First Steps – September 24, 2018

As you beginning of each day this week, I offer you this prayer:

Almighty and everlasting God, you have safely brought us to the beginning of this day. Defend us with your mighty power, and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger, but that all our doings, ordered by your hand, may reflect your righteousness. Remind us that we live with you, now and forever, Amen. (Adapted from The Book of Common Prayer).

At the end of each day this week, I offer you this prayer:

O Lord, my God, I thank thee that you have brought this day to a close. I thank you that you give rest to the body and the soul. Your hand has been over me, guarding me, and preserving me, all this day. Forgive my feeble faith and all the wrong I have done this day and help me to forgive all who have wronged me.

Grant that I may sleep in peace under the care of your hand. Help me to rest though darkness is around me. Into your hands, I commend my body and soul, my loved ones, and my household. Thank you for what you have given me.  (Adapted from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison).

 

This week’s reading:

  • Monday – Romans 12
  • Tuesday – Romans 13
  • Wednesday – Romans 14
  • Thursday – Romans 15
  • ​Friday – Romans 16

 

Please Pray for:

  • Our nation and our leaders.
  • Our families, homes, workplace, church, and community.
  • Our new year in Christian studies and activities.
  • Those that are suffering and grieving.
  • Ongoing Building Renovations, Modifications, and Phase 3: Construction of New Youth Building and rear parking.
  • The United Methodist Church.

First Steps – September 10, 2018

Gratitude enlarges one’s capacity for delight.  When one expresses gratitude, one experiences more joy, more happiness, more peace, and is better attuned to what God wants to bestow independent of circumstances.  When one expresses gratitude, one finds delight in the goodness of God.

Therefore, our task this week is to find ways to express our gratitude.  For some, it might be written reflections in a journal.  For another, gratitude might be expressed vocally to a friend or family member. Yet for another, it might be the daily naming of one single thing that brings joy.  Perhaps for another, it is a list of things most thankful for that hangs on a refrigerator.  The key is to find a way to express your gratitude to God and others.  Don’t wait or put it off.  Begin today.

James 1:7 says, “Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

 

This week’s reading:

  • Monday – Romans 2
  • Tuesday – Romans 3
  • Wednesday – Romans 4
  • Thursday – Romans 5
  • ​Friday – Romans 6

 

Please Pray for:

  • The United Methodist Church
  • Our families, homes, workplace, church, and community.
  • ​Our nation and our leaders.
  • Those suffering due to catastrophic natural disasters.
  • ​Ongoing Building Renovations, Modifications, and Phase 3: Construction of New Youth Building and rear parking.

FIRST STEPS – AUGUST 27, 2018

Someone asked me the other day, “How do you not worry?” The question stemmed from one’s reading of Matthew 6:25-34, where Jesus told his audience to not worry about food, clothes, or tomorrow. Though one can make a case that the context of the scripture is geared more toward one’s basic financial needs, the real remedy for our worry is in understanding the difference between our wants and our needs.

In the text, God is the caregiver to our needs.  Jesus reminds his audience that God will take care of our basic physical needs.  Jesus eloquently cited examples like the birds of the air and flowers of the field to show that God provides for both. They do not go wanting.  He provides for their needs. But what we wish for is more than our needs—what we really desire is our wants.  There lies the rub and often the source of our anxiety.  Think about it for a moment, what do you worry about the most?  What you are going to eat? What clothes to wear? Probably not…for so many, those aren’t the concern. The anxiety stems more from our abundance, not from our scarcity.

Therefore, maybe we need to press the reset button again. Take a moment today, to sit quietly, take inventory your life, and see all that is already provided for you.  Pray for a changed heart to be satisfied with what we already have and not what we want.  Take this opportunity to surrender yourself into God’s hands.  Know that is enough and nothing else is needed. Allow God to harness your worry, calm the panic, and assure you that God cares about who you are and what is taking place in your life.

 

 

This week’s reading:

  • Monday – Matthew 28
  • Tuesday – 1 Thessalonians 1
  • Wednesday –1 Thessalonians 2
  • Thursday – 1 Thessalonians 3
  • ​Friday – 1 Thessalonians 4

 

Please Pray for:

  • The United Methodist Church
  • Our families, homes, workplace, church, and community.
  • ​Our nation and our leaders.
  • Those grieving the loss of loved ones.
  • ​Ongoing Building Renovations, Modifications, and Phase 3: Construction of New Youth Building and rear parking.
  • Upcoming activities and studies planned for this fall/winter.