Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Count Your Blessings ...

As the hymn puts it:
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Ordinarily, we “count our blessings” by noting what God has done for us … and they are many, of course: from the breath of life to the hope of eternity, from the smell of freshly brewed coffee to the delight of a pepperoni pizza – and the gift of the church of Jesus Christ, the Bible, pastors and missionaries; sun rise over the mountains, the crash of ocean waves; the arc of gull’s wing, the buzz of a bee, and a couple of billion other things, great and small.

But I’d like to take this notion of counting on a slightly different tact.

Count the good and decent things YOU’VE DONE over the years, and will likely do today: kindly words spoken to a friend in need; a more than generous check given to the LORD's work; every prayer you’ve said for family and friends; a smile given to the young lady behind the counter; a dollar bill given to a homeless man on the street; the mission trip you went on; a time when your shared your faith with a friend; all those times when you walk humbly with God, when you do just things for the folks on the other end of the stick, when you stand tall for Christ and let his light shine through your life; when mercy and love and tenderness pour out of your heart – these and a couple of million other things, great and small.

So, count your blessings today, name them one by one, and it will surprise what the LORD hath done THROUGH YOU!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Praying for One Another

The Acts 16:5 Initiative offers a prayer that we can use for one another.

For some months now, Session members have been doing this. At the end of every Session Meeting, we pair-up and promise to pray for our prayer-partner until the next Session Meeting, when the pairs are rearranged.

This morning, I prayed for my prayer partner and he prayed for me.

But whether said in partnership with someone, or simply prayed for another, the Acts 16:5 Initiative Prayer reflects the heart of our faith.

So, if you’d like to say a prayer for a friend or family member, here it is:

LORD, grant (name) and me
The grace today to commit
Our lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ
Without our reservation, and grant
(name) and me further the grace
To know your strength and your
Guidance this day. Amen!

You can cut this out and put a copy in your purse or billfold. You can tape it on to your computer or put it in your Prayer Journal as I have done.

If your friend is Buddhist or Moslem, or of some other faith, you might want to offer this version of the prayer:

LORD, grant (name) and me
The grace today to commit
Our lives to the faith we hold and
The love we seek
Without reservation, and grant
(name) and me further the grace
To know your strength and your
Guidance this day. Amen!

If in your spirit is seems right and good to pray for a friend to come to faith in Jesus Christ, you might want to use the following:

LORD, grant (name) the grace today
To commit his/her life to the Lordship
Of Jesus Christ without reservation,
And use me as a channel of your grace,
And grant (name) and me further
The grace to know your strength and your
Guidance this day. Amen!

It is a good thing to pray spiritually for one another.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Her Nose Is Working

I am amazed at Connie Culp, the lady with the face transplant … there’s something incredibly beautiful in her spirit, and how she can laugh – there’s delight in her soul.

In an interview this morning, she said, “I could smell my face soup” – for the first time in five years, she could smell – her nose was working!

I don’t know her at all, but what shows through in these interviews is something profound … what would you call it?

She forgives her husband who shot her. 

I wonder … am I capable of such grace?

Maybe we all are! 

I think there is something incredible in us … call it the image of God … call it what you will, but it’s there, in all of us.

I think I’ll be very careful today to try to find that grace in my life.

How about you?