An offering from Lil: I am my worst enemy

March 16, 2015

God Will Restore Israel

14 Therefore, the days are surely coming, says the Lord, when it shall no longer be said, “As the Lordlives who brought the people of Israel up out of the land of Egypt,” 15 but “As the Lord lives who brought the people of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the lands where he had driven them.” For I will bring them back to their own land that I gave to their ancestors. (NRSV)

I am my worst enemy.  

I hear the judment and condemnation of others.  

I have a choice.  

I can accept it and believe it.  

Or I can block it and let it fall away.  

I am my worst enemy.  

I hear the cries of “crucify” from the crowd.  

I have a choice.  

I can join in the crowd. 

 Or I can have compassion and forgive.

I am my worst enemy.  

I can believe myself.  

Or I can belive in the transforming teachings of Christ.  

The Christ who shares a table with enemies.  

The Christ who walks with the doubter.  

The Christ who knows and loves the betrayer.  

The Christ who gives me another chance again and again.  

During Lent, I pray that I may learn to be gentle with my worst enemy.  That I may give compassion and forgiveness to my worst enemy.  That I may give up judgment and condemnation.  That I may exude compassion and love.

(c) 2015 Rev. Lil Smith

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An offering from Kathy: A foundation of faith and trust

March 15, 2015

Mark 8:16-17 (The Message)

” Meanwhile, the disciples were finding fault with each other because they had forgotten to bring bread.  Jesus overheard and said, ‘Why are you fussing because you forgot bread?  Don’t you see the point of all this?’ “

I have someone in my life I have accompanied through many trials.  Over the years, I have witnessed GodDSCN1476work miracles in her life.  But in each trial, she responds as if God has never done anything in the past to help her.  She suffers the worry and anxiety, wondering if God is going to show up and work at all.  She has very little foundation of faith and trust.

I thought of her when reading of the disciples, arguing over their next meal, when they had just participated in the feeding of the five thousand.  As I pondered this, I envisioned Jesus building a brick foundation.  Each brick was composed of two things: an answered prayer and the gratitude that issues forth from our spirit in response.  Each brick becomes one in a foundation of faith and trust.

I examine my own foundation.  What does it look like? I look at the quality of the bricks: Do I spend enough time in thanksgiving for those answered prayers?  How strong is it?  Are there cracks or weaknesses in it?  Do I help Jesus in building my foundation by recognizing daily His provision in my life?

(c) 2015 Kathy Oehler

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An offering from Lee: I am not alone

March 14, 2015

In Psalm 31 someone is really in anguish: asking for God’s help, reminding themselves that God is faithful and with them.  This song “I Am Not Alone” which is a new YouTube release from Kari Jobe says what I and the Psalmist have both felt and I bet you have too in your life.  Sometimes music touches my soul in ways just words can’t!

“I Am Not Alone”

When I walk through deep waters
I know that You will be with me
When I’m standing in the fire
I will not be overcome
Through the valley of the shadow
I will not fear

I am not alone
I am not alone
You will go before me
You will never leave me

In the midst of deep sorrow
I see Your light is breaking through
The dark of night will not overtake me
I am pressing into You
Lord, You fight my every battle
And I will not fear

You amaze me
Redeem me
You call me as Your own

You’re my strength
You’re my defender
You’re my refuge in the storm
Through these trials
You’ve always been faithful
You bring healing to my soul.

(c) 2015 Rev. Lee Self

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An offering from Dorothy:

March 12, 2015

Read John 8:21-32

grapevine5b1[1]Once again I did not get up early enough to get my Lenten devotional practices completed before it was time to meet the needs of my daughter and her family, who will be living with us for several weeks, during this transitional phase in their lives.  Strangely enough, I did not feel my usual guilt over that failure.  As I pondered this odd situation, John 8:29 came to mind:  “. . . . The Father has not left me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”  Unlike Jesus to whom the verse refers, I do not always do the things that please God.  Puzzled as to why this verse had meaning for me in the light of my devotional lapse, I finally realized that love and sacrifice are the focus of Lent, which is reflected more in my efforts with my family than in my extra readings.

(c) 2015 Dorothy Castle

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An offering from Amy: Dismay has taken over me…

March 11, 2015

Jeremiah 8:18 – 9:6

For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt, I mourn, and dismay has taken over me.

I pitch the newspaper into the recycle bin. I can read no more. Is there no good news in the world, Lord? Is there no good news in this city? We pray and seek and serve, yet often feel farther than ever from your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. I risk shaking my DSC05328head in dismay and retreating into my comfortable life out of discouragement for possibly doing any good. O that I had in the desert a travelers lodging place (9:2).Alas, while I cannot hide, “there is a place of quiet rest…a place of full release.” A place where I can relinquish my dismay to be renewed in hope, to continue praying and seeking and serving, loving one person at a time, one day at a time, to reveal your Light in the world. “There is a place of comfort sweet…near to the heart of God.”[1]

[1] “There is a Place of Quiet Rest” by Cleland B. McAfee, Park College, 1903.

(c) 2015 Amy W. Moore

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An offering from Nancy: Ask for Living Water

March 10, 2015

Read John 7:37-52

The contrast between the first and second paragraphs of this reading is stark.  The second paragraph describes a conflicted crowd listening to Jesus’ teaching.  Some are caught up in due diligence, questioning the validity of his ministry.  Their skepticism clashes with the heady inspiration of the first paragraph, in which Jesus offered them and us the living water of new life, flowing from the Spirit and available to all.

None of us wants to be fooled, or naïve, or even impractical . . . but, living water!  This tantalizing image can’t fail to eclipse the cautiousness of the crowd.  In the course of our lives, we can focus on predictability or possibility, control or letting go, facts or faith.  My desire to be practical and cling to control is great, but my thirst is greater.  Today I am reminded to ask for living water.

(c) 2015 Nancy Jagmin

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An offering from Amy: Your Hands

March 9, 2015

Your Hands

Psalm 119:73-80

Your hands have made me and fashioned me.

I notice my hands caught in the glow of my reading light as they rest on the page of my Bible.Image 1

My hands have loved, caressed, disciplined, prayed; cleaned house, searched for lost objects, served dinners and baked sweets; given shape to words through my pen, illustrated pavement with sidewalk chalk; touched patients, washed babies, dogs, feet, myself; carved wood, plucked weeds and planted seeds; gently held another’s story and firmly kept children safe. My hands have ached as they bear their use…and begin to look like my mother’s, or, my father’s.

Jesus, knowing the Father had given all things into his hands, that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table . . . (John 13:3).

Your hands, O God, have made and fashioned me, and, through the Incarnation you have given me the hands of Christ. What a precious gift! How will my hands serve today?

(c) 2015 Amy W. Moore

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An offering from Beverly: Praise in the midst of pain

March 7, 2015

Psalm 43

When you can’t see His hand, trust His heart. A familiar saying, but how do we trust from dark valleys, lost hope and God’s silence?  I have known depression, when I have longed for His hand seen, His presence felt, His voice heard, and His rescue boldly given. I longed for hope and joy in God once again.light the candle

In the midst of his deep depression, the Psalmist continued to praise God and receive encouragement by remembering his past experiences of joy in God’s presence, in God’s goodness, light and truth. I am also encouraged by remembering my past experiences with God, in His goodness and His love, that lead me to notice His treasures in darkness and His gifts in the secret places of my heart.

Lent brings an invitation to come to God with open hands, to bring a sacrifice of praise in the midst of pain, and to hold fast onto hope in God. Will you join me?

(c) 2015 Beverly Middleton

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An offering from Lil: Show me truth in the face of false…

March 6, 2015

Romans 3:2-4 To begin with, the Jews are entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every man be false, as it is written,

“That thou mayest be justified in thy words,
and prevail when thou art judged.”

Let God be true though every man be false…

God is true.

Man is false.IMG_0618

In a world so focused on material things, how do I hold this?

How do I make room for this?

Everywhere I turn, I am faced with temptation, with something that feeds my false self.

This is my Lenten prayer:

Holy One.

Show me truth in the face of false.

Be my provision in the place of my to-do list.

Reveal my true self that is buried under lies.

Free me to follow you.


(c) 2015 Rev. Lil Smith

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An offering from Brian: More and more I am learning

March 5, 2015

“Anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.”   John 5:24

More and more I am learning how to live in this new life in Christ.  Wait hereIt comes by hearing the word of Jesus and believing God. Now what’s fascinating to me is this: the more I believe the good news of God’s love, the easier life gets.  I worry a little less, I enjoy giving and receiving more love, and I even sleep better!  Let me back up a step and say that life itself may not be easier: it is certainly complex enough. What is different is how I deal with it- how I react to it.  In Christ I feel more centered and less rattled by whatever challenges of life come along. From death to life? Yes, indeed!

(c) 2015 Rev. Brian Hardesty-Crouch

Director, HeartPaths DFW Spirituality Centre

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