Pause- Listen-Think-Pray-Go

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Listen to the Mustn'ts, child,
listen to the Don'ts.
Listen to the Shouldn'ts,
the Impossibles, the Won'ts.
Listen to the Never Haves,
then listen close to me.
Anything can happen, child,
Anything can be.

from Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (1974)

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Put aside all bitterness, losing your temper, anger, shouting, and slander, along with every other evil. Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to each other, in the same way God forgave you in Christ.

Ephesians 4:31-32

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I love Instagram. And Twitter. And Facebook. I love seeing ridiculous and beautiful pictures and learning about people and events from all over the world. But I don’t love the meanness on social media. For every cat video or sunset picture, there is also anger, name calling, and ALL CAPS YELLING. We’ve all seen the arguments and hate-filled words that we type at one another – sometimes directed at people we know or sometimes at total strangers! Early Christians didn’t have SnapChat, but they had the same struggles we do: treating each other with kindness.

Being mean is easy: snapping back at someone who snapped at us, being mean to that annoying person, responding in anger when someone is rude to you. But choosing kindness requires courage, compassion, and love. God chooses to love us. God chooses to forgive us. And aren’t we grateful? We don’t have any control over how other people act, but we have complete control over how we respond to them.

In a world where you can be anything, be kind.

Carrie Zimmerman

 

pray

God of kindness, help me to be kind!

God of love, help me to show love!

God of forgiveness, help me to forgive!

Amen.

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Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The light and love of God is enough to conquer all darkness, hate, and fear.

Today, and every day, walk through your life trusting in the power of God’s love.

Pause- Listen-Think-Pray-Go

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Listen to the Mustn'ts, child,
listen to the Don'ts.
Listen to the Shouldn't,
the Impossibles, the Won'ts.
Listen to the Never Haves,
then listen close to me.
Anything can happen, child,
Anything can be.

from Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (1974)

When the world is giving you more than you think you can handle…

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Therefore, after you have gotten rid of lying, Each of you must tell the truth to your neighbor because we are parts of each other in the same body. Be angry without sinning. Don’t let the sun set on your anger. Don’t provide an opportunity for the devil. Thieves should no longer steal. Instead, they should go to work, using their hands to do good so that they will have something to share with whoever is in need.

Ephesians 4:25-28

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“Liar, liar, pants on fire!” I remember hearing this on the playground when I was a kid and thinking how funny it would be if someone’s jeans caught fire every time they told a lie. I often wish it were that easy to know when I’m hearing the truth or not – just look for the burning pants!

The world can feel full of lies sometimes. When we feel stressed out or frustrated, Jesus gives us new ways to focus our attention. Look around at the people you interact with each day. Is there a neighbor who could use your help? Is there a student at your school you could spend time getting to know? Can you get involved in a group that’s helping people in your community?

When the world makes you angry or sad, one of the best things to do is go out and do something good for someone else. Jesus fed people, listened to their stories, and spent time getting to know his neighbors. Let’s work on doing that, too.

Carrie Zimmerman

 

pray

God, give me enough courage, to be honest with myself and my neighbors. Give me enough strength to reach out to those in need. Give me enough love to share it generously.

Amen.

go

Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The light and love of God is enough to conquer all darkness, hate, and fear.

Today, and every day, walk through your life trusting in the power of God’s love.

Pause- Listen-Think-Pray-Go By D365

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The world doesn’t need a miracle from above to end hate, oppression, injustice, and inequality. It doesn’t need an act of God to end the suffering we see happening.

The world needs us, followers of Jesus, to say “Enough already!” and to work together to be God’s hands and feet.

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Christ is our peace. He made both Jews and Gentiles into one group. With his body, he broke down the barrier of hatred that divided us. He canceled the detailed rules of the Law so that he could create one new person out of the two groups, making peace. He reconciled them both as one body to God by the cross, which ended the hostility to God.

Ephesians 2:14-16

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We live in a divided world. And it usually feels easier to maintain those divisions and draw the lines deeper. So why shall we persist in love and unity with those who are different than us?

If we spend too much time fighting and too little time understanding, nothing gets done. If we see others within a church, community, or country as an enemy to be defeated, we fall apart. Friends – even good friends – can have differing opinions. These differences do not have to make us enemies or adversaries; however, the way we respond or react to one another might.

Love says we can still walk together and help the suffering and serve the poor. Grace proclaims that we may have theological disagreements, but we can still work together and feed the hungry and free the oppressed. There is no divide between us because there is Christ who unites us, love that calls us, and compassion that moves us.

Ed Stallworth

pray

Lord, lead us to be united in Christ. When I encounter others who think or believe differently than me, may love, grace and justice be the shared values that tie us together. Amen.

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You are the answer to the prayers of the hungry, lonely, bullied, oppressed, and hurting.  What will you do today – not tomorrow or someday – to be the hands and feet of God in your world?

"Faith Jacket"

Hello my precious child! I am laying beside my youngest grandson getting him a short nap before we hit the pool again. As I watch him throw himself into the water with no fear, I decided to try and see how he would do without his "swimming jacket" on. He started to sink and as I watched his eyes widen in surprise and a little fear, he told me he wanted his swimming jacket back on.i thought about times in my life where I thought I knew it all and had confidence that I could handle whatever came my way. Then, as I tried swimming without my "faith" jacket, I too was surprised and a little, make that a lot, afraid. But just like I was there to "save" Tommy, God is right there to save me. He knows long before I do just what I will need and how to give it to me. My prayer for you today is that when you start to feel like you're going under and you are surprised and afraid, you will trust that He's there for you and may have already supplied what you need. May you wear your "faith jacket" with pride and with absolutely no fear. He's there...now and forever more. God's blessings! Love and hugs!--

Julie

"The 7 Deadly Sins" part 2

I was invited to write a second devotional following the first which dealt with the 7 deadly sins as defined by Pope Gregory I, also know as Gregory the Great.  We were to write about our experiences in the Faith and I explained that at age of almost 92 I was one of the most experienced sinners in our church.  Taht assumes believing in the truth tha all of us are sinners.

Pope Gregory lists pride as the number one si which he claims is really the source of all others.  He also lists "vainglory" as a synonym of pride.  I was once expelled from school as a freshman in high school in what might be a description of this one.  All of us like to be winners - the best of something - number ONE.  To be htebest there is a something is often a the bas of our wrong doings.  In shop class the freshman next to me challenged me to a blow-torch fight.  We were taking instructions in how to heat a soldering iron in preparation to solder two pieces of metal together.  I was making a dust pan as a gift to my mother who made good use of such pans when cleaning house.  I was trying to be a good boy and show mom that I loved her.

When the guy next to me challenged me to a duel I wasnot about to be labeled a chichen by my peers in the class; so I fought back as any red blooded American male would do when confronted with such a challenge.  For all I knew he could be a Democrat and my parents were strong Republicans and were teachig me to be the same.

Our shop teacher Mr. Pease, rather thanreferee a fair fight, condemned us both by sending us both to the school superintendent who sent us bot home for the rest of the week and said we would not be readmitted until we told our parents what had happened and that they, personally, would have to bring us back before we were readmitted.

Neither of us will ever know whether or not we were the number one blowtorch fighter in the world.  And it is only by the grace of God and by forgiving parents and school theacher that either of us ever graduated.  So much for vainglory.  Bit it hurt our pride.

-rit by rod-

The scripture for this devotional is Romans 12:3. If sloth does not prevail in you life you will look it up. 

Pause-Listen-Think-Pray-Go by D365

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… for in Christ Jesus, you are all children of God through faith. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:26, 28 (NRSV)

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We have also received an inheritance in Christ. We were destined by the plan of God, who accomplishes everything according to his design. We are called to be an honor to God’s glory because we were the first to hope in Christ. You too heard the word of truth in Christ, which is the good news of your salvation. You were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit because you believed in Christ. The Holy Spirit is the down payment on our inheritance, which is applied toward our redemption as God’s own people, resulting in the honor of God’s glory.

Ephesians 1:11-14

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I haven’t inherited much in my life, but one thing I have inherited is my great-grandfather’s quilt from his childhood. I love this precious, well-loved, more than a hundred-year-old quilt and its teal and white colors with accents of faded red, gray and pink. I love how every time I wrap up in it, I think of all who have been kept warm by the same fabric and stitching. This quilt connects me to something greater than myself — my extended family throughout the years.

While the writer of Ephesians isn’t telling us we’re inheriting a quilt from God, I think what he is saying is that we’re inheriting something very precious and well-loved that has withstood the test of time. In Christ, we’re being wrapped into a loving, all-embracing fabric of the family of God, and that is enough.

Molly Brummett Wudel

 

pray

God, in a world that constantly tells me I need to do all that I can with all that I am to be the best in all that I do, your grace is a drink of cool, fresh water! Give me lots of it, so that I can be excellent in the things that matter — in loving and sharing generously with the world. Amen.

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God, may I feel the warmth and comfort of your inheritance through Christ this day. Amen.

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Conflict

Hello precious one ! I hope you are staying cool and dry. Have you ever been in a conflict where no matter what you do or don't do, it isn't ever right/good enough? My prayer for you today is that you may let go when someone wrongs you and I pray that your heart will be softened so that you will both give and receive forgiveness. Sometimes our lives get full and we don't want to be bothered to stop for 5 minutes and show/acknowledge anothers presence and the need for forgiveness and understanding. My prayer is that you will find the good in others. May God's blessings be upon you and may you be bathed in His healing light! Love and hugs!

Julie

Anticipation

Hello beautiful child! I trust your week is coming to a peaceful end. We are in the airport in San Fransisco waiting to get on the plane to Denver. We left the car in Denver, so since we are arriving late at night, we will stay there tonight and drive home tomorrow. I thought about how many journeys in our life are sort of like this trip. We work hard to get ready to go, anticipating what we will need. Then the first leg comes. We are excited and ready to go. We go to the next step, again anticipating and planning for a place we may not even know about. Each stop on our journey, we heave a sigh of relief and relax and cruise for awhile. Then you start preparing for the next step. At the end of our journey, we just want to be home. We are tired yet calm at the same time. Our lives are like this...we come brand new and need to learn. We are sponges! Then we move into other parts of our life: school, dating, graduation, college, marriage (sometimes divorce), jobs and life in general. We anticipate and plan for the next leg in our journey. We also learn about loss and grief. We learn about faith and forgiveness. And then, as we get closer to the end of our life, we yearn to go home on high....to see those who have gone before us and to see our Father face to face. Through all of these stages, we can learn to be accepting or we can go kicking and fighting all the way. I choose to work towards acceptance and forgiveness for I know that in heaven there is no more strife, fighting and grief. We are home. My prayer for you today is that you will prepare for and accept whatever the next leg of your journey is. May you always remember that you are a child of God. God bless! Love and hugs!

Julie 

Pause-Listen-Think-Pray-Go by D365

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God, no matter what comes my way today, opportunities or challenges, you are with me.
Remind me that your grace is enough for me, especially when I’m feeling low.
Your grace sustains me.

Amen.

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He called for the Twelve and sent them out in pairs. He gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a walking stick—no bread, no bags, and no money in their belts. He told them to wear sandals but not to put on two shirts.

Mark 6:7-9

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When I go on a trip, I take so many things. I want to be prepared for anything that might happen – to feel secure. If I don’t watch myself, I can pack way too much.

When Jesus called the disciples, he told them to bring only the most essential thing – a stick to support them as they go. It must’ve been hard to leave behind things that might have been important or useful. It must’ve been hard to leave behind what felt safe.

Though it may seem like a small thing, our desire to pack too much can show that we don’t want to rely on God. It’s initially about being prepared, but it can seep into other areas of our lives. We can overpack on our desire to feel smart or attractive or strong, you name it.

Jesus told the disciples to bring the bare minimum. We can try that too. When we do, we learn to rely more on God and on those around us. We remember that we have more than enough.

Daniel Potter

 

pray

God, when I try to bring too much on my journey, help me to relax and really think about what I need. You are always providing for me. Remind me that, thanks to your grace, I have more than enough. Amen.

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Remember:

  • God’s strength is enough.
  • God’s peace is enough.
  • God’s love is enough.
  • God’s grace is enough.
  • You are enough.

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7 Deadly Sins rit by rod (Rodney Gist)

Tami asked me to contribute devotional articles of about 200 words as part of a pool of folks who contribute to her weekly publication duties.  My first thought was "Nope - 'm retired!" But as I thought about it, I thought Nope would give young people the excuse of Nope, I'm too young.  But that's what Jeremiah tried to do when God asked him to write to the Israelites about his feelings about God. (See Jeremiah 1:7)  Since Tami asked me to just write about my experiences I thought about what are my experiences?

The Lord said to me, "All men are sinners and since I've given you almost 92 years on earth you should be one of the most experienced sinners in the world, just write about that."  So I decided I'll write about what Pope Gregory the Great (6th century AD) listed as Seven Deadly Sins most spiritually damaging to human beings.  I started by looking them up to see if I remembered them right. (Old age damages your memory.) Then God said to me, "I know what you are thinking - but that's just another excuse.  Sloth is one of the deadly sins - forgetting ain't, so get busy and start writing." So where to begin?

I noted that dejection is also one of the seven.  Some call it melancholy others depression and I understand that there is a lot of that going around these days.  So much so that the suicide rate has recently increased in our society, and it infects people of all ages. So I couldn't tell God I am just too depressed to write.  He'd say that it was just another excuse, just get out of your lazy boy chair, turn off the television, finish off that 3rd cup of coffee you're drinking and do what Tami wants you to do.

But just as I got all this written, I realized that my 200 words were up and I only mentioned two of the seven deadly sins - sloth and depression.  I will get into the other five deadly sins in later posts.

The text for today's writing is from the Bible - Psalms 130:7-8. So don't let Sloth make you too lazy to look it up!

Rodney Gist

 

Pause-Listen-Think-Pray-Go by D365

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When faced with rough waters and stormy winds we ask:

Will I make it? Will God carry me through the storm? Is God enough?

A 4th-century martyr, Severus of Thrace, wrote:

“To all who are tossed by the waves, Lord, you are the calm of the harbor; you are the hope of the hopeful.”

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So they cried out to the Lord in their distress, and God brought them out safe from their desperate circumstances. God quieted the storm to a whisper;
the sea’s waves were hushed. So they rejoiced because the waves had calmed down; then God led them to the harbor they were hoping for. Let them thank the Lord for his faithful love and his wondrous works for all people. Let them exalt God in the congregation of the people and praise God in the assembly of the elders.

Psalm 107:28-32

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The Psalm begins with a word about God’s faithful love. Then, to show what God’s faithful love looks like, the songwriter tells a story about a time when God saved God’s people from trouble. Now, in a sort of grand finale, the Psalmist calls for rejoicing – a sensible response for people who have been delivered from a desperate situation. The God whose love is enough in the storm deserves to be celebrated.

What kind of story would you tell, if you could step into the Psalm writer’s role? What kinds of storms has God helped you through? What are some of the challenges you’ve overcome, even though you were afraid you couldn’t? What did those experiences show you about God’s faithful love? What did they give you to celebrate? How might those memories comfort you the next time you feel like you’re in the middle of a storm?

Justin Joplin

 

pray

Wow, God! Your faithful love is amazing. It never ends. Help me to share it as abundantly as I have received it. Amen.

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As you go, carry this conviction deep in your heart: Through calm and chaos, God’s faithful love is enough to sustain you.

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