Posted on February 29, 2016
For whoever does the will of my father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother. - Matthew 12:50
On this extra day tucked into our year may we have the grace to see the power of our Jesus who upends His world of family ties by stretching those bonds to include others. Our safe little nuclear units are challenged to grow wider so that they might include all those on a road to God. If we could truly believe this and act accordingly we could change the world.
Let us pray for the courage to see what these words are asking us to do and to be.
Posted on February 28, 2016
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. - Matthew 11:30
I can never read this verse without thinking of the man I met in the bus terminal holding his sleeping child. When I offered him my place so he could sit, his answer was, “Carrying love is never a burden.” All that we might bear is lighter if we stir in love, isn’t it?
May we pray on how best to do just this.
Posted on February 27, 2016
Come to me, all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
- Matthew 11:28
This is a word of grace at the end of the week. Jesus knows what it is to be humanly exhausted and He would delight in sharing the load if we would only ask Him to do that. What a gift that our God walks among us in a humanity that can feel as we do.
In prayer may we sit quietly with Jesus and allow our burdens to be laid down, even for a time.
Posted on February 26, 2016
The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. - Matthew 9:37
These words spill from the heart of a Jesus who cannot do it alone. He needs disciples, not to preach publicly, but to live His message so that others will see it in action and be inspired to follow.
That is how the harvest of believers is to be gleaned. In prayer we have to consider if we are willing to be a laborer for Him.
Posted on February 25, 2016
Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” - Matthew 9:28
This is another faith challenge. Jesus has not come to be only a wonder-worker who might astonish by His gifts. He has come to stir our trust in God who wants to be a part of our lives. That is what faith is about. We are seeking to broaden our limited human vision and to allow Him to walk with us.
May we pray this day for the courage to trust even when we don’t fully understand.
Posted on February 24, 2016
Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.” - Matthew 9:13
What does this command mean to us who no longer live in a world of elaborate animal sacrifice that could substitute for the desires of the heart? Jesus knew that His contemporaries would live to see their Temple destroyed by Roman armies. He wanted them to know that while their worship there would end, their relationship to God was measured by something deeper, by their ability to respond to each other’s needs.
This command is challenging enough for much prayer as we seek to become the disciples Jesus needs.
Posted on February 23, 2016
Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” - Matthew 8:26
Jesus is speaking to disciples cowering in their boat in the aftermath of a storm, but He could be speaking to each of us. Have there not been times when our faith was a bit shaky as we seemingly lost control of a situation?
In our prayer this day let us ask for a deeper, stronger faith that God is indeed in control of my world.
Posted on February 22, 2016
Jesus said, “Go, let it be done for you according to your faith.” - Matthew 8:13
This phrase appears several times in the gospels and it is a challenge. A petitioner has come with his or her request and Jesus sends them on their way with this admonition. When I bring my needs to Him, would I be pleased if this were His answer to me? Why?
Our prayer today has to reflect our response to His words.
Posted on February 21, 2016
In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.
- Matthew 7:12
This is such an interesting verse to ponder. Jesus is telling us that this version of the Golden Rule encompasses the entire scripture. If we would actually live this we would have no need to worry about any other commandment, large or small. That is both astonishing and sobering.
In prayer we need to each really ask how do we integrate this command into our lives, so that it becomes for us all that Jesus wants it to be.
Posted on February 20, 2016
Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?
- Matthew 7:3
The image is humorous, but the picture is quite clear. We are each so often guilty of this speck/log issue. Others’ faults are so apparent – why don’t they see them? – and we are so innocent. Somewhat smugly, we may note those specks in others, while missing our own more clear faults.
Our prayer time today needs to be spent searching for logs, our own obviously. Ask God’s grace for clearer sight.
Posted on February 19, 2016
Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. - Matthew 7:1
Can you hear Him saying this? I can, and more than once since it is such a universal failing. We always know what is wrong in our neighbor’s actions; what choices she should have made and didn’t, and we even can concoct the reasons why. All our neighbor’s flaws are clear, but that is not what is attracting the notice of Jesus. He wants us to stop, now.
Our prayer has to carry over to action this day, to work on rooting out those judgmental mental decrees that poison relations between people.
Posted on February 18, 2016
And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? - Matthew 6:27
But we worry anyway. We fret uselessly and futilely about things over which we sheepishly laugh but weeks later, not now. For the moment, it seems as if our worrying is necessary. Jesus wants us to realize that worry does nothing but waste time. To worry is not to seek a solution nor to find a plan of action. It serves only to shoot down all possible answers,
We must bring our worries to our prayer today and give them to God, the only one who has an answer.
Posted on February 17, 2016
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Matthew 6:21
That is quite obvious, so why delay here? But wait, we need to ask: where or what is our treasure? What is most valuable in your life at this moment? Is it someone, something, some accomplishment or achievement? This is attention getting.
In prayer, we need to be honest as we seek to locate that treasure.
Posted on February 16, 2016
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. - Matthew 6:14
This is a challenge, isn’t it? That tricky “if” puts everything in a different light. We naturally believe that we should be forgiven, if we ask, but now we have to stop and become forgivers too. Odd human beings as we often are, we find this hard. It is, since we are being invited to share in a quality rooted in God himself. He obviously thinks we are capable of it.
In prayer, let us ask for the grace to be forgivers, which is so often a daily challenge.
Posted on February 15, 2016
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly father is perfect. - Matthew 5:48
This verse has troubled far too many people who read it literally. The word for “perfect” that Jesus most probably used actually would be better translated as “complete”. Jesus is asking us to live up to every gift and good quality that we have. It is a biblical way of saying that which we used to sing “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative”.... That song is now out of date but the sentiment is not.
In prayer, let’s look for what we need to concentrate on today in order to do as Jesus is asking.
Posted on February 14, 2016
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. - Matthew 5:44
This is a twist on the Golden Rule that we don’t like too much. What is more worrisome is the condition that Jesus has attached. If we are hearing Him aright, He is telling us that we have to practice this if we would claim the right to pray “Our Father...”
We must ask for the grace to pray seriously for those in our enemy categories: a family member, an acquaintance, an international terrorist... This is personal and very real.
Posted on February 13, 2016
Let your word be “Yes, Yes,” or “No, No.” - Matthew 5:37
That’s an easy one, isn’t it, or is it? Twisted words, evasive phrases, subtle undertones have all become so much a part of our language that we forget the beauty of the truth to which Jesus is urging us. He is asking us to mean what we say, as He did, and to say what we mean. Shall we try it?
For today, may our words be such that Jesus could hear Himself in all we say.
Posted on February 12, 2016
Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your father in heaven. - Matthew 5:16
We sometimes have the odd idea that as Christians we should practice a false humility and never attract notice. Jesus obviously has a different idea. He is urging us to be openly who we are, not with arrogance nor in a “preachy” way, but simply by being the best people we can, in every circumstance. That makes for many little shining lights.
Let us try this day to be the person that Jesus would like us to be.
Posted on February 11, 2016
You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?
- Matthew 5:13
It is good to remember at the beginning of this Lenten season, that Jesus has such high hopes for us. We can be and are meant to be salt, that savor that doesn’t have color or aroma, but whose presence and, by contrast, absence, can mean so much. It is such a definition of the place of the believer in life.
Today let us pray that we might try to live up to His expectations of us.
Posted on February 10, 2016
And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” - Matthew 4:19
This is where we have to begin. Jesus invites us to come after Him and He promises that everything will look different as a result. He doesn’t say that we will never again do what we usually do nor see what we are accustomed to find on our horizon. No, He simply asks us to follow, and something will happen to our perceptions. Are we ready?
Let us ask the grace this day to welcome all that comes our way.