Thursday, 11 December 2014

Advent 2 - Thursday

O Emmanuel,  prepare our way O LORD to You.  Forgive us when we stumble and set us back on Your path.  Guide us this day so that we continue to help those who need Your aid.  Come Lord Jesus Come.  Amen.

So often we hear of Advent being the time of waiting.    The waiting for the return of Christ.   This is true,  we do  indeed need a time set apart each day to worship God each Advent day and to wait.    But there is one crucial portion of Advent that we often overlook.   That crucial portion is  taking the time each day to set ourselves apart in prayer and scripture and TO LISTEN.    While waiting is difficult,  waiting and listening is something we don't do in our day to day lives.    Why do we need to listen?  And to whom are we waiting and listening?   We are waiting and listening for the Word of God.   

The website "pray as you go"   has a wonderful Advent Retreat for the four weeks of Advent.  It provides a time for us to do some listening.

Presbyterian Record Senior Editor Andrew Faiz has asked us to read and re-read and live the Gospels this Christmas.   He asks us to binge on the Gospels.  Fill ourselves with the Good News.   There are some big issues and big decisions coming up at our National Office that require us to be open to the Word of God.  While reading and thirsting upon the Gospels,  we also must take time to pause and listen to God so that we can go forth and do what God asks of us. 

Before his death,  Metropolitan Anthony of Souzah wrote in his book "Living Prayer" about a devoted Grandmother.  This Grandmother came to Metropolitan Anthony and said, "Metropolitan,  over my lifetime  I have read the Bible,  I have worshipped,  I have prayed.... but I am missing something.  What am I missing?"  Metropolitan Anthony responded, "Do you make time each day to just listen for the Word of God?"    The Grandmother said no she didn't.... and then she asked Metropolitan Anthony how she was to listen.   He suggested sitting in her favourite chair and if she couldn't sit still in her favourite chair to sit and knit but to keep her mind open.     To sit and to listen to the voice of God.  To sit and listen to the Word of God given to us each day.   Oh if we just listen.   Then we can truly say that we have lived this Advent season in the presence of God.  We can truly say that we are ready to live each day in gratitude to God, as we have been given the knowledge of  how we can take the Word of God and share it with our family,  our friends,  our community,  our Church (both local and National).  

This Advent day.... wait.... and sit... and listen for the voice of God.... and then take action.

Stir up our souls O LORD so that we thirst after You each day.    Create in our lives a time to wait and listen for You.    O Come O Come Emmanuel.  Amen.  

Sunday, 7 December 2014

2nd Sunday in Advent

Advent is a time of waiting.   And like most people,  we are impatient.  We don't like to wait.  We want our lives to be like the microwave.... 1 minute and a cup of coffee is done....  our requests and prayers to God are immediately answered.      Yet,  Advent is that time of waiting where we must become like the crock pot....  it takes a long time to cook a meal but the time gives the veggies and meat time to become wonderful and delicious and savoury.   During this Advent we must slow ourselves down and reflect on the Biblical story... from the wonderful reading in Isaiah 9 where it is told that a prophet will prepare the way for the arrival of God's son.   By reflecting on this passage,  we ask ourselves,  how do we prepare our lives this week to live fully within the love of God?  How will we share the love of God with our family and neighbours this week as we await this Advent week for the fullness of time?        

The waiting of Advent will soon be over.   And the fullness of time will come soon. Time's fullness is coming soon.... the fullness of time is met in the birth of the Christ Child. 

O Come O Come Emmanuel.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Floods -- Five Loaves and Two Fish

This month,  Brandon has lived in a flood situation.  Three years ago  we had the 1 in 300 year flood.    That should have been good for 299 years.  Alas,   this year we are in another flood.    This one is bigger and higher than 2011.     So far the dikes around the city are holding up to the flood waters and two crests.   One more crest to come but  the length of time the dikes hold back the flood waters seem to be incredible.  A bit of clay and sand bags and super sandbags... all holding 1183ft of water out of our city.    But other communities have not had the dikes hold.   Some communities are wondering after the flood subsides if they will move the whole community.    The majority of our  farmers have lost this year's  crops.  Many of our First Nations communities are under water.     Some people have been evacuated.  Some people stay with their homes. 

So together we sit and wait for the next crest of flood waters to come.   There is not much to do other than wait.   As we sit and wait, it is interesting listening to the community's  voice of their impression of the floods. Many are ready to help out where needed.    Locally,  the Mayor and Emergency Services have been calling for volunteers to help out in various areas on selected days.   Very few of our Churches have said  they are praying for those who have been evacuated from other areas in Manitoba due to the flood nor said they are praying for farmers who have lost their crops and their income. Provincially Manitoba is in a state of emergency.  Yet we wait.    Nationally in Canada,  our flood situation hasn't  garnered media attention other than the Military was called to help out in Portage la Prairie (thank you to those in the Canadian Forces who were called from 26 Fd Regt RCA here in Brandon to help).   And Mr. Mulcair had a snit fit when he wasn't allowed to use the military helicopters to fly over Portage la Prairie.   Mr. Mulcair,  why not just rent a car and drive out to  south western Manitoba and see the flooding yourself?    The Prime Minister came and listened and looked. And we wait.    While Emergency Disaster groups have been present,  there was not been much of a national campaign to help provide funds for those who have been flooded.  The tally to date for recovery from this flood is already in the billions of dollars.  And we wait.   Quilters who usually respond to any disaster have not come forward wanting to donate quilts.     And we wait.

It is as if everyone is waiting to see what happens before they begin donating monies and services  for recovery.   When the crowds kept following Jesus,  they eventually ran out of food.  Jesus turns to Philip and asks how the disciples will feed everyone.  Philip has no idea.  But a young lad comes up to Andrew and says that he has five loaves and two fish.  Andrew brings the boy and the meal to Jesus.   Jesus takes the five loaves and two fish,  blesses the food and then tells the disciples to share what has been blessed with everyone.     

Today,   Manitobans are waiting  for the five loaves and the two fish.  Keep us in your prayers...and let us know that you are praying for us.  Be the first ones to donate funding for farmers to keep their livelihood.   Be the first ones to donate funding for First Nations communities to rebuild homes and water treatment plants.    Be the first ones to donate quilts for those who have lost everything.    Together we share what we have and know that God blesses us each and every day.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Sunday - prayer for General Assemby

This weekend our  National Church,  Presbyterian Church in Canada,  have been meeting in what is known as General Assembly.  General Assembly is the meeting of selected ministers and elders from Presbyterian Churches across Canada that meet together to prayfully and devotedly decide on the life and business of the Church. 

O LORD,  we ask You to govern the minds of all who are called at this time to make decisions at our General Assembly.  Guide them as they make choices that will affect all of Your Church.   Almighty God,  in Whose home are many mansions,  we pray to You to surround our National Church,  those at General Assembly,  our home Church and our home with the unseen wall of Your protection; that we may be devoted to Your service, and may serve one another in love; until we come at last to that home which You have prepared for us that love You; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.  (portions from Frederick Macnutt.  "The Prayer Manual".  Mowbray,  1955.  Prayer #734)

Saturday, 31 May 2014


This iris plant came from an Elder in Neepawa.   Sharing plants is rather like sharing the Good News... it comes unexpectedly and  is beautiful :)     We planted the iris last summer but had to wait until this Spring to know what colour of flower and type of iris we had planted. 
Great God,  we give You thanks today for our family and our Church family.   Guide us this day that we may share Your love and peace with those we meet.   Renew our souls this day when  we get bogged down in too much pain or too much negativity.  Remind us that You are our Light and our Peace.    Be with those who preach and teach tomorrow. Open our ears to Your Good News.  Open our hearts to Your beauty of this world.  Open our arms to do Your work now and forever.  Amen.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Friday - newness of time

Today at Brandon University are the Convocations for the 2014 Graduates of Bachelor of Music,  Science,  and Education.   As part of the Convocation,  Brandon University holds a PowWow the night before.  Then the day of  Convocation,  a minister of Word and Sacrament is asked to lead a Prayer of Invocation.   What must the students think to hear a prayer just for them as they begin their new lives and new careers?    Convocation is a time of newness and excitement.  Years of education have been achieved.  The new Grads  begin a time of seeking employment and careers.    The newness of time.      How amazing that Brandon University asks a Minister of Word and Sacrament to be part of this newness of time. 

            Read 1 Timothy 5: 1-8

Paul instructs Timothy how the Christian community must care of the widows, elderly, and slaves.   What one word comes to your mind when you read this passage?  Nurture?  Teachings?  Compassion?

How does this passage of scripture reflect upon the Christian community to the newness of time.   If Churches could have a "convocation",  what would our newness of time be?  Would we have compassion and care for the widows,  the elders, and those who are imprisoned by thought or deed? 
Great God,  on this day may we reflect upon it as a newness of time.  May Your peace which surpasses all understanding keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of You... and of Jesus Christ Your only Son... and Your Comforter the Holy Spirit.  May we rest and abide with You now and forever more.  Amen.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Wednesday - stand firm in the faith

Father, as I sit here, You and Your word are my desire. Clear my mind and heart of all distractions and speak to me through Your Word.    Amen.
            Read 1 Timothy 4: 6-16
Ah.  This portion of scripture should be written in every teenagers school binder.  Timothy was a very young teacher.  Paul is saying that people should not look down upon Timothy because he is young.  Stand firm in the faith.  Persevere in the faith.  Watch your life and what you believe closely.   All this knowing that we put our hope in the living God.
Recently  I was at a first meeting of a non-profit organization.  This people were enthusiastic about beginning this non-profit organization and wanted to expand their membership.  Every time  I mentioned a person's name the group would say, "oh they are too old"  or "that person is too young".  They want a Board who is just like them in age and thought.  This is the surest way to kill off a non-profit organization.     Each board and membership and Church needs a variety of ages not only for longetivity but also for support and enthusiasm!
Today,  how will you help someone stand firm in their matter what their age.
This day O Lord,  I pray for all the young people in the Church.  May I help them to stand firm in their faith.  May I help them to persevere in their faith.  May I help them know that our hope is in the living God.  Amen. 

Monday, 26 May 2014

Monday - pastoral care

Father, I continue to place before you not only those I associate closely with, but also the culture, events, and the distant people who surround me as I walk through life. May your purposes be extended into the culture I live.

            Read 1 Timothy 4: 1-5

And some people will abandon the faith.  This happens.  People make choices.  But we still need to keep these people in our prayers and in our love as after all,  everything God created is good and through God’s Word and our prayers everything is made holy.

One of the duties and responsibilities of an Elder is to provide pastoral care to people in the congregation.    Yet  over the years,  pastoral care has slowly disappeared from our congregations… and this is a crying shame.   If the Church can not care for the people in their own Church, then how can the Church care of the people of the world?   Time and time again we hear of  Elders calling up congregational members and saying, “I haven’t seen you in Church for six months”.   And the congregational member responds, “Oh,  I left your Church and am now at another Church where they care about me”.   Goodness.

In order to bring the Good News into our congregations and into our community and into our world,  we must provide pastoral care for all peoples.  Christ instructed the disciples  (and Elders and us) to go out into the world and share the Good news. ... to share the love of God... Pastoral care is the heart beat of the Good News.

Open my heart and mind to the things you desire me to pray as I think about the world. There are so many physical, political, and social needs, but most of all I pray for your Gospel to spread to every tribe, tongue and nation.   Amen   (from

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Sunday - renewing ourselves through prayer

Flora Slosson Wuellner in her book, "Prayer, Stress, and our Inner Wounds"  says that often those who are called to minister to all people  -- whether we are  Ministers of Word and Sacrament or Elders or those who teach Bible Study or a Youth Group-- are frequently tired and drained and frustrated people.    This is called Leadership fatigue.  And leadership fatigue is created within ourselves when we believe that we must do everything... we believe that it is all up to us.  This, in turn,  creates  super-responsibility.   We come to believe that the Kingdom of God will only continue because of our righteous efficiency,  our ability to love and heal.

We all know that the Kingdom of God is not totally built upon our own selves,  we know that we share this love of God and this responsibility with others.  Yet.   Yet  while we realize that we can delegate,  and we do delegate yet more and more of our life seems to become looking after other's problems.   Then we begin to harbour our super-responsibilities inwardly.     This is the point where we must stop and sit down and pray.    This is the point where we have become generators rather than transmitters of the Divine.   Wuellner says that those who take on super-responsibility and inwardly never delegate and never take time to pray because we are so busy,  overlook Jesus' challenge to be the branches... instead we try to be the vine... John 15: 4- 5.       We become generators instead of transmitters of the love of God.

Three things will help with those who take on super-responsibility.    First is  a time of prayer.  When one is so overloaded with work and burdens and committees and  the work of the Church,  often making time for prayer is hard.    Prayer does take time.  But prayer is our lifeline to God.  Prayer is the evening breeze or the morning sun.  Prayer is what sustains and nurtures us.    The more we pray,  the less exhausting it will be and the more we find ourselves daily or hourly or every minute turning to God.

Second is letting others serve us and minister to us.   At the Last Supper,  Peter had a problem when Jesus wanted to wash his feet until Jesus said that Jesus must wash Peter's feet or Peter will have no part of the Kingdom of God.  Then Peter said for Jesus to wash every part of him.   (John 13).    While we serve and minister to others and are an example of the love of Christ,  we must also let others serve and minister to us!    Ask another person to pray for you and be specific of your needs!    Ask another person to go for a walk.   Book two hours into your date book and go sit in a park with your Bible and just read (especially the Psalms!).    Be  refreshed and renewed in God's love.

Third is  to ask for forgiveness and then tell God  three things that you were thankful for today.   Forgiveness is not only a cleansing of our souls but also a cleansing of our lives.  Too often in ministry we equate our work with who we are.  We look at how many people attend worship.. and then subtly compare our numbers to other Churches. We look at how many committees we are on compared to other people.  If our church attendance numbers go down,  we feel diminished.   When we end up with so many committee meetings,  we suddenly realize that we are overburdened but there is seemingly no way out of the burden.   Stop.  Sit.  Pray prayers of forgiveness and thanksgiving.

As we grow in God in prayer,  we shall become more like Christ.   As we grow in God through inner reflection,  we shall love and our burdens will be lifted.   As we grow in God through reading of God's Word,  we shall become compassionate.    As we grow in the love of God,  we are made whole.
Is it really as simple as this?  Yup.      Today and this week,   make time for prayers, especially those of forgiveness and thanksgiving... make time for reading God's Holy Word... make time for asking one person to pray for you...

 Prayer:   Great God,  we come before You today knowing that it is through Your love that our hearts are restored,  our energies make new,  and our lives are simple and good.    Divine Healer,  send down upon us today Your Holy Spirit so that Your healing power may flow through our whole body and we are made whole.   Almighty God,  may the power of this new life flow into our actions and our relationships with others this day.    God of all reconciliation,  we lay before You now those that we have hurt.....  those who have hurt us........  and those deeds we have forgotten to do.......  Through Your love we know that we are forgiven and made whole in Your love and peace.    Wash us O LORD in Your love so that we are made clean inwardly and outwardly.   Holy God,  we bring before You know  three things for which we are thankful.......... Thank You Lord Jesus Christ.      Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  As it was in the beginning,  is now and ever shall be,  world with out end.  Amen.  

Friday, 23 May 2014

Friday - qualities of Deacons and Elders

Great God, help me to  keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience this day and always.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

            Read 1 Timothy 3: 8-13

Ah.  Now we come to the list of qualities needed for those who are called to be Deacons.  Note that these are qualities not a job description.  This list of qualities and characteristics are for those who serve others and as some Scholars suggest, as those who help the Overseers.  Often when a  Presbyterian congregation is seeking Elders,  this is the scripture that is used.  These are not easy qualifications nor should they be.  To be an Elder means to serve God  by being worthy of respect, must be able to express what they believe and hold to that belief in the Christian faith, must be tested and approved,  must have an irreproachable home life, and must be compelled to share the love of Christ with everyone they meet. 

Dear LORD,  I keep all the Elders of the Church I attend in my prayers today. May they stand firm in their beliefs.  May they be worthy of respect not only in the Church but also in the community, and be with them when they are tested.   Enable them to  be amazing servants of Christ.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Thursday - the call to servanthood

May I open my heart to You today, O LORD.  May I set my heart on doing Your will this day, O LORD.  My rock and my redeemer.  Amen.

            What it all Means

From a discussion of Worship in 1 Timothy 2:8-15  and what should be the proper etiquette of Worship,  Paul moves through to what the Ephesian Christian community needs to look for in an Overseer and Deacon.   

One thing we need to remember is the Christian Community was a community that worshipped together…. males and females worshipped together.  During Paul’s time, this was not something that happened with many other religions.   Men and Women usually were separated for worship.

Then Paul proceeds to give Timothy another bit of advice.  “Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task.” (1 Timothy 3:1).    This is Paul’s second bit of advice using the phrase “here is a trustworthy saying”.  The other advice was 1 Timothy 1: 15.

Paul sets out a list of gifts and qualifications that Overseers must have.   If anyone is contemplating a call to ministry,  this is a list that you need to check against yourself.  Paul gives this list to Timothy because the care and nurture of God’s people is a noble task.  Noble not in the sense of prestige but noble in the sense of  having excellent moral character…. of being a servant. 

But isn’t the call to ministry a Divine call and not something we just want to do?  Indeed.    But for Paul,  the call to ministry is a three step process. First,  in Acts 20:28 Paul states an affirmation to  the divine call.  One had to be called by God in order to undertake ministry to God’s people.  Second,  the individual must have inner aspirations and convictions to that call.  Have a firm grasp of what it means to be a Christian.  And third, it is here in 1 Timothy  that Paul gives the Christian community a list of requirements for the community to measure whether the candidate meets the requirements and would be considered for Ministry.

Great God,  I thank You that some are called to minister to Your people.    I know that this is not an easy vocation and ask that You be with all ministers this day.  Help them in their struggles and in their joys.  And may I be a help to ministers today.  May I build up ministers instead of tearing them down.    In Jesus name I pray.   Amen.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Tuesday - to set one's heart

Set my heart, O Lord,  to stretch myself today and reach out my hand to Your people.  In Jesus Name I pray this.  Amen.

             Read 1 Timothy 3: 1-7...Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
(NIV  Zondervan,  1983).

Oh!  This is a section of scripture that could be a whole weeks worth of study.  Here Paul is reminding Timothy that some are called to be overseers.   To “set ones heart” means to stretch oneself … to reach out one’s hand.   Being an overseer  is a big responsibility and comes with a list of qualities and characters necessary to do God’s work.Read over the scripture again and list what are the responsibilities.    In our Church,  we call the overseers,  Elders. 

Great God,  may I always depend upon You for everything in my life.  In Jesus’ Name I pray.  Amen.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Sunday thoughts to ponder

LORD God Almighty,  Healer of all  people and seasons,  may You be with us today as we worship You.  We know that we are Your Easter People as we live this day in Your joy and Your praise.  God Holy,  God Holy and Mighty,  God Holy and Immortal,  we look upon You this day with great love and great enthusiasm.  As we live out Your days,  remind us to always be Your Easter People in sharing Your Word and Your Love with our family... our friends... our neighbours... our Church... our community... and our world.   Grant peace and compassion upon those who cry out to You this day in pain and sorrow.  Grant peacemaking and faith upon those who cry out to You this day in misery and frustration.   May we be Your hands and Your feet to help those who are in need.  This we ask in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

St John 14: 1 - 14
2 Peter 2: 1 - 10

This week's  Gospel lesson and Epistle lesson talks about faith through the use of illustrations of Jesus preparing a place for us in a house with many mansions and of Peter talking about our faith through the strength of a firm foundation and living stones.     We can all say, "yes we have faith Lord" but what does having faith mean?     For Peter,  it was encouraging the people to grow and mature.  Peter wrote about how his faith grew and matured.  Peter also shared the Good News of Jesus throughout his community.  If we look back over Church history,  we discover that faith is never stagnant.   Faith is always growing and maturing.   And we must work to continue to grow and mature our faith.
Today,  ponder and reflect how we will grow and mature our faith this week... through prayer... through reading of scripture... through worship.... through Bible Study....through living a life of example of Jesus Christ......

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Saturday - prayer for the Church

Over this past week,  we've been reading about Paul's  advice to Timothy on how to minister to a new community of faith.  We often reflect on these new communities of faith and think, "how refreshing to be able to start new".  Yet,  what we don't have in the Bible is a record of all the whining and snivelling that went along with nurturing the new Church.    It is the same in our new Church Developments today.  We think that a new Church Development would mean fresh new ideas  or new programs.  Yet what frequently happens are the words "but in our old church we didn't do that".     How frequently do our whines and complaints become stumbling blocks for bringing the Word of God into the community?   Too frequently.

In Frederick Macnutt's  "The Prayer Manual",  is a wonderful prayer (Prayer #532) by Lancelot Andrewes :

"Lord,  for Your Holy Catholic Church we pray;  for the Churches throughout the world, for their truth, unity, and stability, that in all charity may thrive and truth live;  for our own Church, that the things that are wanting therein may be supplied, and those things et in order that are not right;  that all heresies, schisms, whining, and scandals, as well public and private, may be put out of the way;  for the clergy, that they may rightly divide the word of truth, that they may walk uprightly, and that while thy are teaching others they may learn themselves; and for the people, that they may not think of themselves more highly than they ought, but be persuaded by reason to walk in the ways of truth and peace."   Amen

Friday, 16 May 2014

Friday - right mind

O Lord,  I call out to You,  and You answer me.  Remember me in the day of my distress and may You surround  me with Your love.     Help me to hold up my hands to You in prayer without anger or dispute.  This I ask in Your Son’s name.  Amen.

            Read 1 Timothy 2: 8-15

One could never call Paul indecisive could one J    Paul is very firm in what he is writing to Timothy.   Worship of God is so important, says Paul to Timothy, that all who join together in worship must be of the right mind… in faith and in love and holiness.  During this season of Easter,  reflect upon whether you worship in the right mind in faith and in love and in holiness.

Thank You God that  You are my  Love and  Lighten the dark places of my heart.  Keep me this day in Your Love and Wisdom.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Wednesday - praying for leaders

Strengthen me in Your might O LORD.   Confirm in me Your faith.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. 

            Read 1 Timothy 2: 1-7     I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles. (NIV  Zondervan,  1983). 

This begins the section on Instructions for Worship.  Prayer is central in Christian worship.   Paul urges Timothy to remember in his prayers those who are in authority and who govern the land.   Even today  we must pray for those who lead our Churches,  our Community,  our Province,  our Country, and on to all those countries in the world that need our help.  
In Canada we frequently criticize our governments.   Yet,  instead of criticizing them  we must hold them in our prayers.
Frederick Macnutt in his book "The Prayer Manual"  has a marvelous prayer for us to pray to uphold our leaders in God's care.    Prayer #671  "Almighty God,  who along gives wisdom and understanding; inspire, we pray, the hearts of all to whom You have committed to the government of the nations.  Give them the vision of truth and justice, and guide them so to temper justice with mercy that by their counsels the nations may work together in fellowship, and Your Holy Church throughout the world may be free to serve You in unity and peace;  through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen."


Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Tuesday - shipwrecked faith

O God,  You have brought me out of the darkness of night into the brightness of morning.  By Your Holy Spirit, dispel the darkness of my sin and doubt.  In Your goodness, pour such light into my heart that I may be Yours without fear or separation,  through Jesus Christ my Lord.  Amen.

            Read 1 Timothy 1: 19-20

Here Paul says for Timothy to hold on to faith and good conscience.   Some people in this Christian community have already shipwrecked their faith;  for instance  Hymenaeus and Alexander.     Obviously Hymenaeus and Alexander were known to both Timothy and the new Christian community.  But what they did to shipwreck their faith,  we do not know.
We all know people who have "shipwrecked their faith".... people who suddenly stop attending Church or people who say that because awful things are happening to them,  they think that God is not a part of their lives.    No matter what we say about the love of God,  these people seem to have their ears blocked and eyes closed to the love of God.   This is when we must hold these people constantly in our prayers.  Always pray.     Be kind and be gentle.  Offer peace and love.   But always pray!

Thank You God that You fill my heart with all joy and all peace in believing.  May I  be overflowing with hope through the power of Your Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Prayer for Mother's Day

Prayer adapted  from Frederick B Macnutt's  "The Prayer Manual"  Mowbray, 1955   Prayer #738

O Lord, who was born of a woman, bless, we ask You, the women of all nations upon whom are laid the burdens of unwonted duties.  Strengthen them in their hours of strain and weakness; preserve in them the spirit of sympathy and love.   We remember this day our own mothers.  We give thanks that they brought us life so that we,  in turn,  can bring the love of Christ into the hearts of all.  For those mothers  who are struggling with missing daughters and sons... grant them Your compassion and peace.   Inspire those who hurt women to be changed,  to ask for Your forgiveness,  and  find out that You are the Great Shepherd -- the caregiver of all.     Grant all women the help of Your grace, that in all things they may find Your love in  their vocation and for each woman to share their vocation with other's this day.  May the love, joy, and peace of our Great Shepherd,  Jesus Christ abide with all women and all  mothers this day and always.  Amen.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Saturday - ministry

Lord, in Your kindness, hear my prayers.   Teach me Your ways that I may walk in Your truth.  Mould my heart to love You, for You comfort and help me.  I thank You with all my heart, glory to Your name forever.  Amen. 

1 Timothy 1.  This chapter is so filled with advice,  and hurt, and longing it is amazing.   Paul is writing to Timothy to support Timothy’s ministry.  But life in the new Christian community is not going well.  Most people are believers, but there is a group of teachers… a group of leaders who are teaching against the gospel. They think that they are Christian but have a better way of being a Christian.   Timothy’s task is to keep the new Christian community on the main road of Christian faith.  Wow.  What a ministry to be handed!  The group of teachers wanted to debate false doctrines instead of focussing upon gaining a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith.    Paul reminds Timothy that he is not sent to this new Christian Community to debate what the group of teachers but to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ.    The new Christian Community that Timothy is working with is the community of Ephesus. 
Today,  keep the minister of your congregation in your prayers of encouragement.  

Lord, in Your kindness, hear my prayers.   Teach me Your ways that I may walk in Your truth.  Mould my heart to love You, for You comfort and help me.  I thank You with all my heart, and give glory to Your name forever.  Amen. 

Friday, 9 May 2014

Friday - unlimited patience

Thank You God that You cause my foot not to stumble.  Lord have mercy.  Christ have mercy.  God the Father in Heaven,  mercy for me.  God the Son, Redeemer of the world,  mercy for me.  God the Holy Spirit,  mercy for me.  Give me a heart like Yours.  Amen.

            Read 1 Timothy 1: 16-18

Verse 16  is the conclusion of the saying that  Paul wants Timothy to remember.  “But! For that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners,  Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.”  Amen.
Unlimited patience.     Oh that we could all have unlimited patience.    As we stand in line with our groceries,  our patience is often very very limited.     Or when we stand at the bus stop waiting for the bus,  our patience is often very limited.    And when our patience is limited,  we become cranky.  So how do we stop being cranky?  How do we find patience?     Only through prayer.   Think of standing in line at the grocery store as a blessing and start praying.     As we stand and wait for the bus,  take this time as a blessing and start praying.     Life will become simple and full.   

O Christ,  of Your fullness we have all received.  You are my eternal hope.  You are patient and full of kindness.  You are generous to me when I call upon You.  Mercy and Bless me O LORD.  Amen. 

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Thursday - strength and ministry

Prayer:  Thank You God as we live during this Easter season remembering that You gave us Your Son so that we may walk in newness of life.   Grant me strength as I  live out this day in Your glory.  Open my eyes to those who need help this day.   In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

            Read 1 Timothy  1: 12-15

In these few verses, Paul shares his beliefs with Timothy by giving thanks to Jesus Christ who gives him strength to serve Jesus Christ.  Even though Paul states that  he was a horrible person,  Jesus showed him mercy.  Jesus gave Paul  new life.      Verse 15 is  saying that Paul wants Timothy to remember  “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst….. “.    Yet even as a person who persecuted others,  Jesus gave Paul abundant grace and showered love upon Paul.
How neat is that.   Even when we sin or slip up or forget to serve,  God loves us.   No matter what,  God loves us.   This was, and is,  important for a young person like Timothy to learn about ministry.      This was, and is, important for an old geezer like Paul to learn about ministry.

Prayer:  Thank You God that You gave us Your Son.  Thank You God that You gave us the stories of Timothy and Paul.   Abide with us,  abide in us,  that we may ever abide with You our Lord and Saviour.  Dwell within us O Lord  so that at the end of each day we can rest in Your love and be surrounded by Your joy.  This we ask in Jesus' name.  Amen.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Saturday - laughter

Great God,  for the gift of laughter and life here after,  we give You thanks and praise.  Amen.

Laughter.    In the Bible there are not many stories that are about good old  funny laughter.  There is the story of Sarah who laughed when the visitor said she would have a child at her advanced age.  That was more of a snorting "I don't believe you" kind of laughter.  Yet even though there are not many stories of laughter in the Bible,   laughter is a wonderful gift from God.     The medical profession states that laughing  helps  us have a longer life.     Laughter helps us  not only with our breathing but also helps bring us to thinking positively.    
The other day at the Museum,  son John and I got laughing over breaking wind.  Sometimes we have the mind of a 10 year old.   But breaking wind is funny.   The more we told puns about breaking wind or making breaking wind noises,  the more we laughed.    Laughing is a simple part of life.   
Today  reflect upon the times you have laughed a healthy positive laugh.   Remember to say thank you to God for your times of positive healthy laughter.    Reflect upon the times the Church has laughed together with a healthy positive laugh.   
Great God,  for the gift of laughter and life here after,  we give You thanks and praise.  As we prepare our hearts and souls and minds for Sunday worship,  remind us anew that Your gift of laughter is like a refreshing stream that bubbles with joy and gives us peace.   Amen.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Wednesday - God is looking after the sparrows

In Matthew 10: 28 - 30  28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  (NIV   Zondervan,  1983).

God cares for even the sparrow and knows the number of hairs on our heads.   
Lately we have a robin that keeps wacking itself against our deck door window.  Obviously it sees
a reflection and thinks another robin is present.  The robin is killing it's own body by throwing itself against our windows.    We've tried putting up fabric strips on the door to scare away the robin.  Didn't work.  The robin thought the fabric strips were pretty.  We tried closing the drapes.   That didn't work.   Then we tried masking tape green paper to the outside of the deck windows.  This has worked.       

Sometimes we are very much like this robin.  Sometimes we are killing our body but we don't know it.    We get fixated on a portion of our lives and can't seem to see the big picture.    Today,  look at how you spend time in God's presence.  Do you always do the same thing?  Is it time for a change?     Last week while dusting (yup, dusting),  I came across a book entitled "A Pocket Prayer Book"   by The Upper Room,  1958.  Inside this prayer book are morning prayers and evening prayers,  special prayers,  prayers for the Christian life,  and prayers in Scripture.  While this book uses the King's English  (Thees and Thous),  this book is  refreshing.     

Dear Christ,  help me to take the common things in life and make them beautiful.  Help me to do this today.  Let me not wait until tomorrow, or next week, or next summer for my joy;  help me to find it today in the common task, in accustomed placed, with the comrades of my home or market place.  But I cannot do it alone.  Dear Christ,  I cannot do it alone.  Stay Thou near by.  Thou alone canst glorify the beautiful drudgery of life.  Thou alone canst turn valleys into mountain tops.  In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures  morning, noon and night.  Spirit of Jesus, help me to be a good steward of Thy presence all the day.  Amen.   (A Pocket Prayer Book.   The Upper Room,  1958,  pg 37). 

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Sunday - Prayers for life

Sundays  are days of mini-retreats -- a time spent in the presence of God.   Sundays are days where we worship God together with our community.   Sundays are days of renewing and being renewed -- a reflection of Easter.

Following is a prayer that Frederick Macnutt included in his book "A Prayer Manual".   This is a fascinating book.  It was in 1915  that  Frederick Macnutt begin collecting  prayers.   Macnutt was a Chaplain during WW1 and saw the effects of  a place and era that needed prayers. In 1939,  Frederick Macnutt put together a collection of prayers in a book called "War Primer".     He continued to collect prayers until 1945 when his work on earth was completed.  But that wasn't the end of his prayer collection.... his wife,  EM Macnutt and Canon  Lee put the prayers into book form and got it published.   The Prayer Manual is a book that every person should have in their collection.   The prayers are for every portion of our life.

While the words are old,  the insight and power of the prayers are still brand new.

A Prayer before beginning a retreat (or  before beginning your day on Monday!!)
Prayer:  O LORD Jesus Christ,  who did say to Your apostles, “Come ye apart into a desert place and rest awhile”, for there were many coming and going;  grant, I beseech You, to Your servant,  gathered here that I may rest awhile at this present time with You.  May I so seek You, whom my soul desire to love, that I may both find You and be found of You.  And grant such love, and such wisdom to accompany the words which will be spoken in Your name, that they may not fall to the ground, but may be helpful in leading me onward through the toils of my pilgrimage to that rest, which remains to the people of God.   May You grant me peace and enthusiasm so that I will not become discouraged in Your service.  This day I live within Your love,  world without end.  Amen.    (Richard Meux Benson   prayer #581  from  Frederick Macnutt  “A Prayer Manual”  Mowbray,  1955).

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Easter Tuesday

St Matthew 28: 18 – 20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.    Teaching.  Teaching takes a lifetime of learning to listen and  learning to  put what we have learned into action.   Before Easter,  St Matthew's  Cathedral in Brandon had a minister's estate library available for anyone to take the estate books for free.   And being good Presbyterians,  we love the word "free".   We  dived into the tables and tables of books at least three times,  each time bringing home boxes of books.      Last Wednesday we chose our last free books.  One book I picked up was all dog-eared and well loved.  The title was  "Reading and Decency".    What an odd title.   But when I opened up the book to see what it was all about,  my eyes full upon the publisher..... Society of St John the Evangelist.   This was an Anglican Society of Brothers in Bracebridge Ontario.   The Order is no longer,  but the books they used to publish are worth their weight in gold.   This book that I was holding,  "Reading and Decency" is all about the proper stances and postures for Minister's in the Anglican Church as they celebrate Communion.  What a gem!    The book was published in 1945.
As I read this new -to-us book,  I am struck that we have lost a lot of our understanding of "Reading and Decency".    We  must relearn and reteach the  foundations of our  Gospel.   Let us  go forth this day,  ready to learn and ready to teach the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Prayer:  Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Let us bless the Risen Christ.  We give our thanks to God,  Alleluia!  Alleluia!  May the God of peace who raised to life His only Son,  our Lord,  make us ready to do His will each day and in each moment.  May  the God of love who raised to life the Lamb of God  strengthen our hearts so with one voice,  we can go and make disciples of all peoples.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.  Now and forever.  Amen.


Monday, 21 April 2014

Easter Monday

St Matthew 28: 18 – 20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”


What command did Jesus give the disciples?  Does Jesus give this same command to us today too?  What are we supposed to do?


Prayer:  Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Let us bless the Risen Christ.  We give our thanks to God,  Alleluia!  Alleluia!  May the God of peace who raised to life His only Son,  our Lord,  make us ready to do His will each day and in each moment.  May  the God of love who raised to life the Lamb of God  strengthen our hearts so with one voice,  we can go and make disciples of all peoples.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.  Now and forever.  Amen.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen Indeed!

St Matthew 28: 1 - 10

28 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Prayer:  Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Christ is Risen!  Christ is Risen Indeed!  Truly Christ has risen!  Lamb of God,  You gave Your life so that we can live in the love of God each and every day.   Keep us,  Your family,  in the love of Christ.  Renew us in body and soul so that our whole lives may be devoted to Your service.  Through Jesus Christ,  Your Son,  Our Lord.  Amen.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Holy Saturday

St Matthew 27: 62-66

62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”

65 “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.


So,  what did Jesus do on Holy Saturday?   Was he in the tomb or was he someplace else?   The Holy Scriptures tell us a bit but it was the belief of the Church Fathers during the writing of the Apostles Creed that  Jesus descended into Hell and the third day he rose again from the dead.    Jesus was with the dead.


Prayer:  O God,  it is Your will that we should be baptized into the death of Your Son our Saviour,  give us true repentance that we may pass with him through the grave and gate of death, and be reborn to new life in joy,  through him who died, was buried, and who rose for us,  Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. 

(Taize  “Praise in all our Days”  Mowbray, 1981).