Sunday, December 28, 2008

A New Year's Project

The following was in our church bulletin a few weeks ago. First of all, I like what she says about death, for me this is a new way of looking at death.

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to do this project to leave for my family. I plan to write it in a pretty book that has blank pages for writing life story, etc. I'll leave blank pages inbetween each subject for adding to as I think of new things to write. I'm sharing this suggestion of writing Your Testament with all of you, perhaps you may want to do one for your family.

From our church bulletin:

During the last weeks of the year think about the end of time. The phrase “the end of time” may strike a chord of fear in us. A picture of a fearsome, prophetic looking man with a sign around his neck that says “the end is near!” You better pray harder!” is part of our popular culture.

For us, death is a friend, a gateway to hope.

St. Margaret of Colonna said on her deathbed, “I thank Thee, dear Lord, for having permitted my body to become weak and infirm, so that I could the more freely return my soul to Thee.” Death is our return to God, our birth into the fullness of life promised by Jesus Christ.
To help us enter into the mystery of the end of time, I would like to share with you a reflection exercise by the Jesuit writer Anthony de Mello, a priest who conducted workshops throughout the world on the subject of prayer and reflective living. This reflection tool helps us to write down the story of our life. Writing down our personal story is the best gift we can give to our families. (Fr. Al Esposito)

A Testament
I imagine that today I am to die.

I ask for time to be alone and write down for my friends a testament for which the points that follow could serve as chapter titles.

“To reveal myself openly and honestly takes the rawest kind of courage – (John Powell, SJ)

1. These things I have loved in life (things I tasted, looked at, smelled, heard, touched)

2. These experiences I have cherished:

3. These ideas have brought me liberation:

4. These beliefs I have outgrown:

5. These convictions I have lived by:

6. These are the things I have lived for:

7. These insights I have gained in the school of life;
( insights into God, the world, human nature, Jesus Christ, love, religion, prayer)

8. These risks I took, these dangers I courted:

9. These sufferings have seasoned me:

10. These lessons life has taught me:

11. These influences have shaped my life (persons, occupations, books, events):

12. These things I regret about my life:

13. These scripture texts have lit my path:

14. These are my life’s achievements:

15. These persons are enshrined within my heart:

16. These are my unfulfilled desires:

Choose an ending for your testament. A poem (my own or someone else’s), a prayer, a sketch or picture (from a magazine, etc.) a scripture text, or anything that would be an apt conclusion to my testament.
Go to Charlotte's site for more Spiritual Sunday inspiration.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas: God's Grace at Work

Time for Charlotte's Spiritual Sundays, go here for lots more inspiration.

Again today I'm sharing another one of Rick Warren's devotionals.

Christmas: God’s Grace at Work
by Rick Warren

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT)
*** *** *** ***
God says, “I will give you my grace.” What is grace? That’s when God gives you what you need, not what you deserve. Grace is when God says, “I’m going to take your problem and make it my problem.” Grace is God’s Riches given to you At Christ’s Expense.

The Bible says: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV). In other words, you can’t earn your way to heaven. You can’t work your way in. It’s just a gift.
Did you know that’s why we give gifts at Christmas? Because that’s when God gave the gift of his Son to you – by grace. We give gifts because God gave us the greatest gift at Christmas.

I know I don’t look like it today, but for three years I was a lifeguard. And every lifeguard knows you can’t save someone as long as they are trying to save themselves. If somebody is drowning and flailing around in panic, a lifeguard knows to just stay back for a few seconds and wait until they give up. Because if you try to save them while they’re trying to save themselves, they will pull you under too.

When they finally give up, they relax, you put your arm around them and just swim back to shore. It’s really quite easy.

God wants to save you. Jesus Christ wants to save you from your hurts, your habits, and your hang-ups. He wants to save you for his purpose and by his grace. But you’ve got to quit trying to do it yourself. You’ve got to relax. You need to let go and let God be God.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

True Meaning of Christmas

Go here for more inspiration

I'm sharing an email I received this past week.
                            TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS 

Just a week before Christmas I had a visitor. This is how it
happened. I just finished the household chores for the night and was
preparing to go to bed, when I heard a noise in the front of the
house. I opened the door to the front room and to my surprise, Santa
himself stepped out next to the fireplace.

"What are you doing?" I started to ask. The words choked up in my
throat and I saw he had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner was
gone. Gone was the eager, boisterous soul we all know. He then
answered me with a simple statement . . .

"TEACH THE CHILDREN!" I was puzzled. What did he mean? He
anticipated my question and with one quick movement brought forth a
miniature toy bag from behind the tree. As I stood bewildered, Santa
said, "Teach the children!

Teach them the old meaning of Christmas. The meaning that now-a-days
Christmas has forgotten. "Santa then reached in his bag and pulled out
a FIR TREE and placed it before the mantle. "Teach the children that
the pure green color of the stately fir tree remains green all year
round, depicting the everlasting hope of mankind, all the needles
point heavenward, making it a symbol of man's thoughts turning toward

He again reached into his bag and pulled out a brilliant STAR.
"Teach the children that the star was the heavenly sign of promises
long ago. God promised a Savior for the world, and the star was the
sign of fulfillment of His promise."

He then reached into his bag and pulled out a CANDLE. "Teach the
children that the candle symbolizes that Christ is the light of the
world, and when we see this great light we are reminded of He who
displaces the darkness."

Once again he reached into his bag and removed a WREATH and placed
it on the tree. "Teach the children that the wreath symbolizes the
real nature of love. Real love never ceases. Love is one continuous
round of affection."

He then pulled from his bag an ORNAMENT of himself. "Teach the
children that I, Santa Claus, symbolize the generosity and good will
we feel during the month of December."

He then brought out a HOLLY LEAF. "Teach the children that the holly
plant represents immortality. It represents the crown of thorns worn
by our Savior. The red holly berries represent the blood shed by Him.

Next he pulled from his bag a GIFT and said, "Teach the children
that God so loved the world that he gave his begotten son." Thanks be
to God for his unspeakable gift.

Santa then reached in his bag and pulled out a CANDY CANE and hung
it on the tree. "Teach the children that the candy cane represents
the shepherds' crook. The crook on the staff helps to bring back
strayed sheep to the flock. The candy cane is the symbol that we are
our brother's keeper."

He reached in again and pulled out an ANGEL. "Teach the children
that it was the angels that heralded in the glorious news of the
Savior's birth. The angels sang Glory to God in the highest, on earth
peace and good will toward men."

Suddenly I heard a soft twinkling sound, and from his bag he pulled
out a BELL,. "Teach the children that as the lost sheep are found by
the sound of the bell, it should ring mankind to the fold. The bell
symbolizes guidance and return.

Santa looked back and was pleased. He looked back at me and I saw
that the twinkle was back in his eyes. He said, "Remember, teach the
children the true meaning of Christmas and do not put me in the
center, for I am but a humble servant of the One that is, and I bow
down to worship him, our LORD, our GOD."

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Surprise!!

A large package was left on our doorstep! We weren't expecting any orders, so this was a surprise. When we opened it we found a live greenery wreath! And it is in the shape of a cross! At first we couldn't find who it was from, but finally found on the invoice that it is from our little two-year old grandson, Caden! He and his parents were just here with us for Thanksgiving. This wreath smells soooo good! It's been many years since we've had real greenery to decorate with at Christmastime.

While on the subject of surprise, I remembered another Joel Osteen devotional I read and had filed. Here it is:

God wants to Surprise You
by Joel Osteen

God wants to surprise and bless you. Just like a surprise in our every day lives from a loved ones causes much delight and joy, making us feel special, God wants to surprise us with His goodness. When we take the time to realize the small surprises that show up in our lives, this will create an attitude of faith and joy. He even wants to take what seems to be a setback or distraction in our lives, and turn it around to bless us; surprising us!

The Scripture says in Deuteronomy 28, “If we will keep God first place, if we will walk in His ways, all these blessings will overtake us.” That means you won’t be able to outrun the good things of God. One translation of the word “overtake” means “to catch by surprise.” Our Heavenly Father wants to be good to us. He wants to amaze us with His goodness. We should get up every morning with the attitude, “I can’t wait to see what God is going to do!” And you may have had some victories in the past, but you haven’t seen anything yet; God is about to super size your dreams

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Faith Filled Words

I receive Joel Osteen and Rick Warren's daily devotionals. I make myself take the time to read them! They are both very inspiring and uplifting to me. This is about all I have time to post on Power of Prayer these days, I hope you benefit from this.


Speaking Faith Filled Words
by Joel Osteen

Our words have creative power. With our words we can either bless our future or we can curse our future. If we are going to see God's best unfold in our lives, we have to stay on the offensive and speak words of victory. You see, it's not enough to just think it and believe it. You have to give life to your faith by speaking it out.

When we speak God's Word, the moment His promises come out of your mouth, in the unseen realm, something happens. You may not see it for a week, a year, or even ten years, but that does not mean it's not going to happen. Too often we cancel out our promises by speaking negative words. We should be determined that we are going to watch over what comes out of our mouth. No matter how long it's taking, or how it looks, we should keep declaring favor and faith over our situations. If you'll get in the habit of declaring favor and speaking faith filled words, you're going to see negative situations turn around. Your mountains are going to turn into molehills. Hold fast the profession of your faith. Be amazed as God shows up in big ways in your life.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Let God Solve Your Problems

Rick Warren's daily devotional this morning was especially good and I want to share it with you.

Whose Battle Is It?
by Rick Warren

“But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out there tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!” 2 Chronicles 20:17 (NLT)
*** *** *** ***

In today’s passage, God is talking to King Jehoshaphat and the Israelites. They’re about to be attacked by three enemies: the Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Meunites.
Jehoshaphat had to be worried about how his people could defend themselves in such a battle, but God knew exactly what Jehoshaphat was thinking. He said, “You will not have to fight in this battle.” Now, that’s the kind of battle I like!

What God tells Jehoshaphat in this passage, and what he would remind us today, is this: “The battle is not yours; it’s mine. You don’t have to fight in it.”

In other words, it’s God’s problem. Let him solve it.

The fact is if you are God’s child, then your problems are his problems. And he’s much better at fighting your battles and solving your problems than you will ever be. Your job is to trust him to work it all out. Perhaps the reason we have so many tired, fatigued, and discouraged Christians is because we think, “It all depends on me.”

The day you resign as General Manager of the Universe, you’re going to find that it doesn’t fall apart. You can relax in faith, trusting that God is able to run things without your help.
Twice in this passage it says, “Don’t be afraid,” and “Don’t be discouraged.” When you face a seemingly impossible situation, don’t be afraid and don’t be discouraged. Has God ever lost a battle? No. He doesn’t lose battles.

There’s an important phrase in verse 17. God tells Jehoshaphat, “Take your positions and stand firm.” What does it mean to stand firm? It means to have a mental attitude of quiet confidence. It is never God’s will for you to run from a difficult situation. I’ve discovered that when I run from a difficult situation, inevitably God always brings it back around and gives me another chance.
Because God wants us to learn – and he wants to teach us through experience – that in every situation he is sufficient. He is competent and capable and he will meet our needs in that situation. Don’t be afraid; fear is the opposite of faith.

You stand firm on two things:
The character of God – He’s faithful. He does not bring us this far just to let us down. He doesn’t bring you out on a limb and then cut off the limb. Have faith in the nature andcharacter of God.
The truth of his Word – God’s Word is faithful. You can count on the promises found in the Bible.
Stand still. Remember Who the battle belongs to. Trust that he is able to deliver you. And then watch him do it!

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and best-known churches. In addition, Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life and The Purpose Driven Church, which was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th Century. He is also founder of, a global Internet community for ministers.