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For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord…

— Romans 8:38-39

Oh, my all-knowing and glorious God,

god_welcomeI’ve just received word that Dick died this morning, just a little while ago. What a road my mind takes. Almighty One, you called the worlds into being and you knew Dick before he was knitted in his mother’s womb. You have called him home to heaven. I don’t understand your ways, dear Lord; my vision is not as all-encompassing as yours.  I can only let go and adore your exquisite plan.  You are amazing!

I praise you for knowing when to call home Dick’s soul. I know his body and his mind had been failing him increasingly and I am grateful that his need to fight for life has ended. I know that he rests in your arms and that his soul takes on abilities that humans do not have. I know that he now has supreme joy.

Lord of Love and Light,

I pray for those who love Dick. While they know he now has no pain, they are left with emotional pain because they will miss him. While this frees time for Lindsey, she would have loved more time with her beloved husband. Their children and grandchildren likely feel gypped for not having more time with Dick when he was brilliant, capable, loving, and funny. This time for them is bittersweet. And they are just sad, feeling their loss.

jesus-reaching-inI pray that you will hold them close, Lord. Hold them and comfort them. Whisper in their ears that they, too, are your beloved children and that your plans for them are for their welfare. Help them to remember the storms that they have already weathered, by your guiding hand. Remind them to be gentle of one another and of themselves, times of loss are stressful and it’s easy to forget to be kind. Remind them that loving Dick formed an incredible bond among them and that nothing can take that away.

Generous Giver,

You gave us Dick and we are grateful. You gave us sunshine so we can walk in the light, with a good ability to see and we are grateful. Lord, I love you so much!

And I pray in the mighty name of Jesus,

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.net

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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When someone dear to me is in need of prayers, typically that need stays on my mind or pops into my mind multiple times a day. Each time I think of you, I consider it a prayer and tell God that I’m grateful for all God is doing to better your situation. These prayers are what my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Drevs, called ‘aspirations.’ She said an aspiration could be as short as “Jesus” or “Savior” or “Oh, God (meant in a good way”.

Those near me hear me say “Well, now I’m in ‘pray without ceasing mode'” in response to a request for prayer or a confidence of something unfortunate in life. Today’s Still Speaking Devotional, Pray Constantly, reminded me of this and so I pray for everyone who reads this.

Absolute Almighty,

You are the Alpha and the Omega, here before the beginning of the universe and likely here long after this universe passes away. You knew us long before our parents’ parents’ parents’ were even longed for. Your energy is love and wants to create more and more. You are the heat that melts ice and spark that ignites fire. You are every motion and every medicine. You are far beyond my comprehension. I worship you. You are amazing!

relentless loveLord of Light,

Today I pray for my dear friends, near and far, known and unknown. I pray that all will come to know you. I pray that your love will spur us to stop the violence. I pray that you will inspire parents to raise children with mindfulness and respect. I pray that your energy will fill us all to overflowing with your uplifting grace and will spill over into all our interactions with others. Help us get past the fear of finite resources and lavish on others what you lavish on us. I pray for health, quickly, for those for whom it is a time to heal; I pray for death, quickly for those for whom it is a time to die. I pray for a world without pain. I pray that we learn from every adversity and that we find ways to turn evil and bad into good.

Humble us, Loving Lord, and help us to accept the things that cannot change and to have the courage to change what we can – for the better. Help us to live gratefully.

relentless-love-in-Gods-handGenerous Giver,

Even the poorest of us gets by. So many of us are rich beyond belief, yet live in an impoverished way.We live richly when walking daily with you. You give us much more than we need, especially your relentless mercy and love. Thank you for the buds of next spring on the trees outside my window and for the family who helped to prune the tree. Thank you for the beauty of this earth shown especially in an infant. Thank you for hope. Thank you for loving me.

Jesus taught me that anything I request in his name will be granted, and so I ask all this in the mighty name of Jesus, embodiment of you,

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! 

… I sit quietly and look at this image:
jesus-reaching-in

And then I feel better.

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  

~ Phil. 4:8

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????My blood type is B positive.  I used to say this is why I’m such an optimist.  These days, however, I can be cranky for what seems like weeks on end.  That’s not fair to others and it’s not fair to me and it’s really not fair to God.

I noticed last night that I’m irritated about this extreme cold that keeps me indoors with my car garaged.  There have been warnings on the radio to avoid going out at almost any cost.  My office is closed and I know that’s good because my car would likely give trouble trying to start after sitting in the wind-blown parking lot.  But I’m tired of the things that normally occupy me.  Mind you, I could make a lengthy list of things that could occupy my time well.  And so, I must.  But first, I need to talk with God.

Will you pray with me, please?

Everpresent Energy,

I’m getting bored in the house. You have made a universe that allows for beauty in every hour, and I am on the verge of sin as I refuse to enjoy it. As I meditate on the possibilities for this day of potential solitude, I know that you would want me to focus on doing good. You are perfect, you are wisdom, and just the fact that you ARE makes you worthy of my praise and adoration.  You are more than I could ever conceive.  You are amazing!

Loving Lord,

I pray that you’ll help me to adjust my attitude. Help me to fix my thoughts on purely pleasing you. Lighten my mood and remind me of my purpose, to help others. There is much I could do and now I shall make a list of a few of those things so that I can sense achievement when all items are checked complete.  And if I need to make a second list, inspire it.

Bee PositiveAs I share my home with Steve and the dogs, let me keep my mind focused as you would have me do. Strengthen our relationship and bless it. Let us find happiness in one another – not annoyance or blaming our discomforts on the other. Be with me always; put your hand on my mouth, if necessary to stop me from speaking meanness.  Let your blessed fingers unfurrow my brow and make my face a light of your love.

I bring to you also, those who are forced to be outside in such dangerous conditions. Show them ways to get warm and safe. Ensure that all have good nutrition and hydration to stay healthy.

I think of those who struggle with illness and injury. Lord, I pray you will be present in healing each of them, and when healing is not possible I pray you will keep them from suffering.

Generous Grandother,

Be PositiveYou have given us so much. Let me remember to be grateful for the light and warming energy of the sun. Let me thank you for water and coffee.  Let me revel in the fact that you have granted those in my circumstances more than enough to survive, you have granted me all I need to thrive and Lord, I pray I can thank you by using all these gifts as your faithful steward.  I am grateful.  Lord, I love you so much.

And I pray in Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

© Melissa Pazen, 2014

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 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!

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!

Today’s UCC StillSpeaking Devotional is written by our favorite author, Quinn Caldwell.  Did you SEE the link of the halo?  It looks to me like a rainbow and certainly is like the way we imagined Jesus’ halo when I was a little kid.  I think I’ve seen paintings like that.

Perfect Painter,

You dreamed up all the colors of the rainbow.  You put all the beautiful colors in the stripes of the Grand Canyon and the Painted Desert and Red Rock.  Your sense of aesthetics is more beautiful than anything I could imagine.  Amazing!  And when humans acted selfishly and like bone-heads and like stuffy Pharisees, you sent Jesus to show us the way you want us to live.  Amazing!

glory

Loving Lord,

This morning, I bring my friend Susan to you.  Grant her your peace, that surpasses all understanding.  Give her unlimited joy as she prepares for the ceremony making public her marriage to Matt.

I bring Thea to you; we are so grateful for her healing and that you have ways for her to avoid nausea during chemo as well as ways for her to receive healthy blood chemicals to give her energy.

I bring Lindsey, and all our siblings in Christ who travel.  Make straight their ways and bring them safely home to their ministries with us.

I bring Tom, Carol, Debbie’s father and all who have pain and illness. Give them your energy and peace to keep the pain from turning into suffering.

I come to you my own self, asking for more energy and a sense of well-being. I pray you will bless my relationships and my interactions.

But most importantly, Lord, I pray you will take my life. For you can bend light to make a rainbow or a halo. “Bend me, shape me, any way you want me”, Lord.  The 1960’s pop tune comes to mind.  I looked it up and it could have been a prayer, maybe even with that bubblegum beat!

Bend Me Album

Bend me, shape me
Anyway you want me,
Long as you love me, it’s all right

Bend me, shape me
Anyway you want me,
You got the power to turn on the light.

Everybody tells me I’m wrong to want you so badly,
But there’s a force driving me on, I follow it gladly.
So let them laugh I don’t care,
Cause I got nothing to hide,
All that I want is you by my side.

Bend me, shape me
Anyway you want me,
Long as you love me, it’s all right

Bend me, shape me
Anyway you want me,
You got the power to turn on the light.
Bend me shape me anyway you want me*

Lord, as I try to submit to your will, I pray you will keep me mindful.  For as long as I remember, I try to spread your love.  As long as I remember, I try to be kind and generous.  The moment I forget, I fall back to my innate selfish, foolish ways.  And even with years of practice, loving doesn’t come to me without very deliberate thoughts.  I want to focus on you.  I want to bring your kingdom to earth.  I need your help.  I always will.

Generous Grandparent,

You lavish blessings upon me.  Your love fills every nook, every crevice and overflows around me.    Remind me to float, no to walk on your ocean of love.  Let it imbue my every motion, my every breath, my every thought.  I am thankful for all you’ve given me.  I appreciate the beauty I see and hear.  I am grateful for the comforts you send.  I am overcome with the love of the community of faithful with whom you surround me.

I pray through Jesus’ name, our Christ,

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!

*(Lyrics © CLAUS OGERMANN, PRES. D/B/A HELIOS MUSIC CORP.)

This morning, I heard that my manager’s father-in-law has been diagnosed with lung cancer, and that while it is in an early stage, the father-in-law has  decided not to pursue treatment and to rest comfortably in the Lord’s hands.  I imagine this is very difficult for all who love this man.

 

God of Beginnings and Endings,

You have made a time for every purpose.  You understand everything.  Being merely your creations, we don’t.  And one of our flaws is that we wish we did understand everything.  We wish we could make things begin and end on our schedules, according to our desires.  We confess that we want the control and the knowledge only you have.

God of Parents and Children,

I pray for Debbie’s father and all who love him. I pray for his wife. I pray for Debbie and Steve and their children.

Abel_dying_Louvre_MN80

Lord of life,

if his decision to seek no treatment is the right one, let him rest securely.  If his decision is the wrong one, keep whispering in his ear until he hears you; let him seek your counsel and hear your wisdom.

Lord of loving,

I pray you will give serenity and acceptance of Debbie’s father’s decision to those in his family.  I pray you will help them to respect him and his decision.  While they must grieve their ultimate loss of his presence, let them remember all the good he has done.  Remind them of the love he has had for them, shown or undemonstrated.  More importantly, help each of them to remember the love you have for them – each and every one.  Let them know your love will always be available to them.  And let them know they can show your love to one another. Remind them to treat one another respectfully and kindly.  Let them know that when they walk humbly with you, loving justice and mercy, they are doing what you require of them.

God of memories,

Grant this family and all who love them the gift of spending time together now.  Remind them to enjoy the time that is left, whether it be several years or several days.  Remind them to seek the information they want to remember, whether they compile a memory scrap book or record his voice or make video.  Let them recognize the value of a human life and celebrate this man’s journey while they still have time with him.

Dying_gaul

In the days to come, when there are sad or difficult times, let these people lean on your strength and on one another who show your strength.  Remind them that whenever they face a dark night of the soul, your light will come again and bring knowledge in the morning that life goes on and joy will always come again.

Gods-Sunrise

Generous Giver,

All that we have, all who we love, everything we see comes from you.  You bless us abundantly and we are grateful.  Lord, we love you so much.

Through Jesus,

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!

In this morning’s Stillspeaking Devotional, the Rev. Lillian Daniel writes of a gay man from a conservative background, and how he felt alone both at church and with LGBTQ individuals who didn’t share his religious heritage. I love that she says:  “And I am grateful to the UCC for its early and extravagant welcome to those who have been wounded by other churches.” 

Jesus ate with the unclean, publicans & sinners.  He might even have been willing to share a meal with me.  How can I do anything less?  I continue to find the loving spirits in those who disagree with me most strongly, because Jesus showed me how.

Chicago pre-dawn

Omnipotent One,

Only you could call the worlds into being.  Only you would have thought to create species and breeds with such variety; from manx to tabbies, from lipizzaner to quarter, from pug to wolf hound, from gay to straight, from conservative evangelical to post-modern liberal.  All of us are your creations.  Amazing!

Lord of Light,

In this pre-dawn time when the sky lightens, I come to you. I think of Thea and her upcoming transfusion today; remind her that while with you, she will come to no harm.  Let her feel a sense of energy as blood filled with hemoglobin and good counts of white and red cells flow into her body.  Strengthen her in body and faith.  Let her remember that our love surrounds her and let that be a comfort; fill her with a sense of calm.

As the day begins, I bring Susan and Matt to you.  Let them take their time and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they should be friends, committed to one another, or married.  Lead them to the proper outcome for all the right reasons, Lord.  Show them your will for them, Lord.  Open the hearts of each of their family members.  Let them revel in the love you have created in them.

Just before the sun rises, I remember Steve and his interview on Friday.  It feels as if it might be a longshot, but Lord, it would be such a gift to us to not need to strugglewith money!  I know he could do the management aspects of the job and I only hope he would be happy with it.  Please, Lord, if it be your will, let him get it!

Now as I turn to my workday, I pray you will remind me you are beside me always.  Inspire my work and  my work choices.  Let me be a blessing and a purveyor of your light, your enlightenment.  Let me help to bring your kingdom to come on earth, as it is in heaven.

Gracious God,

We have everything we need.  In you, we have our refuge and our strength.  I am so grateful; Lord, I love you so much!

And I pray in the most holy name of Jesus,

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!

See the trees on the right, the ones with the finely defined branches?  Those are my favorites.  

CHINA-LIFESTYLE-CHRISTMAS-OFFBEAT-SCIENCE

When I was a little girl, I loved riding along Lake Shore Drive in Chicago to see the lights on the trees.  That was the first time I ever saw the little white lights.

lsd lights 2

The photo below is of the blue spruce in our back garden, lit for the holidays two years ago.  When there is snow on a tree, it seems to glow.

IMG_2254

Glorious God,

You existed before there was light.  You are the energy that created light.  And you sent a perfect example of light and clarity in Jesus.  Amazing!

Lord of Love,

I simply cannot understand the killings in Newtown, CT today.  In fact, I don’t really want to understand how someone could kill others.  But I can pray for those who survived.  I pray that you would surround all affected with your enfolding love.  I pray you will whisper to them that they can lean on your strength.  Let them grieve as they should at the loss of their loved ones.  And let them remember the light will come again after this dark time in their souls.

Gracious Grandother,

You have blessed us abundantly.  Thank you for people to console us.  Thank you for friendship and family.  I love you so much.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

To God be the glory!

Melissa Pazen © 2012

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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