Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Wednesday - Questioning

Prayer:  Almighty God,  we read these Gospel stories and are again in awe of Your great love for us.  You have already given us our salvation.  You have already given to us eternal life.  We live and move and have our being in Your love this day.  Amen.

Read St. Luke 22: 66 – 71  Jesus before the Chief Priests and Teachers of the Law

 We read today about Jesus before Pilate and Herod.  The Chief Priests and Teachers of the law want to know if Jesus is the Messiah.  Through questioning,  they try and get Jesus to say that he is the Messiah.  Anyone proclaiming he is the Messiah suddenly becomes an enemy of the Romans.

Yet how does Jesus respond?  He does not answer about whether he is the Messiah or not.  The Chief Priests and Teachers of the Law have been asking Jesus questions all of his ministry and know the beliefs of Jesus.  Yet,  here one more time they ask Jesus if he is the Messiah.

Jesus responds the second time to their questioning by answering “If you say that I am”.  Still no answer.  But the Chief Priests and Teachers of the Law have decided that Jesus is a thorn in their sides.  He must be put away and handed over to the Romans.

Living life as a Christian.  When new people meet you,  do they know that you are a Christian?  Is there anything that stands out in your behaviour and life choices that say, “I am a Christian”?  Or would they say that you are just a good person?  What,  do you think,  is the difference or similarity between being a Christian and a good person?

Prayer:    Lord,  may our lives always reflect Your love.  In You,  O Lord,  we put our trust.  Let us never be put to shame and deliver us in Your righteousness.  May our decisions reflect Your peace.  May our choices reflect Your joy.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.


Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Tuesday - Forgiveness

Prayer:  Great God,  help us to listen to Your voice today so that we can be Your love to this world.  Amen. 


Read St. Luke 22: 63 – 65


Boy,  these are difficult scriptures to read aren’t they.  But it is through these stories of Jesus’ arrest and the mocking of the Soldiers that we remember the great sacrifice Jesus made of us.


In order for each of us to grow as mature Christians,  we need to forgive ourselves and others.  The Forgiveness Prayer exercise today is an easy one but a thorough exercise.  Fold a piece of paper in half.  On the left hand side write the name of the person and what they have done to you.  Add anyone you can think of on this list…. From the driver who didn’t stop to let you cross the road to the brother that forgot your birthday.

On the right hand side of the paper,  write beside each person,  “Dear ________,  I do forgive you for  _____________ and I set you free.  I do forgive myself for feeling hurt, angry, violated and I do set myself free.”

Wait until you fell different in any way when you think about that person.  Then go on to the next name on your list.   Sometimes the list is a few names and sometimes the list is pages long.  But remember,  the more we forgive the more of God’s love we share.

The more we forgive the more healing can be accomplished.


Prayer:  God of all graciousness,  I thank You that I can come to You with heavy burdens and You take all my burdens from me.  Thank You Great God that You have taken my sorrows and anger and replaced them with Your  forgiveness and love.  May I too be the love of God to all those that I meet this day.  Help me to find blessings and opportunities even in the most challenging experiences.  Lamb of God, You take away my sins.  Grant me Your peace.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Monday - in Peter's shoes

Prayer:  O Lord,  support us all the day long,  until the shadows lengthen, the evening comes, the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work is done.  Then,  Lord,  in Your mercy grant us safe lodging,  a holy rest,  and peace at the last. Through Jesus Christ our Lord.   Amen.  (John Newman taken from PCC The Book of Common Worship).


Read  St. Luke 22: 54 – 62  Peter disowns Jesus


Peter denies knowing Jesus.  He probably denied knowing Jesus so that he too wasn’t  arrested.  If we were in Peter’s shoes,  we don’t know what we would do until we were actually in his shoes.  

How often have we been in a meeting and only thought afterward,  “darn it.  I should have said something”.  Or how often,  like Peter, did we make a decision and then harshly regret that decisions.

We prepare ourselves to stand up for what we believe through prayer,  meditation,  reflecting on the scriptures,  worship,  and life experiences.  We only mature and grow as Christians by viewing all of our life decisions through prayer and listening to God’s voice.  Many years ago there was a movement called “What Would Jesus Do”.  It made people stop and think right before they were to make a decision…. What would Jesus do in this situation.

Prayer:  Lamb of God,  You take away the sin of the world.  Have mercy upon us.  Lamb of God,  You take away the sins from my heart,  have mercy upon me.  Lamb of God,  You take away the sin of the world.  Grant us Your peace.  As we live out our lives in Your name today,  help us to ask ourselves “what have I done for Christ”…. “what am I doing for Christ today….. what out I to do for You today?    Help me O Lord to stand up for what I believe this day.  Lamb of God,  You take away the sins of this world.  Grant us Your grace.  Amen.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Sunday Sabbath

 Prayer:  Dear Father of us all,  You have given us a day to rest in Your presence.  Through Worship, You have given us a time to know and reside in Your deep love.  Help us to share that love even with those who challenge our assumptions and our motives.  May we be for others the presence of Christ in whose name we pray.  Amen.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Saturday - Freedom of will

Prayer:  Divine Healer,  move through every part of our body and our mind dissolving all feelings, thoughts, and frustrations.  Sweep away all impatience,  struggle and suffering that reside in our souls.  With Your Great Love,  turn our frustrations into inspiration and enthusiastic action.  Help to steer us in the direction where our actions will be actualized to Your Glory.  Amen.


Westminster Shorter Catechism  Question #13:  Did our first parents continue in the estate wherein they were created?

Answer:  Our first parents,  being left to the freedom of their own will,  fell from the estate wherein they were created, by sinning against God.


Genesis 3


Ah yes,  the story of Adam and Eve and the serpent and the fruit.  Also known as the Fall of Humans.  Why did Adam and Eve fall?  Because God gave them (and us) free will…. Freedom of their own will.  God loves us enough so that we can make our own choices and decisions.  Although as the Genesis reading states,  sometimes our choices and decisions are the pits.  Yet God loved us enough to not let us remain broken with our bad decisions and choice… God gave us Jesus Christ so that we might have eternal life.  All our sins are forgiven.  How neat is that!


Prayer:  Jesus,  You are the carpenter who mends broken bodies, broken souls, and broken relationships.  Help us to mend,  restore  and repair bodies, souls, and relationships, beginning with my relationship with You and following to those who need You presence the most this day.  Amen.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Friday - meditative prayer --

You will need a Bible, comfy chair, paper and pen/pencil


Before we being today’s  reading,  settle yourself in a comfy chair.  Once you are settled take a slow breath inward.  As your breath inward,  think of this breathe as the love of Jesus.  When you breath out,  think of this breathe as the love of Jesus being shared with everyone.

Breath in the love of Jesus.

Breath out the love of Jesus being shared with everyone

Breath in the love of Jesus

Breath out the love of Jesus being shared with everyone


Prayer:  Here I am Lord Jesus Christ.  I am here in Your presence.  You have brought me to this moment.  Speak Lord for I am listening to You.


Picture Jesus sitting beside you and read St. Luke 22: 47 – 53.  This is not any easy portion of scripture to read.  Jesus is arrested.

Breath in the love of Jesus

Breath out the love of Jesus being shared with everyone

Breath in the love of Jesus

Breath out the love of Jesus being shared with everyone.


Meditate upon St Luke 22: 47 – 53 with these questions…

       I   see or contemplate each person in those events,  especially Jesus himself as he is   

       Arrested….  The disciples as they try to help Jesus using violence…the Chief Priests, officers of the temple guard,  and the elders who have come for Jesus…

      I listen to the words, spoken or implied.  I ask myself what they might mean.  Do they apply to me?  Would I,  like Judas,  betray Jesus?

     I ponder the actions, gestures and emotions of Jesus

     What touched my heart about this scripture?  What did I find difficult?


In prayer,  thank Jesus for the trial and tribulation He went through to set you free.  Be aware of the love Jesus has for you.


Breath in the love of Jesus

Breath out the love of Jesus being shared with everyone

Breath in the love of Jesus

Breath out the love of Jesus being shared with everyone


Closing Prayer:  Thank You Lord for the time spent in meditation and prayer.  May I come to see You more clearly.  May I come to love You more dearly.  May I come to do Your work You have set for me to do.  Amen.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Thursday - reflection on the Mount of Olives

Prayer:  Great God,  open the scriptures up for us this day that we may learn anew of Your love and glory.  Amen.


Read St. Luke 22: 39 – 46


Jesus prays on the Mount of Olives.


Read through the Gospel lesson again and slowly go through the Gospel lesson asking yourself these questions:

  •  I see or contemplate each person in those events,  especially Jesus himself.
  • I listen to the words, spoken or implied.  I ask myself what they might mean.  Do they apply to me?
  • I ponder the actions, gestures, and emotions of Jesus.  Tell Jesus what I think about this portion of scripture concerning  faith and what Jesus means to me.
  • What touched my heart about this scripture?
  • What did I find difficult?
  • Was there something I would like to return to in the story?
  • Was there a phrase or verse that I would like to remember?


Prayer:  Jesus Christ,  my Lord and Saviour,  You call me to follow You and to become like You.  You call me to live in communion with God and with each other.  I do not always know where you are leading me but I know that You lead me beside green pastures.  Jesus Christ,  Son of God,  I love You with my whole heart and soul and mind.  Amen.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Wednesday - prayers

Prayer:  Holy God,  open our ears to hearing Your will this day.  Holy God, open our eyes to seeing Your will this day.  Holy God,  open our hearts to revealing Your will this day.  Amen.


Read St. Luke 22: 31 – 38


Jesus tells Simon that Simon will deny Jesus three times.  Simon is astonished.  Of course he would not deny Jesus.  But we know the rest of this story.  We know that Simon does deny Jesus.  Simon was tuck between life and death.  Does he tell people that he knew Jesus and risk death as well.  Or does he say that he does not know this Jesus fellow.


Jesus says that he has kept Simon in his prayers…. “Simon,  I”ve prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out.  When you have come through the time of testing,  turn to your companions and give them a fresh start”  (St Luke 22: 31 – 32.  The Message.  NavPress 2005).


When people are in a difficult patch of life or in ill-health,  we frequently say, “We’ll keep you in our prayers”.  But do you remember to pray?  Keeping people in your prayers is a big responsibility.  It is easy to say we’ll pray for people but it is a mature Christian who will carry the request through and actually pray for people.


Reading prayers on Prayer websites,  I am always horrified at the number of people that are asking for healing from disease,  or wanting a new car,  or wanting money for rent.  Are these prayers?  Not really.  There are more “gimme, gimme” statements.  A true prayer of petition (or prayer request)  puts the person and the request before God and then closes with the statement “But not our will but Your will be done”.


Prayer:  Almighty God,  we bring before You today the Vacation Bible School team in the Synod of Manitoba and North Western Ontario as they prepare for these next weeks of leading VBS in Churches and communities.  Be with them in their study of Your Word.  Be with them as they share Your Word with the participants and families.  Open the hearts of the congregations sponsoring the VBS that they may delight in serving the VBS programs.  But in everything we have lifted up to You in prayer this day O Lord,  may Your will be done.  This we ask in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Tuesday - servanthood

Prayer:  Almighty God,  You have given us so much.  Give us one thing more and that is a greatful heart.  In Jesus Christ’s name we pray.  Amen.


Read St. Luke 22: 24 – 30

 Withint minutes of wondering who would betray Jesus,  the disciples conservation turned to wondering who would end up the greatest.  What?  Doesn’t that sound odd.  The word betrayal it mentioned then suddenly the people are arguing about who will be the greatest?


Frequently when there is a heavy issue or discussion,  our minds just won’t accept the heavy issue and we try to change the heavy issue to something with which we are comfortable.  For the disciples,  squabbling about who will be the greatest was a much easier topic to discuss than betrayal.


Another thing that is not mentioned in this portion of scripture is Jesus hitting his head against the wall… figuratively or physically… over the disciples antics.


The disciples should know better.  They have been sitting at the feet of Jesus learning about the love of God.  And yet,  even the disciples stumble.


Finally, Jesus breaks into their discussion and reminds the disciples that they must always serve others.  There will be no “I am the greatest” in the Kingdom of God.


Servanthood.  God calls each of us to serve others.  This means putting others before ourself.  This means volunteering with great joy on a project and not kicking oneself after for volunteering afterward.  Servanthood begins with prayer and discernment.  First we need to ask God how we can serve.  Then we need to ask God who we can serve.  Then we need to ask God for enthusiasm and creativity to serve with great joy.


Prayer:  Creator God,  we ask that our thoughts and our hands may be still so that we can focus upon Your words.  Still our minds so that we can focus upon Your call.  Loving God,  how can we serve You today?   Lord,  hear our prayer.  Lord God,  who can we serve for You today?  Lord,  hear our prayer.  May we go boldly forth with Your enthusiasm and serve You each and every day in great joy.  In Christ’s  name we pray. Amen.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Monday - hurt, betrayal, and love

Prayer:   Lord, forgive us for the times when we have hurt others intentionally or unintentionally.  Have mercy upon us and cleanse our sins.  Plant our feet firmly on the path to reconciliation O Lord.  Have mercy upon us O Lord and cleanse our sins so that we can once again be whole people of God.  Amen.


Read  St. Luke 22: 20 – 23


After supper Jesus took the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.  …….”   This portion of scripture is part of our Communion Service.      This portion of scripture is frequently read during Holy Thursday Worship.


But then the next verses are not said as part of our Communion Service.  Jesus continues by stating that the hand of the betrayer  is on the table.     Jesus also says that the Son of Man’s path is already laid out but woe to him who betrays the Son of Man.  Yikes.


The disciples begin doing what we would all do.  The disciples begin asking amongst themselves who is the betrayer.  


Betrayal.    The breaking of a trust or confidence.  Sounds simple doesn’t it.  But in reality,  a betrayal is an emotional hurt between two people (or groups).  Sometimes the hurt can be fixed through prayer and forgiveness.  But sometimes people (or groups) are just too stubborn and will not ask nor accept the forgiveness.


So does it just end with hurt and betrayal?  Not at all.  God sends peacemakers and reconcilers into our midst.


One such peacemaker is Darrell Puls.  Darrell Puls has written an excellent book entitled, “The Road Home:  A Guided Journey to Church Forgiveness and Reconciliation”  Cascade Books, 2013.  This book is well worth the read.  Forgiveness and Reconciliation are not for the faint of heart.  It takes a lot of work to go through a forgiveness process to heal inner wounds.  It takes a lot of work to be reconciled to wholeness and balance.  Throughout the process,  the congregation must spend time in prayer.  Not the quick, ‘Oh help Lord” kind of prayer but the inward looking prayer that means spending days or weeks asking for forgiveness kind of prayer.


Prayer:  Great God,  help us to be a people who forgive others.  God our Redeemer,  help us to be a people who serve others.  God our Spirit,  help us to be a people who share the Good News of Christ with others.  Amen.


Sunday, 21 July 2013

Sunday - Sabbath prayer

Prayer:  Heavenly Father,  let us go up to the House of the Lord and our hearts will leap for You.  As we journey to the House of the Lord,  we give You thanks and praise.  We pray this day for peace in the world.  Use our gifts and abilities to help those this day who need peace.  Lord, hear our prayer.  We pray this day for those who are working to serve You and to heal others this day.  Lord,  hear our prayer.  We pray on this Sabbath day that all Your peoples may find rest in You.  Lord, hear our prayer.  This day and this week we will do our best to serve You.  Lord, hear our prayer.  May Your will be done.  In Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Saturday - a covenant of life

Prayer:  Your faithfulness O God,  reaches beyond the heavens to Your people.   For this we rejoice in You!  Amen.


Westminster Shorter Catechism Question #12:  What special act of providence did God exercise toward man in the estate wherein he was created?

Answer:  When God had created man,  he entered into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of perfect obedience; forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon the pain of death.


Galatians 3: 12

Genesis 2: 17


Phew!  Boy,  this is a heavy duty question isn’t it.    Simply put,  God entered into a covenant of life with us all.    The covenant of life with Adam and Eve was rather busted wide open when they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.   Then many generations later,  God again fulfilled the covenant by giving  His Son up for sacrifice so that we could once again have a covenant of  life – of eternal life in God.    That indeed is a special act of providence!


Prayer:    Great God,  we hear the words “Do this in remembrance of me” and  we remember You.  We remember all the stories of Jesus from when we first heard them until we read them again today and in the future.  May we never forget Your Words to us.  Holy Holy Holy God.  Lord of Power and Strength. Heaven and Earth are full of Your glory.   We give You thanks and praise.  Amen.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Friday - Do this in remembrance of me

Prayer:  May we follow You,  O Lord our God,  this day and our whole lives.   You have blessed us with eternal life and for this and all Your gifts to us,  we give You thanks.  May the Son and the Holy Spirit rule and direct our hearts to always seeking You,  O Lord our God.  Amen.


Read St. Luke 22: 14 – 19


When the hour had come,  Jesus sat down with all the disciples and said how much he was looking forward to celebrating the Passover meal before he entered his time of suffering – this is the last time to celebrate the Passover meal together until the kingdom of God.


Wow.  What a statement.    What must the disciples have thought?  Confusion?  Shock?  Bewilderment?    The disciples knew that Jesus was saying a gentle good-bye to them but like all of us,  we never want to say good-bye.


Then Jesus took the cup and blessed it.  Jesus said, “Take this and pass it among you…..”    Jesus then took the break,  gave thanks broke it and gave it to the disciples saying, “This is my body given for you.  Do this in remembrance of me” 


Do this in remembrance of me.    Many of our Church Communion tables have these words engraved on the table…. Do this in remembrance of me.   We read this message on most Communion tables and don’t let the words really sink in.    


Do this in remembrance of me.       By celebrating communion,  we remember Christ’s sacrifice and gift for us – eternal life.  Yet the word used for “remembrance” is not defined  as a memorial but  as present life here and now.   Remember Jesus here and now.

For the disciples,  this phrase made sense.  The Passover meal was not only a way to remember that God saved the Hebrew sons in Egypt but also a concrete way for each of them to celebrate the action of God within their lives now and at this very moment.


How do we look at the phrase “do this in remembrance of me”?   Do we understand the phrase to be just the story of Jesus and the disciples in the Upper Room?  Or do we understand the phrase to be Christ within our very lives here and now?


Do this in remembrance of me.  

Prayer:  Jesus our Redeemer and bearer of our  Salvation,  we thank You that You have given to us the example of remembering Your gift to us not only in the past but also in our present lives and in the future.   You are with us in all that we do.  May we go forth today knowing that You give us life eternal.  Amen.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Thursday - Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance

Prayer:  Blessed are You, Lord God of the Universe, who has brought us to this place and this time.   Blessed are You,  Lord God of the Universe,  that we live each day in Your joy and Your love.  Amen.


Read St. Luke 22: 10 – 13


Preparation.  These next few weeks we are reading from Scriptures that are read during our Lent and Easter season.     These portions of Scripture are a tough to read because we know the end of the story – Jesus’ crucifixion.  But we also know the rest of the story – Jesus’ resurrection.  


Preparation.  Jesus then goes on to explain to Peter and John how to prepare for the Passover.    Peter and John are to go into the city and find a man carrying a jar of water.  This is a bit odd.  A man carrying a jar of water.  Usually gathering water was a task for women and young boys.   A man carrying a jar of water would have stood out in a crowd.   We never learn the name of the man carrying the jar of water nor do we ever learn whose house Jesus and the disciples used for their Passover meal.  Yet,  what a great sense of hospitality this family had!


Peter and John went and found the guest room furnished.   There would have been carpet on the floor,  low slung sofas/couches/davenports where Jesus and the disciples would recline while eating their Passover meal. Reclining on one’s left side during a meal was the eating position of those who are freed.  Only freed people had the luxury of reclining at a meal.  Yet for the Passover meal,  all – slaves and freed – would gather at the table.   Peter and John might have also have had to purchase and slaughter and roast the Passover lamb.   Unleaven bread would have been made as well as bitter herbs and wine would have been found. 


The Passover meal remembers Moses and the Hebrews exit from Egypt – the meal remembers that the Angel of the Lord passed over the Hebrews houses in Egypt but struck down the sons of Egypt – the meal remembers the freedom of the Hebrews.  There are many prayers that are said and foods that are symbolic of the journey.     Yet here today,  how do we prepare for the Lord’s  Supper?   How do we prepare ourselves for worship?   Do we just show up?  Or do we take the time before hand to say prayers or  to mediate upon the Holy Mystery of the Lord’s Supper?


Many years ago when our son was part of the 12 Squadron Air Cadets,  one of the instructors used to drill in to them a phrase that we should all write on our hearts.  Corporal Fitzgibbon said, “Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance”.     If we plan for our retirement,  if we plan for our holidays,  if we plan for our work,  then why do we not prepare and plan for the Lord’s  Supper?    Something to think about.


Prayer:  Blessed are You,  Lord God of the Universe.   In love You have given us Your Son so that we live with hearts full of love and wisdom.   We thank You that You have chosen us for service in Your kingdom.  Blessed are You,  Lord God of the Universe,  You have preserved us,  sustained us ,  and nurtured us in Your love.   Amen.


Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The 50th Anniversary Table runner

  My cousin asked me to create a table runner for her friend's  50th Anniversary.   This table runner was appliqued using good ol'  steam to seam (or is that "sticky things well"??  :)   The two people are supposed to be a portrait of her two friends.   So far my cousin has said that the male looks and dresses just like her friend.  Yahooo!    There are fifty hearts in this quilt.   Along the tree roots are the words "Growing together in love for 50 years".     No pattern.  My original design.   French Braid block that started out way too wide and was quickly chopped down to size... hurrah for the forgiving French Braid block.    
The photos aren't very good but on a windy day in Brandon,  this is the result :)
Size is  72" long by 25" wide.

Wednesday - preparation

Prayer:  Prepare our hearts this day O Lord so that we can celebrate in the Lord’s Supper with joyful hearts.  We know that all our sins are forgiven through the death of Your Son and that this forgiveness is given to all who accept it.   Yet we bring before You now those that we have hurt through our words,  deeds, or actions……  Forgive us o Lord and grant us Your continual love and mercy.   Amen.


Read St. Luke 22: 7 – 9

Jesus tells Peter and John to go and make preparations to eat the Passover. 


Preparation.  Jesus tells Peter and John to go prepare for the Passover.   Find the food,  find the table,  find your family,  find what is needed for the Passover.    And what do Peter and John do?  They stand looking lost and then ask Jesus, “Where do you want us to prepare for the Passover?”    This is a wonderful question.   Where do you want us to prepare for the Passover.    It seems like such a simple question but think what might have been going through Peter and John’s mind.    First they are in a city that is strange to them.    They would have been staying with someone’s relatives.   So why would Jesus ask them to prepare for the Passover in another place?  Why not just stay and celebrate the Passover where they were already staying.     Second  Jesus had been leaving each evening and going to the hills to pray.    The change of Jesus’ behaviour might have left the disciples going, “huh – what is wrong or coming up that we don’t know about”.


Preparation. Way back in our Presbyterian history,  we used to have a time of Preparation before  the Lord’s Supper was celebrated on the Sunday.  This preparation wasn’t in making food but a time of worship and prayer and self-examination either the Friday or Saturday before the Lord’s Supper was celebrated on the Sunday.  Is this time of Preparation important?  Indeed.   It is a time to look inwardly at ourselves and ask if there is anyone we have hurt – then go and ask that person for forgiveness.  It is a time to look inwardly at ourselves and ask if there were any tasks that we were asked to do and haven’t yet completed – then go and complete the tasks.


Prayer:  Great God of reconciliation,  we know that You alone can heal all wrongs done by us to any other. You alone can heal all wrongs done by others to us. We offer up to You now these our burdens of wrong.    Forgive us O Lord and have mercy upon us.   For Your Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s  sake,  forgive us all that is past and grant that we may serve and please You in newness of life.  Amen. 


Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Tuesday - Judas

Prayer:  Forgive us O Lord  when we forget about You.  Forgive us O Lord when we say “no” to Your call.  Forgive us O Lord when we turn away from helping those who need help.   Forgive us O Lord and grant us Your peace.  Through these readings we are given the assurance that we are always forgiven through Your Son’s death and resurrection.  Thank You O Lord.  Amen.


Read St. Luke 22: 1 – 6


Judas agrees to betray Jesus.  Ah rats.  We read this portion of Scripture each Holy Week.  We know that Judas will betray Jesus.  But just for once,  couldn’t Judas see the error of his ways and not betray Jesus?


As a disciple,  Judas had been taught about God and the Good News from Jesus.  But somehow he did not learn nor inwardly digest what Jesus was preaching.     The Messiah that Judas might have been looking for was a rebellious Messiah who would swoop into Jerusalem and cleanse Jerusalem of all Romans.       This didn’t happen.


St Luke states that Satan entered into Judas and Judas went looking for the chief priests and officers of the temple guard to discuss how he might betray Jesus.      Satan entered into Judas means  that Judas took himself away from the love of God.  


But what is odd about these verses is the word “betray”.    The Chief Priests and Teachers of the Law already knew who Jesus was so why would they need someone to point out Jesus?      And no where in the Gospels does it mention Judas  making statements against Jesus.  Judas was not a witness at Jesus’ trail.  Judas was an accomplice -- an accomplice was forbidden in Jewish Law.  If Judas was an accomplice,  he would have been found guilty and also put on trial.


So why did Judas go to the Chief Priests and Teachers of the Law?  Was it for the money?   Was it the Messiah of Rebels Judas was looking for wasn’t the Messiah of Jesus?        


So many questions and no answers.    But what is important for us today is how easy it was for Judas who had spent months and years with Jesus,  to suddenly turn away from the teachings of Jesus.      We point fingers and tsk tsk at Judas but we also need to understand how easy it is to turn away from God.   Separating ourselves from God leads to nothing-ness…. to emptiness... to isolation.   Yet this is our doing,  not God’s  doing.   


While God has already forgiven us,  this is why it is so important for us to pray each day-- to read scripture daily--  to worship-- to meditate upon God’s word.   We do all these things so that we do not forget the love of God.  We do all these things so that we do not turn away from God.


Prayer:   Almighty God,  may we never forget the great love You have shown to us.  We thank You for Your Son—our Redeemer.   Grant to us the strength and protection to carry us through all temptations of life.  But in everything,  may Your will be done.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Monday - what makes for a good sermon?

Prayer:  Keep watch dear Lord on us today as we live and move and work and pray.  Be with those who work serving You.  Provide them, and us,  with renewed enthusiasm to do the work You would have us do.  Amen.


Read St. Luke 21: 37 – 38


Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill.  And all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.


Jesus spent each night on the hill in meditation and prayer.  Teaching (and preaching) is not something to be thought out at the last minute.    Preaching takes a lot of meditation upon the scripture and a lot of prayer for understanding and inspiration.  


But what makes a good sermon?     Years ago,  a good sermon had to have three points that were reflections upon the Good News or one of the Scriptures of the day.    The three points were not just random three points but structured.  The first point told us about the background of the Scripture.   To know the history of the Scripture is important.  We are only able to know where we are going if we know where we’ve been from.     The second point of the sermon was an explanation of what was happening right then and there.    This portion of the sermon told us who was doing what when where and why.   The third portion of the sermon took the learning from the Scriptures and brought it into our life today.  The Good News of Christ is dead if we do not hear how the Scriptures will come alive in our life today.   The Good News of Christ needs to brought from “then, there then”  to “us here now”.   But the third portion of the sermon didn’t just bring the Good News to us here now but also gave us instructions to take this Good News out into the world…. into our lives that week and gave us something to meditate on for the whole week.   


Reflect for a moment on some of the sermons you have heard over your life time.  What made these sermons special or memorable?      


Today keep in your prayers all ministers and lay people who preach the Good News of Jesus Christ that they meditate and reflect upon God’s Holy Word.


Prayer:  Stir us up,  we ask O Lord, that we may be Your faithful people serving You all the days of our lives.  May we bring forth the fruit of good works so that we live out our days seeking  the needs of others.   Amen. 

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Sunday - Sabbath prayer

Prayer:  Today O Lord,  is a new day in Your sight.   Today is a day of rest in Your abiding love.  Today is a day of renewing our bodies and minds through Worship.  Today is a day of glorifying You through prayer,  scripture,  song, and sermon.   Forgive us O Lord when we fall short of our potential.   Forgive us O Lord when we forget our family.  Forgive us O Lord when we forget who is our neighbour.  Yet in all things,  we know that Your forgive us and make us whole.  Holy Holy Holy God.  Lord of power and strength.  Heaven and Earth are full of Your glory.  Glory to You O Lord our God.  Amen. 


Saturday, 13 July 2013

Saturday - God is with us

Prayer:  Holy Holy Holy God.  Lord of power and strength.  Heave and Earth are full of Your Glory.  You are most holy and wise.  You are filled with love and will share this love with us if we but listen.   Remind us this day O Lord to listen to Your voice.  Amen.


Westminster Shorter Catechism Question #11:  What are God’s works of providence?

Answer:  God’s works of providence are, his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures, and all their actions.


Psalm 145:  17

Psalm 104: 24

Isaiah 28: 29

Hebrews 1: 8

Psalm 103: 19

Matthew 10: 29 – 31


God’s  works of providence means God’s  intervention in the world or God’s  action in the world.    Simple put,  God is with us and all of creation always.   How amazing to know that God is with us always.  God is with us through the good stuff as well as the bad stuff.

Preserving all his creatures and all their actions.   This means helping to be made whole or to keep safe.   If we listen! 

Governing all his creatures and their actions.  This does not mean the political  government but  governing as guiding.  God is present to guide us on the path to love if we listen.

Prayer:  Great God,  we live in balance when we live in You.   Today we give You all our irritations and frustrations.  We live in Your presence in new and calm ways.   We are made whole and balanced through Your great love for us.   For this,  we thank You.  Amen.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Friday - be alert

Prayer:  Awesome God,  impress upon our minds and souls and hearts this day Your great love.   We open ourselves up to Your love and release all tension and worries to You.   Amen.


Read St. Luke 21: 34 – 36

Jesus continues to tell the disciples:  Be careful.  Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties, drinking, and the anxieties of life.    


34 “Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, 35 like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to endure all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke  21:  34 – 36.  New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.)

Be alert at all times.  How are we to be alert?  By praying at all times.  Christians are not immune from the bad stuff of life.   But if we keep praying,  we will have the strength to endure.

Have you ever heard the phrase “It’s not my problem”?   There is nothing as infuriating as the phrase “it’s not my problem”.     And usually those who say, “It’s not my problem” have said it because it WAS their problem and they did not take the responsibility to solve the issue or situation.     Funny how even as Christians,  we want to take the easiest route or pass the buck and not take on the responsibility that we are given.

Be alert by praying at all times.    Remember that prayer is action…. through prayer we are taught that we live life in Christ.  It is out of our love for Christ that we help others… that we take on the responsibility of helping others. 

Read the verses again and ask yourself how Jesus is encouraging the disciples (and us) to do more and to do better….to be responsible Christians.

Prayer:  Spirit of Encouragement,  we know that You fully support us all of our lives.  We now release our hold on all the worries or problems from the past that we keep bringing back into our lives and give them to You.   May You take our lives and make them new in Your sight and love.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Thursday -

Prayer:  Dayspring of Life,  our hearts are open to You.  We love others and ourselves in Your positive and supportive ways.   Amen.


Read St. Luke 21: 32 – 33


The words of Jesus will never pass away.    Does this phrase leave you with a sense of stability and permanence and awe?


Volunteering at the Military Museum,  we do a lot of research for people on their relatives who were involved in wars.    Usually people come in with a name (Great Uncle Louie)  and know that the person was in WW1 or WW2 or other wars but not know which unit nor anything else about the person’s military career.  Through digging online with Collections Canada or other research options,  we frequently find information on Great Uncle Louie.   Once we know which unit Great Uncle Louie was part of,  we can find all sorts of information.   The people who come are joyous to know a bit more of their relative’s  history.   Finding history on a relative leaves a footprint of who they themselves are.    


Think how  joyous we should be as Christians knowing that the words of Jesus leave a footprint that will never pass away!    We don’t have to dig hard for these words…. we can read them in the Bible,  we can read of the early Church and middle Church through creeds and confessions, each week we worship and hear the words of Jesus.   Wow!  What a gift we have been given.


How will you use the gift of the words of Jesus that will never pass away today?  How will you inspire others to know that the words of Jesus will never pass away?


Prayer:  Great Comforter,  we thank You that Your Word will never pass away.  May we read and learn and inwardly digest Your Word this day so that we can share Your love and tell others of this wonderful life in You.  Amen.