Monday, November 30, 2009
Meditation: Wisdom: we are all, each of of us, born with none. Sometimes it is thought that wisdom comes from experience, but actually wisdom comes from experience that is understood in the light of God's word. God expects us to honor our parents and to learn from their experience. But in time, while we should never stop honoring our parents, God expects us to learn wisdom from Him.
Prayer: Thank you God for my family, for what I have learned from my parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles, and others you have brought into my life. Help me to continue to learn your wisdom, so that I can lead others to know you as I have come to know you.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Meditation: Sometimes we get frustrated with people, and wonder why they can't be more like us. But aren't you glad that everyone ISN'T just like you. God has made each of us different, gifted each of us differently, but loves us all just the same.
Prayer: God of every good and perfect gift that comes from above. Help me to recognize the value in our differences as your family. Help me to understand the synergy that is at work in your Spirit's gifts to us; that together we can accomplish more than we each could working alone.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Meditation: Several years ago, Susan and I were searching for a congregation where we could work and worship. We had looked at several other congregations before looking at University, but University felt like family after only a few visits. One young married couple took us into their lives. Several other families followed, giving us love and a sense of belonging. Some of the elders and their wives agonized with us over our son’s problem and gave us godly advice and prayers. Susan and I found useful roles in this family. We had been accepted into a real family that faithfully follows Romans 12:15-16. Our UCOC family shows Godly characteristics in that they really care as our Father cares. This came home to me when Susan went to be with the Father. You wept with me at my loss; you rejoiced with me that Susan was free from pain and suffering. The great number of church members who were at the memorial service impressed Susan’s family, who were used to small, just family funerals. I tried to make them understand that this was a family gathering. My UCC family still watches over me and checks up on me to be sure I am all right. The great number of prayers they have offered for me has helped tremendously.
Prayer: Father, we thank you that when you saved us, you added us to a family. We know that our faith wouldn't be nearly as strong if we were alone. Help us to grow in our appreciation and participation in your church. Help us to be someone others can count on for love and support.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Meditation: Today is "Black Friday", a day when too many of are busy hunting for the best deals we can find on stuff. In the midst of the rush, did you notice the people at the busy intersections who have little or nothing? Every day is a 'black' day for them, but for completely different reasons. The best deal they are going to get just may come from you, if you're willing to show them a little compassion.
Prayer: Father of mercies, you have shown great compassion to us in our crippled condition, help us to show the same compassion and kindness to those we see around us. Help us to open our eyes to actually see them, and not just rush by in a hurry.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Meditation: Today as we enjoy a great feast with our friends and families, let us remember how generous God has been with us. Let us then be imitators of God and be generous toward others with the things God has given us.
Prayer: Father, thank you for your grace that we have received at such a great cost to you. Thank you for the material blessings that we have received from you. Help us to be gracious and generous toward others on the same basis and measure.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Meditation: Families are knit together by their stories. What binds God's Family together is His Story. Are you so familiar with God's Story that it has become the foundation of your own story?
Prayer: God in Heaven, you are the Word that existed in the very begining, that became flesh and lived and walked among us. Please open my heart and mind, to know you. Give me the dedication and discipline to open the pages of scripture and read and meditate on your Story. And most importantly, Father, give me the courage to live it.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Meditation: Recently in the UYG (University Youth Group), we’ve been talking about the names of God. One that we looked at was “Abba”, which means “Father”, or a closer translation would be “Daddy”. That night in class we talked about how cool it is that we can call God our “Daddy”. He is LORD, King, Creator, and all those other things…but He’s also our Daddy.
Over the last month or so, I have spent considerable time just sitting in my chair holding my brand new little girl and staring at her face. Obviously, the idea of calling God my “Daddy” has changed enormously over that time. I cannot wait until I can hear Addison call out to me and call me “Daddy”. I can’t wait to tickle her and amongst her laughs and giggles hear her call me “Daddy”. I can’t wait to come home from the office and be greeted by her running up to me with her arms open yelling “Daddy!” and just swoop her up into my arms while I hug and kiss her.
And then I think of Mark 14:36. Jesus is in the garden, about to go to the cross, and He falls down and cries out to Abba to take this cup from Him. To hear His Son call out to Him, “Daddy! Don’t make me do this”, must have been so hard to listen to. When Addie cries out to me and begs for her Daddy to come rescue her, you better know that nothing is going to stand in my way of coming in and saving her. So what love must our Abba have for us that He listened to His Son call out to Him, and yet still allowed Him to die on the cross for us. Your Abba loves you so much!
-Josh JonesPrayer: Almighty God, Creator of heaven & earth, You are known as Elohim, Adonai, El Shaddai, and Yahweh. You have been our provider, watcher, banner, and shield. You are a Consuming Fire and a gentle breeze. You are God Most High, yet you have invited us to call you Daddy - Abba. We love you for all that you are, but most of all that you are our Father.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Meditation: Is there any greater status in this world than to be a child of God? I think not.
Prayer: Father, thank you so much for enabling me to become you child. Help me to trust you fully as my Father, knowing that you know me and what I need better than I do, and that your desire for me is more healthy than even my own desires. Help me to live up to the name you have given me.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
In the days of Noah, God sent rain on the earth for 40 days and 40 nights so He could prepare the world for a new beginning.
Moses stayed 40 days on Mount Sinai receiving the Law that would transform fleeing slaves into the mighty nation of Israel.
Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness praying and fasting before choosing the 12 disciples thus beginning his public ministry and the work that would change the world forever.
Why God has chosen 40 days for preparing His people to do great things is unknown, but itcan’t be ignored.
In the next 40 days starting tomorrow, I would like to challenge you to set aside some time each day when you can spend time with God in prayer, scripture reading and reflection. You can do this alone, or if you haven’t been already, start praying together as a family.
For the next 40 Days, we will be reminded that we are indeed a ‘community of believers’ as our vision statement here at University declares. But more than just a simple community, we’re part of a family.
Through readings, meditations, and prayer, this Family prayer time will lead us into a closer walk with God and with each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.
The last 40 days of 2009 can be a powerfully moving experience for us. We each have different experiences with our earthly family; some good, some not so. Regardless, be thankful in every circumstance. And if possible, and if needful, strengthen the bonds that have grown weak in your relationships.
God is interested in families. The last words of the Old Testament look forward to the ministry of John the Baptist (figured as Elijah) who would be preparing the people for the coming Messiah. Listen to how God pictures his ministry:
“See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:5-6).
Are you ‘turned’ toward your family? Turn to God in prayer in these 40 days, and let God turn your heart in greater ways toward your parents, children, spouse, and your brothers and sisters in Christ.
(Each day, starting tomorrow, I will post that day's reading and prayer meditation. I hope you will be blessed in your participation. -John Wheeler)