Fri. March 8

Friday March 8, 2019

Today’s Focus          Luther’s Small Catechism

Scripture Reading for the Day        Psalm 40

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.

Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord,
who have no confidence in the proud
or in those who worship idols.
O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us.
Your plans for us are too numerous to list.
You have no equal.
If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds,
I would never come to the end of them.

You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings.
Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand[a]
you don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.
Then I said, “Look, I have come.
As is written about me in the Scriptures:
I take joy in doing your will, my God,
for your instructions are written on my heart.”

I have told all your people about your justice.
I have not been afraid to speak out,
as you, O Lord, well know.
10 I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart;
I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power.
I have told everyone in the great assembly
of your unfailing love and faithfulness.

11 Lord, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me.
Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me.
12 For troubles surround me—
too many to count!
My sins pile up so high
I can’t see my way out.
They outnumber the hairs on my head.
I have lost all courage.

13 Please, Lord, rescue me!
Come quickly, Lord, and help me.
14 May those who try to destroy me
be humiliated and put to shame.
May those who take delight in my trouble
be turned back in disgrace.
15 Let them be horrified by their shame,
for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!”

16 But may all who search for you
be filled with joy and gladness in you.
May those who love your salvation
repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!”
17 As for me, since I am poor and needy,
let the Lord keep me in his thoughts.
You are my helper and my savior.
O my God, do not delay.

 Daily Reflection         Elizabeth Eaton,

Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 Dear Sisters and brothers in Christ,

In this small book (Luther’s Small Catechism) we have a rich treasure for communicating the faith from generation to generation.  The Small Catechism gives us common language for engaging the Bible, talking with others about our relationships with God and neighbors, making sense of our callings in daily life, and making witness to Christ in God’s world.

I invite you to open, rediscover and be renewed by this treasure again.
Preword to “Luther’s Small Catechism, Study Edition” Augsburg Fortress 2016

Some Questions for Reflection

  • Trust, patience, forgiveness, love. How do these kinds of words inform the life of the psalmist?  How do these kinds of words inform your life of faith?
  • In times of trial, the psalmist suggests shouting “The Lord is Great!” What do you do in your times of trial?

Today’s Pilgrimage challenge

  • Keep your eyes open today for someone you think is sharing the “love of God” with others. In a very simple and honest way, affirm that person for their behavior.  Think about how affirming this person made you feel.  How do you think your affirmation made the other person feel.  Share and discuss with your group.

Today’s Prayer

O God, it is your will to hold both heaven and earth in a single peace.  Let the design of Your great love shine on the waste of our wraths and sorrows, and give peace to Your church, peace among nations, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts; through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

11 thoughts on “Fri. March 8

  1. Kathi Raphael

    I add my prayer to Today’s Prayer, in a prayer for peace for the world and among all nations.

    Reply
  2. Catherine Ziel

    I love the trust the psalmist shows in the last verse of this psalm: “As for me, since I am poor and needy, let the Lord keep me in his thoughts.” If God just thinks of me, I can face whatever comes my way. It reminds me of the medieval mystic, Julian of Norwich, who saw a hazelnut in a vision and was told that the nut contained the entire universe. She asked how it could survive, since it was so tiny. The answer she received was, “It survives because God loves it.” I hear the psalmist reminding me that since God loves me, I too will survive.

    Reply
  3. Pastor Jerry

    Wow! What a great day! God was really active in the world around me today! First let me share that I absolutely loved this psalm to begin my day. The movement from joy to trial, the hope of God’s deliverance and the promise of God’s presence within this psalm truly began my day on a positive note. My day began by packing Marley in my car to go visit with my mom. I needed some gas, so I stopped at a local convenience station when I noticed that one of my favorite attendants was in a particularly bad mood. I asked him what was the matter and he shared with me that some of the vendors who were delivering product to the store were giving him a very difficult time. I looked this man in the eyes and said “that’s really a shame, because I know that I stop at this store because you always have hope and see the best in other people and if I stop here because of that without a doubt other people from the neighborhood stop by to spend some time with him. This man almost came to tears as he shared that he never realized that he made a difference in the life of anyone, let alone the people who stop at the store. He looked in the direction of the vendor who was still in the store and said, I guess it’s not so much to put up with that guy when I know that I can make other people’s day better. I could share about 7 more stories similar to this one with encounters I had today, but I simply could not believe the number of people placed in my path who it was very easy to share how I saw God’s light working within them. One another awesome note, our puppy walked completely around Trexler park in the “heel” mode today without problem! She made lots of “puppy” and people friends today along the way! It was awesome! I thank God for bringing my four legged buddy into our life! May God’s blessing be with you all!
    Peace, blessings, and love
    PJ

    Reply
  4. Mel Olenwine

    Mmmmhmmm…..images of God lifting us out of the pit of despair, setting our feet on solid ground. The psalmist is crying out for help, salvation, his sins “piling up so high he can’t see a way out.” Don’t we all have days where we feel like our sins are literally piling up? Trust, patience, forgiveness, love. I don’t know about the psalmist, but patience and forgiveness are things I ask for OFTEN. LIke…all the time. I am not a patient person, I am not a calm person, many times I feel I was just born anxious and fearful. I constantly find myself saying “slow down, calm down, relax.” The Lord is Great. Well, I say God is great or God is good a lot. Usually when something wonderful or unexpected happens, or I feel a prayer has been answered. I don’t find myself saying that in times of trial, and maybe I’m remiss in that. I pray, I ask for help, but the “God is good” part comes later…after some sort of resolution. My neighbor works in a nursing home in the dementia section, and my mother in law just moved in to the facility this week this week. It has been hard, and we are not to contact her for a few weeks so she can acclimate to the new surroundings. But my neighbor (and very good friend) has been keeping me updated on how she’s doing, what she’s doing, how she’s adjusting. Even though it is her job, it is a labor of love for her; she has always been nurturing and kind to elderly people; and I’ve been in awe of her patience. She certainly is sharing the love of God with these people that to some extent, often feel discarded by their families. I tell her often that I couldn’t do what she does. Going through similar trials with my own mother, it is so hard. These people have raised and cared for us our whole lives, and we are now faced with caring for them to the end of theirs. It brings you face to face with your own mortality. Life is changing constantly….but God is the one constant. So trust, faith, patience, forgiveness, mostly LOVE…has to stay in the forefront of our minds and hearts.

    Reply
    1. Pastor Jerry

      Wow! Very powerful! Isn’t amazing how the various gifts and talents that God shares with the world enable various people to perform and share tasks that we ourselves know we would not be comfortable with? Great story, thanks for sharing. Amen about God being the one constant. I agree with the feelings shared today that our trust, our anchor, needs to be grounded in God’s grace and love!
      Peace, blessings, and love,
      PJ

      Reply
  5. Keith Ricks

    First an update on My Spiritual Discipline(s). Today was a Great day! Although, to be honest, I did not think so until I did some evening Meditation and reflected on it { Bam! then realized that was a Credit towards My SD #2! A little more Self-Love time to Keith }. And it Gets better, as it does when You allow Gods’ Love to Flow through You it Never Just goes where YOU decide it should, Oh Nooo, ( Psst… Maybe it’s Just me, but I have a difficult time keeping the God in Me under Control… Never-Ever Just does what I say… Gees-Louise ) That’s right, You go and Let Gods’ Love flow Somebody or Something and it Splashes All Over Everything! And half the time Ya don’t even Know it Until You’re surrounded by People who just want to talk to You for some reason. Yep, that’s what Happened. Had Cable installed today. In short, the man did his thing as expected. In addition, came to Me with moving my cable wires that have always run across my living room wall (unsightly) to my tv and said, “I have some length of cable, if You would like, I could run new cable through Your basement and Up behind Your TV since there seems to be a Hidden access Hole there already…” and I put up one of those “That will be a lot more work than You think because…” deals, because I knew the situation… but He continued that He wouldn’t mind and He’d be glad to help. So he did. He also stapled up all My “Hanging Wire” Handywork, and collected all the equipment, including remotes and power cords from the old service provider, bundled them up nicely, and set them in a convenient pile… and… I feel like NO body will every believe Me on this one… just after I signed his paperwork, He handed Me a paper note with That cable companies Location and Hours for today for drop off and told Me that He noticed there service was still active at the pole (which I knew) and they would not terminate billing until they received all the equipment,.. did the Have a good day thing and took his stuff out to the truck! After a second, I rummaged through my bookbag and Ran out to his truck Hollering as if something was Wrong waving My Ticket Book… Not my Sin Ticket Book either, But My Heaven Ticket book… {Those that know Me know it is a Real thing..} and my Hole Punch. I run up to his Truck and He looks all Upset, and I say all Out of Breath, “You were gonna leave without punching My ticket, I can’t believe You would do Me that way!” – and I tell You it was Murder not to Crack a Smile… He was all… What ticket… Who told You I was suppose to Punch a ticket?… and then I hit Him with it… I said, “Come on, don’t play me! Moving my cable lines! Packing up my old equipment… and You even gave Me their address and hours!” Then I flip the Ticket over where it showed “Keith’s Ticket to Heaven” and the spots for Punches and Said, “I know You got the IN with God, You Gotta be Good for at least TWO punches!” And He bust out Laughing but He took my Punch and gave Me 4 punches! So, I got to Use the word “God” in conversation, in My natural Humorous Way to a Total stranger AND — It would Seem in Gods’ Splashing Way… Affirm to Him that in his Own way he was sharing the Love of God with Me, Not only by His generous actions, but by affording Me an Opportunity to Practice My Spiritual Discipline(s) and for me, He made the mention of God in Any way to Any Human outside of Church itself (or to the Pastor) not to terrifying event it is for me. What I find odd is My observation of how my verification of his goodness and deeds seemed to make Him feel is exactly the way it made Me feel letting him know how I saw him. We spoke after the punches and I did tell him in Real words that I felt these were actions that I only witness in true Human Beings that know kindness and Love like that of God… and he didn’t flinch at all… but again, it was like Virtuous Ego… “Yeah, I know… It’s You that just figured it Out so, Glad I could Help” Yet, it wasn’t bad. So, is Virtuous Ego a Thing? Eh, Maybe I just got God-Backsplash! Keith

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  6. Keith Ricks

    From this Psalm and from something from the other day regarding experiencing Gods’ Greatness, Miracles and these Endless Deeds. I hear this so often and I once was an offender to God on this issue so I hold no bitterness toward anyone, only understanding and forgiveness… It is the Idea that God has, at some point in the past, stopped performing these beautiful Grand Shows of Love and Power on the Immense Scale we read in the Bible. You see, the truth is indeed that the Bible Reads only of a few Grand things… Surely Jesus’ life and time counts as “Immense” However, God has Never stopped the Mind Blowing Incredible Great Miracles and Deeds since the first moment of Creation. We only get to Wittiness What we are capable of at any given time or what We are Purposefully shown at any given time (such as many of the old Bible Miracles… likely because We had no other means of seeing Much of the Great God Miracles). Today? Today with the Gifts of the Mind God has given Us, We have Witnessed the very fabric of Space around Us warp from forces across the entire Universe, discovered immortal jellyfish, and seen our Own Planet from Space. All things, like the People in the Bible, We either Experienced or Witnessed of God’s Handywork… Immense Miracle, If I am allowed. We are So very blessed today to have used Our gifts of Science to be able to explore and experience Gods’ Miracles today, Yet we forget often what it is that we are seeing. We just need a moment to go, “Oh, Yeah.” That’s all – Keith

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  7. Keith Ricks

    So, I could not sleep. This Psalm… and some stuff… was bothering me. Here is how I read it. And I do apologize as I really wanted everything I write to always be Happy-Pappy Fluffy and all, but God is Wonderful and not all things of Human kind is… This is How I read the Psalm of the Truly Human Human… Just like me if I was living and or Praying it…

    I waited, was helped, I was grateful… at least for a bit… So while things were good, I gave God a bit of Credit and Praise.
    The Lord has Performed Many Wonders, has many Plans for Us, and is Unequaled and has done endless deeds
    Ok God, I’m not doing so good again, Help Me! Beg, Plead…Save Me!
    {Anger} Hurt my bullies and enemies! Unless, of course, they’re God Lovers Too, ‘cause I don’t want to upset You.
    “since I am poor and needy,” Okay, I am going to Just allow this as one of those
    ‘back in the day’ things that meant something other than what it literally reads because of translations or something…

    From this Psalm and from something from the other day regarding experiencing Gods’ Greatness, Miracles and these Endless Deeds. I hear this so often and I once was an offender to God on this issue so I hold no bitterness toward anyone, only understanding and forgiveness… It is the Idea that God has, at some point in the past, stopped performing these beautiful Grand Shows of Love and Power on the Immense Scale we read in the Bible. You see, the truth is indeed that the Bible Reads only of a few Grand things… Surely Jesus’ life and time counts as “Immense” However, God has Never stopped the Mind Blowing Incredible Great Miracles and Deeds since the first moment of Creation. We only get to Wittiness What we are capable of at any given time or what We are Purposefully shown at any given time (such as many of the old Bible Miracles… likely because We had no other means of seeing Much of the Great God Miracles). Today? Today with the Gifts of the Mind God has given Us, We have Witnessed the very fabric of Space around Us warp from forces across the entire Universe, discovered immortal jellyfish, and seen our Own Planet from Space. All things, like the People in the Bible, We either Experienced or Witnessed of God’s Handywork… Immense Miracle, If I am allowed. We are So very blessed today to have used Our gifts of Science to be able to explore and experience Gods’ Miracles today, Yet we forget often what it is that we are seeing. We just need a moment to go, “Oh, Yeah.” That’s all – Keith

    Reply
  8. Pastor Jerry

    Wow! Sounds like you had a “supercalifradilicious expecalidious!” kind of day! Great to hear, and thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, observations, and stories with all of us! While I am on this thought, I wanted to thank everyone who is sharing this journey…. it’s great to be able to have self-reflection and then have an opportunity to bear witness to everyone else’s thoughts and opinions!
    Peace, blessings, and love,
    PJ

    Reply

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