Archive for September, 2022

Unspeakable Joy


Written by Cyprian (?-258), a bishop of Carthage and early Christian writer. This was an excerpt from a letter written to his friend Donatus.

It is a bad world, Donatus, an incredibly bad world. But I have discovered in the midst of it a quiet and holy people, who have learned a great secret. They have found a joy which is a thousand times better than any of the pleasures of our sinful life. They are despised and persecuted, but they care not. They are masters of their souls. They have overcome the world. These people, Donatus, are Christians . . . and I am one of them.


Written by Billy Graham (1918-2018), an American evangelist minister who was internationally known.

Today, Lord God, I remember all those Christians who have gone before me and thank You for the inspiration of their memory. May I never take for granted the heritage I have in Christ Jesus.

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The Capacity to Forgive


Written by Douglas V. Steere (1901-1995), an American Quaker ecumenist. This is an excerpt from his book “Dimensions of Prayer.”

A discussion of Christian prayer that leaves out the final movement of forgiveness would be a travesty. There is nothing that God cannot heal, and God’s forgiveness is given before we even approach God. Nowhere is this more tellingly described than in the Old Testament story of the father King David weeping over his son Absalom who has perhaps come to his death because he did not believe his father could ever forgive his treason…Forgiveness is a condition in which the sin of the past is not altered, nor its inevitable consequences changed. Rather, in forgiveness a fresh act is added to those of the past, which restores the broken relationship and opens the way for the one who forgives and the one who is forgiven to meet and communicate deeply with each other in the present and the future. Thus, forgiveness heals the past, though the scars remain and the consequences go on…It is taken into the fresh act of outgoing renewal and there it is healed. The whole witness of Jesus’ life and death is to the unfathomable depts of God’s forgiveness. English poet and author William Blake cites the capacity of Jesus to forgive another, and to reenter vulnerably into the deepest relation with another, as the strongest evidence of his being God in the flesh. For only so could someone be truly able to forgive others.


Written by Debbie Przybylski, founder and director of Intercessors Arise International.

Dear Lord, I thank You for the power of forgiveness, and I choose to forgive everyone who has hurt me. Help me set them free and release them to You. Help me bless those who have hurt me. Help me walk in righteousness, peace, and joy, demonstrating Your life here on earth. I choose to be kind and compassionate, forgiving others, just as You forgave me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Being Present


Written by Marjorie Thompson, a contemporary parish minister, author, teacher, and retreat leader. This is an excerpt from her book “Soul Feast.”

The one condition that precedes every kind of prayer is being present to God with conscious awareness. God is always present with us, whether or not we can feel this reality. In a very real sense, then, the foundation of all prayer is being present to the presence of God. Quaker writer and teacher Douglas Steere speaks of “being present where we are” and “not too elsewhere.”


Written by Sheri Dursin, a contemporary writer, speaker, and retreat presenter.

Loving God, I come to you as I am,

Rushed and frazzled, electricity buzzing from my fingertips,

Or sluggish, plodding through the mud, footsteps heavy and slow.

Whatever my pace, I have arrived at this precise moment with you.

Lord Jesus, I rest in the knowledge that you will meet me here,

At the crossroads of sorrow and joy,

Of confusion and clarity,

Of stress and serenity.

Heavenly Father, help me to pause.

To listen, and pray, and sit in the quiet

With you, my song blending with yours

In beautiful harmony

God of love, I pray for the inspiration to put away my own plans,

And discover what you have in mind for me

I am listening, I am here with you.

I will be present.

I will just BE.  Amen.

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Bringing Unity to Humankind


Written by Dallas Willard (1935-2013), an American philosopher, theologian, and author.  This is an excerpt from “Knowing Christ Today: Why We Can Trust Spiritual Knowledge.”

The unity of humankind is to be achieved by witness to truth in love, co-working with God. In a remarkable continuity with Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15, and Paul’s repeated affirmations of human unity under Christ in his letters (Colossians 3:11), the prophet Isaiah spoke long ago to Israel for the God of Israel: “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, so that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (49:6). But this was not to be achieved by political or military power, though the Jews of Jesus’s day, including his own apostles, could think only of that. Many today have gone no further in their understanding. By the force of truth and love alone—spoken and lived—the people of Christ, as they dwell in their part of the earth and move about on earth, “make disciples of all nations,” all ethnic groups, all kinds of people. But what that means must be rightly understood if it is to be effectual for good in the way Jesus intended. Most Christians of the Western world today take this directive to “make disciples” to mean doing “missionary work” in other parts of the world, especially in “underdeveloped” or “backward” countries. That is how it has been presented to them. Thus, they look to “the ends of the earth” from where they stand and forget that the process starts in “Jerusalem and Judea,” which in their case is precisely the Western world and its churches. It is right where they live. The “all nations” is above all our own “nation.” North America, for example, is the primary place for North American Christians to make disciples from the various human groupings, surround them in trinitarian reality, and “teach them to obey everything” Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:19–20). The failure of the American church to do this is very obvious, but to fail here “at home” is to fail the need of the world as a whole.


Written by John Birch, a contemporary author on Celtic and other prayer.

 Lord, you have said

that to truly love you

then I must also

love my neighbor,

which can be difficult

when we disagree

or lifestyles clash.

Yet in overcoming

those difficulties

it is possible to see

the miracle that you

love someone like me.

Teach us to love, Lord,

as you have loved us

that this world might be

a better neighborhood

in which to live and share.

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The Storm of Repentance


Written by Macrina Wiederkehr, a contemporary author and spiritual retreat director. This is an excerpt from her book “A Tree Full of Angels.”

My beginning advice to you is this: Always read the Scriptures with a heart ready to repent. Receive the storm that repentance brings. Let the holy winds toss you to and fro. You will be awakened to new depths as you wrestle with the life forces within. What seems like violence at first will lead you gently into the eyes of God where all is calm and quiet, like the eye of a hurricane. When you finally surrender and stop fighting the winds, you will be carried by angels into the eye of God. There you will rest in peace and lean to see like God. It will be the great harvest of contemplation—through the storm into the quiet.


Written by Kristine Brown, a contemporary Christian author and speaker.

Almighty God, Sometimes I feel like the disciples when they were in the boat, tossed around by powerful winds and fierce waves. But then I remember how the story ends, with your son Jesus speaking peace to the storm. The disciples were amazed, wondering what kind of man this was who could calm a raging storm. I adore you because you are the only One powerful enough to quiet the storms in our lives. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed when I’m struck by difficult circumstances. But I don’t have to fear anything as a child of God. All power belongs to you! Thank you Lord for your mighty power at work in my life right now. Thank you also for your Holy Spirit who provides power within me to do the things you’ve called me to do. I will never forget where my source of power comes from. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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The Root Is Jesus


Written by Evan Heerema, a contemporary retired pastor.

It’s wonderful when someone comes into the kingdom of God. That person receives God’s gift of grace through faith in Jesus, and they begin a new life of walking with the Holy Spirit. The new believer realizes that their old life of selfish pursuits offers nothing that will ever satisfy. They have turned their back on the darkness and are enjoying the light of the world, Jesus. Praise God for his love! Paul is filled with thanks to hear that the people of Colossae have come to faith in Christ Jesus and are showing their love for all God’s people. He even says, “We always thank God . . . when we pray for you . . .” They have become wonderful examples of living by faith in Jesus. They believe and trust, they love, and they hope in what God has already stored up in heaven for them. Drawing all this together, we can say with Paul that the faith of the Colossian believers is rooted in Jesus Christ. Friends, my prayer is that you will have faith in Christ Jesus; my hope for you is that in Jesus’ name you are loving others, giving yourself up for them, and growing in hope in all that God has promised and is storing up for you in heaven. Stay rooted in Christ, anticipating the reality of God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.


Written by Evan Heerema,  the author of today’s meditation.

Gracious God in whom we hope, strengthen our faith in Jesus, the Savior of the world. Increase our love for others and build our hope in what we know is yet to come. Amen.

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Written by Heidi Vegh, a contemporary writer, speaker, and ministry leader.

I often find myself in places of discontentment, heavily bombarded with opportunities to compare myself to others and allow the monster of idolatry to sit on the throne of my life. I wish I could be like her, look like her, have a business like her, or even have children like hers. I measure my accomplishments up against unrealistic expectations that the world has placed on me and place the importance of them before God, essentially worshiping the hustle to get where I want to be and much more. This, my friends, is a sin. The sin of idolatry is nothing new. In Ecclesiastes, we read, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” We fight the sin of idolatry just as the people did in ancient Israel. It may look a bit different or be packaged differently, but the sin of idolatry is alive and well. When the Israelites became discouraged as they wandered in the desert, they allowed themselves to be distracted by their world and forgot about God and how he had freed them from slavery. They erected a lifeless, golden calf made from the riches they had taken with them from Egypt. They worshipped the golden idol and made sacrifices to it. This was empty and worthless. However, they believed that this idol would help them or save them. They were aiming their worship at the wrong thing, taking matters into their own hands. This may sound ridiculous to some; however, we do the same thing. In our current world, it is so easy to set things before God and forget His faithfulness in our lives. We become overwhelmed by our own needs, desires, and abilities that we are tricked into believing that we are completely self-sufficient. Even the most devout Jesus followers tend to fall into this trap of idolatry.  We have a jealous God, meaning that He is vigilant and fiercely protective of us. He wants our affections to be aimed at Him and not the world. Not just for His sake but also ours. He knows that the idols of this world will never satisfy. Only God can truly satisfy.  God will not tolerate idolatry and longs to set us free from this sin. When he created mankind, he created us with a heart that desired worship, and it was intended that we worship Him and Him alone. He wanted to be close to His people and have deep loving relationships with Him. When we are focusing on things other than God to fulfill us, we are tempted to believe that we need something more and that God is not enough. Humans longed to be affirmed, and it is so easy to look to other humans to obtain this and not to God. But this is empty and worthless. Humans are flawed, and God is perfect. God’s approval is rooted in who Jesus is and what He did, not by what we accomplish or how we perform.  We tend to idolize our jobs, our families, our marriages, our social media presence, or our wealth. We think that if we have the next best thing, the approval, or the riches, then finally, we will be happy. We strive to make our own happiness and to take control when we should be surrendering.  But even after all this, God is still the same. He is still the same loving and jealous God that He was in the days of Exodus. He longs for us to reach for Him, worship Him, and love only Him. Remember, only God can truly satisfy. We could search to the ends of the earth to find something to fulfill us like God and we will always come up short.


Today’s prayer is adapted from 2 Kings 17:7-23 and was written by Dustin Ray, a contemporary pastor.

O God, You have loved us so well. You have been kind to us. You have given us all that we need. You have kept us from danger. You have given us new life and forgiveness in Your Son, Jesus, but we have sinned against you, doing what You told us not to do. We think and live like You don’t love us, like You don’t see our struggles, like You don’t see our needs. We think that other gods of money, more stuff, looking good, seeming smart, and feeling accepted will make us whole and happy. But really, only you can make us whole and joyful. Help us trust You when You say, “I will be with you.”

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Offered Forgiveness


Written by C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), a British author, professor, and lay theologian. This is an excerpt from his essay “Fern-Seed and Elephants.”

This is hard. It is perhaps not so hard to forgive a single great injury. But to forgive the incessant provocation of daily life—to keep on forgiving the bossy mother-in-law, the bullying husband, the nagging wife, the selfish daughter, the deceitful son—how can we do it? Only, I think, by remembering where we stand, by meaning our words when we say in our prayers each night “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us!” We are offered forgiveness on no other terms. To refuse it is to refuse God’s mercy for ourselves. There is no hint of exceptions.


Written by William Cleary, a contemporary Irish author and missionary.

You accept us–at times of self-doubt

Thank you, God of all,

Creator of our world,

For allowing us to be imperfectly made:

Because it makes us, if we are wise, forgiving.

Do you accept us as we are?

We condemn people too quickly:

We judge them for flawed thinking, disguised egotism,

Unworthy acquisitiveness, or skewed opinions.

But we can forgive them once we accept our own shadow,

And realize how well we ourselves fit

Into the ranks of a less than perfect human race.

You, Holy God, accept each of us,

Prophets tell us, just as we are:

Provided our moral judgments of others

Are reciprocally generous and compassionate.

Imperfection fits this evolving reality,

For the universe thrives on diversity,

Including random failure,

One of the very preconditions for the unfolding advances.

May it be so. Amen.

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Sovereign Calling


Written by A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), an American pastor, author, magazine editor, and spiritual mentor. This is an excerpt from his book “Tozer on Christian Leadership.”

There is another and worse evil that springs from this basic failure to grasp the radical difference between the natures of the two worlds. It is the habit of languidly “accepting” salvation as if it were a small matter and one wholly in our hands. Men are exhorted to think things over and “decide” for Christ, and in some places one day each year is set aside as “Decision Day,” at which time people are expected to condescend to grant Christ the right to save them, a right which they have obviously refused Him up to that time. Christ is thus made to stand again before men’s judgment seat; He is made to wait upon the pleasure of the individual, and after long and humble waiting is either turned away or patronizingly admitted. By a complete misunderstanding of the noble and true doctrine of the freedom of the human will salvation is made to depend perilously upon the will of man instead of upon the will of God. However deep the mystery, however many the paradoxes involved, it is still true that men become saints not at their own whim but by sovereign calling. 


Today’s prayer is from the Gelasian Sacramentary, a book of Christian liturgy, which is the oldest western liturgical book that has survived.  The book is linked to Pope Gelasius I. It was compiled near Paris around 750.

O God, you have made all those who are born again in Christ to be your chosen people, royal priesthood, and holy nation. Grant us both the will and the power to do what you command, that your people who are called to eternal life may have the same faith in their hearts and the same devotion in their actions; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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Written by Liz Lampkin, a contemporary speaker, teacher, and author.

Faith. A small word with so much meaning. Faith is the stuff, the things hoped for. It is the evidence or proof of things we want but don’t see. It is believing that the God we serve whom we cannot see exists. It is having confidence that He will keep the promises of His Holy Word. Walking by faith in God is a charge that all believers are challenged with. Every day, we as believers are faced with tests of faith to secure and strengthen our faith in God. As we go through life, many obstacles befall us, and let’s be honest they are not easy to go through or overcome. Many times, when we face challenges of any kind, or when we are given a new assignment from God we have the tendency to smile and pray our way through it, publicly. We show others our strength in the Lord. We show them how “unshakeable” our faith is in Him. However, what we fail to exhibit to other believers and non-believers of Christ are the struggles that come along with faith. We hide our tears, questions, and frustrations from others. We conceal and deny our doubts. We mask our fears behind our beliefs.  Why do we do this? Why do we not want others to see where we falter in our walk-in faith? Why do we fail to show others that while we are believers in a very living God, we are still human flesh? Is it pride? Is it a fear of being judged or misjudged? Is it shame? Is it fear that God will turn His back on us? There may be a number of reasons why we as believers do not live in transparency when it comes to openly sharing our struggles with faith. However, what many of us fail to realize is that struggling in faith isn’t anything new. 

Imagine being given away at birth, becoming royalty, becoming a murderer, having a speech impediment, and being told by God that you are to free His people from bondage. Moses, the man sent by God to free the Israelites from Pharaoh, struggled with His assignment from God. He constantly gave reasons as to why he could not fulfill His assignment. He did not believe he could do what God instructed Him to do. However, he did. Imagine having everything you’ve ever wanted: good health, wealth, family. Then suddenly, everything is gone. Everyone around you encourages you to walk away from God, but you don’t. You remain steadfast and unmovable, but you don’t do it without expressing some frustration. God’s servant Job. While he remained firm in his faith, he questioned God, he openly displayed his emotions of pain and anguish for his suffering. He was not ashamed of expressing his struggle with his losses.  These two servants of God had faith in Him, but it was clear that they had moments of difficulty. God is aware of everything we go through before we go through it, and He wants us to be open about our struggles. Here’s why. If we keep our struggles to ourselves, we create a false narrative to believers and non-believers about God. People will believe that our walk with Christ is easy. They will believe that we do not struggle. They will believe that we are always happy. This is not true. Not only this, if we hide our struggles how will that shape our testimony about God’s faithfulness to us? If it appears that Christians do not have challenges in our faith people will become misled in their walk. They will go in blindly thinking that God will instantly solve their problems without struggle. Again, not true. The fact is, that if we don’t struggle in our faith we won’t grow. If we hide our struggles within, we can’t help others see how God works in our lives.


Written by Vivian Horton, a contemporary pastor.

Our Heavenly Father, forgive us for not loving one another as our Lord Jesus commanded.  Search our hearts. May our hearts break for the people Your heart breaks for. Give us wisdom to know we need to seek forgiveness and to be transparent.  Give us strength and courage to be transparent and to seek forgiveness. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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