Tag Archives: encourage

Pursue PEACE – Harmony, Wholeness, Hope

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

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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.

Open the Gifts of Life

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, November 4, 2015

gift-boxes-stained-glass

Open the Gifts of Life

Today’s reading from Keep It Simple opened my eyes. (Again.) This reading reminded me of such an obvious solution to the nagging difficulties navigating through my daily routine. “Each day comes bearing its gifts. Untie the ribbons.” – Ruth Ann Schabacker [1]

What a simple, straight-forward thing to do: open the gifts each day brings to me. It’s not rocket science. Look for the gifts, because they are there, for sure! Living one day at a time can be challenging, sometimes. Rewarding, occasionally. Just plain hard, once in a while. But regardless of what each of us is dealing with every day, one day at a time is simple.

Not necessarily easy, but simple.

If I close myself off to God and to others, that is one definite way to not receive gifts. If I isolate, or put up walls, or go in my bedroom and pout, who does that hurt? No one but me. If I seek out others (even as few as one or two others), or let down those internal barriers and boundaries, or be open and willing to be friends with others, who does that help? Lots of people! Me, definitely. And, I have the opportunity to help others, to encourage and support them.

I understand that recovery is an inside job. If I orient my insides toward God as I understand God, or as some people think of it, my Higher Power, that is a tremendous beginning. Orient myself towards looking for the Higher Power’s gifts, each day. One way I develop my spiritual program is through prayer and meditation. Just what Step Eleven calls for.

Dear Lord, gracious God, remind me to stop and listen to You. Remind me that You love me very much.

@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 4 reading.

Fill Our Minds with the Thought of You

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, October 2, 2015

Centering-Prayer-hands holding candle

Fill Our Minds with the Thought of You

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name.” This snippet of Psalm 8 came to mind as I read the prayer I chose for today from The Oxford Book of Prayer. Focused on “Our Father,” today’s prayer is about dependence. (Prayer 144, page 55) [1]

This prayer by William Temple touched my heart deeply. His words impacted me in a significant way. “So fill our minds with the thought and our imaginations with the picture of Thy love, that there may be in us no room for any desire that is discordant with Thy holy will.” Temple’s descriptions of God filling our mind—like packing a suitcase for travel—and filling our imagination—like turning on a movie projector? Time after time he hits home with the word pictures he paints.

Temple asks God for us to have NO internal craving or want that goes against God’s will. Except, that “no room for any desire that is discordant with Thy holy will” sounds so much better!

Truly, Lord, if I don’t even have the craving, or I don’t formulate the initial thought in my mind, I find stopping so much easier. And, of course, with close friends to encourage and support me? I have aid and assistance here, on a horizontal plane. As well, I have aid and assistance from God, especially when I pray with the words of William Temple.

@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] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 55.

Flee from False Idols

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, August 9, 2015

big bubble downtown

Flee from False Idols

Today was a good day. A profitable day. Today, I encouraged some people. I transported some baked goods to a men’s residence. Other than that, I took some time to decompress, after a busy morning. And, I hope I did some good for God, today.

I don’t want to bore anyone, but not too much else happened in my life today. After the busy morning, I mean. Something else happened tonight, though. As I read through the Evening Prayer from dailyoffice.org, something leaped out at me from the psalm reading, Psalm 4.

“Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
“You mortals, how long will you dishonor my glory; *
how long will you worship dumb idols and run after false gods?” “

I couldn’t help but think of many people here in my suburb. It’s an upwardly-mobile suburb, with a good number of people who make a lot of money. (My husband and I don’t, but, financially, we are not the typical residents of this suburb.) I immediately thought of people from my area who think they might be able to pay their way through life. Buy off problems and difficulties. Pay money for all sorts of things from health care to car insurance to expensive clothes. If anything happens in their lives? Chances are, many would throw money at it.

Therefore, the first thing that came to my mind upon reading this part of Psalm 4 was money equals a big false god. The more I thought about this fact, the more I thought it was true.

Dear Lord, please don’t let me fall into this money trap, this worship of a false idol. Help me have my mind focused on You and things that are pleasing to You. In Jesus’ precious name we pray, amen.

@chaplaineliza

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

Visit the website http://dailyoffice.org/ to find out more about Morning and Evening Prayer!

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

Mindful, Nourished Soul

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, June 8, 2015

if nothing ever changed, no butterflies

Mindful, Nourished Soul

Today’s chapter by Stephen Levine stretched my way of thinking. Yes, I usually think in terms of a Judeo-Christian mindset. However, this reading had a definite Eastern, even Buddhist view on mindfulness and the soul. Not my usual way of thinking, at all.

But, he also speaks of nourishing the soul. No matter what background each individual comes from, no matter what belief structure each one espouses, practically everyone acknowledges that the soul needs to be nourished. Strengthened, and encouraged.

A universal breakdown of that nourished, strengthened soul happens when distrust happens. I don’t care if people have Jewish beliefs, Christian understanding, Buddhist mindset, or whatever else is there. Mr. Levine tells us more: “We don’t trust ourselves, so we stay rooted in the easy and convenient. We eliminate as much pain as we can from our lives and end up painted into a corner we call safety. Safety is the most unsafe spiritual path you can take.” [1]

This last statement reminds me of the chaplain internship where I served, from 2002 to 2003. I was attending seminary full-time, but I also worked at the retirement center 20 hours per week. The director of chaplaincy was awesome. A wonderful administrator, he knew how to delegate authority. More than that, he knew enough not to hand-hold us chaplain interns. He turned us loose in the retirement center, with very little safety net. He took calculated risks, and gently encouraged us to take risks, too.

Further words of wisdom from Mr. Levine: “It’s important in everyday life to work with kindness. Learn patience. When you stand in lines or are at a red light, soften your belly. Open your body and your mind to the subtler levels of experience, letting go of your attempt to control, to be right, not worrying about appearances, not trying to be safe.[2]

So, here I am reminded of how I am to be, and how I am not to be. Yes—kind, yes—patient. Those attributes are good and positive. No—to safety. In other words, no fix, manage or control.

Yes, these are all attributes I need to allow myself to work on. Get better at. God willing, I shall. Doesn’t that sound like a good idea? One step at a time. One day at a time.

@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] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995), 50.

[2] Ibid, 51.

Easter Sunday – Gift of Generosity. Freely Given.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, April 4, 2015

BK wherever there is a human

Easter Sunday – Gift of Generosity. Freely Given.

Today marks the celebration of Easter.

However, three days ago, we remembered the torture, trial and sentencing of our Lord. We remembered the way to the cross, the Via Dolorosa, as well as the Seven Last Words spoken from the cross. As the words of the Apostles Creed tell us, “He was crucified, dead, and buried.”

But that was Friday—this is Sunday. In churches and other sanctuaries around the world, we celebrate the blessed fact that Jesus is no longer dead. Death is conquered, and He is risen!

Christ is risen, indeed!

Today is also the end of the 40 acts of Generosity, the end of doing 40 generous, kind acts for Lent. In this effort, we were instructed to do generous acts, even small things of kindness, to try to change our surroundings. Change our homes, schools, workplaces, neighborhoods. If each of us who signed up for #40acts did even 20 generous, kind things (not the whole 40, but only half that many), just think of what a groundswell of good feeling and positive energy will be generated. Has been generated, already!

In the short video put out on the www.40acts.org.uk website (and Facebook page), a brief celebration of the #40acts of generosity was posted. At the end appeared the catchphrase “Do Lent Generously.” Except . . . with a difference. The phrase read, “Do Life Generously.”

What a marvelous opportunity to make a regular difference in my home, my workplace, my community. Even, making a daily difference! What a challenge to me. To us. To strive to be a kind, generous person, thinking of others before I think of myself.

Dear God, help me to think in this way. Encourage me—encourage each of us to think of good, kind, generous activities and words and even thoughts for others. What a way to continue being generous and kind! Thanks, Lord.

@chaplaineliza

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

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .