Friday Follies…

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Daily Prayer for June 15

Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. John 1:14–16, NIV

Lord God, help us who are allowed to hear your Word. Help us come with all our hearts to the Savior, who leads us into your arms. Hear our pleading and let your countenance shine over the world. Send a new age soon, a new salvation to the earth, to the glory of your name. Show us that what we have learned about you is the truth and that we may live in the truth and find the way through to heaven, to the glory of your name. Hear us, O Lord our God. Often it seems that you are far away. But we know that our voices still reach you and that those roused by your Holy Spirit will become your workers for the Lord Jesus. Send your Spirit soon, O Lord God. Send the Comforter, who leads us into all light and all truth. We entrust ourselves and our daily lives to you. We want to be faithful. Help us to be your children, to remember at every step that we belong to you, Lord God. No matter how dark it is on earth, help us remember that we are with you, your children in eternity. Amen.

 

TODAY’S DAILY DIG

new ornamental leavesEternity is a very radical thought, and thus a matter of inwardness. Whenever the reality of the eternal is affirmed, the present becomes something entirely different from what it was apart from it. This is precisely why human beings fear it (under the guise of fearing death). You often hear about particular governments that fear the restless elements of society. I prefer to say that the entire age is a tyrant that lives in fear of the one restless element: the thought of eternity. It does not dare to think it. Why? Because it crumbles under – and avoids like anything – the weight of inwardness.

Source: Provocations

 

 

 

 

Verse of the Day

Inspirational illustration of Proverbs 23:24

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

The greatest gift I can give my father, and my Father, is to be righteous in my heart and life.

My Prayer…

Holy and righteous Father, may my life please you and bring honor to my father and his name. I know that if I please you, it will make his heart glad. Help me as I seek to know you and serve you in ways that show your character in my life. Through Jesus I pray. Amen.

 

 

 

<em>Portrait of Mère Marguerite d'Youville (1701-1771)</em> | James Duncan

Saint Marguerite d’Youville

Saint of the Day for June 15

(October 15, 1701 – December 23, 1771)

https://www.franciscanmedia.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/SODJun15.mp3

 

Saint Marguerite d’Youville’s Story

We learn compassion from allowing our lives to be influenced by compassionate people, by seeing life from their perspectives, and reconsidering our own values.

Born in Varennes, Canada, Marie Marguerite Dufrost de Lajemmerais had to interrupt her schooling at the age of 12 to help her widowed mother. Eight years later she married François d’Youville; they had six children, four of whom died young. Despite the fact that her husband gambled, sold liquor illegally to Native Americans, and treated her indifferently, she cared for him compassionately until his death in 1730.

Even though she was caring for two small children and running a store to help pay off her husband’s debts, Marguerite still helped the poor. Once her children were grown, she and several companions rescued a Quebec hospital that was in danger of failing. She called her community the Institute of the Sisters of Charity of Montreal; the people called them the “Grey Nuns” because of the color of their habits. In time, a proverb arose among the poor people of Montreal, “Go to the Grey Nuns; they never refuse to serve.” In time, five other religious communities traced their roots to the Grey Nuns.

The General Hospital in Montreal became known as the Hôtel Dieu (House of God) and set a standard for medical care and Christian compassion. When the hospital was destroyed by fire in 1766, Mère Marguerite knelt in the ashes, led the Te Deum—a hymn to God’s providence in all circumstancesand began the rebuilding process. She fought the attempts of government officials to restrain her charity, and established the first foundling home in North America.

Pope Saint John XXIII, who beatified Mère Marguerite in 1959, called her the “Mother of Universal Charity.” She was canonized in 1990. Her Liturgical Feast Day is October 16.


Reflection

Saints deal with plenty of discouragement, plenty of reasons to say, “Life isn’t fair” and wonder where God is in the rubble of their lives. We honor saints like Marguerite because they show us that with God’s grace and our cooperation, suffering can lead to compassion rather than bitterness.


Other Saints of the Day for June 15 are Servant of God Orlando Catanii and Saint Vitus.

Servant of God Orlando Catanii’s Story

An unexpected encounter with Saint Francis of Assisi in 1213 was to forever change—and enrich—the life of Count Orlando of Chiusi.

On the day a festival was being organized for a huge throng, Saint Francis, already well known for his sanctity, delivered a dramatic address on the dangers of worldly pleasures. One of the guests, Orlando (also known as Roland) was so taken by Francis’ words that he sought out the saint for advice on how best to lead a life pleasing to God.

A short time later, Francis visited Count Orlando in his own palace, located at the foot of Mount La Verna. Francis spoke again of the dangers of a life of wealth and comfort. The words prompted Orlando to rearrange his life entirely according to the principles outlined by Francis. Furthermore, he resolved to share his wealth by placing at Francis’ disposal all of Mount La Verna, which belonged to Orlando. Francis, who found the mountain’s wooded recesses and many caves and ravines especially suitable for quiet prayer, gratefully accepted the offer. Orlando immediately had a convent as well as a church built there; later, many chapels were added. In 1224, two years before the death of Francis, Mount La Verna was the location where Francis received the holy wounds of Christ, the stigmata.

In return for his generous gift, Orlando desired only to be received into the Third Order and to have Saint Francis as his spiritual director. Under Francis’ guidance, Orlando completely detached himself from worldly goods. He zealously performed acts of charity as a Christian nobleman. After his happy death, Orlando was laid to rest in the convent church on Mount La Verna.


Reflection

Even Francis, Lady Poverty’s favorite knight, needed a suitable place to pray. Captivated by Francis’ preaching, Orlando restructured his life. One of the possessions he parted with was Mount La Verna which he offered to the Little Poor Man. There, Francis found the solitude he sought. In one mountainside cave, he was branded with Christ’s own wounds. We may not be as wealthy as Orlando, but we have enough to spare. Only God can know who in Lady Poverty’s realm will be nurtured in sanctity because we imitate Orlando in generosity.

Saint Vitus’ Story

According to legend, Saint Vitus converted to Christianity at the age of 12. Valerian, the administrator of Sicily, tried to dissuade him, but was unsuccessful. Many miracles were attributed to Saint Vitus, including the cure of Diocletian’s son.

Accused of sorcery, Saint Vitus was subjected to various tortures but was miraculously saved. He was eventually martyred in Lucania.

A great devotion to Vitus developed in Germany when his relics were moved to Saxony in 836. He is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.


Reflection

Legends rise up about various saints and these can get confused with the facts. But what is most important is that there was a man names Vitus who lived and died for the faith. Some of the other details pale in light of his sacrifice.


Saint Vitus is the Patron Saint of:

Comedians
Dancers
Epilepsy

What Jesus Did! ‘Die in Your Sins’

Later Jesus said to them again, “I am going away. You will search for me but will die in your sin. You cannot come where I am going.” The people asked, “Is he planning to commit suicide? What does he mean, ‘You cannot come where I am going’?” Jesus continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You belong to this world; I do not. That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.”

Key Thought

Jesus came to deliver us from sin and its consequences. God sent Jesus as our Savior and Lord. Jesus makes the importance of his coming clear: Those who die in their sins will not come to be with him in heaven. Unless people believe that he is God with us, they will die in their sins. (Actually, Jesus said “unless you believe that I AM,” using the name of God from Exodus 3:13-14“who I claim to be” was added by the translators for clarity.) Jesus came from God to bring us back to God. He is not from this world and is not bound by this world. He is from above and will return to take us back home with him.

Today’s Prayer

Father, thank you for my faith and for all those who helped me come to faith. I know that my trust in Jesus as your Son and my Savior has changed my eternal destiny. Thank you for giving me a way to escape my sin and its guilt and stand before you as your righteous child. I know that these gifts come from your love and grace. Thank you! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

A Year with Jesus: ‘Risk-taking & Faith-filled’

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved,

What is the greatest obstacle that you face?

What seemingly insurmountable forces are at work against you?

Keep these two questions in mind as you read the verses below about Saul, the persecutor who became My great proclaimer of the gospel especially to Gentiles.

My disciples were growing in number and impacting areas outside of Jerusalem and Judea. They shared My message everywhere they went. Persecution was mounted against them with the martyrdom of Stephen and drove them out of the original areas of proclamation. In the process, Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles were becoming My disciples. In response to this growth, the Jewish powers aligned against My people sent Saul of Tarsus into neighboring lands to arrest Jews who believed in Me. This same Saul was the one who oversaw the execution of Stephen (Acts 7:59-60Acts 8:1-3). He was sent to bring My disciples in Damascus back to Jerusalem in chains to face imprisonment, persecution, and possible death (Acts 9:1-2).

The people of Damascus knew he was coming. They knew what he had done. They knew what he was supposed to do in their city. If you were a believer in Damascus, what would you have done?

You would have prayed for deliverance!

And what would you have expected from your prayers?

You might have expected deliverance, but probably not in the form in which deliverance came! When faced with a great obstacle, most believers would never expect that obstacle to become their leading advocate and ally in sharing My good news. When faced with a seemingly insurmountable force, most would not expect that antagonistic force to become the great force for reaching the nations with My grace. However, I answered their prayers about Saul, their persecutor, by making him My spokesman to the Gentiles. Saul met Me on the road to Damascus. He became a believer. Later, he became the great apostle to the Gentiles you also know as Paul!

We — Father, Son, and Spirit — are the sovereign God! Our ways are not your ways. Our thoughts are not your thoughts. Our plans are not your plans. But even in Our sovereignty, We do not force men or women to do what We want them to do. They must choose to do it. Saul had to choose to believe. He chose to risk everything to follow Me. He chose to entrust himself to the very people he came to persecute. Ananias of Damascus, with some extra reassurance, chose to participate in My plan by reaching out to Saul. He knew the reports of all that Saul had done and was planning to do in Damascus. Ananias had to risk his safety, his freedom, and his very life to obey Me. Both Saul and Ananias responded to My call with obedience. Not only were their own lives very different from that day forward, but My people in Damascus, Syria, Phoenicia, Samaria, and Galilee were spared the rampaging persecution of Saul.

Saul paid a high cost. While he was accepted by believers in Damascus, Jewish opposition soon mounted to his presence in the city. To escape from those who wanted to take his life, he was lowered in a basket through an opening the city wall. Saul returned to Jerusalem, where the church received him reluctantly. He was finally accepted because of the influence of Barnabas. However, Jewish opposition to Saul mounted in Jerusalem, and the church did not have peace until he left and went home to Tarsus. He had lived for an extended time in Arabia and Tarsus before he re-entered the life of My church as an apostle (Galatians 1:13-24Galatians 2:1-2).

Saul went from being a legendary persecutor of My disciples in Jerusalem, which gave him favored status among the Jewish religious leaders, to being an exile as far as the leaders were concerned. He gave up his favor, status, and influence with the Jewish religious establishment to become a Christian convert living largely away from the church in Jerusalem. All of this high cost was My preparation for him to become the most influential missionary the world has ever known.

I used Ananias to remove both the physical and spiritual scales from Saul’s eyes. Ananias was privileged to hear Saul confess Me as Lord and Christ and then baptize him. But if Saul had not given his life to Me, Ananias could have lost his life trying to do what I asked him to do. He demonstrated great faith in the face of great risk!

So here are some points I want you to consider while you read this powerful story of risk, change, salvation, and mission.

First, I can turn things around in ways you would never expect; so pray! Pray in faith. Pray with confidence expecting Me to act.

Second, great movements led by the Holy Spirit often begin with a few people risking in faith to do what I have asked them to do. You never know how much hangs in the balance when I ask you to obey Me. Please know that what you do with what I ask of you matters immensely!

Third, you live in a time where many offer an easy form of Christianity. This easy, watered-down pseudo-faith doesn’t require action, demonstrable change, or taking risks. It is not real faith. That is why so many languish in lukewarm Christianity. I am calling you, along with them, to risk-taking and action-oriented discipleship. As you read this amazing story of Saul and Ananias, please let the Holy Spirit stir your heart to follow Me with passion and with a willingness to take risks in faith.

Verses to Live

So much hangs in the balance with the decisions of two people in the account below. Will Saul do a complete U-turn and believe in Me and live for Me and claim as family those he had gone to persecute? Will Ananias risk his freedom and his life to save the man who had come to put him in chains and haul him to Jerusalem to face persecution? Read this story with fresh eyes and an open heart. Follow these two men into risk-taking, faith-filled, and vibrant discipleship!

… Saul — this fuming, raging, hateful man who wanted to kill every last one of the Lord’s disciples: he went to the high priest in Jerusalem for authorization to purge all the synagogues in Damascus of followers of the way of Jesus. His plan was to arrest and chain any of Jesus’ followers — women as well as men — and transport them back to Jerusalem. He traveled north toward Damascus with a group of companions.

Imagine this: Suddenly a light flashes from the sky around Saul, and he falls to the ground at the sound of a voice.

The Lord:

Saul, Saul, why are you attacking Me?

Saul:

Lord, Who are You?

Then he hears these words:

The Lord:

I am Jesus. I am the One you are attacking. Get up. Enter the city. You will learn there what you are to do.

His other traveling companions just stand there, paralyzed, speechless because they, too, heard the voice; but there is nobody in sight. Saul rises to his feet, his eyes wide open, but he can’t see a thing. So his companions lead their blind friend by the hand and take him into Damascus. He waits for three days — completely blind — and does not eat a bite or drink a drop of anything.

Meanwhile, in Damascus a disciple named Ananias had a vision in which the Lord Jesus spoke to him.

The Lord:

Ananias.

Ananias:

Here I am, Lord.

The Lord:

Get up and go to Straight Boulevard. Go to the house of Judas, and inquire about a man from Tarsus, Saul by name. He is praying to Me at this very instant. He has had a vision — a vision of a man by your name who will come, lay hands on him, and heal his eyesight.

Ananias:

Lord, I know whom You’re talking about. I’ve heard rumors about this fellow. He’s an evil man and has caused great harm for Your special people in Jerusalem. I’ve heard that he has been authorized by the religious authorities to come here and chain everyone who associates with Your name.

The Lord:

Yes, but you must go! I have chosen him to be My instrument to bring My name far and wide — to outsiders, to kings, and to the people of Israel as well. I have much to show him, including how much he must suffer for My name.

So Ananias went and entered the house where Saul was staying. He laid his hands on Saul and called to him.

Ananias:

Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, Who appeared to you on your way here, sent me so you can regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

At that instant, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see. So he got up, received the ceremonial washing of baptism identifying him as a disciple, ate some food (remember, he had not eaten for three days), and regained his strength. He spent a lot of time with the disciples in Damascus over the next several days. Then he went into the very synagogues he had intended to purge, proclaiming,

Saul:

Jesus is God’s Son!

Obviously this amazed everybody, and the buzz spread.

The People:

Isn’t he the man who caused so much trouble in Jerusalem for everyone identified with Jesus? Didn’t he come here to arrest followers of Jesus and bring them in chains to the religious authorities? Now he’s switched sides and is preaching Jesus?

As time passed, Saul’s confidence grew stronger and stronger, so much so that he debated with the Jews of Damascus and made an irrefutable case that Jesus is, in fact, God’s Anointed, the Liberating King.

They didn’t like being confounded like this; so after several days, the Jews plotted to assassinate Saul. But he learned of the plot. He knew they were keeping the city gates under constant surveillance, so they could follow and kill him when he left. To save Saul, the disciples came up with a plan of their own. During the night, they put Saul in a basket and lowered him by ropes from an opening in the wall of the city rather than passing through the gates. Their plan worked, and he returned to Jerusalem.

He tried to join the disciples there, but they didn’t think he was sincere.

Only one person accepted Saul as a genuine disciple, Barnabas, who became Saul’s advocate to the apostles. He told the whole story of what happened in Damascus, from Saul’s vision and message from the Lord to his transformation into a confident proclaimer of the name of Jesus. Finally they accepted Saul and gave him access to their community, and he continued to speak confidently in the name of the Lord. He dialogued — and argued — with a group of Greek-speaking Jews. That didn’t go well either, because soon they were plotting to kill him also. His fellow believers helped him escape by bringing him to Caesarea and sending him to his hometown, Tarsus.

And so the church enjoyed a period of peace and growth throughout the regions of Judea, Galilee, and Samaria. The disciples lived in deep reverence for the Lord, they experienced the strong comfort of the Holy Spirit, and their numbers increased.
(Acts 9:1-31)

Response in Prayer

O Father, forgive me for my times of lukewarm faith. Empower me with your Holy Spirit to live with passion and in risk-taking, faith-filled discipleship. I want to follow Jesus, willing to obey and honor You no matter the cost. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

 

 

 

He Sets an Open Door

. . . Who opens and no one will shut.
Revelation 3:7

Jesus is the keeper of the gates of paradise, and before every believing soul He sets an open door, which no man or devil will be able to close. What joy it will be to find that faith in Him is the golden key to the everlasting doors. My soul, do you carry this key close to you, or are you trusting in some dishonest locksmith who will fail you in the end?

Pay attention to a parable of the preacher, and remember it. The great King has made a banquet, and He has proclaimed to all the world that no one will enter except those who bring with them the fairest flower that blooms. The spirits of men advance to the gate by thousands, and each one brings the flower that he esteems the queen of the garden; but in crowds they are driven from the royal presence and do not enter into the festive halls. Some are carrying the poisonous plant of superstition, others the flaunting poppies of empty religion, and some the hemlock of self-righteousness; but these are not precious to the King, and so those carrying them are shut out of the pearly gates.

My soul, have you gathered the rose of Sharon? Do you wear the lily of the valley on your lapel constantly? If so, when you arrive at the gates of heaven you will know its value, for you only have to show this choicest of flowers, and the Porter will open and without a moment’s delay, for to that rose the Porter always opens. You will find your way with the rose of Sharon in your hand up to the throne of God Himself, for heaven itself possesses nothing that excels its radiant beauty, and of all the flowers that bloom in paradise, none of them can rival the lily of the valley. My soul, get Calvary’s blood-red rose into your hand by faith, by love wear it, by communion preserve it, by daily watchfulness make it your all in all, and you will be blessed beyond all bliss, happy beyond a dream. Jesus, be mine forever, my God, my heaven, my all.

 

 

When God Speaks
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
June 15, 2018

…”The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” – Judges 6:12

Has God ever spoken directly to you in such a way that you knew that it was actually His voice speaking to you specifically? I don’t mean just an appropriate verse of Scripture, or a circumstance that seemed probable that it was God. I am talking about a situation that you know that you know it was the God of the universe speaking directly to you.

In the book Experiencing God, authors Henry Blackaby and Claude King say that one of seven important steps to experiencing God in everyday life is how God speaks to us. “God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways.” [Henry Blackaby and Claude King, Experiencing God (Nashville, Tennessee: LifeWay Press, 1990), 225]

You can examine the life of every major character in the Bible and see this principle expressed in the way God worked in each of their lives.

One of the ways God speaks is through others. God often used others to speak to individuals, especially in the Old Testament when God often spoke through the prophets. This is still one of the ways He speaks today.

Several years ago I was in a church on the west coast that I had never been in before. I was in the midst of a tremendous trial. Three people prayed for me, and as they did, they began to describe a picture that was reflective of my life since I was a young Christian. It was a very accurate picture of my life. About a year later a man from Virginia prayed with me in my office. After our prayer time, he began to describe what he had just seen as a picture of my life. It was the same picture that had been described a year earlier. A year after that I was on a trip overseas and a man from England whom I had never met before came to me. He and I had a time of prayer together, and at the end of our prayer time he described a picture he had just seen in his mind while we were praying. Again, it was the same type of picture as the two previous encounters. Only this time, one element was added that was important for me to know related to what God was doing in my life at that time. When God chooses to speak into our lives through others, it can be an incredible blessing. He speaks in many ways. This is just one of them.

God desires to encourage us by speaking to us. He does this in many ways. The next time someone speaks into your life, prayerfully consider whether God is using that person to convey something important He wants you to know.

 

 

 

National Smile Power Day June 15

NATIONAL SMILE POWER DAY

June 15th is the day we observe National Smile Power Day.  This is a day for everyone to share the power of the smile.

From the good morning greeting and the first “How may I help you?” present yourself with a smile.  No matter where you are employed, job seeking, retired or looking for new horizons starting the day with a smile is certainly more empowering than a pout or grump.  Starting with a smile first is easier than trying to get there later in the day.

When you smile at someone, you are telling them that they are valued and worth the smile that you just gave them.  Smiles are moral boosters and confidence builders.

Research has proven that smiling really does increase attractiveness and likability between humans.  Smiling creates a greater trust and increased interpersonal cooperation.  Smiling at someone can help them to relax and relieve their stress while at the same time, it will make you feel right.  Smiling (even if you do not feel like it) will lift your mood and can make you a  happier person.

HOW TO OBSERVE

Challenge yourself to smile more often today.  Use a smile to disarm a tense situation, or simply smile during your daily tasks.  Use #SmilePowerDay on social media.

HISTORY

Within our research, we were unable to find the creator of National Smile Power Day.

 

 

 

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