Friday, March 30, 2012

Week of March 31 - April 6

March 31

… "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it I grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches."
     Matthew 13:31-32

No matter how small our hope may be, as long as we have at least a glimmer of hope we have something fundamental upon which to build our healing. If we take that glimmer and nurture it, it will begin to take hold and grow within us. As it begins to grow within us it begins to change our thinking, our attitudes, our outlook and ultimately our very lives. When it changes our lives it can change our health. Hope is an essential tool for survival. Hope that is allowed to develop and mature will provide a refuge amidst the challenges, a respite in spite of the burdens and a relief among the trials of every kind that cancer brings. A growing hope provides a home for us to come to, a sanctuary from every trouble, every setback and every care.

It amazes me all the time. Whenever I call on the hope within me – the hope you give me – my confidence and expectations for healing grow. Dear God, thank you for planting hope within me and for cultivating it in my life. Amen.

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 deepest 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.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Week of March 24 - 30

March 24

For thus says the Lord: To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give, in my house and within my walls, a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.
     Isaiah 56:4-5

It’s easy when our world seems to be crumbling around us to think that everything is working against us.   It’s easy to fall into a trap of self-despair and disillusionment.   And it’s hard to remember that we are not abandoned and left to fend for ourselves.   But God reminds us - because we need constant reminding - that we are not abandoned.   God reminds us that we will never be left to rise or fall all alone.   We often get so discouraged that we forget the continuous promises of God, promises of security, comfort, compassion and help, especially in times of trouble.   We are created as God’s own.   And God will never leave us or forsake us - even when we may leave God.   Even when we do, God is faithful and just.   God loves us that much.   This is important to remember when we feel unlovable and uncertain.

I need the constant reminder of your faithful love for me, O God.   When I am down and in distress I really need to know how much you care and how much you are looking out for me.   Show me again, today.   Amen.

March 25

“No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak, for the patch pulls away from the cloak, and a worse tear is made.”
     Matthew 9:16

Life has to change when cancer enters in.   We cannot go back to the same ways of doing and being.   Cancer compels us to look at our habits, our attitudes and our priorities.   It calls us to reexamine and reassess what we’ve always held to be true.   Cancer itself changes us.   Its very intrusion into our lives forces us to think of the present and the future differently.  It presents us with opportunities to hold onto and embrace even more what is good in our lives.  It presents us with opportunities to purge what is unhealthy and unfulfilling.  We cannot go back to the old ways that do not work anymore.   They simply weaken us and inhibit our healing and well-being.   We need instead to reframe the way we live to include everything new that will build us up.

 Changing is so hard most of the time and I resist it a lot.  But God, you reach out to us to help change everything that hurts us and keeps us from being who you have made us to be.   Help me to take your hand and follow where you want me to go.   Amen.

March 26

“Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; otherwise, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”
     Matthew 9:17

Even though significant change is hard for all of us, when we can accomplish it we will experience life in ways we never knew we could before.   Change doesn’t always have to be bad.   Even when it is difficult, being able to adapt to new ideas, new understandings and new habits that help us grow can be incredibly liberating for us.   And that can be wonderfully healing.   When cancer arrives we cannot go back to the way things used to be.   We shouldn’t want to - especially when the changes we make and embrace bring us joys we never felt before, hope we never knew before and possibilities we never realized before.   The positive changes we resolve to make will only make us stronger to face the challenges that come our way.

I do have to admit, dear God, that when I allow the blessings of change to wash over me I am a better and healthier person.   I merely ask for help to remember that, so I won’t resist change when it is good for me, when it is the key to my renewed life.   Amen.

March 27

No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other.   You cannot serve God and wealth.
     Matthew 6:24

If we want to live a joyous, gracious life we have to make a choice.   We have to make a choice to put aside the things that keep us from finding lasting satisfaction.   We have to instead find the things that nurture our souls.   When we are unfulfilled we are not our strongest selves.  But we are our best when we connect with the One who creates and loves us perfectly and completely.   When we make that essential connection we gain incredible access to a healing spirit.   That spirit offers us guidance.  It opens us to eternal perspectives.   It puts us on a path that we need to be on.   When we choose God’s way - a way of more possibilities and answers than this world can ever give on its own - we can experience all the hope and healing power we need.

Dear God, when the world’s wisdom leads me in ways that still cause me to waver and doubt, I realize I need to seek another path.   That path is the one you put before me.   I know I need to make your way the primary path for this journey.   I know that you’ll help me to do it.   Amen.

March 28

In that day the Lord of hosts will be a garland of glory, and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people;
     Isaiah 28:5

Joy.   Absolute joy is what God wants us to have.   God wants us to feel the wonder of a life lived in peace and hope.   God wants us to experience all the goodness we were created to enjoy.   It is honor and celebration, blessing and love that God wants us to know.   We have been made to reflect God’s grace and spirit here on this earth - a spirit of justice and wholeness, a spirit of serenity and compassion.   Sometimes it’s hard to remember that intent when we are afraid, uncertain or in pain.   Sometimes it seems impossible to conceive of how life can be a celebration when we are suffering or feel abandoned.   But just when we are at our lowest, the reason for our creation is exactly what we need to recall.   Again and again, we must remind ourselves of God’s desires for us.   Those desires are for our good and not for our destruction.

Oh how quickly I waver when the days don’t appear to go the way I want.   How quickly I complain and find nothing to celebrate.   On those days I rob myself of joy.   But on this day, today, O God, I want to experience joy again and I thank you because I know that’s what you want for me too.   Amen.

March 29

...and a spirit of justice to the one who sits in judgment, and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.     
     Isaiah 28:6

A lot of people describe cancer as a battle.   And for many of us it certainly seems like it is.   One after another the enemies called pain, doubt, terror, loss, recurrence and distress rise up in an attempt to destroy us.   But God sees the injustice in that.   God knows what we are going through.   And God wants something far greater for us, something much more.   God under girds us for anything that attempts to weaken or defeat us.   God offers us the tools to stand strongly and hopefully in the face of whatever cancer throws at us.   God gives us the ability to not only withstand the onslaught, but also to help prevent the battle from raging within us in the first place.   There is nothing this world can bring to us that God cannot overcome with something far better, something far more healing and complete.   We need to rest assured of this power that God gives to us.

Dear God, I am not interested in fighting during the rest of my life here on earth.   I’m interested in living joyfully and well, instead.   Thank you for giving me the ability to rely on your strength to help me do just that.   Amen.

March 30

Listen to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you I pray.
     Psalm 5:2

Recognition of where our greatest help comes from is vital. Without a strong spiritual center we are easily lost and demoralized. Without a belief that we have other, deeper resources upon which to draw, we are quickly distracted and discouraged. When we seek our internal strength from an eternal source of help and hope, we open ourselves to power and possibilities that we could not know merely on our own. Cancer is a journey that none of us can make by ourselves. It is one that requires us to reach out to tap into an intangible healing that this world cannot give. But God can. And God does. It is ours to have infinitely. All we need to do is open our hearts and minds to accept and nurture it.

I know, ultimately, that you do listen to me, dear God. My challenge is to listen more closely to you. What I need to do is make myself more available to you, by sharing with you my concerns and fears and by paying intimate attention to the answers you always give. Amen.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Week of March 17 - 23

March 17

- or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.
       Romans 1:12

We all need people of faith around us.   We all need others whose perspectives and actions are a witness to positive understandings, to higher ideals and to deeper truths.   We need mentors and confidants who are willing to explore with us our most fearful concerns and vulnerabilities.   We need others who are willing to listen to us and love us unconditionally, to support us through what is the biggest challenge of our lives.   We need others who can remind us where we stand in God’s eyes - that we are loved, forgiven, valued and held in the palms of caring, comforting hands.   We are extremely blessed when we find these people of faith who will walk faithfully with us on the journey.   It is great encouragement to know that we are loved and are not alone.

Dear God, I value everyone in my life who shows me the power and strength of faith.   Especially when my faith wavers - and it often does - I am encouraged by those you send me who lift me up and help me through the hardest moments I have.   Amen.  

March 18

“... but those who listen to me will be secure and will live at ease, without dread of disaster.”
       Proverbs 1:33

In a world of constant distraction, where it is seldom quiet and where we are often too busy to look above and within, we are missing something essential - the voice of God.  We miss the voice whispering what is the way and the truth we need to find a renewed and healthy life.   Our deepest fears grow constantly stronger when we think we have no help or no hope.   But God never stops offering help or hope.   It is we who do not quiet ourselves enough to listen to God, to God who only wants what is best and right for us.   Our minds are able to create infinitely disastrous scenarios of what bad things might happen in the days ahead.   But God calms those fears and dispels the horrors that emerge when we are left to our own devices.   It is essential that we make time to hear what God is saying to us.   It is our hope.    It is our strength.  It is our life.

Listening to your still, small voice is the greatest blessing my soul can receive, O God.   Yet I don’t listen enough.   Help me to quiet myself long enough today to hear you loudly and clearly.   It’s exactly what I need.   Amen. 

March 19

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.
      Proverbs 3:5

There is little in this life that we can accomplish just on our own.   All of us need others to teach us, encourage us, support us, guide us, counsel us and bear witness to us of more abundant ways of living.   While we are each created as individuals with individual needs, abilities and responsibilities, none of us can achieve much of anything all alone.   God places others in our lives to accompany us on the way.   God works through them to show us what is best and what is right.   With cancer, we especially need these people God gives to us.  As wise as each of us may be, we all still need others to be our support and stay.   They are examples of God’s love right before our eyes.   We need to recognize them in our midst.  We need the blessings they offer us, every day.

In my stubbornness, I don’t always accept the help that’s offered to me.   In my blindness I don’t always recognize the hope when it’s here.   So, I ask you today, dear God, to give me wisdom to accept and eyes to see what is best for me.   Amen.

March 20

... for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.       Proverbs 3:26
When we worry that we cannot get through everything cancer throws at us we need to be reminded that we don’t have to get through it all alone.   When we fear our all too common limitations and despair in our all too many weaknesses we tend to think that our hope is lost and our possibilities for healing are gone.   We lose our confidence too easily.   That’s because we forget that God is involved in our healing too.   We forget that God takes an active and leading role in our well-being.  But this is news we must always remember.   Over and over again, we need to recall that God continuously promises us help and guidance.   We need to constantly recount what God has already done for us and others to bring blessing and peace.   Nothing the world throws at us can ultimately defeat us when we remember God’s presence and help - and rely on it every day.

Healing God, rescuing God, on most days my memories of your involvement in meeting my deepest needs are long and grateful.   But on those days when I’m slow to remember and quick to forget I get discouraged.   So my prayer today is to remember again and celebrate all that you do for me.   When I do I feel so much better.   Amen.   

March 21

Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep.
     Romans 13:11a

Cancer is a call to action.   It calls us to take control of the things we can change in our lives.   It is a call to recognize the things that cannot change and a challenge to us to develop new ways of reacting to them.   It is a call to discover where we can create healthier attitudes and eliminate destructive choices.   Cancer compels us to take a good, long, hard look at ourselves and our lives.   It causes us to reflect on what we’ve been missing and to decide how we can reclaim what’s been left out.   It causes us to make new priorities and move beyond everything that keeps us from living fully, gratefully and joyfully.   Cancer wakes us up.   We have the choice to see that wake-up call as a burden or a blessing.   When we chose the blessing and grasp on to it we are stronger in countless ways.

You are a God of action.   You find ways, even in our distress, to teach us how we can live more abundantly.   Thank you for helping me to recognize where I am asleep to the wonders of your creation and the blessings in my life.   Amen.

March 22
The God of peace be with all of you.   Amen.
       Romans 15:33

This benediction reminds us of what God wants each of us to possess - serenity, security and stability in every nuance of our lives.   This expression of blessing is a statement of God’s desire to give each of us true well-being and satisfaction.   God wants nothing more than for us to know the joys, wonders, grace and beauty for which we have all been created.   God wants us to enjoy a glimpse of eternity beginning now and continuing fully, forever.   “Amen” literally means, “So be it.”   We are offered this promise, this possibility, because God wants it to be so for us.   We are loved and valued that much.   When we understand this tremendous divine desire for us, it can give an assurance to our spirits and souls that our healing is exactly what God wants us to have.   God wants nothing less than for us to find the completeness and peace that healing of our hearts, minds and bodies brings.
I claim your desires for my healing today, O God.   I reach out to take hold of your loving hands that are offering to me perfect peace.   So be it.   Amen.

March 23
Do not let the foreigner joined to the Lord say, “The Lord will surely separate me from his people”; and do not let the eunuch say, “I am just a dry tree.”
     Isaiah 56:3

Don’t let anyone tell you that God ever abandons or leaves us to face our troubles all alone.   Don’t ever listen to those who claim that God does not care or that God does not act to give us all that we need.   God loves us so much, so much more than we can ever really begin to understand.   God never separates from us.   Yes, we can separate from God through our lack of trust and faith.   But never will God pull back from offering us the grace, guidance, support and help that will save us from the ravages of disease and despair.   God wants us to experience healing and relief.   God wants us to know the joy of this life and world.   God wants us to be welcomed into the eternal arms of love and peace.   No matter what we are going through, we need to know that God is with us to show us the way of healing and release.

I often feel as if I am separated from you, O God.   When things don’t go the way I hope or when I feel overwhelmed by my circumstances, I need to know without a doubt that you really are with me.   Please help me to see that you care, especially when I forget.   Amen. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Week of March 10 - 16

March 10

"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."
     Luke 6:36

When we judge and react harshly to ourselves and others we place burdens on our hearts and souls that we don’t need. When we hold onto and keep mental lists of weaknesses, slights and faults we diminish ourselves and others. It takes entirely too much energy to focus on imperfections and failings. It weakens our spirits and inhibits our healing. God gave us the command to forgive and show mercy because God knows it is best for us. We are strongest when we can release tension and pain, when regret and disappointment can be lifted and when we can move on forever from bitterness and hostility. Cancer is a message to change. The most significant of the changes can occur when we clear ourselves of everything that eats at our souls. We need that energy instead to focus on getting well and being whole again.

Merciful God, I know I need to learn so much from you. Your gracious and forgiving nature toward me shows me how I need to live my life with others. I pray that I will have the strength of conviction and purpose to do what I know is best. Amen.

March 11

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven;"
     Luke 6:37

We can scarcely be reminded enough how essential it is to apply forgiveness and mercy and to create an atmosphere of peace every day. Our souls will be well, our lives will far less complicated and our healing journey will have more power when we practice with purpose the acts that relieve us from the burdens of bitterness, resentment and anger. In order to be as healthy as we need to be mentally, emotionally and spiritually we need to learn to let go. We need to learn to release the poisons that corrode our thinking and cloud our judgment. We need to come to understand how vital it is to our physical health that our spirits, minds and hearts are healthy too. This realization is a daily decision. The journey of healing is too hard if we don’t do this. It’s too important to ignore.

No matter how many times I am reminded of the call to forgive, I still struggle a lot with doing it. But you remind me, dear God, that it must be a way of life, a choice that will heal me deeply within. Please help me to do it better beginning today. Amen.

March 12

"Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back."
     Luke 6:38

What we put into our healing journey is as important and as vital as anything anyone else or any treatment may offer. Our attitudes, our reactions, our faith, our expectations and our approaches are pivotal. They are vital and transforming. We each have the power within us to affect our health for the better. We each have the power to control how we react to the challenges before us. We each have the power to live in hope. We each have the power to envision a present and future filled with joy and peace. This power of renewal and restoration comes from God, whose very nature is about inviting us to experience the wonders and delights of new life and wholeness. But God doesn’t just do it all for us. God gives us opportunities and options to pursue. But we have to make the choice to accept those opportunities. Choose them today.

God of promise and possibility, you constantly offer me a way to experience healing and hope. I ask for the wisdom to recognize all that you offer and to accept it and use it for myself. Amen.

March 13

Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!
     Luke 12:24

A basic dilemma for so many of us is that we do not realize how very much God cares for us. We can scarcely comprehend God’s grace, mercy, affection and love. God’s understanding, compassion and kindness are so deep, so vast and so infinite that we are unable to grasp just how encompassing they are. We know all too well our own faults and failings. We are incredibly familiar with our own weaknesses and negativity. And we wonder how can God possibly love us when we are so imperfect and flawed? But God does. We have a hold on God’s heart that knows neither bounds nor limitations. One vital key to healing is in knowing and believing that our worth is beyond compare, that our lives have meaning and purpose in divine and eternal ways.

Compassionate and generous God, even though I cannot begin to know just how much you love me, I do understand that I am precious in your sight. Help me to start to recognize my worth to you, my value, so that I will value myself and my health to realize better days. Amen.

March 14

And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?
     Luke 12:25

If there’s one thing cancer brings to our lives it is certainly worry. We worry about pain. We worry about medical tests and results. We worry about doctor visits. We worry about how we will pay the bills. We worry about the future. We worry about our limitations. We worry about how we look. We worry about where all this will lead. Our worries are endless. Worry is part of the human condition. It’s natural and normal. But it does not have to control us. It does not have to define us or our spirits. We need to acknowledge our worry, look at it directly, address why we are worried – and then move on. Worry must be put in its proper place. It must be given no more influence and power than it deserves. Hope is bigger than our worry and we need to allow hope to define us instead.

I allow worry to control my time, my energy and my thoughts, dear God. You know that as well as I. So, I’m appealing to you today to help me recognize when worry has gotten hold of me and to show me how to manage it for my greatest good. Amen.

March 15

Consider the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.
     Luke 12:27

We are doubting people. We are impatient people. We are often unbelieving people. It seems to be our human nature to not trust as much as we could God’s promises and abilities to help us. But when we take the time to stop and to consider the intricate beauty of this world and the goodness that comes into our lives, we can begin to see how much God has already done to make life special and full of wonder. We are indeed created out of immense and infinite love. We are indeed made for a special and profound purpose. We are indeed here because God wants us to experience and enjoy the glories of creation. When we recognize and remember that, this life takes on an entirely new meaning. Our daily walk becomes more precious and valued. It is in discovering this that we also discover the will to know healing and wholeness in ways we’ve never known them before.

The intricate nature of this world you’ve made is a joyous wonder and mystery to me, O God. I know I am wonderfully and intricately made too. Help me to hold onto this knowledge so that it may remind of the deep worth of my life here and in you. Amen.

March 16

For I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you       
     Romans 1:11

We are at our strongest and healthiest precisely when we develop an active spiritual life.  When we faithfully look around, look within and look to God we can see wonders and signs that we have never seen or imagined before.  When we make it a priority to look outside of ourselves, to begin recognizing a larger perspective beyond the world immediately around us, we grow in knowledge and faith.  When we search deeply within to explore the depths of our own souls we gain understanding and purpose about who we are and why we are here.  When we connect with God’s spirit we become equipped with an infinite power that opens our hearts and minds to answers never considered before.  Our spiritual life connects us to divine help and direction, to the larger world around us and to our own hearts and minds.  There is nothing stronger and better to gird ourselves with protection against the most devastating challenges in our lives. 

Dear God, I know that I am strongest when I reach out to rely on you.  I know that I am healthiest when I look within to find you there.  I know that I am lifted beyond my challenges when I find the connection to your divine goodness.  Help me to remember that I need to look to you every day.  Amen.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Week of March 3 - 9

March 3

He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters.
     Psalm 23:2

God wants to restore us – to a reinvigorated life, to renewed health, to reestablished hope and confidence. God promises us an opportunity to find rest and refreshment, to experience calm and serenity. Cancer can deplete and drain us completely. It can knock us down and disable us dramatically. But God’s desire for us is to be reassured and to be refreshed. God desires for us to have peace within our hearts and souls. God has created us to have a tranquil spirit no matter what our circumstances or situation. Turmoil and chaos are not what God has in store. But the soothing balm of God’s unending love is ours to inherit. May you feel that comforting relief today.

There are times when I am utterly tired and deeply worn down. It happens more than I wish. I need your help, dear God, to find relief and revival. Satisfy my thirst for rest and restoration. Amen. 

March 4

He restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.
     Psalm 23:3

When your spirit is disquieted and when your heart is empty, be reassured that God wants to bring you back to life and revive you to an even better life. When you feel as if you have veered off into unsettling places and found yourself unsure and uninspired, be released from the worry that you will be lost forever. God reaches out to us. God reaches out to offer us a hand, a hand that will guide us in the best way, in ways we alone cannot imagine. When we entrust our souls to the One who created us out of love, we put ourselves in the ultimate position of connection to receive a better day, a brighter future of healing, wholeness and peace.

My own direction is often uncertain and I become distracted from the better places I need to be. So I look to you, God, as my guide and stay, to lead me back again. Amen. 

March 5

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
     Psalm 23:5a

Cancer is certainly a difficult enemy. But God is not intimidated by it. God is not about to let cancer stop love and grace from touching our lives. In fact, God looks into the face of cancer and confronts it head on. God takes everything God has to give and lays it out for us to have and enjoy. God confronts it by giving us courage. God confronts it by giving us stamina and strength. God confronts it by giving us the assurance that we are not alone in the journey. God confronts it by offering us others who love and care for us. God confronts it by reminding us we have been created for a future of hope and promise. God confronts cancer in more ways than we can ever truly know. Every time we encounter a blessing, a moment of grace or a healing touch, it is God confronting the enemy in our midst and offering us signs of comfort and new life.

I am grateful you are able to confront the enemy within me, O God. I am grateful you are able to face it and challenge it when I cannot. Your grace is a source of hope for me and I walk with greater confidence because it is. Amen. 

March 6

…you anoint my head with oil;
     Psalm 23:5b

God pours out for us healing relief in more ways than we can imagine. It comes in the form of those who love and care for us. It comes when our energy is restored and our hope is renewed. It comes when news is good. It comes in the form of determination, serenity and faith even when it’s not. It comes in the changes we are able to make, to create the circumstances where wellness is our way of life. It comes in a closer connection to God and God’s healing touch. It comes when our attitudes become increasingly more positive, when we can refocus our thoughts from negativity to possibility. It comes when we can envision a life of health instead of a life of sickness and disease. God is anointing us all with this healing relief. It is our challenge to see it, to know it and to accept it so that our spirit can help our bodies receive restoration.

I need this healing relief. I ask for your renewing touch, O God. I know I cannot find it on my own. But with your blessings I know I can find all that I need. Amen. 

March 7

…my cup overflows.
     Psalm 23:5c

God graces us with far more than we need. God loves us so much that we are presented with more opportunities for love, for joy, for hope and for peace than we can ever begin to imagine. God has created us for eternity and wants us to enjoy these blessings of eternity beginning even now. Yet we too often fail to recognize or accept God’s exceedingly generous gifts to us. Even when we are challenged by cancer we need to remember that God wants nothing more for us than to know the wonder of God’s infinite and gracious love. When we really pause to examine the goodness in our lives, we will soon begin to see how far the goodness extends. Soon we will see how abundant God’s offerings to us are. That can give us courage. It can give us strength. It can give us tremendous hope.

Generous and giving God, I can’t even begin to understand how much you offer to me. My heart does overflow with richness and gladness when I truly consider how much you love me. Thank you for caring for me in such an abundant way. Amen. 

March 8

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, …
     Psalm 23:6a

With God’s gracious care for us, we have nothing to worry about or fear. We are promised that no matter what may threaten us in this life, we have a God who wants only for us to know the glories of love and peace. Throughout all our lives we are promised that we can have more goodness than we can imagine. For the rest of our lives we are promised compassion, understanding and forgiveness. This is a tremendous blessing to us. God’s grace and protection will always follow us wherever we may go. Whatever life throws at us we can know that God walks right along with us every step of the way. Of this we can be assured. This we can always know.

To know that you will always be with me to show me your concern and kindness, O God, is a rich blessing to me. I am deeply grateful for your care and gentleness, that they are with me constantly and eternally. Amen. 

March 9

"But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked."
     Luke 6:35

Often our natural tendencies are to focus on the negative. We are quick when it comes to finding fault, to assessing blame and to judging unkindly. We demand justice for others, but always expect leniency for ourselves. But God doesn’t treat us that way. God hasn’t created us to live that way. God has made us to give, to share, to be generous and to care. Our joy will never come in focusing just on what we see as wrong. Our joy will never be complete unless we realize what God has created us to do. The state of wellness we seek will be made easier to create when we refocus on why God has given us life. Our most important task is to find the goodness around and within us. By using that goodness as the impetus for all that we think and do we open ourselves more fully to the healing power of God.

As I focus on the wonder of your creation and grace I am transformed into a person who sees life and its challenges in a new and different way. I become more positive and I see more possibilities for renewal and healing. I am grateful for that, O God. Amen.