Meditations and Prayers
“What are we looking at in life?”
We can only be thankful for the things that we notice.
If we are always focused on what’s wrong with our lives,
we’ll miss out on everything that is right. On the other
hand, the more that we look at, focus on, and appreciate
the good in our lives, the more we will enjoy it and be
grateful for our lives.
Today, take the time to really notice and appreciate what
is good in your life. Try making a list, or better yet, keep
a journal of your blessings. Then, thank God for all He
has given to you!
The nation’s attention has been focused on the humanitarian
crisis unfolding at the southern border. Vulnerable children
and their families are fleeing harm and violence in Central
America, voluntarily turning themselves in to border patrol
agents in the hopes of finding safety and shelter in the United
States. While politicians have spent countless hours on TV
debating the issue and assigning blame, nobody is offering
any solutions that offer help to the “widows and orphans in
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(Jesus said) "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and
I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for
I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
When many of our relatives immigrated to this country, as their boat
passed into New York Harbor, they saw the statue designed by
Frederic Bartholdi. Originally called, "Liberty Enlightening the World,
" it has become better known as the "Statue of Liberty."
While the statue itself was a present from the people of France, the
folks of the U.S. had to come up with the funds for the base to the
giant piece of art. To help in that cause, a small book of collected
writings, including a poem by Emma Lazarus, was put on the market.
The book and Lazarus were soon forgotten.
After Lazarus' death, her poem was rediscovered and all 14 lines of
that poem were carved out and placed at the statue's entrance. In
case you have never heard all of them, they read,
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame,
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
May I tell you that those words changed the purpose of the Statue
You see, Bartholdi had originally thought of the statue giving
encouragement to the people of the Old World who were fighting
oppression. But Lazarus' words changed that. Rather than providing
assistance to folks who were living in Europe, it gave hope to those
who were leaving that continent.
In short, the Statue of Liberty had been transfigured; that is, it had
been given a new and nobler purpose.
This weekend many churches are celebrating Transfiguration Sunday.
It is right that we remember how the Lord acknowledged His only
Son who was living His life to save the souls of lost sinners. Read the
Gospels and you will soon discover that when people thought of Jesus,
they generally thought of Him only in human terms. He was a Prophet,
a Teacher, a Samaritan, a Sinner.
But Jesus' transfiguration tells us that while Jesus is true Man, He is
also true God. For us He was doing that which only God could do. By
that I mean Jesus lived His life sinless and successfully resistant to
all temptation. But more than that, He actually shouldered the sins of
the entire world and carried those sins to the cross where He died in
His glorious resurrection three days later says His work had been
completed, and all who believe on Him as Savior are forgiven of the
past and given an eternal home in heaven.
Paraphrasing the last lines of Lazarus' poem, the living Lord Jesus
says, "Give Me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning
for forgiveness free, the doomed refuse of your teeming shores. I call
these the once-lost sinners to Me, for My blood alone opens heavens
Dear Lord Jesus, true Man and God, Your life was lived for my eternal
salvation. May the faith I have been given create a transfiguration in
my life. This I ask in Your Name. Amen.
Pastor KlausIn Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
Psalm 130:5-8New International Version (NIV)
5 I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
6 I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
7 Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
8 He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.
The process of adopting our daughter, Selah, from Ethiopia
spanned three calendar years and taught me more about
waiting and counting on God than anything else I have ever
experienced. It was an exercise in complete dependency,
of putting my hope in God's word and then trusting God to
come through. At one point when the fatigue of endless
months of waiting threatened to level me, I taped Romans
8:26-28 to the door of her empty bedroom to remind me
where my help comes from.
May you cling to and count on these words today, too,
where ever and for however long-you wait: "The moment we
get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping
us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't
matter. He does are praying in and for us far better than we
know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps
us present before God"
God, my hope is in you as I move expectantly through this
day. May I be found faithful in the waiting-and certainly in the
hoping-as I count on you to finish what you began in my life Amen.
(Taken from The Covenant Home Altar, Kristin Lunsford author)
“I have loved you,” says the Lord. “But you ask,
‘How have you loved us?’ Was not Esau Jacob’s
brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved
Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned
his hill country into a wasteland and left his
inheritance to the desert jackals.” —
The Sages teach that we acknowledge God as
our own personal God before we mention that He
is the God of our forefathers in order to
emphasize that our relationship with God must
Sure, we all benefit from being the spiritual heirs
of such holy and beloved men and women, but it’s
not enough. If we worship God only because our
parents did, that’s not enough. If we go to church
or synagogue only because it’s our family tradition,
it’s not enough. First we must discover our own
connection to the Lord, and only then can we enjoy
the benefits of our heritage.
God is not inherited. A relationship with the Lord
has to be earned and cultivated by every individual
who walks this earth. We must all go through our
own trials and develop our own faith. And then, we
will know He loves us for our own sake and not
based on our family ties.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
(excerpts taken from Holy Land Moments)
But now thus says the LORD, He who created you, O Jacob,
He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are Mine." Isaiah 43:1
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Jesus: “Let the little children come to me.”
Pastor: “Children stuck at the border? Build a bigger fence.”
Yep, that’s right – Texas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress
recently told Fox News that the “Christian” way to respond
to immigrant children in distress is to build a stronger border
fence. You’ve heard the stories: tens of thousands of children
are currently stuck at the border after fleeing crime and
violence in their home countries. These children need our
compassion – not calls for a bigger fence.
This pastor has gone too far. Let’s make sure he knows that
Christians need to welcome immigrants and love our neighbors.
Pastor Jeffress has a history of making shameful statements
posing as religious truth. In January, he said that President
Obama was paving the way for the antichrist. He’s now on the
record saying that the “right thing to do” with children alone in
the desert is to lock them out.
We know better. Let’s make a strong statement against these
Tell Pastor Jeffress that it’s time for him to read Jesus’ words
in Matthew 25: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
Janelle, Tim, and the rest of the Sojourners team
"All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself
through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation..."
-2 Corinthians 5:18
I remember at my wedding, because my parents were
divorced when I was three, this was the first time in my
life where both families - the Schullers and the Persleys
were all in one place. They were standing in the Crystal
Cathedral in front of the choir loft. My mom, my dad, my
stepmom, my stepdad, all my siblings, all my cousins
on both sides were in one section all standing together
with smiles on their faces, united because Hannah and
I were getting married.
At one point, I had to step out of the group to walk down
the stairs in front of them. When I turned back to look at
them together, I said, "Just wait a second. I want to see
this." They all laughed, right? And I started weeping. It
was a good weeping because I was so very moved to see
that, at least for a moment, there was reconciliation in
these two families, which for me is one family. Oh, what
a moving experience.
This is a good illustration of what happens between
humankind and God because of Jesus Christ. You are at
peace with your Father. You do not need to carry around
in your heart a sense of guilt or regret or to stand off from
God. God is now as close to you as your breath if you
have faith in what Jesus did for you. You are at peace
Dear Lord, no matter how relationships go in life, in you
I am reconciled. Help me to stay connected with others,
in love, as you have sacrificed so much to be close to me.
Reflection: With whom do you need to reconcile?
How might God help you to make that effort?
(By Pastor Bobby Schuller)
As human beings, we want so much to understand everything
that is going on in our lives. We’d like to see everything that
has happened and everything that will happen in a neat box all
tied up with a pretty ribbon. However, God doesn’t work that
way. You can’t place God in a box. Our God is way too big
and far too great to be contained. He works in ways that we
can’t possibly comprehend. As it says in Proverbs 20:24,
“A person’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can
anyone understand their own way?” No, we can’t understand
how God works – and that’s a good thing.
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Luke 17:20-21 NLT
20 One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, "When will the Kingdom of God come?” Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs. 21 You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.
The Pharisees asked when God's kingdom would come, not knowing that it had already arrived. The kingdom of God is not like an earthly kingdom with geographical boundaries. Instead, it begins with the work of God's Spirit in people's lives and in relationships. Still today we must resist looking to institutions or programs for evidence of the progress of God's kingdom. Instead, we should look for what God is doing in people's hearts.