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Posted by dailybreaddiscipline on 12 November 2014
Tuesday, November 11
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die…a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.
—Ecclesiastes 3:1–2, 4
Eventually, each of us will leave this Earth and the familiar form we know. Our link to the living will dissolve—at least for a time, as far as we know. My relationship with my mother was uniquely close. Or, as Margaret Meade famously said, “You are unique, just like everyone else.” I loved Mom dearly and she loved me unconditionally.
Every time my wife and I went to see Mom at the senior home, we walked down a long, dull hallway. Each time we left we walked the same path. As I said good-bye and I hugged my mother to me, I would always wonder if this were the last time I would hold her—“Will I see her alive again, or is this the final good-bye?”
After she died, we carried some of her belongings down that long hallway. With each trip, we took away some small part of my mother’s life. And, sometime before that experience, I had indeed hugged her for the last time. I did not know it at the time.
So between her six children, we divided her possessions. Each took a token of her life. No one felt short-changed; we felt only that our time with her was too short. One day you are here, and all the trappings of life that you hold are here with you. Then the sun goes down, leaving tokens and memories as testimony. They perhaps say, “There was a person here for a season—a child of God, loving and loved, now with God, at peace.”
Prayer for Peace Compassionate God, we thank you for the people in our lives. May we cherish them each day of their lives. May we share their stories and the peace of Jesus Christ.
Spiritual Practice: Honoring the Worth of All Persons Read Psalm 139:13–18. After each reading sit quietly and let the words sink deeply into your mind, heart, and body. Imagine God watching you grow in your mother’s womb. What thoughts and feelings do you have about being “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14)?
Sense the intimate knowledge and love God has of you and every child. Be aware of the sacred worth of each person. Weep with God over the soul-wounding forces and events that rob people of dignity and worth. How are you invited to notice, protect, heal, and affirm the spiritual identity of all God’s beloved people today? Pray for God’s compassion.
Peace Covenant Today, God, I will hug a loved one, not knowing what tomorrow brings.
Posted by dailybreaddiscipline on 11 November 2014
Monday, November 10
“Humble yourselves, and continue in prayer to God; cry to God when you are in your fields, and over all your flocks; cry to God in your houses, and over all your household, morning, midday, and evening. …And when you do not cry to the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer to God continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.”
—Alma 16:219, 222, adapted
A severe storm badly damaged my house. I had to move out and put it on the market “as is.” A year later it still had not sold. We made ready to tear the house down and sell the lot. But prayers and a phone call changed events. It was from a woman who bought old houses and made them habitable again. She told me an interesting story.
As she drove down my street, she saw the vacant house, but it did not capture her imagination. She continued, “A powerful Spirit pulled my car into the driveway. Nothing like that ever had happened to me before.” The potential buyer stepped inside the unlocked house. Somehow, her feeling of attraction and the house’s appearance did not match.
She saw that beneath the damage skilled handiwork displayed itself throughout the house. She determined that without major changes, she could renovate it and make it ready for resale. The caller went on, “What struck me, though, was the Spirit that I felt inside the home. I felt comfortable there.”
I shared some of the house’s history with her—that my husband and I dedicated the house to God. We raised our children and grandchildren there. It also served as a safe playground for two generations of neighboring children. In the quiet moments that followed she came to understand.
Two weeks later we met and completed the transaction. We felt the settlement was fair to both of us. Surely the Lord had sent this kind stranger to bless me. I have faith that God continues to bless her and those who find sanctuary in their new home.
Prayer for Peace Creator God, we have faith in your listening ear. When we forget to pray, nudge us with your gentle elbow. When we remember, enfold us in your peaceful arms.
Spiritual Practice: Making Responsible Choices Prayerfully seek God’s guidance in your choices. Discernment invites us to orient our lives toward God and God’s vision for us and creation. Begin by reviewing the responsibilities and opportunities in the day before you. Take these choices into prayer, asking God for wisdom and insight about what matters most.
Offer yourself to God with the prayer of Teresa of Avila: “God, what do you want of me today?” Sit prayerfully with this question as you review the day again. Be aware of images, thoughts, names, or actions that come to you. Ask for a blessing to live this day responsibly and compassionately in the Spirit of Christ.
Peace Covenant Today, God, I will listen and respond morning, midday, and evening.
Posted by dailybreaddiscipline on 10 November 2014
Sunday, November 9
But at midnight there was a shout, “Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” …Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
—Matthew 25:6, 13 NRSV
My idea of a great day at the beach is when the waves are five to six feet high. No, I don’t surf. I just love to ride the waves. I learned from my father on the trips my family took to the eastern shore when we lived in Maryland as I was growing up.
He taught me how to get beyond the breakers by working my way out through the smaller waves. But most importantly, he taught me that if a big wave was about to break on top of me, the thing to do was be ready and dive straight into it. Above all, never take your eyes off the ocean.
A friend from Russia accompanied us on our last trip to Hawaii. We wanted her to experience as much of the ocean as possible. We had many beach days but only two great ones, and my friend wanted to ride the waves with me. She ventured through the smaller waves, hanging a little behind. But every time I started toward the large breakers, she refused to continue.
I said to her, “Come on. You just have to be ready for the wave and dive into it. Stay with me and trust me—you’ll be OK.” But she would not come with me to the big waves. I had an exhilarating time riding up to the crest of one wave after another while Elena went back to sit on the beach.
I thought later of how following God is a lot like anticipating and getting ready for the waves. God calls us into the deep water to ride the big waves. When we trust in that divine presence and stay close, it is an exhilarating ride.
Sometimes we take our attention off God. We try to go our own way instead of where the Holy Spirit is leading us. Sometimes a wave breaks right on top of us, dashing us under and rolling us against the sand. That is not the time for us to give up and go sit on the beach. That’s just a reminder to catch our breath, keep our eyes on God, and be ready to plunge in again.
Pay attention when God says, “Here is the Christ. Come out to meet him!” When we let God help us get beyond the breakers and accept the challenge of the big waves, life becomes a journey of purpose and fulfillment.
Prayer for Peace Holy Spirit, open our hearts to be ready for your call. Open our minds to be ready for Christ’s mission. Prepare us to respond with love and peace.
Spiritual Practice: Breathing with the Ocean Sit or lie in a relaxed posture. Pay attention to your breathing. Let the rhythm become calm and even. Imagine sitting or lying on a warm, sandy beach with ocean waves rolling in and out near your feet. Listen to the waves as they “exhale” and “inhale.” Begin to breathe in time with the waves.
Become aware of the ocean as the presence of God washing onto the shore to touch your body and spirit. With each breath, receive what the ocean of God brings you. Let go of what is carried into the sea of God’s presence. Offer a prayer of thanksgiving. Ask how you can share God’s healing and peace today.
Peace Covenant Today, God, I will be ready to dive into Christ’s mission.
Posted by dailybreaddiscipline on 9 November 2014
Saturday, November 8
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims God’s handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge…yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. …Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them; and nothing is hid from its heat.
—Psalm 19:1–2, 4, 6, adapted NRSV
One morning blessed me with the beautiful sight of the morning sun rising. The rays of light painted the sky from the horizon outward and across the entire firmament. I could only marvel as the Spirit filled my soul and the heavens justly proclaimed the glory of God!
Day after day, the sun rises and sets. The heavens speak, but without a sound or word. Faithfully, the heavens proclaim the glory of God! The skies display God’s artistry. God is alive! Divine presence is with us always if we would just open our eyes and see. Open our mouths to express gratitude. Share our witness of God’s generosity to the end of the Earth. No one can hide from God’s grace.
Prayer for Peace Generous God, you bless us with your creation. Help us discern opportunities to share through word and deed our appreciation by inviting others to share in your blessings, to share in Christ’s peace.
Spiritual Practice: Invite People to Christ Read and reflect on Doctrine and Covenants 162:3b and 163:2b. Pray to be aware of people who might be receptive, and therefore blessed, by your sharing of the message of the Living Christ. Imagine being in relationship with them and inviting them to Christ. In preparation, discover your personal testimony of Christ. “Be persistent in your witness and diligent in your mission to the world.” Repeat this mantra throughout the day: “Christ’s mission, our mission, my mission.”
Peace Covenant Today, God, I will spend my day in gratitude, speaking of your goodness.
Posted by dailybreaddiscipline on 8 November 2014
Friday, November 7
May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus. …Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
—Romans 15:5, 7 NRSV
Opportunities to live in different areas of the USA blessed our family. I attended classes for young mothers on ways to respond to the needs of growing children when it is necessary to relocate. I am grateful for the instructions received. In addition, I learned it was possible to make the transitions without too much trauma.
One idea was to make the move an adventure and have fun. We learned about the environment and visited places of interest in New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Missouri. My husband liked to travel back roads instead of staying on main highways. One day the family made a shopping trip to Phoenix, Arizona. On the way home, the road on which we traveled ran out—it was unfinished!
We had prepared for the trip, or so I thought. The day was hot, and our car did not have air-conditioning. Concern for my family caused me to forget about myself. I assured them I was fine. The time came when I was not fine.
A service station was ahead. We stopped, and I did what experts told us not do in one of our classes. I rapidly drank liquids. Despite my stupidity, the Lord blessed me. I survived. But to this day I cannot stand the heat as well as I once did.
Another lesson learned was to make the new home a familiar place. Familiar objects and pictures helped, as did continuing familiar daily routines. The most help of all came in finding and attending the nearest Community of Christ congregation.
I remember those days, the friendships we made, and experiences of community. I realized that God had heard our prayers and had given our family strength and protection. I never would have known that we could handle so many moves so smoothly. Our faith families welcomed us. I trusted God to remain steadfast no matter where we lived.
Prayer for Peace Welcoming God, it is good to know when we must leave a home, that you will be there waiting for us in our new home. Thank you for our international community with whom we can live in any new place.
Spiritual Practice: Experience Congregations in Mission Read and reflect on Doctrine and Covenants 164:9a–d. Reread the sentence, “If you truly would be Community of Christ, then embody and live the concerns and passion of Christ.” Make a list of the issues you feel mattered most to Christ. Make another list of issues that matter to the people in your congregation. Reflect on the similarities and differences. How can you help align the lists? Throughout the day, as issues arise, ask yourself, “Would this matter to Christ?”
Peace Covenant Today, God, I will welcome the newcomers and help them know they are “home.”
Posted by dailybreaddiscipline on 7 November 2014
Thursday, November 6
By Sherri Kirkpatrick of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, USA
God, the Eternal Creator, weeps for the poor, displaced, mistreated, and diseased of the world because of their unnecessary suffering. Such conditions are not God’s will. Open your ears to hear the pleading of mothers and fathers in all nations who desperately seek a future of hope for their children. Do not turn away from them. For in their welfare resides your welfare.
—Doctrine and Covenants 163:4a
The whole world is a community. Today the community has a common enemy—Ebola. It seems that everyone is carrying the concern and worry on their hearts. This worry erodes the sense of community. Our friends in Africa tell us no one is even shaking hands now.
HealthEd Connect is proactively planning a training program in Zambia in January with the topic: “Spread the Word Not the Disease: Ebola Facts and Fiction.” Sinkhani from Malawi and Wasaidizi from the Democratic Republic of the Congo will join the Kafwa (health care volunteers) in Zambia for a four-day training program. We are also inviting partner colleagues to join us from United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Time to Learn, Churches Health Association of Zambia (CHAZ), and the Zambian Ministry of Health. This training is not in our budget. Who knew a year ago that this need would exist today?
Thankfully, because of generous donations to the Abolish Poverty, End Suffering Mission Initiative a Tangible Love grant is helping us meet this urgent need. We appreciate your prayerful support of our efforts and the efforts of individuals and organizations around the world who work to Abolish Poverty, End Suffering. Go to www.healthedconnect.org and learn more about HealthEd Connect.
Your contributions to the Abolish Poverty, End Suffering Mission Initiative help Community of Christ help those in need.
Prayer for Peace God of Hope, help us address the crises in our world community, which make you weep. Bless the ministry and training efforts in the places where need is so great, and where we often cannot go. Protect and enlighten those who can help. Let us hold in prayer and show our appreciation for those who risk their lives for peace.
Spiritual Practice: Abolish Poverty, End Suffering Read and reflect on John 21:15–17 as a meditation. Direct your mind to places where people have no homes. Think of the wars and natural disasters that destroy the homes of refugees. Be aware of the hungry and homeless, who wander the streets or live in shelters. Let the images fill your mind. Offer a prayer for those who suffer. Imagine Christ tending those sheep. Think of ways you might end their suffering as part of your mission. Throughout the day, carry in your mind the voice of Christ saying: “Feed my lambs…tend my sheep…feed my sheep.”
Peace Covenant Today, God, I will have the courage to risk for peace
Posted by dailybreaddiscipline on 6 November 2014
Wednesday, November 5
Therefore, continue to be strong in faith. To you who hear my voice and know my promises I will reveal myself and give my peace, even in the midst of your uncertainties.
—Doctrine and Covenants 158:11a
I planned a worship service to celebrate Communion, the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, using the story of the woman at the well (John 4). Our worship center included a small fountain with water bubbling over rocks, creating a pleasant, falling-water sound as we shared in worship.
As part of my message, I wanted each one in the congregation to share in a symbol of the living water experience. I used a small medicine dropper to draw water from the fountain and offer a drop to each person. I practiced at home and found the capacity of the dropper was 24 drops. Normal attendance for us was about 40 people, so I planned to stop halfway and refill the dropper.
That morning I counted 38 people at church. As I talked about Jesus offering himself as living water, I walked through the congregation placing a drop of water from the fountain in the palm of each outstretched hand. I decided to go as far as I could with one dropper before refilling. I counted silently as I went. When I finished, I placed the last drop back in the fountain. There was enough and to spare—from one dropper of water.
I could not believe it, did not trust myself, and no one knew why I finished the message with tears in my eyes.
I went home to prove the “miracle” to my uncertain self, before I could share the testimony. Again I filled the dropper and counted—only 24 drops. I had not trusted God, had not trusted my math, and had not trusted my congregation to understand the experience. If I had not prepared and practiced before the service, I wouldn’t have realized the powerful message God had for us and especially me!
The following Sunday, I testified of the experience with the congregation, telling how God brought alive the living water offered by Christ. Be strong in faith, “even in the midst of your uncertainties.”
Prayer for Peace Faithful God, living among us, help us be aware of your presence. Help us drink in the experiences we might otherwise brush off. Help us immerse ourselves in sharing Christ’s peace.
Spiritual Practice: Vessel for Living Water Visualize or feel a vessel at the center of your being. Imagine drawing something from the vessel to share with someone, but as you reach inside you find only a tiny pool of stagnant liquid. You are thirsty, dry, empty. Then something clear and cool begins to pour over you. It splashes and tumbles into the vessel, filling it to the brim. The living water of Christ pours on and in you. Your vessel fills and runs over, blessing you with enough and to spare.
Peace Covenant Today, God, I will place my faith in the results without the test.
Posted by dailybreaddiscipline on 5 November 2014
Tuesday, November 4
You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
—Psalm 16:11 NRSV
When our sons were young, every November we would get a piece of poster board and write in large letters at the top, “T is for Thankful.” Each evening, just before bedtime prayers, we all would think of things for which we were thankful. With pens or pencils we drew on the poster board and let the rest of the family guess what we had drawn. We drew pictures in the beginning because the boys were too small to spell. It was fun guessing what each child drew.
Throughout the month our poster filled with drawings. After the typical pictures of mom, dad, brother, our house, and friends, it became a game to see who could think up something new. Toilet paper, zippers, safety pins, fingernails, and doorknobs were some of our more unusual ideas. Each year we compared it to the previous year’s board to see if we had thought of more blessings than before.
The boys have grown now and have kids of their own. But each November, I remember that long-ago tradition. Throughout the month that joyful memory reminds me to count my blessings. The list is always long. I find when my heart fills with gratitude my whole attitude is different. I am more thoughtful, more caring, and yes, more joyful. At this busy time of year, that is a blessing in itself!
Prayer for Peace Generous God, we have so much for which to be thankful. Help us be aware of each blessing in our lives. Help us look on every day of the year as a blessing of your love and peace.
Spiritual Practice: Listening to Children Sit in your quiet place and center your heart and mind on God’s presence. Spend several minutes asking God to bring into your awareness the names and images of children in your life. You may see their faces or hear their voices as you receive these impressions. Listen deeply to the unique gifts and needs of the children who come to mind. Offer a prayer of blessing for each child and the needs you sense. If you feel led, you also may want to write a note or card and give a message of affirmation and love to each child.
Peace Covenant Today, God, I will look right under my nose and find blessings too many to list.
Posted by dailybreaddiscipline on 4 November 2014
Monday, November 3
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
—Matthew 5:16 NRSV
Norman Vincent Peale said, “If you want a complete medical treatment, you go to a hospital. If you want to get the soundest and deepest spiritual help, you go to church.”
I know many people who feel they can worship God in nature. This is true. We can worship through nature, family, friends, music, art, and in the quiet of a meditative moment. We can worship while alone or with others. Participation with other believers in worship or class also encourages others in their faith journey.
Companionship during scripture study, reflection, conversation, and listening can bring encouragement, peace, and collective healing. Practicing the Enduring Principles and Mission Initiatives offers collective opportunity for living Christ’s mission.
I find blessing in the joys of serving. I am grateful for the many caring mentors who serve as guiding lights for me. These mentors teach me and other fledgling disciples.
Others may choose to come to “God’s Treatment Center” for strengthening and renewing faith. May we, as disciples, offer the prescription of healing ministry and spiritual practice.
Prayer for Peace Creator God, we know that all light comes from you. Help us reflect your light in dark places. Help us share your light so those who are troubled may see and know your love and peace.
Spiritual Practice: Light Close your eyes, and center your breath. Reflect on the statement: “The light of God is in all things,” as you breathe gently in and out. The light has a bright, soft beauty and radiates God’s healing love. The light of God reaches you and permeates you with a deep sense of peace. Rest in the light as it surrounds and fills you. Thank God that you live in God’s light, and it lives in you.
Peace Covenant As Maryanne Williamson wrote, “As we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same.” Today, God, I will not shrink from adding to your glory.
Posted by dailybreaddiscipline on 3 November 2014