Posts Tagged prayer

Lord Give Me Patience and Make It Snappy – Rev. Susan Sparks

Hi Y’all, welcome to the Shiny Side Up! A journal of infectious inspiration that will lift you up, make you smile and leave you stronger!

First — a word of concern for our brothers and sisters in the path of Hurricane Florence. Let us pray for their safety and wellbeing.

Now — let me share a message . . .

Our modern society can best be described in three words: fast, immediate, and instant! We speed walk, speed dial, and speed date. We disdain anything that takes extra time, including the US mail, which we affectionately call “snail mail” (an ironic nickname, given that 150 years ago, mail delivered by horseback was called “the pony express”).

We even speed pray. Recently, while waiting in an inordinately long line at the DMV, I mumbled through gritted teeth, “Lord, give me patience.” Almost without thinking, I then added, “And make it snappy!”

It’s hard to have patience in a sound bite world. That said, it is a virtue worth cultivating. We see this lesson over and over in scripture.

Consider Hebrews 12:1: “Let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”In short, life’s a marathon, so pace yourself.

Patience may be one of the best things we can do for our stamina and our health. Exhibit A: my Dad, Herb. A twentieth-century Buddha with a North Carolina accent, Herb was never in a hurry. Nothing ruffled him, and nothing phased him. His heart rate stayed the same through thick and thin (roughly seven beats per minute). Even though he lived on a diet of fried chicken, cream gravy, Frito scoops, and pecan pie, Herb made it to the ripe old age of 89. Why? Because he was patient. It’like the old saying goes, “It’s better to be patient than to become one.”

Patience also brings perspective. “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19). Similar advice came from a partner in my old law firm. He used to say, “always wait twenty-four hours before firing off an angry response.” That suggestion has saved me from much unnecessary angst.

How many times have you fired off an email or a text in a knee-jerk reaction that you regretted, or spewed out words that you wish you could take back? With the buffer of time, you might have been able to see the issue or the person differently. In the end, what’s the downside of waiting to respond? If it’s that big of an issue, it’ll be there tomorrow.

The opportunity for growth is perhaps the most important gift we receive from practicing patience. The Bible says, “Be patient, then, brothers and sisters . . . See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains” (James 5:7)Its too bad that we don’t treat others like farmers treat their crops, enabling their growth through patient tending.

Too often we get impatient with people—finishing their sentences, tuning out if they take too long to tell a story, or taking over their jobs if they don’t do the work quickly enough or in the way that we want.

The author Paulo Coelho tells the story of a man watching a butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon. The man decides to help the butterfly by cutting open the cocoon to free it. What he fails to realize is that the effort required to break free from the cocoon is nature’s way of strengthening the butterfly’s wings. By trying to accelerate the process, the man destroys the butterfly’s ability to fly.

Similarly, we can clip people’s wings through our own impatience. It takes time for things and people to strengthen and grow into their potential. We must have patienceto allow them that room.

This week, when you feel your patience waning, ask yourself: is this worth my health? In twenty-four hours, will my perspective change? Is this something or someone that needs extra time to develop fully?

Patience is a virtue worth cultivating. Try it. Just breathe. Take a beat before you respond. Be gentle with those you love. And if all else fails, then use this simple prayer to get you started: “Lord give me patience . . . and make it snappy!”

(This piece was featured as a nationally syndicated column for GateHouse Media. To read this and other columns,click here!)

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Finally a Clear Voice – Rev. Amy Butler

Amy Butler, senior minister, The Riverside Church, New York City

See my rant below. I’m tired, tired of waiting for the world to change. Pastors and faith leaders, no more waiting. Who will attend and who will help me host the next God and Guns training at The Riverside Church in the City of New York?

Since 2016 I have reached out to several people and places in areas where talking about gun violence is less culturally accepted offering to bring in preachers, to transport part or all of the conference, or to come myself to teach a class. Nothing has come of these efforts. This morning I am sick and tired of it all.

If we faith leaders and people of faith won’t commit ourselves to speaking up, why are we even wasting our time in the church? Are we too scared to say that killing each other is in violation of God’s hopes for the world? What is wrong with us?

I’m not going to sit around waiting anymore. I’d like to host a God and Guns training again at The Riverside Church in the City of New York.

In reference to a Donald Trump tweeted prayer: I am done with this meaningless bullshit. To call any of this prayer is an offense to God. Prayers have relevance when they result in meaningful action. Please, spare us the fake concern, especially on this solemn and holy day.

Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.

 

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CELEBRATING NOT JUST ANOTHER HOLIDAY – Thomas Crowl

PSALMS 95: 2 …Let us come before His presence with Thanksgiving and make a joyful noise unto Him in song.

I just opened an e-mail from a dear friend calling upon us to commence an oral history of our dear family. This call is extremely timely in an era of disintegrating morality and loss of respect for others. Only when we honor the values given us by our forefathers and mothers do we have a benchmark upon which to anchor our soul. Only when we celebrate the special high points of our common faith can we raise the discourse from the profane to the sacred. God asks us no less and expects a great deal more.

As I bowed my head to lead the family prayer today at the Thanksgiving feast I called on the Lord to grant me the honor that lived in the day, the special meal comprising a long list of great family recipes was prepared with love and forethought and gathered and prepared by our adult daughter. So many great memories of culinary excellence preceded it and each year it grew in perfection. It made it not just another holiday but a sacred event that bound us together and connected us to God’s blessing.

God gives us such a sacred sampler in life, in a week marked by the loss of a dear friend and newspaper editor, and a struggle with healthcare emerged this special moment to connect us again to His great gifts. Yet we often toss these blessings aside and dwell on the worst of times. We linger on mindless tweets that seek to point out the worst in others that seek to separate us from God’s special blessing.

I call today to my many readers to start a special family history pointing out the best in our kin that made us a family, to list the times we have benefited from their skill, love and care and to use at least one example to build a better life that we share with others. In this way we push back the wall of hatred and ignorance that is urged on us by the electronic wizards of our time. Our examples will grow into a sacred text we can share with our family and provide a cushion upon which to build an honorable life. This is David’s special wish and song…a celebration for all time. May God bless and keep you and grant you peace as we honor Him and each other in verse.

 

DAVID CALLS TO US TO HONOR OURSELVES AND GOD IN OUR MOMENTS OF CELEBRATION AND COMMEMORATION…

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AT FIRST LIGHT…GOD’S DIVINE PROVIDENCE – Thomas Crowl

JOB:37:16…dost thou know the workings of the clouds…the wondrous works of His which is perfect in knowledge?

In a number  of recent articles I have written of special signs God has sent to remind me of His presence, often when I was at a low point in life and without much hope. On a cloudy Monday morning recently I awoke in another hospital bed trying to get my heartbeat regular and allow me to go home. On a particular Monday of late I opened my eyes to a solid wall of gray cloud and just then my blessed family physician appeared. A constant smile on his face and the look of possibility in the air. As he spoke his opening lines I saw the solid bank of clouds break and a piercing light emerge to chase the gloom from the air. This would be the beginning of hope and divine intervention!. His mastery of my problems would quickly disappear as he called a close colleague to resolve a urinary emergency. It went on like this for some time til I realized the completeness of  God’s mercy. In hours I would have all my issues dealt with, an expert at arms length and what would have been a very long day shorten considerably. Being named Thomas doubt kind of went with the name!

     You are always the possibility of success and when God is in your corner that possibility expands considerably. This was the special lesson of the day God intended. As the day wound on I learned of the incredible work of my doctor. His calls to associates, his re-working appointments and bringing in the cooperation of many others. In a world of “what’s in it for me” I was confronted by God’s special instruction…that the best of what we are is available as a gift to be given at the first call for help. The glow of that day will last with me for many years to come…that love and kindness are His greatest gift and not to be doled out piecemeal…and that we can join this cadre of souls anytime.

     I thought on other issues then, the special gift in life of a loving wife, who though troubled by her own ailments, would rise each day to gather and solve my problems. The welcoming door of my home, though not perfect, was as warm and welcoming as any.

     It is my sacred prayer for you this day that God will open those clouds in your life and help you welcome in the brilliant life of promise…available in that next minute. 

JOB WOULD GIVE US SO MANY EXAMPLES OF THE POSITIVE FORCE THAT LIVES WITHIN THAT NEXT REQUEST…A FORCE THAT DRIVES AWAY

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