Tag Archives: thank You God

PEACE: Cruelty-Free and Respect

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, March 27, 2016

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PEACE: Cruelty-Free and Respect

Continuing on my Pursuing PEACE Project. I think back to last Tuesday, and I include another  personal definition of PEACE.

(Thanks, Oakton Community College, for allowing me to come in to the space next to the cafeteria and set up a table. Thanks, members of the Oakton Christian Fellowship, for sitting by me and providing a welcome, too.)

The definition of PEACE I collected last Tuesday intrigued me to no end. Angel’s personal definition of PEACE: “Cruelty-free (animals including). Respect for every species on this planet.”

Angel is really into species-ism. She’s involved with UNICEF and against big corporations. She is also against factory-farming,… and prudent to live as one. She went on, “This is not classifying people on their income, on where they live, and women’s rights.”

So true, Angel. Your care and concern for all creatures on this earth makes me think that each creature is made by God. God made all the plants, all the animals. Every growing thing here on earth. God made it all.

Dear God, You made everything! You made me! We love You. Thank You for loving us. Amen.

@chaplaineliza

(Reminder: I will be posting more from the young people at St. Viator’s High School next week, after Easter. Have a great Spring Break and a joyful Holy Week and Easter celebration!)

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

PEACE: Calm Assurance/Rest in GOD

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, March 13, 2016

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PEACE: Calm Assurance/Rest in GOD

Today marks the last definition from the North Shore Assembly of God in Skokie. All of these were heartfelt, in different ways. This definition came from one woman I’ve known for almost two years. I had the opportunity to ask her about her personal definition of PEACE.

Trisha Baker’s personal definition of “PEACE: Calm Assurance and Rest IN GOD.”

This brief summary, above, encapsulates what Trisha understands about peace. When I asked her about a further explanation, this is what she said: “It is a calm assurance and rest IN GOD that everything is in His hands. When we focus on the Word of God, the promises that He has given us through His word, we can be assured that HE is in control.

“Yes, it looks dismal, impossible, crazy, and unbelievable. BUT GOD s not a god who is far away or unaware of what is going on in the world! He left us Hisi peace, which surpasses all understanding AND keeps our hearts and minds – but only if we keep our gaze ON HIM! That’s when we can have peace!”

Sister Trisha, thank you so much for such a wonderful articulation of what PEACE means to you. I appreciate that you did not just concentrate on sunshine and rainbows and butterflies, the positive side of life as seen through rose-tinted glasses. No, you also touched on the difficult things in life. The dismal, impossible, even crazy things that regularly happen. You spoke of God’s peace, which passes all understanding. You reminded us of God being right by our sides. Even though sometimes life is not easy. Or “fair.” Or happy. BUT, GOD. God remains at our sides even though. Even through all kinds of fiery trials.

God, thank You that You ARE THERE for us. Thank You.

@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

PEACE: Quiet Assurance. God IS in Control.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, March 9, 2016

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PEACE: Quiet Assurance. God IS in Control.

Several days ago, I had the opportunity to go to a gathering at North Shore Assembly of God in Skokie. I spoke with several people at some length, discussing the division and animosity becoming so prevalent in the public discourse. I told the folks there about my listening tour to hear different people’s points of view on PEACE.

I took the opportunity to ask each one about their personal definition of PEACE. I got more fascinating definitions! Here is one from Shirlene Baker, whose definition is: “PEACE: Quiet assurance. God IS in control.”

When asked for further explanation, Shirlene said, “My definition of peace is that quiet assurance, unexplainable knowing that no matter what is happening in the natural, God is and always will be in control. When everything and everyone around you falls apart, you are standing firm and unmovable. With all of the chaos around us, I believe that if our minds are fixed, focused on God, we can remain steadfast.  He promised it and I believe it!  And I know that it works.  I thank Him for His peace, a peace the world cannot take away!”

Shirlene, thank you so much for such a full explanation! Isn’t it the truth? If we understand that God is in control, no matter how awful the present situation may be, we can remain steadfast! Even though we may be in middle of the darkest night, or the stormiest sea, or the worst nightmare, God is with us. God has promised.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” God is right by my side. And, that is quiet assurance. Thank You, God! Praise Your Name!

@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

PEACE is Resting in God (part 2)

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, February 22, 2016

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PEACE is Resting in God (part 2)

Before I talk about today’s definition of PEACE, I would like to sincerely apologize. I had a malfunction with my digital camera happen on Sunday, at Bethesda Worship Center. I am so sorry that I have no photos of any of the dear people who were so kind to pose with their personal definitions of PEACE. Again, I apologize. Plus, I thank Pastor Chuck for being willing to offer his smart phone as a last-minute replacement! (Sadly, my advanced-beginner expertise with social media is showing … in that I couldn’t get the dratted thing to send photos!)

However, I persevere. And, I had the sheets of paper on which these dear people wrote their definitions! So, for the next few days—and definitions—I will be posting the sheets by themselves.

The next definition comes from a kind woman who was quite definite about her view of PEACE. It did not take her long to come up with the words, at all! Sister Jeanne Christian’s definition of PEACE: resting in God in the midst of the storms of life.

Sister Jeanne clarified her definition (in what I could tell was her precise manner). “Peace is not the absence of conflict. There is always conflict in the world, as well as in ourselves.” She wanted to stress how God carries her through her difficulties and storms.

Isn’t that the truth? Exactly what I am considering for the bible study I will lead tomorrow morning. Despite our suffering and even dismay, God is right there with us. Helping us to ride out the storm. You and I may be buffeted and knocked about. Yes. True. However—God does not forsake us. Amen, and amen!

Thank You, God.

@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

Pursue PEACE – PEACE is Quiet

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, February 13, 2016

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Pursue PEACE – PEACE is Quiet

Quiet. Shh!

One definition for peace certainly can be quiet. Calm, serenity, peace. Yes, quiet.

This was the definition Celeste Magers gave to me, several days ago. Peace is quiet.

Many people pray and meditate as a regular part of their day. Celeste is a practitioner of meditation. This is what she says about how meditation informs her practice of quiet, which is foundational to quiet in her life.

“I’ve been meditating for over 30 years, and the style of meditation I use encourages inner quiet. If thoughts show up, I try not to latch onto them and run with them. I let thoughts flow on by – like light fluffy clouds in a clear blue sky. If I’m successful, after a while, the thoughts quiet down and stop intruding. And then I feel as if I’m immersed in a sea of peace and love. And the same is true of my emotions. When they are not in an uproar, when they are quiet, then I experience peace emotionally, too. So peace means quiet to me. I access peace through quiet.”

Celeste, what a wonderful explanation of how peace and quiet are so closely intermingled in your life, as well as in your practice of meditation.

As you and I come before our God, we can thank God we have the opportunity to calm our hearts as well as our bodies. I can feel the peace and quietude tiptoe into my emotions, my intellect, and my physical being—as well as into my spiritual self. Thank You, God, for such a soothing, calming experience. Gently breathing in—breathing out. Feeling my heart rate decrease, my thoughts become more serene. Thank You, God.
(Celeste Magers is a lecturer in meditation, healthful living, nutrition, and holds a laughter yoga certification. She is always ready to share about the power of laughter in healing and ministry.)

@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

Joy! Jesus is our Joy!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, December 25, 2015

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Joy! Jesus is our Joy!

As much as I love Henri Nouwen’s writing, he is by no means the only Christian writer I fangirl.

I need to make a confession. When I was considering the Advent season and the month of December (last month), I chose two writers of stature, whose writings I greatly respect. I ordered two books of Advent meditations featuring their writings. And, I said to myself, whichever book arrives first will be the one I use. Henri Nouwen’s book arrived first. So, that was settled.

However—Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book of meditations and reflections is also rich. Deeply moving and meaningful. Even though I couldn’t manage the whole season of Advent, at least I could finish up December with Bonhoeffer. See whether I can finish this year of prayer well. Bonhoeffer is certainly a heavy hitter, as far as prayer, meditation and devotion are concerned.

Joy to the world! That’s what I am called to consider. Joy to the world!

Bonhoeffer walks us through the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ. Vignettes, in a brief glimpse form. Different ways in which Jesus revealed Himself to different segments of humanity. Until, at last, Jesus was resurrected for all of us, that Easter morning.

This hymn, “Joy to the World,” is full of theological detail from a broad scope, The vast sweep of eternity. Yet, I am drawn to consider the birth of Jesus. That specific moment in time, over two thousand years ago. Bonhoeffer makes reference to 1 Peter 1, especially “even though you do not see [Jesus] now, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy.”

Yes. Jesus is my joy. I find joy in the entrance of the eternal God into this world. I find joy in God the eternal Son loving the world so much that He chose to empty Himself and become human. I find joy in God desiring a relationship with me. With me!

Thank You, God. I know I don’t deserve any of it. But, I try to be grateful. Thank You, God.

@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

What Does Make Christmas?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas stained glass Luke 2

What Does Make Christmas?

The holiday season is coming to a crescendo. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Tomorrow will be a wonderful service at my church, and lots of warm and fuzzy feelings. Christmas carols sung, special music at the service, candles lit, closing with “Silent Night.”

Yes, all of those things, and more, are wonderful. Special. One of a kind, even.

But, Henri Nouwen’s words in today’s Advent meditation bring me up short. “Somehow I realized that songs, music, good feelings, beautiful liturgies, nice presents, big dinners, and many sweet words do not make Christmas.” [1]

So, what does make Christmas?

I feel like Charlie Brown at the Christmas pageant rehearsal. “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” I know Linus responds, “Sure, Charlie Brown. I can tell you what Christmas is all about.” He then recounts the Nativity narrative from Luke 2. Except—it doesn’t penetrate into Charlie Brown’s head. Yet.

I realize—intellectually—that “Christmas is believing that the salvation of the world is God’s work and not mine….it is into this broken world that a child is born who is called Son of the Most High, Prince of Peace, Savior.” [2] Feelings do not come into the equation. It is, in fact, something far beyond all feeling and emotion, as Fr. Nouwen says.

Yet, God wants all of me. All of us. Intellect, physicality, emotions, and feelings, and all. The salvation of the world is, indeed, God’s doing. God wants to save all parts of us. Not just emotions and feelings. Thank God. Thank You, God.

@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] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 50.

[2] Ibid.

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.

@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

(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 Message to Our Heart

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, December 18, 2015

direct line to heaven

God’s Message to Our Hearts

Poor self-esteem? Guilty as charged. Seriously, I used to have a low sense of self-esteem. It’s better now.

But, many people are in this sad and sorry boat. Not feeling good about themselves. Thinking, “Oh, well. What’s the use? I’m no good at this life thing, anyway.”

One small wrinkle in that sad story? God doesn’t work that way. Jesus came to earth especially to let me know that I am God’s beloved child. (And, so are you! Each of us is!)

As Henri Nouwen mentions in today’s Advent reading, “The mystery of this spiritual truth is that you were loved before you were born, and you will be loved after you die . . . Your dwelling in God’s heart is a dwelling from eternity to eternity” [1]

I know God loves me. Not only intellectually, but I know it in my heart, too. Thank You, God.

@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

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 40.

Teach Me Thy Love to Know

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, October 5, 2015

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“Teach Me Thy Love to Know”

Such a moving, short prayer I chose today. This prayer I chose from The Oxford Book of Prayer deals with “Hallowed be Thy Name” (Prayer 164, page 61) [1] It is listed under the subheading of Blessing and Thanksgiving. And, from several hundred years ago, too. The prayer is attributed to George Herbert, who lived from 1593 to 1653.

I was, indeed, moved by these brief lines: “Teach me Thy love to know;/That this new light, which now I see,/May both the work and workman show:/Then by a sunne-beam I will climbe to Thee.”

I felt deeply stirred by these few words. Herbert packed so much into them. Yes, I have often prayed to know the love of God more deeply. Yet, never in such a way as Herbert describes.

The new light of God’s love, God’s presence? Ah, such a thing to fall upon me. And, to reveal God’s work? Much less God the workman? Or, is it revealing those who work on God’s behalf? Either, or both. Still, such an image for me to have in my mind’s eye. Or, to hold in my heart.

The last line shakes my soul. Climbing to God on a sunbeam? At first glance, it could be seen as something immensely sweet and cloying. Like something from a cute and fluffy children’s television show. But as I continue to examine this prayer, and allow it to penetrate into me, I can see how the words gain resonance. Power. Like a clean wave on the shore, washing the cloying sweetness away.

Such an image for anyone to hold in their heart. God, bless the memory of George Herbert. Bless those who read Herbert’s words and come before God in spirit and truth as a result of reading them. Thank You.

@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), 61.