Tag Archives: the Lord

Servant of This Gospel

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, March 1, 2018

Eph 3 servant of this Gospel, words

Servant of This Gospel

As I have continued with the Lenten scripture readings for this past week set by the book Meeting God in Paul, I also read part of a chapter where Paul is described in detail. Rowan Williams has a remarkable understanding of Paul the man, as well as Paul the theologian.

I had never really thought about it before, but we have more of an actual description and more understanding of the apostle Paul the man than we do of almost anyone else in the ancient world—except for certain rulers and emperors. We know more of the person and description of Paul than we do about the person and description of Jesus, in fact. (We know lots of other things about the man Jesus while He was here on earth, but not so much about His person and physical description.)

Prof. Williams highlights some fascinating details about Paul, including a physical description from only a few years after the beginning of the second century. This was within the lifetime of someone who—as a young person—could have actually seen Paul. Written in Asia Minor, this account mentions that Paul “is a little man, bow-legged, thin-faced, hook-nosed, bald with heavy eyebrows meeting in the middle; and this is how he is invariably depicted in the most ancient Byzantine artistic tradition and in icons of him up to the present day.” [1]

In other words, Paul was not particularly photogenic. (It probably was a good thing that Paul did not live in either the 20th or 21st centuries, with the prevalence of cameras and other forms of media.) However short or near-sighted or bald he may have been, those were just elements of an exterior image of Paul. It was the interior that mattered to God. And, on the inside, Paul was an eloquent ambassador for Jesus. He called himself a servant of the Gospel or of the Lord several times in his New Testament letters. And, he meant it.

I wonder. Am I too caught up in what is on the exterior? Is someone’s image all-important to me? (Is my personal image that important to me? Dear Lord, please, no.) How about considering myself a servant of the Gospel, as Paul described himself to the believers in Ephesus? Lord, I hope so. I pray so. Help me to make it so. Thank You, God, for this wonderful book about Paul, filled with such meaningful words.


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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] Meeting God in Paul: Reflections for the Season of Lent, Rowan Williams (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2015), 19.

George Fox’s View of Simplicity

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, March 21, 2017

simplicity, cursive.jpg

George Fox’s View of Simplicity

The Society of Friends is an example to me of great simplicity. George Fox founded that Society (also known as the Quakers), and the reading for today was a small selection of passages from Fox’s Journal.

His Journal is an experiential memoir and a spiritual and religious recounting of his travels (and travails). Amazing recounting at times, including a situation where Fox healed a woman: “I was moved to speak to her, and in the name of the Lord bid her to be quiet; and she was so. The Lord’s power settled her mind, and she mended.” [1]

This is Pentecostal power, indeed. Not often seen nowadays, here in the United States. However, I fully believe that God could manifest healing power in that way (if God chose).

Yes, this Journal has many instances of personal communication of our Lord Jesus with George Fox, without benefit of an intermediary. This cemented the opportunity of personal interaction with God even more thoroughly in George Fox’s mind. He preached that opportunity, and was repeatedly thrown into prison.

However, I am equally impressed by Fox raising up the statement of heavenly power through healings: “Many great and wonderful things were wrought by the heavenly power in those days; for the Lord made bare His omnipotent arm, and manifested His power, to the astonishment of many, by the healing virtue whereby many have been delivered from great infirmities.” [2]

There is an older meeting house in my town, a suburb of Chicago. (One of the original buildings here! A lovely, mostly wooden structure.) Yes, I have worshiped there with the other Friends, and yes, I would do it again, like a shot. Marvelous place of worship. Wonderful powerhouse of prayer. Incredible legacy, started by Fox in England, carried across the Atlantic, and brought to the Midwest more than two centuries ago. I hope that peace and peaceable-ness may increase. Lord, may it be so!



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), 130.

[2] Ibid.

Center, Praise God for the Rock of Our Salvation

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

ROCK on Christ the solid rock

Center, Praise God for the Rock of Our Salvation

The Rock. Something quite solid about that Name of God! Solid, good foundation for me. And, for anyone else following at home, my word of the day, my Name of God for today is Rock.

I had difficulty concentrating or “getting down to business” today when I was praying. But once I got there, I did have an impression to report. I saw (or, felt) “Rock” as a refuge, or a place of respite and safety. This is not usually what happens when I pray. Quite the contrary! But that’s what happened today.

Yes, the verse that was mentioned in the list of Names of God is 1 Corinthians 10:4. And yes, this verse refers to the Rock being Christ. Which Rock? The Rock in the wilderness, the Rock that the people of Israel drank from during their wanderings for years.

Dear Lord Jesus, whether You are seen as the Rock from whom the miraculous water flowed in the wilderness, or the Rock of safety, of refuge, it doesn’t matter. You still are my Rock of salvation. Thank You for this passage from 1 Corinthians.

Thank You for the strong impression I received about You and Your character. You do keep us safe and secure. Just like a building’s foundation, just like the Rock in Psalm 18:3—“The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.”


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

The Lord’s My Shepherd—For Sure?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, April 11, 2015

sheep on a hill

The Lord’s My Shepherd—For Sure?

Those words from the hymn printed in the Scottish Psalter move me deeply. And today, when they were printed for me to read in the liturgical daily prayer book, I zeroed in on one particular verse. Or rather, a portion of a verse: “Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale/Yet will I fear no ill; For Thou art with me.”

No matter what, God is with me. I have dealt with some difficulties in my life. Yet, God remains there, to help.

I have had several acquaintances die in the past number of weeks. Recently, I talked with one good friend of mine who just had a loved one die. I asked how the rest of the family was doing as they dealt with the passing, and got filled in. I’ve been privileged to talk with those who mourn quite a number of times in the past, so I sometimes recognize the difficulties in speaking of a recent death. The death of my friend’s loved one was particularly drawn out, and particularly difficult.

God can be with us, holding us in God’s everlasting arms of care and concern. I believe this. Yet, sometimes, I don’t feel God, anywhere.

Where are You, God? I’m scared, and I’m alone. Plus, I don’t know what to do or where to go. What now?

It’s sort of like the sun. Even though the sun is behind dark clouds, I know the sun is still there. Even though I can’t see the sun, I can still feel its heat, still see its faint light.

Even though the weather here in the Chicago area was horrible on Thursday, I still knew the sun was there. Through the dark clouds, even though it was pouring rain most of the day, I was thankful that the sun was a constant in my life, and the lives of the others. Just like God, even though I am not always able to see—even sense—God.

Gracious God, thank You for everything You’ve given us. The knowledge and awareness of Your presence with us, even when You are hidden. You are faithful, and You are there to help. Thank You, God. In Your grace and mercy I pray, amen.


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 .