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Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’


Romans 16:17-20: Warning to Troublemakers

Thursday, February 2, 2023f8a252c28d8359617d691b379d2404e5

In this time of political tension around the world, Paul’s words are worthy of our reflection time.

Keep a sharp eye out for those who take bits and pieces of the teaching that you learned and then use them to make trouble. Give these people a wide berth. They have no intention of living for our Master Christ. They’re only in this for what they can get out of it, and aren’t above using pious sweet talk to dupe unsuspecting innocents.

Paul’s letter to the Romans holds this little paragraph: a warning to the brethren who cause dissention and scandal contrary to the doctrine they have learned. Commentary suggests that Paul’s intent is to inoculate the growing community against the formation of factions that might lead to the fragmentation of the church.  In 1 Chronicles 28:20 David says to his son Solomon: Take charge! Take heart! Don’t be anxious or get discouraged. God, my God, is with you in this; God won’t walk off and leave you in the lurch. God’s at your side until every last detail is completed for conducting the worship of God. 

And how do we worship the Lord? When do we gather to give thanks to God?

We hear that we must go about our work without fear of any kind.

We understand that our kingdom work is more important than any other.

We demonstrate our belief that God is with us always when we put aside the fear-mongering and scandal-peddling of troublemakers.

TakeHeartHandsLogoJohn shares Jesus’ words with us: These things I have spoken to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

When we set ourselves to doing God’s work, we have no reason for apprehension or anxiety.

In both the Old and New Testaments, we see God’s yardstick in our world. Paul, David and Jesus offer us a clear image and method of measuring God’s presence and love in our lives.


Images from: https://www.pinterest.com

Adapted from a reflection written on April 27, 2008.

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1 Kings 15: Delight – Part IIIsolarsystem

A Prayer in Response to God’s Gift of Delight

Thursday, December 29, 2022

We near the end of a cycle of days and weeks and months that we designate as a year. Soon we will celebrate the past twelve months in which we have known great sorrow and great joy. As we consider all that we have seen and heard, felt and believed, let us give thanks for the gift of delight itself, the gentle pleasure that rises from honest relationships and open minds. Just as God delights in us, let us delight in God.

For the gift of winter cold that draws us together as we look for shelter and welcome friends and strangers from the wind. Let us treasure each winter hardship just as God treasures each of us. The infinite iterations of flakes on frosted windows can remind us that just as God creates each of these beautiful designs, so does God create each of us with our own unique features, joys and anxieties.

snowflake2For the gift of drawing in, we give thanks for God’s delight in us.

For the gift of spring that reminds us that new life always rises from the old. In springtime exuberance we open our hearts to the possibilities of our own resurrection. We remember that God always brings goodness out of harm, love out of hatred, generosity out of what is meant to be cruel, and love out of gestures of hatred and shame. The tiniest of plants and creatures burst forth in a rush to celebrate God’s goodness. Giant stars and the multiverse expand to open great hearts for God’s enormous love.

wisdom-at-creationFor the gift of burgeoning hope, we give thanks for God’s delight in us.

For the gift of summer that brings us into the energy of God’s passion and mercy. In the fullness of summer heat, we remember that with God all things are possible. With God all miracles bring new life and new meaning. With God resurrection is more than an idea or hope. Burgeoning crops, teeming waters, rain and sun drench us with God’s abundance and generosity. God calls us to match this zeal with the stores of understanding and courage we lay aside for the difficult times ahead.

KY-Breaks-Interstate-Park-river-sceneFor the gifts of kindness and goodness, we give thanks for God’s delight in us.

For the gift of autumn when we harvest the fortitude, perseverance, fidelity and truth that God has shared with us. We remember that nothing of this world is meant to take the place of God. We recall the great delight God has expressed in our willingness to be open to others just as Jesus is open with us. We respond with compassion and an ardent desire to heal broken relationships and people. We return this gift with our own desire to heal and advocate.

fall-leafFor the gifts of forgiveness and restoration, we give thanks for God’s delight in us.

In all seasons of this year to come, we unite in a new thankfulness for God’s love, a new willingness to live as Jesus does, and a new urgency to heal and console just like the Holy Spirit. May we find the energy and determination to live in such a way that all those who encounter us will know that we delight in God’s own delight in us. Amen.


For a reflection on a full measure of joy, click on the snowflakes or visit: http://fullmeasureofjoy.com/?p=4253 

For a reflection on God’s wisdom in creation, click on the plant shoot or visit: http://elcmthoreb.org/2013/07/12/gods-wisdom-in-creation-this-week-at-elc/

For a reflection on seeing God’s creation, click on the river image or visit: http://www.seeingcreation.com/2012/nature-photography/natures-dictionary/

For a reflection on seeking God, click on the image of the leaf or visit: http://nancyaruegg.com/category/seeking-god/ 

 

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Philippians 4:1-9: Joy and Peace

Monday, December 26, 2022

Carl Marr: Adoration of the Christ Child (detail)

Carl Marr: Adoration of the Christ Child (detail)

Rejoice in the Lord always, I shall say it again: rejoice! 

St. Paul establishes this first community in Europe on his second missionary journey sometime around the year 50 and though his subsequent travels, he reminds the Philippians that . . .

Your kindness should be known to all, the Lord is near.

He sends the Philippians advice which we might take today . . .

Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

While in Philippi, he converts a wealthy business woman, his jailer and the jailer’s family, and he later writes to this community to remind them of what is truly important . . .

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious . . .

This letter was written while Paul was imprisoned elsewhere, perhaps Rome, Caesarea or Corinth; but wherever the prison, he continues to exhort his fellow Christ followers in Philippi to . . .

Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Marr: Adoration of the Christ Child

Carl von Marr: Adoration of the Christ Child

During this Christmastide, may you all know the Joy of Christ’s Hope, and may you all rest in his Serene Peace . . .

Rejoice in the Lord always, I shall say it again: rejoice! 


A favorite from December 26, 2007.

Images from: https://www.jsonline.com/story/entertainment/arts/2017/12/25/carl-von-marrs-adoration-depicts-virgin-mary-different-light/968413001/ 

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James 5:19-20: Harvest of Hope

Tuesday, November 1, 2022HarvestLogo

My dear friends . . .

What are we to make of James’ letter to us? How does he frame his closing remarks?

If you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth . . .

And surely we must know someone who is broken or abandoned. And just as surely we will know someone who is full of pride and over-confident.

Don’t write them off . . .

thorn heart bibleThis may be difficult. James has asked us to find a way to communicate with those whose anxiety or pride have put them out of our reach; yet James admonishes us.

Go after them . . .

We have no excuses. James wants to see our faith played out in our works.

Get them back . . .

James wants to see us as wounded healers, as a light in the darkness, as salt for the earth.

And you will have rescued precious lives from destruction . . .

James urges us to bring hope to and out of those who despair and those who shun God.

And you will have prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God . . .

James urges us to look for God’s image in others. He asks that we continue to commit our work and our prayer to God as we struggle to unlock the goodness waiting to rise from so many wounded souls. He asks us to participate fully in God’s outrageous and daring harvest of hope.

Tomorrow, a prayer for harvesting hope.

Use the scripture link to find other versions of these verses from THE MESSAGE. 


Images from: https://www.catholiccharities.net/Events/RegionalEvents/HarvestofHopeDinner.aspx and https://pastorrudytlc.com/2019/03/04/lent-and-love/

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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: 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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John 14:1-14: Glory, Part III – Fear

Wednesday, July 20, 2022uppsala-sweden-psychology-study-erasing-fear

As we explore the mystery of Christ’s power found in humility, emptiness, and service, we continue with words recorded by John, The Beloved Apostle. John leaves this recording for us that we might discover Christ’s presence among us today, Christ’s glory that lives with us still.

Today’s lesson on Glory: There is nothing and no one that we need fear. Christ comes to us in the anxieties of our days and the terrors that come with the night.

In response to our distress, Jesus says: Do not let your hearts be troubled.

Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, “Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me . . . What you are going to do, do quickly”.

Rather than succumb to our fears, how different it is to open ourselves to them, knowing that God is present in our brokenhearted-ness, our poverty, abandonment, denial and betrayal. Jesus tells us: Where I am going, you will know the way.

When Thomas asks – as do we – We do not know where you are going; how can we know the way? Jesus answers: I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.

When Philip says – as do we: Show us the Father, and that we will be enough for us.

Jesus replies: Have I been with you for such a long time and still you do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.

When we question how we are to see God, Jesus tells us: Whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you will ask in my name I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.

We begin to understand the concept of God’s glory that arrives with the washing of our tired feet. We begin to see God in the disappointments and fears that life brings to us. We begin to comprehend that glory comes quietly when we do not expect it, when we are troubled and laden with worry and dread. This is the glory that Jesus offers us. The glory of a personal relationship with God. The glory of knowing Jesus so well that we call on his name when we make our requests. The glory of the Spirit that resides within.

In today’s Noontime we hear Jesus say to us, his disciples: Do not let your hearts be troubled . . . If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.

And so we pray,

Generous and gentle God, lift us out of our fears and worries. Hear our petitions that we offer in your name. Allay our distress, smooth our unease, and transform our terror with your loving kindness. We ask this in your name. Amen.  

Write out Jesus’ words on a slip of paper and leave it on our pillow. Tonight as we prepare for bed, let us make Jesus’ words part of our evening prayer.

Click on the image above to read about fear and the memory. 

Tomorrow, experiencing God’s glory in the Advocate. 


Image from: https://newatlas.com/uppsala-sweden-psychology-study-erasing-fear/24438/ 

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Matthew 9:1-8: Taking Up Our Bedtake up your bed

Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 22, 2021

They brought to him a paralytic lying on a bed . . .

Jesus says: Take courage . . . Get up . . . pick up your bed and go home . . .

God says: Each little incident that paralyzes you with fear is not from me. I only bring you love. Each enormous obstacle that looms before you is not from me. I only bring you hope. When you are paralyzed with fear, reach for me. When you are knocked off your feet, take up the bed of sorrow onto which you have fallen, and come home.

When we give ourselves over to fear we let go of God’s hand. When we languish in our sorrow and remain on our paralytic bed we reject the offer of newness God brings. If depression or anxiety overwhelm us we must seek professional guidance and help. God wants to convert the paralysis in our lives to loving acts of kindness, mercy and justice.

 


Image from: https://www.wordonfire.org/articles/fellows/pick-up-your-mat/

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Matthew 6:25-34: Dependence on Godmy child I have this

Friday, May 6, 2022

This is the most basic lesson we have to learn as followers of Christ; and it is the lesson with which we struggle most frequently: Do not worry about your life . . . Are you not more important than [the birds in the sky]?  Yet we allow our fears about our survival to color what we do rather than allowing God to be the ultimate guide of our actions.

Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life span? We are powerless when it comes to time and space and yet we allow magical thinking to convince us that we can control the clock, that we can control our physical space.

If God so clothes the grass of the fields . . . will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? Yet we store up and hoard our resources without sharing, thinking that this will keep us safe from disaster.

All of these things [worry about food and clothes] the pagans seek . . . But seek first the kingdom [of God] . . . and all of these things will be given you besides. We delude ourselves when we give credit to ourselves for the home in which we live, the clothes we wear and the vehicle we drive.  We forget that if we did not have the brain power and sense of aesthetics given us by God, our redemption given us by Christ and the good counsel given us by the Spirit . . . our circumstances would certainly be different.  Too much stress keeps us from seeing that we are already given more than what we seek.

living in god's care - handsDo not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. We lend ourselves to prideful thinking when we take credit for all we have and do.  We must allow God to be our sole guide in all matters of the heart, mind and soul.

Sufficient for a day is its own evil. Allowing anxiety to take us over is a sign that we do not believe that God will care for us . . . and this self-sufficiency can separate us from God.

Just yesterday evening at a gathering of friends, as an acquaintance was voicing her fears for the present and future, another member of the group said: Well, now you have the opportunity to learn the most important lesson of all . . . trusting God. The first woman replied:  I thought I had already learned that one.  Several of us – those who have been guided by the suffering we have experienced – smiled and nodded.

matthew_6_25_34_by_hopedreamer17-d2yj65tAnd so we reflect . . . We want to avoid suffering at all cost – not realizing that it is the suffering that brings us best to God. 

And so we pray . . . These are hard sayings . . . these are the lessons of Christ’s disciples . . . these are the gifts of a life lived hard and well . . . a life lived in Christ.  Amen. 


Images from: https://melissafrancois.wordpress.com/tag/gospel-of-matthew/ and http://pixgood.com/matthew-6-25-34.html and http://hopedreamer17.deviantart.com/art/Matthew-6-25-34-178933745

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