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.
[Jesus said,] “‘No one can serve two masters.”Luke 16:13a
Some nights the pain in my joints seems to take over my whole being, and it takes a while to come back to myself and pray for help. It’s times like these that remind me it’s easy for me to remove God from the center of my universe. Social media, my smart phone, a resentment I’m carrying, a task I need to perform, pain… anything can become an idol when I focus my energy and attention on it.
Today I will consciously put God in the center of my life by talking everything over with the Lord. I will remember God is love, compassion, wisdom, and always present to help me in difficult moments.
Jesus addressed them, “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:27
We carry personal crosses such as grief, addiction, depression, anxiety, chronic pain and fatigue. These burdens can be heavy at times and we often wish someone else would carry them for us.
Although others may help and support us, we are responsible for carrying our own burdens. When we are able to live with patience and loving acceptance instead of despair and self-pity, our burdens seem lighter.
God’s kindness and compassion are always present to comfort us as we do our best to follow the Lord’s way of peace and healing.
Today I will take time to rest. I will ask the Lord to show me how to carry my burdens with grace and ease.