Devotional Thought of the Day:
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. 1 Tim. 2:1-4
439 Prayer is the most powerful weapon a Christian has. Prayer makes us effective. Prayer makes us happy. Prayer gives us all the strength we need to fulfil God’s commands. Yes!, your whole life can and should be prayer. (1)
In the last day, I have been asked a hundred times if there was anything that could be done to help, that I would let them know. Messages from friends, phone calls, hugs given quietly, the words over and over….
if there is anything I can do….
There is of course very little, but helping others when they are traumatized is a need we all have. It is a way of coping…. of dealing with the trauma and suffering we so hate to see friends endure. Some of us are good at it… we see our lives turn into doing this very thing.
And yet – nothing,… a small task here, a small thing there….. in some cases those in trauma find themselves making up tasks… or at least in the last days I have found myself in that situation. I truly appreaciate the care – and the sincerity and yet, from the world’s view, there is so little to be done.
Yes, my father is dead, and yes it hurts… and yes, I know everyone cares.. deeply cares for my family…. and I know there is a desire to help…
And there is something that can be done…
Something that makes more a difference, something that is wondrous, even glorious…
Pray… simply that… pray.
For in doing so, you call on the Lord who does interact in or lives, a Lord who desires that no one of us be lost – and if His love is that powerful, that strong in its desire to care for us, then prayer is not a “well at least I can…” but it is the primary thing, as St. Paul tells us. It is our power for salvation and therefore our power to live in His presence.
So for my mom, for my brother, and sister, and yeah for me….. pray, but not just for us…
for my friends Bob and Nancy, who also lost a dear friend on the same day as my dad…
for my friends, KB, and Hugh and Steve, who have had surgery in the last two days…
for others whom you know, who also suffer… and most importantly… those whom you know who don’t know Jesus, who don’t know His love and mercy…
St Josemaria has it right – prayer is our sacred opportunity, for it reminds us of His presence, His love, it is our weapon, to defend that which is alive in us… in Christ… to deliver those who God has sent us too…
You want to help those who are mourning? Pray… that God would make HIs presence and mercy known… and that the faith fhat sustains us… would sustain those who ill come to know of His love…
(1)Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 1690-1693). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
- Real Prayer…Changes things… Will you? (justifiedandsinner.com)
Devotional thought of the day:
In a biography I am reading, there are a number of quotes of the man of God talking about what he believed was his imminent death. (By the dates of the events – he isn’t far off, but I haven’t gotten that far..yet.) This year, a number of close friends have died again, and even today I am missing one friend’s memorial service because I am officiating at a service of another sister in Christ.
Scripture tells us that because of the death and resurrection of Christ, death has lost its victory, it has lost its poisonous sting. While I believe that, while I know that, it is hard to look on faces that damp with flowing tears, with hearts that appeared crush. Too often, I struggle to see them because my eyes too are blocked by the same liquid. The pain is often unbearable, and some have asked what I know to say in those moments.
To be honest, there is only one thing to say…. to look at the person’s life, to see the connection that God made with them, to look at God’s faithfulness expressed in their life, and note the connection. Note the love of God seen in their life, love that is impossible to have at work, unless God is present. To then assure them of God’s care for their loved one, and His promise to bring us comfort, even as He has brought them into His joyous glory. To share with them one perfect promise:
2:9 but it is as scripture says: What no eye has seen and no ear has heard, what the mind of man cannot visualise; all that God has prepared for those who love him;
1 Corinthians 2:9 (NJB)
Death will sting those who have yet to endure it – of that there is no doubt. But for Fr. Josemarie, for JoAnn and Chuck, for Rev. McLeod, and Warren and Shirley and… and.. and..there is not sting..there is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – fully revealed…
There is ALL THAT… there is dwelling in His glory, in His peace, seeing Him face to face…knowing as we are known,,, and far more than we can ever see, hear, or imagine in this life.
We say they “rest in peace” yet, as we look at God’s promise, we know that we dwell in that same peace…even if our hearts struggle to rest in it.
Godspeed to all those who “survive”, and may His peace so overwhelm our hearts and minds…AMEN
After writing this blog, I had the honor of officiating at a memorial service. I wrote this on my FB post, which serves to make the point of this blog:
As I sit down to complete my sermon for tomorrow, I can’t help but think of the man who just celebrated God’s love for his wife. Though he anticipated less than 10 people a crowd showed up to comfort him and thank God for her life, and how it touched them,
During the lunch that followed, he never sat down – but constantly circulated, showing pictures of them together, talking to them about God’s love, hearing their stories.
It is to witness God’s handiwork in such lives, that has come to mean more to me as a pastor than anything else. To see the effect of God’s word, as it brings comfort and peace, and yes – even joy in the midst of trauma…. leaves on in awe in God’s presence.
Truly, there is one blessing, said at every service, every Bible study of this church. It is this: “The Lord is with you!” – and I am blessed to see evidence of it, everyday.