourselves for humble following however and wherever you lead today. We love you, Lord. We trust you, Christ. Thank you for not giving up on us. We welcome your new day! Amen.
The crowd must have been intrigued when Jesus started speaking words of blessing. Many of them had come to know of a God that is all condemning. Grace and mercy were in short supply in the 1st century. Rhetoric and false proclamations were rampant. Fear, greed, and the need to be in “control”, were everywhere.
In the middle of great tension and chaos – Jesus, the Messiah, shows up with a different message. He, himself, shows up with an attitude and countenance that people have not seen or experienced. Jesus shows up with good news for many who are ready and in need of good news. The Christ comes to offer truth:
3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. – Matthew 5:3-11
These blessings are still true today. Where mercy is given, mercy will be received. The hunger and thirst for holiness, will be filled. Where grief is heavy and raw, the Lord will bring comfort in just the way it is needed. When a person comes with peace among you, they are present as a child of God. Even when insults and falseness are spread about those following Christ, these words are no hindrance to the fulfillment of the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.
Where do you find yourself today? As one in need of a blessing, or one who is equipped to offer it to someone else? Perhaps both; or maybe to simply remember these words that Jesus wanted the people to hear. Words of truth and blessing that Christ wants us to hear again today.
Lord, we forget how different your ways are in our world. The other voices around us are so loud! Thank you for speaking into our lives with truth that brings peace. Thank you for reminding us of how you bring grace and justice; it is so different from the ways we expect it to come. Today, where there is need of blessing, please bring it with abundance. Enter into those crevices and corners of our pain and despair; make yourself known to the brokenhearted. And Father, where you have equipped us to be an avenue of your blessing, we surrender ourselves into your hands for that purpose and for your glory. We love you Lord, and we trust you completely. Thank you for the blessings that Jesus continues to offer our lives. Amen.
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.
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
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.