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Daily Prayer for April 22

Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. Luke 12:35–36, NIV

Lord our God, we wait in expectation. Even in the great distress on earth, we wait in longing for your day to come, for the pangs of death to pass, so that your kingdom may arise and the reign of Jesus Christ may spread over the whole world in power and glory. May your promise be fulfilled and your will be done on earth. May there always be people who believe and who pray in faith, “Lord God, come! Come, Lord God. Humankind does not understand how to live. Send us Jesus Christ, the Savior, Lord, and Judge of the dead and the living. Put an end to sin and death!” We thank you for giving us this faith and for letting us pray at all times, “Come, Lord Jesus. Yes, come soon, Lord Jesus!” We ask you to protect us in this faith. Bring this faith to fulfillment for the glory of your name. Amen.

 

 

Verse of the Day

Inspirational illustration of Romans 1:20

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

The touch of the Masters hand is all around us. We see it in the order, beauty, and dazzling variety of creation. The great expanse of space, with its billions of stars, along with the incredible world of the microscopic are all testimony to an Orderer of great creativity. God has left his fingerprints all over his world so we can know that he has been here and will not abandon the work of his hands.

My Prayer…

O God, thank you for your creation. Thank you for its beauty and variety. Thank you for the changing seasons and the beauty of Spring. But most of all, thank you for choosing to show yourself to us, your creatures. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

 

 

A Prayer for Earth Day
By Jennifer Heeren

“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” (Psalm 139:14)

The definition of faith is to believe in things that we cannot see. And God rewards and loves faith. But there is plenty to see that builds faith as well.

1. The Placement of Earth in the Universe

In space, stars often explode into supernovas. The Earth however is located in such a position that it doesn’t fall victim to devastating collisions with stars. Our moon also protects us from collisions with debris. Nearby Jupiter draws objects that have the potential to hit the Earth. In the universe, too many stars grouped together can cause immense radiation. The Earth only has a few stars near it so too much radiation isn’t a problem.

Somehow, our planet is placed in just the right position to protect it.

2. The Climate for Life on Earth

The Earth is just the right distance from our solar system’s sun—any closer and we as well as our water supply would burn up and any further we’d freeze. Even the tilt of our planet makes a huge difference. If it was tilted differently, temperatures would quickly rise or lower to extremes. The size the Earth is also just right to hold just the right amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide—both are essential to sustaining life.

The Earth is different from every other planet around it and it contains the perfect conditions for life.

3. The Intricacies of the Human Body

The human body has many, many parts and systems that work seamlessly to fight off problems and disease. For the most part, everything works perfectly without the person’s opinion or guidance. It takes seven octillion atoms to make up one human body. The eye has the equivalent of 576 megapixels. Even the smallest parts of us have a purpose. The pinky finger contributes to about 50 percent of the hand’s strength.

The body has a multitude of parts that work in sync.

And best of all, God didn’t just create a functional world, although that alone is huge. He also gave us the ability to see, hear, touch, taste, and smell so we could appreciate beauty as well as function.

It takes more faith to believe that an explosion alone created this perfect environment than it does to believe that an Almighty Engineer built it. When you throw a bunch of random things in a pile, you do not get intricate design. You get chaos. But when you engineer and design things, you come up with products that have a purpose and beauty too. The extreme details involved in life as we know it point extensively to a Creator who deserves to be praised!

Prayer for Earth Day

Dear Creator God, Let me always be in awe of Your wonderful works of creation. I don’t want to take the details of the world You created for me for granted. Everything around me is wonderfully complex and splendid. You, Lord, are both an Engineer and an Artist that built a world to perfectly sustain life. But you didn’t stop there. You also made immense details that please all of our senses as well. There are beautiful things to see, sounds to hear, textures to feel, yummy food to taste, and even delightful aromas to bring us enjoyment. Thank you for the details of life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

 

Statue of Saint Adalbert of Prague near Church of the Visitation of Our Lady in Hluboké Mašůvky, Znojmo District | photo by Jiří Sedláček

Saint Adalbert of Prague

Saint of the Day for April 22

(956 – April 23, 997)

https://www.franciscanmedia.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/SODApr22.mp3

 

Saint Adalbert of Prague’s Story

Opposition to the Good News of Jesus did not discourage Adalbert, who is now remembered with great honor in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Germany.

Born to a noble family in Bohemia, he received part of his education from Saint Adalbert of Magdeburg. At the age of 27, he was chosen as bishop of Prague. Those who resisted his program of clerical reform forced him into exile eight years later.

In time, the people of Prague requested his return as their bishop. Within a short time, however, he was exiled again after excommunicating those who violated the right of sanctuary by dragging a woman accused of adultery from a church and murdering her.

After a short ministry in Hungary, he went to preach the Good News to people living near the Baltic Sea. He and two companions were martyred by pagan priests in that region. Adalbert’s body was immediately ransomed and buried in the Gniezno, Poland, cathedral. In the mid-11th century his relics were moved to Saint Vitus Cathedral in Prague. His Liturgical Feast day is April 23.


Reflection

Preaching the Good News can be dangerous work whether the audience is already baptized or not. Adalbert fearlessly preached Jesus’ gospel and received a martyr’s crown for his efforts. Similar zeal has created modern martyrs in many places, especially in Central and South America. Some of those martyrs grew up in areas once evangelized by Adalbert.

 

 

Blind Spots

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel. – Proverbs 27:9

Samuel was one of the great men of faith and one of the great lead¬ers in Israel’s history. He served as priest, prophet, and Israel’s last judge. Look at what the Bible says about him. “As Samuel grew up, the Lord was with him, and everything Samuel said was wise and helpful. All the people of Israel from one end of the land to the other knew that Samuel was confirmed as a prophet of the Lord.” (1 Samuel 3:19-20)
But Samuel was human, and he had blind spots. Samuel appointed his sons as judges in his place. The problem was that his sons were not the men of character that he was. Scripture tells us they “were greedy for money, accepted bribes and perverted justice.” The peo¬ple tried to tell Samuel, but for whatever reason he had a blind spot when it came to his family.
We often develop blind spots with regard to someone we love and want to protect. If Samuel had heard the people’s complaints with openness, he may have seen the truth before it was too late. Then he could have corrected the problem and held his sons accountable for their actions. If others around you are telling you things you don’t want to hear, maybe you should stop and evaluate carefully what’s being said.
Do you need to be honest about someone in your life: a friend, child, a family member? Take your blinders off.
“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly. – Jim Rohn
Devotionals Daily: A Year with Jesus

From In God We Still Trust by Dr. Richard G. Lee

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. – Jesus in Mark 10:45

Jesus the Christ

The shortest of the four gospels, the book of Mark gives a crisp, fast-moving look at Christ’s service and His sacrifice. In His teaching, preaching, and healing and even as He hangs on the cross, Jesus ministers to the needs of others. Mark traces the steady building of hostility and opposition to Jesus as He resolutely moves toward the fulfillment of His earthy ministry—to give His life as a ransom for many.

The pivotal event of the book is Peter’s confession, “You are the Christ” (8:29). And so begins a new phase in Jesus’ ministry: He starts to strengthen and prepare His disciples for His upcoming death.

When Benjamin Franklin was confronted by a disgruntled American, complaining that his country had failed to provide him with the happiness it had promised, Franklin is said to have smiled and calmly replied, “The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” Similarly, Jesus gave His life to ransom ours, but we must join Peter in confessing that Jesus is the Christ, and accepting Him as our Savior, if we are to receive the eternal life He has for us.

Patriot’s Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank You for giving Your life to pay the debt for my sins. Today give me an opportunity to tell someone about the gifts of forgiveness and eternal life that You have given me.

Patriot’s Promise

“Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

 

 

 

What Jesus Did! ‘What Do You Notice Here?’

“Tell everyone to sit down,” Jesus said. So they all sat down on the grassy slopes. (The men alone numbered about 5,000.) Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people. Afterward he did the same with the fish. And they all ate as much as they wanted.”

Key Thought

What do you notice here? The organization? The number of people? The bread and the fish? The blessing? The full bellies? Look at the impossible. This sort of thing just doesn’t happen. It’s ludicrous. It’s simplistic. Yet, the impossible occurs when our limited resources are brought to Jesus. Jesus and the impossible go together. The question is not whether Jesus can and will do the impossible, but whether we’ll get to participate with him in the impossible. Notice that with Jesus, the impossible is suddenly within reach even in the most difficult of circumstances and with only the most basic of resources.

Today’s Prayer

Father, thank you for giving me the impossible through the work and presence of Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

Daily Wisdom: Proverbs 18:8

Illustration of Proverbs 18:8 — The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man's inmost parts.

Passion for Praise: ‘Full Life Praise’

Illustration of Psalm 101:1-3 —  I will sing of your love and justice, LORD. I will praise you with songs. I will be careful to live a blameless life — when will you come to help me? I will lead a life of integrity in my own home. I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar.

Spiritual Warfare: ‘Giving Is About the Per Cent, not the Amount’

Illustration of Mark 12:42-44 GWT —  A poor widow dropped in two small coins, worth less than a cent.  He called his disciples and said to them, "I can guarantee this truth: This poor widow has given more than all the others.  All of them have given what they could spare. But she, in her poverty, has given everything she had to live on."

A poor widow dropped in two small coins, worth less than a cent. He called his disciples and said to them, “I can guarantee this truth: This poor widow has given more than all the others. All of them have given what they could spare. But she, in her poverty, has given everything she had to live on.”

Lord, sometimes I struggle with my giving. I confess that I haven’t always been a cheerful giver; I’ve often given what was left over, and grudgingly at that. Forgive me. Thank You for the example this poor woman offers. She demonstrated faith that trusted in Your provision-even when facing poverty and starvation. Yet You used her as an example that we are still talking about. Help me to be a better example from now on by committing a tithe to You before I focus on myself. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Examining Myself — 1 Corinthians 11:27-32
The apostle describes the sacred ordinance, of which he had the knowledge by revelation from Christ. As to the visible signs, these are the bread and wine. What is eaten is called bread, though at the same time it is said to be the body of the Lord, plainly showing that the apostle did not mean that the bread was changed into flesh. St. Matthew tells us, our Lord bid them all drink of the cup, ch. Mt 26:27, as if he would, by this expression, provide against any believer being deprived of the cup. The things signified by these outward signs, are Christ’s body and blood, his body broken, his blood shed, together with all the benefits which flow from his death and sacrifice. Our Saviour’s actions were, taking the bread and cup, giving thanks, breaking the bread, and giving both the one and the other. The actions of the communicants were, to take the bread and eat, to take the cup and drink, and to do both in remembrance of Christ. But the outward acts are not the whole, or the principal part, of what is to be done at this holy ordinance. Those who partake of it, are to take him as their Lord and Life, yield themselves up to him, and live upon him. Here is an account of the ends of this ordinance. It is to be done in remembrance of Christ, to keep fresh in our minds his dying for us, as well as to remember Christ pleading for us, in virtue of his death, at God’s right hand. It is not merely in remembrance of Christ, of what he has done and suffered; but to celebrate his grace in our redemption. We declare his death to be our life, the spring of all our comforts and hopes. And we glory in such a declaration; we show forth his death, and plead it as our accepted sacrifice and ransom. The Lord’s supper is not an ordinance to be observed merely for a time, but to be continued. The apostle lays before the Corinthians the danger of receiving it with an unsuitable temper of mind; or keeping up the covenant with sin and death, while professing to renew and confirm the covenant with God. No doubt such incur great guilt, and so render themselves liable to spiritual judgements. But fearful believers should not be discouraged from attending at this holy ordinance. The Holy Spirit never caused this scripture to be written to deter serious Christians from their duty, though the devil has often made this use of it. The apostle was addressing Christians, and warning them to beware of the temporal judgements with which God chastised his offending servants. And in the midst of judgement, God remembers mercy: he many times punishes those whom he loves. It is better to bear trouble in this world, than to be miserable for ever. The apostle points our the duty of those who come to the Lord’s table. Self-examination is necessary to right attendance at this holy ordinance. If we would thoroughly search ourselves, to condemn and set right what we find wrong, we should stop Divine judgements. The apostle closes all with a caution against the irregularities of which the Corinthians were guilty at the Lord’s table. Let all look to it, that they do not come together to God’s worship, so as to provoke him, and bring down vengeance on themselves.
Dear Father, giver of bread and wine,

May I never eat the bread or drink the cup in an unworthy manner, lest I profane the body and blood of the Lord. Teach me to examine my heart and mind thoroughly before I eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

Keep me from eating or drinking judgment upon myself by failing to discern the body of the Lord, and thus become weak and ill, or fall asleep.

May I judge myself truly, so that I will not be condemned.

Most of all, help me submit to your judgment, Lord, by which you chasten us so that we will not be condemned along with the world.

In the name of Jesus, who is the daily bread and wine of our lives, I ask. Amen.

 

 

 

Year in Our Church Easter Season with the First Disciples

Cleopas

“As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?’”

—Luke 24:28–32
Upon reading about Cleopas on the road to Emmaus, I realized that his words “Stay with us” are an incredible prayer.

The first word, stay, expresses my desire to be with Jesus. By asking him to stay, I am inviting and welcoming him into my life. Such an encounter, the Gospels make abundantly clear, will transform me in ways I cannot imagine.

The word with helps me remember how close God is to me, and how close I am to God. God is not some distant deity off in the heavens doing whatever it is deities do. Rather, God wants to be present to me and to spend time with me. And like any good friendship, I like to spend time with those who enjoy my company.

Finally, the word us emphasizes that God shares. Nothing is done alone or in isolation. To love, serve, and praise God is something that I do in community: we are all brothers and sisters. A meal with the Lord is a meal that I share with as many people as possible.

“Stay with us” is a prayer that is at once both humble and magnanimous, just like the Lord himself.

by Bob Burnham, author of Little Lessons from the Saints

Easter Action

As you prepare for this retreat, pause for a moment. Take several deep breaths and allow yourself to grow still. Be aware of God’s loving presence within you.

Luke 24:30–31  And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.

It was the simplest of gestures, and yet how profound. The disciples had walked seven miles with Jesus that day from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Their hearts were burning within them, but that still was not enough to recognize their companion on that journey. The memory of Jesus’ action just days before lived so deeply in the hearts of these two men that this simple action was all it took to open their eyes. Each time we celebrate Eucharist we experience this same simple gesture of bread blessed, broken, and shared. We, too, carry the memory within us.  Let your eyes be opened.

In what simple actions have I recognized Jesus recently?

I have seen Him in the miracles of Nature:  the mother bird as she tends her eggs in the nest she built on our front porch roof, the gentle rain that was much needed, the food that I prepared, and the very breaths I take!

In what area of my life do I need to have my eyes opened so as to better recognize the presence of the Risen Lord?

I need to learn to “let go and let God”……release all of my resentments and hurts……..truly forgive, and FORGET…..

(Speak to Jesus in these or similar words.)

Risen Jesus, your deep love for us lives on in the Eucharist we share. Thank you for the gift of yourself. Open my eyes to see you in all things.  Amen.

 

Read Our Road to Emmaus by Lisa Kelly.

Like many of us today, the disciples on the road to Emmaus were at a loss and in despair over a world seemingly gone mad, seeing the foundational principles of the world around them being shaken and living in fear for their own lives. The horror and shock of the Crucifixion had overwhelmed all hope and threatened the teachings of love and compassion Jesus had sought to instill. Do the horrors of today’s world events overwhelm your sense of hope? Do the teachings of love and compassion seem pointless in the face of terrorist atrocities, global warming, racial hatred, refugee crises, and so many other evils? Wherever you are at this moment, you are on that road to Emmaus.

Something happens on this road.

Christ joins the disciples, walks beside them, breaks bread with them, and opens their hearts with his Word in a way that is so overwhelming, the world is no longer mad to them. Note the world situation has not changed at all, but the hearts of the disciples have. For any Christian, for anyone who professes belief in the Resurrection and the teachings of Jesus, our hearts must be overwhelmed by this same interaction with God on our own roads to Emmaus. Christ walks beside us today. Christ breaks bread with us today. Christ opens our hearts with his Word today in exactly the same way he did on that road to Emmaus 2,000 years ago. His teachings are the same: Love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. Love your neighbor, and pray for your enemies. Forgive all. Welcome the stranger. Care for the sick. Visit the imprisoned. Provide for the least among us. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

Nothing has changed, except now we are the ones walking the road.

This encounter on the road so turned the hearts of the disciples that they literally turned around and ran back into the fray, back into Jerusalem, back into the world. So must we allow our encounter with Christ in others, in prayer, in the Eucharist, and in the Word to turn our hearts around today. We must allow ourselves to be so overwhelmed by the revelation of a God of love, that no fear, no evil, no suffering, and no hatred can leave us in despair.

The choice is ours. You can continue on your road to Emmaus and stay there. Continue to live in despair, confusion, instability, and fear. Continue to live in a world where evil has the last word and death is the end of life. Or hear the Word, hear the Voice, and be overwhelmed by Love. Go back to Jerusalem, back to your passion, back to healing, back to a life of hope, and back to a world where love has the last word and life never ends.

 

 

Hearing His Voice
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
April 22, 2018

“He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” – John 8:47

Jesus said that the key to being able to hear God’s voice is first to be one of His children. One of the great mysteries of the universe to my logical mind is how God can communicate with six billion people on the earth at the same time. It is one of those mysteries I must let go of because my “hard drive” would crash if I had to explain and understand this before I believed and trusted in Him. It is as though God places a computer chip in each human being, and when we place our faith and trust in Him, it becomes activated. We begin to communicate with Him. Jesus says that if we are children of God, then we can hear God’s voice. He further explains this relationship in the following parable:

“I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice (John 10:1-5).”

The Shepherd is always representative of Christ. Sheep are representative of God’s children. This passage tells us that the Shepherd communicates with His children. We are called by name and we can listen to our Shepherd’s voice. There is another comforting aspect to this relationship. The Shepherd goes before the sheep to prepare the way. Jesus has already gone before us today to prepare our way.

Knowing the Shepherd and His voice allows us to have the assurance that we will not be fooled by another shepherd’s voice. The sheep know His voice. It is only when we are dull of hearing that we mistakenly hear another’s voice and follow it. Sin can create a poor frequency in our communication with the Shepherd. Make sure your frequency is free of static (sin) today so that the Shepherd can lead you and go before you.

Finally, distractions can also keep us from hearing our Shepherd’s voice. When the sheep get entangled in the fence or wander off, they get too far away to hear the Shepherd’s voice. We must stay in close proximity to the Shepherd to hear His voice. Stay close to the Shepherd today. Listen and follow. He wants to lead you.

 

 

National Jelly Bean Day - April 22

NATIONAL JELLY BEAN DAY

National Jelly Bean Day is observed each year on April 22.

While candies made in a similar manner existed before the jelly bean, Boston confectioner William Schrafft made them popular during the Civil War.  With their firm exterior, jelly beans were the first candies to be sold by the pound. Schrafft encouraged his customers to send them to Union soldiers.

During the 1930s, jelly beans became closely associated with the Easter holiday but are now enjoyed year round.  Jelly Beans were Ronald Reagan’s favorite treat.  

HOW TO OBSERVE

Enjoy a handful of your favorite jelly bean flavor and share on Social Media using #NationalJellyBeanDay.

HISTORY

We were unable to find the creator of National Jelly Bean Day.

 

 

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