One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again. Isaiah 2:4
War never serves the good of the people. Yet we continue to wage war. War between countries. War between political parties. War between people with different religions and cultures. War between family members. War between greed and what is good for the earth. War between my desire to do the will of God and my fear of being different, of not having enough, of being hurt.
Today I will walk in peace with myself, my family, my community. I will let go of fear, put my trust in God, and walk in the light of the Lord.
Then [the other criminal] said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:42-43
Remember me, Lord.
It’s the beginning of a dialogue with God. It shows I remember God is with me. It shows my belief that God is listening. It shows my trust that I matter to God.
Today I will not forget God is here. I will remember God’s kingdom is right here among us and will look for God wherever I am, in every breath I take, in everyone I encounter. I will let go of worry and fear and remember God is in charge.
Jesus said, “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” Luke 21:19
Persevere in kindness. Persevere in faith. Persevere in compassion. Persevere in forgiveness, in letting go of resentment, in rejecting fear. Persevere in trusting God is here, God cares, God is in charge.
Today I will refuse to be terrified by reports of wars, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, injustice. I will quietly put my energy into loving and helping my neighbors near and far and in trusting the Lord holds us all close to his heart.
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
When I put my hope in God’s enduring presence, when I allow myself to receive God’s love in its many, diverse forms, when I keep God in the center of my life, I am strengthened to live each day with courage and trust in God’s compassion.
Today I will let God’s love heal my sorrowing heart. I know God is with me in every moment and helps me through difficult times of pain and suffering.
For you love all things that are and loathe nothing that you have made; for what you hated, you would not have fashioned. And how could a thing remain, unless you willed it; or be preserved, had it not been called forth by you? Wisdom 11:24-25
When I judge others negatively, I am in effect criticizing God’s wisdom, God’s creation, God’s heart of compassion.
Today I will ask God to open my mind and heart to know and love the members of this vast human family with God’s own mind and heart.
[Jesus said,] “The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity…'”Luke 18:11
Prayer is a dialogue with God, not a monologue with myself. In prayer, I speak to God about what is in my heart, confident that God listens without judgment. And I listen to God, confident that God replies with compassion and wisdom. God awakens me to my need to make a change in my life, to offer amends to those I have hurt, to rest when I am tired, to sit with grief, to love myself and my neighbor.
Today I will remember to tell God what is on my mind and in my heart, and then listen for God’s reply.
My help is from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:2
When I forget Who is in charge, Whose vision is unfolding for our world, Who is the center of my life, I tend to become anxious and discouraged. When I remember God is holding me and everyone else in a loving, compassionate embrace, I can relax and put my energy into enjoying the gift of the moment and helping where I am able.
Today I will remember to continually raise my heart to the Lord in prayer when life’s events threaten to take over my mind and energy.
And one of the lepers, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.Luke 17:15-16
Even if I am not aware of God’s healing presence within and around me, every day brings multiple opportunities to fall at the feet of the Lord in gratitude for my life, the people who love me, the beauty of the natural world, and the many material comforts I enjoy.
Today I will thank God for everything, even the events that seem most difficult to bear.
Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and clamorous discord. Then the LORD answered me and said: Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. Habakkuk 1:3b, 2:2-3
The tiniest seed of faith in my heart helps to counteract the destruction and violence in our world today. Faith reminds me God’s vision of love and peace and perfect unity among all people will not fail.
Today I will put my hope in God. I will intentionally choose love, peace, and unity in my conversations and interactions with others so that I may play a small part in bringing about God’s vision.
Jesus said to the Pharisees: “Abraham replied [to the rich man], ‘Between us and you a great chasm is established.’” Luke 16:26
The great chasm is a lack of awareness. The rich man never noticed Lazarus. He didn’t notice Lazarus’ hunger, illness, pain — he wasn’t aware of his presence at all.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to pay attention to the people we encounter at home, at work, in the community, around the world. We are called to honor the dignity of all people and serve everyone in a respectful manner.
Today I will consciously take notice of the people I encounter. I will offer everyone a kind word and a listening ear.