Prayer- Trust in Him

afraid-trust-psalm-56-3

Trust in Him and do not fear
The peace of Christ will guard your heart. Alleluia!

Trust in Him and do not worry
The promises of Christ will prove true. Alleluia!

Trust in Him and do not wander
The resurrection of Christ will open the way. Alleluia!

Trust in Him and do not give up
The power of Christ will raise a glorious harvest. Alleluia!

Trust in Him and do not despair
The grace of Christ will heal you and keep you, now and forever. Alleluia!

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This prayer would also work well as an affirmation of faith or call to worship.

Prayer – Trust in Him © 2017 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.

A Parent’s Prayer

parenting-paper-dolls

Heavenly Father, Mother
You understand the heartbreaks of parenting
Silent Children
Hurting Children
Children far from home

We wonder and we worry
It’s torture not knowing
But you know
You are near to them and to us

Protect and Provide
Encourage and Empower
Bring wisdom and light
That we may love as you love
That we and they will make good choices
That we will see and hear you and each other
That we will be one as you are One
Parent, Child, the Love Between
Amen

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A Parent’s Prayer © 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.

Sermon Recording: Come and See What God Has Done, an Epiphany Sermon on Trust (Matthew 2)

matthew 2 epiphany star magi homageMessage: Come and See What God Has Done, an Epiphany Sermon on Trust
Scripture: Matthew 2
Offered 1/3/16, the Sunday before Epiphany, at Trinity United Methodist Church, Sarasota FL

This message was preceded by the wonderful song Noel by Chris Tomlin.

I will not let worry overrule today or this Christmas. When the King rules my world, I cease to rule or to worry. All worry dethrones God. All worrying makes me King and God incompetent. I am going to trust that in the little places, through unexpected people, His perfect story is unfolding and unwrapping all around me and in me, the light overtaking the dark.
Ann Voskamp, from her Advent resource Sticky Notes for the Soul, Day 17

By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace. —Luke 1:78-79

Pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place,
until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. —2 Peter 1:19

The closing prayer was adapted from a prayer entitled Lead Me by Steve Garnaas Holmes.

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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 the Lisa for posting and publication considerations.

Prayer: Jesus, Help Me Breathe

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust by Cheesysteele

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust by Cheesysteele

Matthew 6:27 NRSV
Jesus said, “Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?”

Jesus, help me breathe
My flimsy barricades of control are failing
Again
Worries pressing in
Closer
Closer
Closer
Stifling
Searing
I’m suffocating in ashen dreams
Help me breathe

Help me believe
All my failure and foolishness
Brokenness and indulgence
Are made whole in your greater grace
Help me breathe

Help me trust you Jesus
And help me trust all you provide
New Life
Perspective
Truth
Hope
Peace
Breathe

What is your will?
What is your desire?
You make the way
You are The Way
Breathe
Breathe
Breathe

John 20:19-22 NRSV
Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

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Jesus, Help Me Breathe © 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.

Photo Quote: Calm the Storm

storm clouds with quote

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Click here for a collection of quotes entitled Jesus, Calm the Storm
Click here for a worship resource entitled Stand by Me

Recently, I discovered PicMonkey, a free, online picture editor. It’s super easy to use and has lots of great fonts, filters and other editing goodies. Someone with limited artistic abilities (like me) can feel very accomplished very quickly. – Lisa <><

PS- The picture of the storm clouds came from here on wikimedia commons.

Worrying, Believing and Trusting

trust1Matthew 6:25 (NRSV) 
Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”

Extended quote from Freedom from Worry by Patricia Wilson
An old Swedish proverb says “Worry gives small things a big shadow.” It’s these “big shadows” that hang over your head like a great gray cloud of doom, gloom, and negativity. You may not realize it, but people around you can see that big shadow over your head because of how they feel when they are with you. As you worry and fret, your negativity takes the joy out of any moment and casts a stifling pall of unhappiness over any situation. …Sadly, the biggest shadows are usually created by the smallest worries built up in your mind. From a lost item to a blister on your big toe, those little worries compound in your mind until you feel overwhelmed and powerless. Corrie ten Boom writes, “Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made a burden.” Paul said much the same thing: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6). Note that Paul couples thanksgiving with prayer. As your little worries begin to build up into big shadows, consider the ways in which God has blessed you. With the thought of those blessings in your mind, present your worries to God in prayer. Most importantly, remind yourself that no worry is too small for prayer.

When we ask why in our prayers, we have somehow recognized that we are permitted to bring every question, every issue, every confusion, and every struggle to God. We may not understand what’s going on, but God knows that we cannot pray authentically unless we can honestly express every thought and emotion.
– Steve Harper, Talking in the Dark: Praying When Life Doesn’t Make Sense

Sometimes it’s good to let them see you sweat even when it feels awkward. Fear seems to grow in the darkness of isolation. But when you expose it in the light of community, it tends to lose power. Sharing my fear is often the path that leads to courage. – Emily Freeman, Why You Need to Tell Someone How Scared You Are

No matter what you call it, worry is still sin. In Philippians 4:6, Paul tells us not to be anxious about anything. Romans 14:23 says, “Everything that does not come from faith is sin.” That’s pretty clear to me. Worry is the opposite of faith; therefore, it’s sin…. Worry, in essence, is the sin of distrusting the promises and the power of God. It’s choosing to dwell on, to think about, the worst-case scenario. It’s faith in the bad things rather than faith in God. – Craig Groeschel, The Christian Atheist: When You Believe in God But Live as if He Doesn’t Exist

Faith, as we see in the Hebrew Scriptures and Jesus’ usage of the same, is much closer to our words “trust” or “confidence” than it is about believing doctrines to be true (which demands almost no ego surrender or real change of the small self). We have wasted too many centuries now defending such an intellectual notion of Biblical faith. Real faith people are, quite simply, usable for larger purposes because they live in and listen to a much Larger Self.- Richard Rohr

The older I get, making sure all my “beliefs” of God are lined up as they should be loses more and more of its luster. I see the Bible focusing a lot more on something far more demanding: trust. Try it. Which is harder to say? I believe in God or I trust God? I see a huge difference between “I believe in a God who cares for me” and “I trust God at this particular moment.” The first is a bit safer, an article of faith. The latter is unnerving, risky–because I have let go. You’ve all heard of the “trust fall.” There’s a reason they don’t call it a “belief fall.” Belief can reside in our heads. Trust is doing it, risking it. Trust is humility, putting ourselves in the hand of another. Trust requires something of us that belief doesn’t. – Peter Enns, Why I Don’t Believe in God Anymore

Luke 12:25 CEB
Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life?

Prayer: Free Me From Worry
Eternal One
Overcoming One
Author of Life and New Life
Free me from worry
Break the chains of discouragement
Loose the doors of perspective
That I may follow your Son on the path of purpose and hope
Amen

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For a worship resource entitled Trusting God’s Provision, based on Matthew 6:25 and following, click here

For a devotion entitled Psalms for Fearful Times, click here

Prayer: Free Me from Worry © 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 use of the scripture, art and this post in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

Mary and Martha

If you know the artist of this work, please let me know so I may give him/her credit.

Luke 10:38-42 (NRSV)
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Extended quote by Henri Nouwen from the book A Spirituality of Homecoming
We are needy people. We need attention, affection, influence. These needs are so strong that we may find ourselves arranging our lives in order to satisfy them. But this is a tragic trap because we can never find the attention, influence, or care that really fills our needs. This leads to a life filled with tension as we seek what we cannot find.

Why are we so needy? I think it comes from an awareness of woundedness. We have doubts about our selves. These doubts trace back to deep, early experiences that cause us to feel not fully acceptable as we are. We are not at home with our selves. From our feeling of woundedness we become needy. And in our neediness we wound others. There is an interlocking relationship between needs and wounds that stretches backward and forward from generation to generation. This is the context of what we call “love.”

The gospel breaks through this chain of interlocking needs and wounds. The great message of Jesus is that God loves us first and that we can love one another only because God has loved us first. Jesus calls us to come home to that first love, which precedes all human loves. This is the original blessing, the original acceptance, our original home. The Christian life means to love one another with God’s love and not with the needy, wounded love that can end up harming others.

Extended quote by D.L. Mayfield from a guest post on Rachel Held Evans blog entitled Martha, Martha
I know what happened Martha, because it happened to me too. I see your desire to single-handedly fix all the problems (feeding the disciples, cleaning the sheets, acquiring health permits, doing volunteer background checks), your deep-down desire to do good. How this desire, left on its own, morphed into a series of programs and activities that ultimately kept you from Jesus. I see how we got confused about it all, and took the easy route of fixing problems instead of becoming engaged with the lives of those around us. How we found our safety and security in doing, and eventually became brittle with the loneliness of trying to become the savior, instead of listening to him.

I do find comfort in this: Jesus doesn’t shame you. He calls you by name, twice (“Martha, Martha”, the first time cutting through your heart, the second time healing it). He gets to the root of all your existential angst, and he shows that there is no need for the amount of space you carve out for anxiety, worry, righteous indignation.

Instead, paradoxically, it turns out we find Jesus when we sit down, when we fall at his feet and listen. This is, he says, the very best thing, and it can’t be taken away from us unless we do it ourselves. The busyness of the savior complex, our quick-response culture, even our desire to do good with the limited amount of time that we have–can take Jesus, his love and his grace,  away from us. But he wants us, Martha, and he likes us even when we aren’t saving anyone. We are just his children, the ones he knows by name, and he wants to be with us.

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