Contempt, a prayer of confession based on Mark 6

contempt painting by faun manne

Contempt Painting by Faun Manne

Mark 6:1-5, The rejection of Jesus
He left that place and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. On the sabbath, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them.

Contempt is so painful
To be dismissed, disregarded
Questioning instead of dignity
Accusation instead of personhood

I have felt its sting and hollowness
As have you, my Jesus
Heal my wound

I have wielded this weapon fully conscious of its destructive power
You never have, my Jesus
Forgive me and heal all I have hurt

Make my ways like yours, my Jesus
Deliver me from a spirit of judgment, criticism, and contempt
Help me hear their needed messages
Help me see all as you see them, beloved, and needed
Especially those who are hard to love

I am most ashamed of aiming contempt at you, my Jesus
I am so very sorry
Forgive me, renew me, abide in me so there is
More of my true me
More of you and your ways
More of your grace extended through me
For the healing of the world

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

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Contempt, a prayer of confession © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Lord of the Sabbath, a prayer of confession based on Mark 2

abstract art artistic autumn

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Mark 2:23-28
One sabbath Jesus was going through the grain fields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?” And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions.” Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

Lord of the Sabbath,
Reveal your ways to me
Your beautiful will
I desire to follow you faithfully
Faith-fully

Show me where I need correction.
Where I am too lax … too strict
Reveal how I use your commands as weapons
judging… excluding… twisting…
Forgive me
Renew a right spirit within

Fill me with your Holy Word for witness, service, and rest
Fill me with your Holy Spirit for witness, service, and rest
Fill me with your Holy Ways for witness, service, and rest

Your ways are life!
Spring up life in me!
Help me to help others to that spring as well
that we may all live
that we may all live in the overflowing grace
of Your blessing, wholeness, and love
Amen

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Lord of the Sabbath © 2019 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

You Are Near, a prayer based on Matthew 1:18-25

mary-joseph-dreamMatthew 1:18-25 NRSV
Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,”

which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

Prayer: You Are Near
Holy Comforter, you are near when my dream dies. You are near the brokenhearted. Thanks be to you for a new dream and a future beyond my imagining.

Maker of Miracle, you are near when I cannot see your will. When a good choice, even a merciful choice, is not your choice. Thanks be to you for correction and clarity.

Divine One, you are near when I dismiss the holy. When I say no to your call. Thanks be to you for your patience, your persevering grace, and second chances.

O come, O come Emmanuel, strengthen me with the promise of your steadfast presence and saving love, set my heart and step to your righteousness ends. Amen

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You Are Near © 2016 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
You are welcome to use this work in devotional settings with proper attribution.
Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Prayer: Rest on Me (Luke 2:22-38)

old hands baby hands2014 Bible Reading Plan for Christmas
Day 23 Reading: Luke 2:22-38
Simeon and Anna

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon;
this man was righteous and devout,
looking forward to the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit rested on him.
– Luke 2:25

Prayer: Rest on Me
Holy Spirit,
as you rested on Simeon and Anna,
so rest on me
Keep me expectant and open to your appearing
Fill my speech with stories of your praise and glory

Holy Spirit,
You reveal salvation to every person
reveal it again to me
Shine your light on every motivation,
on every hidden thing
Pierce my soul
so nothing I say or do opposes you

Holy Spirit,
as you guided so many that first Nativity,
so guide me
Continue to point me forward
eyes open, steady and true
Lead me to a faithful end,
so I may rest in peace forever with you
with others
and with my true self

I trust and pray in the name of the Promised One
Jesus Christ
my Savior and Savior of the World
Amen

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This post is part of the 2014 Bible Reading Plan for Christmas. Click here for more information, including a list of all the readings.

Prayer: Rest on Me © 2010 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 and the use of this post in other settings,
please leave a comment.

Whisper Day 9: Correction = Love


The Power of a Whisper
Reading Plan

Day 9 Reading: Proverbs 3

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Scripture
My child, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves the one he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.
-Proverbs 3:11-12

Observation
When God whispers, it is usually one of three messages:

  • A whisper calling us to action: Go! It’s time to exercise your faith. It’s time to join me in saving the world.
  • A whisper of assurance: I am with you and will help you.
  • A whisper of admonition: i.e. correction

Today’s passage from Proverbs reminds us that God’s whispers of correction are rooted in love. They are not arbitrary rules we must follow in order to earn salvation or earn God’s love. Instead, they are words of protection and wisdom for our own good.

God has our best interest at heart. Good parents warn their children of danger: touching a hot stove, sticking something in a light socket, running out into the street, the destructive path of drugs or promiscuous sex…. Like a parent who can see a situation deeper than a child, God can see what we cannot in our haste and shortsightedness. God whispers:
Stop! Wait!
Have you considered the consequence of this choice?
What you are doing or thinking about doing is destructive, or even deadly.

Application
Delight in God’s whispers of correction, for they remind us of God’s deep love and watchful care.

Prayer
Heavenly One, you care for and defend us as a Father, you birth us and nurture us as a Mother. Open our ears to hear your correction and our hearts to delight in it. Share with us your eternal wisdom and goodness. Grow us in your life-giving ways. Make us who we were meant to be. These are but some of the many ways you love us. We are grateful and await your word…

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For more information on the Power of a Whisper campaign or for a copy of this reading plan, click here

As you read, you are encouraged to use the SOAP Method for keeping a spiritual journal, as taught at New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii. For more information on this simple and powerful way of engaging the Word of God, please click here or use the simple instructions provided in the reading plan itself.

I look forward to reading your comments and to all that Jesus will do in you and through you as you learn to better listen and respond to God’s whispers in your life. – Lisa <><

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

Whisper Day 6: Mary and Joseph

Detail of an angel statue, Glasgow. Photo by Norma Desmond

The Power of a Whisper
Reading Plan

Day 6 Reading:
Luke 1:26-38; Matthew 1:18-25

Pastor Lisa’s Journal
Scripture
But just when he had resolved to [dismiss Mary quietly], an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. – Matthew 1:20 (NRSV)

Observation
The angel Gabriel appears to Mary and reveals she will bear God’s Messiah, Jesus the Christ. She believes the angel and accepts God’s mission for her. Joseph, Mary’s betrothed, isn’t so quick to believe. After all, Mary is with child and the child isn’t his. Joseph decides to take the most compassionate course; he will quietly end their engagement. God sends an angel to Joseph in a dream (Gabriel again or another heavenly messenger?), to correct his decision and confirm God’s plan for them both.

Application
God often confirms a whisper by revealing it to more than one person. God often confirms a plan by calling more than one person to fulfill it.

Prayer
Lord of the Heavenly Host, help us to believe and respond when you call, even if that call is far beyond our imagining. Open our souls to hear your voice through others. Open our eyes to recognize your earthly messengers as well as your angelic messengers; anyone you send to confirm your call. Raise up others to walk with us and give us courage to step out together to serve you. Thank you for companionship in your saving work, especially the companionship of Christ, our Lord. It is in his name we pray. Amen.

Day 7 of the Whisper Reading Plan is set aside for worship and rest.

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For more information on the Power of a Whisper campaign or for a copy of this reading plan, click here

As you read, you are encouraged to use the SOAP Method for keeping a spiritual journal, as taught at New Hope Christian Fellowship in Hawaii. For more information on this simple and powerful way of engaging the Word of God, please click here or use the simple instructions provided in the reading plan itself.

I look forward to reading your comments and to all that Jesus will do in you and through you as you learn to better listen and respond to God’s whispers in your life. – Lisa <><

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

Quotes: Criticism

Escaping Criticism (1874) by Pere Borrell del Caso

No one ever hears positive internal voices. When you hear the voice in your head saying, ‘Who are you to do this? Who are you to do that?” Just know it comes from the accuser. God never asks you, “Who are you?” He knows exactly who you are.
– Jon Acuff

It is not the road ahead that wears you out — it is the grain of sand in your shoe.
Arabian proverb

Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing. ~Aristotle

He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.- Abraham Lincoln

The more time you spend dwelling about what someone said, the less time you have to do something with it. – Lori Deschene

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.- Winston Churchill

Ephesians 4:29 (NRSV)
Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.

Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth
without destroying his roots.- Frank A. Clark

I want to become more aware of my own interactions— both digital and face-to-face. I want to watch out for the ways that I contribute to a culture of incivility and polarization by the things that I say, the stories or images I share in social media, the anger, hatered, or cynicism that I harbor or nurture in my heart. I want to challenge myself to take the time and energy to look more deeply into an issue–or the eyes of another person—before I jump into judgment.
– Beth A. Richardson, “From the Editor,”
pages 4-5 in Alive Now, January/February 2013.

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For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page. http://pastorblog.cumcdebary.org/?page_id=1529