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A Day Prayer

 

“Loving,Gracious, Awesome, Compassionate, Righteous, Ever Present, Creator, Sustainer, Great God, thank You for this beautiful new day that You have created for me. Thank You for Your unending love for me. Thank You for Your Spirit within me. Speak to me, through that same Spirit, in ways You know that I will understand. Thank You for Your Word. I ask…I pray…I implore You…to speak to me in and through it so that I may walk closer to whom You would have me be. I give You my life for it is within You that I find my purpose and have my being. Thank You for Your presence with me today and always.

Thank You for the wisdom of Your Word. It is the light on my journey of faith, hope, peace, grace and love. Without Your Word of Truth I don’t know where I would be or how to live a life that is pleasing in Your sight. Thank You for Your forgiveness and mercy in those times that I may stray from You and Your path that You have created specifically for me. No one else can walk it for me. I am so awestruck that I don’t walk it alone and that You…the Creator of the universe…walk with me and carry me when I am to weak to stand. Holy and Awesome are You and Your ways.

Lord of all, as we begin a new day, May Your will be done in and through me. I ask that if I should begin to stray, You would gently guide me back to the Way…the Truth…and the Life that is only found in and through Your Son and my Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank You for making away in the dessert for me. I pray that when the storms of Life blow, that You would hold my hand ever tighter…giving me the assurance that we are in this together and it is all to and for Your glory. May my life be pleasing in Your sight.

AMEN!!’

Sacred Prayer 1

Awesome, Loving, Eternal, Righteous, Holy, Mighty, Redeeming, Great God, thank You for another day that I can worship You in Spirit and in Truth. Thank You for a day that I can reflect Your love and grace to others. Thank You for the newness of each day as it dawns on the horizon.

Thank You for Your presence with me as I enter into the Pilgrimage to the manger. Thank You for the sacredness of the season. As I sit and ponder the thought of this fact I am awestruck by the immensity of Your love for me. In this time of sacredness, may I draw closer to You, may I truly understand the importance of this season. May I live within the sacredness of this time not only during this season but every day of my walk with You.

AMEN

A Thankful Prayer

Eternal, Awesome, Holy, Compassionate, Righteous, Redeemer, Recreating, Lord of my life, Lover of my soul, Giver of all that is good, Jehovah Jirah my Provider, Great God, thank You for this beautiful new day that I may praise You for Your unending grace and love for me. Thank You for the way You nurture me and help me grow. Thank You for Your presence with me today and always for I will never walk alone. Thank You for Your unending grace that You pour down from heaven upon my life.

Thank You for the wisdom You give me as I walk in the calling You have placed upon my life. Forgive me for the times that I doubt my call and let man try and take away what You have gifted me with. Forgive me for the times that I fail to see Your unending grace and purposes in my life. Forgive me when I listen to the lies of the enemy as he whispers fear and condemnation in my ear. May I listen more to Your voice and less to the voice of the enemy as You whisper love, hope, purpose and joy deep within my soul.

Lord, as I step out in faith and trust, hold my hand so that I will not trip over the edge of the boat as I step out onto the waters of my life. Speak words of hope into my life as I focus on You and not the world or circumstances around me. Draw me so close to You that not only do I hear but will feel Your heartbeat. Hide me so that I may find rest beneath Your wings of Love.

On this Thanksgiving day…I am truly Thankful for the Giving You have done in and through my life. I am Thankful for the Giving of the gifts and graces that You have given me that make me uniquely qualified for Your purposes in my life. I am Thankful for the Giving of the family You have given me as we sit around Your table where every we may be. Most of all, I am Thankful for the Giving of Salvation found only in and through my Risen Lord, Jesus Christ in Who’s Name I pray.

Amen, amen and AMEN!

Waiting

Ecclesiastes 11:6New Living Translation (NLT)

Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another—or maybe both.

2 Timothy 3:14New Living Translation (NLT)

14 But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.

How do you react when waiting on God? Some of the things that may go through our minds is:

  • Thinking He has forgotten
  • Whine I want it now
  • Question if He heard us
  • Get frustrated

Sometimes, God wants to see how we will wait on Him. He already knows what His answer is. How are we going to act or hat are we going to do while we wait? Are we going to trust in His goodness and sovereignty or are we going to think that we have to do this ourselves instead of with God?

 

We need to keep preying while we wait. He will strengthen us as we wait. Our trust grows as we pray aas we are waiting. If we don’t pray we leave the door oopen for the enemy…

  • Doubt
  • Discouragement
  • Disappointment
  • Despair

or even worse

  • Loss of Faith

 

God wants to and does answer prayer. He has proved it in the past,present and future. How will you wait for God to answer today?

 

“A Safe Place…”

November 8, 2015

Stetson Memorial UMC

23rd Psalm NIV

1 John 5:1-5 NIV

Psalm 31:19-24

“A Safe Place…”

 

Prayer for the Spirit’s leading…

 

Read 1John 5:1-5 NIV

1 John 5:1-5New International Version (NIV)

 

Faith in the Incarnate Son of God

5 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. 2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. 3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

 

 

Have you ever been in a place that you felt completely unsafe? No matter where you turn it just gives you that frightened feeling. It is almost as if the evil of the world has converged in one place and your standing in it. We all want that place of safety in our lives….a place where we feel cared for and nothing can harm you.

 

Last week was All Saints Day and we talked about the saints past, present and future…we talked about how we owe so much if what we have today to those who have gone before us. They are the ones who made a path for us to follow instead of making our own. It is nice to travel that safe road at times but at other times we just want to venture out on our own to see what we can find.

 

In the 23rd Psalm that I read this morning, we hear about that place of safety. That place is right next to Jesus, the Good Shepherd. In keeping close to Jesus we may not miss all those scary, dangerous parts of life but we know that He will walk through it with us.

 

Last week I also talked about how we are the imperfect, perfect vessels God’s love. We are those cracked pots for God so to speak. Even in our brokenness we are useable and precious to God who picks us up and creates something new, something beautiful.

 

It is within our brokenness that He is able to reform us into a thing of beauty. He reclaims us for a far better purpose than what we can imagine on our own. We all have brokenness within us, it all began in a garden before we were ever born. But there something amazing about our brokenness, it is within this brokenness that Jesus’ light shines through us. If we were perfectly made…there would be no cracks in which our light can shine through.

 

 

 

Think about beach glass for a moment each of you should have received a piece when you came in this morning. It starts out as a discarded bottle or other glass. It is broken and just left where it is as if it had no use or beauty left. Through time, the discarded piece of glass is rolled over many times and has had the waves beat upon it. It loses it’s rough edges that it once had. Until one day it becomes a thing of beauty that we call “beach glass”. It is no longer a discarded broken bottle, it has now become something that people search up and down the beach for. It is something that is valued and treasured…it may be in a different form but it is still valuable. It is actually considered a mineral gem at this point.

 

Our lives can seem much like the life of beach glass. We can feel we have the perfect life and then something comes along to shatter or change that. As we give ourselves to God , He is able to create something new. When we accept Jesus our whole lives change from dirty to white as snow. 1 John 5:1-5 told us that as we become children of God we are changed and we love the children of God. We may go through much pressure and strife but we come out changed on the other side.

 

Now we may feel alone as we go through our time of change but we are never alone. Listen to Psalm 31 verses 19-24 and hear the good news…

Psalm 31:19-24New International Version (NIV)

 

19 How abundant are the good things

    that you have stored up for those who fear you,

that you bestow in the sight of all,

    on those who take refuge in you.

20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them

    from all human intrigues;

you keep them safe in your dwelling

    from accusing tongues.

21 Praise be to the Lord,

    for he showed me the wonders of his love

    when I was in a city under siege.

22 In my alarm I said,

    “I am cut off from your sight!”

Yet you heard my cry for mercy

    when I called to you for help.

23 Love the Lord, all his faithful people!

    The Lord preserves those who are true to him,

    but the proud he pays back in full.

24 Be strong and take heart,

    all you who hope in the Lord.

 

(End as the spirit Leads)

 

Amen

“Remember…”

November 1, 2015

All Saints Day

Stetson Memorial UMC

Hebrews 10:32-29 NIV

2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV

http://www.churchyear.net/allsaints.html

 

“Remember…”

 

Prayer for the Spirit’s leading…

 

Hebrews 10:32-39

32 Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For,

“In just a little while,

    he who is coming will come

    and will not delay.”

38 And,

“But my righteous one will live by faith.

    And I take no pleasure

    in the one who shrinks back.”

39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

Today we celebrate All Saints Day. It is a day that we celebrate those saints among us and those who have gone before us. Now let me give you a little history about All Saint Day.

“It is when the Catholic Church and some Protestant churches commemorate every saint, known and unknown. The concept of All Saints Day is connected to the doctrine of The Communion of Saints. This is the concept that all of God’s people, on heaven, earth, and in the state of purification (called Purgatory in the West), are spiritually connected and united. In other words, Catholic and Orthodox Christians (and some Protestants) believe that the saints of God are just as alive as you and I, and are constantly interceding on our behalf.

 

Remember, our connection with the saints in heaven is one grounded in a tight-knit communion. The saints are not divine, nor omnipresent or omniscient. However, because of our common communion with and through Jesus Christ, our prayers are joined with the heavenly community of Christians.

 

 

Remembering and honoring the saints are beneficial practices, because to remember the heroes of the faith and follow their examples are good things. Many Christians seem to strongly oppose remembering and celebrating the lives of great Christian men and women, yet have no problem celebrating the lives of secular heroes like George Washington. All Saints Day is kind of like a Christian Memorial Day or Presidents Day, a day to celebrate the lives of all the great heroes of the Christian faith, and to celebrate the deep communion we have with them. While celebrating secular heroes is admirable, how much more admirable is celebrating those who fully dedicated their lives to Christ!”

 

Remembering is good. These are the ones who forged the road before us. Without them where would the church be? These are the ones who are “upstream” for us. As we learn from them we become the faithful saints of God. At this time we are now the ones who are upstream for those who are downstream looking for help along the way. We have become the Saints for those who are not even born yet as were some of those who believed before us. The Scripture from Hebrews I read tells us that we must remember and hold onto that passion and zeal we have for the Gospel of Grace. It is all in the remembering that we can gather strength to move forward for the kingdom of God. We become the light upstream for those who are in the dark downstream…

 

As I think about the saints that have gone ahead of me there is one thing…one theme so to speak that keeps popping up…God reuses the things that are broken to achieve His plan. God is the ultimate recycler. There is nothing that He can’t use.

 

It is within our brokenness that He is able to reform us into a thing of beauty. He reclaims us for a far better purpose than what we can imagine on our own. We all have brokenness within us, it all began in a garden before we were ever born. But God…in His infinite wisdom…when the time was right He made a way for us to have that relationship with Him that brings us from brokenness to wholeness.

 

Now things that are broken need to be fixed right? This includes you and me. But how do we go from brokenness to wholeness? OK…this is how I see it…

Each of us is created a precious vessel of God’s love. But somewhere along the way each of us has experienced hurt in some way, bringing a sense of brokenness. Now in order to begin that “recovery” process we need to realize that moving toward healing is to offer the gift of life and wholeness, not only for ourselves but also for others as we come to see each person as a Holy Vessel and as we come to desire that wholeness for all of creation.

2 Corinthians 4:7 states:

“7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

 

We have that treasure within us…we are the jars of clay that God, even though we are broken, still uses to show His glory through. Remember, even the saints before us were broken. God still used them to bring us to where we are today…

 

Today we celebrate the saints past, present and future. Even though broken, God still uses us to continue to be His light in the world. It is within our brokenness that God repurposes us to be whom He would have us be. Maybe as we realize this we can begin the road to healing and wholeness. Perhaps if we just remember what we have forgotten we would again be strengthened for the journey. We all have cracks and chips but I would rather be a cracked pot for God than anything else in the world…

 

Amen

I Say A Little Prayer For You

May 17, 2015

Stetson Memorial United Methodist Church

Sermon 4 in Sermon Series

“Five Marks of a Christian”

Adapted from: “Five Marks of a Methodist”

By Steve Harper

Matthew 6:5-13 NIV

Ephesians 6:10-20 NIV

I Say A Little Prayer For You!

 

Prayer for God’s word to be heard through me or in spite of me…

 

The moment I wake up

Before I put on my makeup

I say a little prayer for you

While combing my hair, now

And wonder what dress to wear, now

I say a little prayer for you

 

When I was growing up, my mom taught me many things…some good and some not so good. But the one thing she instilled in me was that I could and should pray to God when things were going bad in my life. I was taught that I could find comfort in those times and that God was always there to listen to what was troubling me and He would help me in those times of adversity. When all else fails…pray When all else fails…pray…

But the problem with that is that I never really built a relationship with God. I would come to Him in prayer expecting Him to fix all my problems. It was almost like He was the “Candy Man’ and He would give me or help me in my times of trouble. It wasn’t until much later that I built a relationship with God and prayed in good times and in bad. Now people call me to pray for them because they know that I pray on and in all situations with prayers that can move mountains. It is because of my relationship with God…my trust in God…my belief that He hears my prayers…that I am able to pray without ceasing…until there is an answer from heaven.

 

With this type of theory in life, my mom grew to believe that God was too busy to help or that her problem wasn’t important enough for God to help her. Unfortunately she never really had that real relationship with God that we are called to have with Him. There are many people out there that still have that assumption in life and miss out on the richness of His grace.

We have begun our journey of looking at the five things…five ways…that we can see that we are “being changed by the story” of Easter. I have adapted this Sermon Series from a book written by Steve Harper that is titled “Five Marks of a Methodist: The Fruit of a Living Faith.” But this book is not just for “Methodist”, it is for all who follow Christ. It gives five distinct ways to tell…to visually see…that you are being “changed by the story”, not just reading it.

The five ways are as follows:

A “Christian” not just Methodist:

  1. Loves God
  2. Rejoices in God
  3. Gives Thanks
  4. Prays Constantly
  5. Loves Others

We have talked about the fact that “we love God” and that it is not just a fleeting love but a love that encompasses all that we have, all that we are, and all that we will be. It is what drives us in our relationship with Him. The more we are in love with Him the more we want to know Him. And the more we know Him the more we want of Him in our lives.

We have discovered that not only do we love God but we rejoice in Him. Not just simply rejoice in Him but rejoice in Him from the bottom of our feet to the tops of our heads. How can we not…look at all that He has given us in our lives…look at all that He has done in our lives and the lives of others. Now that’s reason to truly rejoice.

 

Giving thanks to God is another way to tell we are living the Easter life. Giving thanks is so important because as we do, we don’t forget that it is God who gives us all that we have. It is God who grows us. It is God who has given us our talents so that we can use them to further His kingdom here on earth.

The next sign is that we pray continually. In the good and bad times we pray to God and build a relationship of love and trust with Him. As we pray without ceasing, we see that God does answer pray and that He does care. I have seen so many answered prayers here at our church. There are many who are “prayer warriors” and all it takes is a call from someone who needs prayer and they go right into action. They don’t just say I’ll pray for you…they actually do it…

 

How do we know how to pray? Is there some kind of formula that guides us in prayer? Is there a right or wrong way to pray? We can glean the answer for these questions from the Matthew scripture I read this morning. Jesus’ disciples wanted their teacher to teach them to pray. They saw Him on many occasions going away alone to pray. They wanted to know what He knew. So He gave them an example of how not to pray.

The people of the temple would go out and pray these long prayers that had no real meaning behind them. They just prayed lots of words that were kind of hollow so to speak. Then He gave them not only the perfect prayer to pray but told them the right state of heart to pray in. they didn’t need all kinds of fancy words to pray to God. They could just go to God and pray from their hearts. We too don’t need all kinds of fancy words or to pray for hours at a time. All we need to do is to pray from our hearts to God…that’s it…that’s the formula for prayer…

I run for the bus, dear

While riding I think of us, dear

I say a little prayer for you

At work, I just take time

And all through my coffee break-time

I say a little prayer for you

 

One of my favorite pieces of scripture tells us how important prayer is. It is one of the tools in our arsenal for our work in God’s vineyard. It is found in Ephesians 6, verses 10-20. Listen to what it says about prayer and its importance in our lives as Christ followers…

Read the Ephesians Scripture…

 

We are to pray without ceasing for one another. We are to pray continually for those who are in need.          As we suit up with God’s armor, we are not to forget that it is within our relationship with God…our continual conversation with God…that we are strongest. It is within our prayer life that we are able to fight off whatever the enemy has to offer us. WE actually help others grow in their trust and love of God as we pray for them and they see the answered prayer in their own life.

We are connected to Jesus as the branches of the vine in which He is the One who gives nourishment and without the vine we are nothing. We are no longer servants but friends of the One who gave His life for us. We have gone from servants to sons and daughters of the Most High God… Even our earthly friendships require communication and communion…being with one another…so it is also with our heavenly relationship. You see…as we love God we will rejoice in Him. As we rejoice in Him we will give thanks to Him for all He has done. Because of our thankfulness we want to communion and communicate with God through prayer. There seems to be a pattern forming here… As we pray we become more aware of God in our daily lives and we are able to “hear” His voice.

         

Beloved child of God…if you thought of prayer as a response to God for all He has done…is doing …or will ever do in your life, how would that change your prayer life? Would you find it easier to pray? Would you pray without ceasing? God is waiting to hear from His children, in good times and in bad. How will you respond? He is so approachable…as a matter of fact…that He even came and walked amongst humanity. Think about that for a moment…God’s door is open 24/7. He wants to hear about your day…He wants to hear about your joys and sorrows. He wants to be the first and last thing during your day. Through our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ, He has paved the way for something more than just being acquaintances but to be the Love of your life.

Forever, forever, you’ll stay in my heart

And I will love you

Forever, and ever, we never will part

Oh, how I’ll love you

Together, together, that’s how it must be

To live without you

Would only mean heartbreak for me

Amen!