A Year Filled with Hope and Blessing
I. Our First Priority – Being With Jesus
A Cloud of Forgetting What is Beneath Us (Anonymous author)
So let’s ask the Holy Spirit for the gift to “Forget!” To forget problems, fun stuff, work, anxiety, health issues, everything. For the Apostles: Being with Jesus meant they left their home. For us: Being with Jesus means living in a “state of Grace.” Consciously free from any serious sin. Cultivating a relationship with the person – Jesus. Jesus said, “I am with you always.” So, do we know “he is with us?”
Prayer cultivates the Relationship
- Luke 5:15-16 – “Large crowds came to hear him and be healed. But Jesus went away to the wilderness and prayed.”- Jesus would not give up his prayer time despite the pressing needs
- Luke 6:12-13 – “One day Jesus went to a mountainside to pray. He spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them”- What Jesus did was based on what he heard in prayer
- Luke 11:1 – “Jesus finished praying. He was asked, “Lord, Teach us to pray.” – The Apostles realized that they did not know how to pray – Jesus taught them: “Honor the Father, then ask your Father for Bread, Forgiveness, and Protection. In effect, Honor God and pray for his help.
St Augustine said: “Look to interior prayer – that is desire. If our desire is continuous, our prayer will be continuous. If we desire God the rest will follow by God’s grace. Even if we are silent we will still sing and pray with our hearts. And, the opposite is also true. Without desire for God, we can cry out as much as we want, but as far as God is concerned, we might as well be silent.”
Desire is the Yearning, the longing for Jesus. It’s us reaching for God. When I wake up – I go to my computer – A feeling of “connected.” Desire for God moves us to get connected. The most difficult things to believe that our prayer: Will actually help/show me how to relate and love people. Will actually increase the peace in my life. Will actually help me make better decisions. Large issues/needs – we try to fix them w/o prayer. Large decisions – we try to make them w/o prayer.
II. Loving One Another (Romans 12:5-16)
Paul writes, “Love with mutual affection; Hate evil and Do good; Honor each other in love; Be fervent in spirit and have zeal for God; Persevere in your prayer; Give generously and Exercise hospitality; Bless those who hurt you; Join with others when they are suffering; Rejoice with others when they rejoice.” This is a great way to live!!!
In a recent email last week I wrote: I have many friends – golfing friends, business friends, neighborhood friends, and parish friends. I get along well with all of them. They are really nice people but these are mainly superficial relationships.
That is why I treasure my relationships in the community. I really enjoy our core team meeting, my men’s meeting, and the prayer meeting – mainly because I am so inspired by your love for Jesus. I love the life we live – grounded in prayer and Scripture, caring relationships, and a desire to serve the Lord together as a community. I treasure the desire in your hearts to bring glory to Jesus. I know Jesus is pleased with the way we are living – as imperfect as we are. I know he is with us and blessing us. I also know the pull of the world is capturing people more than ever. I want to give, “all of my life for the rest of my life” to Jesus.
So, let’s join together in 2020; Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus; Let’s love one another; Let’s spur each other on to do great things for Jesus. Let’s promise:
- To pray each day
- To live in the light – Consciously free from any serious sin
- To be a light to our families, to all community members, and to everyone
- To build the Kingdom through service and evangelism