Augustine’s Confessions My Confessions

“Grant me, Lord, to know and understand which is first, to call on Thee or to praise Thee? and, again, to know Thee or to call on Thee? for who can call on Thee, not knowing Thee? for he that knoweth Thee not, may call on Thee as other than Thou art. Or, is it rather, that we call on Thee that we may know Thee? but how shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? or how shall they believe without a preacher? and they that seek the Lord shall praise Him: for they that seek shall find Him, and they that find shall praise Him.” (St. Augustine, Confessions, Bk1, Ch1).

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Self-pity

No one wants to listen to someone expressing self-pity.  I was told yesterday, stop this self-pity.  That’s probably what promoted me to come to my blog site this  morning.  I have thoughts, feelings, and want to express them.  No one wants to hear them, no one I can think of.  But maybe there are some people who don’t mind hearing self-pity because they understand that it’s natural sometimes to feel self-pity and that it’s not necessarily a permanent disposition!  I feel enormous expectations, stress, and fear of failure and self doubt.  Sometimes I feel confident, but sometimes I feel bankrupt of any confidence.

I am a person of faith.  And yes, my faith makes a difference in my life.  But you know, when I’m drowning and feel overwhelmed with emotions that are threatening to consume my sanity, it’s hard to turn to God.  But it is precisely in these moments that God, if ever, could help me.  So many oxymorons in life.  In the moments when I need God, are exactly moments when I feel I can’t turn to God or forget that I have a God who cares about me!

So I write for myself, on this blog, hoping someone would read these words, but also that as I write them that I would hear the sound of my voice crying in the wilderness, and that hearing my words, would remind me of who I am.  Even when I feel utterly alone, yes, remember who I am.  That I am a child of God!!!

My hope, my trust

“For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth.” (Psalm 71:5)

Dear God, as I look around the snow and see how beautiful it is, I see that what you have created is good. On this day, as I go about the day, help me to focus, help me to be productive and help me to feel your presence in my heart.  You are my hope and my trust. In you I delight in the promise of knowing you daily and eternally. Thank you for this weekend, the opportunity to write the paper I will be writing today, and thank you that I can worship you through the gifts you have given me.  God you have loved me first.  For that I am thankful and happy.  Your loving kindness overwhelms me.  I love you, God. Help me to be a blessing, to bring light unto the world, and to bring hope of joy to those you love.  Amen.

the spirit of the Lord

61 The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
    because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
    to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
    and release to the prisoners; (Isaiah 61:1)

It is not a little thing to claim, that the Spirit of the Lord is upon someone.  Nonetheless, I know that the Spirit of the Lord is upon me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and release the prisoners.

Isaiah felt a sense of calling.  He knew what God wanted him to do.  Did he feel equipped to do these things?  Because I feel a sense of calling and know that the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, but still I have so many times felt inadequate, unequipped, and unsure of how and what I could do to be faithful to my calling.

This morning, I pray that God would equip me.  God help me to feel your help.  I know I can’t do what I was called to do on my own.  Lord, have mercy!  Come quickly to my aid.  Because I am sinking little by little into self doubt and losing confidence in my abilities.  And yes, I do remember as I write this that when I lose confidence in my abilities, you can still use me, maybe even more so, when I acknowledge my weaknesses and see that you are strong and that you can accomplish great things through and in me still.

all who are falling

The Lord is faithful in all his words,
    and gracious in all his deeds.
14 The Lord upholds all who are falling,
    and raises up all who are bowed down.

(Psalm 145: 13b-14)

I read this passage earlier this morning.  then started feeling like I was failing in my attempts to do my studies.  And I went to read this passage again and it occurred to me that I am falling, as I feel I am failing.  And those who are falling, God will uphold because God is faithful and gracious.

I’m failing.  I’m falling.  But,

It’s not about me.  It’s about God loving me first and me loving God back.

So I have a deadline which seems nearly impossible to meet as I haven’t made much progress in past two days.  I do feel anxious.  I do feel like I am failing.

but the saints are those who fall and get up, and the saints keep marching on!  If God would uphold me even as I’m falling and failing, I will try again today to make some progress on my writing!!!

prayer

I usually am unsuccessful in following up with New Year’s resolutions.  So it makes sense not to make any.  But I just made one.  My new year’s resolution is to start each day reading the daily lectionary.  I just can’t manage my life and it feels like a run away train.  But if I can slow down to read the Bible, to meditate on the word of God, I think I could be alright.

God, help me today and everyday to live for you, to live being in your presence, and to live not being afraid to fail.  Amen

prayer – Monday 05122014

Dear God,

It’s amazing God.  You’re amazing.  All these years, years after years, months after months, day in and day out, there you are.  You are in my life.  You are in my emptiness.  You are in my depths…depths of void, of confusion, of absurdity.  I needed rest, and You gave me rest.  Sleeping 3 days straight, well, that was a blessing.  Being sick didn’t feel like a blessing, but it gave me an opportunity to reset.  My mind feels fuzzy.  But I think slowly I am getting clarity.  I want to return to my first love.  God you re-ignited in me the desire to return to you.  Not just to pray for others, or to pray when needed, but you have started something new in me today.  I want a regular, constant, consistent relationship with you God.  Help me.  You have waited for me and I know you’re ready.  Well, now I’m ready.  I want a living relationship with you, God.  Where do we start?

This is the psalm I’m thinking of as I write this prayer:

1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me. 2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. 3 You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely. 5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it. 7 Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, 10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,” 12 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13 For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed. 17 How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 I try to count them—they are more than the sand; I come to the end —I am still with you. 19 O that you would kill the wicked, O God, and that the bloodthirsty would depart from me— 20 those who speak of you maliciously, and lift themselves up against you for evil! 21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. 24 See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139)

“Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?” I feel the truth of these words intensely this morning.  I want to know these words, to praise you for being made “fearfully and wonderfully.”  I don’t feel that I was wonderfully made.  Yet for sure you have made me fearfully and wonderfully.  Help me God this morning to feel that I am your beloved, having been made wonderfully by You.