Take Refuge in God

Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,
    for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
    until the disaster has passed.

Psalm 57:1 NIV

Prayer

Oh, Lord, exalt Yourself above me and all that I am – possessions, friends, comforts, pleasures, reputation, health and life – everything. Test me, Lord, and see whether I can really leave everything in Your hands. Bring my life into line so that I will not be fully myself, but fully in You, knowing the truth that I can take refuge in You. Oh, Lord, set in motion a chain of circumstances that will bring me to the place where I can sincerely say, ‘Be thou exalted above the heavens’. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

All hail the power of Jesus’ name!

Let angels prostrate fall;

Bring forth the royal diadem,

And crown Him Lord of all;

Bring forth the royal diadem,

And crown Him Lord of all.

Edward Perronet (1726-1792)

For the Brokenhearted

O Lord my God, I come to You bereft in spirit with a heart that is breaking. My mind is in turmoil and I just do not understand all the anguish that seems to be hitting me from all sides. You know Lord exactly the pain that is in my heart and the sadness and grief that I am going through and I come to You, my God, seeking Your blessed peace in my heart.

Heal my hurting heart and bind up the lacerations that have penetrated so deeply into my soul, for You alone are my hope, You alone are my strength and stay. I have nothing and no one left but You Lord.

Bind up my fragmented heart I pray, as You have promised. It says in Your Word that You came to heal the broken hearted and to free those that were entrapped in the emotional suffering of their lives. Lord, that is my position now and I trust in You alone.

I give You my fragmented heart and pray for Your blessed peace, Your gracious peace, Your perfect peace that passes all human comprehension. Take me as I am Lord and fill me anew with your love and grace, for only through You can I be renewed in spirit, only in You can I rest in safety.

Thank You O Lord my God,

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Dear Heavenly Father, You are the Creator of all things and You sustain all of life. I come to you, acknowledging that your will is best and that your plan is far greater than any I could ever ask for or imagine. Lord, I come to you with troubles that are weighing on my heart and the hearts of many believers. God, I know that you carry all burdens, and I ask that you share your yoke with us now during this difficult time. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

God, I want to be a person who stands firm and trusts You wholeheartedly. I want to be unshakable and resilient, but that can only happen by depending on You and trusting You. Develop that deeper trust in me, God I desperately need it and want to trust you more. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

I waited patiently for the Lord;

he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock

and gave me a firm place to stand.

Psalm 40:1-2 NIV

You will go out in joy

and be led forth in peace;

the mountains and hills

will burst into song before you,

and all the trees of the field

will clap their hands.

Isaiah 55:12 NIV

Miracles

FIREFLY BY JEAN VADAL SMITH

The following is an excerpt from the book MY FATHER MY KING by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

Hear your Father your King, the Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe saying to you:

The world in which you live is full of miracles so that you will have constant reminders of My presence.

There are miracles of history. There are miracles of biology and botany. There are miracles of chemistry and physics and of anatomy and astronomy. There are miracles of events that are mathematically improbable. There are major miracles and there are minor miracles miracles that are easily recognizable and miracles subtle and hidden.

What you refer to as “nature” is the manifestation of My will in the world. All of nature is ultimately a miracle. Don’t allow familiarity to blind you to the magnitude of the miracles that appear commonplace.

Every heartbeat is a miracle. Every cough and sneeze is a miracle. Every step you take is a miracle.

Keep your eyes open for the myriad miracles in your life. Seeing those miracles will add a spiritual dimension wherever you are and wherever you go, and your entire life will be filled with joy and gratitude.

Once it was the blessing, Now it is the Lord

Once it was the blessing,
Now it is the Lord;
Once it was the feeling,
Now it is His Word.
Once His gift I wanted,
Now the Giver own;
Once I sought for healing,
Now Himself alone.

Once ’twas painful trying,
Now ’tis perfect trust;
Once a half salvation,
Now the uttermost.
Once ’twas ceaseless holding,
Now He holds me fast;
Once ’twas constant drifting,
Now my anchor’s cast.

Once ’twas busy planning,
Now ’tis trustful pray’r;
Once ’twas anxious caring,
Now He has the care.
Once ’twas what I wanted,
Now what Jesus says;
Once ’twas constant asking,
Now ’tis ceaseless praise.

Once it was my working,
His it hence shall be;
Once I tried to use Him,
Now He uses me.
Once the pow’r I wanted,
Now the Mighty One;
Once for self I labored,
Now for Him alone.

Once I hoped in Jesus,
Now I know He’s mine;
Once my lamps were dying,
Now they brightly shine.
Once for death I waited,
Now His coming hail;
And my hopes are anchored,
Safe within the veil.

Written by Albert C Simpson c.1891

A Quiet Time With God

Help Me Live It – Keith Green
Oh Lord, You’re beautiful
Your face is all I see
For when Your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me
Oh Lord, please light the fire
That once burned bright and clean
Replace the lamp of my first love
That burns with holy fear
I want to take Your Word and shine it all around
But first help me just to live it, Lord
And when I’m doing well,
help me to never seek a crown
For my reward is giving glory to You.

Christ Be With Me – St. Patrick
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of the Christ.
May your salvation, Lord, be ever with us

Lead Us – St. Augustine
Lead us, O God, from the sight of the lovely things of the world
To the thought of thee their Creator;
And grant that delighting in the beautiful things of thy creation,
we may delight in thee, the first author of beauty
and the Sovereign Lord of all thy works, blessed for evermore.

Empty Vessel – Martin Luther
Behold, Lord, An empty vessel that needs to be filled. My Lord, fill it. I am weak in faith; Strengthen thou me. I am cold in love; Warm me and make me fervent That my love may go out to my neighbour. I do not have a strong and firm faith; At times I doubt and am unable to trust thee altogether. O Lord, help me. Strengthen my faith and trust in thee. In thee I have sealed the treasures of all I have. I am poor; Thou art rich and didst come to be merciful to the poor. I am a sinner; Thou art upright. With me there is an abundance of sin; In thee is the fullness of righteousness. Therefore, I will remain with thee of who I can receive But to whom I may not give. Amen.

Lead Me – Thomas Merton
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahed of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Twenty-Third Psalm – Psalms 23: 1-6
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff–they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

The Lord’s Prayer – Matthew 6:9-13
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
and forgive us our debts and we forgive
our debtors,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil,
for thine is the kingdom and the power
and the glory, forever. Amen.

Beloved – John Wesley
Now, to God the Father, who first loved us, and made us accepted in the Beloved;
to God the Son, who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood;
to God the Holy Ghost, who sheddeth the love of God abroad in our hearts,
be all love and all glory in time and to all eternity.
Amen.

Prayers for Mental Wellness

Heavenly Father, I come to You today seeking guidance. I strive to be your strongest soldier, but I cannot do so without acknowledging my own weaknesses first. Lord, help me to overcome these battles my mind has challenged me with. I know You are always with me, and any hurdles I face can be conquered with Your grace. My mental health is not at its best, but I know this suffering is not permanent. This too shall pass, and I pray that You will continue to watch over me as I fight my own personal demons. Amen.

Dearest Lord, thank You for always being there for me – both for all the good times, and the bad. I know my mental illness does not define me, for who I really am is a child of Christ. I may trip and fall every now and then, and it will hurt, but no pain is as eternal as Your everlasting love for me. Please continue to guide me as I get back on my feet. I shall not be defeated by my mental illness, for your healing hand will save me in my darkest hours. Amen.

Lord, the shining light of my life and my guide. You are the one who guides me through everything. Through these difficult times, help me soar like an eagle and fly. Help me to rise above and overcome my challenges, just as an eagle that soars in the sky. May I gain strength from Your word and from my prayers. I know that one day I will be free as an eagle. There will be no more shackles and not be held down by these weights called mental illness. I trust in You Mighty God who frees me. So give me the strength and renew me every day, till You come again. I ask these in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Source: Christian.net

The Lowly Servant Girl

Luke 1:46-55 is Mary’s song of praise to God. It spills out of her heart after her relative Elizabeth, the expectant mother of John the Baptist, acknowledged her blessedness as the mother of Jesus. Mary’s song is often called the “Magnificat” which means “Praise,” from the first word of the Latin translation of its first line: magnificat anima mea Dominum (literally, “My soul praises the Lord”).

Mary’s song focuses on God’s great works, especially his tendency to turn everything upside down. He “took notice of his lowly servant girl” when choosing a mother for the Messiah, rather than selecting a woman of prominence (1:48). The Lord “scattered the proud and haughty ones,” rather than honoring them (1:51). “He has brought down princes from their thrones, and exalted the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away with empty hands” (1:52-53). God’s kingdom inverts human structures and values, as is seen so clearly in Mary’s own experience.

We can read Mary’s song and say, “Oh, what wonderful thoughts!” But do we really take seriously what she said? When I do this, I must confess that the “Magnificat” unsettles me. Why? Because I tend to be proud and even haughty. Because, though I’m not a prince, I am a person with authority and not necessarily all that humble. Moreover, I am certainly not hungry. And in comparison to most people in the world, I am rich.

So, Mary’s song can be unnerving to me, as, indeed, it should be. It challenges me to consider my values and goals. Am I striving for the wrong things in life? How much of my life is devoted to seeking security, reputation, and power? How often do I hold on to my material blessings rather than sharing them with the poor and hungry?

I don’t believe the purpose of the “Magnificat” is to make us feel guilty for what we have in the way of possessions or influence. Rather, it calls us to devote our lives to being, like Mary, a willing and humble servant of God. It reminds us that, like Israel, we are called to be God’s servants in the world, serving others as a reflection and extension of God’s kingdom. Mary’s song stirs in me a desire to live today for what really matters, so that God might use me for his purposes and glory.

In the days before Christmas, we can easily get caught up in mass consumption as we scurry about buying presents and enjoying lavish Christmas parties. Mary’s song encourages us to step back, to think about our values and our striving. Perhaps, this season of Advent can offer a different way, a way of seeking, a way of serving, a way of sacrifice.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Have you ever thought about what Mary’s song really says? How do you respond to its potentially unsettling message? How might you live today for the things that really matter?

PRAYER: With Mary, my soul praises you this day, O Lord. My spirit rejoices in you, my Savior. You are the Mighty One, the holy God at work in this world.

Mary’s song challenges me, Lord, to be honest about my values and desires. It forces me to admit that I often line up with those who are on top in this world, those who end up on the underside when your kingdom turns everything upside down. Forgive me, gracious God, for my selfishness, for all the ways I let this world form and shape me.

In this season of Advent, may I live as your servant. May I be truly humble before you and others. May I use well the opportunities and gifts you place in my hands, serving you and others for your glory. May I seek after what really matters, offering myself to you in every facet of life.

All praise be to you, O Lord and God, my Savior! Amen.

Used with permission from The Theology of Work

Mary’s Song – The Magnificat

My soul doth magnify the Lord:
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour
Because He hath regarded the lowliness of His handmaid:
For, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is His Name.
And His mercy is from generation until generations, to them that fear Him.
He hath showed might with His arm: He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the lowly.
He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel His servant, being mindful of His mercy:
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever.

Luke 1: 46-55

For a Change of Seasons

  

Creator, artist, author of the world,

what joy to sense the seasons turn,

the colors change

the flowers bloom,

the trees hum,

the music of birds,

the caress of the winds,

the stories of clouds.

The beauty of Your world

makes my own spirit dance,

as I watch time passing,

I know that You are eternal,

the Centre of Life,

the Creator of all things,

and I know

that there is beauty far beyond my imaginings,

and that all of us,

Your children,

Your creatures,

Your plantings —

live to honor You,

and sing your praise with

every breath.

God saw all that he had made, and behold it was very good.

(Genesis 1:31)

https://www.arrcc.org.au/


Communion

Today, I went to church.

I stepped out into the garden

and the choir was already in full voice –

sparrows carrying the melody with soprano trills and leaps

to the jubilant chorus of a solo robin,

while the early morning gentle autumn sun

shone through the petals of a sunflower

like a stained-glass window.

A fat furry bee zig zagged past me

searching for its harvest of nectar

in the scarlet flowers of a runner bean plant.

In this church

the prayers are gratitude

the hymns are praise

and the lesson is peace.

And all the creatures exemplify the gifts and grace of God.

Amen.

L.M.D.