Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

The Blessing Bag


“Your basket and kneading bowl will be blessed.”

Deuteronomy 28:5 (HCSB)

How many times when we take out a bag of garbage do consider that we are carrying out a blessing bag. When I think of how many flavors of food I have eaten and the delicious tastes of such homemade dishes it tantalite’s my desire and expectations for more. Well do I remember sick days when I couldn’t even taste the food I was eating and no hunger motivated me with any desire for a menu of any kind? In my illness I forgot the blessing bag. But, OH……… when the taste buds revived and the smell of cooking fragrances reached the sense of my nose, what a delight.

I appreciate how David and his men were satisfied with the generous provision made for them and the joy they surely experienced as spoken of in 2 Samuel 17:28-29 (NLT) 28 They brought sleeping mats, cooking pots, serving bowls, wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans, lentils, 29 honey, butter, sheep, goats, and cheese for David and those who were with him. For they said, “You must all be very hungry and tired and thirsty after your long march through the wilderness.”

Thank you Father for creating me with the wonderful ability to see colors, hear music, smell flowers, taste food and touch others with compassion and love. “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” Psalm 139:14 (NLT)

Thank you Father for The Blessing Bag. Amen.




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for wisdom to move forward

Father, I confess that I don't have the wisdom I need.
I desperately need to know your wise heart today. 

I need your help to abandon my hope in this world. 
I need your wisdom to move forward in divine hope. 

I ask for wisdom dear Lord and confess my trust in You.
Help me to hear what You are saying in my heart.

Amen
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sitting in the silence


Teach us Lord to be still in difficulties.
Help us to trust and let go of control.

Cause thanksgiving to well up within us.
Let it to be released in our attitude.

We raise our hands and our hearts to you.
We praise you with all that we are.

Amen
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Actions speak louder...

Actions speak louder than words.

How many times have we heard that over the course of our lives? How many times have we said that in our lives?

Our belief in Christ has to consist of more than mere words. 

Our belief in Christ takes action. It is to be lived out in our lives every day.

One way we live it out... one way we make our words more effective... is in our prayer lives.

We must allow our belief in God to be evident with the action of powerful prayer lives. We must allow our lives to speak loudly through consistency in prayer. Devotion to prayer. Continual communication with our God through the beautiful act of prayer.

“People everywhere act out their unbelief with a consistency that is more convincing than words.” - A.W. Tozer

Let’s make sure that our consistency is toward prayer and belief and never toward the actions of unbelief. Let’s make sure that our words speak loudly of His power. His strength. Let’s make sure that our actions are speaking over the noise of just mere words.

“Devote yourselves to prayer...” (Colossians 4:2)

Amen
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grace, relationships, and everything in between



Father,

As if everything in 2020 wasn't already a huge mess, you've given America the extra complication of a huge election this year. In a season where we are already so far divided, we are divided even further by political issues. The way we are treating one another is cruel. The way we are seeing one another is unkind. The way we are speaking about one another is vindictive. The way we refuse to listen to one another is selfish. The way we talk to one another is callous.

Lord, we have lost the ability to treat each other with love and grace, and to see each other with your eyes and your heart. We have failed to see that those who understand your Word and you differently love you just as much as we do. More importantly - YOU love them just as much as you love us. Reveal to us that just because someone believes differently than we does doesn't always mean they are not being faithful believers.

Help us not to be so quick to label and assume. Teach us to listen to the hearts of people, and not listen to the fears Satan has instilled in us. Slow us down, and show us how to hear the truth behind the words spoken and the actions we see and the fears we feel.

 And when we are hurt, Lord, teach us to forgive. For you have given much grace to us, so we must give much grace to others. This is for our good.

Amen



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Prayer for the Future

Father, please prepare your people for whatever may come in the next weeks and months. Help us to keep our focus on Jesus and help us to be unified as his body. Let us show a better way to be human to a world that has lost its humanity. Amen
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AROUND THE CORNER



We don't know what may be around the corner.  Even if we have traveled the road many times.  New and unforeseen things can be just around that corner.  How do I handle things I can't see, and may not understand?  By Faith, and by experience.  If you have walked the path with Jesus over years, you know it doesn't matter what lies ahead, because He is with you, holding you with His strong right arm.

Most Gracious and Loving Father.  Right now our world is upside down, and every corner seems to have a new law or restriction.  Our hearts are weary, and tired but we know that YOU know what is just beyond the bend, and YOU are in Total Control, so I will place my hand in yours, and feel the strength of Your strong right arm, and I will rest in the assurance, that what I can't foresee, You can!  Thank You for always being there for us.  I love You.  Amen.














Amen
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ALL


Thank you Father for those times when I feel helpless and hopeless. They remind me how deeply and desperately I need you and am totally dependent on you. Through your gracious benefits I am blessed with the gift of life, family, friends, physical and material will being. Sometimes I let your goodness become a distraction to the true essence of life, which is my relationship with you. I am grateful that the Scriptures affirm the fact “….. God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy.” 1 Timothy 6:17 (CSBBible)

Of course Father the greatest joy of all is living in your presence and experiencing every day the abundant life you provide. Father how I love this song “All in All” for it expresses so well my trust and reliance on you.

 You are my strength when I am weak

You are the treasure that I seek

You are my all in all

Seeking You as a precious jewel

Lord, to give up I'd be a fool

You are my all in all

Taking my sin, my cross, my shame

Rising up again I bless Your name

You are my all in all

When I fall down You pick me up

When I am dry You fill my cup

You are my all in all

Jesus, Lamb of God

Worthy is Your name

Jesus, Lamb of God

Worthy is Your name

  Indeed Father “….we know that there is only one God, the Father, who created everything, and we live for him. And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom God made everything and through whom we have been given life.”   1 Corinthians 8:6 (NLT)

 Thank you Father. Amen




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to be salt and light

We pray for your help Lord.

Give us grace to be faithful witnesses to your love.
Cause blessing and encouragement to flow from our lives.

Help us to be humble in our dealings with others.
May mercy be the banner by which we are known.

Bring broken souls to us that you might heal through us.
In all things we pray that your light would shine in us.

In the name of Jesus we say Amen.


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to know what is worth knowing

Grant, O Lord, to all teachers and students,
to know what is worth knowing,
to love what is worth loving,
to praise what pleases you most,
and to dislike whatsoever is evil in your sight.
Grant us with true judgment to distinguish things that differ,
and above all to search out and do what is well-pleasing to you,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Thomas Γ  Kempis (German monk, 1379-1471)

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Pour out


Prayer is a beautiful privilege. It gives us continual access to communication with our Creator. We can reach out to Him anytime. About anything. He is always there.

We must remind ourselves to stop bottling up our hurts and fears. We must quit keeping things all locked up inside of hearts... 

Instead , we must pour out to Him. Pour out our hearts. Pour out our needs. Pour out all that is within us to the One who can fill us with PEACE. 

God will always respond to our cries. He welcomes us to sit at His feet and bask in His presence. 

Allow Him to take our burdens and perfect them as only He can...





Amen
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a prayer for awareness




Father,

We acknowledge that we see in a mirror dimly. We don't see ourselves as you see us. We don't see the world as you see it. We don't see others, beloved and created by you, as you see them.

Give us a stillness. Keep our bodies still, keep our minds still, center our hearts in your presence. Make us more aware of who you are, of what you are doing in us, and what you are doing in the world. Gives us eyes to see as you do, hearts to love as you do, and bodies meant to worship you with it's every movement.

You have made us lovely, O Lord. While sin has marred our loveliness, Jesus has restored and continues to restore. He is doing so in us and in the world. Keep our eyes on what you are doing. Keep us in tune to your work. Help us to feel your presence in us and with us. 

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. -Ephesians 1:18-21

Amen
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Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit, fill us with your grace and love. Give us wisdom to know how to live in these days. Help us to be as innocent as doves and as wide as serpents. Unify the body of Christ so the world knows who we belong to. Amen
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WITHOUT BOTTOM OR SHORE



Oh blessed Interpreter!  Mighty with God, so that the heart of God is affected with the woes and griefs of men; mighty with men so that the great love of God, which is an ocean without bottom or shore is made intelligible to us!   ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)




Oh wonderful, merciful Savior, I thank You for not giving me what my sins have deserved.  Instead of condemnation  I have received pardon.  Instead of banishment, I have been adopted.  I am in awe of the promise that Your mercies will never come to an end.  I will declare the hope of Your saving grace to the World.  I love You.  Amen


Maranatha Worship Bible 
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Thank You Father

Ephesians 5:20 (ESV)
  ….”giving thanks always and for everything

to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,”







Amen
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when we do not understand

God, thank you for being with us right now.  

We confess that we don’t understand why things happen the way they do.  We don’t understand why illness comes into our lives, but we do know that you walk every path of life with us. 

Remind us that you are walking with us right now.  Remind us that you love us, no matter what we are going through.  We also pray for our family. Give them your strength as they care for love ones.

God, we thank you that you never leave us, that you never forsake us, but you love us. 

We trust you, and pray this in your name.  Amen.

- a prayer adapted from the Crossroads Hospice site

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starting over

The words in this image remind me of these words from the third chapter of Lamentations:
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
Remind us Lord that a new day is one where we can start over again. When we awake, we rise to a day of new beginnings. Help us Lord to forget what lies behind us and press on believing that you are with us and leading us. Attune our inner ears to your wise and hopeful words. This is a day of new beginnings that you have made - we will rejoice and be glad it it. Amen


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Do we?




Christianity is so much more than simply filling a pew at church. It is so much more than mere words. 

Christianity is an intimate, personal relationship with Christ. It’s BELIEVING deep, TRUSTING fully, CONFESSING humbly.  

It’s KNOWING Jesus. It’s being like Him. 

Listen to the words of Christ.

ℍ𝕖 π•’π•Ÿπ•€π•¨π•–π•£π•–π••, “𝕃𝕠𝕧𝕖 π•₯𝕙𝕖 𝕃𝕠𝕣𝕕 π•ͺ𝕠𝕦𝕣 𝔾𝕠𝕕 π•¨π•šπ•₯𝕙 𝕒𝕝𝕝 π•ͺ𝕠𝕦𝕣 𝕀𝕠𝕦𝕝, π•¨π•šπ•₯𝕙 𝕒𝕝𝕝 π•ͺ𝕠𝕦𝕣 𝕀π•₯π•£π•–π•Ÿπ•˜π•₯𝕙, π•’π•Ÿπ•• π•¨π•šπ•₯𝕙 𝕒𝕝𝕝 π•ͺ𝕠𝕦𝕣 π•žπ•šπ•Ÿπ••....” (π•ƒπ•¦π•œπ•– πŸ™πŸ˜:𝟚𝟟)

DO WE??

Do we love Him with all our soul and strength? All our hearts and our minds?

It’s so easy to say that we do, but are we living our lives to reflect that?

DO WE show mercy? DO WE treat others like Jesus would??

DO WE love ❤️  like Him? DO WE want good for others and not harm? Are we extending love to those who persecute us? Wound us? Wage war against us? 

DO WE sit at His feet and soak up His Words? Are we listening for His Voice? Digging deep into the Scriptures? Are we desiring to learn more about Him every day?

DO WE put Christ first? Make the right choice? Or are we distracted by our flesh...

DO WE push through the crowds so we can touch the edge of his robe? 

DO WE believe that the words of Jesus have the power to HEAL? 

DO WE desire good for others?

DO WE encourage others in their spiritual walk through our words and our actions?  DO WE exude Jesus ??

Oh, my friends, my prayer today is that we will seek His face and begin to love like Him!! 


Amen
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slow work



Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.


—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ
excerpted from Hearts on Fire


Amen


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Election Season

Father, in the days to come, let us remember that no matter who is elected to public office, Jesus is the true King. Keep us aware of our responsibilities to love our neighbors no matter what their political beliefs may be. Amen
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MOMENTARY AFFLICTIONS



We too can worship with gladness when we lift our eyes above our momentary afflictions and focus on the innumerable blessings of eternity.

Philippians 1:9-11
"And this is my prayer; that your love may abound
more and more in knowledge
and depth of insight.
So that you may be able to discern
what is best and may be pure and blameless
until the day of Christ,
filled with the fruit of righteousness
that comes through Jesus Christ ~
to the glory and praise of God."

Heavenly Father, we feel the affliction of the world we live in.  The restraints and rules that me must follow, but we have no experience in the afflictions the early Christians faced.  So Paul writes this letter of encouragement.  That our love may abound in the knowledge and insight of God's Word.  That it would cause us to seek every day to live pure and blameless lives, filled with the fruit of righteousness that only come from Christ.  And that our loves and devotion would bring praise and glory to our God and Savior, Christ Jesus.  This is our prayer.
I love You.
Amen













Amen
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Anger Verses Mercy

Anger



Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”

James 1:20 (NLT)

 Father there is so much to be angry about in the world. The list of injustice would be too long and actually too aggravating to enumerate. And yet you tell us to “Be angry and do not sin. Don't let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and don't give the devil an opportunity.” Ephesians 4:26-27 (CSBBible)

Father what a conundrum and complicated challenge. To be angry and not sin seems impractical if not impossible. And yet you have given us the answer in how we are to deal with our strong emotions of anger that simmer and sometimes boil over. Of course your example is to be the pattern for our expression and behavior. “God is a fair judge, a God who is angered by injustice every day.” Psalm 7:11 (GW)

Human anger is sinful because it from an evil heart. “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? Jeremiah 17:9 (NLT)  That is why you tell us Father to: “Refrain from anger and give up your rage; do not be agitated it can only bring harm.” Psalm 37:8 (CSBBible)

Your anger Father is rooted in your holiness. “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty…”  Isaiah 6:3 (NIV)  You are holy in your character, holy in your conduct and holy in the consequences you bring on human sin. “ For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice..” Psalm 11:7 (NIV)  Again Father we are reminded in Psalm 77:13 (NLT) “ O God, your ways are holy…”

Father I lift my voice with Habakkuk: “I have heard all about you, LORD. I am filled with awe by your amazing works. In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by. And in your anger, remember your mercy.”  Habakkuk 3:2 (NLT)  Amen.

Exodus 34:6 (GW)
“The LORD, the LORD, a compassionate and merciful God…”

 Mercy








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spiritual intercession

Come Holy Father,

lead and guide us according to your will.

Come Holy Son,

teach us the ways of mercy and compassion.

Come Holy Spirit,

pray through us that the kingdom may come. 

Amen


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make me


Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;  

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.  

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.  

Amen

 
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PRAISE THE LORD!



Sometimes amid the frustration, fear, chaos of our world, we need, of course, to pray for God to touch men's hearts and bring a sense of calm.  But what I found as I read the Scriptures this morning is, God calls us to Worship and Praise in the midst of darkness.  

Listen to Psalm 150 and let it rise your heart and emotions above the cloud that hangs over our country.  Praise is a command from our Lord.

Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary
Praise Him in His mighty firmament.

Praise Him for His might acts
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.

Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet
Praise Him with the lute and harp,
Praise Him with the timbrel and dance.

Praise Him with the stringed instruments
and flutes.
Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with clashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath 
Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord!

Do you hear the noise?   Do you see the celebration?  Don't you want to join in?  This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!   













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What This Mad Mad World Needs



“….redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins…”

Ephesians 1:7 (NIV)

 1 Peter 2:22-24 (GW)

     22 Christ never committed any sin. He never spoke deceitfully. 23 Christ never verbally abused those who verbally abused him. When he suffered, he didn't make any threats but left everything to the one who judges fairly. 24 Christ carried our sins in his body on the cross so that freed from our sins, we could live a life that has God's approval. His wounds have healed you.

 \The price of forgiveness is the blood of Christ, his life sacrificed for us. The purpose of forgiveness is reconciliation with God. The power of forgiveness is the freedom from all hostility toward God and people including a peaceful relationship with each other. That is why we: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 (NLT)

Father, thank you for the price paid for our forgiveness. Thank you for the restoration of our relationship through your forgiveness. Thank you for the peace of your forgiveness. Thank you for the power of your forgiveness that enables us to forgive. Thank you that we can share with others your forgiveness available through faith in your beloved Son, Jesus.

 Father the only hope, help and healing this mad, mad world can have is through your forgiveness made possible by: “…. the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.” 1 Peter 1:19 (NLT)

Amen.

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for new sight and a forgiving heart


Give us dear Lord:
eyes that see the way that you do;
hearts of compassion like yours;
minds that think like Jesus;
and hands that build your kingdom.
Amen




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