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Tuesday, 23 February 2016

I will raise you up on eagle’s wings

Praying the Psalms in Lent
Psalm 91  “I will raise you up on eagle’s wings”
                 Psalm 91 states that the one who follows God has a special
relationship with Him. They can trust Him and depend upon him no matter what happens.  The images portrayed in this Psalm show God as a defender or protect of him people. God protects his children from snares and famine and God’s shield is faithfulness. We have nothing to fear: including the terror of the night, arrows being shot in daylight and even other enemies that crowd us and fall away. God will protect us always. The reason for this is because God has commanded his angels to guard and protect us no matter what happens. The angels will guard us and they will support us even if just stub our feet against rocks. God will look after us. The Psalmist then writes “And I will raise you up on eagle’s wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of my hand.”  After defending us and protecting us, God in faith will give us a special place as the wind moves and we will be lifted up to him and shine for him because God’s hand will hold us always.
This Psalm is comforting as God is depicted as the defender and protector of his children. He will not let anything harm those who are faithful to him. Those who are faithful are given a special place and will be lifted up to Him in his presence, the Spirit will move them and they will be radiant like the sun. And God will hold you. What a beautiful image for those individuals who profess their faith and live in his protective shelter. What a blessing it is to know that God comforts and protects us and one day will hold us in his hand forever!
Often when we read Psalm 91 we are comforted by the knowledge that God will protect us and has commanded his angels to look after us so that we will not be hurt by others. God calls us to make good decisions for our lives and to know that the angels will help guide us but we still have to choose to follow in faith. We also need to grow in our knowledge and love of God. By reading this Psalm 91 we learn that God is always protecting and always loving us.
Reflection:
How do you feel when you read this entire Psalm 91? Do you feel protected, loved, and lifted up because you are God’s children? During this Lenten season take the time to read God’s word and let the words reach inside your heart as you strive to see God in his glory and as you are protected like a hen protects its chicks. Isn’t it wonderful to know that God is looking out for you with help from his angels?
PRAYER:   Read Psalm 91 again and pray.

God of love you love me so much I am totally amazed. You are looking out for me with the help of your angels you are keeping me safe from harm and protecting me from what is out there. There are many evils out there and they are so easy to find yet you still love me and call me to be faithful to you. Thank you God for your love. Thank you for your protection. I ask that you would give me the strength I need to show others who you are and can be for them. Help me to draw closer to you knowing that you will hold me in your hand. In the name of the Creator and Protector I ask. Amen.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Blessed is the one who… delights in the law of the Lord

Praying the Psalms in Lent
Psalm 1  “Blessed is the one who… delights in the law of the Lord”

                Lent began last Wednesday marking the forty days not
including Sundays that Jesus spent in the wilderness with the Spirit of God leading and teaching and guiding him as he prepared for his ministry amongst the people and eventually his purpose in dying. During this Lenten and Easter seasons I have chosen to reflect on Jesus not as the man in the wilderness but as the Son of God who came to save us from sin and offer to us the gift of eternal life and how we might be assisted in our discovering  Jesus through reflecting on some of the psalms.
. Psalm 1 describes the faithful person who delights in God’s law and meditates on it and continues to do so regularly. This same person has also chosen to not be with wicked or sinners or found with those who mock his commitment to God. In order to understand this the one who is blessed is compared to a tree which is planted by water and yields fruit in season and prospers. This is in contrast to the wicked who might stand in judgement except for the fact that they like chaff are blown away. This is because God watches over those who are righteous and those who are wicked will die.
What does this Psalm 1 call us to do? To make good choices. To read and meditate on God’s word and to live not with a righteous attitude but to be open in heart and mind in order that the Spirit will guide us. We are to live according to God’s law and we are to share with others Christ’s story. For when we study God’s Word we soon learn of the promise of the Christ as the messiah and that the promised one of God would save those who believe.
In this Lenten season we need to ask, what is God calling us to learn about ourselves and our relationship with God as well as what our relationship with Christ Jesus and those who love him are really about. As we focus our faith on learning and growing in understanding of Jesus, are we willing to share our thanksgiving and praise?
Reflection:
During this Lenten season take the time to read God’s word—the gospels, the psalms and as you read each passage or section, stop and reflect on those words in the quietness of your hearts. Mull them over in your mind. Let God’s Spirit guide your thoughts. And listen, God is with you.
PRAYER:   Before you read Psalm 1 again. Pray.

Holy God let me be and become the blessed person in this psalm. Enable me to realize what a difference reading and meditating on your word  can be as I strive to hear your message for me each day. Enable me to recognize the wicked in my community and help me to discern this for myself. Show me again how you watch over me and lead me to life in you even when I have doubts or fears. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.  

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Love is in the Air

Love is in the Air
“And the greatest of these is love”   I Corinthians 13:8
                
Valentine’s Day is February 14 and as some people realize,
it is a special occasion for couples, married, dating and children kindergarten to Grade 3 as it is a time to acknowledge that as humans we have strong emotions and choices in how to share them. We love others because of the circumstances we find ourselves in and because of the choices we make. Love is a choice and it is a wonderful gift from God. We love because God first loved us. (I John 4:19)  But how often do you think of the love of God the Father/ Creator has for you?
                “The Father’s Love Letter” is a compilation of Bible verses that are presented in the form of a love letter from God to you. It states, “My child, “You may not know me, but I know everything about you. I know when you sit down and when you rise up. I am familiar with all your ways. (Psalm 139:1-3) Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. (Matthew 10:29-31) For you were made in my image. (Genesis1:27)….
                This letter continues to describe God’s hand in your life before one is born and the unconditional love that God has for those who seek him and delight in him.  This letter also describes the relationship of God the Father and Jesus the Son given so that reconciliation may take place. “I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. (Romans 8:31-32) If you receive the gift of my son, Jesus, you receive me. (I John 2:23) I am waiting for you (Luke 15:11-32)
                What a wonderful gift- God’s love for us which never stops, fails or ends. God’s love which surrounds us when sorrowful, encourages us when we are challenged and unconditional no matter what!
                As we reflect on Valentine’s Day, the day we honour those who have and receive love. Let us remember why and how we might love others- because of God Father, His Son Jesus Christ and the Spirit which leads us always.
REFLECTION:
Valentine’s Day is for those who love. Do you love?  That is do you choose to share yourself with another? When we consider God’s gift to us in Jesus it is the ultimate gift of love.  Nothing not even candy and flowers compare to this love. But the question is do you accept this love? Do you share and show your love as Jesus taught? We are called to love each other because first loved us? What are the ways you share and show love?
PRAYER:
Loving God we thank you for your love, that it is unconditional, always enduring and never failing. You taught us how to love through the gift of your Son who lived our human life and was and is love. We ask O God that you would continue to love us, to show us how we too may continue to love others with faith and with hope. We ask this with and through our love for you. Amen.

 |Father’s Love Letter may be found at Fathersloveletter.com]

Monday, 1 February 2016

The Miracle Principle

The Miracle Principle
“Wait only upon God; for my expectation is from him”   Psalm 62

                Physician assisted death to me is a last resort
that one might choose if they have no hope or faith in God to ease the transition from this life to heavenly rest. But it is a choice that Canadians might choose for themselves. The concerns raised in recent discussions involve asking another person or group to assist one in the dying process in a humane way. It is difficult to reflect on this but in faith do we really and should we ask another person to help us die, when the person that is being considered is one who chooses to do no harm and help maintain health? This is an ongoing debate and will be as the government rolls out the legislation which will affect many disciplines in our society.
But what if we are to keep hope alive and pray for miracles? Is this a viable option today?  Have you thought whether miracles are possible and do they occur now? The first miracle Jesus enabled was turning the water into wine at a wedding in Cana. Not everyone realized what had happened but it was a miracle as the servants had just filled up water jars with fresh water. But when a sample was given to the master of the banquet the wine was exquisite and good tasting. It was shared amongst the wedding guests and the celebration continued.  But what is a miracle?
According to Norman Vincent Peale a miracle is “a great and wonderful quality that can be brought to pass.” The miracle principle is based on Psalm 62. “Expect great things from God and you will receive great things from God.” Those who live on the miracle principle have miracles popping up constantly. But what is required for this to happen?
Faith- a deep faith that is so positively strong that it rises above doubt. Secondly, rightness—that is not wrongness. We cannot expect miracles or wonderful things to happen when we ourselves are wrong- when we are acting wrong, thinking wrong and when we are motivated by a wrong psychology. Do you feel that everything seems to go wrong with you? Then maybe it is the wrongness within you. Maybe it is your attitude, your unwillingness to try or just plain negativity that is around you. This includes people who put you down, or everyone else down, and can without any reason for this make you feel wrong about what you do and say. This is the wrongness that blocks possibilities, when a person really gets aboard spiritual power and moves away from his weak, defeated self things really begin to happen. Things that are deemed miraculous because there is a change for the better.
REFLECTION:
Do you believe in miracles? Do they occur today? I’m not describing the accidents often showing a person who escapes injury or death by mere coincidence, but what might happen when faith in God plays a key role in one’s life.  Are you in need of a miracle? What kind of miracle? Pray to God and keeping praying for miracles.


PRAYER:
Loving God, you are the God of miracles and you listens as we pray for others and for ourselves. From water to wine and witnessing the death of loved ones without pain and contentment there are many sources of the unexpected and miracles. We pray O God that you reveal to us your many miracles that are needed at this time-and continue to love us we pray. Amen.

Norman Vincent Peale “Expect a Miracle- make Miracles Happen” c.1974.