Now to him who is able to keep you from falling,
and to make you stand without blemish
in the presence of his glory with rejoicing,
to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord,
be glory, majesty, power, and authority,
before all time and now and forever.
Two weeks ago, the daily devotion from WELCA was by our Bishop, Dr. Laurie Jungling. It was a reflection on prayer that she had written for Gather magazine in 2018.
I thought I'd share it with you today, as we give thanks to God for rain….
Peace to you, Pastor Phil
Prayer can be influenced
by how we understand the God we’re praying to.
If we view God as judgmental,
we are more likely to pray with fear and trembling
and perhaps worry about doing it well.
However, if we view God as benevolent and merciful,
we may be more willing to lay all our stuff before God,
no matter the words or the feelings.
If we view God as too mysterious,
absent or beyond our influence,
we may not bother to pray at all.
Prayer is also influenced
by our sense of relationship with God.
Prayers born out of deep trust or devotion to God
will probably happen more regularly and authentically
than prayers of convenience.
Some Christians worry if it is okay
to express anger with God in our prayers.
Yet when we are angry with God,
we may pray more honestly
than when we pray with disinterest.
God can handle it,
and it’s better than giving God the silent treatment
or praying without integrity.
This message is excerpted from “Am I doing this right?” by Laurie A. Jungling in the July/August 2018 Gather magazine.
We know that all things work together for good
for those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose.
One of the devotional sources I like is Pray-As-You-Go (pray-as-you-go.org/). A Catholic resource, they inform us that today is the birthday of Our Lady. In reflecting on Romans 8, they invite us to consider an interesting question…:
“Can you ask Christ now
to help you see and understand
the transforming action of God in your life today,
perhaps in places where you have never thought
of looking before?”
Perhaps look for the action of God in the most mundane, normal of aspects of your day. Perhaps look in life’s disappointments, or detours, perhaps in the highlights of the day, or in the quiet or possibly the most chaos.
Quite a consideration. . . “ask Christ now to help you see and understand the transforming action of God in your life today, perhaps in places where you have never thought of looking before…”
May you see opportunities to share God’s transforming love, today and always. Pastor Phil
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
to which indeed you were called in the one body.
And be thankful.
I love the line in Paul’s letter to the Colossians - “And be thankful.” While it is the 2nd half of the verse, I like to think of it as the the next shortest sentence in the Bible after: “Jesus wept.”
Daw Nyein Tha (1899-1969) was a Burmese leader and activist who sought reconciliation between people. This quote from her was shared last month in the Daily Dig devotion from Plough Publishing. Living our lives grounded in a sense of gratitude, rather than fear, seems like the best way for all.
Obedience through Gratitude
Obedience through fear
is reluctant and resentful.
Obedience through gratitude
is joyful, instant, and spontaneous.
Gratitude is like an overflowing stream,
It is a powerful antiseptic
that kills the germs of bitterness.
Gratitude is the glue that binds and unites you to your neighbor.
It is the salt that flavors
all inspired relationships.
Source: Daw Nyein Tha: Joyful Revolutionary
Copyright © 2022 Plough Publishing House. All rights reserved.
May your following of Christ today be grounded in gratitude!
For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery,
I have been trying to clear out emails from the last few weeks. This nice reflection on freedom was from the daily devotions from Henri Nouwen two weeks ago.
to the core of the spiritual life;
not just the freedom that releases us
from forces that want to oppress us,
but the freedom also
to forgive others,
to serve them,
and to form
a new bond
of fellowship with them.
and to work
for a free world.
Enjoy your freedom! Pastor Phil
Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong
I Corinthians 1:26-27
Today is Labor Day. The unofficial end of summer, and a day to consider those who labor, and to give thanks for all.
I would like to encourage you to consider your vocation.
I am not asking you to think about your “job.” No. Much more. Consider the ways your baptism sends you out to serve this world.
Reading on the ‘net, I encounter this note: “Vocation is perhaps one of the richest, deepest, and most multifaceted doctrines of the Church…”
When Luther spoke of vocation, he did not limit it to your job or work. The word vocation is related to the word “calling.” Luther understood that we might have numerous callings - parent, child, sibling, teacher, student, farmer, laborer, nurse, caregiver and more…
On this Labor Day, I encourage you to consider your many callings, and to look for ways God calls you to live out your baptism in service toward God and neighbor.
Here is a prayer for Labor Day from our hymnal -
your Son Jesus Christ dignified our labor
by sharing our toil.
Guide us with your justice in the workplace,
so that we may never value things above people,
or surrender honor
to love of gain or lust for power.
Prosper all efforts
to put an end to work that brings no joy,
and teach us how
to govern the ways of business to the harm of none
and for the sake of the common good;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Evangelical Lutheran Worship, p. 78)
The 13th Sunday after Pentecost
I hope to see you in worship! The service will be posted online.
The Prayer of the Day today
Direct us, O Lord God,
in all our doings
with your continual help,
that in all our works,
we may glorify your holy name;
and finally, by your mercy,
bring us to everlasting life,
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
Here is a prayer based on our Gospel reading for tomorrow.
Luke 14: 25-33
Anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions
cannot be my disciple.
we pay a lot
to walk with you;
carrying a cross,
family, friends, favorite chairs,
palaces, portfolios, clothes, cars, books.
Help us let them go, and more,
to take them up again
Copyright © 2019, Anne M. Osdieck. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to reproduce for personal or parish use.
Here is an excerpt from a powerful Easter sermon by Frederick Buechner.
At the End Is Life - Buechner
Anxiety and fear are what we know best in this fantastic century of ours. Wars and rumors of wars. From civilization itself to what seemed the most unalterable values of the past, everything is threatened or already in ruins. We have heard so much tragic news that when the news is good we cannot hear it. But the proclamation of Easter Day is that all is well. And as a Christian, I say this not with the easy optimism of one who has never known a time when all was not well but as one who has faced the cross in all its obscenity as well as in all its glory, who has known one way or another what it is like to live separated from God. In the end, his will, not ours, is done. Love is the victor. Death is not the end. The end is life. His life and our lives through him, in him. Existence has greater depths of beauty, mystery, and benediction than the wildest visionary has ever dared to dream. Christ our Lord has risen. -
Frederick Buechner - The Magnificent Defeat
A thought provoking passage about receiving gifts. From Frederick Buechner’s book, “The Magnificent Defeat” which I see is described as “Meditations on key passages of the Old and New Testaments [which] examine what it means to follow Christ, the lessons of Christmas and Easter, and the miracle of grace.”
A child knows how to accept a gift.
He does not worry about losing his dignity
or becoming indebted if he accepts it.
His conscience does not bother him because the gift is free
and he has not earned it and therefore really has no right to it.
He just takes it, with joy.
In fact, if it is something that he wants very much,
he may even ask for it.
And lastly, a child knows how to trust.
Frederick Buechner - Source: The Magnificent Defeat
May you receive God’s gifts with joy and trust!
Pax, Pastor Phil
Previous Connections are in the Archive pages