Tag Archives: encourage

With My Lips Tell of God’s Laws?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, December 15, 2017

Psa 119-13 recount God's laws, words

With My Lips Tell of God’s Laws?

Ah, Pastor Bonhoeffer, again you have struck me right in the heart. Again you have hit me in the gut. Not fair, I say!

Actually, I feel such judgment and conviction from Bonhoeffer’s comments on the current verse. (Bonhoeffer, you have certainly done your job, I can tell you.) Let’s take a look at this verse:

With my lips will I recite

All the judgments of Your mouth.

I do not think the author was kidding around at all. Not in any of this incredibly long psalm.  The author seems to be perfectly serious whenever he mentions taking God’s Word to heart. And in referring to this verse, Psalm 119:13, Dietrich Bonhoeffer tells his readers to be cautious about the words that come from their mouths. “It is often easy to carry God’s Word in our heart, but very difficult to bring it upon our lips!” [1]

Ah, Herr Pastor, your words hit me in such a delicate, awkward place. How often do I keep my mouth closed, lest I seem to be a “schoolmarm” by other people? “Is there not an atmosphere of frivolity and godlessness in which we no longer find the right word and simply become silent? Does not false modesty and fear of others often keep our mouths shut?” [2]

Yes, I am certainly guilty as charged.

Dear Lord, forgive me. Let me strive to honestly and sincerely use God’s Words to uplift and encourage others. Gracious God, help our words to be consistent with our hearts, in all things. It’s in the powerful, mighty name of God we pray. Amen.

 

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

 

[1] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000, 118.

[2] Ibid, 119.

Dom John Main’s Words on Solitude

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, March 27, 2017

 

solitude...

Dom John Main’s Words on Solitude

This book, Spiritual Classics, has such innovative readings from some remarkable people, including John Main. He was involved in some fascinating activities before he found his vocation: British Intelligence, the British Colonial Service, plus, stationed in the Far East. Fascinating, indeed.

After studying the Church Father John Cassian, Father John found that silence and solitude held such a near and dear place in his heart. Here are several quotes by Dom John.

“Now to tread the spiritual path we must learn to be silent….We all know that we can often come to know another person most profoundly in silence. To be silent with another person is a deep expression of trust and confidence and it is only when we are unconfident that we feel compelled to talk.” [1]

What a straight-forward way of thinking about solitude. How often do we feel “unconfident.” How easy is it to fall into talking.

“To be silent with another person is truly to be with that other person. Nothing is so powerful in building mutual confidence between people than a silence which is easeful and creative.” [2]

Ah. Silence—a mutual, easy silence—is a way to join that other person in a way that touches deep places inside. It seems as if attachment is to be encouraged and celebrated, in silence.

Lord, such common, every-day ideas about silence and solitude, yet how profound. Let us learn from Dom John. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er.

 

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 156.

[2] Ibid.

Prayers, Interpreted by The Cloud

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, March 7, 2017

cloud of unknowing, quote

Prayers, Interpreted by The Cloud

I have read a number of books on prayer, and I even have The Cloud of Unknowing on my bookshelf. Alas, I have not gotten around to it yet. That book is still on my list of books that I plan on reading. Someday.

Perhaps I will move this book up on the long list. It is certainly intriguing, from the little bits I have just read.

I especially focused on “How and Why Their Short Prayer Pierces Heaven.” Forceful, indeed. Here is a sample: “The eternity of God is his length; his love irs his breadth; his power is his height, and his wisdom is his depth. No wonder, then, that the soul which is so nearly conformed by grace to the image and likeness of God his maker is immediately heard by God.” [1]

Our author waxes eloquent about the Apostle Paul, and how he describes with great economy the practice of prayer. “As Saint Paul teaches; not fully, but in some way and to some degree, as is proper to this work.” [2]

Somehow, I have lost the elegance of certain types of prayer, over time. I would rather pray in plainspoken, straightforward language, rather than in fancy, ornate words, like spun glass or with delicate silks and threads. Even when urging the reader to confess sins, the author still comes across in a winsome, pleasing way.

Dear Lord, let my heart—all of our hearts—be softened and even tenderized by Your gracious hand. Come alongside of us, just as the author of The Cloud persistently watches and gives us pointers and encourages those who are trying with all their heart to pray. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er.

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 45.

[2] Ibid.

Praying for Encouragement and Support

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, December 8, 2016

comfort-encourage-peace

Praying for Encouragement and Support

Feeling low? Dispirited? Needing support? Yeah, me, too.

What’s more, I feel disconnected, like I need someone to come alongside of me and sit with me for a while. That is the closest I can come to describing my feelings right now. It’s a sad and lonely sort of a feeling.

Yet, I have a job. I need to do stuff, every day. I have worship services to prepare, bible studies to work on and conduct, church business to administer, meetings to attend. Not to mention phone calls and personal calls to make. On top of everything else, I have all of this other stuff under the surface of my life. It is a complicated thing right now.

Gentle waiting for an elderly loved one to die can be difficult, indeed.

Dear Lord, gracious God, please encourage my loved ones right now, especially that elderly one who is approaching the end of life. We pray that the end might come gently, and that this loved one does not die alone. Dear Holy Comforter, come alongside of all those who grieve, even now. Provide Your comfort and joy, in the midst of weeping and mourning. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers. In your loving and healing name we pray, amen.

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

In Which I Attend an Ordination

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, November 6, 2016

harvest candles.jpg

In Which I Attend an Ordination

A moving, soul-stirring service this afternoon! That’s what I attended.

Let me back up. My church is in the process of rejoining a denomination. I met Megan several months ago, and she is lovely. Not only as part-time associate pastor, but also as chaplain (her primary ministry). Today, she was finally ordained into ministry of Word and Sacrament, becoming the Reverend Megan Dalby-Jones.

Her journey of ministry—and toward ordination—took a number of years. Yet, it now has been affirmed and validated. And, praise God! Megan has joined the number of ordained clergy.

This reminded me of an article I read several days ago, on social media. I follow a few Evangelical websites, and I noticed a headline on of the sites that intrigued me. Accordingly, I opened the post and found a good article with several pointers about pastors. MALE pastors. Exclusively. (Forgive me, guys. But, I respectfully disagree.)

I am sorry. I have been in ministry for over ten years, most of that in chaplaincy. I have had colleagues from any number of faith traditions and expressions. Not only in various parts of Christianity, but also from other faith traditions. I felt nothing but support from them. I enjoyed collegial fellowship, but more importantly, I felt supported as I was chaplain at the hospital. I knew my fellow chaplains had my back, and I had theirs.

It did not matter whether the chaplains were men or women. Or, what faith tradition they came from. We all supported, encouraged and were there for each other—because there were some tough times. As well as good times. Nevertheless, there was collegiality, for sure.

That is what Megan was ordained into, today. Not only chaplaincy, at a wonderful hospital. But, collegiality among other ministers, who do a tough job. And, a good job. Sometimes, a difficult job. But also, a God-filled job. A God-honoring job, too.

Dear God, bless Megan. Not only today, but every day. Bless her in her work at the hospital, as well as her work and worship at her local church. Watch over her and her loved ones. And, grant her abundant support, encouragement, caring, and love from friends, family, colleagues and congregation. Dear God, in Your mercy, bless Megan today.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

 

Pursue PEACE – Harmony, Wholeness, Hope

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, February 11, 2016

IMG_0130

Pursue PEACE – Harmony, Wholeness, Hope

I have been following some sort of spiritual discipline during each Lenten season for the past number of years. As Lent got nearer and nearer, I had not been particularly moved by any special Scripture reading series or prayer discipline, as in years past. However—I have been intrigued by the idea of PEACE for several weeks.

Peace got lodged in my brain, and would not go away. I thought about it more and more, and finally came up with this idea of the Pursuing PEACE Project.

My name is Elizabeth, and my personal definition of peace is harmony, wholeness and hope.

Harmony – I have a bachelor’s degree in music. I have sung in a number of choirs and singing groups, over the years. Music is important to me! Harmony is something I look for, yearn for. Harmony between people, between groups, among families—something I wish to encourage and promote, as much as I can. Doing my little bit.

Wholeness – comes from the concept of the Hebrew word shalom, which means peace. Yet, it means much more than peace! Shalom can also mean whole or wholeness, completeness or safety. A whole basket of meanings! That is what I want from my definition.

Finally, Hope – expectation, trust or desire. (At least, that’s what Merriam Webster says, in part.) I am a glass-half-full kind of person. I have that expectation. I trust that peace is a possibility. I don’t think this idea is pie in the sky, but a realistic desire.

Even if my part is small, I will be doing something positive, encouraging, and loving in making PEACE a reality. God willing, I am doing what I can to pursue PEACE.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Help Me to Have Fun, Lord!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, November 18, 2015

FUN at least one of them is having fun

Help Me to Have Fun, Lord!

Have you ever met someone who was boring? Dull? I mean, no fun at all? I have, and I did not want to spend much time with this person. It was a few years ago, but I felt sorry for the person. Sad. Terribly sad.

What about when people enter a sober life? When they are choosing not to get drunk, or choosing not to take drugs?

Some people think it is fun, even glamorous, to drink and drug. It isn’t. Using substances is often a necessity, especially for addicts and alcoholics who are established in their using and drinking behavior.

I hope to encourage people to find their own Higher Power, and to contact the curtain that separates people who drink and use from the people who do not use, either.

What can we do to replace the idea of “fun?” I mean, a completely different kind of fun?

As our daily reading book Keep It Simple says, “… live it up! Try new things. Meet new friends. Try new foods. Taking risks and having adventures are a basic human need. So go for it! Sobriety is fun!” [1]

Dear Lord, gracious God, teach us all to play. Teach us all great ways to stay safe, too. All that is human, that is.

Lord, in Your mercy and grace, hear our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations for Twelve-Step Beginnings and Renewal. (Hazelden Meditation Series) (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989), November 18 reading.