Quiet Prayer

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In scripture, Jesus would make time to be alone with His Father. I believe this was a time of peace and restoration for Him as His ministry continued.

My only new year resolution is to spend more time in quiet prayer. I still struggle to quiet myself and am working on that by “being” in the moment. I realize prayer is a conversation where listening is just as or even more important than speaking.  My prayer for us is to quiet ourselves and listen for God’s whisper.

I say very simply to God what I wish to say without composing beautiful sentences, and he always understands me.”

– St. Therese of Lisieux

About This Blog In The New Year

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During the last month, we have been blessed with several new people who are following Discovering and Sharing Grace! Thank you! Thank you to all of you who take the time out of your day to be here as we share our younique and different walks of faith. Our readers range from people who are spiritually seeking and may not believe in God to individuals who demonstrate a very strong faith, based on years of being near God and in His Word. I am also pleased that we have some teenagers following this blog as well! A special thank you to you! The are billions of blogs and to know that you take time to visit here is very humbling for me.

I thought this would be a good time to review the purpose of this blog and wish everyone a blessed, happy and healthy new year!

First, everyone is welcome, regardless of where you are on your walk of faith! Or if you are not yet on your walk of faith! If not, it would be like the choir singing to the choir which eventually would get boring because we would all be singing the same songs. I believe we are younique and wonderfully made for a purpose and we need to celebrate our diversity and work towards union with God and one another rather than separation.

Mission Statement: When I first started the blog, I asked God, who do you want me to work for?

“Work for Me”

I then asked God what He wanted me to do?

“Introduce people to Jesus”

I do not believe you can scare a person to faith. I also do not engage in the intellectual arguments that attempt to refute faith and God? Why? I believe faith is a heart decision and very personal. I simply listen, share my testimony, pray and invite people to join me in church.

The concept of being a Gentle Witness was a result of my band of writers. As I shared my thoughts about writing a second book, Cheryl ( thank you so much!) suggested that my approach was that of a Gentle Witness. After prayer and talking with God, the book began to take form based on that concept!

A gentle witness is simply that. Gentle. I always remind people of faith, if you are speaking with a spiritually seeking person, listen. Then, be quiet, and listen some more. After you have heard their journey, share your walk of faith. Don’t blast them with scriptures. Don’t tell them they are going to hell. Let them know you would like to talk with them again and that you will be praying for them. Invite them to attend church with you. If they don’t own a Bible, offer to get one for them.

I left God and faith for a long time after college. Were it not for the kind and gentle invitations of Ken and Sandy, I would not be here today. For a couple of years, I politely refused their invitations but then, on one Sunday, I walked into church with them. No lightning bolt! No damnation. A sense of peace and love that had been missing from my life. God’s love. God’s peace.

And so began my walk of faith and here I am today.

Acceptance is a key component of this blog. We are all in very different places on our walk of faith or just beginning. Deanna prays for me (and her comments have helped me read more scripture) and I pray for her. I am under the care of the medical community. I am blessed with wonderful doctors and a therapist.  It is my belief I need to be. I also accept those who believe that healing only comes from God. Acceptance. Acceptance of where we are at this moment. We are all in different places on our walk of faith. I pray for peace and acceptance.

The United Church of Christ has a phrase which they promote….it is something like: “no matter who you are or where you are on your walk of faith, you are welcome here.”

The same is true for this blog! Comments are so awesome as they “complete” posts in wonderful ways and also provide us more to contemplate.

If you know a person who is spiritually seeking, forward this post to them. Here, they will not be judged. Here, they are welcome to join us as we continue to discover and share God’s love and amazing grace. Or, if you know someone who has known God for years, forward this post to them! We need the thoughts and comments of everyone to make this a great year for this blog!

I have belonged to the same church for more than ten years. I joined the first hospital care team ministry and also completed the first class of Stephen Ministry training.

I believe in the power of prayer. I believe God hears every word of every prayer. I believe prayer is a conversation, so we need to do more than talk with God….we need to listen….for God’s whisper. In order to do this, we must be quiet (I have written about my struggles with being quiet in prayer and am continuing to ask God to help me with this). I believe in communal prayer and at times, may ask us to do so. I don’t believe God answers prayers instantly. I believe answers from God are revealed to us when we are spiritually mature enough to receive them and understand them. In order for that to happen, we must draw near God and be in His Word daily.

I fall short in many areas on my walk of faith and will write about them here. Here, I have community, acceptance, love and support.

Thank you all so much. I am so humbled you are here and reading this! Prayers and blessings for each of you to have a new year filled with many blessings!

I end this longer than usual writing with one of my favorite scriptures because there is a challenge in it for us today. What would we do?

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come follow me”, Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men. At once they left their nets and followed him.”

My prayer for us this week is to talk with God about this verse and what would we do? Talk with God about what we are doing on a spiritual level….where are we? Talk with God about whom He wants us to help as a gentle witness and where does He want us to be? Talk with God about those in need among us and what can we do?

– Matthew 4: 18 -19

What About Our New Year

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I have had some extra time this week to talk with God about this year and the year ahead. I know we will all be seeing many blogs writing about the new year and resolutions and I was going to skip it. Then, God guided me to:

If they, why not I?  If these men and women could become saints, why cannot I with the help of Him who is all-powerful?”

– St. Augustine

We live in a hurting world. We live in a country where people are leaving the church in significant numbers. There are many in need. Do people see us driving our, perhaps, fancy car and living in a perhaps, nice area but do not see us helping the neediest among us?

My prayer is that we lift one another up in prayer this weekend to encourage talks with God. Sure it’s a great weekend for bowl games and gatherings and fun but it is also a perfect weekend to talk with God. Give Him thanks and praise! Ask Him where He wants you to be? Who does He want you to help? Who does He want you to meet or be with.

Let us pray!

 

Time To Pop The…..

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Actually, it’s not.

I have written about my frustrations with the “retail” Christmas and how stores now begin to display merchandise in August. My frustration used to really bother me to the point of becoming grinch-like. Thankfully, through prayer, family and friends, I just realize it is part of our secular life and the only person I’m hurting getting mad about it, is me.

This morning, I walked into the big grocery store where every display was set up for the new year celebration. Champagne was the first item I saw. I then walked over to one of the big box retail stores and there was no sign of Christmas! I even asked an employee what happened to Christmas? Their reply: “It’s gone.”

So……let’s slow down a bit today and think about the pace we are living at. The secular world moves at lightning speed when it comes to retail. I get it…that’s how the stores make money.

My prayer for us today is that we communally pray to slow down this week and continue to think and meditate on the spirit of Christmas. Soon enough, the ball will drop at midnight and I will be asleep. Soon enough, the bowl games will be on television. Soon enough, the new year party will begin. All ok with me, but I worry we are sometimes rapidly influenced by the secular world and not influenced enough by the spiritual. I know I have fallen short so many times in this regard. Let us pray for one enough to meditate this week and give thanks …. real sincere thanks to God for Christmas! And while we are talking with God, we can have a conversation about the new year and His Will for our lives. Who does He want us to meet? Who does He want us to help? Where are we needed the most in God’s plan?

Thank you so much for spending time with me today!

“Live in faith and hope, though it be in darkness, for in this darkness God protects the soul. Cast your care upon God for you are His and He will no forget you. Do not think that He is leaving you alone, for that would be to wrong Him.”

– St. John of the Cross

Thank You

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With many traveling and busy this weekend, a brief post. Partly for that reason and also because “thank you” is what my prayers have focused on the past few days.

First and most important, saying thank you to God for all we have and for the birth of Jesus. The world has never been the same from that moment on! I thanked God for allowing me to be in the presence of His Holy Spirit at all times. I thanked God for always being there for us, no matter what challenges we may face and know that He wants us to draw near and have a relationship-conversation!

I really want to thank each of you who take the time to be here! At last count, there were over 7 billion blog sites (source: my imagination) for you to read and there is only so much time in each day. I am so humbled and pleased with how we have developed this supportive community and are all learning as we go along to become a gentle witness.

I pray for us to communally thank God for giving us the opportunity to be here together and to reach out to our hurting world in His name.

Let us give thanks for being with family and friends and let us pray for those who are alone. It is a wonderful weekend to focus on our blessings. Blessings of God’s love and grace!

Thy will be done!”  What a comfort and support those four little words are to my soul. I have repeated them until they are softened to the sweetest harmony.”

– St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

Rick’s Amazing Recipe

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It is widely known that my culinary skills are amazing! Please feel free to interpret amazing in any way you would like!

It’s the time of year to share one of my amazing creations with you to celebrate all through the Christmas season.

The amazing part of this, is you only need two ingredients:

Oreo green mint cookies.

Egg Nog

Recipe: completely dip cookie in large cup of egg nog. Enjoy!

Merry Christmas and thank you to all of you who take the time to be here as we continue to discover, not only great recipes, we will further discover God’s love and grace and learn more about being a Gentle Witness in the new year!

How Much Room Is Inn Our Heart?

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This week, God and I have been talking about how much room do we have inn our hearts, not only for Him but for those in need? We talked about scriptures and the birth of Jesus. I gave thanks for the wonderful comments on the last two posts and for everyone who takes the time to be here. I am humbled and grateful. Thank you so much!

Many times, I fall short on my walk of faith. My heart is filled with my “stuff” rather than God’s will and direction for my life. Faith is a process. My walk of faith has wobbled and stumbled and gotten off track so many times, yet, it is God’s love which is constant. God is always there and will never leave us. God wants to fill our hearts with love.

God is always there waiting for us. His love for us is endless.

What is our capacity to love those inn need?

and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.”

– Luke 2: 7

My prayer for us in the days before Christmas is to talk with God about His love and our love. Talk with God about how and where He wants us to demonstrate His love…through our love. Our actions speak so much louder than our words. Let us pray communally for those in need. All over the world, including our country, there are homeless and hungry people. There are people living in the middle of war zones. There are people living in make-shift camps on their journey to a better life. People who often were forced to leave all they ever owned behind. My prayer for us is to remember to listen, as Daniel, our poet reminds us, for God’s whisper! Prayer is conversation. In order to hear God’s whisper, we must quiet ourselves and make room for God inn our hearts.