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Light of the World

Dear Heavenly Father, 

Thank You that in spite of our fallen state, You did not forget us. Thank You for coming into this world, becoming one of us, to show Your light and Your truth, and give us Life! Amen


“He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” John‬ ‭1:2-5‬ ‭NLT‬‬


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wonder


Lord help us to become as children waiting for Christmas. Fill us with a sense of wonder and exciting at your coming this day.

In a world that teaches rationality teach us to embrace the mystery of things that have no answers and offer no solutions.

Cause us to pause this day and take note of all the wondrous things that surround us and bring a sense of awe into our lives.

Amen



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preparing



Father,

We have a lot to do. 

We have too much to do.

Help us to chose wisely as the Advent season nears and takes us into Christmas. Guide our heart to what we should say yes to and what we should say no to. Keep our hearts focused on You this season, remembering why we prepare. Why we celebrate. Why we love.

Because you made a way for us to be with you once again. Because you first came to us. 

Because you first loved us.

Help us prepare well.


Amen

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Following Jesus

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Success is neither fame, wealth, nor power; rather it is seeking, knowing, loving, and obeying God.  If you seek, you will know, if you know you will love, if you love, you will obey.  ~Charles Habib Malik


John 15:9-11 "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.  Now remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in His love.  I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."

 Oh Jesus, I have no other friend like You.  In times of trials you are there.  You hear the unspoken longings of my heart.  Everything I need to know you have revealed.  Seeking You, knowing You, loving You and obeying You are the desires of my heart.  Give me your strength to pick up my cross daily and follow You.  I love You.  Amen.





Amen

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Remembering the Source




Psalm 103:1-2
     Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:

James 1:17
     Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

Our God and Father, as we have remembered your benefits at our Thanksgiving Celebrations, may we always be mindful, with continuing gratitude, that such blessings come from your gracious and faithful hands.

Your benefits and gifts are a reminder of your care and compassion for us. We are so appreciative of your kindness and generosity especially in providing the generous and gracious gift of salvation. As the Apostle Paul reminds us:

Titus 3:4-6 (NLT)
     4  But—“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5  he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. 6  He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.

Indeed, thank you Father from whom ALL blessings flow. Amen!

Amen

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Giving Thanks

Accept, O Lord,
our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us.
We thank you for the splendor of the whole creation,
for the beauty of this world,
for the wonder of life,
and for the mystery of love.
We thank you for the blessing of family and friends,
and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side.
We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts,
and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us.
We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.
Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ;
for the truth of his Word and the example of his life;
for his steadfast obedience,
by which he overcame temptation;
for his dying,
through which he overcame death;
and for his rising to life again,
in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.
Grant us the gift of your Spirit,
that we may know him and make him known;
and through him,
at all times and in all places,
may give thanks to you in all things. Amen

The Book of Common Prayer

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a prayer of thankfulness

Last Saturday I was in an Emergency Room for six hours. Sunday and Monday I was in the hospital. Monday morning I had a medical procedure. Such things bring clarity to life. And they can make one thankful. So please join me in thanking God.

Lord, I am so thankful for the ways that you work in the world. Bless those who are serving others today instead of being home with loved ones. Make your presence known to those who defend us in distant lands. Guide the hands and hearts of doctors, nurses and all who choose to heal. And strengthen those who fight crime and fight fires.

Thank you Father for the love that you pour into the world. For missionaries, domestic and abroad, who spread your light and love. For workers in food pantries, homeless shelters and free clinics we are so grateful. Bless each of these with the understanding that they are your hands and feet of mercy and grace in the world.

Lastly Lord, we give you thanks for all of the people who have been positive influences in our lives. Bless those who teach, inspire and help us to grow into the people you want us to be. Cause us to be people who say thank you to our parents, our spouses and our children. Help them to know, through us, how much they are loved.

Amen

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a thanksgiving Santa

My oldest daughter is ready to give birth to her 6th blessing any day now. Yesterday, after her doctor visit, we stopped at the mall for a little Christmas shopping and we had the most precious encounter with Santa Claus.

Here just a few days before Thanksgiving- the one day a year that we have carved out to be thankful- Santa was standing outside the mall ringing bells for the Salvation Army. As he noticed my daughters very pregnant belly, he asked what she was having and then he told her what a precious blessing that baby was going to be and that it was certainly one of the greatest gifts of God.

And then...

He asked us if we knew what the greatest gift of all is, and proceeded to share Jesus with us.

It was a nice moment shared between my daughter and I and Santa, as we were able to tell him that we indeed did know Jesus Christ.

As we walked into the mall, it made me smile to think about this Thanksgiving Santa and his boldness to share Jesus with strangers.

The point of this post?

Just a reminder to each of us to pray for courage and boldness to always be ready to spread the gospel. As we enter this season of thanksgiving, let’s remember who we give ALL thanks to. Let’s pray for continued blessings upon our families. Continued mercies upon our loved ones. But let’s pray for an increased desire to reach out and share the greatest gift of all. Jesus Christ.

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15) HCSB

Amen

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Thanksgiving

Father, you have lavished us with innumerable blessings. We have a tendency to focus on the things we don't have and our problems. Help us to be a grateful people, and to live out of gratitude for what you have done. Thank you you for your love and grace. Amen

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FAITH


Image result for Faith"Faith is the daring of the soul to go farther than it can see." ~William Newton Clark (1841-19120


II Corinthians 5:7 "We live by faith, not by sight."

Heavenly Father, faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  We know that we do not see things as they really are.  True spiritual sight is reserved for the day when we will see as we are seen.  Faith is for this world, sight is for the next.  You bless those who believe without seeing.  O Lord, give us the strength to walk by faith until that great Day when we will truly walk by sight."

And the Lord haste the day
When my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back like a scroll,
The trump shall resound
And the Lord shall descend'
Even so, it is well with my soul.
~Horacio G. Spafford 1873



Amen

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“Others……….” Hebrews 11:35




Father Hebrews 11 gives a stunning comparison between those where were delivered from trials by faith to those who suffered and died by faith.

Hebrews 11:39-40 (NLT)
     39 All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised.40 For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.

Father as I think and pray for the community of Paradise, Ca and other communities in California, suffering from such a devastating conflagration and tragic loss of life, it is with a broken heart that I ask for your peace, mercy and grace to be with them. I know that life does not consist with the things a person possesses but of far greater and infinite value is that of the soul. Jesus said: “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” Matthew 16:26 (NLT)

Father I know that you are profoundly moved by the suffering of other people. “In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years. Isaiah 63:9 (NLT)

Father, may all of those suffering and grieving sense the presence of your love and the strength of your grace sustaining them today and in the months and years to come. May they by faith in you find you more than sufficient for their every need. In Jesus consoling name, Amen.





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Surrender

In the midst of the chaotic world we find ourselves in, I can rest secure, knowing I am enveloped by Your love and mercy, surrounded by Your grace and goodness, Your gifts, Your protection, Your provision. I am thankful and praise You for all that You have done in my life. In the circumstances of life, whatever they may be, this is where You have placed me; this is the responsibility You have entrusted to me. You are working in me every moment to become conformed to the image of Your Son. Thank You, Father. Help me to surrender completely as You work out Your good will in me. Give me strength and courage to let go of the what if's, the fears ...whatever holds me back. To You be the glory forever! Amen

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a prayer for letting go

Dear God,

In this moment, I let go of all thoughts and concerns.

When I let go, I am able to receive.

When my hands are formed into tight fists, I cannot open my hands to receive anything.

When I hang onto tight control,

When I close off my heart and my spirit,

I cannot receive your blessings for me.

I let go to receive your blessings.

Letting go in this moment, I receive your loving presence around me and within me.

Help me to let go when I am feeling overwhelmed, so that I may receive your peace.

Help me to let go when I feel fear so that in fear’s place I may receive love and courage.

I let go of problems and challenges in order to receive your guidance and clarity.

I let go and trust you.

I will not fall.

You will catch me.

I let go and trust in the still, small voice inside of me.

Help me not to struggle but to surrender my struggle to you.

I gladly receive this gift of letting go and letting you lead me and guide me.

Amen

... a prayer shared by Jackie Trottmann at The Guided Life

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a prayer to slow down



Heavenly Father,

As we enter into a busy season of holiday celebrations, we give you thanks. We praise your name on high, grateful that you are a God who saves. The true God who is present, near us at every moment. The one true God worthy of our worship and love.

Help us to breathe, O God, in this rush. In and out, with deep inhaling and slow exhaling. Let us sit in silence for a few moments each day, to listen, to slow down. To be quiet.

For you guide us, O God, and we must learn to be silent and listen for your voice. To listen for your direction. Most of all, to enjoy you. Teach us to slow down, to be present as we create memories and experiences. To slow down and see all that you are and all that you are doing around us.

Teach us to enjoy you.

Amen

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OBSESSED WITH FORGIVENESS

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Ephesians 4:30-32  "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.  Be kind and compassionate to one another forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you."

Colossians 3:13  "Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you."

Last Sunday we shared Communion in our Worship Service.  It was a powerful message on forgiveness.  II Corinthians tells us to examine our hearts before taking communion and Pastor share how we can tell if we have a sensitive heart.  Are we sensitive to our own sin?  To the Spirit's leading?  Are we sympathetic to sinners and saints?

If we are so aware of God's forgiveness ~~then we will be obsessed with forgiving others!  Ouch!  That's one that can be hard to obey, but we do it for Christ's sake.

Dear Lord ~ Open the eyes of my heart and examine it.  Lord I want you to find it sensitive and sympathetic to saints and sinners.  Lord I want to be obsessed with forgiveness because I know what the cost was for you to forgive my sins and set me free.  I pray today for a forgiving spirit with a heart full of gratitude for the forgiveness I have received.  I love You.  Amen.


googleimages.com









Amen

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Grace Greater Than All Our Sin.



Romans 5:20

“…...But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more…..”

Just the first stanza and refrain from the wonderful song: “Grace Greater Than All Our Sin.”

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary's mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Refrain
Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin.

Father the infinite magnitude of Your grace is beyond measure, and obviously greater than the mind can imagine. But, personally, the power of Your grace in the forgiveness, cleansing and reconciliation of sinners is glorious to behold. And Father this is wonderfully spoken of in Ephesians 1:5-7 (NLT)5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. 7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.”

In deed Father, we exclaim with King David:  Psalm 32:1-2 (NLT) “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!  2 Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of guilt….”

Thank you Father for Your gracious forgiveness through Jesus our Savior.

Amen

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A Prayer for our Nation

Almighty GOD; we make our earnest prayer that You will keep the United States in Your holy protection, that You will incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States of America at large. And finally that You will most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of The Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech You, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen 

This is the prayer of George Washington, which has been adapted to use You rather than Thou. 
from http://fourwinds10.com
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a prayer for unity

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son:

Look with compassion on the whole human family;
take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts;
break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love;
and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth;
that all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen
-excerpted from the Book of Common Prayer

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Importunate prayer

I came across a powerful passage while reading a book on prayer by E.M. Bounds.

There was a word that I was unfamiliar with. Importunate. I had absolutely no clue as to the meaning. In fact, I had to look it up on google because I honestly had no idea what it meant.

Here is the definition: persistent, especially to the point of annoyance or intrusion, troublesome.

When put into the context of the passage by Bounds, this is eye-opening.

Importunate prayer is a mighty movement of the soul toward God. It is a stirring of the deepest forces of the soul, toward the throne of heavenly grace. It is the ability to hold on, press on, and wait. Restless desire, restful patience, and strength of grasp are all embraced in it. It is not an incident, or a performance, but a passion of the soul. It is not a want, half-needed, but a sheer necessity.

Wow.

I don't know about you, but that stirs me up. It opens my eyes to the kind of prayers that we need to be uttering to our God.

The wrestling quality of this kind of prayer is not fleshly at all, it is an energy aroused by the Holy Spirit.

Are our prayers filling this quality? Are we persistent to the point of annoyance in our pleadings to our LORD?

We, as Christians, must be cultivating effective, continual prayer in our lives. We must be urgent in our request. Pouring out to Him a 'poignant appeal of need and faith'.

Our hearts must be in our prayers.

"The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results." (James 5:16)






Amen

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a prayer for guidance as we vote

Father,

You know every challenge we face, every opposition in front of us. You know every desire of our heart, and you know the sins with which we struggle. We have decisions before us, today, O God, and we need help.

Forgive us for all the times we've gone our own ways, and for the ways we've chosen to figure this out on our own, rather than looking to you.

As we go to the polls, we ask for your guidance. Help us to listen to your voice, to ask ourselves hard questions, to be informed as we cast our votes. Our country is divided and wounded, O God. We hurt each other, and we hurt ourselves. We need your deep, abiding presence. We need your powerful healing.

We need your direction, because we are wayward. We need your strength, because we are weak. We often vote with our emotions or our mind, rather than seek your will and turn to your word for help.

Holy Spirit, come, settle here and teach us in the moment. Guide us as we vote, so that we may honor you and you alone.

Amen

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PREMEDITATED KINDNESS

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 One good deed is worth more than a thousand brilliant theories.  Don't wait for greater opportunities or for a different kind of work.  Just do the things you find to do day by day ..... Do it promptly.  Do not waste your life thinking about what you intend to do tomorrow.  No one ever served God by doing things tomorrow.  If we honor Christ and are blessed.  It is with the things we do today.
                                                                                 ~~Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)


Dear Lord, we know evil is premeditated.  Carefully planed and thought out.  Lord I pray you will let me premeditate Kindness.  To store of kindness in my heart, so when something happens that would cause me to say, or act unbecoming, I will have a storehouse of premeditated kindness to respond with on a daily basis.  Thank you that your loving kindness is everlasting, and always available.  I love You.  Amen.



Amen

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Happy Hearts




Psalm 43:4 (NLT)
     “….I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy…….”
Father you are the source, the center, the circumference, the core, the substance and the essence of our joy. Your joy is infinite in that it is eternal and finite in that it is personal. Your joy gives us strength in our trials and hope in our despair. Your joy heals broken hearts and restores shattered dreams. Your joy brings meaning to life and expectation to the future.
How beautiful and with what amazing insight did Habakkuk write:   “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, 18  yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” Habakkuk 3:17-18 (NLT)
Father such is the nature of your joy given to us through trusting you. It is your very presence with us and in us that Jesus speaks of in John 15:11 (NLT) “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!”
Thank you Father for the joy that is ours in Christ as the Apostle Peter spoke of: “You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.” 1 Peter 1:8- (NLT)
With Happy Hearts, Amen!



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I commit my actions to You, Lord and my plans will succeed… I will overcome evil with good… I can do everything through him who gives me strength… I am content with what I have because You have said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”… I say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”… I humble myself before You Lord, and You will lift me up… My God is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. To Him be the glory forever… 

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your Word that encourages my spirit. Your Word has the power to bring me peace when I am feeling stressed out and confused. Thank You for guiding and protecting me. Thank You for never allowing me to fall too far away from You. Thank You for being my strength and my shield. By my own power I get lost, but when I meditate upon the knowledge that Your Holy Spirit is within me, I realize that nothing is impossible for You and I can rest upon Your strength to pull me through. Amen

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A Franciscan Benediction

May God bless us with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that we may live deep within our hearts.

May God bless us with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that we may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in this world, so that we can do what others claim cannot be done.

Amen.


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