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Today’s Stillspeaking Devotional, written by Donna Schaper, is called “Pointsettias”.  As I was reading, the phrase I’m using for the title jumped out at me and I hurried here to paste it and start my notes for my prayer.  And then, to have integrity, I read and reread the entire devotional. 

“Substituting details for depth” …is that when I buy so many Christmas presents for someone instead of spending time with him? …is that when I criticize the grammar and punctuation instead of lavishing in the thoughts behind the writing? …do I decorate for Christmas instead of contemplating the possibility of Jesus coming as a human and changing the world?

What does “prepare for the glory of the Lord by fixing the universe, despite itself” mean? I long to leave the world better than it was when I arrived, yet I have a bit of trouble realizing that sometimes I need to be ‘accepted the things I cannot change’, in Bonhoeffer’s words. I’m good at attempts to improve the large social ills and need to keep working on keeping my side of the street clean in my closest relationships.  Mindfulness, sometimes a difficult practice to keep in place.  

Quinn Caldwell’s All I Really Want has been a wonderful source of contemplation last advent and this. 

Unimaginable One,

I come to humble myself and to worship you, shouting your praises internally while be quiet externally. Your name should echo throughout the universe and I praise you, adore you. You are the almighty, the all mighty, and I am but one of your creations. Yet, you know me inside out. You know my name and speak to me individually through little bursts of inspiration. You are amazing!

Indescribable God

Loving Lord,

Today, I ask that you will heal Steve’s bruises from his fall. He’s feeling better yet plans to stay off the bruised leg today and that’s a little difficult for me to accept (even though I can’t change it). Thank you for the chance that he might work Saturday to make up the hours. 

I ask for the ability to relax my own aching neck and head today. I try to avoid pain medication for fear it will harm my kidneys and/or lose its effectiveness.

SONY DSC

Super-giving Source,

Thank you for advent meditation opportunities like the one I enjoyed last night. Thank you for Susan, who loves me dearly. Thank you for my faith community who are extensions of family for me. Thank you for a brain to think. I love you so much!

And I pray in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be all glory!

Love always,

Melissa
Melissa Pazen, MSW

INSPIRED COACHING, MELISSA PAZEN

39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

www.melissapazen.com

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently!

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The prayer at the end of this devotional,  published today, reminds me of Stephen Ministry and my training for it.  The body of the devotional is exactly the kind of story that led me to a talk I gave a year ago in San Diego.

child-abuse-620x349

I doubt the Stephen Ministers are often privileged to have someone share such serious parental abuse, yet I pray that as each care giver stands in the mud with her/his care receivers (official or unofficial), we can lean on God’s strength to avoid slipping with them into the ‘slough of despair’.

Will you pray with me please?

Unimaginable One,

You call us out of the darkness.  You created the light and you invite us to come live in the light of your kingdom.  We are honored, humbled, privileged.  You are amazing!

Lord of Love,

I pray for all who suffer the abuse of power by another human.  I pray especially for the vulnerable who should be cherished and protected but who are harmed by those who they were told to trust.  I pray for those who are told they must be wrong or that they are liars when they tell another adult of the abuse.  Be the comfort.  Be the healing energy.  Enfold them in your loving embrace and let them again feel safe.  You are the love through all the world and beyond.  Only you can help them by empowering them and others to do well.

Child_abuse

I pray for those too weak or naïve to protect the vulnerable.  Lord, please open their eyes and let them lean on your strength.  Let them use your strength to create a safe place for the victims.  Let them help to keep the victims out of harm’s way.

child_sexual_abuse

Lord, I bring to you also the abusers.  They have been weak to these sins; they have not overcome the temptations.  Bring them, too, into the light, Lord.  Show them the path on which to put their feet.  Make their journey aim for your kingdom and straighten the path for them as they begin to walk with you.  Send your saints to them, to walk beside them and encourage them and love them.

Gracious Giver,

You are the source of the technology to deliver the devotionals.  You put the thought into Donna Schaper’s mind to write the words we read.  You inspire me with forgiveness for perpetrators of hate, compassion for those to weak to stop what they know is wrong, and love for those who suffer from violations.

All that we have, all that we cherish, all that we enjoy comes from you.  I am grateful.  Lord, I love you so much!

Jesus told us to ask in his name, that our joy be made full.

I pray in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Not to us, but 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 morning’s StillSpeaking devotional addresses death and its sting.  Donna Schaper summons images of watching carrots grow in order to appreciate what it takes to change, and the time it may take.  Our congregation will be considering change this week-end at a visioning meeting.

 transformation

Many fear death.  I suspect almost all of us fear pain preceding death.  There are a few of us who look forward to learning what comes after death.  I believe I’ve been promised something wonderful, and I’m eager to see how it pans out.  I remember a sermon that included the thought spurring comment: “What if you were to arrive in heaven and find Hitler standing next to you?”  I supposed it was meant as a conundrum or something to lead me to be sorry for living a life in which I attempt to do good and avoid evil.  My response:  I hope I won’t care.  I’m hoping for a heaven in which I truly will be overjoyed to be there…  and that it will surpass my best times on earth, and I won’t have to go home to get up and go to work or clean the house in the morning.   Perhaps I’ll understand something about how we both got there.  Don’t know about these things now, I’m merely God’s flawed creation.  I’m not supposed to know everything, so I can relax in the knowledge that I don’t.

Somehow, I am reminded of “Spirit” a lovely hymn written by James K. Manley, as he finished his doctoral thesis:

wind

Spirit, spirit of gentleness,
blow through the wilderness, calling and free,
Spirit, spirit of restlessness,
stir me from placidness, wind, wind on the sea.

You moved on the waters, you called to the deep,
then you coaxed up the mountains from the valleys of sleep;
and over the eons you called to each thing;
“Awake from your slumbers and rise on your wings.”

You swept through the desert, you stung with the sand
and you goaded your people with a law and a land;
and when they were blinded with idols and lies,
then you spoke through your prophets to open their eyes.

You sang in a stable, you cried from a hill,
then you whispered in silence when the whole world was still;
and down in the city you called once again,
when you blew through your people on the rush of the wind.

You call from tomorrow, you break ancient schemes.
From the bondage of sorrow all the captives dream dreams;
our women see visions, our men clear their eyes.
With bold new decisions your people arise.

(James K. Manley (20th century), hymn-writer. Published in Everflowing Streams (1981). “Spirit,” l. 1-4 (1978).)

Spirit of Gentleness,

You blow goodness and mercy just as the gentle wind blows ripples on the water.  You are the origin of my every thought.  You send inspiration to move me from my mental inertia.  I worship and adore you.

Spirit of Restlessness,

Stir me from placidness; guide me, I pray of thee, on a gentle but steady course of bringing your kingdom to come on earth.   Set my heart, mind, soul on your loving kindness.  Let me seek only to improve the world for all.  Let me be a calming presence among those in turmoil, helping to bring glimpses of your joy and your glory.

Spirit who calls me to freedom,

Thank you for calling me from tomorrow and breaking the ancient schemes.  Remind  me that my only bonds are those from which I could break through by following you.  Help me to make reality from the dreams of the captives.  Help me to report the women’s visions and encourage the men to clear their eyes and see you.  Help us all to arise and do your holy work.

Spirit who Cried from a hill,

Thank you for whispering to me in the silence.  Thank you for waking me in the night to meditate on you with the sting of my hand ‘falling asleep’.  Thank you for the extravagant blessings you have bestowed on me.  Thank you for a world of freedom in my head, to imagine your world of freedom on earth.  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!

I participate in a theology/bible study on Monday evenings.  This week, during our discussion on the series Living The Questions, we spoke of things that keep us from God and the theological solutions for each.  We spoke of them as blocks to our relationship with God.  

As has been the case quite a lot lately, a devotional arrived the next day that reminds me, invites me to meditate and helps me become nearer to God (I hope!). Donna Schaper wrote about “Laying on of Hands” – how the touch of laying on or even a massage can release blocked energy.

God-letter-building-blocks

I believe that there is a creative energy in the universe.  I believe love is this energy.  I call this energy God.  So the healing touch may indeed be releasing God’s loving energy.  Pretty cool, huh?

Incredible Imagineer,

You are all energy.  Your energy is the creative force of the universe.  Your energy is love.  You called the worlds into being and created people because  you want to be in relationship with us. We are your beloved creations. We are precious to you.  Amazing!

Lord of Liberation, Returning and Forgiveness,

I pray that you will inspire us to remove the blocks, whether bondage, exile, or sin.  Let us focus on restoring our relationship with you and valuing your people.  I pray you will remind us of the many ways we can overcome these blockages or obstacles.  Help us to remember  that the ‘what’ (being in relationship) is more important than the ‘how’ (choice of denomination or theological style).  With renewed fervor as we journey through Lent, let us end at the destination of your kingdom on earth.

antahkarana_lightning

Extravagant Energy,

Thank you for giving us  such abundant resources.  Food, thoughtfulness, air, light, wisdom – all things come from you.  We appreciate them, we see their value.  We love you so much!

Through Jesus, I pray,

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!

Today’s StillSpeaking Devotional was written by Rev. Donna Schaper and called “Wiping the Dust Off our Feet”. I’ve never thought of wiping the dust as I leave anyplace, unless it was leaving a warehouse floor to go into an office or leaving a messy outside (snow, rain, mud) to go inside.  I suppose if I lived in a dusty desert I would more frequently wipe them.  

The scripture for the Devotional is Luke 10:11.  Luke 10 is  Jesus’ directive to those he sent out, two by two.  Wiping the dust was to convey ‘you have not welcomed us nor given us peace, so we want nothing from you‘.  That’s quite a slam.

Eternal Energy,

You even created dust.  In some places, dust is mixed with sand and water to make bricks and mortar.  For many of us, dust is simply something we don’t want.  Sadly, Lord, there are more elements of your creation that we don’t want:  pain, cold, ice…  we often dismiss them as bad.  There are other things you’ve called into being that we sometimes consider good, sometimes bad.  Kermit the Frog’s song “Green” comes to mind.  He speaks of the difficulty of being green, then goes on to the beauty of green.

Henson and Kermit.jpg

Loving Lord,

Today I pray that you will remind me to look for the upside of things I find troubling.  Move me from complacency.  Stir my interest in seeing the good.  Help me to do good.  Help me to bring your kingdom to earth.

I also ask to lean on your strength with all the Valentine’s candy that’s around.  I don’t need it, but I want it – even knowing that it’s not nutritious.  I bring Susan to you as she strives to slim a bit.  Sometimes Lord, a few pounds can be so hard to shed.  Give her your inspiration on new things to try.

I remember our relationships on this Valentine’s Day.  I pray for Susan’s with Sarah, Aaron, Matt and her parents.  I pray for mine with Steve, my children & my siblings.   Let us be blessings to these people, Lord.  And those with whom we come into contact at any time of the day.

Valentines-Day-Wallpaper

Generous Giver,

All that I am, all that I have, all that I experience comes from you.  I am always grateful!  Lord, I love you so much!

I pray using the name of Jesus, my Savior and brother,

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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