Away We Glow

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We “go” to work each day.  Even if you work from home, there is a work position…in front of a computer, on the phone, and our physical body is part of the work process.  There is a visceral response to work.  

 

I am planning a  “Spiritual Formation” guide in our church–and I have found that it requires the human spirit (inner being) AND it involves the body because that’s where we live and what we live from.  Transformation of the whole person/spiritual formation is never merely inward.

 

Think about how you position yourself today at work–physically.  

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Smiling with Allison…

Does it reflect your Spirit?  

 

What message do your physical responses send?  

 

If someone were to describe your countenance–what words would they use?  How are you different than someone who does not know God?  

 

                                                       …………AWAY WE GLOW…….

 

Prayer:

“All that is to be, now is!


The reign of God is now with us.

Return to God’s way,

And LIVE out the Good News.

Amen.”

–from, A Guide to Prayer for all Who Seek God, Upper Room Books

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Journal

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A tattered overstuffed journal sits on my desk. I have had this prayer friend for ten years or so.  I go its pages and confide — recording the desires of my heart, laments, thanksgivings, and musings.  I will fasten an occasional picture on a page…or clipping from a note. Doodles and thoughts are scrawled on some pages. My children’s momentos. There are large chronological gaps.  Then there are some pages with daily thoughts.  

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It is by prayer that we couple the power of heaven to our helplessness and make the impossible–possible.” — O. Hallesby   (This  quote from September 9, 2014.  I combined  with Colossians 4:2  “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.”)

 

The next page had an item I shared with a Bible Study Leader partner –just a story.  Then an old picture was taped to following page: my home that I grew up in…another page are prayers for work colleagues at the pharmacy, several years ago.  Seems so long ago….

 

The book is very personal, not private.  Anyone could read it.  It would let you know what my heart is “thinking.” Favorite Bible verses…who I am praying for…what gives me great joy….and peace…illnesses, hurts,….what I see…what inspires me, God’s refining hand in my life… encouragements.

As I look back through the pages (just ten years!) it provides me with a trustworthy PERSONAL account of God’s unfailing love. He hears my prayers.  I have forgotten many of the writings and requests–but God does not. I visualize that God has read each one of these pages…and knows each of my requests.  

 

I see the picture of my childhood home–and know He has hovered over me always…even before my “book.”  

 

I can’t wait for the next ten years…why don’t you try it with me?  

 

Prayer:

God’s word goes out with power and always achieves His goal…allows me to go out with joy and be led forth in peace.  May we know that God created the stars and calls them by name and because of His great power and mighty strength not one of them is missing!(prayer by Gail Dugan from thoughts on Isaiah, Journal, June 2011)

Smarts

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Luke 23:46-47 NIV

And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. When he said this, he breathed his last.

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said,
Surely this was a righteous man.”

 

——————————————————————————————————————————–

 

Being savvy in the business world takes training.  Sometimes it comes from experience, sometimes it comes from years of education; most well-equipped business men and women have both.  

 

It is often called:Book smart/Street smart.  

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Having more of these “smarts”– heaped upon/heaped upon– a person you would surmise would bring great results.

 

Book smart is not just obtaining knowledge.  Street smart is not  just being astute to the surroundings.  Wisdom is often confused as “book smart.”  Far from it.  Read Ecclesiastes.  Street smart some would call a gang leader.  Chicago ended 2016 with 762 gang related deaths.

 

Book smart/Street smart.  Jesus wrote a book from the cross.  A book, in the form of “Seven last words”.  From the street, the centurion heard it:

 

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.  

Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.

Woman, behold your son!…Behold your mother!

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

I thirst.

It is finished

Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit!

 

Are you ready to evaluate yourself today?  The post Easter transformed person?  Are you using your new Book smart (Scripture laden Easter self) person combined with the tough Street smart (I would have been at the foot of the cross and declared Jesus righteous too!) centurion attitude in all you do?  

Yes, the centurion–a Roman guard–who was cagey, cold, experienced, –dusty, dirty, armed, authoritative man–transformed his thinking and professed his CHANGED thinking about this man on the cross, during his working day.    

 

Book Smart/Street Smart?

 

What are you doing today in your work that looks different than 6 weeks ago?  Has your experience made you wise and your conduct reflect this double edge Book smarts/Street smarts?  

 

Use BOTH.  Business requires it.

 

The Centurion did.

Pray:

Thank you for the centurion’s faith.  May I profess with the same confidence that you are righteous. . Each day, may I reflect this Roman’s boldness in my daily work.  T
hank you for being the Savior of the world.

 

HOLY Week

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H-ave your mind on the Lord wherever you go, and God will clear the way for you.

— Proverbs 3:5  

 

O-, God, you are my God: early will I seek you, for my soul thirsts for you.

— Psalm 63:1

 

Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.

— Matthew 28:28  

 

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

— Matthew 5:14

 

Pray: Thy will be done…amen

 

Spirit and Soul

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I tend to things I see. Or at least that I will feel a sense of accomplishment when it is “tended.”   It is easy to evaluate my hairstyle or if my house is clean.  Is my laundry basket empty or full?  Human nature leans towards activities that we can count or analyze–make a graph or even gamble on.  

 

Why do you think that there is not a waiting list for Bible Study classes at church?  The spirit and soul are not high priority for western culture.  

 

The spirit and soul are portions of our being that we cannot see.  Do you tend your spirit? Let’s get deeper—-  Do you bless the spirit?

 

“Spirit (pneuma) is the element in man which gives him the ability to think of God.  It is man’s vertical window, while the soul (psuche) is man’s horizontal window making him conscious of this environment.”  –from The Complete Word Study New Testament with Parallel Greek, S. Zodhiates, 1992 p.931IMG_4017

 

The soul depends on the functioning of our heart, brain, and blood circulating to express itself.  The spirit has a separate existence.  

 

From Scripture, there is a difference between spirit and soul.

 

Hebrews 4:12  “For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

 

The spirit will continue –even when the body ceases to exist.  From the stories of people who have died in surgery, we can say that the spirit seems to stand apart from anesthesia.  They report that their spirit left the body and perhaps went to an upper part of the room and watched the commotion.  It may have an encounter with a loved one or God.  It sees a light, and does not want to come back.  Later the soul can report what the spirit experienced.  

 

Jesus affirmed this as he raised the dead daughter of Jairus.  “He took [the girl] by the hand and said, ‘My child, get up!” Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up.  Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat.  Her parents were astonished.”  Luke 8:54-56  

 

When our spirit is centered in the fruit of his Spirit and is larger than our soul, it takes care of a lot of things–it will push out the worldly harms and agreeing with the enemy’s lies (examples: addictions, discouragement, depression, unforgiveness, rejection)

 

God’s pattern is spirit, soul, body.  “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.  May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” 1  1 1 1 Thes 5:23-24

 

Prayer:

God’s design is that we respond to him and live out of our spirits led by his Spirit.  

Bless your spirit today. Join with me and stand quietly and ponder these blessings–for you and for those you are praying for:

 

To God Our Father Who Blesses:

 

The LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites.  Say to them:

The LORD bless you and keep you;

The LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious t
o you;

  The LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.  Numbers 6:22-26  

 

And to all who are blessed in his names and nature:

“As it is written: ‘No eye has seen no ear has heard no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him–but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.  The Spirit searches all things even the deep thing of God.  For who among men know the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him?  In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.”  1 Cor 2: 9-12  

Monday Influence

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The workplace is a the physical environment where many spend most of their waking hours. Christians, on Monday, have just come from a worship environment on Sunday.  Is there a Monday Influence that Christians have in the workplace? What impact does the Holy Spirit noticeably have on the Christian’s everyday life?  

 

IMG_3971Work harder

Give more

Take less

Try new stuff

Focus more

Add value

 

As the apostle Paul commended the Thessalonians to be the community’s hope and motive for a holy life, even in persecution, and he reminded the Galatians to live by the Spirit.  

 

“We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies….. And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.”  2 Thessalonians 3:11,13

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.. Galatians 5:22

 

Prayer:

Lord, may the fruits of your Spirit be expressed in my life through my actions at work.  May there be visible expression of love and joy in this day as I sang about on Sunday.  I will not grow weary of being patient and doing good with the power given me through You.  In all things–may I rely on Your peace. Amen

 

March Madness

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March means basketball.  Which is a religion in some homes (this is a portal for confession.) March also is the calendar month for Lent. You say, what exactly is Lent?  Long story–but:

Lent derives from the old Saxon word for “spring,”  and is the 40 days before Easter, not including Sundays. The Christians of Eastern traditions love to refer to the “Bright Sadness” that marks every Christian who will endure the darkness leading up to Easter.  Spring gives way to summer, and the each day’s light is longer.  

 

When the Christian church weaves fasting, prayer, and special offerings together over a period of several weeks, individuals, families, and communities are impacted powerfully.  As Dallas Willard put it, “One drop of water every five minutes won’t get you a shower.”  We need to be immersed in the reality of the kingdom of God for big doses before we start to see an impact–hence 40 days.  

 

Lent is an internal exploration for external change.  

 

How is Lent transforming you?  

You don’t go around with a “LENT” shirt–like your favorite March Marchmadness team.  

Do you have a Sweet 16 of Bible Verses? Do you analyze what “team” of disciples you would have liked to have been on?  

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Here are the Final Four of Lent:

Prayer

Confession

Generosity

Worship

 

All of these are actions that bind us to Christ and can be done individually–and will bear fruit in community.  

 

Consider March Madness in your daily life. Live accordingly. At home, at work, and in leisure.

 

Pray:

As your grace fills our hearts, O Lord


so may we be stirred into action

to demonstrate your love for all the world

and for all creatures that live and move on this earth.

 

19 Words

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To start and run a business you need to understand business terminology and acronyms: such as appreciation, FIFO, working capital, direct and variable costs…etc.  You keep up to date on innovations and are able to articulate with appropriate language to colleagues and customers.  

IMG_2225A religious researcher stated that her work revealed that most Christians, including pastors, find it difficult to articulate their faith.  Research also found that the weakest “talking area” is about sin–the strongest–God is creator.  

 

How are your communication skills?  Are they better in business or faith?  Here is a list that I compiled when given 19 words from a Youth Leader.  

Pray for better communication skills this week.

 

19 Words

These words are to be known and considered in Christian life and figured into daily life.

God does not call you to be successful; He calls you to be faithful,” remarked Mother Teresa.  The word list was compiled by the leadership team at Baker Memorial UMC.

Go and be faithful.  

 

  1. Discernment -ability to judge well; perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual direction and understanding.

 

  1. Worship– show adoration for God (action); the expression of adoration or reverence for God (the act)

 

  1. Lament– an expression of sorrow or mourning;  

 

Lament Psalms
 Community 12, 44, 58, 60, 74, 79, 80, 83, 85, 89*, 90, 94, 123, 126, 129
 Individual 3, 4, 5, 7, 9-10, 13, 14, 17, 22, 25, 26, 27*, 28, 31, 36*, 39, 40:12-17, 41, 42-43, 52*, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 59, 61, 64, 70, 71, 77, 86, 89*, 120, 139, 141, 142
  1. Grace– unmerited favor of God (free)

 

  1. Mercy– compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.  Attribute of God

 

  1. Salvation– deliverance from sin; brought to us through faith in Jesus, sent by the the Father, by dying on the cross

 

  1. Sin- What separates you from God

A definition of sin is doing what is wrong or not doing what is right according to God’s rules (1 John 3:4). If God says “Do not lie” and you lie, then you have sinned. If God says “Do not steal” and you steal, then you have sinned. According to God, sin separates you from Him (Isaiah 59:2).

 

  1. Judgment–  Final judgment cannot be avoided.  We are told, ““it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). The apostle John recorded some details of the final judgment. “As God the Son, Jesus Christ will be the judge” (John 5:22) More in Revelation (Rev. 20:11-15)  

God will be perfectly just and fair (Acts 10:34; Galatians 3:28).

God cannot be deceived (Galatians 6:7).

God cannot be swayed by any prejudices, excuses or lies (Luke 14:16-24).

 

As for now, we must use good judgment.  “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31

 

  1. Holy– Set Apart; Special to the Lord; upright; sinless

 

  1. Sacred- dedicated to a religious purposes; holy; of God, not the world

 

  1. Gospel– The revelation of Christ; The record of Jesus’ life; Good news!

 

  1. Evangelize– To declare your faith to someone; to talk about, live and work your faith in everyday life

 

  1. Disciple– follower of Jesus; someone who loves Jesus and is devoted; learns and lives with their life in step with Jesus

 

14.Trinity – God as three persons: Father, Son, Holy Spirit –united as one God

*Holy Spirit is sometimes called Holy Ghost  

 

The Bible speaks of the Father as God (Philippians 1:2), Jesus as God (Titus 2:13), and the Holy Spirit as God (Acts 5:3-4).

 

All distinct from the other:

Father sent the Son into the world (John 3:16)

The Son returned to the Father (John 16:10)

The Father and Son sent the Holy Spirit into the world (John 14:26;Acts 2:33)

The essence of salvation, according to Wesley, is “the happy and holy communion which the faithful have with the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” (Sermon 77, “Spiritual Worship”).

 

  1. Wesleyan- The Scripture Way of Salvation, per John Wesley: Justification by Faith

Prevenient grace: Grace that goes before

Justifying/saving grace: assurance of forgiveness (comes from repenting or turning towards God and saying “I need a savior because I sin)

Sanctifying grace: Grace perfecting us

As United Methodist we use: Scripture, Tradition, Reason, Experience

 

  1. Prayer– Communication with God;   “God does nothing except in response to BELIEVING prayer.” John Wesley  

“There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God.  Those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it; yet I do not advise you to do it from that motive. It is not pleasure which we ought to seek in this exercise; but let us do it from a principle of love, and because God would have us.” –Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God.

 

17.Stewardship– to manage or look after someone’s property;  John Wesley’s principles: 1. Gain all you can 2. Save all you can 3. Give all you can

 

18.Truth– Jesus Christ
19. Journey– What faith takes you on  

 

Identify Yourself

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The short book of Ruth in the Bible is one of two named after women, Esther is the other old testament book. (read this short 4 chapter book)

 

Ruth has three main characters: Naomi, Ruth and Boaz.  Naomi, the mother-in-law, who is faithful, yet runs the range from bitter/ sad to trusted advisor.  Ruth, the daughter-in-law, is fiercely loyal and obedient, hard working and protective of her mother-in-law.  Boaz is the hero, who showers undeserved favor on Ruth, and becomes the “kinsmen redeemer” for these women, and saves. He grants prosperity and protection for Ruth’s future–our future.  

 

The book of Ruth has been called the most beautiful short story ever written. 

Today, with which character do you identify?

** Are you Naomi?–Sad–but giving some sage advice to someone?  

**Are you Ruth? Loyal to the end–working in the most difficult circumstances?


**Are you Boaz? Showering someone with grace–when they least deserve it AND least expect it?  

 

Each one has a place in our lives.  Boaz is a foreshadow of what was to come–we can reflect HIS grace in our daily work.  Boaz showed grace in his work place.  It was in the field that he found Ruth, gleaning barley. It changed the course of history.  

 

It is the most beautiful  short story ever written.  

 

Prayer of Boaz for Ruth:

“May the Lord repay you for what you have done.  May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”

 

Pray today:

May I have the endurance of Naomi, the loyalty and obedience of Ruth and be granted the grace of Boaz. AMEN.

Do You Love Me?

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Valentine’s Day is coming up…we celebrate romance, love and fidelity. Our culture sends flowers, buys lavish gifts and men often ask their loves to marry them on this day, however this day has a dark history with ancient Rome executing more than one man named “Valentine” on February 14th.  Their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day. Handmade paper cards became popular in the  middle ages…and the day has blossomed into a consumer bonanza.  

 

I like things made with hearts and lovely flower arrangements–even candy. Therefore, I have fully “bought” into this Valentine’s Day propaganda.  Signed, Sealed, Delivered.

Love.  Artificial consumer love.  Red roses, rings, candy, pink cashmere, heart shaped sugar cookies, stuffed animals with red ribbons, steak dinners with red wine…Love of the world.  

 

What about how Jesus taught to LOVE?  

”Peter, Do you love Me?”  John 21:17

Have you ever answered the question Jesus asked three times to Peter? It was directed to Peter that morning two thousand years ago, but it is also directed to us each day we live.

 

”DO YOU LOVE ME?”

Here are Jesus’ final words in John 14 on LOVE to the disciples:

 

”He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

 

That is why Jesus asks, ”Peter do you love Me?” Jesus is asking all of us the same question each day. He watches us toiling through life and reaches down and whispers in our ears, ”Do you LOVE ME?”

Show that you LOVE HIM on Valentine’s Day.  Somehow…

 

Prayer:
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Allison and Brandon Christmas Eve 

**personal note: Our family  will be flying to Australia to celebrate my daughter’s engagement to an amazing young man from Sydney–on Valentine’s day.  Praying for God’s grace upon our family for blessed unions.