Growing in Resilience: Hold Nothing Back, based on Isaiah 54.9-10

flower peach bud openingGrowing in Resilience
Day 15, Read Isaiah 54
Reflection: Hold Nothing Back, based on Isaiah 54:9-10, NRSV

This is like the days of Noah to me: Just as I swore that the waters of Noah would never again go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you and will not rebuke you. For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

Sing! Shout!
Hold nothing back!

We are not what we think we are
What others name us
What we name ourselves

We are not abandoned
Widowed
Forsaken
Cast off for someone more desirable
The Eternal is also our Beloved
Who upholds our sacred union
An everlasting covenant of peace
Of whole and holy love

We are not afflicted
Desolate
Disgraced
Shamed and grieved by our barrenness
Look! See! There is a heritage
Our breath and labor are not in vain

Quick! Enlarge the tent
Open and stretch to make room
For the gathering and birthing of the Beloved comes
Hold nothing back

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Click Here for more on the Growing in Resilience Reading Plan sponsored by Bishop Ken Carter and the Cabinet of the Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. 

Hold Nothing Back © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Growing in Resilience: Unbroken Spirit, based on Isaiah 44.3-5

praise-and-worship-worship-danceGrowing in Resilience
Day 5, Read Isaiah 44
Reflection: Unbroken Spirit, based on Isaiah 44:3b-5

I will pour my spirit upon your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring. They shall spring up like a green tamarisk, like willows by flowing streams. This one will say, “I am the Lord’s,” another will be called by the name of Jacob, yet another will write on the hand, “The Lord’s,” and adopt the name of Israel.

We claim your promise
You pour out your unbroken spirit
You shower down unending blessing

Your family is fruitful and multiplying
Like the stars in the sky
Like the sand on the shore

Your promise is real
It is true
Even when nothing seems to be working
Even when our hearts are too heavy to perceive it

You pour out your unbroken spirit
Calling to the east and west
New siblings shout, “I am the Lord’s!”
From the north and the south
New kin claim your unfailing name

Your people will never perish
From generation to generation
Your grace endures

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Click Here for more on the Growing in Resilience Reading Plan sponsored by Bishop Ken Carter and the Cabinet of the Florida Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. 

Unbroken Spirit © 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

2017 Bookshelf

2017 book collage

In November of 2014, I read a blog post encouraging persons to set aside a bookshelf for all the books read in a calendar year. As the year goes by, you see the shelf filling and are reminded of time well spent. (I wish I could remember who to thank.)

The project was so rewarding in 2015, I continued it in 2016 and now 2017. I again and again find the process of adding books enjoyable and helpful. Sometimes you forget a really good book.

Helpful hints-

  • If you read most of your books electronically, consider setting up a virtual bookshelf on Pinterest.
  • Another option is to set up a profile on Goodreads. Be sure to fill in a start and end date for each book you complete.
  • This year’s list includes books I read and books I listened to while traveling. There are wonderful, free audible books available through your local library and via streaming if you subscribe to Amazon Prime.

So my friends, here’s my 2017 bookshelf. I hope it encourages you and that you find a treasure or two. Should it be helpful to you, I’m glad to provide more feedback on specific selections. Just leave a comment below.

Happy reading. Happy exploring. Happy growing. – Lisa <><

Leadership Development 
I discovered Malcolm Gladwell this year. Wow!!!
Plus he narrates his own recorded books. Bonus!!!

Novels

Memoirs and Biographies

Bible Study and Theology

Devotionals and Prayers

Church Growth

Nonfiction
This year I focused on the sociology and justice issues surrounding the opportunity gap between classes. Heartbreaking and world changing. Do some good and get involved. 

 

Prayer- Something Greater (Matthew 12)

Jesus-CREATION-montage_artBased on Matthew 12:1-8

Something greater than the temple is here
Greater than rules, resolutions, clergy

Something greater than the temple is here
Greater than strategies, programs, campaigns

Something greater than the temple is here
Greater than institutions, boards, buildings

You are here, Son of man
Lord of the Sabbath
Lord of all

You are here, offering yourself
Have mercy on us that we may be mercy
Extend grace to us that we may be grace
Pour out your love upon us
that we may be your love and fully yours
Amen

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Prayer, Something Greater  © 2017 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in a worship setting with proper attribution.
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Devotion: Each One Helps the Other (Isaiah 41:6-7)

Workers at the Boliden mining and smelting company in Rönnskär, Sweden. (1935) Photo by C.G. Rosenberg via Wikimedia Commons, adapted.

Workers at the Boliden mining and smelting company in Rönnskär, Sweden. (1935) Photo by C.G. Rosenberg via Wikimedia Commons, adapted.

Isaiah 41:6-7 NRSV
Each one helps the other,
saying to one another, “Take courage!”
The artisan encourages the goldsmith,
and the one who smooths with the hammer
encourages the one who strikes the anvil,
saying of the soldering, “It is good”;
and they fasten it with nails so that it cannot be moved.

This passage from Isaiah is part of a larger passage concerning trusting in the power of false gods rather than the power of the One True Living God. When trouble comes, those who do not pursue God try to handle it themselves. They huddle together to make better and stronger idols- thinking their wit, their skill, their power will turn the tide. How often believers cling to the same course of action. Lord have mercy. (Click here for a prayer on this topic entitled You Save us from Every Foe.)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, noticing this tendency in his own time and place, reminded us

Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than they love the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest and sacrificial … They enter the community of Christians with their demands set up by their own law, and judge one another and God accordingly. It is not we who build. Christ builds the church.

Yet, I couldn’t help being struck (haha pun intended) by the mutual encouragement and teamwork of this passage. Instead of going it alone, they join together. What would it be like to redirect these good gifts from trying to save ourselves into intentional, mutual cooperation with one another and the movement of the Holy Spirit? Isn’t this what it means to be God’s people? – Lisa <><

Each one helps the other
Lending a hand
Recognizing the gifts
Teaming up to create something
Strong and Beautiful and Lasting

“Take Courage!” one cries
All hear and are heartened
“It is Good!” another declares
Spurring on the grueling, brutal labor
It is hard and it is good
It is worthy work

One could not do it
But many can
many gifts, one spirit

And how much more
When many become
One in Spirit
One with Spirit

Holy One
Make us one
One in desiring
One in trusting
One for the Greater Good
One with one another
One with You
One in You
One for You
Amen

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Each One Helps the Other © 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.