Heavenly Father,

You created every single person that lives. You love variety, colors and differences. It is all part of Your glorious design. And yet You knew that our sinful nature causes us to distrust, dislike and sometimes view those who look or do things differently than us as an enemy. The world will always find some kind of difference to cause conflict between others. It could be the shape of our noses, the language we speak, the foods we eat, what political party we affiliate with, our body shape, what type clothes we wear, the tone of our skin, how educated we are…in fact, there are so many differences, the list is endless. And, if we let any one of those differences cause us to hate, we are part of the problem.

Lord, it looks like there will always be prejudice and racism in this world in one form or another. Having grown up in the 1960’s where rioting and bigotry ran ramped, even as a little girl, I knew racism was wrong. When I went to high school during forced busing meant to achieve integration in schools in the 1970’s, I thought we, as a mixed-race idealistic young student council, could bring everyone together. I found out in very harsh terms at the very first social gathering we worked so hard to plan, that was not going to happen so easily. It takes living together, facing life together, and most of all, living for You, Lord. It takes praying together, worshipping together, crying and laughing together, and accepting one another as we are. It means being willing to get to know one another.

There will always be prejudice and racism in this life, but there are ways to fight it. Instead of being afraid of the differences, Lord, let us love each person with your love. I may not be able to do that with my old sinful nature, but I can with Jesus living in me. He willingly died for every single person even when we were each at odds with You, Father. His love unites us with all our differences and makes us one through Jesus Christ. Whenever I might be tempted to hate, dislike or misunderstand someone who is different than me (which is every single person), remind me that You sent Jesus to die for them—just like you did for me. They are worth loving and treating with respect- even if they don’t look or act like me- even if they look at me with hatred or racism. Father, Your love overcomes prejudice and racism one person at a time. Let Your love work in and through me to make Your Kingdom come here on earth as it is in heaven.

 

**********

 

 

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”    Galatians 3:28

 

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:

 

“Salvation belongs to our God,

who sits on the throne,

and to the Lamb.”    Revelation 7:9-10

 

*********

 

Your Prayer Prompt-

Father, show me how to love others with Your all-inclusive love…

 

Although the last Monday in May has long been designated in the USA to decorate graves of veterans who lost their lives in battle, it can evoke a lot of emotion as many go to cemeteries to honor their military and non-military loved ones with flowers, flags and other special tokens this weekend. My thoughts and prayers are with you—no matter how you choose to celebrate Memorial Day this year.

It can certainly change how you view this holiday, depending on what’s going on in your life. As a young girl, I recall making hundreds of Memorial Day Baskets for our family greenhouse business for people to set out on their loved ones’ graves. I can also remember exciting Memorial Day parades. Now, I can see why not everyone feels like a parade, a cookout, or day with family and friends at the lake. It may still be too painful for some to visit a grave, while others need to go almost every week for a while.

I visited my first husband’s grave today to place some new flowers on it. As I stood looking at his headstone, I wondered what he’s been doing for 27 years in glory. So many years have gone by- though compared to eternity perhaps just a minute. I have since remarried and share life with another very good man—and have been for more years than I was married to Steve. (Before he died, he told me I would marry a good man, and he was right.) We have grand children and even a couple of great grandkids that Steve never got to meet. Two of his kids are now older than he was when he died. Every Memorial Day since he has left, has been a different experience…and that’s OK.

My grandparents and great grandparents, along with others, are buried at this same cemetery. There is also a memorial to veterans nearby. Each headstone represents someone’s daughter, son, husband, wife, baby, friend…Some graves are highly decorated and some may not have anyone alive who remembers them. Every single one is a reminder of how short this life is and how permanent eternity is.

I’m fully aware that every single person reading this, is experiencing something unique this Memorial Day. No matter what you are going through, it will not always be the same as this year. Even though a whole life ahead may seem incredibly long without your loved one, it is shorter than you think. Perhaps the most important way to deal with Memorial Day, is to make sure you are ready for eternity with the Lord. You never know what will happen before next year.

 

******

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14

“For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’” 1 Corinthians 15:53-55

 

 

Most Gracious Heavenly Father,
This world is so noisy and full of chaos. Non-stop news consistently tries to rattle our nerves. Continuous conversations on social media and cell phones clamor for our attention and response. Deadlines, arguments over issues, conflicting reports, background noise, and earphones always filling our thoughts with subliminal messages. In fact, it seems most people are so used to noise, they feel uncomfortable with silence, but it can be soothing to the soul.

Even prayer can be so crammed with requests and words that we leave prayer before being still and ready to hear You, Lord. Forgive us for always be too distracted to sit and enjoy Your presence, for being so busy talking or writing our prayers that we never stop to listen to You. It is good to sing songs and praise You with loud cymbals and music, but we also need to just be quiet and still sometimes.

It is so sweet to simply sit outside in the quiet of the day and bask in Your glory, to soak up Your goodness, to savor Your company, and just know that You are God. I can spill out many words and when I slow down to take a breath, You can say so much in the silence.

Your peace pours over me and Your tender presence reassures me. You restore my soul as I simply revel in who You are. All the fears, worries and trials of this noisy life melt away in the stillness of Your quiet presence. All that vital information everyone else is screaming at me dissolves in the wisdom found in Your quiet presence. How I love You, Lord. You are the Maker and Sustainer of all. You know all things and have all we need. Help us be still and quiet so we can hear You above all the noise of this chaotic world.

 

*******

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior,” 1 Timothy 2:1-3

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” Psalm 23:1-3

“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God’” Psalm 46:10

********

Your Prayer Prompt-
Lord Jesus, help me be still…

Most Glorious Heavenly Father God,
I’ve been sheltered-in-place for about eleven weeks. I’m usually going places, working hard, and interacting personally with a lot of people. During this pandemic sheltering, my life has slowed to what would appear to some as a standstill, but my roots in Christ are growing deeper once again. I was called away from the world for a long period once before. It was a different kind of isolation at that time in my life, but I recall the deep growth that took place during that particular period, as well. It was definitely a more stressful time with a terminally ill husband, four kids to raise and the licensed in-home childcare. Though there were plenty of people around me in that other isolation, I looked to You to help me in that desperate time. And You were so faithful to help me.

Now, here I am again- closed away from the world, with much more time to not be rushed in the quietness of Your shelter. How I love being still and quiet with You- praying in much more depth and with a greater peace, knowing You are at work in the sheltering-especially in those who turn to You during this time. For one who grew up with hard work woven deep into my DNA, it is still taking a lifetime to understand that the greatest, most powerful work is done in this quiet time in Your presence. This is when I learn that You love me for who I am- not for what I do. You can use me for Your eternal purposes when I get my own plans, schemes, ambitions out of the way. This is where I learn to hear Your still small voice which instructs me what You want me to do. When it is Your will, there is a sweet peace and rest –even in the “work.” Perhaps, it’s because I know it is Your work and does not depend on me- other than to obey and trust You will give me all I need to do it.

Yes, I do love sheltering under You, learning to trust You more, follow Your lead, love You more deeply, and simply enjoy who You are and the miraculous gift You give us through Jesus Christ that allows us to live with You even here on earth. Who am I—with all my quirks, faults, mistakes, sins, and rebellious attitude that wants to sneak back in—that You would make a way for me to come freely into the Holy Shelter of Your Presence? Who am I—that You would sacrifice Your own Son Jesus Christ—to give me that honor and privilege? Who am I—that I would not take the greatest opportunity ever given—to find every way I can to shelter in Your Holy presence?

 

******

 

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” Psalm 91:1

 

“For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.” Psalm 61:3-4

 

““Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Jesus in Matthew 23:37

 

********

 

Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, help me be willing to shelter in You through Jesus…