On trust


 


 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
      and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
      and he will make straight your paths.

 
Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)
 


Blessing

inspired by Psalm 37:3-9

Trust in God, and do what is good;
live with quiet confidence where God has placed you.
Delight in God’s presence,
and you will have all that your heart desires.
Commit everything you do to God—trust Him completely—
and He will never let you down.
Be patient.
Don’t worry or get upset when things don’t go well.
Instead, learn to rest in God’s presence.
For those who trust in God will have everything they need.
 
from re-worship.blogspot.com

Sola gratia – Deo gratias


Water lilies – in and on the water  (Photo: Irene Bom)
 
 

The words gratia and gratias point to a connection between grace and gratitude.

 
 
To bring to a close our reflections on the theme of “grace”, I’ve selected some Latin terms, a song, a reading, a bit of church history and a prayer of thanksgiving by Thomas Ken, writer of the traditional doxology, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.”
 


By grace alone (Sola gratia)

[God] has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
 

 

“Only by grace” by Gerrit Gustafson

Thanks be to God (Deo gratias).

 
Note:
Sola gratia (“by grace alone”) is a foundational principle of the Reformation, along with two other core beliefs, Sola scriptura (“by Scripture alone”) and Sola fide (“by faith alone”).
 


Giver of All Good Things

Giver of all good things, we thank you:
for health and vigour,
for the air that gives the breath of life,
the sun that warms us,
and the good food that makes us strong;
for happy homes and for the friends we love,
for all that makes it good to live.

Make us thankful and eager to repay,
by cheerfulness and kindliness,
and by a readiness to help others.

Freely we have received; let us freely give,
in the name of him who gave his life for us,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.
 

by Thomas Ken (1637-1711)
 
source: re-worship.blogspot.com
 


 
From the blog
Ancient Irish Prayer
 

Grace notes


Winter in the Tuileries Garden, Paris  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 
I love the term ‘grace note’. It’s so evocative.

Technically, a ‘grace note’ is a musical note not essential to the harmony or melody, designed to embellish or ‘ornament’ the music and add extra flourish. It colours, without clashing.

 
Here is a grace note in one of Chopin’s manuscripts.

 
The term, ‘grace note’, is also a beautiful metaphor for all the little graces that colour and enhance our lives.

May God help us to develop an ear and appreciation for the grace notes that echo all around us, and may He bless us with the capacity to add grace notes of our own.
 


Grateful Praise

God created the heavens,
star-spattered with beauty,
and the earth, teeming with life.
And God set us on the Earth,
alive and wide-eyed,
able to see and hear,
feel and taste life’s beauty,
able to dream and plan,
create and build out of the richness of the earth.
Lord of all to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise!

God gave us families to love us,
teachers to teach us,
elders to guide us,
and leaders to inspire us.
God gave us His Son
to save us from the path of destruction and sin,
and to be a strengthening presence
in our trials and temptations.
Lord of all to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise!

Every good thing that fills our souls with gladness
and our lives with light
is a gift from God.
We have been entrusted with unfathomable riches.
For this, let us come before God
in thanksgiving and grateful praise.
Lord of all to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise!

 
written by David Inglis,
posted on the Henrietta United Church of Christ website.
 


 
From the blog
 
The blessing of light
The whole bright world rejoices
walk, run, soar

Grace upon grace


 

From [Christ’s] abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.
John 1:16 (NLT)

 

Let us then approach
God’s throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy
and find grace to help us
in our time of need.

 

Hebrews 4:16 (NIVUK)

 


More about grace …

 
We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

 

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

 

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

 


 
More about grace …   from the blog
 
God of grace
More to come
Precious dust

Looking forward looking back

 
With 2019 around the corner, let me share an overview of the posts that attracted the most visits to the Prayer Matters website over the past year.

For some reason, these blog posts keep on giving.

Top 10

  1. 3 Prayers for endings and beginnings
  2. Give me a heart of flesh
  3. Theme: God makes all things new
  4. Circle me, Lord
  5. In the school of prayer with Ann Lewin
  6. In the school of prayer with Eddie Askew
  7. Theme for January 2018: Heart
  8. 3 Prayers for Wayfarers
  9. Theme: Shelter under his wings
  10. Theme: Ever sustaining
     

Hopes for the new year

I hope for more regular subscribers in the new year, and for the blog to continue to minister to our Presbytery and beyond.

 
In closing, a powerful blessing by Joyce Rupp, originally published in 2004, and as inspiring as ever.

Feel free to pass the blessing on.  Maybe this post will reach the top 10 in 2019, just as the final post in 2017 made the No. 1 spot in 2018.
 


Blessing for the New Year

 
I hope for you in this new year

… that the single, most significant dimension of life
is your relationship with the Source of Goodness
who never ceases to sing love songs to your soul

… that you find meaning, purpose, and vitality
in what you do daily

… that you treasure your loved ones
and let them know how dear they are to you

… that you make choices and decisions
that reflect your truest self

… that you look in the mirror at least once a day
and smile in happy amazement

… that you remember relationships are what count above all else –
more than work or money,
or all the material things we spend so much time tending

… that you live in an uncluttered manner,
enjoying the freedom to be content

… that you keep your sense of humor
when things don’t go the way you want

… that you find adventure in each new day
and marvel at the wonders of creation
which constantly present themselves to you

… that you never give up on yourself
when others turn away or do not understand

… that you are attentive to the health
of your body, mind and spirit

… that you take risks and accept
the growth-full challenges that come to you

… that you draw on your inner strength and resiliency
when you are in need

… that you carry peace within yourself,
allowing it to slip into the hearts of others
so our planet becomes a place
where violence, division, and war are no more

 
by Joyce Rupp. Posted on Joyce Rupp’s website.
 


 
P.S. “Looking forward looking back” is also the title of the Anniversary booklet we published this year, celebrating the 375th anniversary of the Scots Church in Rotterdam.

Ding! Dong! Curiosity


come on in …
 

My Christmas reflection

from the lessons and carols service in Rotterdam on Sunday, 23 December 2018.

 
I love books, especially books full of ooh! and aha! moments.

This book, How to be an explorer of the world is one of them. It’s full of practical projects designed to reconnect us with the wide-eyed wonder we had as children.

Wonder in the little things, the seemingly simple things of life.

But if you get up close and personal you discover they are far from simple. Each living thing is a wonderland.

Take a new-born baby … in many ways like any other baby, in need of love and nurture; in so many ways, wholly unique and unpredictable.

Take the geranium in my kitchen or the orchid collection in Romina’s living room; in many ways like other plants, in need of care and attention; in so many ways, wholly unique.

Just like children exploring the world, discovering things for the first time, it’s good to have some ‘firsts’ of our own on a regular basis … to set ourselves up for regular doses of wonder.

The key is curiosity.

Like Mary’s curiosity that kept her from opting out in her encounter with the angel and that prompted her visit to Elizabeth.

Like the shepherds, confronted by an army of good news angels, who left their flocks to search for the baby in a manger.

Like the wise men, who were curious about the meaning of the star that appeared out of nowhere and set off to honour the new born king of the Jews they read about in their ancient writings.

Naturally there were risks and no doubt they were afraid. How did they overcome the fear and come into action?

Somehow they let their curiosity and not their fear dictate their response. They found the faith and courage to explore the world that God was bringing into being, partly through their willingness to play their part.

May God bless us all with a good dose of curiosity this Christmas, so the familiar and the fearful do not trap us in a ‘that’s the way it is’ and ‘that’s the way it always will be’ mindset. Instead, may we find the grace to go deeper and maybe find new, more life-giving ways to celebrate Christmas and so discover anew the wonderland that Christmas is meant to be – whatever our age, whatever our circumstances.
 


A prayer

It may seem naive,
   in a world of grief,
      to choose to live in joy;

It may seem foolish,
   in a world where solemnity is power,
      to sing and dance to a different tune;

It may seem cruel,
   in a world of suffering and injustice,
      to speak of light and celebration;

But you have come, Jesus,
   to bring joy into our grief,
      light into our darkness,
      singing into our mourning;
   and it is an act of healing and proclamation
      to believe and embrace the joy you offer.

Joy to the world!
   The Lord is come!
      Hallelujah!

Amen.

written by John van de Laar, published on the Sacredise.com website.
 


 
From the blog
Nature bringing joy

In the clouds


(Photo: Irene Bom)

 

Let me encourage you with these words, as Paul suggests:

 
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.

For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever.

Therefore encourage one another with these words.

 


A prayer

Not when the mountains shake,
or the seas roar,
or the clouds part to reveal You,
Holy One,
but here and now,
on this one ordinary day,
we will wait and watch
for You will surely come to us.
Amen.

by Ann Siddall
posted on the Stillpoint Spirituality Centre and Faith Community website.
 


Get inspired

Cloud Appreciation Society Manifesto

More to come


Rotterdam café in festive mode  (Photo: Irene Bom)
 
 

Peter writes,
 
“… prepare your hearts and minds for action! Stay alert and fix your hope firmly on the marvelous grace that is coming to you. For when Jesus Christ is unveiled, a greater measure of grace will be released to you.”

 

(1 Peter 1:13, The Passion Translation)

 


From the blog
 
Prepare = action
Pause for breath …