Prayer for troubles, sorrow, pain (Matthew 11)

matthew-11_28 come to me weary restBased on Matthew 11:28-30

What to do with the burdens of responsibility?
The weight of trouble, sorrow, pain?

What to do with broken and bloody relationships, bodies, and systems?

What to do with days without ceasing?
Nights without sleep?

What to do?
Come to you, Jesus.

With you there is an ease of company.
All we face is shared, lightened.
With you there is hope and healing.
With you there is rest for our very souls.

Hallelujah! We come.

Sermon Recording- Giving and Receiving Forgiveness

forgiveness

Sermon Series: 57 Words That Changed the World
Messages on the Lord’s Prayer from Matthew 6:5-15

Message: Giving and Receiving Forgiveness
Scripture: Matthew 6:5-15
Offered 5/1/16 at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota Florida

The Lord’s Prayer informs, forms, and transforms us and the world. – Lisa Degrenia.

Colossians 2:13-14
And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross.

Psalm 103:12
as far as the east is from the west so far he removes our transgressions from us

2 Corinthians 5:21
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Biblical stories illustrating forgiveness
Luke 7:36-50 and Matthew 18:23-35

If I’m not willing to forgive others then I’m not asking God to forgive me, no matter what words I use. I am asking God to excuse me, but not asking God to forgive me.
– Darrell Johnson

God forgives the penitent and one of the chief evidences of true penitence is a forgiving spirit. – John Stott

Study Resources for this Message
Lord, Teach Us: The Lord’s Prayer & the Christian Life
by Stanley Hauerwas and William H. Willimon

The Lord and His Prayer by N. T. Wright

Fifty-Seven Words that Change the World: A Journey through the Lord’s Prayer
by Darrell W. Johnson

A Layman Looks at the Lord’s Prayer by W. Phillip Keller

Our Heavenly Father: Sermons on the Lord’s Prayer by Helmut Thielicke
Read it for free online!

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I’m excited to now offer mp3’s of my Sunday messages. A huge thank you to Leon and my brothers and sisters at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota for all their help in making this possible. If you’re ever in Sarasota, please drop by for worship Sundays at 9am or 10:30am, or drop by during the week for a chat or small group. You and those you love are always welcome.

© 2016 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Contact Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Prayer: Bring a Saving Work

Window from Kirche Enge in Zurich Switzerland. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Window from Kirche Enge in Zurich Switzerland. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Merciful God, bring
a peace that passes understanding
a unity beyond any human creating
a love that dispels all hate and fear
a hope centered in your resurrection
a persevering rooted in your promise of new life
a humility that breaks down dividing walls
a strength that binds up the brokenhearted

Bring a saving work, Holy One
a healing and wholeness
that goes far beyond all we can ask or imagine

All for your glory
All for your glory
All for your glory
Amen

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Need more prayers? Click here for Steve Garnaas Holmes honest and hopeful Psalm for the Brokenhearted. 

Prayer: Bring a Saving Work © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are very welcome to use this in a worship or group setting with proper attribution.

Click Here for more information on today’s photo from Wikimedia Commons

For more information on the art, scripture translation and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Prayer for another test, another treatment

test-tubesMy friend Sue is long suffering and courageous. She asked for prayer as she entered into yet another round of tests and treatments. May this prayer for her also be a blessing to you and to others you may know. – Lisa <><

Merciful and Mighty God,
You are our Rock
Our Shield
Our Deliverer
Our Help
Our Hope

Remind Your beloved daughter Sue how much You love her
How near You are
How good You are
How strong You are
As she enters another round of tests
As she waits and wonders for the results

Your grace is greater than our every need and fear
You are surrounding her
and filling her
and leading her
and saving her

You are Comfort and Peace
Healing and Wholeness
Light and Life

We love You
and praise You
and trust You
Father, Son, Spirit.
Amen.

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Prayer for another test, another treatment © 2014 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia.
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

For more information on the art, scripture translation and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Prayer for the Beginning of Treatment

Chemotherapy Vials, photo by Bill Branson on behalf of the National Cancer Institute, via Wikimedia Commons

Chemotherapy Vials, photo by Bill Branson on behalf of the National Cancer Institute, via Wikimedia Commons

The husband of one of my clergy friends has cancer. This week he’ll receive a triple lumen cath followed by 4 days of chemo before receiving a bone marrow transplant next week.

I admire how transparent they’ve been about the whole experience. She recently posted, “With a healthy dose of fear and much hope, we are walking this path together with the support of each of you and the grace of God to lead us.” She also posted his words before receiving the cath: “and so it begins.”

And so it begins… so much in so few words.

Their faith and the promises of God inspired this prayer. May it be a blessing to them, to you, and to others you may know. – Lisa <><

And so it begins,
the wondering
the diagnosis
the treatment

You are The Alpha and Omega
The Beginning and the End
The First and the Last
Unmatched Majesty, yet you draw near
to this beginning
to my frailty, my brokenness
my unknowing
closer than breath
closer than pulse

You are with me
You are for me
Jesus

You are Spirit
Animating, Leading
Pioneering, Perfecting
Way, Truth, Life
Glory Itself, yet you walk with me
on this small path
through the shadowy valleys
unknown or anticipated
My Guide and Guardian
Every day of my life

My eyes are open to my need
You make space to feel it fully and honestly
You meet me there with
Goodness and Mercy
Help and Wholeness

Holy One
You are my Hope and Peace
I love you and trust you and place myself into your compassion and care
Today and Tomorrow
Amen

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Prayer for the Beginning of Treatment © 2013 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia.
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

For more information on the art, scripture translation and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

The Beatitudes: Blessed are Those Who Mourn

If you know the name of this work or its creator, please let me know so I may give proper credit.

If you know the name of this work or its creator, please let me know so I may give proper credit.

Matthew 5:1-2, 4 NIV
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying… “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

In the Greek, the word for comforted has three meanings: 1) to be consoled 2) to find an ally or helper 3) to exhort or encourage. An understanding of comforted helps us flesh out a more complete understanding of mourning. Mourning is an intimate, intense, heart-breaking sorrow. It is natural to sorrow over loss and affliction. For those who follow Christ, we grow to also sorrow our own brokenness and the brokenness of the world. In each instance, Christ not only consoles us, but is our ally in healing brokenness and our encourager to join him in the healing of the world.
– Lisa Degrenia <><

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

God grant us the gift of tears: for those whom we miss, for our past sins, for the sins of others, for the violence we do to each other and to the world God gives to us each day.
– Jim Forest, The Ladder of the Beatitudes

Tears are a gift. They fall on our hard hearts, cracking them open to the truth of who we are and the truth of the world around us. As they fall, our hearts grow softer and softer in God’s hands. – Lisa Degrenia <><

There is a sacredness in tears.
They are not the mark of weakness but of power.
They are messengers of overwhelming grief and of unspeakable love.
– Washington Irving

MOURNING OUR BROKENNESS AND SIN
Psalm 38:18 NRSV
I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin.

Psalm 51:1-3 NIV
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.

The mourning for which Christ promises Divine comfort is a sorrowing over our sins with a godly sorrow. – Arthur W. Pink, The Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer

The Lord first makes known our emptiness, and so humbles us; and then, next, he makes us mourn over the deficiencies that are so manifest in us. Then comes the second beatitude: “Blessed are they that mourn.” First there is a true knowledge of ourselves; and then a sacred grief arising out of that knowledge.
-Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Beatitudes

James 4:8-10 NIV
Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

MOURNING THE BROKENNESS OF THE WORLD
2 Corinthians 7:10-11a NIV
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.

An immediate consequence of poverty of spirit is becoming sensitive to the pain and losses of people around me, not only those whom I happen to know and care for, but also people I don’t know and don’t want to know. To the extent that I open my heart to others, I will do whatever I can to help– pray, share what I have, even share myself.
– Jim Forest, The Ladder of the Beatitudes

The kind of mourning referred to here is not so much mere sadness or weeping but prayers of lament over the hurt in the world. The mourning grows out of an awareness of the difference between the world as it is and the world as God wills it to be.
– Tom Long, Matthew Commentary

Click here for a deep reflection and call to lament by Steve Garnaas-Holmes entitled For the Hurt of my People.

The one who sees unceasingly the limitless goodness of God came to the world, saw it broken to pieces by human sin and was moved to compassion. The same eyes which see into the heart of God saw the suffering hearts of God’s people and wept. These eyes which burn like flames of fire penetrating God’s own interiority, also hold oceans of tears for the human sorrow of all times and all places.
– Henri Nouwen, Behold the Beauty of the Lord

Revelation 21:1-5 NIV
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

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This is the second of eight posts based on the Beatitudes, Jesus’ short pronouncements of blessing at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5:1-12) In these scriptures, Jesus reveals the present and future reality of God’s kingdom and that the kingdom is available for all people.

For more information on use of the scripture, art and this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page

You are the Potter, I am the Clay

potter clayIsaiah 64:8 NRSV
Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay,
and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

It is not you that shapes God,
It is God that shapes you.
If you are the work of God,
await the hand of the artist who does all things in due season.
Offer him your heart, soft and tractable,
and keep the form in which the artist has fashioned you.
Let your clay be moist, lest you grow hard and lose the imprint of his fingers.
–Attributed to St. Irenaeus

2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV
We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

So the Treasure is in the earthen vessel, but if the earthen vessel is not broken, who can see the Treasure within? What is the final objective of the Lord’s working in our lives? It is to break this earthen vessel, to break our alabaster box, to crack open our shell. The Lord longs to find a way to bless the world through those who belong to Him. Brokenness is the way of blessing, the way of fragrance, the way of fruitfulness, but it is also a path sprinkled with blood. Yes, there is blood from many wounds. When we offer ourselves to the Lord to be at His service, we cannot afford to be lenient, to spare ourselves. We must allow the Lord utterly to crack our outward man, so that He may find a way for His out working. – Watchman Nee, The Release of the Spirit

We are strong at the broken places because we know that God is not finished with us yet. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,” the Lord said to the prophet (Jeremiah 1:5). The word for “to form” in Hebrew is also the word “potter”. In other words, God formed us, and God is still forming us. God created us, but God is not finished with us. I love this comment attributed to John Newton: “I’m not what I ought to be. I’m not what I want to be. But thank God, I’m not what I used to be!”
– Kenneth H. Carter Jr., Pray for Me

Blessing: Rest in Jesus
Jesus knows
We are seen and we are searched
No need to harden your defenses
No need to hide
It changes nothing
All that is found is loved
The blessings and the brokenness
The wins and the worry
The success and the sin
All is found and all is loved

So rest
Rest in this promise and blessing
Rest in Jesus

Release it all
Surrender to your Beloved
As clay to the Potter
As song to the Singer
As seed to the good, dark earth
buried, but made ready
to burst forth with New Life

Click here for a traditional worship resource entitled
Surrendering to God, as Clay to the Potter

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Blessing: Rest in Jesus © 2013 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia.
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

For more information on the art, scripture translation and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.