Tag Archives: God loves me

Everyone is God’s Beloved

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, December 19, 2015

God loves you, nothing can change that

Everyone is God’s Beloved

When I think about my fear, my anxiety, my insecurity, my anger at myself and at others, what can possibly take those negative feelings away? God. More specifically, God’s love. And, knowing that God loves me. Me, myself. Exactly the way I am. I don’t have to change. I don’t need to become something different. God loves me exactly the way I am right now.

Once I start getting used to this earthshaking idea (Imagine—God loves me! I am God’s beloved!), I can start to explore the idea that God also loves other people. Perhaps just as much as God loves me.

Can God really and truly love everyone? Can each person be beloved by God?

That’s what Henri Nouwen says, in the reading for Saturday. “ … When you discover yourself as being the beloved son or daughter of God, you suddenly have new eyes to see the belovedness of other people.[1]

The Advent Action for Saturday is: “Make a list of the blessings and benefits that have been given to you by God, your Savior. Take a few minutes today to give thanks for one of these undeserved blessings. If possible, pass this blessing on to others.” [2] What a marvelous way to express this feeling of being God’s beloved.

Dear Lord, loving God, thank You for Your love. You are so generous with Your love, mercy and kindness. You shower me with undeserved blessings each and every day. What’s more, I am not even aware of many of these blessings. Forgive me for being so oblivious. And, thank You for being willing to overlook these flaws and faults. Thank You so much for loving me.


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

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 42.

[2] Ibid, 43.

God’s Love = Unconditional Love

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, December 15, 2015

LOVE heart candle flower

God’s Love = Unconditional Love

So many people—that’s fallible people—have conditions riding on their love. “If” I do this, or “if” I am that. “If” you have a good education or “if” you have good connections. “If” he wears the latest fashions or “if” she drives the fanciest car. Unseen things, too. Expectations, and suppositions. Keeping up with the Joneses for love, and trying to get the brass ring on the merry-go-round that stands for love, even splurging on endless lottery tickets to win love.

As Henri Nouwen mentions, “There are endless ‘ifs’ hidden in the world’s love. These ‘ifs’ enslave me, since it is impossible to respond adequately to all of them. The world’s love is and always will be conditional.” [1]

Ah, Lord. I am pierced to the heart. Do You love me? My fallible, self-conscious heart wants to know. Do You love me? That tentative, frightened, anxious child-inside is hesitant. Do You love me? Somehow, even though You have told me again and again, and over again, I just cannot believe it in my heart. Sometimes, that is. Usually, I can, though.

But there are those times …

Forgive me, Lord Jesus.

I believe. Help my unbelief.


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] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 34.

Open the Gifts of Life

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


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.


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.

Suffering? Growthful, Forming and Transforming.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, July 25, 2015

Romans 5-3,4 word cloud

Suffering? Growthful, Forming and Transforming.

Long day on the road, coming back from the New Wilmington Mission Conference. As I turned to the chapter for the day today, I reflected on the past week. The topic for today is Suffering. Suffering for the sake of Christ, as well as the mystery of suffering.

At the mission conference, we prayed for the persecuted church. We prayed for different areas on different days. My thoughts went to them, as well as my heart, no matter where. Nigeria, Egypt, Central Asia, Vietnam. These were just a few of the places we prayed for. We prayed for the churches, the individual believers, the governments ruling over the countries, and so much more. God, please be with them all.

This modern psalm moved me so profoundly. However, I was struck by one verse in particular. The verse is taken from John 9 and 1 Peter 3. “Let me never believe that my suffering is Your punishment for sin,/since doing what is right can lead to suffering too.” [1]

Doing what is right? Yes, that can lead to pain and suffering. What about Romans 5:3b-4? Paul says, as plain as day, “we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

It breaks my heart—again—to hear people saying, straight out, “God is punishing me for my sins.” Sure, if someone breaks the law, they deserve the punishment meted out by the law. But there is grace. Mercy. Abundant love. Whatever is going on in people’s lives, whether it’s on the inside or the outside, whether it’s pain-filled death or painful health situation; even when pain comes about through machinations and manipulations. God loves me. God loves you.

God loves the whole world. What part of “whole world” do you not understand? God, help me to come alongside of persons who are suffering. Dear God, help me to listen. Thank You, Amen.

[1] Praying the New Testament as Psalms, Desmond O’Donnell, OMI, and Maureen Mohen, RSM, (United States of America: ACTA Publications, 2002.), 185.


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 .

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, July 10, 2015

LOVE heart He loved first

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

Today’s modern psalm is on one of the most striking attributes of God—most striking to me, anyway. God’s love. God is love. God loves you. God loves me. God loves all of us. (John 3:16 says so.)

This modern psalm, which comes from Praying the New Testament as Psalms, contains several verses that resonate with me. They echo and re-echo within my heart, personally, as well as strike me to the quick, in an outward fashion.

I realize that God loves me. I also realize that God loves my neighbor. The Stranger, the Other, the one on the other side of town, or on the other side of the tracks. The weird person I pass on the street. (Yes, God loves them.) The mean person in the next car who just cut me off. (Yes, that person, too.) Even the awful person who committed that unspeakable crime they’re talking about, on the news. God loves that person. Or ones in rehab facilities. Or in mental institutions. Or playing in parks or walking on beaches or in senior residences or homebound or at work or lonely or grieving or joy-filled. Or you, or your loved ones.

I would like to share two verses, both taken/adapted from Romans 5. Both coming from the writing of the Apostle Paul. “Your own love, God, has been poured into my heart/by the Holy Spirit, which has been given to me.” [1] This verse from the modern psalm talks about God’s love, comparing it to something being poured into me. Almost as if I am a thirsty vessel, or a water glass waiting to be filled. Then, the Holy Spirit fills me up to the brim. Cool, clear, clean, fresh water. And, I have been given the Holy Spirit. It’s all done, already. I don’t need to wait any more. I’m filled with the Spirit that refreshes.

The second verse is also adapted from Romans 5: “Jesus, You gave proof of God’s love for me./While I was still a sinner, You died for me.” [2] Lord Jesus, that astounds me even more than the first verse. Yes, the Lord has gifted me with the Holy Spirit. But—Jesus did not have to do any of that for me, since I was a sinner. I sinned in thought, word and deed, and I still do sin. But God so loved me, Elizabeth, that God gave His only begotten Son—for me.

You can put your name into that last sentence, if you want. Try that on for size, and see whether it fits. Whether you believe it. Whether you feel worthy, or not. It’s still true. Perhaps, it is especially true when you and I doubt the verity and veracity of that statement.

Thank You, God, for loving me, and for loving this dear friend who is reading along with us. And for loving all the people You have created. Thank You for Your everlasting, endless love.


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] Praying the New Testament as Psalms, Desmond O’Donnell, OMI, and Maureen Mohen, RSM, (United States of America: ACTA Publications, 2002.), 88.

[2] Ibid.

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

matterofprayer blog post for Thursday, October 9, 2014

Jesus loves me, this I know

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

As I was praying this morning, I read some more of a passage in the New Testament. I’ve been working through this extended passage for some three weeks. (With a hesitation/break included. You can read more about it in my previous blog post. http://wp.me/p43g3i-5u)

In my reading today, the scripture passage ended with 1 John 4:16a. I especially focused on the words of the first section of this verse. “So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.” I reflected on the fact that I came to realize, very early, that God loved me.

I grew up in an unchurched home in Chicago. My parents were born and raised Catholic, but they chose not to raise their children in any particular church. I still—to this day—don’t know exactly why I started to attend the Lutheran church in my neighborhood on the northwest side of Chicago, but I did attend, from a young age. And, I was blessed to be taught about God’s love by the pastor of that church. God is the Good Shepherd, One who loves me and takes care of me. (Thank you, Pastor Wold!) I learned that God’s love was “deep and wide,” and that “Jesus loves me.” I learned much more as I went through confirmation class, too.

This morning, I continued to reflect on how I came to begin to understand the amazing, boundless love of God. I also thought of people who don’t have a positive experience with God. Or, God’s love. They grow up with the idea of a punishing God. Or, a capricious God. Or, with absolutely no idea of God at all. This reflection brought me to tears. I realized how blessed I was, having had a concept of a loving, caring God in my life! This probably helped me through my turbulent teenage years. I shudder to think what my teens and twenties would have been like . . .

And now, knowing God intimately for as long as I have, I can no more think of a life without God than a life without breathing. Thank You, God!

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for leading me to You. I can’t even remember how I came to You, at first, but I did start. And, I kept attending church. Even though I wended and wandered in my way, even though we might not be faithful in gathering with Your flock, that doesn’t make any difference. You love us! You keep drawing us closer and closer to You. Thank You, Lord! Thanks for those lessons I had early in life. And, thanks for the continued assurance of Your love, caring and nurture. It’s in Jesus’ blessed name we pray, amen.


(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

Grace and Mercy? In Prayer!

matterofprayer blog post for Sunday, September 14, 2014

FORGIVE we must learn to forgive

Grace and Mercy? In Prayer!

One of my favorite psalms of all time is Psalm 103. One of my favorite verses of all time (well, at least for right now) comes from that psalm, verse 12: “as far as the east is from the west, so far has [God] removed our transgressions from us.”

This verse is precious to me. Precious beyond all measure. I hold it close to me, on occasion, when I feel lost. Alone. And especially, sinful. Dirty. Defective. Worthless. But how do I turn my negative thoughts around? How can I start thinking in a positive direction? A direction that is worthwhile, upbuilding, and pleasing to God?

If I think of verses from this psalm, I will naturally be oriented towards positive, loving thoughts. For example: God loves me. God has compassion towards me. God shows me grace and mercy. I can kick those negative, mean, depressing and hateful thoughts right out of my head.

Sometimes, those negative thoughts can come from outside. From thoughtless or mean comments that some people make, or from sad or mad situations that occur in each of our lives. Yes. And sometimes, similar negative thoughts start from inside of us. Negative self-talk is so self-defeating. (“I’m no good,” “what use am I?” or “that was a stupid remark/action.”)

Knowing that I am loved, that I am regularly shown compassion, that God extends grace and mercy toward me? All of these things are priceless! Priceless, like me! And—know that God extends all of these things towards you, too.

It’s so hard to be loving and caring towards other people when I don’t feel good about myself, when I feel that somehow I am faulty and defective. I suspect you have found that to be true, too. But when I feel that God loves me, cares about me, has compassion towards me—even forgives my sins and transgressions, I feel so wonderful! It is then that prayer comes naturally to me! Prayer of gratitude to God, prayer of thanksgiving for what I receive, prayer of intercession for others. Thank You, God.

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for loving me. Thank You for extending Your grace and mercy towards all of us who love you. Thank You for not treating us as our sins deserve. Lord—who, then, could stand? But with You is abundant forgiveness. Thank You, God! Thank You for Your compassionate, caring presence, now and always, amen.


(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

Got Some Serenity!

matterofprayer blog post for Wednesday, May 07, 2014

God handling my problems

Got Some Serenity!

Yup. I don’t know for sure how I got it, but I got me some serenity. Praise God!

I was being a bit humorous there, but my point is clear. Crystal clear. I have some serenity in my prayer life, and certain other areas of my life, as well. I don’t know how long it will last. But I say thanks for God’s bountiful mercy! And for faithfulness and love!

God regularly surprises me. How did I get into this position, working with these dear people? God’s providence, that’s all I can say. If anyone had told me that I would be sitting here at this pastor’s desk, three months ago, I would have thought they were pulling my leg. But God knew differently. And what did I do? I suited up. I showed up. I stepped up to the plate. And what did God do? God showed up, too!

That’s the most important thing of all. God is with me. I mean it! God. Is. With. Me. And the second most important thing? Some loving, caring people are praying for me! How awesome is that?

I’ll be preaching on Psalm 23 and John 10 this Sunday. I still haven’t mapped out the whole sermon yet, but one of the important points to me is that God is always with us. Always by our sides. Whether the Shepherd from Psalm 23 or the Shepherd from John 10, I don’t need to worry or be concerned. No need to be anxious, either. Even when I’m going through some dark valley or some scary circumstance, I am not alone. And God has promised! Whether I’m sleeping, whether I’m awake. No matter what.

Can I hear an amen??

Let’s pray. Dear Shepherd, Gracious God, thank You for Your good and loving promises! Thanks for giving them to me, and to everyone who seeks after You. You created us, You love us, You seek us out when we stray—just like sheep. Help me to stay close by Your side, no matter what. Thank You! In Your warm and comforting Name we pray, Amen!


(also published at www.matterofprayer.net