Growing in Resilience: Focus Me, based on Philippians 4.6-9

focusGrowing in Resilience
Day 31, Read Philippians 3-4
Reflection: Focus Me, based on Philippians 4:6-9

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Almighty God,
Most powerful, most near, most good
I surrender my worries to you
My overthinking, my foreboding, my dis-ease
I ask, you supply
I reveal my angst, my weakness, my reality
You bring goodness and mercy all the days of my life

Thank you for your steadfast love
You are Faithful Forever
Thank you for your saving power
You are Resurrection and Life
Thank you for grace upon grace

Your generosity overwhelms my fear
Your peace surpasses all I need and understanding
Guard my heart with your peace
Guard my mind with your peace
Guard the fullness of me in the fullness of Christ Jesus my Lord,
the Prince of Peace

Focus my attention and hope on your goodness:
Your truth, your honor, your justice
All are at work in your world

Focus my attention and hope on your goodness:
Your purity, your delight, your commending
All are at work in your world

Focus my attention and hope on your goodness:
Your excellence, your praise
All are it work in your world
All are at work in me, my situation, this very moment

Focus my attention, my power, my resources
To keep doing all you show me to be right
All I am learning and receiving and hearing and seeing in Jesus

Focus me on your promises that I may persevere
That I may grow in resilience and hope
That I may stay true no matter the season or situation
That I may be effective in bearing your grace and peace
And in bringing honor and glory to your name. Amen.

***********
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. 

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

Growing in Resilience: Morning by Morning, based on Isaiah 50.4-5

Sunrise over sea

Sunrise over sea

Growing in Resilience
Day 11, Read Isaiah 50
Reflection: Morning by Morning, based on Isaiah 50:4-5

The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens— wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught. The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward.

Morning by morning
Like the sunrise
Like manna

Morning by morning you waken and provide
You open my eyes to your presence and desire for this day
You open my ears to your encouragement, truth, and grace
You know my weakness, my weariness
You open me to your sustaining

Morning by morning you waken and provide
Now open my mouth to share what first found me
In every season and circumstance
With every soul along the way

Morning by morning you waken me
My eyes, my ears
My mouth, my heart

Morning by morning you waken me
To You and to all
Like the sunrise
Like manna
Great is your faithfulness!

***********
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. 

Morning by Morning © 2017 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Growing in Resilience: The Too Proud Faces of Death, based on Isaiah 47.10-11

mourn sorrow

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

Growing in Resilience
Day 8, Read Isaiah 47
Reflection: The Too Proud Faces of Death, based on Isaiah 47:10-11

You felt secure in your wickedness; you said, “No one sees me.” Your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, and you said in your heart, “I am, and there is no one besides me.” But evil shall come upon you, which you cannot charm away; disaster shall fall upon you, which you will not be able to ward off; and ruin shall come on you suddenly, of which you know nothing.

Will wickedness always remain?
Will violence and war continue to claim their prey?
Will daily needs go unmet forever?
daily bread undiscovered
daily water contaminated
daily shelter out of reach
Will oppression and poverty and captivity shriek their horrid victory?
Will isolation entomb us?

It’s all death
The too proud faces of death
death of goodness
death of peace
death of provision
death of dignity
death of relationship

O Lord, will it always be this way?
Your answer?
No!

Oh, how we need this reminder!
This promise!
This truth!
This hope!
Oh, how we need this now!

Hear our cry, One True Living God
Wield your resurrection love
Yours is the power and strength
Yours is the victory
Reveal it now! Grant it now!
Your people coming before you and coming together and overcoming

Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. – 1 Corinthians 15:54b-58 (NRSV)

***********
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. 

The Too Proud Faces of Death© 2018 Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia
Leave a comment for information and permission to publish this work in any form.

Growing in Resilience: You Carry Me, based on Isaiah 46.3-4

shepherd carry sheepGrowing in Resilience
Day 7, Read Isaiah 46
Reflection: You Carry Me, based on Isaiah 46:3-4

Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from your birth, carried from the womb, even to your old age I am he, even when you turn gray I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.

Faithful One
You carry me before my first cry
You cradle me in my mother’s womb
You make me me and bless me with life

Faithful One
You carry me into my becoming
You bear me into a wider world
You inspire me and bless me with purpose

Faithful One
You carry me into maturity
You hold me as my flesh falters
and fails
You assure me and help me pass on your blessing

Faithful One
You carry me into forever
You draw me to your breast
You save me and bless me with the fullness of you

I am born
I am borne
I am born again
You carry me through

***********
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. 

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

Worship Resources for Earth Day, April 22

Praise in Bloom by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Every year, thousands of people gather on April 22 to celebrate Earth Day. May these resources draw you closer to the One who is Maker of Heaven and Earth and inspire you to better care for the wondrous world we share. – Lisa <><

Prayer for Earth Day
A short, simple prayer

Morning Prayer by Steve Garnaas Holmes
A joyful prayer incorporating images of sunrise and nature. Reminds me of All Creatures of Our God and King by Francis of Assisi.

Lauds by Steve Garnaas Holmes
A beautiful, rich prayer which would be especially powerful if prayed outdoors as the sun rose.

The Story That Defines Us
A rich theological reflection by Richard Rohr on the Biblical creation story compared to another creation story of the ancient world.

Reader’s Theater: The Days of Creation
A multi-reader version of Genesis 1:1-2:3

Sermon Recording: Why Care for Creation
Based on Genesis 1-2:3.

Protecting the Earth 
A collection of scriptures and quotes with a link to a nine-day creation-themed prayer cycle

Creation Praise
A short reflection on the Christian understanding of creation care followed by a prayer combining scripture and song. (Psalm 19:1-4a; Psalm 108:1-4; Beautiful by Phil Wickham)

Creation Praise 2
Another prayer combining scripture and song (Psalm 148; All Creatures of Our God and King)

Prayer Litany for Thanksgiving
Originally designed for Thanksgiving celebrations, this combination of prayer, reflection, and song also works well for Earth Day.

God Who Brings the Cleansing Rain
an original hymn text which may be sung or spoken

Bless Christ, Through Whom All Things are Made
an original hymn text which may be sung or spoken

Psalms of Nature: A Reflection on Psalm 148

Psalms to God’s Glory: A Reflection on Psalm 19

You are God – not me, not us;
help me to remember this simple fact each day.
You are the Center of creation – not me, not us;
help me to recognize my place within the orbit of your grace.
You are the Source of all life – not me, not us;
let me find in you my kinship with all creation.
–Sam Hamilton-Poore, Earth Gospel

You are welcome to use any of these works in a private or public worship setting with proper attribution. Please leave a message for information and permission to publish any of these works in any form.

Worship Resources for Earth Day, April 22

Praise in Bloom by Lisa Ann Moss Degrenia

Every year, thousands of people gather on April 22 to celebrate Earth Day. May these resources draw you closer to the One who is Maker of Heaven and Earth and inspire you to better care for the wondrous world we share. – Lisa <><

Prayer for Earth Day
A short, simple prayer

Morning Prayer by Steve Garnaas Holmes
A joyful prayer incorporating images of sunrise and nature. Reminds me of All Creatures of Our God and King by Francis of Assisi.

The Story That Defines Us
A rich theological reflection by Richard Rohr on the Biblical creation story compared to another creation story of the ancient world.

Protecting the Earth 
A collection of scriptures and quotes with a link to a nine day creation themed prayer cycle

Creation Praise
A short reflection on the Christian understanding of creation care followed by a prayer combining scripture and song

Creation Praise 2
Another prayer combining scripture and song

Prayer Litany for Thanksgiving
Originally designed for Thanksgiving celebrations, this combination of prayer, reflection, and song also works well for Earth Day.

God Who Brings the Cleansing Rain
an original hymn text which may be sung or spoken

Bless Christ, Through Whom All Things are Made
an original hymn text which may be sung or spoken

Psalms of Nature: A Reflection on Psalm 148

Psalms to God’s Glory: A Reflection on Psalm 19

You are welcome to use any of these works in a private or public worship setting with proper attribution. Please contact Lisa for information and permission to publish any of these works in any form.

I Will Never Leave You

I Will Never Leave You by Greg Hart

Hebrews 13:5b NRSV
… for Jesus has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

I felt overwhelmed by Love, surrounded and enveloped. I didn’t have any desire to pray for anything. I didn’t want anything. I didn’t need anything. I felt sufficient and whole, mended and healed, caught. I just wanted to rest there, in that Presence for a while longer. A line of Scripture that I’d been memorizing rose up in my heart: He will quiet you with His love. And it made sense to me. I felt…quieted. I felt that love, that peace and suddenly everything else seemed to fade in importance. It seemed funny to me that everything seemed quieter – my failures, my fears, my still-angry questions, my worries, even my victories, all quiet now. There was just Love there. I felt like a child in that space between awake-and-asleep, wrapped in the arms of their mother.
– Sarah Bessey, In defense of the cafeteria

Romans 8:38-39 NRSV
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Whenever we find ourselves experiencing difficulties, we need to hold on to one bit of good news. Put very simply, it is this: God is deeply present in all the facets of our lives, even when they are painful. The Bible teaches that there is “one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph.4:6). There is no fear, no loss, no grief, no loneliness, no despair, no addiction, no desolation, no suffering that God does not share in. God is continually present and reaching out to us in whatever we may be going through at this moment. When we know that God is with us, even when our world is falling apart, we are more able to face the pain of situations with hope and courage.
Trevor Hudson, The Serenity Prayer

Matthew 28:20 NRSV
Jesus said, “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Extended quote by Thomas Merton from The Sign of Jonas
Sooner or later the world must burn, and all things in it – all the books, the cloister together with the brothel, Fra Angelico together with the Lucky Strike ads which I haven’t seen for seven years because I don’t remember seeing one in Louisville. Sooner or later it will all be consumed by fire and nobody will be left – for by that time the last man in the universe will have discovered the bomb capable of destroying the universe and will have been unable to resist the temptation to throw the thing and get it over with.

And here I sit writing a diary.

But love laughs at the end of the world because love is the door to eternity and he who loves God is playing on the doorstep of eternity, and before anything can happen love will have drawn him over the sill and closed the door and he won’t bother about the world burning because he will know nothing but love.

**********
Click here for more tremendous work by today’s featured artist, Greg Hart

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