A House Becomes a Home

Monday, November 10

11-10By Peggy Michael of Cantonment, Florida, USA

“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.

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Invite All to Christ

Sunday, October 12

10-12

Karin Peter

By Karin Peter of Adrian, Missouri, USA

Then he said to his slaves, “The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.” Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. …For many are called, but few are chosen.

—Matthew 22:8–10, 14 NRSV

My friend, Libby, was one of those people who always looked disheveled. She wore stained clothing, her hair was uncombed, and her manner was less than refined. But people who knew Libby knew she was a follower of Jesus, even though she was not raised in a church community.

As an adult, she was invited into the life of her congregation, and there she discovered a community of people who valued her just as she was. In our congregation, Libby found a home, a place of covenant and compassion. Among this loving community she blossomed. Her many areas of giftedness, her resourcefulness, and her endless hospitality brought blessings to friends and stranger alike.

Libby lived the last years of her life in humble service to others. Her appearance might have been unkempt, but the stained clothing she wore was the robe of a genuine disciple.

Prayer for Peace Loving God, we know we are worthy, just because you made us. Help us be more responsive to your call, so we may affirm the worth of others. Help us find new ways to Invite People to Christ and share in the peace found here.

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, when you share 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 listen for your call.

These Are My Disciples

Thursday, November 21

11-21By Gary McDonald of Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts. Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky. Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps.

—Psalm 85:8, 11, 13

I am sitting quietly in church when the Holy Spirit becomes visible through the loving actions of those around me. An elderly gentleman in our congregation named Dean, decides to part with a treasured possession, an antique Boy Scout knife he has owned for over 60 years. He gives it to a young man honored as an Eagle Scout. A grandmother named Wanda shares how her granddaughter likes our church because we think she’s beautiful. A priesthood member walks over to visit with a frail, elderly woman and gives her a kind hug.

But it doesn’t stop there. A man stands to sing a touching song during worship and it brings tears. Our speaker of the morning apologizes. She is under medication that dries out her mouth. Someone in the congregation provides her with a cup of water. Our granddaughter attends church because it is here she finds love and acceptance.

Our Enduring Principles capture all of these actions. They are voluntary. They come from the hearts of those who turn to God. I am humbled and my heart is full.

There are times when my critical, cynical nature takes these people to task. Sometimes these moments are private and other times public. Unkindly I have privately criticized them for being “unspiritual.” Now I must take my words back and confess I know nothing about them or about what it takes “to be a spiritual people.” Yet, I am forgiven. God knows Christ’s disciples, and moves among them.

Prayer for Peace
All-knowing God, we turn our hearts to you. We know your Spirit speaks to us. We see you in the Christ-like actions of the community. We feel humble. Allow us to be disciples who share the peace of Christ.

Spiritual Practice: Develop Disciples to Serve
Read and reflect on Psalm 42:1–2. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to respond to people and their needs. The call to journey inward can restore us in times of physical or spiritual depletion. When you are thirsty, dry, empty, listen again to the psalm, “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” As you feel restored, thank God for the opportunity to be a responding, serving disciple while you move into the outward journey. Remember this exercise as you drink water throughout the day.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will recognize Christ in peaceful actions.

Humble Yourself

Sunday, July 7

7-7By Lu Mountenay of Independence, Missouri, USA

…”Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said, to you was, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.

—2 Kings 5:13–14

“Wash, and be clean.” How easy that is! I have a button from an office-supply store. When you press it, a recorded voice says, “That was easy.” I’ve used it often to ease tensions at awkward times. When we humble ourselves and laugh at our own expense, it’s easier to forgive ourselves and accept the gifts of others.

When I finally admit I might be wrong, I can repair relationships. When I finally admit that, even if I’m right, it doesn’t matter what others think. What matters are the feelings of other people in my life. I need to get past having to be right all the time and accept a serving of humility. It doesn’t taste so bad if it means reconciliation with one who was once estranged.

Got it?

Got it?

Get over it!

Did I catch that someone else’s opinion matters more than mine? (I got it.) Do I take the time to listen and understand their view? (I get it.) Can I get over it? (Get over what? It doesn’t matter anymore.) I move on.

The Spirituality of Imperfection (Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham) holds an interesting sentiment: “I’m not all-right, and you’re not all-right, but that’s Okay–THAT’s all-right.”

Nobody’s perfect. But, things would be perfect if everyone were humble, like Christ, who said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29). Perhaps being humble is one way to “Wash, and be clean.”

Prayer for Peace
Creator God, help us accept each other and self as you accept us–with all our flaws. May we pause and be humbled by the mote in our own eye when we begin to judge others. May we share the peace of Christ with a gentle and humble heart.

Spiritual Practice: Weeding the Garden
Inner transformation can take place during daily activities and work. Try cultivating the spiritual discipline of grace and acceptance while weeding your spiritual garden. As you pull each “weed,” offer a short prayer. Tug. (God remove from my heart all prejudice and fear.) Tug again. (God, keep me from making unjust judgments.) As you remove the weed, continue praying. (Plant in my heart the seeds of your love.) If you don’t have a garden, try this kind of transforming prayer while engaging in repetitive activities or work today.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will find rest for my soul, because–even though not perfect, I am loved.