Friday, July 29, 2011

Week of July 30 - August 5

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.

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.

Friday, July 22, 2011

July 23

What is my strength, that I should wait? And what is my end, that I should be patient?
     Job 6:11

When confronted with cancer we quickly want the disease to be gone, the threat to be over. We clamor for answers and a good, fast ending to this intrusion in our lives. But often the resolution isn’t quick and dealing with cancer becomes lifelong and chronic. We lose patience and become easily frustrated when resolution doesn’t come as we want or expect. But when we choose to accept and recognize the ongoing nature of our circumstances and choose to make the best of them, we turn a vital page toward a more healthy and positive attitude. That attitude will serve us well as we deal with this disease – turning it from one we fight against into one where we create an atmosphere of wellness instead.
Help me to move from a sense of desperate urgency into a place of strong resolve, understanding calm and inherent well-being, O God. For I need to change my attitude to regain my greatest strength. Amen.

July 24

But the word of the Lord endures forever. That word is the good news that was announced to you.
     1 Peter 1:25

From the beginning of recorded human understanding of God there has been the promise of good news amidst all that was bad in the world. And from the beginning there have always been those who could see through the darkness, past the discouragement and beyond the despair to glimpse a better day to come. While the world has stumbled from one disaster to another; there have always been people of God who have found compelling evidence of God’s action for healing, restoration, salvation and relief in spite of it all. These actions still are strong and evident today. May this day reveal them profoundly and clearly to you.
I desperately need good news today, O God. I need to know, to see and to feel the promises for hope that you offer. Open my soul to understanding this reality today.   Amen.

July 25

And you will say in that day: Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name; make known his deeds among the nations; proclaim that his name is exalted.
     Isaiah 12:4

Gratitude. Thanksgiving. Appreciation.
All are vital and necessary attitudes to possess on a constant basis. The more we recognize and affirm what God has done, is doing and assures us will be done, the more we face life and our personal challenges with grace, joy and peace. Make it a specific goal each day to know how God supports and upholds you. It will make a tremendous difference in the way you approach everyone and everything that comes to you.
In gratitude I look to you. In thanksgiving I come to you. In appreciation I place my trust in you, my Hope and my Salvation. Amen.

July 26

For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
     1 John 3:11

It is the loving relationships we foster that bring the richest meaning to our lives - relationships that bring us joy, relationships that sustain us through difficult times, relationships that enable us to reach out in service and grace. Relationships that draw us from our selves and compel us to selflessness are the richest and most blessed gifts in our lives. We have been created to nurture these kinds of relationship. The love they engender makes living worthwhile.
Loving God, you created us out of love for love. Remind me of the love I have been given to help me share abundantly in return. This love gives meaning and purpose to all my days. Amen.

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.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Week of July 16 - 22

July 16

Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace – in peace because they trust in you.
     Isaiah 26:3

Our minds are often at war. We doubt. We do not trust. We are cynical. We are easily angered. We too quickly judge. We harbor perceptions that are actually far from truth. Yet through God our doubts can be resolved, our trust restored, our cynicism removed, our anger redirected, our judgments relieved and our faulty perceptions revealed with the truth. In that we can experience peace. When we rely on the One who is perfectly worthy of our trust, we can find tranquility and calm infinitely.

When I allow you to show me the truth and the way I can begin to enjoy a peaceful, serene life. I thank you for this gift, O God. Help me to accept it willingly today. Amen.

July 17

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners.
     Isaiah 61:1

What good news will you share today? What story will you tell of the blessings you receive in life? What example will you set to show those around you that there is hope and wonder that abounds? What difference will you make in the life of your community, a difference that will make your community better and stronger? What healing gift will you give to someone – including yourself – this day? You are anointed. You are called. By having life today you are chosen to show the world that God is real and that God is good. By answering that call you proclaim a message of triumph that all of us need to hear.

I know my life has meaning and purpose, O God. I want to live out that purpose with this day you have given me. Amen.

July 18

In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials.
     1 Peter 1:6

When we are mired in the throes of a cancer diagnosis and treatment, it seems as if we will never be away from it or out of its intensity again. But God promises us that bad times and concentrated difficulties do not have to last forever. When we are inclined – as we often are – to feel sorry for ourselves and believe as if nothing will ever improve, we need to remember God’s assurance that these disturbing times will one day fade away. One day our lives will find the respite, relief and refreshment they need.

Don’t let me wallow in self-pity or defeat, dear Lord. Remind me today that bad times won’t last. Remind me that better days really are ahead. Amen.

July 19

Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander.
     1 Peter 2:1

There are more than enough burdens to carry when we deal with cancer. We don’t need the unnecessary weight of bitterness, anger, resentment and any other unresolved negative feelings pulling us down. The first thing we must work on is learning to release, let go and forgive. We must confront the influence that negativity holds on our lives and instead allow God to shoulder the weight for us.

One of the hardest choices to make is to let you handle the tough parts of my life. But today I will resolve to allow you to take care of my struggles and pain, O God. In that I know I will begin to find strength and peace. Amen.

July 20

Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.
     1 Peter 4:10

While none of us is created exactly the same, each of us has been created with unique and invaluable gifts that mark each of us as someone worthy and special. Recognizing our gifts and using them to the best of our abilities is our reason for living and surviving in this world. No matter what our status, our circumstances or our situation, as long as we have life we have the ability to touch others, to make a positive difference and to create a lasting legacy for the ages. In understanding and using our gifts we give value and meaning to every day of our lives.

Dear God, help me to know the gifts you have given me and the gift I am to this world. Help me, too, to take these gifts and share them to a world that needs them today. Help me to accomplish the purpose you have created in me. Amen.

July 21

For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Do not fear, I will help you.”
     Isaiah 41:13

Like children straining for autonomy and independence, we quickly like to loosen our grip from the guiding hand of God. Yet like lost or frightened children, we also quickly seek to slip back into our parents’ grip for comfort and security. When we go through the insecurity and discomfort of cancer, the grip of God’s caring, loving hand can be the best thing we have. Remember to hold onto that hand – always open, always outstretched and always ready for us. We cannot face this challenge alone. We need God’s guidance to show us the healing way.

I know I cannot do this alone, O God. I know I need your help and direction. I know when I let my hand slip from yours, you will be beside me. Hold it out for me to grasp onto it – to you – again. Thank you. Amen.

July 22

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
     1 John 4:1

It’s never easy to know the truth when cancer confronts us – what is the truth about our treatment, our prognosis, our options and our future? There are so many questions that have no definitive answers. Getting an answer to one question only leads to many more questions to ask. The truth is very difficult to find. And this is where we must rely on the help of a loving God to equip our spirits with a passion for seeking the truth, a discernment to understand when we find it and a resolve to implement it for our well-being.

Dear God, when I consider all there is to know to experience healing in my life I realize my abilities come from you. I hope I will never fail to look to you every step along the way. Amen.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Week of July 9 - 15

July 9

The darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining.
     1 John 2:8b

The fact is God is already at work answering our prayers and meeting our needs even before we know them or ask. God is already showing us the way to healing, the way to hope and the way to relief before we can even begin to understand our circumstances. God’s light already shines upon us. God’s light already shines within us. God’s light already shines around us because God will never allow total darkness to overcome us. We need to look for that light, the many lights that God provides for this journey. They are always here to illuminate the way.

Don’t let the darkness overwhelm me, O God. I’m inclined to let it descend on me and I think it will always stay. I need to be reminded that your light is eternally lit so that I may see a better way. Thank you for reminding me today. Amen.

July 10

I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
     3 John 4

So much information. So many opinions. So much to understand. So many conflicting words of advice. We often don’t know what truth is and what is not. This journey we’ve been thrust upon causes us to question, doubt and fear. We need the truth more than ever right now. Don’t give up on finding it. Don’t be afraid to question, to research or to look in different places. Don’t despair that the answers aren’t obviously there. The truth does reveal itself. Sometimes we need to be open to unexpected voices to hear it and looking in unanticipated places to find it.

Reveal your will for me. Reveal you way for me. Reveal your truth for me, today, O God. Amen.

July 11

Let that day be darkness!! May God above not seek it, or light shine on it.
     Job 3:4

Like Job, there will be days we will want to curse; there will be times we will want to condemn. It’s human nature. When distress happens we call out to decry its entrance into our lives. But even though Job looked at God and wondered why, he ultimately never walked away from God and finally acknowledged that God walked with him through the doubt and despair. Job may have wavered. But he never gave up. He may have questioned. But in the end he knew God was caring for him in his desperation and need. In our distress, may we understand that too.

I certainly do doubt and I often complain, O God. Yet I know you are right here with me as I walk this path. In that I ultimately know comfort and strength. Amen.

July 12

Let them turn away from evil and do good; let them seek peace and pursue it.
     1 Peter 3:11

Resolving to seek a higher purpose is a vital key to finding a reason for living well this life we have been given. Recognizing that we were created to make a difference for good, to make the world better for our having been in it and to form peace out of trouble is a great motivator for engendering passion and meaning in this life. Such purpose can bring richness and joy to our lives. In understanding that purpose we make each day more wonderful and contribute to a healing environment more than we can imagine. 

Help me to create a healing environment for each new day, dear God. Help me to define my purpose so I may live more richly and fully with this day you have given me and with each new day to come. Amen.

July 13

We love because he first loved us.
     1 John 4:19

Love is what gives meaning to our lives. Its rich blessings and deep feelings are tremendous gifts that all of us need. We need love especially when cancer enters our lives. We need to know we’re important. We need to know others care. We need to know we are not left alone in our fear and distress. Love’s power to satisfy and sustain us is a very powerful key to our survival. Reflect today on the love you have been given and on the love you desire to share. Allow that love to motivate and strengthen you for today and each day that comes ahead. Love is a profound affirmation that life is worth fighting for.

When I take the time to reflect on and recall the love I have been given and the love I have shared, I am profoundly grateful, dear Lord. That love will motivate and inspire me today. Amen.

July 14

What are human beings that you make so much of them, that you set your mind on them?
     Job 7:17


Job, like so many before and after him, wondered what our life is about. What is our purpose? Why are we here? How are we to live and believe? If we acknowledge that a higher power, a divine and eternal God created and gave meaning to us, then we must ask the same questions too. And in our asking and our seeking what begins to be revealed is the reason for our life and the significance of days. It is important, too, to ask what purpose cancer has for our lives. In the asking and in the seeking we can discover a way to give it relevance. In understanding that relevance we gain power over it and can use it to transform our lives to a greater purpose.

I want to understand why I am here and what I can do to make sense and meaning out of this cancer. Dear Lord, help me to know how to use this for transformation and for good. Amen.

July 15

For you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. 
     1 Thessalonians 5:5

When the darkness that is cancer invades our lives, we are often tempted to allow it to overwhelm us. It is too easy to give in to despair, negativity and defeat. But we have a light, powered by God, which can burn brightly in the darkness around us. We do not have to allow the descending darkness to remain. Instead we can turn to the light of hope, positive attitudes and gratitude to dawn in our spirits and lives.

Dear God, you are the light that brightens the moments and days of my distress. When I am inclined to give into dark thoughts and emotions, help me to turn to your illumining flame in their place. Amen.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Week of July 2 - 8

July 2

My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.
     Isaiah 32:18

How well do you create times and moments of respite and calm in your life? How often do you make an effort to seek refreshment of your mind, your body and your soul? How much do you step back to be still, to listen and watch to know that God is here and that God is good? Be mindful today of the time you take to restore your thoughts, your physical self and your spirit to a more positive place. Make certain it is enough to put you in touch with God’s goodness within and around.

There is no need for me to ever be so depleted that I cannot see and feel the goodness you have given me, O God. Help me – every day – to renew my trust and hope in you. Amen.

July 3

He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep.
     Isaiah 40:11

In our distress, God comes to us like a loving, protecting shepherd. God nourishes us. God surrounds us with comfort and love. God lifts us and holds us close. God guides us and those caring for us in the right ways to go. God is indeed with us through every moment of this journey, no matter how dark the night or frightening the fight. We are not alone. With God we never will be.

I need your protection, dear God. I need your help and your tender care every day. I am glad you are always there. Amen.

July 4

You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it? From this time forward I make you hear new things, hidden things that you have not known.
     Isaiah 48:6


While there are undeniably untold numbers of challenges that cancer can bring, many also point to its potential for blessings. When we allow it, cancer can teach us to make new and better priorities. It can reveal new strengths within us. It can show us new and healthier ways of living. It can foster new depths to our relationships. It can provide us a new understanding of our spiritual natures and of God. It can create in us a new level of wellness we had never known before.

There are new things I am learning day by day, dear Lord. Help me to reflect on these new things and allow them to bring new meaning to my life. Amen.

July 5

For the Lord has comforted his people, and will have compassion on his suffering ones.
     Isaiah 49:13b

Throughout the scriptures is woven the thread of God’s compassion for us. In verse after verse and story after story, we can see astounding evidence of God’s mercy, healing power, forgiveness, grace and infinite love. In moments of deep discomfort and draining distress we need to turn to these words and promises of compassion to bring us comfort and relief. God will not, does not, leave us to face our anxieties alone.

From ancient days to now, you have proven your care and blessings upon your people, O God. I ask for that understanding to be constantly present in my mind as I face any challenges I will have today. Thank you for caring for me even when I forget you do. Amen.

July 6

Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock.
     Isaiah 26:4

Throughout the scriptures we are reminded that God’s timing, understanding and will are not ours. That is, God has a way of acting in our lives and in this world that is far greater, supremely better and infinitely more perfect than anything we can imagine or design. It is when we connect with those ways – God’s timing, God’s understanding and God’s will – that we ultimately find the strength and ability we need to effectively face every challenge that comes before us.

I know that my own limited attempts at overcoming my difficulties and rising above my weaknesses are never going to save me. But I also know that when I place my trust in your ways, I can find answers and help I never knew existed. Thank you for supporting me in my weakness, O God. Amen.

July 7

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
     Isaiah 12:3

God’s love is like an oasis in a dry and parched desert. God’s active care for us overflows to refresh and satisfy us. God’s sustaining, cleansing help quenches our need for fulfillment and relief. Today is a day when we need to renew ourselves to drinking in God’s love, care and help in every possible way we can. There is no other force that is as infinite, eternal, lasting, perfect and strong as God’s concern for our well-being and salvation. Rely on that force today to give you everything you need.

I cannot do this alone, O God. I need a source of help that is far greater than I am to see me through. I know you are that force. So I come to you today for the guidance and support I need. Amen.

July 8

But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one.
     2 Thessalonians 3:3

What is the evil in my life? Is it the disease I am told I have? Is it unresolved anger and guilt? Is it self-absorption? Is it addiction to any number of things? Is it self-righteousness and judgment? Is it fear and lack of courage? Is it a weak character and deficiency of courage? Is it absence of faith? All of us struggle in one way or another with evil. It’s part of our human condition. But we have been given access to the divine condition so we may rise above our weakness and frailty. Today is the day to resolve to connect with the divine so we may find relief from the evil within.

When I begin to look beyond myself and my troubles and turn to you, I find strength to rise above it all and experience new hope in you, O God. Thank you for your unending gifts to help me. Amen.