Category Archives: Coached by Grace

BALL STRIKE

Ball/Strike

Today is Sunday December 17. It is a day to contemplate, to pray, to meditate. Please take time to reflect on the words of scripture and on your life experience.

Good Morning, my name is Carl and I am being coached by Grace. It is the Grace of God that stands behind us, is to the right of us, to the left of us and opens doors before us. (if you are comfortable repeat that statement using your own name.)

SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 • Psalm 126 or Luke 1:46b-55 • 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 • John 1:6-8, 19-28 

https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu//texts.php?id=50

Year B – Advent – Third Sunday of Advent : Revised Common Lectionary

As you read the Scripture write down your thoughts. Share how the Lord prompts you in the words of the text.

PRAYER: Oh Lord I am in awe to consider the concept of your existence, of your being. Lord I am humbled that when I touch my chest, I feel the beating of my heart and I know I exist. When my heart skips a beat I only become more aware that you exist.

Lord Isaiah reminds us that our lives participate in your life. Your life does not consider the risk of standing for justice, your life does not define boundaries of loving one but not the other. You life exists beyond my own understanding. It is in your life I experience a freedom so great that I am free to dance in the presence of danger. I know ultimately you will deliver, you will graciously reach out and I will know your gentleness. Your love is not defined by my words or by what I understand your actions to be. It is all consuming and ultimately it is an ultimatum in and of itself.

Oh Lord I know what it is to die. I know what it is to be lifted from the grave. I know what it is to breath. I know what it is to know your outstretched hand. I know what it is to be invited into the word…REJOICE…for that is the only thought bringing reality to what this is all about. To rejoice is to simply be apart of something so all encompassing no work could ever surpass it’s greatness, it’s purity, it wholeness.

Oh Lord it is in Jesus Christ the tension of these words reach their fullness. In Christ there is a message more powerful than failure. There is a revelation. We walk above the grave, above the ground that would hold us. It is a revelation that keeps us. Our bodies know the struggles. Our bodies know the desperate desire to let go, to release the tensions of everyday existing. May we now rise in your Spirit, may we rise from the presence of evil, may we renew soundness and be blameless before life itself. May we rejoice as these words from Scripture again stand the test of time. Amen.

MUSIC:

Rejoice in the Lord https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7CflVL5Drs

Rejoice In The Lord

PHILIPPIANS 4:4 ~ “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” REJOICE IN THE…

Give thanks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bk_7wUR2Wdg

Give Thanks ( With A Grateful Heart )

EPHESIANS 5:19-20 ~ “Speaking to one…

MEDITATION: Ball/Strike

Tension was high that day. The best team in the league was playing the worst team in the league. The score was one to one. It was the bottom of the last inning. The worst batter on the worst team was up to bat. Bases were loaded. The count was three balls and two strikes. The best pitcher in the league was ready. He reared back, let go of a blistering pitch. The umpire in his mind simply thought wouldn’t it be wonderful if this boy could be the hero. All he needed was a ball. Just as the word came to his mind the ball crossed the plate. It was a perfect strike. The umpires thoughts became vocal as he yelled out BALL/STRIKE.

Batter out. Within a matter of seconds the umpire and the coaches were involved in a discussion reminiscent of the poem Casey at the Bat. The umpire said, it was a strike. End of discussion. Harsh words and a cry for justice came from the bleachers. The boy was out. The game continued. Both teams seemed unable to muster an offense. Then again the boy came up. Fans. parents, coaches all seemed to unload on the umpire again. A runner was on third, the batter stood ready to take the pitch. This time he swung the bat. It was the first time all season. The ball cracked against the bat. The coach yelled RUN! The boy looked around as if to say where? He made it to first base. The runner on third scored. The umpire declared the game over. The runners on the field, bewildered cried fowl. We can’t find the ball. The ball was buried inches in front of home base. The umpire reached down, picked up the ball, walked over to the young boy handed him the ball and said Congratulations. With one swing of the bat the boy became a hero.

Isaiah speaks of God’s desire for justice not as condemnation but as celebration. The story of Jesus is not about condemnation it is about celebration.

In today’s world there are a lot of things wrong. The more we cry for justice the more we seem to mess it up. The more we, like the umpire, follow our own desires the more we mess things up. The cry here is from God. Justice is not about condemnation it is about living right. It is about discovering how many times God desires the best for all.

The Christmas story brings this point home. Just as it wasn’t a home run that brought victory in the ball game. It was a tiny child revealing to us the purposes of God. My prayer is you may discover God’s joy, that you may rejoice over the simple ways you receive justice and grace. AMEN.

CONCLUSION:

Rejoice, Rejoice https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6by5eux1rMs

You are still on the team!

For almost 40 years a disease/condition called sarcoidosis has plagued my life. On a number of occassions it was a near death scenario. Today I simply reflect on just one of the days and how things get messed up.

SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 40:1-11 • Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13 • 2 Peter 3:8-15a • Mark 1:1-8  https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu//texts.php?id=49

PRAYER: In this meditation process you are asked to read the Scripture, then take a thought that arises from reading the Scripture and pray about that in the context of your own life.)

Oh Lord as I read the scripture I also contemplate the situation I find myself in today. It is Saturday and I have been convinced it is Sunday! Where is my brain? No wonder I have been confused today. Thank you for your mercy and grace. I will continue this tomorrow. (During this week I had a serious bout with my diabetes. I lost awareness of what day it was and started the prayer on Saturday. )

 Oh Lord my thoughts turn to yesterday when a moment of surreality captured me. I was caught in my failure, my inability to be in control, powers so strong they acted as if I was caught in the wind being tossed to and fro. Like the song needing to Catch the Wind not ignoring it but soaring within it’s power. Today is Sunday, Lord may I catch the power as Mark talks of it in the Gospel. The presence of your Spirit in the midst of the storm setting me down into peace, may I now bring that peace, grow that peace letting go of the storm, standing still.

Oh Lord the Psalmist reinvigorates the thought, motivates one to seek and desire peace, in such a way that a path of peacefulness is revealed, indeed claimed for others to follow.

Oh Lord today we are in the Advent season. Our marketing, the children in our lives, the religious world we participate in all will remind us. Give us freedom to be released from the spirit of the day giving freedom to be released UNTO your Spirit! Cause that bubble of joy in our chest to sing of your great love and continued care that like the mother of the tiny lamb we shall know you care enough. It is the story of the Advent, the story of the incarnation of your love the understanding of the story of Jesus.

Oh Lord, the words of Mark help us to grasp the reality understanding all we battle with will come to an end. A hope is embedded in our heart in such a way our words and our actions know a purpose. We are not lost in the confusion of pain in our bodies, the swirling of thoughts in our mind, rather we know in the heart, what matters is your desire to deliver us. Mark ‘s words are not just the words of an optimistic young man, they are the words that nurture, give strength and excite us. Thank You, Amen.

MUSIC:

Catch the Wind…by Melissa Hesler

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEHTrUzd8Ps

Mary did You Know https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifCWN5pJGIE

Angels we have Heard  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5mdybeyLVc&feature=youtu.be

Sara Evans – Go Tell It on the Mountain (Audio)

https://youtu.be/vcyHXc7Wv48

MEDITATION:  YOU ARE STILL ON THE TEAM!

I wrote it and started to laugh. (laughing) I am still on the team. I AM STILL ON THE TEAM! But I messed up! How can I still be on the team?

The task ever before me was clear, Monday is a day to consider mental health issues when dealing with living with a long term illness. Tuesday is about building and rebuilding a support team. Wednesday is about nurturing a knowledge and wisdom environment to learn how to live with this disease (SARCOIDOSIS). Thursday is about developing a teachable spirit, being open about learning and working through life. Friday is about reaching out beyond yourself letting others experience how your world is larger than yourself. Saturday is about reflection, about the last week and the week to come.

Something happened. I could not reflect. My mind in wanting to appear under control jumped right into Sunday mode. Meditation, writing. This is something I had spent thousands of hours doing. At the same time it felt like my mind was swimming. It could not grasp what was going on.

My friend drove up. We had agreed to work on doors on Saturday. Why, my mind said would he come on Sunday? This only added to the confusion. I looked at the date on my computer. It said Saturday. My mind instantly said, fix the computer, the settings are wrong.

What happens when the human mind doesn’t understand? Are you then dropped from the team? Are you found useless? This meditation has one task, that is to remind you, YOU ARE STILL ON THE TEAM!

The telephone rang a moment ago. Well actually it was the cell phone. The sounds of the trumpet woke me up. My friend was following the meditation. I had fallen sound asleep. The sound of the cell phone a trumpet woke me letting me know once again that in the midst of the storm I was still on the team. Wake up Carl! The scriptures hold true just as Israel had failed God still included them. Just as the people found themselves in the midst of the storm they found peace. And now we are reminded that just as the storm ravishes our bodies we will not be excluded. I discovered my sugar level had gone out of wack. The pain in my body changed as the doctors wanted me to change treatment. The pain causes sugar to go out of wack. The sugar high causes pain to go out of wack. This will not be an easy fix. But I discovered like Israel of old, whether they messed up because of stupidity or accident the scripture reminds us they/we are still on the team.

If there is a spiritual insight here it is simply God wants us on the team. It is a peaceful place to be. Come join me won’t you?

CONCLUSION:  I woke up this morning remembering this hymn: How Great Thou Art https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cc0QVWzCv9k

A Renewed Direction

A Renewed Direction December 3, 2017

Day one week fifty year 2017. Today is Sunday December 3. Please take time to read the Scripture readings and then pray and meditate on the thoughts that arise for you.

Good Morning, my name is Carl and I am being coached by Grace. It is the Grace of God that stands behind us, is to the right of us, to the left of us and opens doors before us. (if you are comfortable repeat that statement using your own name.)

SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 64:1-9 • Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 • 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 • Mark 13:24-37
https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu//texts.php?id=48

PRAYER:

Oh Lord as I prepare to read, to listen I sense something within me. There is a struggle. Sometimes it is only indigestion, I did add an onion to the morning omelette. (lol) maybe I needed that laugh. Maybe my seriousness belies your intentions. Maybe my desire to be right leads me down my path instead of the path you would choose. Maybe I get caught up in living so right that I miss the point of living. Guide me as I now read through the Scripture.

Oh Lord, I must stop here. The Apostle said it, He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Isn’t this what it is all about? It is more than being right it is about the revelation of what we have been. It is about our intentions, ultimately about the direction we keep turning to. Inside of me there is a giggle wanting to come out. I messed up, I didn’t want to, I didn’t even choose to, but I did. You choose to cleanse me, you choose to keep redirecting me. Ultimately there will be an end. I will be there won’t I. I will be found blameless won’t I. My giggle has turned to tears, both of joy and sadness. If I could only check my ways at the door, enter the temple of your grace and truth, depart walking in grace and truth it would be better for everyone. The old hymn says it, “Lead Me Oh Thou Great Jehovah.

Lord the words of Isaiah make greater sense now. As I go back and read them again. What if you revealed yourself in a way humanity would turn only out of fear. What if humanity turns as a response to truth, to grace?

I think of the context of this group. An illness all pervasive. How many times do we experience the collective responses of those who deny this reality. The reality that evil can be so deceptive. Even so is it our own unbelief that adds to the travesty of “living?” Enable us Oh Lord to pick up the pieces and put our lives back together. Enable us to claim the truth that you would seek to find us blameless, to be found together whole and on point when all starts fresh and new.

This time of prayer, is a special time to look into my soul oh Lord. It is a time to peal actions and thoughts back and to reach into the heart of the matter. It is a time to be free of judgement and condemnation. Thank you. Amen

MUSIC:

Guide Me Oh Thou Great Jehovah  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6Odk49ZvD4

In Christ Alone https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWuckLEu_hg

MEDITATION:
A Renewed Direction

As I sit here contemplating the prayer thoughts, the Scripture reading my mind fills with thoughts, many thoughts illustrating the truth of the words found in the prayer.

Years ago a lady came to me wanting to write a book about our work with young people wanting to get off the street. She interviewed many. Each had the opportunity to tell their story. They were amazingly honest, revealing a lot of their past. Before the book was published we had to put the writing on hold as young person after another came to me saying, don’t let her publish that. “I told her the truth!” I tried to convince each one that their identity would be masked. None of the youth could be convinced. The publishing of the book was delayed. A few years went by, the stories were edited and rewritten. Some were taken out completely. She entitled her book “New Directions.” I smile now as I remember a recent conversation with her. She wrote the book, she paid all the costs, gave us 10,000 copies and wished us well. I asked her if she regretted doing the book. She laughed, NO she said. I learned so much. She had spent a part of her career life as a social worker, her mother had worked with street people. She was proud to tell a story, many stories of the value of each person. Would you do it again I asked. Probably differently she said. But “YES.”

Another friend is in the process of publishing the third edition of a book about “Memes”. It is about how people make decisions, good or bad because they are a part of “subcultures.” Why do people join groups? Why do they go along with the decisions of the majority. One cannot help but think of the Holocaust. Was it just the killing of Jews? Or perhaps we think of North America, South America, individual countries. Perhaps we think of economic decisions that protect one part of society leaving other parts destitute. We read of stories of suicide pacts, groups drinking tainted kool aid, whole populations defeated by the consumption of alcohol or as in my world the how the acceptable use of children in the sex trade has become a normal way of existence. In some places young people walking into the rushing waters of a river never to be brought back alive, or the sacrifice of young people into a sports culture or the arts cultures. Many of these words are offensive but they exist often as sanctioned ways of living. I believe my friend is right not to judge or condemn. I also believe he is right to recognize the inability of the human condition to turn without an intervention.

I believe the words of the apostle hits the nail on the head when he sees God’s remedy as we turn to the ways of Jesus.

A third book comes to mind, it is an unpublished work. It too is by a friend. It is called The Sin Grid. While I don’t remember him using the word “victim” he talks about the things, actions/beliefs done to us, done to people to destroy “living in grace.” His story comes from many years of being a pastor in churches. People had come to him for counsel because of things done to them or for things they did to themselves or others. Lives had been damaged, in some cases destroyed. The interesting twist was his awareness how community mores create an environment allowing for or accepting for behaviors otherwise unacceptable.

Again I believe the words of the apostle hits the nail on the head. The scripture tells it’s own story. It also offers a remedy and new directions.

CONCLUDING THOUGHT:

Be Thou My Vision https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTJUIYTtLv4

Listening Full Circle

Listening Full Circle

 

Good Morning, my name is Carl and I am being coached by Grace. It is the Grace of God that stands behind us, is to the right of us, to the left of us and opens doors before us. (if you are comfortable repeat that statement using your own name.)

 

SCRIPTURE: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 and Psalm 100 • Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 and Psalm 95:1-7a • Ephesians 1:15-23 • Matthew 25:31-46

https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu//texts.php?id=170

 

AS YOU ARE READING THE SCRIPTURE WHAT PRAYER THOUGHT COMES TO MIND.

 

Ezekiel. Lord sometimes I wonder just how lost I have become. Life has been full of twists and turns, detours and tunnels have led me into places hard to navigate. You have promised to give a leader. David is long gone. Would I then find grace in following his words and if so does David represents the authority of the king or the grace of the shepherd?

 

Psalm. Lord the Psalmist suggests we can celebrate, make joyful noises. There are moments of reprieve, remission. Our being lost is not the controlling factor. Indeed while being under attack we experience these moments when a light shines through, when we cannot help but laugh, smile and even shout for joy. For that thank you.

 

Psalm. Lord the Psalmist calls you great, above all kings. Above all gods. Lord are you alone one god or are you God above all that is conjured up and created to explain good and evil. Are you the living force, the living Spirit enabled to lead and to save? Do we listen because we know your voice? Do we follow because we see your hand before us? Yet the testimony of the Psalmist does not ask the question, only responds.

 

Ephesians, Lord Paul dares to attribute this royalty to Jesus. In Paul’s mind he dares to equate the work Jesus did with your aspirations that all would be sought, all would be saved. Is this the voice we need to listen to? Is this the voice that will lead us to our needs?

 

Matthew, Lord one of the disciples, tells us how Jesus dared to put himself inside that voice. It is he who calls those who listen to the voice. It is he who claims to be the shepherd. Now Lord as I look back I can see the long days of pain and suffering. I can see the long days of of travail yet I also remember the moments of peace, of singing, of joy. Now Lord I live with and claim the words of hope, of joy, of deliverance. Amen.

 

MUSIC:

 

All Creatures of Our God and King. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0d3gO6qDLNA

 

Ye Servants of God https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUQj7z5qygE

 

MEDITATION: Listening Full Circle

 

This week the heart monitor came off. It was one of those tunnels I mentioned in prayer.

As I read people’s posts here on Facebook over this last week there are some primary feelings mentioned or alluded to. A feeling of joy, having life together, lost, feeling like walking on a bridge with the presence of hell beneath. Then thirdly a feeling of confusion. This last feeling is more the place where I have been this week.

 

I am in a place of coming out. It is as if I am torn between the worlds that have preoccupied me for years. I am both letting go and hanging on.

 

The world of Sarcoidosis has certainly imposed itself on me. The church has ever been in front of me. The thinking/philosophical part of my nature has moved me from doorway to doorway at times bringing me to a cliff allowing me step off, to soar in the winds not holding me back or controlling where I would go. And here I am writing yet another meditation. This year has been a wonderful time of reflection. It has allowed me to answer questions raised by you the reader. I have heard and felt your responses. At all times attempting to be sensitive to these influences and variables. Where am I, who am I, what am I about?

 

From nowhere the voice comes. You have been about the voice. Those forty years walking along side the disenfranchised. Those years laying in the bed often knowing how the struggle keeps you down. Those times when you did what you did because you knew it had to get done. Those times when “risk” was the only option. Those times when you wanted something desperately but knew it was not the right time. Those times you heard the voice.

 

The shepherd’s voice. Sometimes it was loud, other times soft, but it never stopped. It was always with me. I did not always pay attention to it. Those times when I knew I was trying to muffle it, trying to disguise it, making it seem like I was on target knowing completely I was in the wrong target range. Yet this voice made it’s presence known.

 

Ezekiel spoke of it to a wandering people, The Psalmist spoke of it as a faithful voice. Paul reflected as one who experienced the voice through the faithful response of many and Jesus declared it to be the voice, the voice with creation in the beginning and finally the voice in the end of time as we know it.

 

As I look back over over the last 49 weeks I began a pilgrimage. It came at a time when I was asking a lot of serious questions. Questions about who am I, where am I and where am I going? I discovered a lot this last year. I am simply a man of faith, a man of God. I have discovered what I am about. This information is not complicated but it is tied to this voice. So now I ask you “who are you? Where are you right now? Where are you going?

 

In Conclusion: Desiderata https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6X8YnCq6UME

Unnecessary Interruptions

UNNECESSARY INTERRUPTIONS:

SCRIPTURE:

Judges 4:1-7 and Psalm 123  •  Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18 and Psalm 90:1-8, (9-11), 12

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11  •  Matthew 25:14-30

https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu//texts.php?id=169

 

PRAYER:

Lord as I read the scripture I am immediately confronted by a very uncomfortable thought. The story says you sold them, the people of Israel into slavery.

Lord it seems good came out of bad which seems to be a chapter and verse out of my own life, help me to put my life, desires and ambitions into perspective.

Thank you Lord for the Psalmist who continually causes me to focus, to identify the unnecessary things in my life. At the same time please keep me focused as greed, self centeredness, thievery, dominance, roam the streets around me. Keep me not only safe but stedfast.

Lord the prophet talks about a certain kind of retribution. This is scary stuff as I consider my own shortcomings. Yet since beginning this latest part of the journey a spirit of confidence has traveled alongside me. The disease which has plagued me seems to have settled down. At the same time the effects of this disease and the “healer’s hand” has now become the primary area of battle. Allow me to know the difference between retribution and suffering as a way of ministry. Continue to give me the confidence to be your servant.

Lord there are times when I think my sin is ever before me. There are times when I think the refiner’s fire may be the ultimate goal. Then I see the vision of a pure soul, cleansed and made whole. You do not count my sins to destroy me but rather to cleanse me to give me the opportunity for a fresh start. Because of that I can begin to believe I live in a broken world, not judge it, not condemn it, but serve you by serving this world. There is clarification, there is a renewed focus, there is an understanding that not all interruptions are unnecessary.

Lord I am building an awareness that my task today is to be an encourager, an enabler, not of lesser ways but ways of being a builder. In the words of Jesus to simply take the talents given and use them appropriately.

Be glorified in all that is said and done.  AMEN

MUSIC:  New World in the Morning  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9nz_KfxSAM

Morning Has Broken https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X48weyESpec

one of my favorite morning hymns- sing along won’t you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bsNKqm7lZI

MEDITATION:

So often I wake up on Sunday Morning singing or laughing, or my mind is racing with thousands of thoughts. This morning when I woke up my mind was irritated. NOW WHAT came the imaginary voice bouncing between my ears. The heart monitor-where is it? What am I going to do with that phone call? I should return it. The computer screen is still broken and the Chrome book doesn’t let me store to the desktop. I can’t even find the desktop. Constant interruptions.

Go ahead Carl I dare you came the voice. Start at the top work your way to the bottom, see what happens.

So I got out of bed, went to the computer and began.

Your attitude is rotten, change it said the voice. If I have to listen to you make it at least somewhat tolerable!

So I thought, MUSIC, I need music! I landed on a song it is a simple song. It is well with my soul. Then I remembered how as a child in Minnesota to escape the yelling and screaming in the house I would go sit in the field. No one was there except me and the animals. An old building once stood there, time, wear and tear had left only enough bricks to form a corner to protect me from the wind. I sat there by the hour contemplating, thinking about anything they gave my mind a reprieve. Sometimes I forgot I was outside and when I finally went home I had to sit on the register to heat up.

This is not going to help I said to myself. What are you going to write about.

Already my mind, my spirit had been softened. Music does that to me. Get focused Carl. The voice was unrelenting. Then out of nowhere the voice came, said “remember when” then disappeared just as quickly. I remembered the morning after. I was convinced that morning was not going to happen. I had failed. Life was not going to end. I was going to have to face another day. The voice simply said today is another day.

I had told God to go to hell. I had said take your church and all that b.s. with you. I laid down and knew nothing mattered anymore, I just didn’t care. Then I woke up.

I discovered I did care. I discovered it did matter. I discovered I mattered.

So once again I found myself delivered from what would have been a negative path.

The Scripture reading shares a number of negative thoughts. As I read them today I sat back and allowed the words to roam my mind, heart and soul. There indeed has been a lot of negative yet it was not the negative thoughts that dominated. It was the good that had come out of the bad. It was the direction and focus that came out of chaos. It was permission to say yes to an alternative thought and action.

Once again my mind roamed back to my childhood. I remember laying in bed looking out the window. The night sky bright with stars. In between the stars was black. I wondered if each of those dark spots actually had a planet like ours within it. Then the voice came and asked, what if each of those dark moments is actually waiting for light to shine within it. Then I understood, unnecessary interruptions are often necessary.

CLOSING:  Yesterday driving down the road a song came to mind. I started to sing out loud. The people in the car next to me started to laugh. Since I learned it as a child many renditions of it have been created. Please join me, add your words as you have learned it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4s1ER5d1WdY

This little Light of mine.

 

IT IS ABOUT LIFE, IT IS ABOUT SERVING

Day one week forty six year 2017.

Today is November 5, the emphasis is upon nurturing that part of our being so that it will feed the rest of who we are with purpose and meaning.
Why do we do what we do? If we only live for ourselves, is there any option but to die for ourselves? What a terrible question, what a terrible conclusion. Yet the disease running through our bodies confronts us with the ultimatum, who’s life are we living?

Today’s meditation will take this thought and intertwine it in the reading of Scripture, the moments of prayer, the listening of music. This time begins with silence as we clear our minds of the events and thoughts of the last week, as we clear our minds of the expectations of the week to come.

Good morning, my name is Carl and I am being Coached by Grace. It is the Grace of God that stands behind us, to the right of us, to the left of us and opens doors before us. (if you are comfortable repeat this statement using your own name.)

The procedure once again will be to read the scripture then add your thoughts. Write a sentence prayer, find a song you are reminded of by the words of scripture. Then add a thought in the meditation you may want highlighted.

SCRIPTURE:

https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu//texts.php?id=167
Joshua 3:7-17 and Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37  •  Micah 3:5-12 and Psalm 43  •  1 Thessalonians 2:9-13  •  Matthew 23:1-12

PRAYER:

Lord as I read the scripture I come to the end, the greatest among you will be your servant. I again ask who’s life am I, are we all living?

Lord at times prayer is such a simple thing and then there are the moments it brings us to standing alone, looking into our/my heart wondering what will be the result of all that has gone on in my years.

Lord we are told Moses disappeared, yet we are told many years later the leaders then sat in Moses chair. A life had been created and those who came after emulated that man’s life. Who’s life are we to emulate?

Lord Joshua came, he called others to hear your word, to do your word. By the time Joshua became the leader a people had gathered. They needed leadership. They needed words, whose words are we to hear, are we to follow?

Lord the Psalmist tells us to listen to the words of those who have been redeemed. Listen to the words of those who have successfully gone through the storm and have a story to tell.

Lord the prophet reminds us there are many who talk about the storm who are not people of the storm. Who’s words are we to hear? Who’s words are we to live by?

Lord many have grown up under the teachings of a way that seek to interpret your words. Many of us have grown up and are still living under the words of doctors and caring people. It really gets confusing because the words so often conflict. The right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. But! If we do not follow the words we are denied care and the help that is needed never comes or is postponed until it does not make a difference.

Lord, an old theologian once asked, “how shall we then live?”

Lord, the Psalmist tells us there is another way. It is the way of redeeming today. It is a way of joy today. An older preacher once said, live today for tomorrow is not yet yours so live today.

Lord does life find meaning because we are healed, or are we here to bring healing to the moment? Is our healing a part of the greater healing? Will the answer to this question then tell us who’s life we are then living? AMEN.

MUSIC:

Oh Master let me walk with thee

Author:Washington Gladden

1 O Master, let me walk with Thee
in lowly paths of service free;
tell me Thy secret; help me bear
the strain of toil, the fret of care.
2 Help me the slow of heart to move
by some clear, winning word of love;
teach me the wayward feet to stay,
and guide them in the homeward way.
3 Teach me Thy patience, still with Thee
in closer, dearer company,
in work that keeps faith sweet and strong,
in trust that triumphs over wrong.
4 In hope that sends a shining ray
far down the future’s broad’ning way;
in peace that only Thou canst give,
with Thee, O Master, let me live.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlLljbMObl4

O Master Let Me Walk With Thee
Abye West Pates performs “O,…
This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zbG0svXr5E

The 100 Voices Of Gospel – This Little Light Of Mine…

 

MEDITATION:    IT IS ABOUT LIFE, IT IS ABOUT SERVING

This subject seems hard for many to swallow. After all I’m dying! Don’t you get it? Why spend time on the positive when there is so much negative?

I can’t believe I just said that.

As I began the morning I was taken by a spirit of sullenness. It was a spirit of pain and now as I begin to write the meditation I have done an about face. 180 degrees turn around.

At a Jewish Community Centre in Canada a person was given an award for creating opportunities for members of that centre to do acts of service. The praise was simply, thank you for helping to create ways for us to live out our faith.

In a hospital a member of the nursing staff was under a ban to say anything about religion. The administrator said open your mouth and you are fired. One day a lady, while recovering from surgery heard that her husband and 5 of her 7 children had been killed in a car accident. No one could bring her out of her state of mind, she just sobbed. The administrator went to the staff person and said I don’t care what you do, do something! For God’s sake help that woman. The next morning the woman got out of bed, packed her things and went home as scheduled. The administrator asked the staff person, what did you say to her? The staff person told her I held her hand and cried with her until she fell asleep. How long asked the supervisor. Long enough came the answer.

Service comes in many sizes and shapes. We are all called to serve. Ultimately everything we own, everything we cling to will disappear. Ultimately we all stand with a mirror in front of us. Ultimately we all see the person we have become. Illness attacks, catastrophe encompasses our very being but those who need us to reach out to them seem not to disappear.

We are a part of a special group of people. We experience the ups and downs of a disease that relishes in confusing the wisdom all around us. We know there are forces that justify not caring. We know there are forces that bleed necessary resources from those who cannot get help.

We know there are those who forget. They go back to the old way of life.

We know that does not change things. The words of Jesus still ring true. It is in giving life that we find life. We experience it not as a way to grasp but as a way to give. We come to understand a meaning, a purpose that continues to rise above all else. It is about life, it is found in serving.

CONCLUSION: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iAzMRKFX3c

Bette Midler – “Wind Beneath My Wings” (Official Music Video)

Ohhhh, oh, oh, oh, ohhh.
It must have been cold there in my shadow,
To never have sunlight on your face.
You were content to let me shine, that’s your way.
You always walked a step behind.
So I was the one with all the glory,
While you were the one with all the strength.
A beautiful face without a name for so long.
A beautiful smile to hide the pain.
Did you ever know that you’re my hero,
And everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
For you are the wind beneath my wings.
It might have appeared to go unnoticed,
But I’ve got it all here in my heart.
I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it.
I would be nothing without you.
Did you ever know that you’re my hero?
You’re everything I wish I could be.
I could fly higher than an eagle,
For you are the wind beneath my wings.
Did I ever tell you you’re my hero?
You’re everything, everything I wish I could be.
Oh, and I, I could fly higher than an eagle,
For you are the wind beneath my wings,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings.
Oh, the wind beneath my wings.
You, you, you, you are the wind beneath my wings.
Fly, fly, fly away. You let me fly so high.
Oh, you, you, you, the wind beneath my wings.
Oh, you, you, you, the wind beneath my wings.
Fly, fly, fly high against the sky,
So high I almost touch the sky.
Thank you, thank you,
Thank God for you, the wind beneath my wings.

 

 

 

Sometime life stops as quickly as it starts.

Today is Sunday October 1, a day of nurturing meditation and spirituality.

Good Morning, my name is Carl and I am being coached by Grace. It is the Grace of God that stands behind us, is to the right of us, to the left of us and opens doors before us. (if you are comfortable repeat that statement using your own name.) Please take time to prepare your mind to hear, to allow your spirit to be in tune with the SPIRIT of God.

Scripture, in what ever tradition, Scripture carries with it the idea that these are words with a special history. It is important to let them and their context stand alone. As you begin your prayer time, look at the words and see how they relate to your own life. PLEASE REMEMBER TO READ THE TEXT AS ALL THOUGHTS ARISE FROM RESPONDING TO THE SCRIPTURE TEXT. Exodus 17:1-7 and Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16 • Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32 and Psalm 25:1-9 • Philippians 2:1-13 • Matthew 21:23-32 –https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu//texts.php?id=161

SCRIPTURE AND PRAYER: Lord I have to laugh as I pray. I just posted the beginning of my own prayer and it disappeared. I do those things. I often fail to see my own error’s. I am so glad you allow them to disappear and then provide a cold drink of water. I have to laugh, because sometimes I take myself to seriously. (laughing) oh my goodness, what is prayer if it is not the freedom to be oneself. Israel complained and you gave them a cold drink. They rehashed life to the point of slandering your love and care and you gave them a cold drink. Thank you Lord for all the cold drinks in life. Lord there is a story, much like our own story. We have suffered. You gave us people to hold our hands. We have struggled and in the moments of darkness you gave us light. When we felt alone you keep adding people to our numbers so we cannot forget we are never alone.(this post is originally intended for a group that started here, moved to Facebook then back here. The specific group is over 8000 readers, with other groups, now over 10,000 people.)

The Psalmist reflects on life as it has been so we might reflect on how it is. There is a stream that makes glad the city of God. There is a thought, a memory that brings laughter to the soul. Amen and amen Lord. Lord there are times when I argue against your wisdom. I wonder why you just don’t destroy all evil. Why can’t you just snap the proverbial finger and all sickness will be over. Why can’t you just take all the bombs in the world, disintegrate them. Let us be awestruck by this awesome action. Ezekiel quotes your rebuttal, turn around is fair play you say. You say turn away from the little things that destroy my purpose for you. You counter our words and tell us to seek justice, to seek righteousness. Get a new heart, get a new spirit. You say I love you as we turn and tell you how you should love us. We will accept your love on these conditions. OOPS. I am sorry, I didn’t mean to do that Lord. I am sorry please forgive me.

Lord the Psalmist reminds me his trust is in you. The psalmist tells us walking in your ways is trusting. It is the freedom to accept your actions as a gift of direction. You, your mercy saves us from our past. You, your mercies save us from our future. You are the savior giving deliverance and instruction. Thank you.

Paul the Apostle then tells us it is in the person of Jesus we can understand your ambitions for us, for our society. Ours is a society of sick people. We have been bombarded by the illness that came in from left field. It has cut us short from the hopes we have, yet we are now told there is another chance. In allowing ourselves to die to our own hopes and aspirations you say we will live in a loftier way. You say Jesus shows us the way, you say look at the history of him as a person. You say you will do a good and pleasurable way of life for us. (laughing) I understand that. We all understand that. And now give us the sensibility to drop the walls and barriers that would keep us from having you flow through us. (hymmm-) Lord as I continue to read the words of scripture and the words of the people in this group I hear the genuineness that Jesus speaks of. He knows we can be saved from this destruction. He wants us saved from this destruction and then he wants us to walk the halls of the proverbial kingdom that reigns for ever. AMEN.

MUSIC: please add your own choice of music expressing your story.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YJ4vddbJJo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyyEsnvagvw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXWaXFsLf-4

MEDITATION: Sometime life stops as quickly as it starts.

Sometime life stops as quickly as it starts. Each meditation arises out of the time spent in prayer and reading of the morning and weekly scripture. Please understand these are reflective thoughts. As each week goes by I am learning so much about this whole “life” called grace. The prayer started this morning about thoughts I can no longer remember. They were words that arose out of reading the scripture. Then I wrote, wrote and continued to write. It was as if my soul was emptying of all the “why” questions I struggled with. Then they were gone. Where did they go? Will they stay gone or will they as mysteriously as they disappeared-reappear?

OR PERHAPS SOME CONVERSATIONS ARE BETTER LEFT BETWEEN YOU AND GOD.

Time, it is now 12:00. The magic moment when “worship” so often stops for many. So these words stop as well. May God bless you, may you know the presence of God’s Spirit in your life, may your walk be that which transcends all you could hope for, just as God has wished you would experience the life of Jesus. Go now and live it.

Closing thought: On Eagle’s Wings-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvpjxfWrjzY Boost Post

What is about one is about all, what is about all is about one.

Day one week forty five year 2017. Today is Sunday Oct 29 a day to concentrate on meditation and prayer.

 

Today’s Scripture: Deuteronomy 34:1-12 and Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17 • Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18 and Psalm 1 • 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8 • Matthew 22:34-46

 

https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu//texts.php?id=165

 

Year A – Season after Pentecost – Proper 25 (30) : Revised Common Lectionary

Full text of the Revised Common Lectionary readings for Year A – Season after Pentecost – Proper 25 (30)

LECTIONARY.LIBRARY.VANDERBILT.EDU

 

PRAYER:  Allow each verse in the scripture to  prompt a thought in prayer.

 

Lord the story of Moses viewing the promised land brings peace to my soul. He would not enter the land, it is there I am given freedom to let go. I know what I touch, what I care for is not mine to own, it belongs to your service, to your desire to love your people.

 

Lord we are not masters of our legacy. We cannot control the words of the people. Please be gracious to those of us who have battled everyday a power that often controls our behavior, controls the conclusions of our desires.

 

Oh Lord take the work of our hands, the tasks we do, the thoughts we share, the hope we communicate, may they be as bricks that build a mighty building. May the work we have done stand against this illness. Let each brick of hope be added to this tower of healing. May our words, our caring, our actions keep offering a reality that will one day bring us each to the promised land.

 

Lord let us know of your holy way that we may be as people of the way.

 

Remind us we are not justice, we stand for justice, we are grace we walk in grace, let us not determine special rules but let us all stand for the common rule of life.

 

Let us applaud a love that says we cannot love you without loving our neighbor. Let us applaud a love that says each time we love our neighbor we are loving you.

 

Our bodies reflect the war our world is experiencing. Help us to understand each healing moment is not just for us it is for our world as well.

 

Take our thoughts and words now use them for the common good. Amen.

 

MUSIC:

 

PLEASE SELECT MUSIC AS YOUR SPIRIT IS MOVED.

 

My son just called. We talked. During the conversation he mentioned watching a documentary. It told the story of First Nation Youth. I select music in honor of the pilgrimage and hope of many of my First Nation family.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtbbi3alfvw

 

 

Native American Indians.

YOUTUBE.COM

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PiJ4ozLOvzc

Lakota dream song The Last of the Mohicans

 

MEDITATION:

What is about one is about all, what is about all is about one.

 

or is that only wishful thinking.

 

 

As I start writing I am listening to the music in the background.

 

My thought today centered on the passage in Leviticus 19:1-2. It simply translates “what is good for one is good for the other.”

 

Before moving to Canada I had been raised in and out of the U.S. welfare system. When the invitation came to move to Canada I was moved to tears thinking Canada had a better understanding of the human person. When I got there the problems were similar to what I had grown up with. I came to understand the world I had left and the world I had joined was full of voices and powers tugging, pulling and ultimately shredding itself apart.

 

In the back of my mind were the words from Leviticus. Justice and judgement are a necessary part of wholeness. This concern ultimately plays out in the way we do medicine and medical care.

 

Sistered with the educational system modern medicine has a license to justify why we can only do so much.

 

When I first went to Canada the Province of Alberta paid for Medical costs by owning all the liquor outlets. It was one way to pay for healthcare. Eventually the argument was made that this process wasn’t working. A group argued against it and ultimately opened the door for others to argue for their positions. Some of those positions were experimented with, a snip here, a snip there and “WALA” a renewed health care system was born. The fact the door was now open for health care to respond to the “squeakiest wheel” did not seem to matter.

 

At the same time the people in the US were experimenting with what was called the “HMO.” Later the “PPO” was added. Again with the backing of new “doctoral” programs the research based treatment process was born.

 

Recently I walked into a clinic. My Doctor had ordered an MRI to be done. The physician I was now seeing changed the orders. I raised a question, WHY. I was then told, “I am the doctor here.” I had been reading about the new emphasis for doctor’s to be a part of a team process. Apparently that process has not been refined yet.

 

Leviticus talks about justice. Perhaps we need to add to that discussion a piece about learning how to transition from one way of practice to another.

The morning text continues. The story is told about Jesus beginning to work with people. What he was doing was people centered. He was saying lets go back to people first. The people in authority argued, in due time, but first we must work within our own system. Authority must be honored. When Jesus challenged the basis for authority they shut him out of the conversation.

 

Time after time, post after post (in the Facebook dialogue) words are given about how we who wrestle with disease do not have the right to challenge authority.

 

My purpose for writing this meditation, these words today, is not to create a new authority structure. It is however to say the system is already changing. It wants each of us to be a part of our healing team. I write simply to remind you, you are a part of the healing team, it is your turn to stand up and be heard. Amen.

 

IN CONCLUSION:  AMAZING GRACE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_qFbNskjCI

Writing a Meditation for Oct. 22, 2017

Day one week forty four year 2017. Today is Sunday October 22. A time for meditation, for focus your thoughts on life!

 

Good Morning, my name is Carl and I am being coached by Grace. It is the Grace of God that stands behind us, to the right of us, to the left of us and opens doors before us. (if you are comfortable repeat that statement using your own name.)

 

The procedure once again will be to read the scripture then add your thoughts. Write a sentence prayer, find a song you are reminded of by the words of scripture. Then add a thought in the meditation you may want highlighted.

 

 

SCRIPTURE:  https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu//texts.php?id=164

 

Exodus 33:12-23 and Psalm 99  •  Isaiah 45:1-7 and Psalm 96:1-9, (10-13)  •  1 Thessalonians 1:1-10  •  Matthew 22:15-22

 

PRAYER: The prayer time encourages the reader to read the scripture. As your thoughts are prompted, take that thought and pray for yourself or a significant other person in your life reiterating what has been said. This takes both concentration and focus. As you do this in time you will experience a vast array of human experiences sprinkled with spiritual awareness.

 

 

MUSIC: PLEASE READ THE SCRIPTURE, CHOOSE MUSIC REFLECTING WHAT YOU BELIEVE TO EXPRESS THE THEME OF THE SCRIPTURE.

 

One video from You Tube is not a song, it is a reading but has application to the story.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzXy_97tyDI  As you listen please pray

 

 

MEDITATION:

 

The meditation arises out of reading the text and then building on the idea. I know you by name. This is God talking to Moses, about the people.

 

The meditation thoughts arise out of what experiences, stories etc say this to me. Here is one such story. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Li7vpzLA9uw

 

You see I have come to believe each of us is called to know the names of those who are part of us. I have come to believe as my name, your name is known we then have the ability to grow this love and acceptance. We can recognize our failures but like the text we can simply start over. The meditation can be 1000 words or 25 words as long as it brings others to the focus, Mom knew her sons name and was not afraid to use it. You know other names and should not be afraid to use their names either.

 

 

CONCLUSION:

 

The conclusion is your thought. What is this moment in time all about. What can you do to release the day to create that awesome feeling of new beginnings because your name counts!

 

I Had a Dream

Day one week forty two year 2017. Today is Sunday October 8. A time for meditation, for focus your thoughts on life!

 

Good Morning, my name is Carl and I am being coached by Grace. It is the Grace of God that stands behind us, is to the right of us, to the left of us and opens doors before us. (if you are comfortable repeat that statement using your own name.)

 

Please take time to prepare your mind to hear, to allow your spirit to be in tune with the SPIRIT of God.

 

Thoughts from Brother Lawrence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQS9mbXJ5UU

 

SCRIPTURE: https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu//texts.php?id=162

 

Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20 and Psalm 19 • Isaiah 5:1-7 and Psalm 80:7-15 • Philippians 3:4b-14 • Matthew 21:33-46

Lord the Scripture reminds us of a way of life. It is in choosing to follow good that you are revealed to us. By choosing to respect what exists we discover a higher source, a higher desire for life itself.

 

Lord the law causes us to reflect on a higher meaning, a higher purpose. As we live within the structure of the law we experience that if the law seeks our good, then how much more would the creator of the law want only good for us.

 

Lord in discovering good, I discover how love becomes real.

 

Thank you for loving me when I did not realize I was being loved.

 

The Psalmist understood this. The writings of the stories, the words of the poems, the myth of the legends, the peace that a reality exists beyond my control allows me to rest, to know that love is unshakable, that somehow love finds it’s source in one who’s greatness is not measured in greatness but rather in the gentleness of having a way to share the everyday concerns.

 

Lord to meditate on this gentleness nurtures an awareness of the redemptive power renewing life everyday.

 

Lord, can we choose life? Is it by choosing to live that we discover life? Yes. Amen.

 

Lord what if we choose to destroy life? What if we choose to ignore the intentions of good, do we then seek evil? Do we then choose to inflict the power of death into our own lives? Do we fail to understand how our own actions ultimately become destructive?

 

Lord is it in seeking life that we then seek healing?

 

The Apostle again focuses on Jesus. Lord are we to know you by living the good that has been revealed?

 

Lord the words of the parable seem to give hope that we who struggle with life, we who struggle to find our way can be a part of this new beginning. Thank you and Amen.

 

MUSIC: PLEASE READ THE SCRIPTURE, CHOOSE MUSIC REFLECTING WHAT YOU BELIEVE TO EXPRESS THE THEME OF THE SCRIPTURE.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTmLwdtMq9U

 

 

 

MEDITATION: I HAD A DREAM!

 

After working hard for the last few days my body was aching. I sat down for a rest. It wasn’t long before I fell asleep.  I began to dream. I dreamt about my chair. It is a REAL chair. It is a Lazy-Boy. It is my piece of heaven. I can go there and it welcomes me. It never rejects me. It says sit back, put your feet up. T-H-E-R-E!

 

Then, at 11:p.m. as clear as can be, A VOICE said TAKE YOUR PILLS. I was dreaming. Another voice responded…DON’T WANT TO! Within seconds my body was sound asleep. A smile spread across the face of this sleeping “baby Huey.”

 

1:45 a.m. The voice, again, louder, TAKE YOUR PILLS. ……..silence as first one eye and then the second eye opened. My body turned slowly while getting out of the chair. Rising, looking toward the desk, the pills. THE PILLS. I had a dream.

 

4:30 a.m. Somehow I made it to the bed. 65 degrees in the room. I was wrapped in my favorite blanket. It had gotten up to 90+ degrees that day. The night was chilly. I turned to go back to sleep. The dream turned friendly. A marching band entered my room. The flutes, the horns, the drums all gently began to circle my bed. What a delight. The uniforms bright red with plums. Then as quickly as they started they stopped. My eyes fluttering as the dream continued. Wonderful I thought. Then without warning a team of acrobats joined in the circus. One came from the right, the other from the left. Just as they got over my ears the largest hugest cymbals ever created appeared. They were on a collision course. The smash, the sound was so powerful it lifted me from the bed, my hands covering my ears. I knew I was under attack but why. Why, why, this was only a dream. Why can’t I just sleep!

 

The members of the band, the acrobats then stood at attention. They formed a line. They pointed to the desk, TAKE YOUR PILLS is what they said. TAKE YOUR PILLS.     I did.

 

I HAD A DREAM.

 

Moses brought the people to a new land, to a new way of living. He gave a set of words. Some thought they were a hard pill to swallow. Some grieved their past, leave me alone. Why can’t I just go back, why can’t life be the way it was before. The people cried. Life would never be the same.

 

Moses, the Psalmist, the Apostle Paul and even Jesus reflected on what ultimately speaks of the Love of God. There is a way, a way that leads to meaning and redemption. There is a way that brings healing and justice. It is not about retribution it is about building relationships. Perhaps it is only a dream. But, the important question is, do you share the dream? Is this your dream too?

 

CONCLUSION: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRb769P50IQ I HAVE DECIDED TO FOLLOW JESUS.