Pause-Listen-Think-Pray-Go by D365

pause

The root of generosity, as in most matters of faith, is trust.
Do I trust that there is enough to share?
Enough for me and for you and for all of us?
Do I trust in God's abundance?

listen

I’m giving you my opinion about this. It’s to your advantage to do this, since you not only started to do it last year but you wanted to do it too. Now finish the job as well so that you finish it with as much enthusiasm as you started, given what you can afford.

2 Corinthians 8:10-11

think

Paul is fundraising. He’s asking the church at Corinth to support a relief project for poor Christians. In this passage, Paul indicates that the Corinthians started out strong in their giving, but — if we’re reading between the lines — it seems like they’ve slacked a bit. Maybe their enthusiasm had started to wane. In any case, Paul writes to encourage them: “You started to give last year, and you were excited about it! Finish the job with that same enthusiasm!”

It can be hard to finish what we start. We might feel moved to give to a worthy cause, only to realize that the gift is going to really make our budgets too tight. Or we may just get bored putting an offering into the plate each week. This doesn’t only apply to our gifts of money, but to sharing our time and talents too. Sometimes it seems easier to back out.

But we live in a world that needs your gifts! Remember your excitement. Remember your enthusiasm. Keep those alive. Keep your commitment.

Meredith Forssman

pray

God, there are so many worthy causes out there that I would like to get involved in — through volunteering my time or through financial support. Help me to discern where to commit, and help me to be faithful to my commitments. And when I grow weary in giving, send me encouragers who remind me why I feel called to this opportunity. Amen.

go

Go out and share with your heart.

Don’t share because you feel pressured. Don’t share with hesitation.

Share with cheerfulness and with love.

For you can trust in this: “God has the power to provide you with more than enough of every kind of grace. That way, you will have everything you need always and in everything to provide more than enough for every kind of good work.”

based on 2 Corinthians 9:7-8

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Pause-Listen-Think-Pray-Go by D365

pause

The root of generosity, as in most matters of faith, is trust. Do I trust that there is enough to share? Enough for me and for you and for all of us? Do I trust in God's abundance?

listen

When I was comfortable, I said, “I will never stumble.” Because it pleased you, Lord, you made me a strong mountain.

But then you hid your presence. I was terrified. I cried out to you, Lord. I begged my Lord for mercy.

Psalm 30:6-8

think

The Psalmist describes two extremes that we may face in life: on the one hand, comfortable prosperity, on the other hand, troubled despair.

Our logic might tell us that we’re more likely to be generous when things are going great than when everything has fallen to pieces; however, studies show that having “everything” or having “nothing” is not the key predictor for generosity. Instead, our generosity is more determined by our ability to relate with others and to empathize with them. Do we feel a connection with another person? Can we put ourselves in their shoes? If so, we will likely be more generous.

Having everything fall to pieces, being troubled and dismayed — that’s no fun. But it’s this kind of hard experience that prepares us to understand and empathize with others. And that, in turn, is the key to opening our hearts and lives to share generously of ourselves. That’s what psychology says — but it also sounds like God’s way of redeeming our painful experiences.

Meredith Forssman

pray

God, I don’t want to have to suffer, but I know that it is a part of life. Things won’t always be easy and comfortable. So when things get hard, help me to learn and reflect so that I will emerge on the other side with new strength, compassion, and empathy. Amen.

go

Go out and share with your heart.

Don’t share because you feel pressured. Don’t share with hesitation.

Share with cheerfulness and with love.

For you can trust in this: “God has the power to provide you with more than enough of every kind of grace. That way, you will have everything you need always and in everything to provide more than enough for every kind of good work.”

based on 2 Corinthians 9:7-8

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Pause- Listen-Pray-Go

pause

The root of generosity, as in most matters of faith, is trust.
Do I trust that there is enough to share?
Enough for me and for you and for all of us?
Do I trust in God's abundance?

listen

A gift is appreciated because of what a person can afford, not because of what that person can’t afford if it’s apparent that it’s done willingly.

2 Corinthians 8:12

think

As a teacher, Jesus was always trying to get his followers to move past the letter of the law and get to the heart of the matter. We see this in the way Jesus taught about the Sabbath, for example, Sabbath isn’t about following all the rules but instead about God’s life-giving rest for all creation. For Jesus, faith is about matching up what’s going on in our hearts with our actions. In Paul’s language, it’s the Spirit that gives life, not the letter (2 Corinthians 3:6).

In today's scripture, Paul encourages the church in Corinth to make good on their commitment to give an offering. He says that generosity is not about the amount that you give. “Just do what you can do, not what you can’t. What’s most important is the spirit behind the gift.”

Whether you have much to give today, or only very little, it’s enough. It’s your willingness to offer your gifts to God, to the church, and to the world that counts.

Meredith Forssman

pray

O God, some days I feel like my measly offering will never make a difference. Sometimes I think that no one would notice if I held back my talents and gifts. They seem so small in comparison to others. Free me from this worry to give willingly, generously, joyfully. Amen.

go

Go out and share with your heart.
Don’t share because you feel pressured. Don’t share with hesitation.
Share with cheerfulness and with love.
For you can trust in this: “God has the power to provide you with more than enough of every kind of grace. That way, you will have everything you need always and in everything to provide more than enough for every kind of good work.”

based on 2 Corinthians 9:7-8

Devotion by Julie

Hello my most precious child! I hope today is a relaxing end of summer day. As I lay beside Tommy who doesn't feel good, I feel a great sense of responsibility. He hasn't taken naps in quite awhile but the last couple of days he has slept more than he's been awake. I hurt for him and I feel helpless to make it better. All I can do is snuggle him in close and let his body fight the battle it has to do. I think about God and how this is exactly what He does for me. When I am sad or afraid or hurting or are just overwhelmed by life, God is there. He allows me to work out whatever my issue is for the day without judgement or criticism. He is simply present with me. Amazing concept. I am thankful that I can say I have a Heavenly Father who is always there just when I need Him most. My prayer for you today is that you will close your eyes and feel His presence. He's not intrusive. He doesn't make you feel less than....no, He let's you feel loved. May God's blessings be upon you and may you always know his grace. Love and hugs!

Pause-Listen-Think-Pray-Go by D365

pause

Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don't know and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown? Will you let my name be known,
will you let my life be grown in you and you in me?

from “The Summons” by John L. Bell & Graham Maule

listen

Jesus went to Nazareth, where he had been raised. On the Sabbath he went to the synagogue as he normally did and stood up to read. The synagogue assistant gave him the scroll from the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the synagogue assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the synagogue was fixed on him.

Luke 4:16-20

think

The scene is a little awkward – all eyes on Jesus after he has read this prophecy in regard to himself. Murmurs of “who does he think he is?” And yet, let’s ask: are we bold enough to proclaim even to ourselves that the Spirit of the Lord is on us, so that we too may be sent out to preach good news to the poor and to proclaim that the Kingdom of God is here? People may say, who do they think they are?! They’re too young/idealistic/uneducated/you-name-it to make any sort of difference in the world.

But the whisperers forget – it is the Spirit of the Lord who enables us to be messengers of the Good News and to participate in the healing of communities, people, relationships, and maybe even creation.

Katie Lloyd

 

pray

Holy Spirit, anoint me with your power that I may follow in the footsteps of Jesus and step out in faithfulness to tell others about the Kingdom of God. Help me to be a bearer of Good News, no matter the looks or murmurs that come my way. Amen.

go

Lord your summons echoes true when you but call my name.
Let me turn and follow you and never be the same.
In Your company I'll go where Your love and footsteps show.
Thus I'll move and live and grow in you and you in me.

from “The Summons” by John L. Bell & Graham Maule

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"Wise Man?"

Wise man, wise man,
Where are you going?
Crossing the desert
To follow a star?

Wise man, wise man
What are you bringing
Some far-away king
From the Empire Bazaar?

Wise man, wise man
Waht will you do
With the hungry eyes
That are looking at you?

Wise man, wise man,
Can you pass by —-
Not seeing the waif
While watching the sky?

Wise man, wise man,
Which will it be?
For millions and millions
Are waiting to see.

rit by rod

Pause-Listen-Think-Pray-Go by D365

pause

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.

listen

When he came, he announced the good news of peace to you who were far away from God and to those who were near. We both have access to the Father through Christ by the one Spirit. So now you are no longer strangers and aliens. Rather, you are fellow citizens with God’s people, and you belong to God’s household.

Ephesians 2:17-19

think

When you take a stand, haters and critics may get you down – but keep the faith! When you fight for justice and equality, you may get overwhelmed and want to give up – but keep the faith! Whatever you are going through, whatever struggles you have, keep the faith!

Keep the faith and do something about the pain you see in the world. Keep the faith and be involved with the political process and make change happen. Keep the faith and feed the hungry, help the poor, and liberate the oppressed. Keep the faith and believe that in the end love, grace, and justice will rise from the ashes of anger, despair, and suffering because they always do. Persist and keep the faith knowing that you are not alone. Keep the faith because you belong to God and there is nothing you cannot accomplish. Keep the faith and be the hands and feet of Christ.

Ed Stallworth

 

pray

Lord, with so many things that can bring me down, lead me and inspire me to keep my faith in you. Amen.

go

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?

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Devotion by Julie

Greetings oh most precious child of God! There are days when I start to write something, get interrupted and end up losing everything I'd said so far. Today I am going to use that analogy....why does something or someone seem to be a detriment instead of a benefit? Why do we keep hitting our heads on the wall in front of us? Why do we think things have to be done our way and that we don't need someone telling us what to do? Why do we fret and complain when things are not going our way? When are we going to be quiet and truly listen to what He is telling us? I don't know about you, but I tend to be most comfortable when I'm the boss and I get to call the shots. At least that was how I lived most of my life. It is only in the last few years that I can say, I'll sit back and you can handle it. Why do we need to be "the boss" of everyone? My prayer for you today is that you look around you. Are you calling the shots or is someone else calling them for you. Are the "shots" good for your well being? Is there peace within and beside you? My prayer is that you will seek to live life as a gentle, loving friend and maybe even lover if that option is still there with you. Know that holding on to anger and issues that no longer exist or that can/should be changed by a true apology doesn't hurt the other person half as much as it changes you. May God give you the gift of forgiveness and of peace. May you always know He is watching over you. And may you bring love and peace back in to your relationships. Love and hugs!

Devotion by Julie

Good morning oh most precious child! I trust your day is off to a great start. Someone that we dearly love is having to make some really tough choices about medical treatment. She will have to decide the path she will go down now. She and I have talked in the past and she tells me there is nothing to worry about because it is what it is and she accepts that. In a way learning we are getting to the tough choices is hard. We argue or bargain or rage. But not her. She is ready for whatever happens. I tell her I am concerned about her but not worried because I know she is at peace about the next steps she will face. She has chosen minimal treatment. Do you think you can accept the tough decisions we all have to make? Do you think your faith would keep the fear and grief in check? The answer for her is yes. My prayer for you today is that you look around in your life. See if your choices, whether they be hard or easy, are ones you can live with. Figure out your next step and then turn it over to God. He has your back and He will even carry you if you can no longer stand. May God's love and His peace be with you. May you be filled with acceptance for what is to come. And always, always remember your Heavenly Father is a breath away. Love is the medicine, and the only medicine that can get you through and this beautiful lady is loved beyond measure. God's blessings on you today and may faith, courage and perseverance lead you where you need to go. Love and hugs!

Devotion by Julie

Hello my precious child! There is a chill in the air and the leaves are starting to turn. I love this time of year and all the changes that come with it. I always loved the start of school as the kids reconnected with friends they hadn’t seen all summer. And honestly, while I love to go swimming and have picnics and just have fun together, I feel a sense of relief to have some me time. It is also a time of transition for God’s creation. The grapes and choke cherries are ready to pick, corn and fresh vegetables and lots of other food are abundant. I wish they could spread all the bounty out just a little bit so I could savor all the flavors over a longer time. It’s time to put away the patio furniture and move the plants inside. It is a time of settling in and hibernating and having the taste of soup or pot roast in the crockpot. My prayer for you today is that you will see this time as a positive. It is like our lives...we are aging and our bodies aren’t working the way they used to. Take time to savor the time of life you are currently in and see the good in the sometimes tough times. May God bless you with His presence in your life. Love and hugs.

Devotion by Julie

Hey there precious one! I trust your day is treating you kindly. Music has always been a vitally important part of my life. When I would get frustrated and angry, my mom would send me to the piano to pound it out. When I was happy, the piano sound was more gentle and flowing. When I was working on my masters degree, my kids would know the kind of mood I was in because of the music playing in our house. If it was classic, the best plan was just to be quiet and hang out in your room. If it was piano or instrumental music with no singing music, moms studying. But if it was on the station they had been listening to at the volume they were listening to, they could ask me most anything and the answer would be yes. Music was also something I shared with my dad. He had a beautiful tenor voice and I loved accompanying him. I asked him to sing for my wedding. He said yes if he got to pick the song. His choice was to sing "where are you going my little one." He sang it right before he gave me to Dana. My prayer for you is to think about and remember a song that means/meant a lot to you. Listen to it with your eyes closed and just let yourself drift back to how you felt, who did you listen to it with and listen to the words if there are any. Life is too short to waste when it comes to music. Music soothes the hurts in your life. Music can heal the holes in your life. Music can lift you up so you can fly. My prayer is that you will take time to listen to your "favorite " song and be filled. God bless you and keep you. May He shine His countenance upon you. And may He give you His peace. Love and hugs!

"The Seven Deadly Sins" part 7

Since I have been writing about the seven deadly sins as listed by a 6th century AD pope, I will conclude by series of devotionals with one we can read in the letter to the Ephesians. The bible tells us that sin is more than just personal. Even though the Creation story in Genesis implies that sin resulted from Adam and Eve eating the apple off the tree, one of my seminary professors taught that sin was not related nearly so mo much from the apple on the tree as it was from the “pair on the ground!”

We humans are born possessing many desires and appetites. These are good or bad only in relationship to how they are perceived and how they are used. And that pertains to organizations and institutions as well as individuals. Sin is certainly relevant to large institutions and organizations that serve many people. The writer of Ephesians there puts it this way: “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12

The will of God is not always in line with majority rule or via a five to four vote in the Supreme Court. The Bible tells us: “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 6:29 (As a man I think I can safely say that God intended to include women in this order as well! Just in case we should ever get a female majority in congress!)

Ephesians, in the concluding chapter says. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil…Stand, therefore, having girded your loins with truth and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace.” Ephesians 10, 14-15

 
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