Sunday, June 28, 2015

Stars and Stripes

"First, I tell you to pray for all people, asking God for what they need and being thankful to him.  Pray for rulers and for all who have authority so that we can have quiet and peaceful lives full of worship and respect for God.  This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to know the truth."  
1 Timothy 2:1-4

In just a few days,  we Americans will be celebrating our freedom on the 4th of July,  Independence Day.  People will gather for picnics and barbeques.  Fireworks will light up the skies around the country.  Patriotic songs will be sung in churches.   Prayers will be offered for our beloved country, and our country's leaders.

In the above reading, the Apostle Paul instructs Timothy how to lead the church.  His very first instruction is to pray for all people.   The first assignment of the church is prayer.   Today's church continues to prioritize prayer.  We pray for our president and vice-president, and for our government and local officials.  We pray for a peaceful society, where we can worship and where respect and justice can flourish.

I am so very proud to be an American.  I believe we live in the greatest country on earth.  Yes, I sometimes disagree with decisions and actions from our officials.  But I do what I can.  I earnestly research candidates, and vote at elections.  I participate in signing petitions where I feel there is injustice.   Most importantly, I pray.  I pray that God will lead our president and congress members; that the Holy Spirit will guide and inspire them; and that citizens will do their part to help insure our country will remain our "sweet land of liberty."  

As I watch my grandchildren march in their school parades and children take part in patriotic assemblies this time of year, I think about what kind of country we will leave them.   Enlightened or ignorant, we do have a choice!  What choices can we make to help ensure America's future?

Won't you join me this week in praying for our country? 
"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray...then I will hear from heaven."  II Chron. 7:14 

Be blessed,

My zentangle tile today contains the tangle patterns meer, printemps, arukas, and aura knot.   

Friday, June 19, 2015

I Have Enough

"For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be."
 Matthew 6:21

I have an app on my ipad called PAYG (Pray As You Go).  Each day there is a 10-15 minute reflection on the reading of the day.  There is a reading of the scripture, along with music for meditation and reflection.  Then some thoughts and questions to think about.  I like it because it fits nicely into my day, and helps me keep up with the daily readings, no matter how hectic my day.  

Today's reading is from the Gospel of Matthew.  The music for reflection is from Bach's Cantata Number 82, Ich Habe Genug .
This beautiful selection echoes the words of Simeon.  "I Have Enough.  I have taken the savior, the hope of the Gentiles, into my arms."

I was thinking about why the writer of this reflection chose this music and Simeon's prayer to accompany today's reading from the Gospel of Matthew.  This prayer, which just says, 'I have you, Lord.  I have enough," is very beautiful in its simplicity and straightforwardness.  

Jesus said, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.  But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be."

It is right for us to bring our needs to God in prayer.  He is our Father, and wants us to lean on Him.  But sometimes it is good to realize, like Simeon, that we have all we need in God.  That our treasure is, indeed, in heaven.  I have you, Lord.  I have enough.

Here is the link to the Pray As You Go website, if you would like to try it. .  Let me know what you think.  

Be blessed,

Today's Zentangle tile uses the patterns Weave, Flux, and Poke Root.

Monday, June 15, 2015

A Lesson In Grace

Colossians 4:6  “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

When my granddaughters spent the weekend a few weeks ago, four year old Kennedy watched intently as I knitted the final rows on a prayer shawl I was making.  As soon as the yarn and shawl were placed in the basket, she cozied up in my lap to finish watching a movie before bedtime.  Holding her little stuffed dog up for me to see, she asked if I could knit a blanket for him.  Well, of course this Nana was up for that task.  

This little granddaughter of ours loves super heroes. The bulk of her wardrobe consists of t-shirts with Spiderman, Ninja Turtles and other hero characters.   No princesses or ballerinas for her.  She will don the occasional dress, at her mom’s insistence, when the occasion calls for dressing up, but nothing flashy or ruffled or flouncy.  Plain and simple, and neutral in color.  So, it did not come as a surprise when she said she wanted her dog’s blanket to be black and blue.  

When we visited the following week, Kennedy asked if the blanket was finished.  Before I pulled the blanket from my knitting bag, I decided to tease her a little.  “It is almost done.  I will knit the last four rows today and you can watch.  You did say you wanted pink and white, didn’t you?,” I taunted. 

An almost imperceptible flash of disappointment crossed her face, but she was quick to catch herself, nodding in agreement.  Of course, I hastened to reveal the blue and black almost completed blanket, much to her relief and delight.   That tender moment, however, when she quickly masked her disappointment so as not to hurt my feelings, this little girl chose concern and kindness to me over expressing her disappointment.  

She chose......  

How often do I choose grace when my plans are interrupted?  When my expectations or needs are not met?   When someone has hurt me?   It does not come naturally.   It takes purposeful action.   It means not interrupting when my elderly neighbor tells me the same story over and over.  It is choosing forgiveness when someone I love disappoints or hurts me.  It is saying a prayer for the person in the car that pulls out in front of me.  It is being kind when I would rather lash out.



Natural?  No.  Easy?  Definitely not.  Not on our own, that is.  But with God’s help, we can learn to choose grace.      

By the way, Kennedy's middle Grace.  

Be blessed,

Thank you, Lord, for using the innocence of a child to remind me of your grace, which is perfect, and of which I am so unworthy.  Help me to show kindness and grace to others, as you have done to me.  Amen.

Kennedy writing a note to her dog, Dempsey.

I am entering this ZIA in the 30 Day Coloring Challenge on .