Thursday, March 31, 2011

Daily Devotions April 1 - 7, 2011

April 1

The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord accepts my prayer.
     Psalm 6:9

Actually, God hears all our prayers. We never need to fear that God’s ears are closed or that God turns away from our cries for help. We never need to worry that God doesn’t care. Indeed, God knows and understands our de
epest concerns and our most essential needs. There is nothing we can or need to hide from God. God wants us to unburden ourselves of all our anxieties and apprehensions. God recognizes all that disquiets us and assures us of listening so that we may know we are not alone. Our prayers are never in vain. In fact, God knows our needs even before we ask, and is already at work responding to those needs and giving us new life again. We have the blessed assurance of God’s devoted attention and acceptance.

It is a great reassurance to know that you understand the cries of my heart, compassionate God, and reach out to answer me even before I turn to you. I am deeply grateful that you know me so well – and love me so much. Amen.

April 2

… "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will."
     Matthew 11:25-26

Cancer calls us to a new level of understanding. Cancer confronts us with our cherished beliefs and long-held opinions and challenges us to examine them. Cancer compels us to give up what no longer works for us and asks us to establish new habits that create a healthier way of life. It asks us to start again and trust in the way children do – easily, enthusiastically and hopefully. It asks us to trust in ideas we have never considered before, ideas that bring healing and wholeness in brand new ways. It is imperative for us to consider fresh perspectives and thoughts that are more positive and valuable. When we embrace every component that can bring us healing we can strengthen ourselves and have greater resources at our disposal. When we open ourselves to consider with fresh minds it is astounding what we may learn.

Sometimes I close my mind to new ideas, thinking I know enough, O God. But I’m certainly learning that I have so much more to learn. Even when I resist I am grateful for the new perspectives you show me. I am better for them. Amen.

April 3

O Lord my God, in you I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and deliver me.
     Psalm 7:1

Cancer can be incredibly relentless. Often the force with which it hits us and the way it keeps intruding on our lives can be devastating. We discover we cannot deal well with it on our own. Turning to connect with the peace and assurance God provides will inspire us with the strength and focus we need to meet the challenges with confidence. God’s power is greater and more relentless than anything cancer throws at us. God’s healing touch is eternal, outlasting any destructive force cancer can bring. Turning to God is fundamental when we feel overwhelmed and pursued. It reminds us from where our greatest help comes. Placing our lives in God’s hands tells us again and again that we have a partner in the journey, a partner who will provide us with every good and healing foundation we need.

When I can remember that you are right here with me, I am not so weighed down. Dear God, sometimes the burden seems impossible to deal with. But when I consider your presence and your promises I am given renewed relief again. Amen. 

April 4

So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir through God.
     Galatians 4:7

God does not want us to be enslaved to disease. The difficulties of this world are not what God wants us to inherit. While we may have to experience them for a while, they are certainly only temporary with God. What we may have to endure is only for now. But God wants us to be assured that there is something much greater in store for us. Beyond this transient distress is an inheritance that dispels all the problems this world brings. God offers us a greater world where pain is comforted, where disappointment is soothed and where hardship is turned to ease. We are not created by God to live in anguish or anxiety. Instead we are created for goodness, wholeness and peace. This is what God wants us to have. Believe in this inheritance, live reaching for it and it will be yours.

You love me more than I can understand, dear God. Your desire for my well-being is far greater than anything I can imagine. I hold onto this certainty to give me courage and strength when everything else seems so uncertain. Amen. 

April 5

God is my shield …
     Psalm 7:10a

We must commit this truth to our hearts and minds and never let it be forgotten. We need to understand that there is an eternal presence surrounding us in both the good times and the bad. God is a shelter and a haven. Everything that confronts us can be overcome. Every terrible thing we feel can be soothed. Every moment of fear can be resolved. Every enemy can be vanquished. And not only that, but when we look to God not just when times are bad, but also when they are good, we begin to grow stronger and this provides us with a better foundation for anything we may have to face. It is amazing what we can overcome when we turn to the One who is greater than anything this world can give us.

Infinite God, your presence in my life is far greater than anything I am able to comprehend or say. You guide me. You protect me. You help me. You heal me. You are the answer to all my needs and cares. Thank you, deeply and gratefully. Amen. 


April 6

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
     Ecclesiastes 4:9

The tendency to feel sorry for ourselves is a common one. When our bodies don’t react as they once did, when reports about our health are not what we’d like them to be, when life changes in ways we don’t ask for, we can and do easily retreat into self-pity. It is imperative that we know we don’t have to walk this path alone. We need to have others in our lives who can help encourage us, lift us up and enable us see things from a larger perspective. The tendency to become so self-absorbed can cause us to fail to see what is good around us and to miss vital avenues of help. We are deeply blessed people when we allow others into our lives who can support us and provide positive perspectives for us every day, perspectives we can’t always see on our own.

I do feel as if I am walking this journey alone too often, O God. But I realize that kind of thinking does me no good. Open my eyes to those who care about me and help me to accept their support and love today. Amen. 

April 7

When you pass through the waters, I shall be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; …
     Isaiah 43:2a

There are many times on this journey when it feels as if we’re drowning – drowning in fear, drowning in uncertainty, drowning in exhaustion, drowning in forces beyond our control. A cancer diagnosis sweeps us up into turbulent and raging waters. It brings with it violent storms of doubt and distress. We feel as if we are being carried away against our will. We wonder if we can overcome all that has poured out upon us. But God promises us we can. God tells us we will. God reassures us that no matter how far we are plunged into cancer’s depths, God will be with us and we need not be overwhelmed. God is here to keep us from going under. We always need to remember we have this lifeline, constant and true.

Being overwhelmed seems to be a way of life for me so often, dear God. So often I feel as if I’m being pulled under. When I feel out of control I need you to lift me up and I call out to you for that today. Amen.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Light Shines in the Darkness

Coming on Friday, April 1 - A Light Shines in the Darkness: Daily Devotions for Those Living with Cancer!