Friday, February 28, 2014

Grumblers unite...and stop!

"Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged."
James 5:9
The version of this reading on Pray-as-You-Go uses the term "grumble," Do not grumble... I rather like that.  I am a champion Grumbler, I must admit.  Why do we feel the need to grumble about each other to each other?  Lord only knows, but James is telling us that we should have patience with each other, as God has patience with us.  He is also saying we shouldn't judge each other, as there is already a Just Judge and it's not us.  Such a simple, yet much-needed message for me this day.  Blessings on your last day in February, your Friday, and your weekend! Let's try not to grumble! Love, heidi

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Move it out of the way!

"If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off..."
Mark 9:43
We all know this cringe-worthy reading.  But today, Living With Christ asked the question, "What in my life might be leading me or others away from Christ?" That brings it down to earth a bit, doesn't it? We used to call it the "near occasion of sin," in the Act of Contrition.  What may cause us to tip over the edge? It is helpful to maybe sit with this and pray about it, journal about it, give it some time and consideration.  For me, it seems to be more sins of omission; not helping others, clinging too much to what I have and want to keep, of my time, talent and treasure.  We shouldn't dismiss this gospel because it seems so extreme.  Jesus is making a powerful point that there are things around us that may cause us to stumble.  How can we push them out of our way? Or how can we get around them?  It's well worth our time to, heidi

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Today--the best day yet!

"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we shall go into such and such a town, spend a year there doing business, and make a profit'--you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow."
James 4:13
This is one lesson held up to me last summer on retreat.  I am so guilty of thinking too far ahead.  "I'm gonna do this and then that..." I say.  While a certain amount of future planning may be prudent, the danger is to get so caught up in the future plans that you completely miss today. In praying for what is in my future, I was gently reminded that I could do a bit better with what I'm doing now.  Lord, I see today in front of me.  I can't see around the corner to what tomorrow will bring, but I woke up this morning so today is on my plate. Please help me to do my absolute best with today.  Please lead me and guide me to do your will with love--today.  All the tomorrows I may have will take care of themselves.  Today may be my best day yet!  Love, heidi

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Your will be done, but here's what I want...

"You ask but do not receive, because you asked wrongly..."
James 4:3
Two separate reflections on this reading today mentioned the same point, so it's worth repeating here too!  How do we pray "wrongly?" In thinking our way is the only way the prayer should be answered.  In other words, following Jesus' example in the Garden is the "right" way.  Jesus added to his prayer of petition, "Not mine, but Your will be done." By giving God the final decision, we are praying more "rightly," if that is a proper term.  It sure can be hard to add that little disclaimer to our prayer.  When a loved one is suffering, when a job is desperately needed, when a child is teetering on the brink, it's hard to give God the reigns to do whatever, isn't it?  How are we supposed to live with whatever? Ultimately, though, God knows best. By giving God the "Your will, not mine," we give God the go-ahead to surprise us and work things out, not with our limited scope, but perhaps much better! We never want to limit God to just doing what we can imagine when God's imagination is so much more splendid!  Today, in our prayers of petition, let's give God the whole reigns.  Let's finish our prayers with "Your will be done," and see how exciting that ends up!  Love, heidi

Monday, February 24, 2014

True wisdom

"But the wisdom from above is first of all, pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity."
James 3:17
Earthly wisdom seems so different than heavenly wisdom doesn't it?  We give prizes to people who seem really smart and dazzle us with brilliance and that is quite earthly.  But the wisdom James is talking about here is not the same.  The wisdom of God is not self-oriented or proud.  One might not receive a Pulitzer prize or a book deal for this kind of wisdom.  But this peaceable, gentle wisdom is definitely ours for the asking. "But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it." (James 1:5)  Let us pray, today, for this true wisdom. This wisdom that may not get us a pay raise or a scholarship, but will be showered on us by God and will make an even bigger difference in the world!  Love, heidi