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Today’s StillSpeaking Devotional touches me deeply, because I love to turn out all the lights except on my Christmas tree, then sit and be with God.  Everywhere I can today, I’m quoting Quinn Caldwell:

The Wise Men would never have been able to see that star if they’d been standing in the parking lot of a 24-hour Wal-Mart. 

BowerBirdI believe the American public (perhaps everyone, but I only know the US culture) has a love affair with shiny, pretty things.  We’re like bowerbirds; the male of this pair builds the nest and includes bits of anything that shines in order to attract the female.  Babies stare at lights. I believe all of us are attracted to them.

But overly bright light hurts our eyes.  I remember the warning when an eclipse was coming, “don’t look directly at the sun, you’ll burn your eyes!”  Is that true?  I don’t know; but I know that if I look at bright lights too long I continue to see them for a long time, when I close my eyes.  And I’m not fond of blinking lights, either.  They bother me and if they’re really bad, trigger a migraine.

IMG_4251A few little candles set a beautiful mood, as do the low wattage bulbs on my tree.  And without strong glitz as marquee lights bidding for my attention, I can achieve calm bliss.  And that’s often when God creeps quietly to my side and lays an arm around my shoulders.  I feel God’s peace.  I recognize God’s inspirations for me.

Will you pray with me, please?

 

Bright Builder,

You created the dark and the light.  Only you could have ‘hung the moon’ and the sun. You show us that too much light can be a decoy from the true light. You are unimaginable. You are. You are amazing!

 

Loving Light,

Lead us to the right amount of light.  Show us that when we are in darkness, we still can be strong, calm, confident and that by extinguishing the input from one of our senses, we can focus on those sixth sense phenomena – intuition, imagination, meditation, sitting humbly in your presence and feeling your invisible touch, your non-touch.

I bring to you all people; we need your light today.  I need light to complete my house cleaning; finding the dust and loading the laundry.  I need light to tell if the cookies I am baking are just the right shade at the edges.  I need a light that illuminates, not one that blinds me to your presence. Tomorrow, I will spend my entire day celebrating the light that you have sent to the world, Jesus.  Though I sit and meditate in your darkness, you guide me with Jesus’ light.  You show me the way through what I know of him.  Grant me the grace to be able to live humbly, lovingly, wisely, justly, mercifully; as Jesus did while a human on earth.

nasa_light_map

Generous Giver,

I look out the window and see snow drifting to earth while the sky is bright enough to see and appreciate it.  I feel the warmth from the furnace in my home. I smell the ginger and bayberry scents of the season.  I hear the beautiful music, both old and new, that brings my heart to the center.  That center is where I find you, Lord.  Thank you for all these comforts.  Thank you for the love you continue to create on this earth.  Thank you for my life.  Lord, I love you so much.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

© Melissa Pazen, 2013

Live Inspired: pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

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photo-chicago-men-pushing-car-in-a-snowstorm-1930Almighty Architect,

You craft the weather and show us beauty. You grant us the wisdom to know when to travel and when not to travel. You are amazing!

 

Gracious God,

Guide Susan and Bill, and all who get into cars, as they travel to spend time with loved ones during this Christmas season. Keep the roads as clear as you can, but more importantly, remind all that in winter weather a bag of kitty litter, a shovel and a soft touch on both accelerator & brakes is the true answer. Remind us that rocking works when nothing else does, but if you can, Lord, keep us from getting stuck.  Keep us safe from harm.

lumieresLoving Lord,

The car, the music or stories, the conversation, the warmth and the love — all comes from you. As I sit at a computer and type to the internet, I realize we have such “rich peoples’ problems.” I am grateful that my sorrows are so small while your gifts are great. We are grateful for all, Lord and we love you so much.

 

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

© Melissa Pazen, 2013

Live Inspired: pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

“This is one of the miracles of love: It gives a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.”  ~ C. S. Lewis

I was listening to the sermon Sunday when it struck me:  “I’m so lousy at relationships that I’d be better as a hermit living alone. Or maybe I should get walled into an ante-room of a Cathedral as an anchorite.  Nah, they don’t do that anymore.”

The point is, I could see myself being very happy alone with a pile of illuminated manuscript to prepare, or a list of people from the nearby village for whom to pray. And I really am crummy at being good, day in and day out, to one person.  Poor Steve!  How he hasn’t divorced me, I just don’t know.  Then yesterday, Lillian Daniel mentioned C S Lewis, and his belief that love is a decision.  I have Erich Fromm’s quote posted at my desk.  So I searched, and found the Lewis quote above.  Lewis uses choice; Fromm uses decision:

“Love is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise.  If love were only a feeling there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever.  A feeling comes and it may go.”

Hug

I keep hoping, praying even, that I can grow a loving mindset toward poor Steve. See, I’ve been married before and I find it easy to fall out of love.  It’s as easy for me as falling into love.  And Steve is a great guy.  And I’m an ingrate, and a typically cranky one at that!  

Will you pray with me, please?

It’s me again, God, with the same request I bring to you so often.

Almighty Architect,

I bring my requests to you because only you are the power to make things happen. I can’t do this by myself. And my memory is not good. I don’t remember my resolutions from one day to the next. But I know that I can do all things in you, because you can do all things. You are amazing!

ring-heart

Majestic Maker,

Make me love.  Make me remember to choose to love.  It seems so easy in the abstract, but I am so easily annoyed! Be the string around my finger and remind me, every time I start to be nasty. Make the good shine through Steve’s actions; show me his honorable intent. Humble me, God. I have no more words for this request, but that it be on my lips all day long.

Generous Giver,

Thank you for new fallen snow, beautiful and shiny. Thank you for the heat and energy of the sun that melts the snow on the walk ways and drive ways. Thank you for enough money to buy Christmas presents, even a little extravagantly this year. Thank you for love. Thank you for reminding me to choose to be loving. Lord, I love you so much!

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

© Melissa Pazen, 2013

Live Inspired: pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power.
    God will rule with a powerful arm.
    See, God brings the reward as God comes.
God will feed God’s flock like a shepherd.
    God will carry the lambs in God’s arms,
holding them close to God’s heart.
    God will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.

~  Isa 40: 10-11

You must see these photos to see why I searched for the Isaiah verses about lambs and sheep.

lambsNutcracker

Lord,

I love the little lambs, and I am grateful that you hold them close to your heart. Only you could envision moments like this: visions that bring pure joy to the beholder. You are amazing.

Generous Giver,

That’s all; just a little moment with a great shared visual. Thank you for the moment. Thank you for my life.

Amen.

To God be the glory!

© Melissa Pazen, 2013

Live Inspired: pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

 

John’s disciples came to him and said, “Rabbi, the man you met on the other side of the Jordan River, the one you identified as the Messiah, is also baptizing people. And everybody is going to him instead of coming to us.”

John replied, “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven. You yourselves know how plainly I told you, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him.’ It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the best man is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success.  He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.

~ John 3: 26 -30

This morning, Mary Luti knocked it out of the park with her Stillspeaking Devotional about John the Baptist.  I had been sitting at my desk getting weepy because people don’t realize I’m sensitive and hurt easily.  And whenever this happens, I try to remember again — it’s not about me.  

A while back, Colleen Gabel led a retreat for women of the Congregational Church of  Batavia called “Cracked Pots to Holy Vessels” (or something like that…  I know cracked pots WAS involved, because the pun was totally intended!)  Will you pray with me, please?

cracked pot

Parent and Potter,

You are the architect of the universe and the builder and the materials and the laborer.  You created the heavens and the earth and I suspect there was little ‘hard work’ done to create it — I think you can’t help but create.  I think your creative energy is love.  I know you are amazing!

Gracious God,

Help me to remember that my every move should be to increase you.  Grant me the humility I lack.  Keep me on my knees worshipping you, not mistakenly thinking it’s about me.  Make me a vessel, filled with you to overflowing.  Empty my mind of me by filling it with you.  Make me a blessing for others, Lord — nothing more.

vessel for God

Constant Creator,

You have given me this mind, these fingers, these thoughts.  Without you, I am nothing — I would not be. Thank you for my life. Lord, I love you so much.  I am grateful.

And I dare to pray claiming Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

© Melissa Pazen, 2013

Live Inspired: pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

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