Archive for October, 2022

Halloween Fear


Written by Todd Outcalt, a contemporary pastor and author.

Most people associate Halloween with fear—fear of death, fear of dying, fear of evil. But when we come to know the true power and trustworthiness of God, many of the fears we have in life melt away. Fear, however, is a natural and good feeling. Without fear we would make many stupid mistakes, hurting ourselves and others in the process. Without fear, we would not have enough wisdom to flee when true dangers present themselves. One of the ways people deal with their fears is by making fun of the fear itself. That, in fact, is part of the origin of Halloween, which means “all hallows eve.” People were naturally afraid of death and dying, and so they decided to face their greatest fear by poking fun at death. In 1 John, we are told that perfected love drives out fear. That is to say, when we become certain of God’s love, we don’t have to be afraid anymore. It’s as if God is the parent who comes in at night and tucks us in, turns on the night light, and tells us that there are no monsters. In God’s great love, all fear melts away. We can remove our fears by serving others. When we abandon our lives in service, we often discover that our fears lessen as our friendship and love deepens. As you and I think about our fears now, I hope that we will see that just as God has protected and redeemed those who have come before us, God will protect and redeem us, too. Even from death itself!


This prayer, which is widely reprinted is from an unknown author.

Dear God,  as I carve my pumpkin, help me say this prayer:

Open my mind so I can learn about You;

(Cut the top of the pumpkin)  Psalm 100:3

Take away all my sin and forgive me for the

wrong things I do; (Clean out the inside) 1 John 1:9

Open my eyes so Your Love I will see;

(Cut eyes shaped like hearts) Psalm 119:18

I’m sorry for turning up my nose to all You’ve given me;

(Cut a nose in the shape of the cross) Psalm 100:4

Open my ears so Your Word I will hear;

(Cut ears shaped like the Bible) Isaiah 55:3

Open my mouth so I can tell others You’re near;

(Cut mouth in the shape of a fish) Psalm 118:17

Let Your Light shine in all I say and do! Amen.

(Place a candle and light).   Matthew 5:16 


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Healing Love


Written by Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), an English author and pacifist. This is an excerpt from her book “The Light of Christ.”

To go where healing love is needed and give it in a way in which it can be received, often means acting in the teeth of our own interests and preferences, even religious interests and preferences. Christ risked his reputation for holiness by healing on the Sabbath; he touched the unclean and dined with the wrong people; he accepted the love and companionship of a sinner (that most wonderful of all remedies for the wounds of sin). He loved with God’s love and so went straight to the point: What can I do to restore my fellow creature and how?


Written by Debbie McDaniel, a contemporary author.

Dear God, Thank you for your great love and blessing over our lives. Thank you that your favor has no end, but it lasts for our entire lifetime. Forgive us for sometimes forgetting that you are intimately acquainted with all of our ways, that you know what concerns us, and you cover us, as with a shield. We ask for your guidance so that we might walk fully in your blessing and goodness today. We ask that your face would shine on us. That you would open the right doors for our lives and for our loved ones, that you would close the wrong doors and protect us from those we need to walk away from. Establish the work of our hands and bring to fulfillment all that you have given us to do in these days. We pray that you would make our way purposeful and our footsteps firm out of your goodness and love. Give us a heart of wisdom to hear your voice, and make us strong by your huge favor and grace. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Faith in Works


Written by Howard L. Rice, an author and  professor of ministry and Chaplain Emeritus at San Francisco Theological Seminary. This is an excerpt from his book “Reformed Spirituality.”

We can be energized and motivated by our personal experiences of God, so that we have both the vision and the strength to go out and engage in acts of risk-taking on behalf of others. Our own experience becomes the source for our motivation for involvement with others. Our freedom from self-centeredness is freedom to care more fully for them. As we are met by God’s love, we are compelled to share that love by our actions. Thus, our prayer becomes the force that empowers us to engage the world. We move back and forth between being renewed in silence and quiet by ourselves, reading the Bible and praying, and then carrying that new energy out into the world with vigor. This back-and-forth pattern is a central way in which the spiritual experience of the individual is related to the activity of the disciple. The movement back and forth may be daily or weekly, or it may follow some other pattern. Some people are so heavily involved with the world that they find it necessary to take a day a month for personal retreat.


This prayer is from the Augsburg Fortress Press, the official publishing house of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Almighty God, your Holy Spirit equips the church with a rich variety of gifts.  Grant that we may use them to bear witness to Christ in lives that are built on faith and love.  Make us ready to live the gospel and eager to do your will, so that we may share with all your church in the joys of eternal life; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

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Praying in the Presence


Written by Richard Rohr, a contemporary American Franciscan priest and writer. This is an excerpt from his book. “Everything Belongs.”

Prayer is not primarily saying words or thinking thoughts. It is, rather, a stance. It’s a way of living in the Presence. It is, further, a way of living in awareness of the Presence, even enjoying the Presence. The full contemplative is not just aware of the Presence, but trusts, allows, and delights in it.


Written by Kelly-Jayne McGlynn, a contemporary writer and editor.

Dear Father in Heaven, Thank you for your steadfastness and continual presence in our lives. Sometimes, we can feel you right next to us. But sometimes, it is hard to know that you are there at all. Sometimes life gets so difficult that our hearts just cannot feel you through the pain. Sometimes you take away those feelings so that we may seek you even more fervently. I pray today, Father, that I may rely not on my own feelings but rather on your love for me. May I rely on your Word to be the truth that rules my life over my own understanding. Help me to see you and believe in your character even though my feelings may tell me otherwise. You are kind, you are good, and you are gracious. You are both all-powerful and all-loving. You care deeply for me and for my loved ones. Be with me as I live out these truths no matter what my circumstances are today, Lord, as we walk forward together. I love you and pray all of these things in your Son’s amazing name, Amen.

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Written by Dallas Willard (1935-2013), an American philosopher, theologian, and author.  This is an excerpt from “Renewing the Christian Mind: Essays, Interviews, and Talks.”

Truth is the point of reference that we share with all human beings. No one can live without truth. Though we may disagree about which particular things are true or false, allegiance to truth—whatever the truth may be—permits us to stand alongside every person as honest fellow inquirers. Our attitude is therefore not one of “us and them,” but of “we.” And we are forever here to learn and not only to teach. So, if at all possible—sometimes it is not, due to others—we “give our account” in an atmosphere of mutual inquiry animated by generous love. However firm we may be in our convictions, we do not become overbearing, contemptuous, hostile, or defensive. For we know that Jesus himself would not do so because we cannot help people in that way. He had no need of it, nor do we.


Written by Joyce Meyer, a contemporary author and speaker.

God, You are worthy of all my praise and I want my words to be pleasing to You. Help me to control my tongue-not to speak words that wound the spirit, but words that bring peace and healing and hope. Give me words to speak to others that will bless their lives. And help me to grow in my own personal knowledge of Your Word so that I can speak the truth boldly over every situation that arises in my life. Thank You, Lord, for the gift of Your Word. I pray that it will be on my lips today and every day. Amen.

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Being Holy


Written by Mark D. Roberts, contemporary author and speaker.

In the opening chapters of Isaiah, God condemns Israel for its immorality and godlessness, predicting a day of painful judgment. The “sinful nation,” a “brood of evildoers,” “have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their back on him” (Isaiah 1:4). This unholy people will suffer the painful judgment of God. Yet, that is not the whole story. In those same opening chapters of Isaiah, the Lord also looks forward to a time of restoration, when the people and land will be blessed. In that time, those who have survived the judgment “will be called holy.” What does it mean to be holy? We don’t hear the word “holy” very often in contemporary English, except perhaps in the critical phrase “holier than thou.” Holy people are thought to be self-righteous at best and quite strange at worst. You probably don’t want people in your workplace calling you holy. Yet the biblical notion of holiness doesn’t have this negative connotation. To be holy is to be special—special to the Lord. Holy things are not for ordinary use because they are dedicated to God—say, for use in the temple. Holy people, by analogy, are set apart by God for relationship with God and for God’s own purposes. Holiness isn’t simply a matter of being separate from the world. It is being distinct from the world to be fully devoted to and invested in God’s kingdom. If we jump ahead several centuries, we learn in the New Testament that all who receive God’s grace through Christ are holy people. We have been set apart by God for an intimate relationship with him and for participation in God’s cosmic work. If we are holy in this sense, we aren’t cut off from the world. In fact, like Jesus, we are intimately involved with this world and its people. But we are different, in heart and in action, in commitment and calling, because of our relationship to a holy God. The point, of course, is not to be called holy, whether this is meant positively or negatively. Rather, the point is to be holy, to be people set apart by God for God’s work in the world. As holy people, we give ourselves to God and to others in God’s name. We are holy servants, holy healers, and holy restorers.


Written by Mark D. Roberts, the author of today’s meditation.

Gracious God, even as you once called Israel to be holy, so you have called us. Those of us who know you through Christ have been set apart from this world. Yet we remain in this world to bear witness to you through our words and deeds. Help us, dear Lord, to be a holy people. Teach us how we are to be different from the world and its values. Yet, teach us also how to reach this world, how to extend your love and grace to the people around us. May our holiness be like your holiness: separate in crucial ways from the world, yet profoundly engaged with the world and its people. Amen.

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Don’t Be Afraid


Written by N.T. Wright, a contemporary theologian, speaker, author, and the former Anglican Bishop of Durham. This is an excerpt from his work “Following Jesus: Biblical Reflections on Discipleship.”

Do you know what the most frequent command in the Bible turns out to be? What instruction, what order, is given, again and again, by God, by angels, by Jesus, by prophets and apostles? What do you think—‘Be good’? ‘Be holy, for I am holy’? Or, negatively, ‘Don’t sin’? ‘Don’t be immoral’? No. The most frequent command in the Bible is: ‘Don’t be afraid.’ Don’t be afraid. Fear not. Don’t be afraid. The irony of this surprising command is that, though it’s what we all really want to hear, we have as much difficulty, if not more, in obeying this command as any other. We all cherish fear so closely that we find we can’t shed it even when we’re told to do so. The person who has been worrying all term about exams finally finishes, and still wakes up the next morning with the adrenalin pumping, ready to dash off to the exam room one more time. The person who has worried for years about money, and then suddenly inherits enough and to spare, still finds that they go hot and cold all over when they walk past the bank. It is said that once a practical joker sent telegrams to every member of the then government, saying simply: ‘All is discovered—fly at once!’; within twenty-four hours they had all left the country. We are all of us, wrote the anthropologist Nigel Barley, overdrawn at the moral bank. Every one of us has something on her or his mind about which we badly need a voice to say: ‘Don’t be afraid. It’s going to be all right.’ As the Lord said to the Lady Julian: ‘All shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.’ Let’s make no mistake about it: until you learn to live without fear you won’t find it easy to follow Jesus.


Written by Max Lucado, a contemporary Christian author, writer and pastor.

Father, you are good — so good that you did not leave us alone on this earth. You left us your Spirit to guide us. Because of your Spirit, I never have to feel alone or afraid. You are with me always. Amen.

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Written by Rich Lewis, a contemporary author and trainer on centering prayer.

Who is your future self?

I find this person in my centering prayer sits.

How do I find this person?

During my silent sits, I let go and open to the presence and actions of God within.

I trust God.

I let God pray in me.

What does God pray in me?

God prays in me my future actions: my future self.

I then get up and go.

I trust my inner nudges.

I journal these nudges and turn them into affirmations and goals.

How do I know these inner nudges are from God?

If I have an inner peace and excitement about them, I trust they are from God.

If they do not harm me and others, I trust they are from God.

If they move me out of my comfort zone, I trust they are from God.

Gods wants me to learn, explore and do new things.

I recite these inner nudges to God before each centering prayer sit.

I let them brew with God while I sit.

I partner with God on my future self.

Who is your future self?


Written by Dick Woodward (1930-2014), a pastor, teacher, mentor, and writer.

God, teach me what it means to have faith in silence. When I face trials that are beyond my understanding, help me to find peace. Help me be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. You set all things in accordance with your time. Remind me to wait patiently, and find peace in your plan. Amen.

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Written by Craig R. Dykstra, a contemporary minister and teacher. This is an excerpt from his book “Vision and Character.”

If our problem is really sin—a fundamental breach in human existence—then repentance, not self-improvement, is the first requirement. This is the biblical view of the foundations of morality. The prophets, John the Baptist, Jesus, and Paul all beckoned their hearers to a new life by calling them first to give up the old in repentance. Repentance is the absolutely inescapable first step of the Christian moral life. Without repentance, the Christian moral life is impossible.

Repentance…requires two things: humility and trust. Repentance requires the humility involved in the confession that I am a sinner, one whose life is not whole and who lacks the power both to find either the direction to wholeness or the resources for wholeness on my own. Repentance requires trust in a power that can and will ultimately sustain and establish me if I let go of myself into that power’s hands. Without both trust and humility, repentance is impossible.


Written by Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) an English writer and devout Anglican.

O merciful God, full of compassion, long-suffering and of great pity, make me earnestly repent, and heartily to be sorry for all my misdoings; make the remembrance of them so burdensome and painful that I may flee to you with a troubled spirit and a contrite heart; and, O merciful Lord, visit, comfort, and relieve me; excite in me true repentance; give me in this world knowledge of your truth and confidence in your mercy, and, in the world to come, life everlasting. Amen.

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Cork of Hope


Written by Neal Carlson, a contemporary retired pastor and author. This is an excerpt from his book “Words for Courageous Living.”

We live on what is called the Central Cost (of California. We love the ocean. Before we moved here, we would take annual vacation trips to this little seacoast town of Cayucos. Always we are impressed with the waves—which speak of the majesty and power of God and the sand, which the Bible says God put there for a boundary. Five miles south of us is the town of Morro Bay. Being on a bay it has boating facilities, a Coast Guard unit, and several piers that are used by local fishermen. On one of my walks on what is called the “T” pier, I noticed a variety of nets on the boats. I also noticed heavy lead weights. I thought, “Wow, these weights are heavy. If I were a net I would not like these weights. They would keep me down.” But I also noticed that there were corks. Now, that was a contrast, huh? Follow me. If there were only weights—the net would stay down. If there were only corks—the net would stay up. Strange? One would let it float, one would let it sink. BUT when properly balanced, the net gets to do what the net is supposed to do. My friend, I know that you have some duties, you have some disciplines, these are weights. You have some distasteful circumstances in your life. These weights can tend to keep you down, but there is hope. I want to send hope into your life. It is this hope that can keep you boyant. It is this hope that will not let you be defeated.


Written by the author of today’s meditation, Neal Carlson.

I ask God, in the name of Jesus, that you encourage this reader in a remarkable way. Give them the cork of hope for the weights of difficulties. In this way, they can perform their special function in life, just as does the net. Amen.

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