Safe Place with Ruth Graham

Safe Place with Ruth Graham

Guided Prayer

posted by Ruth Graham

This is a prayer I sometimes use to guide my confessional prayer time…It may seem a bit formal but I find it helps. I am not sure of its source – perhaps the Anglican Prayer Book…

I find this formality helps me to see the holiness of God and His ways – that I am a truly sinful person! My righteousness is as filthy rags. I have nothing to stand on but His mercy and in His righteousness.

“Holy and Merciful God, I confess to you that I have sinned agianst you in thought, word and deed, by what I have done , and by what I have left undone. I have not loved you with my whole heart, and mind, and strength. I have not loved my neighbor as myself. I have not forgiven others as I have been forgiven. Have mercy on me, O God.

I have not listened to your call to serve as Christ served me. I have not been true to the mind of Christ. I have grieved your Holy Spirit. Have mercy on me, O God.

I confess to you, O God, all my past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy and impatience in my life, not waiting on You. I confess to you, O God.

My self-indulgent appetites and ways, and my exploitation of other people. I confess to you, O God.

My anger, my own frustration and my envy of those more fortunate than me. I confess to you, O God.

My love of worldly goods and comforts, and my dishonesty in daily life and work. I confess to you, O God.

My negligence in prayer and worship, and my failure to commend the faith that is in me. I confess to you, O God.

Accept my repentance, O God, for the wrongs I have done. For my neglect of human need and sufferings and my indifference to injustice and cruelty. Accept my repentance, O God.

For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward my neighbors, and for my prejudice and contempt for thsoe who differ from me, Accept my repentance , O God.

Restore me, O God, and let your anger depart form me.

Favorably hear me, O God, for your mercy is great.”

I find this caused me to think…at first I was offended to confess I was indifferent to injustice…or exploitaion of other people… surely, that’s not me!

But is it? Am I indifferent to the sufferings of those in Syria, the Sudan – do I hear the news and it doesn’t affect me? How ’bout those in my own community suffering from the cold? Am I too usy thinking of my own needs and agendas?

Surely I do not exploit others…or do I? What about the products I buy? Where are they made and under what conditions?

 

 

Forgiveness Questions – Help

posted by Ruth Graham

I want to ask you some questions and I hope you will repsond. I have been thinking about forgiveness…

I hear the term thrown around – especially in church or religious circles. Oprah and othere social gurus talk about it a lot. It’s supposed to be a key to unlocking your past, your pent up emotions, releasing your shame…

When do you forgive?

What do you forgive? Does every hurt require forgiveness?

Are there levels of forgiveness?

Is there ever an “easy” forgiveness? If not then is forgiveness always a struggle?

What is the difference between “I’m sorry” and “Please forgive me”? Is it the depth of the infraction?

Can you share with me a time when you asked someone for forgiveness? Or had to forgive someone who hurt you? Was one easier than the other?

Is it easier to do if you are a Christian? What about if you are Muslim? Or Hindu? Or Buddhist?

What are signs of unforgiveness?

I hope you will enter the conversation…

 

MLK

posted by Ruth Graham

Today would have been Martin Luther King’s 85th birthday!

I wonder…I wonder… If he were alive today what he would think and say of our racial divide. What would he have to say about God being eliminated from our national conversation?

Martin Luther King left this great nation with a legacy. Have we followed in his footsteps? Have we perverted his intent? He did not want us to look at the color of a person’s skin but at the content of their character. We have reversed that. It seems character no longer matters…

I never met him. I was aware of his friendship with my father and my father’s deep respect for him. I don’t want to presume or assume…but I believe he would be grieved if he looked around today at the anger, the bitterness…

Certainly things have changed, in many ways for the better. There are fairer laws. There is a measure of equality on the books. But do the races understand each other better today? Is there more unity and love? Is there more grace?

If not then we have failed Dr. King and so many who went before us with conviction and character. Where are such leaders today? Will you and I step up to the plate?

Rescue

posted by Ruth Graham

This season we have heard stories of daring rescues, heroism and with the frigid temperatures we will hear of  more acts of rescuers risking their lives to help the helpless who are in peril.

As you read through the Bible one thing that comes up over and over again is God’s rescue of Israel from slavery in Egypt. It is one of the themes of the Bible. The Old Testament uses that as a touch stone. As does the New Testament. It is a big deal to God.

It’s a long story as to how they came to be slaves in Egypt. But a great story – read through Genesis – you’ll find mystery, deception, political intrigue, dysfunctional families by the bucket-load. Sin. Sex. Murder. Jealousy. Romance. Judgement. But you find a God Who is very active in the affairs of man.

He is a God Who hears, sees, communicates, loves, creates, initiates, rescues, redeems, promises, cares….

He saw the plight of His people in Egypt and sent a leader to bring them out to the Promised Land. (That’s another fantastic story you can read in Exodus!) Miracle after miracle…The 10 plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, providing water out of rocks, battles fought and won against all odds, territory gained…you really can’t make this stuff up! God is a mighty God who delivered His people by any means possible.

Why? Why did He bother with this small Middle Eastern tribe of nomads? Deuteronomy 7:7-9 tells us: “The Lord did not set his affection you you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”

Notice, He is a faithful God…He keeps His promises. When He makes a covenant, it is a big deal. He does what He says. He never fails to keep His end of the bargain. However, we do. We fail over and over. He doesn’t abandon us. He doesn’t give up on us. He doesn’t get mad, stomp His feet, pick up His marbles and go  home! He hangs in there with us…because He has redeemed us with the blood of His own Son. He loves us. We belong to Him.

But back to my original thought. Over and over in scripture we are reminded to remember the mighty hand of God who delivered His people out of Egypt. Why? It reveals God’s faithfulness and power. If He can do that for the Hebrew people He can do the same today for you and me.

Do you need a mighty God as you begin a the New Year? A faithful God to carry you through? Call on the Mighty God of the Hebrew people. He is able. Will. Ready…

 

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