“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
when there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying [to ourselves] that we are born to eternal life.”
― Francis Of Assisi

Friday Friends’ Favorites

Philippians 2: 3&4 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

Father, teach me to be humble and look to the interests of others.

First Kiss

Frost has kissed the forest.  Leaves and grasses have succumbed to its deadly touch. Yellow and brown leaves flutter from the trees. The stream is littered with autumn’s golden snowfall. As I wander off the soft, sandy trail, my feet crunch noisily through the leafy debris.  Looking up, I see trees lifting dark, barren branches skyward. Others sport a few green and yellow leaves, but these too are destined to drop to the forest floor.

It’s silent here. No birds call. No animals chatter to their mates. High above in the treetops the wind blows, rustling the remaining leaves. This rustling soon grows to a roar as the wind rushes past barren branches. So much around me seems dead, lifeless. Yet, I know the forest lives.  As I walk, I hear crackling in the dead leaves and know small animals run and hide from this human invading their territory. I stop a moment at the stream, listening to the rushing waters bouncing over the rocks. The sound soothes my soul.  I look at the brown grass and the barren trees around the stream and I imagine their roots digging deep into the soil. Above the soil they appear dead, yet their roots continue to draw nourishment into the living plants.

So it is with my soul. At times it becomes brown and looks lifeless. Life is difficult, and I struggle from an unresponsive spirit and lack of enthusiasm. But then I go to a still place and listen. Just like the wind rushes through the trees, God’s voice rushes through my soul, giving me peace. I listen. I learn. I allow the roots of my soul to draw up spiritual nourishment. I rejoice, waiting patiently for that first green blush of spring to sprout in my soul.

Thank you, Father, for giving reassurance of Your soul-lifting presence, even when life appears drab, dreary, and lifeless.

Psalm 30:5b NIV “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

Your choice

“Choosing to smile when you are having a bad day doesn’t mean you’re being fake. It means you’re choosing to focus on all the reasons you have to be thankful instead of the reasons you have to be stressed.”

Which will you choose today? Will you snarl and complain? Or will you smile and be thankful? Your choice.

Lord, today help me to choose thankfulness. Help me to smile and appreciate all the ways you have gifted me.

The Stagnant Pond

The Stagnant Pond

All is still. Cars scurry by on nearby 13th street, rushing off to their various destinations. Sitting here at the park I hear the distant laughter of children playing A basketball bounces off the cement court; the clang as it hits the backboard echoes across the grass to where I walk A Cessna drones, far overhead. An occasional jogger puffs by, the slap of his running shoes spanking the pavement.

Activity surrounds me, but my world stands still, as if I’m dreaming or sleepwalking. I observe everyone else’s activities, yet I sit, only my writing hand and pen moving across the page. The stillness provides blessed relief.

 I sit on a large, cold, gray rock six feet above a man-made pond; more rocks rim this small pond’s perimeter. The lowest twelve inches of the rocks surrounding the pond are blackened, evidence that the water has receded. The remaining water, brown and stagnant, is filled with yellow-green algae. Its surface is littered with yellow and brown leaves. Small branches broken from the tree overreaching this pond lie lifelessly on its murky surface. Human trash adds to the dismal scene: a red cup, a white plastic fork, a Styrofoam plate, and a half-submerged Coke can.

Lord, today my body and soul feel dried up and wasted like this little pond. I come here for a time of rest, reflection, and renewal. I seek rest—wanting Your strength to re-invigorate my body, I seek peace and quiet to allow Your peace to wash over my mind. I seek Your spirit here in Your beautiful creation, so that Your living water will fill my soul, allowing it to bubble over. Make me a sparkling spiritual pond, not stagnant, not filled with trash, but alive with living water, so clean and beautiful that anyone who thirsts for Your living spirit will drink her fill.

John 4:13-14 “Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’”

Friday Friends’ Favorites

John 14:6 “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.’”

Father, thank you for sending your son that we might know him, and thus know you. Fill us with the joy of your presence, Lord, and help us spread your love and peace to others.


Lord, you must be so disappointed in us. You sacrificed for us; you died for us. Yet while you hung on the cross in pain, you asked the Father to forgive us. And yet we hold grudges, and yet we hate. Once again, Lord, forgive us. Teach us to follow your humble, loving, sacrificial example. Help us to forgive, even as you forgave us.