Answer the Question!


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Dedication For His Sake

Source: espei.com

Answer the Question!

I am but one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I ought to do. What I ought to do, by the grace of God I will do. Lord, what will you have me do? The Motto of the Order Booklet compiled by

Meditations for the Advent 2013

Saint John’s Episcopal Church Tulsa, Oklahoma

Saint John’s Chapter The Order of the Daughters of the King Saint John’s Episcopal Church 4200 S Atlanta Pl Tulsa, OK 74105 www.sjtulsa.org Under the direction of the Rev. Susanne Methven

During his ministry Jesus asked a lot of questions. These questions really engaged his listeners. The answers he heard provided teachable moments when Jesus could redirect people’s thoughts and actions in fresh ways. This Advent we want to engage with Jesus. To do this we made a list of questions Jesus asked. We have asked ourselves to answer Jesus’ questions as if they are addressed to us. And we have shared what we have discovered. We have invited writers from Saint John’s Episcopal in Tulsa OK and from the St. Patrick’s Community at Eddie Warrior Correctional Facility in Taft, OK to write devotions. This is the twelfth devotional booklet compiled by the Daughters of the King at Saint John’s Episcopal Church. Karen Kelly has faithfully served as computer compiler of these 12 booklets. Karen moved to Arkansas this fall and deserves a big “servant well done” for her work. This project is an outgrowth of the commitment of each Daughter to live out their vows: to make Christ known to others and to reflect God’s love throughout the world. Each Daughter undertakes a Rule of Life, incorporating prayer, service and evangelism. In addition to the Advent and Lent devotion booklets, the Saint John’s Daughters chapter responds to the prayer requests received from those in prison in Taft, OK; prepares frozen meals for those who need them; and hosts receptions for various occasions.

Sunday, December 1, 2013 Matthew 9:4

Advent 1

Why do you think evil in your hearts?

If there is evil in our hearts, it’s because we are not keeping the Lord’s commandments and loving God. If we have love and caring in our hearts then there will be no room for evil. Jesus said in Luke 6:45, “The good man produces good from the treasure of his heart. The evil man produces evil from the evil. The mouth speaks out of whatever abounds in the heart.” If there is evil in our hearts, then we tend to say and do things that are harmful to ourselves and others. I am reminded of a couple of songs that were popular in the 60s, “Put a Little Love in your Heart” and “What the World Needs Now is Love”. How true it is today!

Dear Lord, help us to keep your commandments and to love God so there is no room in our hearts for evil. Help us to treasure the people in our lives, not material things, so that we may be a blessing to others. Amen.

If you are a woman feeling drawn to a deeper commitment to God and seeking the fellowship of other women, we invite you to join us. We meet monthly on the first Thursday at 9:00 am in the Fox Library. Our president is Janice Ingle, who can be reached at 918704-1443 or [email protected] Those in other areas should look at the national website (www.doknational.com/) for chapters near you. We are grateful that this booklet is also available on the Diocese of Oklahoma website: www.epiok.org.

Texts from the New Revised Standard Version

Tom Owens

Monday, December 2, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

John 2:4

Matthew 9:28

Why do you involve me?

Very simply, because I can't really do anything without you. Every talent and skill I have comes from you. Every breath that I take, every food that I eat, every beverage that I drink all belongs to you. You have given me so many gifts that there is no way I could ever repay so; I'm left with little choice except to humbly accept and just enjoy your blessings, and be thankful.........and be thankful........and be thankful.........forever. Lord, never let me forget that all that I am comes from you and never, ever, let me stop being grateful for all the gifts you have given me. Amen and Amen.

Do you believe that I am able to do this?

I first let this question from Jesus “meet me where I am now” before reading its context. My immediate response was “Jesus, the issue for me is never whether or not you are able to do whatever it is I’m asking. The issue is whether or not you will!” Then I read Matthew 9: 27-30: Two blind men followed him, crying loudly, ‘Have mercy on us, Son of David!’ When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to him, ‘Yes, Lord.’ Then he touched their eyes and said, ‘According to your faith let it be done to you.’ And their eyes were opened. Earlier in Matthew 9, a paralytic, a woman hemorrhaging and a dead girl received healthy life when they brought themselves or others brought them into Jesus’ presence. In each case Jesus took initiative, but so did someone else. Jesus called such initiative faith. I now hear Jesus asking me: “If you believe I can restore healthy life, and love all creatures, why do you so rarely initiate encounters between me and my ailing creatures? Where’s your faith?” Dear Lord, give me the courage to take the initiative to come to you. Amen.

Charlie Nutter

Sandy Kunz

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Matthew 11:7

Matthew 14:31

What did you go out into the desert to see?

When I arrived in Las Vegas in 1999 I was in the midst of a separation and subsequent divorce. My inner turmoil was reflected in what I saw: I saw the desert as empty and ugly. I didn’t expect to see anything else. However as I lived in the desert I came to appreciate the wide open vistas, the subtle colors of the rocks, and the variety of ways that plants and animal life adapted to and survived in this harsh environment. After one rainstorm, I witnessed a river in the desert and the blooming of the fragrant desert willow tree. At one of the lowest times in my life I found the Creator in nature – even in the desert. I received the good news that God loves me and cares for me deeply. I didn’t expect to see anything in the desert. And, unexpectedly, I truly experienced hope and resurrection to new life. God, in desert times, help me to be thankful for the opening of new vistas and new ways to see your goodness and love. Amen.

Why did you doubt?

I guess you could call the early 2000s the “winter” of my relationship with God. I was experiencing a lot of loss in my life – my parents were dying, I was dealing with infertility and I’d just moved away from dear friends and a city I loved. I felt alone, lonely and lost. My faith was withering on the vine. I felt like God had abandoned me like a neglected garden. At several points I railed against God and questioned my faith in him. But I guess the very fact that I was angry with God was an indication that I hadn’t lost my faith…I just doubted that my Lord was “there” for me. Several years later, I came to realize that he truly had been there all along. He was the patient parent and I was the petulant child. He hadn’t abandoned me. He had plans for me all along. As I was losing my mom and dad, he was giving me my daughter. She was a gift so I wouldn’t get crushed under the weight of my grief. Why did I doubt him? I no longer do…even if I don’t always understand his plans for me.

Dear Lord, I place my trust in you. Give me peace of mind, peace of heart and peace of soul to trust in you. Give me patience to understand your will and realize that heartbreak can be turned into blessings. Amen.

Susanne Methven

Karen Szabo

Friday, December 6, 2013

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Matthew 15:3

John 6:70

Why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?

Traditions are great and wonderful gifts from past generations to the present. Nevertheless, there are times when we allow our traditions to become stumbling blocks, rather than the strong rocks of strength they ought to be. Can you think of times in your life when you have allowed your own traditions to get in the way of God’s commands? Do we allow our sacred Saturday’s to pull us away from work in our communities? Do we allow leisure to pull us away from prayer and time spent studying the Scriptures? In the past I found myself coveting my Saturday mornings. They were spent with my father or with friends watching College Game Day and football all day long. Soon, anything that began to encroach upon this tradition became a great annoyance, even my service to God. Prayer and Bible study had almost disappeared on Saturdays. There was no time! I had too many games to watch, too many sports reports to hear. I allowed what started as a harmless tradition of watching a game with my dad to become a stumbling block to anything else. Almighty God, it is easy for us to become devoted to our own customs, traditions, and needs. Be our lamp and show us your way. When we follow the ways of this world light our way back to you. Amen.

Did I not choose you?

God has given me such a wakeup call; he has put me somewhere where I am separated from my family and loved ones, where I could notice things around me, including myself. Now that I have done this, I finally realized that not everyone’s walk is the same. Learning the truth that the Bible teaches shows me that a lot of people around me are not lead by the Word of God. Now I know what it means when Jesus says, “Have I not chosen you?” I would not be able to see the evil all around me. God has opened my eyes and my heart so much since I have come to live in this place. He has helped me to see what is real. I once had doubt, but since the Lord spoke to me through another believer He said to me “I have caught your tears. I have seen your loneliness. I love you, my daughter, and you will never be alone; I will never leave you.” I know that my savior is with me. All my doubt, all my fear, all my loneliness is gone. We are not promised that our life would be easy, we will have ups and downs through our trials and tribulations. Just knowing that God is here holding my hand and comforting me I can get through anything. God is my strength. I’m glad he chose me. When you believe in Jesus Christ you have nothing to be afraid of. He will always be with you, leading you the right way. Dear heavenly Father, Thank you for loving me. Thank you for giving me your spirit. Thank you for never leaving me and, heavenly Father, help me to find your light and your love shining through all the evil around us. Amen.

Sandra Kenneth Orsburn

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Sunday, December 8, 2013

John 6:70

Matthew 19:17

Did I not choose you?

I have the great privilege of assisting our acolytes as they become worship leaders at the 10:00 service. A parent or other adult may tell me of the child's interest. Perhaps it is a child I have observed during the service, or the young person may express interest to me personally. The three questions need to be answered positively before training begins: Are you ten or older? Do you really want to be an acolyte? Do you understand the concept of "church behavior"? This includes the logistics of the service, time for questions and the reassurance that no mistake can be made that hasn't been made before. Being involved at church is a calling whether the involvement is in worship, education or outreach. Our commitment to be involved in whatever facet of the church would not last if we didn't have a calling for this activity. On Rally Sunday, Irv asked each of us to be open to being a part of one of the many activities we are blessed to have at Saint John's. Perhaps it is something you feel called to do; perhaps it is an activity someone else (even Irv) asks you to do. Jesus is the one doing the calling; we are being chosen. Is the answer "Yes"? A prayer using the words of Hymn 705, verse 3: With gratitude and humble trust, we bring our best to thee To serve thy cause and share thy love with all humanity. O Thou who gavest us thyself in Jesus Christ thy son Help us to give ourselves each day until life's work is done. Amen.

Marilyn H. Bedford

Advent 2

Why do you ask me about what is good?

Evidently Jesus and Bart Simpson agree on this statement that being good is sooooooooooo overrated! But Jesus, all my life I have been taught to be a good person? I am kind and come to church every Sunday. I am an usher at church. Surely, this is enough! Yes, I sometimes work on Sunday afternoon but surely that doesn’t hurt, does it? You are surely good, Jesus, and I am too! Wrong! I am wrong? Just being good has nothing to do with following you? You want to use the talents you gave me at birth? And all my life I am to give these talents back in your name? I love you, God. Can I just be good? As I pondered these questions as a meditation writer, the words of a song by Sandar Singh pops into my head. “I have decided to follow Jesus” is a simple Christian song of decision. Please Google its sweet message. At the end of life for the young ruler, I wonder if he would have preferred to have wholeheartedly followed Jesus. Am I any more faithful to you? I can only try, and by the Grace of God, it is made so. Heavenly Father, I know that I am an imperfect person here in this world. But you asked of me a task while here. Please give me insight tools and courage to go beyond my satisfaction while here on earth. Help me to give to You glory in thought, word and deed; help me to keep your holy commandment. In your name, Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Dian Peacock

Monday, December 9, 2013 Mark 4:30

What shall we say the Kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it?

I wish I knew what the Kingdom of God might be like. When I was young and heard the mustard seed parable, I got that the Kingdom of God is larger than any person could see or know. But just size didn't seem sufficient. I've since come to believe the Kingdom of God has two parts, the here and hereafter. Here it includes the faithful, their good works, and all that's good, beautiful and blessed in the world. But as for the hereafter, I still don't know. I trust that the souls of the faithful will eventually be there, at peace and without pain and suffering, basking in their proximity to the Trinity. I know not where the faithless and sinners will be, I only hope I'm not in their company. For my grandsons, I'll create an elephant parable to convey that the Kingdom of God is huge, long-lived, and powerful. And, like the story of the three blind men and an elephant, each describing the animal as something different while touching a different part of its anatomy. The Kingdom of God may be different for each of us depending on our individual relationship with God, both in the here, and in the hereafter. Dear God, strengthen our faith so we walk in your ways as we seek to better know your Kingdom. Amen.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 Mark 4:40

Why are you afraid?

There is a famous quotation attributed to both General George S. Patton and to football coach Vince Lombardi. Each said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” That proclamation helps me to focus on a primary contributing factor to an individual’s feeling of apprehension. My personal experience indicates that it is a paramount contributor for many of us. Both Patton and Lombardi were targeting physical exhaustion as the culprit. Certainly, many negative concerns are influenced by one’s feeling that he or she is physically spent. We have all been there. Often mental energy is dissipated. This can be independent of physical weariness. However, frequently mental fatigue accompanies the body’s exhaustion. Solutions? Physically, we need to be in as good shape as is feasible. That includes a proper diet, enough exercise, and sufficient rest/sleep. Mentally, there is need for sound contingency planning. Carefully considering potential roadblocks and developing methods of overcoming these obstacles is key to good achievement. Is this easy to do? Absolutely not. In Viet Nam we often reminded each other to KTF, keep the faith. Believe me, it helped! Master of the Universe, let us endeavor to use our capacity to deal with life’s problems. We thank you for your help always. Amen.

John Staedke

Randy Spencer

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mark 4:40

John 7:19

Why are you afraid?

Lord, I am afraid because I’ve failed so many times in my life. I am afraid of failing you and other people I love one more time. When I was 22 years old I graduated from LPN school. I loved nursing and elderly people are my passion. Sadly enough, I became addicted to prescription drugs and my nursing license was revoked in 2001. With that came the loss of my career, my pride, and my selfworth. Through the struggles of addiction my life seemed to be one failure after another. My life was based on fear and loss: loss of loved ones, self-respect and home. I entered a life of recovery in October 2011. I rededicated my life to Jesus Christ at that time. I have diligently sought to serve him since then. It hasn’t been easy, but well worth it. I used to be afraid of failure in my life but, because my Redeemer lives, I now walk by faith in Jesus Christ. “I haven’t been given a spirit of fear but of love, power, and a sound mind” (II Timothy 1:7).

I thank you Lord that I don’t have to be afraid. Your Word says we are to fear not. I obey and trust your Word as complete truth. Help me today to cast my cares on you and to live in constant assurance that he who begun a good work in me will complete it. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Lara

Why are you trying to kill me?

Nothing is more sobering in my Christian walk than realizing that every sin I commit is another strike of the hammer to those nails that nailed my Savior to the cross. From 2009 to 2012, I went through many negative changes in my life that left me without my ability to cope. Instead of drawing nearing to God, I became angry with him and hardened my heart. It was not until the summer of 2012 that God was finally able to penetrate my heart of stone and find the tender flesh beneath. When I first came back to Christ after those years of running away and really began confessing my sins and asking forgiveness, my heart truly shattered. I could almost hear the clang of metal contacting metal, the nails splitting the word, the cries of anguish. However, while experiencing this despair over the pain I had caused my precious Jesus, he spoke to my heart. Every time I would swing my arm to drive that nail further in, he was removing another shovel of dirt from the grave of sin. I was dead and buried until that glorious day when he reached down, pulled me up, resurrected me as a new creature, and gave me a new name. Though I am still facing the physical consequences of the choices I made during that time, my heart is cleansed, and I hear the words, “Neither do I condemn thee. Go and sin no more.” Hallelujah! Father God, thank you so much for sending your Son to die in my stead. Help me to always be aware of the pain my sin causes so that I will refrain from making the wrong choices, and when I do fall short, may I be quick to repent with a sincere heart. Thank you for your abundant grace. In Jesus’ sweet name I pray, Amen.

Michelle

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Mark 8:23

Mark 10:51 What do you want me to do for you?

Do you see anything?

Brain researchers and illusionists have one thing in common. They know that people see what they are expecting. It is difficult to perceive something totally new. I have found this to be true in my own life. I purchased and drove a Saturn car. And what did I see? I saw Saturn cars everywhere. This is a spiritual truth as well. When I look for the presence and blessing of God I find it in the most unusual places. I see God's plan of renewal in the new and bright leaves of spring and in the changing colors of the leaves in the fall. I see God in the dew sparkling on the blades of grass on a sunny morning. I see God in the faces of people at the grocery store and in their cars as they scurry back and forth on errands. I see God's blessing in the events of the day. Jesus asks, "Do you see anything?" We can answer, "Yes, I see you.”

Open our eyes, Lord. Let us see Jesus.

Lane Duel

When I was five, during a brush-arbor revival, I felt a tugging that Jesus wanted me to become a Christian -- and shortly afterward, I was baptized in our little Baptist church. Then I began to learn what it means to follow Jesus. Many years have passed since then and I have had many experiences, both wonderful and not so wonderful. I've belonged to several diverse denominations and have left the church and wandered through the world. I left, but Jesus never did. I was somehow kept safe. There's an old chorus that goes, "Through it all, through it all, I've learned to trust in Jesus. I've learned to trust in him." That could be my song, too.

Jesus, remember me when I come into Your kingdom, and let me spend eternity with you. Amen.

Martha Hicks

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Mark 14:37 Are you asleep?

John 13:12 Do you understand what I have done for you?

When first looking at this question I found myself going back in time to two occasions. The first being suddenly awakened one morning from a deep sleep to only find my young son, nose to nose staring at me. Scared and startled I snapped at him, and scared and startled he began to cry. After picking him up and giving the reassurance he needed we both forgave each other. The second came when I had to forgive myself for not being responsible enough to keep an all night Vigil in the woods. I was there to ponder upon my spiritual and physical needs and being. It was very late, the rains came and I was soon dozing to the sound of rain drops beating down on my makeshift shelter. Although it only really mattered to me it was still troubling that I did not in complete faith pass my Vigil test. Just as James, John and Peter failed in the garden and were forgiven and given a second chance for their shortcomings when Jesus found them asleep; so was I. I think the important message here is often we walk through life spiritually asleep. We have good intentions of how we are going to be prayerful, attend church regularly, and give ourselves to Christ, but we often fall short. We know what we want to do and how we want to get there, but we often underestimate our own weakness; we are human. Are you sleeping? Keep alert!

Advent 3

My Savior asks if I understand what He has done for me. There are so many answers to that. He has ransomed me. In my life there were many things that held me hostage. The biggest one was my sin. He took care of that when He paid the price with His blood, pain and suffering. Still, that wasn’t all. Addiction held me in bondage. Along with the addiction came shame and regret – two more links in my chains. But where did the addiction come from I asked. It came from my anger, my fear, and my hurt. Sink…sink..sink. I was spending my life running – from those feelings, from my past, from myself. Unforgiveness had its own special cell for me and I spent many years there. It was dark and it was lonely, but then I saw a tiny glimmer that had been there all along. As I drew near to it, it just seemed to envelope me and every time I came closer it warmed me, it flowed over me. Do I understand what my Savior did for me? Yes, I do. He loved me even when I couldn’t love myself and, through His love, He taught me truly grace, mercy and forgiveness. He taught me how to love and to let someone else love me, too. Thank you for what you have done for me. Amen.

Father we know that without the help of your Holy Spirit, we will fall short of what we want to do and what we want to be. Please strengthen us with your might through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Doug Crews

Shannon

Monday, December 16, 2013

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

John 18:34 Is that your own idea, or did others talk to you about me?

Luke 6:46

We follow false prophets because of sloth and ignorance. We should make our decisions from our own studies and investigations. Jesus asked Pilate the question during Pilate's investigation of Jesus.

O God, give me the determination and knowledge to learn and the wisdom to do your will. Amen.

Why do you call me “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I tell you?

My younger granddaughter has trouble doing what her parents ask her to do. When she is told she can’t have candy before dinner, her response is always, “but I want it.” When told she must turn off the TV and go to bed, she whines, “but I don’t want to.” She is too young to realize that while candy tastes good, eating only candy will make her sick or that staying up past her bedtime will make her tired and grouchy in the morning. In short, she doesn’t want to do what her parents tell her because their demands conflict what she wants to do. In my Christian life, I am like an immature child, willfully and stubbornly seeking to satisfy the selfish desires of my heart rather than doing my best to follow the commandments of Christ. Give to the poor? That might mean I couldn’t take a Mediterranean cruise next year. Love my neighbor as I love myself? Well, I might love him a little more if he had just followed the neighborhood restrictions when he put up his new privacy fence. Take up my cross and follow Christ? That would require way too much personal sacrifice and pain. To accept Christ’s authority in my life and to follow his commandments would put far too many restrictions on what I want. Like any child, Lord, I am often willfully disobedient and place my own desires above doing what you have told me to do. Help me to recognize that what I want is not always best for me. Help me always to seek your will for my life, to call you Lord, and to follow your commandments. Amen.

John Brock

Kay Miller

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Luke 6:46

Luke 8:25

Why do you call me “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I tell you?

Why do you call me Lord, Lord? Why wouldn’t I call you Lord? Lord you have brought me through difficult times. Given me wonderful times. You always walk with me. At this moment I’m going down a path I never ever expected. I’m incarcerated. But even in here, Lord, you’re showing me there is joy, love, kindness, compassion, peace, grace, mercy, and contentment. Lord, I thought I was humble and compassionate, but you let me see I was only skimming the surface. You cared enough for me to put me where I would and could grow in spiritual blessings unbounded. Lord, you have taken me to new depths. Sometimes in turmoil, other times in joy. You are my comforter, my advisor, my salvation. You see me in other ways no one else does. You see deep into my heart, my soul and my spirit. Given me friends that praise you, people that make me look to you even more for love. You sent your only begotten son to die for my sins, for me. You are King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You are my all. You asked why I call you Lord. This is my answer.

Where is your faith?

Sometimes when I encounter fear, doubt, disappointment or discontent it seems that God is very far away. I ask myself, “Why did God let this happen? Why isn’t God doing something to remedy the situation?” Fear begins to take over and it is difficult to deal with the problem. At times like these I slow down and realize that I must trust that God will help me. The answer may not be exactly what I was anticipating but I know that God is all-knowing, all-caring, and all-loving and I must put my faith in him.

Dear God, please help me to slow down in my life, listen to your words and put my trust in you because I know that you are with me at all times and will give me courage to do your will. Amen.

Lord, thank you for the very breath I take. Please keep showing me the way to go. Guide and guard my thoughts, words, actions, walk and heart so that others will see you and not me. Amen.

Jennifer

Penny Johnston

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

Luke 8:25

Luke 8:30

Where is your faith?

Hmmm…Where is your FAITH?!?! I know where mine is and sometimes isn’t. My faith is great on the BIG stuff. I seem to sometimes misplace my faith with the little stuff. That’s when life gets out of balance, confusion sets in (should I? shouldn’t I?) and then even fear might come. When I’m out of sorts, I run to Jesus giving it all back to Him with the faith that He is ALWAYS the answer. In this season of Advent and all year long, as long as I have faith that Jesus is Lord and Savior I know I won’t sweat the small stuff. I pray that the abundant faith I have shows in the way I live my life, so that the world will come to know that faith in You is true life. Amen.

What is your name?

"What is your name?" Why would that question ever frighten me? Normally one's name rings with positive vibrations. There is a truth to the last line of the theme song from the '80s sitcom Cheers: "You want to go where everybody knows your name." And yet there are exceptions. When I was in high school in Sherman, Texas, there was an old house that was reputed to be haunted. Like many of our friends had done, a few of us ventured into the house one night armed with flashlights and curiosity. A neighbor spotted the light through a window and called the police. The first question the officer asked each of us, of course, was "What is your name?" Was I afraid? You bet! It was no surprise that in a small town the officer knew most of our parents. To his credit, the officer was kind enough to let us off with a warning and a kind admonition to be more careful. It raised the question for all of us: how do we want others to think of us or remember us when they hear our names? How we are identified is special. Our names should reflect in the most positive way who we are. Especially when Jesus calls us by name. O God, help us to be a reflection of you and your goodness to all we meet. May our names make you and us proud. Amen.

Leslie

Michael Bedford

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Luke 10:26 What is written in the law? How do you read it?

Luke 12:25 Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?

The law can be very definite and certain, but sometimes harsh and unfair. A judge on the other hand can be fair, but sometimes unpredictable. In the balance is a continuing search for truth and justice (and the American way…cue the music).

To worry is to feel anxious and afraid. All of us have experienced worry. Jesus is telling us that worry is not productive.

I was heading back to college from Thanksgiving break and was pulled over by an earnest Deputy Sheriff in Alabama for driving with an expired license tag (gasp!). The patrolman wanted to lock me up while I waited for my college friends to bring me enough money to pay the fine. A nice jailer allowed me to sit on a bench and wait outside. My friends showed up, I made bail, and planned to return to the court hearing and to explain to the Judge that my license tag was “in the mail” while I was travelling back and forth from college to home. The judge listened to my explanation, saw my current license plate, praised the officer for following the law, and then mercifully waived my ticket and returned my fine. I had “broken the law” but the judge sought to administer justice in my case. The law can be written in a certain, definite way, but the reader has to interpret it and apply it with justice in mind.

Advent 4

I was a young medical officer stationed in New London, CT during the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962. Our family consisted of our four year old son, our two year old daughter, and a newborn infant daughter. As the crisis developed all military personnel were restricted to base for the duration, which turned out to be three days. Some historians have described this time as the most dangerous in our history. Both the USSR and the United States had nuclear weapons that could annihilate the other! My wise and pragmatic wife said “she and the children could walk back to Kansas to be with the rest of our family.” She was not overly worried and she had confidence that negotiators on both sides would resolve the crisis. I was not so sure. As usual, she was right! Lord, in you there is no worry or fear. Help us to believe and trust in your love and goodness. Amen.

Lord help us not to be blinded by the law, but to seek justice and mercy.

Will Farrior

Bud Maguire

Monday, December 23, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Luke 24:38 Why are you troubled and why do doubts rise in your mind?

Luke 24:38 Why are you troubled and why do doubts rise in your mind?

I am dealing with a particular problem regarding a loved one that seems to always be there, never changing, and never ending. I get strong in faith, pray, have the knowledge to turn it over to God, know it is in God’s time, not mine, and then take it all back with my doubts.

Yes, Father, I am scared. Yes, I have doubts. My life was turned upside down when I lost my leg. Being on crutches all the time caused blisters on my hands. They hurt so much and 80% of the time I want to give up.

Yet, is there no change? I think of a painting I painted and named it, Light at the End of the Tunnel. It was years ago when I was seeking a foot or a handhold to climb out of the tunnel, to the light, and thanks to God, it happened.

Thank you, Father, for finding me a place that opened my eyes. Yes, I hit rock bottom. It’s like Jesus put a mirror in front of my face and I didn’t like it. Knowing I’m not perfect, knowing I am going to make mistakes is one thing. I care about what I look like and lost my confidence knowing I will not look the same again.

Even though I was troubled, I was led out of the tunnel, and need to remember, again, it is in God’s time, not mine.

Sometimes the load gets too heavy and I want to quit. But something won’t let me. I just have a good cry and I ask Christ to forgive me. I am learning I will stumble, but how I get up is what is important.

God, help me let go of the doubts within my troubled mind. Help the person find their way to the Light at the End of the Tunnel with your guidance and love. Amen.

Through God, I have found something new. I have found a new me. Yes, I will have ups and downs, but now I have someone to hold my hand. I got saved nine months ago. My life has become exciting and I have energy and hope. I look forward to the next day. My determination is stronger. I am waiting for a leg. If not for the doubts and troubles my faith would not have gotten stronger. They caused me to search for the right answers. Father, thank you for opening my eyes. Through you doors have been opened for me. I see things I never saw before. I am going to walk again. Thank you for the strength you give me. Father, thank you. Amen.

Sandra Smith Polly

Wednesday, December 25, 2013 John 21:17 Do you love me?

Lord, I don’t know if I love you. I know I want to love you. I know I pray to love you. But sometimes you feel far away, or hard to know, and how can I love someone I can’t touch, can’t see, can’t know? When I feel this way, I’m reminded of Peter by the charcoal fire on the night before you died: Am I, too, denying you? Are you asking me this question, “Do you love me?” to erase my denials?

Lord Jesus, after Peter answered “yes” three times to your question, “Do you love me?” you told him, “Feed my lambs.… Tend my sheep.… Feed my sheep.…,” and then you said, “Follow me.” Help me do those things, please. Amen.

John Rule

WE LOVE BECAUSE GOD FIRST LOVED US 1 John 4:19