Archive for October, 2022

James 5:16-17: Praying for Boldness

Monday, October 31, 2022powerofprayer

The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with.

How many of us have witnessed miracles but look for ways to explain them away?

The showers came and everything began to grow again . . .

How many of us have benefited from miracles but shrink from telling others the good news of our own healing?

I’ll bring my people back, gather them up from the ends of the earth . . .

The prophet Jeremiah reminds us that there is always reason to celebrate for those who weep will rejoice, those who are lame will walk, those who are blind will one day see. (Jeremiah 31:7-9)

It seemed like a dream, too good to be true . . .

The psalmists tell us that where we have wept, we will leap for joy. (Psalm 126)

Releasing-the-Power-of-Prayer-VideothumbJust as nature turns and returns in her seasons, so too do we turn and return to God. Perhaps it is her fidelity that brings so many miracles forth in nature’s change each season. Perhaps we might also benefit from turning and returning to God’s word each day. When we spend time with these verses, when we search varying versions of these words, we also find much in the power of righteous prayer. As evening falls and we end our day, let us give thanks to the Lord as we offer all that we are and all that we do in God’s holy, healing name.

Spend time with Acts 4:23-32 and re-read a familiar story about the power of prayer.

Images from https://jawbonedigital.com/power-prayer-chadwick/ and 

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James 5:13-15: Union in Prayer

Sunday, October 30, 2022Pray-Together

When we suffer, James tells us that we must pray.

When we celebrate, let us sing praise.

When we are ill, let us ask for anointing.

When we are discordant, we must come together.

When we worry, there is nothing but to turn to God.

When we hope for the forgiveness of sins, we must also ask for redemption.

Suffering is our road to Christ. Let us not avoid it.

red heart bibleJoy accompanies us along the way, but we may not at first feel it.

Paul reminds the Philippians and he reminds us: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

So let us put aside our divisions and celebrate even as we suffer. Let us lay down our enmities and pardon even as we are pardoned. Let us dialog with our enemies and turn all anxiety over to Christ; and let us celebrate our union in the Spirit. Let us celebrate our union in prayer.

Use the scripture link to compare varying versions of these verses and let us find union in prayer and praise.

Images from: https://mariehumphrey.com/2016/06/20/what-praying-together-does-for-you/ and https://medium.com/arc-digital/love-is-dead-557d90d4b881

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James 5:7-11: A Prayer for Patience

Saturday, October 29, 2022

We have considered the difficulty of blooming in early or late rains. We have pondered the mercy we find in God’s Law of Love, and we have reflected on the importance of patience in our lives as we learn to live out mercy and humility in an authentic way. Ultimately, each of us, indeed all of us are called. Each of us and all of us are gathered in. Each of us and all of us are offered the gift of transformation. But first we must learn and exercise the practice of patience.

It is easy to define patience as a virtue and still easier to see impatience in others. Patience as a concept can be diminished to a simple exercise that we practice once in a while when there is no great demand placed on us. The more difficult task is to act continually with a patience that is not bitter or nostalgic; and it is a challenge for many of us to operate from humility, to trust God without question.

When asked to place our lives in God’s hands, we must be ready to humble ourselves before God’s plan, to trust God in both simple and grave matters, and to obey God’s call with a grateful and happy heart. This is no small request. And so we pray.

heart-shaped-bible-pageLoyal and healing God, lead us in simple obedience of your well-devised plan.

Powerful and eternal God, guide us in trusting you alone above all else.

Humble and tender God, help us to persevere in patient living with you.

We thank you for coming to us as our human brother, Jesus. We are grateful for the abiding consolation of your Spirit. And we rest in the assurance that the humility and patience that Jesus shows us is The Way we ourselves must follow. May we today and all days live and act in patience. Amen.

Images from: https://www.happierhuman.com/patience-affirmations/ and https://unsplash.com/s/photos/bible-heart

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James 5:7-11: Patience – Part II

Friday, October 28, 2022

Jesus gives us parables like these to better understand how patience acts in an unjust world.

The Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1-8) and the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14)

God’s patience is seen through the way in which God persists in loving us even when we turn from away.  God wishes for each and all of us to be saved and to come to understand truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4)  God is forbearing toward us and does not want us to perish.  (2 Peter 3:9 and Matthew 18:14)  We are to love one another even as God has loved us. (John 13:34, 1 John 3:4; and Luke 10:25-37)  (See CCC 2822)

Imagine the life we might lead if we were patient with one another as God is patient with us.

Imagine the world we might have if we might love one another as God loves us.

Indeed we are blessed who have persevered.  You have heard of the perseverance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord . . . See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.  You too must be patient.  Make your hearts firm [and] do not complain. 

Red Heart BibleHumility, gentleness, understanding, persistence and seeking – these are the tools we employ to gain patience.  This is way to God’s loving heart.  This is the path to a serenity which conquers all anxiety.

Tomorrow, a prayer for patience. 

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. 2nd ed. Vatican: Libreria Editice Vaticana.  Print.

A Favorite from January 9, 2010.

For ideas about how to learn patience, click on the first image or visit: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/how-practice-patience-and-why-impatience-ruining-your-life.html 

Heart image from: http://www.wheatonbible.org/blogarchive.aspx?blog_id=258999&site_id=10713&tag=Hearts

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James 5:7-11: Patience – Part I

Thursday, October 27, 2022patience-quotes-2

We grind our teeth, we set our jaw, we bull our way through, we suffer in silence.  These are often the techniques we use when we attempt to live patiently; yet these are not what James means when he asks that we exercise patience.  He refers to God’s servant Job and we may have spent time reading this story and still not have found the humility and gentleness necessary for true patience.

To beheart-biblear wrongs patiently is an act of spiritual mercy. (CCC 2447).

Love is patient. (1 Corinthians 13:4)

Humility, patience, and gentleness accompany one another when brothers and sisters live in Christ.(Ephesians 4:2)

Patience is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.  (Galatians 5:22-23)

Jesus teaches us about patience in his Sermon on the Mount when he says that the Father will give to him or her who prays in the following way whatever he or she needs: Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.  (Matthew 7:7-8)

Tomorrow, patience as lived by Jesus. 

CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. 2nd ed. Vatican: Libreria Editice Vaticana.  Print.

A Favorite from January 9, 2010.

Images from: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/252272016597913747/ and https://unsplash.com/s/photos/book-heart

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James 5:10-11: God’s Merciful Lawbible page heart

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Ultimately, God will vindicate those who live and enact the Law of Love; there is no need for us to struggle against life when we place ourselves in God’s hands. Our behavior during times of trial and temptation illustrates our belief in the goodness of God; our grumbling sets up signposts to the world about our suspicion of God’s goodness. James cautions us against all of this.

The prophecy of Isaiah (50:4-10) is full of honesty and hope. When we read it alongside James’ words, we better understand the Law of Love that Jesus brings to us.

The Master, God, has given me a well-taught tongue, so I know how to encourage tired people. He wakes me up in the morning, wakes me up, opens my ears to listen as one ready to take orders.

Jesus calls us to join him in discipleship to act with him in prophesying and enacting the Law of Love.

The Master, God, opened my ears, and I didn’t go back to sleep, didn’t pull the covers back over my head. I followed orders, stood there and took it while they beat me, held steady while they pulled out my beard, didn’t dodge their insults, faced them as they spit in my face.

Jesus is persistent in his call. Eventually we understand that the way we best participate in God’s plan is to do nothing more than witness, watch and enact God’s love in all we say, think and do.

And the Master, God, stays right there and helps me, so I’m not disgraced. Therefore I set my face like flint, confident that I’ll never regret this.

The Spirit has taken up her place in our hearts, consoling us in our trials, bolstering us as we confront our temptations.

Lean on your God! But if all you’re after is making trouble, playing with fire, go ahead and see where it gets you. Set your fires, stir people up, blow on the flames, but don’t expect me to just stand there and watch. I’ll hold your feet to those flames.

James, like Isaiah, is honest and hopeful. Offering us a clear image of how the Law of Love operates in our world. Rather than stir up division and discord, we witness to the story of Jesus, we watch for ways to live out this witnessing, and we hand over our frustration, anger and fear to the one who authors this merciful law of love.

Image from: https://www.dreamstime.com

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James 5:7-9: Early and Late Rains

An early spring rain on a window

An early spring rain on a window

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

James speaks to three groups of people in these verses, and all three groups will want to hear his words.

James speaks to those who judge others and speak out against them. If we find ourselves participating in gossip we will want to take care. Even our grumbling is a kind of separation and violence.

A fruitful summer rain

A fruitful summer rain

James also speaks to those who assume that they are in charge of their own plans and future. If we have crafted hopes and dreams with little input from God, we will want to turn back to God. Our arrogance and pride harm our loved ones as much as it harms us.

James finally speaks to those who amass treasure at the expense of others. If we come to understand that our fear for self separates us from God we will want to change our ways. We must soften our hearts and unbend our necks and consider what kinds of wealth we amass at the expense of others. We can hoard much more than silver and gold, and we do well to examine our own stockpiles.

A late and frosty winter rain

A late and frosty winter rain

James reminds us that with God . . . it is never too late to repent. Through God, all harm turns to good. In God, patience and persistence are the work of the Spirit. James advises us that the righteous will eventually flourish, whether the rains that bring the substance for blooming arrive early, on time or even late into our lives.

Tomorrow, patience in suffering.

Images from: http://sacredtouches.com/tag/window-pane/

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James 5:1-6: Softening the Calluses on Our Heartshard-heart1

Monday, October 24, 2022

When we listen to these two Ted Talks, James’ words take on a deeper meaning, and open a new horizon of happiness.

Practicing the Science of Happiness


Dan Gilbert authored STUMBLING ON HAPPINESS and challenges our ideas about what makes us happy.

Want to be happy? Be grateful . . . it is not happiness that makes us happy; it is gratefulness. Brother David Steindl-Rast teaches us how to use these simple words: Stop . . . Look . . . Go.


Today we pray,

callus heartDear Lord, now that we have heard, we must act. Soften not only our hearts, but our eyes and ears as well. Help us to recognize the times that we initiate or join in slander or detraction. Give us the humility and grace we need to always see the actions of our sisters and brothers a favorable light. Help us to sort out and blow away the rust and corrosion that we have allowed in our lives. Help us to remember that we are wisps of fog, puffs of smoke. Continue to call us to do what is right, what is just and what is merciful. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Images from: http://www.nuggetnetreview.com/m-root-cause.htm and http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/you-asked-does-god-harden-a-believers-heart


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James 5:1-6: Killing the Righteous

Sunday, October 23, 2022

In Sirach 34:22 we hear: To take away a neighbor’s living is to murder him; to deprive an employee of his wages is to shed blood.

In a scripture study a number of years ago we looked at these verses along with Matthew 25:34-46, Acts 3:14, and 7:52, and we learn what Jesus means when he asks us to be good stewards of our gifts.

The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.

James points out that as humans, we learn slowly. We refuse to hear the lessons that will lighten our hearts.

And you continue, so bullheaded! Calluses on your hearts, flaps on your ears! Deliberately ignoring the Holy Spirit, you’re just like your ancestors.

How do we each kill the righteous? Today we have the opportunity to explore these verses and listen for the Word to settle into our hearts. We have the opportunity to cease killing not only the righteous among us, but the righteous parts of our own being that urge us to act in, with and through God.

Tomorrow, a prayer for those who want to cease killing the righteous . . .

Image from: http://joequatronejr.com/2015/03/17/money-talks-james-51-6/

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