Friday, November 25, 2011

Week of November 26 - December 2

November 26

My soul is also struck with terror, while you, O Lord -- how long?
     Psalm 6:3

How much longer do I have to endure this? How much more do I have to put up with the fear? How much time do I have to give to a disease that I never wanted in the first place? Does the rest of my life have to be spent wondering…worrying…waiting? The days when my troubles seemed so much easier to manage seem so far away, so long gone. Will the terror that keeps cropping up inside me always remain? Is God listening to my fear? Does God really know what I am going through? Does God really care?

Answer me, today, O God, answer me and take away my anxiety. Take away my apprehension. Take away my concern. Take my disquietedness from me. You are the One who can help me, the One who can give me the vision I need for better days. Amen.

November 27

But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.
     James 1:22

We must each take an active, positive leading role in our own healing and health. No one else can do that for us. Others can support. They can help. They can pray. They can encourage. But each of us has the right and the responsibility to take the lead in creating the conditions upon which our renewed life, energy and attitudes are based. No other person knows us better than we do ourselves. No one can create for us our inner strength and peace. Only we can do that – along with God – for our own well-being. Today, resolve to act in one more meaningful way. Create a better atmosphere for healing than you have ever created before. The difference it makes will help transform your life.

I need courage. I need faith. I need guidance. I need help, O Lord. This is the day you have made – a day for me to receive a wonderfully transforming spirit from you. Amen.

November 28

You came forth to save your people, to save your anointed.
     Habakkuk 3:13a

Some of the most reassuring words of encouragement for the journey come from the people thousands of years ago who felt deeply separated from God. Those who struggled deeply, doubted continuously and cried out in distress loudly have written some of the world’s most passionate declarations of hope and restoration when they realized that God was with them through every danger, every toil and every snare. Even though there were many times when they questioned God’s inaction, the scriptures tell us time and again how they realized God was more involved and more faithful than they ever imagined. Their understanding of that kept them going. The same understanding can keep you going too.

God of my good times, God of my bad times, I know you are with me through them all. I know how you never abandon me or let me walk this path alone. Even when I don’t see you, I am reminded that you are always here. Thank you for being so constant. Amen.

November 29

Deliverance belongs to the Lord, may your blessings be on your people!
     Psalm 3:8

We must never forget that our greatest hope comes from God. The one who created us and knows us better than we know ourselves is the one who can give us all that we need. God understands what is on our minds. God understands what is held deeply in our hearts. God understands what our bodies require. God understands what our spirits need. In this intimate understanding God guides us toward the healing power we need. Indeed, God does bless us with the means to find deliverance from all that distresses us and all that threatens our strength and well-being.

Thanks be to you, O God, for your great understanding of my needs. You know me better than I know myself. So I turn to you and listen for your voice, the voice that speaks of your healing ways. Amen.

November 30

‘He will command his angels concerning you’, and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’
     Matthew 4:6b

God is with us every moment as we make our way through this life. That includes the present journey we are on with cancer. God is with us inside our hearts and minds. God’s spirit surrounds us everywhere we go. God provides loving and caring people to support, help and encourage us in countless ways. Our greatest hope is in remembering that we never need to go through this journey alone. In more ways and through more people than we can ever really know, God works out a purpose for us and offers us everything we need. Our simple task is to open ourselves up to hearing God and discerning God’s grace in our need and God’s will for our lives.

I know you send angels of mercy, angels of comfort, angels of healing and angels of encouragement to me constantly, loving God. I know you are reaching out to help and protect me in ways I can never fully appreciate. And I am grateful to you as I am reminded of this protection and grace today. Amen.

December 1

Answer me when I call, O God of my right!
     Psalm 4:1a

In so many of our lives today, when we phone others we get busy signals. Or we quickly get put on hold. Or our calls are screened. Or we must navigate through a dozen messages in order to reach who we need. Or we have to leave a message that never gets returned. It’s especially frustrating when we are seeking answers that directly impact on our health and lives. In our desperation and anxiety we want to reach the ones who can help us without complication or delay. But with God it is not complicated. With God there is no delay. Because God is already at work even before we ask or know what to ask. God is the One whose line is always open, who never screens us and who is never too busy to hear.

I remember that you are always listening, even when I am not calling to you. Your ear is already waiting for my voice. Your hands are already creating a solution for me. Thank you for always being ready for me, O God. Amen.

December 2

O Lord, I have heard of your renown, and I stand in awe, O Lord, of your work.
     Habakkuk 3:2a,b

When we think about it - really pause to think about it - we can begin to see how very much God is working out good things in our lives. But we cannot just take them for granted. We must purposefully and intentionally make time to see and know just what God is doing for us. When we do we will be amazed. When we do we will be transformed. When we do we will see our lives becoming more positive, more joyful and more healthy. The more we understand how God is involved in bringing healing to our lives the more we will grow in gratitude and appreciation. The more grateful and appreciative we become, the more we will view life through God’s eyes. It is through God’s eyes that we will grow more assured of our direction and our purpose.

I can scarcely comprehend all you do for me, generous God. But each time I glimpse more of your goodness on my behalf, I am amazed at how intimately you care for me. I stand ready to become even more amazed today as I continue to look and to see how wonderful you truly are. Amen.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Week of November 19 - 25

November 19
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there
was light.
     Genesis 1:3

God does not desire for us to live in fear or
uncertainty. Cancer can surely cause us to fall into
the depths of darkness and despair. But God’s will
for us is to shine a light on our path, illuminating
our way. With God we do not have to stumble or
wander aimlessly, not knowing in which direction to
go. With God we are given hope and the grace to
find our way with resolve and confidence. With God
we can meet each day, each challenge and each
detour with the assurance that we are never alone
and are always given a light to guide us to where
we need to be.

When darkness overtakes me, O Lord, I call to you for help
and reassurance. Shine your warming, redirecting light as
a beacon for my way. Amen.

November 20
And I will grant peace in the land, and you shall
lie down, and no one shall make you afraid; I
will remove dangerous animals from the land,
and no sword shall go through your land.
     Leviticus 26:6

Throughout the scriptures it is repeated again
and again – God desires to save us from the
destructive, dangerous and difficult forces within
and around us. God’s only desire is for us to find
peace, to reside without fear, to protect us from
harm and to keep us from division. When disease
threatens us with pain and peril, we need to
remember God’s promises. God wants neither for
us to suffer nor for us to live in hopelessness and
despair. God plans only for our well-being and our
relief. Claim those promises today. Live believing
they are for you.

O God our help in ages past and our hope in days to come,
I place my life in your hands, trusting in your overwhelming
love to carry me through. Amen.

November 21
“Whatever you ask in prayer with faith, you will
     Matthew 21:22

If we want something to work for us the first and
most essential step is to believe it will work. If we
believe that establishing a connection with God
through prayer can give us strength, guidance
and vision, it surely will. As we put our trust in
the power of God to show us a better way, we will
surely find a better way to face the challenges that
confront us. Connecting with the power of eternity
that God gives us helps us profoundly to see
answers we could never see on our own. Believing
that God has only the best in mind for us will
encourage and energize us beyond imagination.
Putting our trust in a divine authority will enable us
to discover renewed hope for each new day.

In confidence I reach out to you, Lord, to show me the
direction you want me to go. I know you want only the
best for my life. I look to you in faith today to help me
understand what all that means for me. Amen.

November 22
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or what you will drink, or about
your body, what you will wear. Is not life more
than food, and the body more than clothing?
     Matthew 6:25

There are at least two very important lessons here.
The first is that worry does us no good. Worry
indicates a lack of trust in God’s care for us and a
lack of confidence in our own ability to create an
atmosphere of healing. The second is that to create
an atmosphere of healing we need to be aware of
more than just our physical condition. Survivors
understand that all the aspects of our nature –
mental, emotional, spiritual, as well - must align
together to produce the conditions for strength to
build, for energy to return and for health to restore.
We cannot find authentic healing without that
integration. God has created us that way.

In my darker moments I allow my fears to get the best of
me. When I do, O God, I realize I need to regain my trust in
myself and in you. Help me to use all the gifts you’ve given
me to heal. Amen.

November 23
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow
nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your
heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of
more value than they?
       Matthew 6:26

Realizing our significance in God’s eyes is an
important part of creating the best conditions for
healing. Understanding our valued place in God’s
kingdom is one of the most vital gifts we can give
ourselves. Knowing how much God wants us
to believe we are created in a divine image can
change our outlooks in many positive ways. When
we comprehend how much God loves us and wants
to help us, our lives are renewed and transformed.
We are changed for the better when we believe
inherently that God cares for us deeply and that
God’s only will is for us to have only the best of life
and love.

My value in your eyes is ultimately impossible for me to
understand, dear Lord. The love you have for me is far
more deep and strong than I can ever know. But as I grow
more aware, I thank you for the way it gives me hope and
new life. Amen.

November 24
But if God so clothes the grass of the field,
which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown
into the oven, will he not much more clothe you
– you of little faith?
     Matthew 6:30

The scriptures remind us that we are God’s most
intricate and loved creations. We are even more
special and beautiful in God’s mind than all the
majestic mountains, all the vast seas, all the
splendid vistas and all the galaxies of the heavens.
The wonder of creation is incredibly complex. Yet
we are even more wonderful in the eyes of God.
So why do we forget? Why do we worry and
panic over what could come? Why do we lose
today’s promise over what we fear might happen
tomorrow? We forget God’s deeply expressed
grace and love. Remember - God doesn’t forget
us. God doesn’t abandon us. God is working to
give us all the help and guidance we need. Always.

Faithful God, I’m sorry when I don’t remember your help for
me yesterday or your promise for me tomorrow, much less
your blessings for me right now, today. But I want today to
be different. I need the faith to know you care. Amen.

November 25
O Lord, heal me, for my bones are shaking with
     Psalm 6:2b

There are days when we have to admit we are
unbearably afraid. Deep down in our souls we feel
utterly alone, agonizingly uncertain and frighteningly
ready to give up. On those days, when we have
nothing else left, we need to cry out to God. We
need to pour out our fears openly and completely.
God understands. God cares how we feel. When
no other voice will calm us, when no other touch
will comfort us, God’s love for us is the one thing
strong enough to lift us from our despair. This love
is the best gift we have to get through our darkest
moments. It will never abandon us.

I can’t even begin to express what I’m going through some
days. O God, even when I don’t know how to say how
afraid I feel I am so grateful I can just call to you. You know
just what I need. You know just what I feel. You know me
better than I know myself. Amen.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Week of November 12 - 18

November 12
Look at the nations, and see! Be astonished! Be astounded! For a work is being done in your days that you would not believe if you were told. 
     Habakkuk 1:5
Even when we stop to look and see what God is doing in our lives we can scarcely begin to comprehend all that is taking place. God’s care for us is so deep. God’s love for us is so unconditional. God’s grace for us is so constant. God’s desire for our healing is so strong. But when we make it a practice to mindfully recount the care, love and grace we receive on a daily basis, we begin to heal – emotionally, mentally and spiritually, which only promotes our physical healing. While in this life we can never fully know God’s awesome power, we can certainly catch glimpses. And those glimpses can inspire us to see wonders and possibilities that we’ve never seen before.
Every time I stop to look at your work on my behalf I am amazed. O Lord, I can barely name what you do for me. I can rarely express how generous you are. I pray my wordlessness can still speak my gratitude for you. Amen.

November 13
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
     Colossians 3:12

We have a choice. We can affect a demeanor that is angry, bitter, distrusting, cynical, arrogant or selfish. But that choice will not give us abiding peace. It will not bring us satisfying love. It will not generate hope. It is not a choice that promotes healing. The other choice is laid out for us in the passage above. It is the better choice, the choice that creates the fertile atmosphere in which health is renewed and restored. Look at your attitude and ask yourself about the atmosphere you have created around you. Is it rich and nourishing or is it depleting and empty? You have the choice to make it positive and joyful in countless ways.
The more I place my mind and actions in your care, the more I feel your presence and power, O God. My prayer today is to remember how you act toward me. It is a balm that soothes and uplifts my soul. I hope it is reflected in my daily life. Amen.

November 14
I am weary with my moaning;…
     Psalm 6:6a

There is no doubt that some days just simply take everything out of us. On those days there is nothing good to say, nothing to look forward to, nothing to hope for. Those days get awfully tiring. They drain us of our energy and often of our hope. When days like those multiply without much or any relief, our discouragement and doubt multiply too. Sometimes we just have to acknowledge where we are, that our spirits and our outlook are bleak. Sometimes it is healing in its own special way to communicate to God how tired and frustrated and frightened we are. Because God understands. And God can help us to find the way to relief, rest and refreshment.
I know you, alone, can take all my complaints and my dissatisfactions and turn them into something better. So I come to you O God, to take the burdens from me today. Amen.

November 15
If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you.
     James 1:5

None of us can make this journey on our own. None of us has every answer, knows every nuance or understands every possibility. But God does. And God wants us to receive every answer we need, be aware of every nuance for hopeful living and comprehend every possibility of our healing. There is amazing power in connecting with God to explore the divine and eternal blessings that are offered to us completely, unendingly and without price. We need to remember that we are not alone in this challenge. We must never forget what a friend we have through the gracious love of God.
Thank you, generous God, for offering to me so much more than I realize or know. Thank you for giving to me everything I need to find healing and triumph today - and every day in my life. Amen.

November 16
“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,…”
     Matthew 5:44

The reminder is necessary and worth continual repeating – forgiveness is an essential part of authentic healing. We must allow the weight to be lifted from our hearts. The burdens we carry only get in the way. It is imperative to put aside the brokenness within us and allow all the pieces of our lives to be put back together again. The road to survival is hard enough to travel. When we lug so much extra baggage along the way, we only hurt ourselves. We hinder the healing that needs to take place. Resolve every day to take stock of the negative weight you carry. Resolve to unburden yourself today.
It’s sometimes the hardest thing I need to do. O God, I need your help to empower my ability to forgive. I ask for the strength to resolve my anger and bitterness, my resentments and grudges today. Amen.

November 17
O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me;
     Psalm 3:1

We are all bombarded by challenges to our well-being. Every day the enemies of health and peace assault us. We confront the forces of pain and feel our strength diminish within us. There are days when it simply overwhelms us. We wonder if we can go on, if the struggle is worth it in the end. Taking our fears and burdens to God is the best thing we can do. Calling out to the One who is already at work equipping us for the challenge enables us to begin summoning the resources to confront the assault and meet it in the most healing way.
It’s very easy to think that everything is going against me some days. I often have trouble seeing beyond that to better days. Help me moment by moment, dear God, to recognize the power you give me to rise above the trouble and to see the hope. Amen.

November 18
Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
     Colossians 3:14

An attitude that above all else is based on love is an essential healing component. Love has a positive outlook. Love looks for what is right. Love strives for goodness. Love puts aside bitterness and resentment. Love reaches out in compassion. Love reflects God’s grace. Love kindles hope. Love concerns itself with service. Love listens actively and responds in kindness. Love embraces faith. Love casts aside judgments. Love soothes a troubles soul. Love makes the journey worthwhile. Love is a balm that helps put the pieces back together again.
Creator of Love, help me to allow the love you have for me be a healing presence within me today. I pray that love, which endures all things, will help me to overcome all my worries and concerns. Amen.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Week of November 5 - 11

November 5
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
     Matthew 11:29

Where can we find relief from the relentless challenges that often wear us down? How can we find respite and recovery? When can we find healing and hope as disease continues to haunt and hurt us? We can find them when we resolve not to carry the burden all on our own. We can find them as we learn to rely on God’s promise of guidance and support. We can find them when we rely on the genuine support of others. We can find them when we develop strategies to care for ourselves in healthier ways that bring us renewal and refreshment. We can find them by actively developing an attitude of positive and realistic hope. We can find them by believing that indeed we can and will be healed in countless ways.
Dear God, I need to have the burdens lifted and respite restored. I know you provide that help in more ways than I can imagine. Help me to imagine them today. Amen.

November 6
…spread your protection over them, so that those who love your name may exult in you.
     Psalm 5:11b

Seek out people who are positive in outlook and affirming in manner. Find those who believe in the loving help of God. Cultivate relationships with others who exhibit an active trust in the power of hope. These people serve as wonderful role models and mentors for us on the cancer journey. They know that God does bring healing to us and they live in that knowledge every day. They have experienced and witnessed the gracious care of God and they live in gratitude for the tremendous blessings they have received. Their very lives praise God. They are the very people we need to be around. We can learn from them and grow because of them. We need them in our lives.
I thank you, O God, for those in this world whose lives are a rich and special tribute to your goodness. I am grateful for those in my life who show me this way. I pray to find even more of them to lift me closer to you. Amen.

November 7
And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight,
     Philippians 1:9

So often it’s not that God isn’t actively working to help us and answer our prayers, but it’s that we don’t understand what God is doing. Indeed, God is always working, always reaching out, always offering us solutions and support for our needs. But so many times in our very limited human understandings of what we need and of God’s infinite power to provide for our needs, we have a failure of imagination and possibility. Our ability to discern God’s care and concern for us is hindered when we limit what we believe can be real. It is hindered when we limit what God can do.
Dear God, I’m sorry when I close my mind and soul to your offers of grace and renewal in my life. But today I ask for the wisdom and spirit to expand my thinking and to open my heart to the tremendous help you give. Amen.

November 8
…you cover them with favor as with a shield.
     Psalm 5:12b

More than anything else, God wants to protect and save us – from our own self-destructive tendencies, from the hurtfulness of others and from the ravages of disease and pain. Our hope and salvation comes from believing so strongly in God’s redeeming power and amazing grace that we accept them as the ruling principles in our lives. When we have a foundational belief in the unconditional love of God as our source of healing and life, we elevate our lives to a higher level and set a standard for living and being that transforms us positively.
Today I will allow your love to lift me higher than I have ever been lifted before. Dear God, I need your presence to see me through. I know, when I allow it, it will empower me like I’ve never been empowered before. Amen.

November 9
But he answered, “It is written, `One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
     Matthew 4:4

As important as it is to care for our physical needs, it is at least equally important to care for our spiritual health as well. As we focus on the threats to our bodily well-being that cancer brings, it is very easy to neglect our spirits and souls. But a spirit that is depleted and a soul that is empty cannot provide us with the inner strength we need to fully confront our diagnosis and maximize our potential for survival. We must pay care and attention to nurturing the part of ourselves that provides us light, gives us hope and transcends the fear around us. That care is as important as anything else we do.
When I don’t take the time to connect with you, dear God, I lose something vital inside me. In this moment as I pray to you, I reclaim my need for you and your amazing grace. Amen.

November 10
I cry aloud to the Lord, and he answers me from his holy hill.
     Psalm 3:4

My answers alone are never quite enough. My perspectives by themselves are limited in their scope. While I know might know myself intimately, God knows me even more. God’s view transcends this world, this moment. God’s view is an eternal one. God’s understandings go beyond this place and time. God’s holy view, from the vantage point of eternity, sees what we do not and cannot. This perspective is the one with which we need to connect to know our way, the way that is best for our healing and our ongoing journey through life.
Holy God, you answer me in greater ways than I can imagine. You call back to me with thoughts I have never considered. You speak to me with the clarity I really need. Because of your eternal understandings I am richly blessed. Amen.

November 11 

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having everything, to stand firm.
     Ephesians 6:13

Surround yourself with caring people whom you can trust, those who love you and want only the best for you. Commit to whatever form of exercise brings you energy and enjoyment. Create and maintain an attitude of expectation and hopefulness. Nourish your body with food that is fresh, whole and colorful. Nurture relationships with medical professionals that are mutually respectful and honest. Connect with God constantly in prayer, especially to express thanks. These things together make up the armor of God. These things will give you strength, empowerment and the courage to stand for healing in the midst of distress and disease.
You provide me with more power than I can begin to name, dear Lord. You are my protector, my deflector and my defender. My gratitude is endless. Amen.