Monday Prayers

 

 

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Father God,
You are full of grace
Even when we omit to do
The good we desire to do.
In our inner being
In our core
We long to be like You.
We delight in You
We delight in Your ways
The war is waging against our hearts and our minds
We feel like prisoners
To our own selves.
We feel wretched before You
Lacking in grace.
But You are Grace
You will rescue us from these bodies of death
Thank you Father
We are redeemed through Jesus Christ
Our Lord.
Amen.
Romans 7 v 14- 25

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Monday Prayers

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Father God,

Empower us to love one another

For love comes from You

You are love in every form

When we love we are truly born of You

When we love

We are conformed and transformed

Into Your image

We honour You for how You showed Your love to us

For sending Your one and only Son

To this wicked and desperate Earth

That we might live through Him

This is love

Not that we loved You

But that You loved us

And made a way out of sin

Into wholeness and righteousness

Help us to love each other until we see Christ

Until His love is made complete in us

Let Your perfect love drive out fear

Make us perfect in the knowledge of Your love

We can love

Because You first loved us

We long to know and rely

On the love You have for us

Amen.

1 John 4 v 7-19

 

 

Monday Prayers

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Father God,

We set our hearts to return to You

Although at times we feel torn to pieces

You will heal us

Although at times we feel injured

You will bind up our wounds

After two days You will revive us

On the third day You will restore us

That we may live in Your presence

May we acknowledge You always Lord

May we press on to acknowledge You

As surely as the sun rises

You will appear

You will come to us like the winter rains

Like the spring rains that water the Earth.

-Hosea 6 v 1-3

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The Gift at Work

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‘I now see how gifts like courage, compassion and connection only work when they are exercised. Every day.’– Brene Brown

If we use our gifts, they will grow stronger. But this requires that we put ourselves in situations that demand the use of our gifts. Situations that squeeze us stretch us and cause us to dig deep for our inner God given resources. It is of little use if we whip our gifts out every now and again in a whirlwind of ‘Christian’ activity or ministry effort. Without consistent use our gifts remain weak and immature, lacking depth and maturity…and power.

Maturity in our gifting is shown through faithfulness, consistency of use and willingness.

In certain situations, particularly those that challenge me and cause me to feel out of my depth, I’ve noticed gifts and abilities emerge. Often it’s something I never considered to be a gift, or a completely fresh ability which seemingly just ‘shows up’ to meet the need.

It’s an amazing feeling to discover the gems God has hidden within us.

As a nursing student specialising in mental health, I get ample opportunity during placements to use my gifts. The ferocity and intensity of the impact of mental illness on individuals demands a wholehearted response from me. I cannot hide away, I cannot retreat, I have to face the person and respond to their distress. I have to look them in the eye and offer support and reassurance. I have to listen to words spilled out in confusion and frustration. It is not easy; in fact at times it is heart-breaking and draining stuff. But it draws the gifts out of me.  It causes me to rise to the challenge or be taken down by it, to sink or swim.

My own needs fade into the background during those times and I focus on the needs around me. It is a freeing place to be.

There is balance in this though, the placement ends and studying begins again. Rest is needed to sustain our gifts. In quietness and confidence is where our strength lies, not in the busyness of the day.  We need time to breathe, to reflect and to renew. Time to remember that there is only one God…and we are not it.

Our gifts make room for us and for other people too.

‘For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you….Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you– guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.’- 2 Timothy 1 v 6; 1v 14

Just As We Are

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“Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are.”
― Markus Zusak

When we came to faith in Christ, we arrived warts and all. It was the only way to enter in to the kingdom of God. The only way was to dump our heavy load of sin, brokenness and shame at the foot of the cross and throw ourselves on the mercy and forgiveness of God.

We came just as we were, and God met us there.

The only criterion for salvation is being prepared to participate in a great exchange. Exchanging our mess for His wholeness, our filthy rags for His righteousness and our despair for His joy.

At our core, I believe we all need to feel and experience real and genuine acceptance. To come as we are, to be seen, known and then accepted wholeheartedly. This is what God does for us. He is big and beautiful enough to accept us as we are. Acceptance is not agreement or endorsement, it is the acknowledgement and understanding of who we are and a willingness to take us on. To adopts us, to make us a part of the family.

‘ As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest we were deserving of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved.’– Ephesians 2 v 1-5

God accepted us when we were dead in transgression and sins… so what makes us behave as though He doesn’t do it for everyone else in our communities who are in the same state?

Jesus made a way. God accepts people as they are; any clean up job that is required is down to Him and Him only. Our responsibility is to share the good news- that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.

So many people are desperate to hear this. If they really felt they would be accepted by God as they are, in whatever sorry state that is, they would run to Him.

I think as believers we can obstruct the process, albeit unconsciously. By behaving in ways that imply;

‘Yes, you can come to Jesus as you are but….’

‘Yes, of course God loves you but…’

‘Salvation is freely given if you believe but…’

We need to get our big buts out of the way. We need to stop obstructing the light from others and allow God to be God.

Acceptance does not negate change- it precedes it.

I thank God with all my heart that He accepted me just as I was, and continues to do so.

 

Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot,
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need in Thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, Thy love unknown
Hath broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

 

 

 

 

Pay It Forward

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“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson

To pay it forward is a beautiful, powerful concept. If we lived with this kind of mentality the world would be a much healthier and kinder place. Imagine a world where every person noticed the small gifts of goodness they receive each day, then out of an overflow of awareness and gratitude, sought to share it with others.

Like Louis Armstrong, we’d all be thinking to ourselves ‘What a wonderful world’…

The thing is, it starts with us. We can choose to pay it forward, to sow seeds into the kind of future we envision in our heart of hearts. Most of the stinking attitudes and actions I have are easily disrupted when I think about these simple verses from one of my favourite books in the bible;

‘Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. People reap what they sow. Those who sow to please their sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; those who sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.’- Galatians 6 v 7-8

SELAH (let’s pause and think about this for a while…).

These verses needn’t be threatening or intimidating in any way. God is on our side, He wants us to walk His paths, and He wants to guide us in the right way. He will help us to do this step by step and day by day. This is not so much a reprimand, but an opportunity to be seized with both ‘spiritual’ hands.

I love these verses, because I know that if I live according to these few words my life will be drastically different. I know that my relationship with God would flourish and my witness for Him improve significantly. I realise that this is in fact the best way to live. Sowing to the Spirit. Paying the goodness, mercy and forgiveness of God forward into the lives of those around me.

Sowing to the Spirit is not about living as a hermit in the mountains; fasting all day every day and reading nothing but the scriptures for food. It is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. It is doing what is right in God’s eyes more often than not, being a peace maker and spreading His joy wherever we go.

Paying it forward brings wisdom into our relationships. Rather than responding to hurt and misunderstanding with self-righteous anger and self–pity, we could ask ourselves how we would want to be treated if we had been the one to hurt or misunderstand another.

The same goes for evangelism, how would we want to be approached with the Gospel message?

And friendships, what kind of friend would we want in our lives? It’s amazing how we can change our words, our attitudes and our self-destructive patterns of behaviour when we realise we are paying it forward into our own future.

‘Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.’– Luke 6 v 38