Friday, September 6, 2013

Week of September 7 - 13

A Light Shines in the Darkness Daily Devotions ... Devotions for the week of September 7 - 13 can now be found on Facebook, at A Light Shines in the Darkness. The daily devotions will continue to be posted there due to technical problems with Blogspot. Thank you for following these words of hope and reassurance.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Light Shines in the Darkness Daily Devotions ...

Devotions for the week of August 31 - September 6 can now be found on Facebook, at A Light Shines in the Darkness. The daily devotions will continue to be posted there due to technical problems with Blogspot. Thank you for following these words of hope and reassurance.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Week of August 17 - 23

This week's devotions can also be found on Facebook - "A Light Shines in the Darkness" August 17 The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand forever. Isaiah 40:8 In this life everything changes. Our relationships evolve. Our circumstances alter. Our happiness ebbs and flows. But in this world of constant transformation, there are certainties that are never dependent on conditions, feelings or time. Those certainties are the promises of God, which remain steady, unwavering and true no matter what. God is always faithful. God is always loving. God is always concerned about us. God is always reaching to connect with us even when we are not able to reach back. God’s offer of help and hope is forever fixed on our well-being and on our healing from disease, despair and disappointment. That never changes. Oh God, thank you for being so steadfast in a very uncertain world. I need your calm reassurance when everything around me seems overwhelming and unsettling. I am grateful you are here to see me through. Amen. August 18 Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Isaiah 40:1 God knows and understands our difficulties. God has not created us to live in disappointment and distress. But God reaches out to us in our anguish and fears to offer us respite and relief from the evils that confront us. God wants us – passionately and unconditionally – to know a better life than the one we so often experience. When we look to God and know that God only wants for us to possess a new life of joy and peace, we can begin to find the comfort and hope we seek. Loving God, your plan for us always includes our perfect well-being. I need to hold onto that promise today. Amen. August 19 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4 There is so much to grieve when cancer invades our lives. Sometimes the losses are overwhelming – the loss of control, the loss of comfort, the loss of a sense of invincibility, the loss of a healthy future. This threat to our lives calls into question some of the most basic parts of our selves. But if we use this grief to examine just what is important to us, what really matters, it is amazing what kinds of strength and comfort we can find. When we confront the losses and can find ways to use them to reframe our thinking and priorities, we can experience healing in ways we never imagined before. I am looking today, O God, to find comfort in my vulnerabilities. Help me to turn my losses into strengths, my weaknesses into victories. Amen. August 20 You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. Matthew 5:14 One of the very clear expectations in the scriptures is that we are to share our blessings with the world. When we are thankful, we are called to express it. When we have something good happen to us, we are to share it. When something wonderfully unexpected occurs, we are to tell about it. This is not about bragging or boasting. But it is about giving a witness to those around us that God is at work in us – enabling us to be strong, giving us what we need, guiding us to experience the wonder and goodness of this life. This is our life’s purpose: to shine a light whenever we can, to pierce the darkness wherever it is. I know I can be a light to those around me, because you have given me so much to share. O God, thank you for the opportunity to brighten the world through my daily witness and activities. Amen. August 21 Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth! Let the sea roar and all that fill it, the coastlands and their inhabitants. Isaiah 42:10 Today, make a new start that brings you more hope than you had yesterday. Use this day to find a way to forgive where there is a grudge. Create a way to relax more. Find a way to laugh often. Love deeper than you have loved before. Do something that brings you intense joy. Complete a task you’ve long left undone. Resolve today to grow in some way. Confront a fear. Reprioritize where things are off-kilter. Begin a new chapter today and sing a new song of goodness and wonder with this day – this gift - you have been given. I look to you today to understand in a deeper way the wonder you have planned for me. Dear God, I pray this day for wisdom and discernment to guide me in new and more hopeful ways. Amen. August 22 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. 1 Peter 5:6 Humility. The lack of it is a constant human problem. We want to do things our own way. Yet our limited human way usually creates more trouble for us. But when we humble ourselves before God - respecting, looking to, waiting for, following God with an open mind and heart - we can find the solutions and guidance we need. When we approach God and loosen the grip on our preconceived notions we can experience greater help than we can ever imagine. I bow before you with humility today, O God, knowing that too often I prescribe the answers and don’t truly consult you. Today I want to listen. I pray to hear your voice. Amen. August 23 Pray in this way, Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Matthew 6:9 When we go to God in prayer it is essential – always – to look to God as the one who can show us the way to authentic healing – that which uplifts us, changes us for the better and brings us the perfect peace and joy we need. In fact, when we look at the root for the word hallowed we see that it comes from the same place as holy and healing. Holy be God’s name. Healing be God’s name. Holiness and healing are essential to God’s nature. They cannot be separated. When we understand and accept that with our entire being, we begin to experience all the holiness and healing we need. The change in our lives will be miraculous. Holy God, healing God, you are the source of all I need. I seek to be touched by your holy ways today. I ask to be surrounded by your healing goodness in every way. Amen

Friday, August 9, 2013

Week of August 10 - 16

This Devotional can also be found on Facebook at A LIGHT SHINES IN THE DARKNESS August 10 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. Luke 1:68 Throughout the scriptures there is continually woven the assertion that God wants nothing more than to save us from evil, pain, disappointment, hopelessness, helplessness and division. The constant refrain of salvation is clear and strong. In our troubles and distress we must constantly remember this promise of relief and respite. In looking to God and God’s desire for us we can be reminded that we are loved and created for more than disease and strife. This understanding can give us confidence and strength. O God, because you love me, I am offered a hope beyond compare. I ask for your love to lift me and help carry me through days that cause me struggle and fear. Amen. August 11 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. I Corinthians 13:7 Love. It is stronger than any other force in this universe. It sustains us. It under girds us. It motivates us. It empowers us. Look at the love that surrounds you, that flows out of you and that comes graciously to you and let it remind you of what is most important in your life. Allow that love to create in you a force that enables you to rise above the challenges and difficulties you face. Allow it to help you embrace the goodness that is around you every day. Dear God, you are love and you have created me out of love to share love and to be loved in this life. Thank you for this exceedingly generous gift. Amen. August 12 Indeed, you are my lamp, O Lord. The Lord lightens my darkness. II Samuel 22:29 This journey we are on is often lonely and dark. Most of the way we have no idea where we are headed and what it will mean for us. While the path is not clear when we attempt to go it on our own, we are promised that when we walk life’s journey with God we will have a light shining before us to show us the direction that is best for us. Especially on the cancer journey, we need the glow of a comforting, calming, caring light to illuminate our path. Without it we stumble and fall when we do not have to. Too many times I have faltered and slipped along life’s path. Dear God, help me to allow your guiding light to show me a better way. Amen. August 13 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 What is the kingdom of God? The scriptures give us countless descriptions of what is means. It is where peace of mind resides. It is where generosity of spirit reigns. It is where wholeness of body is real. The kingdom of God exists whenever and wherever we experience and realize the wonder and joy of God’s love, forgiveness, healing and purpose for us. How are you realizing the kingdom of God today? What are you doing to enable it to come alive in your life? This kingdom is meant for us all – right here and right now. O God, I need your kingdom to be alive in my life. Help me to see evidence of it today. Help me to create the conditions for it to be realized in me. Amen. August 14 He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. I Samuel 2:8a As we often are reminded in the Bible, God pays special attention to those of us who are weak and impoverished. Whether it is through weakness of body or poverty of spirit, God comes to gift us with strength and abundant riches. It is these gifts that we must seek, especially when we are struggling and in distress. It’s too easy to give up hope and to give in to despair. But these reminders give us reason to keep persevering in spite of the immense challenges before us. They offer us help and saving grace just when we need them most. In spite of all that confronts me, I know that you are offering me another way, another answer to my dilemmas. Thank you for this tremendous gift, O God. Amen. August 15 For he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Luke 1:48a One very evident characteristic of God’s grace and love is that God is always drawn to those of us who are suffering, longing for relief, seeking peace and aching for hope and purpose. Especially in our distress, God is here beside us and around us, offering to give us the blessings of life we need. When we are as low as we think we can get, it is especially then that God is with us – lifting, redeeming and seeking to save us from evil and from even our selves. When, O Lord, I am desperate and low, I need to remember that you are right here with me. That reminder compels me to not give up hope. Amen. August 16 It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us … Isaiah 25:9a Sometimes it seems as if all we do is wait – for answers, for hope, for test results, for good news, for a return to better days. Waiting is incredibly frustrating and difficult much of the time. We are not always very good at it and resent that our timing is not everyone else’s. But it is God’s timing that really matters. It is God who knows just what we need and when we need it. When we have done all that we can possibly think to do to make what we need happen, we can do one more thing – look for God to act in our lives. Waiting for God’s perfect answers for us will save us from frustration and despair. Why is it so hard for me to trust that you will always reach out to strengthen and guide me, O God? I need to remember how you have always helped me before. I need to be confident that you will continue to help me today. Amen.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Week of August 3 - 9

August 3 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5 What does it really mean to be meek? It means to be gentle, humble, patient and without resentment, especially when confronted with injury or when enduring pain. These qualities, we are told, can serve us well and will give us greater power and wealth in this life – spiritually, emotionally and of character – than we can ever imagine. The cancer journey certainly puts us to the test. When we face the test with a meek spirit we are actually gaining strength and renewing our energy for this life we have. Great God, remind me of the inherent power of true meekness. I know I need to appreciate its ability to give me an inheritance of power and might beyond compare. Amen. August 4 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. Isaiah 49:16 Every human palm print is distinct and different. So is every cancer. None of us need the same care, the same treatment or the same response to our circumstances. Yet God knows every nuance of our needs, far beyond even our own understanding. God understands just what we require, just what will give us abundance and strength. We must trust in the fact that we are held in the palm of God’s hand and intimately known and cared for. Reassure me of your understanding, O God, that you know my deepest needs. Hold me closely and remind me that you will never let me out of your care and reach. Amen. August 5 Give us this day our daily bread. Matthew 6:11 This petition in the Lord’s Prayer reassures us that God offers us everything we need, every day. It is a confident expression of hope that God is looking out for us and is walking the path with us to take care of us in incredible and perfect ways. God knows intimately what we require and God knows just what is necessary every moment of our lives. This promise of daily care can nourish us with grace and goodness today. O God, help me to see and know the countless blessings you have for me today. Remind me that I am not alone, that I am cared for in more ways than I can ever conceive. Amen. August 6 He brought me out into a broad place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me. II Samuel 22:20 Each of us is loved and treasured by God, who wants nothing more than for us to know how much we are cherished. Knowing that we are so important can serve as an encouragement to us to keep hope alive on this journey. God does not wish for us to be devoured by discouragement and pain. God only wants for us to experience deliverance from the hopelessness and despair that too often invades our lives. When I am inclined to wallow in self-pity and feel as if I am abandoned, speak to me of your love, O God. I need its reminder to show me my valued place in your heart. Amen. August 7 For the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. Luke 1:49 One especially essential action of each day of our lives is to recall and recount the blessings we have. How have we loved and been loved in return? Where have we found help and support when we needed it most? When has hope proven to be real? Who has cared for us beyond our expectations? When we take the time to reflect seriously and purposefully about the goodness around us, we will undoubtedly discover there are more blessings than we can begin to count. Take that time today. Make it a central part of your day. God, you are the source of all that uplifts and sustains me. You care for me more than I will ever fully know. My gratitude multiplies each time I consider what you have done. Amen. August 8 For you girded me with strength for the battle. II Samuel 22:40a The greatest and most enduring power we can rely upon is the strength that comes from God. It is eternal, unwavering and triumphant. When we take that power upon us we gain resources that we cannot summon on our own. No battle need overwhelm us with God’s power as our foundation and light. We must look beyond ourselves to God’s goodness and grace, taking them upon us as our armor and shield. Your everlasting power is what I need today to face the challenges before me. O God, help me to connect with your power in every way. Amen. August 9 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? Matthew 6:27 These words are profoundly true. Worrying about our circumstances and our future will bring us nothing but anxiety and futility. We must always remember the essence of the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr – which asks for the serenity to accept what we cannot change, the courage to change what we can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Few proverbs are more vital to our peace and well-being. I ask your guidance in revealing the difference to me, dear God. I need serenity. I need courage. I need wisdom today. Amen.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Week of July 27 - August 2

July 27

Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.
     1 Peter 5:7

We are not equipped to carry all our burdens alone. We often try to and continually find we cannot do it. Nor should we. We have been created by a loving God who never stops reaching out to us to help, to strengthen, guide, comfort and carry us through. God does not want or expect us to do this alone. We must not forget our greatest source of hope and well-being – the One who offers solace and release without end.

Dear God, I will give all my cares to you. So often when I don’t know what to do, I know I need to give all my cares to you. Today I will remember that you are my support and supplier of every need. Amen. 

July 28

For you have been a refuge to the poor, a refuge to the needy in their distress, a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade from the heat.
     Isaiah 25:4

From days long ago, people recognized the guiding, comforting hand of God upon them. These words from Isaiah are a testament to that understanding. Many of Isaiah’s words were written in times of deep discouragement and distress. But in spite of those very difficult times people still recognized that God was with them and did care. As you confront the difficulties you may be facing with cancer today, remember these words from ancient times. They serve as age-old reminders of God’s continual care, especially in days of anguish and distress.

When I stop to think and recall those times when help, sustenance and support under gird my days, I am reminded that it is you, O God who provides those gracious gifts. Thank you for your love and grace. Amen. 

July 29

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is not darkness at all.
     1 John 1:5

Cancer can be a very dark disease. It brings with it a host of sinister and foreboding circumstances, worries and fears. But God can take the darkness and pierce it with light – warm, illuminating light to comfort, sustain and help us grow in healing and in hope. Don’t let the darkness descend and linger over you. Instead let the light of God surround you with intention and purpose so that you experience all the goodness you need today.

When I am inclined to let dark thoughts overtake me or doubts overwhelm me today, O God, shine your light on me to show me a better way. Amen. 

July 30

What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?
     Psalm 8:4

God knows everything about us and everything we need. God’s mind surpasses our own in understanding what it takes to find authentic healing and peace. It’s amazing that we can turn to this God to discern what is best for us as we live this day. For God will reveal to us the path we need to follow when we look in God’s direction and are open to new and unconsidered ways.

Dear God, even when I am not mindful of you, you are perfectly mindful of me and of my needs. Help me to connect more closely to you today so I may understand anew your will for me. Amen.

July 31

We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life.
     1 John 1:1

In spite of all the voices speaking discouragement and doubt to us today, there are many others that can speak words of hope and healing. Don’t allow the negative voices to drown out the soothing, encouraging words that can and do abound. Seek out positive people, positive stories and positive solutions today. You deserve to spend this day and every day hearing voices of grace and light. To listen to them equips you and strengthens you for every challenge that lies ahead.

When I consider all you have done for me and all you promise to do, dear God, I know I need not be discouraged about my days. For you have always walked with me, and I know you are today. Amen. 

August 1

Call now; is there anyone who will answer you? To which of the holy ones will you turn?
     Job 5:1

Sometimes in our desperation to find answers for our problems and for life-threatening circumstances we look for answers in too many of the wrong places. That is a very common thing to do when we are frightened and overwhelmed. Our first step needs to be toward God, toward the One who can calm our fears, focus our thinking, assuage our desperation and provide clarity for the road ahead. Today stop the mad rush toward quick or scattered answers. Instead, stop and look to God to center your heart and mind just where they need to be.

Dear God, I need to look to you to gain the right focus for my journey. Help me to put my faith, my trust and my future into your perfect, guiding care. Amen. 

August 2

May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.
     Colossians 1:11-12

Strength for the journey. Patience for the challenges. Joy for the blessings. Each of these gifts we seek, find and accept makes us increasing heirs of God’s wonderful light of hope, healing and promise. When we, in spite or because of the intrusion of cancer into our lives, see these gifts as constantly coming to us from God, we gain a richness of grace and blessing that equips us abundantly our whole life long.

I need to realize that you have already equipped me with an inheritance that will sustain me today and eternally. I forget it too often. But today I want to remember – and live with hope because of it. Thank you, O God. Amen.