Monday, January 27, 2014
Friends of Faith:
A tribute to Grandma C, a child of God for 106 years, a teacher to many, a wife to one, a mother to three, a grandmother of 19, a great grandmother of 44, a great-great grandmother to 7½, a cook, a farmer, a fisherman, a musician, a rosary and prayer warrior, living one way—Christ’s Way.
Great-Great Grandma Hattie Agnes Cibula, 1908-2014.
Monday, January 20, 2014
Women of Faith:
Cozy, warm and tucked in. That is what I want to feel. It was difficult to get up this morning and face the fact that I have to go somewhere, anywhere. I want wherever I am to feel like it feels in bed—safe, loved and comfortable.
For me, it’s the cold, and colder, weather of Iowa and the knowledge that work for the next few weeks will consume me enough that I won’t be able to get even an occasional day off like I have grown accustomed to since last April. I can’t play hooky, stay in bed a little later or read a good book a little later or longer.
For many of those that I have been praying for who are going thru tough times—financially, medically, emotionally— they just want to be somewhere secure, safe, enfolded in comfort, and have the knowledge that everything will turn out in their favor.
It’s what we all want, to be surrounded by warmth, love and peace; to know pure contentment, to feel hope, accomplishment, and acceptance.
And then I read this.
The light of God surrounds me;
The love of God enfolds me;
The power of God protects me;
The presence of God watches over me;
Wherever I am, God is.
–James Dillet Freeman
It’s the prayer and reminder I needed. It’s all anyone should need. The knowledge that God is present in our day…. if we take the time to look, if we are aware of the people God has put in our paths to give or receive his direction through us or to us, and if we accept and react according to his will.
For even if things don’t turn out in my favor, even if it stays cold outside, I will find a blessing in going to work. God will surround me, enfold me, and protect me. He will give me what I need, when I need it.
Courage, strength, a perfect smile, a loving hand, a perfect opportunity, even the understanding of why it is my time for sacrifice, IT will be given to me—when I trust that God IS wherever I am.
Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will. Help me to have that attitude of gratitude that will make my sacrifice, yours; my burdens, lighter and my concerns, hopeful. Thank you for being my light, my love, and my power. Watch over me, wherever I am. Amen.
It will be a great day—because I am in the presence of God. My day is His! Make Him yours,
Monday, January 13, 2014
Women of Faith:
I have this picture of a small child in a high chair, confined yet happy, with their little mouth open like a birds waiting for their parent to put in the next spoonful of oatmeal—faces covered by the excess and still smiling as they await the next bite.
I think it is very significant that we baptize infants—because they are our example of total need, total desire and total trust—they are the way God intended us to be for Him. In a babies innocence they trust blindly enough to wait, want and to fully reach their outstretched hand for someone to quench their thirst and their hunger.
Thus says the LORD: Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations, not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street. A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench, until he establishes justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait for his teaching. “I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness. Is 42: 1-4, 6-7
The Lord puts his Spirit upon us, he lights our way, but he does not shout, he whispers. He often leaves us at least somewhat hungry and often wanting until we fully answer his call, until we trust enough to blindly reach for his outstretched hand.
Jesus answered and said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” … Jesus answered, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit. Jn 3: 3, 5-6
God made us in his own image. And Christ tells Nicodemus that we must be born of water and the Spirit so that we can enter His kingdom. Being baptized as infants claims us for Christ and says that our parents accept that we are made in Christ’s image and that they will raise us as Christians. And then later when we reach an age of reason where we can make our own decision for God, we confirm that we accept what our parents decided for us at our baptism—that we will live according to God’s plan and by Christ’s example.
When was the last time you thought about what your baptism and subsequent confirmation meant?
Heavenly Father, you are the victor waiting for justice. You have formed us and given us the choice to answer your call, to do your will. Help me to see your light, to reach for your outstretched hand. Thank you for waiting patiently for my answer. Amen.
We are baptized by water and the Spirit. God has claimed us as His own. He is waiting patiently for us to make Him our own to use our gifts to claim those who have not yet had their eyes opened.
Be a beacon of light to the world,
Monday, January 6, 2014
Friends of Faith:
Even though my favorite part of Christmas are the lights and the reactions of everyone to those lights, for many it is the unwrapping of presents—big, small and everything in between. A lot of attention goes into shopping, buying and wrapping and then of course unwrapping all of the glitter that was so carefully placed around each treasured purchase.
But after they are all unwrapped, and more importantly for those of us who are practical shoppers, we hope that the presents we so carefully gifted won’t just continue to sit under the tree or on a shelf, be wrapped back up to be re-gifted, or be hidden in a cupboard, but that the presents will be explored, loved and/or put to good use.
“Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you: your sons come from afar, and your daughters in the arms of their nurses. Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you. Is 60: 4-5
It is the same with God’s greatest gift to us, Christ Jesus. God intends us not to just “unwrap” his presence in our lives, but to explore him—learning all we can about Him, love Him as the greatest gift we have ever been given and put his presence to good use—learning, doing and being by his example of servitude, charity, kindness and compassion.
Heavenly Father, the gift of Your Son, Jesus was a manifestation of Your love for us. Just as we have given our family heartfelt gifts, so too did You give us Your heartfelt gift—love enough that Your son sacrificed His entire life for our sake. Help me to be as kind, as charitable, and as compassionate in serving others. Help me to look beyond the glitter, looking inside the package you presented so that I can give to others in a way that uses your gifts to me compassionately and worthily. Thank you for unwrapping Your presence in my life. Amen.
Christmas doesn’t end when the wrapping paper is torn off. Christmas has only just begun!