Posts from the ‘40 days’ Category

40 day Journey with Deitrich Bonhoeffer – 7

I kept waiting yesterday and they never sent day 6 😦 so yeah… guess I’m skipping that one too… 😦

Day 7

Do not worry! Earthly goods deceive the human heart into believing that they give it security and freedom from worry. But in truth, they are what cause anxiety. The heart which clings to goods receives with them the choking burden of worry. Worry collects treasures, and treasures produce more worries. We desire to secure our lives with earthly goods; we want our worrying to make us worry-free, but the truth is the opposite. The chains which bind us to earthly goods, the clutches which hold the goods tight, are themselves worries.

Abuse of earthly goods consists of using them as a security for the next day. Worry is always directed toward tomorrow. But the goods are intended only for today in the strictest sense. It is our securing things for tomorrow which makes us so insecure today. It is enough that each day should have its own troubles. Only those who put tomorrow completely into God’s hand and receive fully today what they need for their lives are really secure. Receiving daily liberates me from tomorrow.

Biblical Wisdom

“But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:33-34

Questions to Ponder

  • If “worry collects treasures, and treasures produce more worries,” how might one stop worrying? stop intentionally collecting treasures (most likely money). I’m not saying don’t save, but, don’t let it consume you or become your focus. If God gives you extra, then save. If He doesn’t, use what He gives you wisely and enjoy simplicity and His provision for today and allow Him to worry about tomorrow. I figure if we live our lives to the best of our ability–anything beyond that is entirely in God’s hands. Have an unplanned for expense? Not your fault–God will provide. That’s how I see life… 
  • How can we tell the difference between what we really “need” for our lives and what we think we need but really only want? Can we be content with what we really need? Food, shelter, clothing. Everyone knows those are the things we need. Sure it’s very, very basic and well below what Americans would think of as basics, but if you are warm and dry and full and loved–what else do you REALLY need? And yes, I think everyone can learn to be content with those things. 
  • Practically speaking, what would it mean to stop our “abuse of earthly goods” and “put tomorrow completely into God’s hand”? I think, in my life, it would be to learn to be more frugal and give more money to those less fortunate than I. I think it would be to focus less on what I don’t have and would like, and more on enjoying the many, many blessings I have. I think it would be to learn to maximize the enjoyment of the simple things–learn to cook better and more simply, learn to decorate with things I have on hand, learn to be more organized so I don’t forget I have things and buy more. And to be exceedingly grateful for all the little things, all the big things, and to focus on God’s goodness, not the world’s materialism. If we have more expenses that we didn’t know to plan for–pray that God would provide, and leave it at that. 

Psalm Fragment

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light. Psalm 36:7-9

Journal Reflections

  • Write down your worries of today. That I’m a bad mom and wife. That I can do more. That I’m lazy and people notice and think badly of me and don’t say anything. That I am not grateful enough for things/people and God will punish me by taking them away. That I don’t love God properly. 
  • Reflect on why you have these worries. I hope that they’re just lies I choose to believe because that way I think I have more control over my life and the lives of those around me.
  • How many of them have to do with things you have or want to have? They’re mostly worries about emotions and physically doing things. I don’t think of myself as a very materialistic person–I enjoy material things, don’t get me wrong, but I think I understand their place…
  • Explore ways in which trusting God for today and tomorrow might relieve your worry and fear. Trusting God with the lives and provisions of those around me…and their opinion of me… And even with my own imperfect progress…Remembering that I CAN”T be perfect right now… I have to take baby steps, and God can show others my progress and He knew how far I was and how far I’d get when He decided to give us a son…and He knows how my life now is where it needs to be for His purposes now in my son’s life… It’s scary… but, if I remember those things, I think I’ll worry less…

Intercessions

Pray for the people you know who are worried or afraid. Ask God to deliver them from their worries by increasing their trust in God’s providential care.

Prayer for Today

Lord, I place my worries in your gracious hand and live this day trusting that you are with me and that what I have is more than I need.

40 day Journey with Deitrich Bonhoeffer – 5

Day 5

Thankfulness works in the Christian community as it usually does in the Christian life. Only those who give thanks for the little things receive the great things as well. We prevent God from giving us the great spiritual gifts prepared for us because we do not give thanks for daily gifts. We think that we should not be satisfied with the small measure of spiritual knowledge, experience, and love that has been given to us, and that we must constantly be seeking the great gifts. Then we complain that we lack the deep certainty, the strong faith, and the rich experiences that God has given to other Christians, and we consider these complaints to be pious. We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the small (and yet really not so small!) gifts we receive daily. How can God entrust great things to those who will not gratefully receive the little things from God’s hand?

Biblical Wisdom

You will say in that day: I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, and you comforted me. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid, for the Lord GOD is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day: Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name…. Isaiah 12:1-4

Questions to Ponder

  • What are the cultural forces in our society that work against the experience and expression of thankfulness? Materialism, continual desire for more, self-centeredness, “I deserve” attitude, 
  • What are the “small gifts” we receive from God each day? health, food, clothing, friends, family, freedom–physical/religious, housing, money, music, media, Bible, salvation, love, smiles, encouragement, wisdom, testing that strengthens us, –for me personally–all of those and, a husband who loves me very selflessly, my son being healthy and oh-so-very-cute-and-cuddly-and-always-happy!, neighbors who come over often and enjoy hanging out, hugs, a warm cuddly cat, two incomes when we only need one, etc etc etc etc etc. 
  • How could such “small gifts” be affirmed, honored, and celebrated in a community of faith? erm, other than just praising God for them without showing off, I’m not sure. 

Psalm Fragment

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and do not forget all his benefits․
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good as long as you live
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:1-5

Journal Reflections

  • At the end of each remaining day in this 40-day journey, write in your journal a list of those things from that day for which you are grateful. So far today–friend calling for emotional encouragement–I am honored and flattered, husband who is working hard to provide for me and loves me very much, son being super happy and cheerful, cloth diapers and the ability to save money, computers and email and these devotionals, friend calling to hang out–I feel loved and touched and encouraged, friend inviting me to share in her wedding, food, shelter, warm clothing, working plumbing, hot showers, internet with ideas on how to organize my house and be a better wife/mother. 
  • Reflect on how the “small gifts” you receive from God shape your life and your relationships. I am continually encouraged, strengthened, and challenged to be more grateful and more of the person God created me to be. 

Intercessions

Pray that you would be a voice of thanksgiving in your family, among your friends and co-workers, and in your community of faith. Pray that your voice of thanksgiving would encourage others to give voice to the many things for which they are thankful.

Prayer for Today

Lord, open my eyes that I may see the giftedness of my life and let my life be a hymn of praise and thanksgiving.

40 day Journey with Deitrich Bonhoeffer – 4

Day 4

After the first morning hour [of prayer], the Christian’s day until evening belongs to work. “People go out to their work and to their labor until the evening” (Ps. 104:23). In most cases a community of Christians living together will separate for the duration of the working hours. Praying and working are two different things. Prayer should not be hindered by work, but neither should work be hindered by prayer. Just as it was God’s will that human beings should work six days and rest and celebrate before the face of God on the seventh, so it is also God’s will that every day should be marked for the Christian both by prayer and work. Prayer also requires its own time. But the longest part of the day belongs to work. The inseparable unity of both will become clear when work and prayer each receives its own undivided due.

Biblical Wisdom

Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters, since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23

Questions to Ponder

  • In what ways might prayer be hindered by work? focus. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the little details of everyday work and life and forget entirely that I’m supposed to focus on God as well throughout the day.
  • In what ways might work be hindered by prayer? I honestly think that here again focus could be the issue. If I get so wrapped up in praying for something and talking to God, I can lose sight of what I’m doing here… and that could end up in burned food or something :P.
  • How are prayer and work related to each other? they both require focus, time, and energy. I think that balancing the two is to not lose sight of either one throughout the day, but to kind of keep a link between you and God while you go about the day, but to not get so absorbed in one that you forget about the other. God did command us both to work and to pray… 🙂

Psalm Fragment

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and prosper for us the work of our hands․
O prosper the work of our hands! Psalm 90:17

Journal Reflections

  • Reflect on the work you do. Is it satisfying and meaningful? Is it work that reflects your values? Is it work that reflects your faith? Explain. I babysit… and I want to foster kids… So YES! It is satisfying, meaningful, and reflects my values and dreams. As far as reflecting my faith I’m not sure what that question was getting at… I think our lives should reflect God…and in that sense, I am trying to love on the little boy I babysit and share God’s love and care and grace with Him through my actions toward him, but, he’s only 9 months old so… yeah…
  • In what ways does prayer support you in your work? In what ways does prayer help to shape your work and the way you do it? If I don’t pray throughout the day, I can get extremely tired and grumpy and just want to give up. I don’t know how mothers of twins make it 😛 haahaa. The boy I babysit can be extremely trying…and if my kid is teething…well, there’s “no rest for the wicked” as they say. 😛 
  • Besides the work you do for income, what other kinds of meaningful work do you do at home or in the community? How does prayer relate to that work? I would say that babysitting is meaningful work I do at home, but it does also provide a very small portion of our income. Other things I do that are meaningful is–everything else! Anything that cleans or provides time/rest/sustenance/peace around the home,  is a ministry to my husband/family/our friends. If I work out–that is ministry to myself and my husband–serving him by being the best I can be. Prayer is the only thing that really keeps me going when I start to get selfish and lazy and think about what I would much rather be doing. 

Intercessions

Pray for your co-workers, that they might find real satisfaction and meaning in their work. Pray for your workplace relationships, particularly those where there may be conflict and tension. Pray that you and your co-workers would be mutually supportive and encouraging.

Prayer for Today

Lord, when I go out to work may I go joyfully and with enthusiasm for the tasks at hand. May my work be good for me and good for others.

40 day Journey with Deitrich Bonhoeffer – 3

they never sent me day 2 😦 so I guess that one we’ll just have to skip… sorry folks!

Day 3

This order and discipline must be sought and found in the morning prayer. It will stand the test at work. Prayer offered in early morning is decisive for the day. The wasted time we are ashamed of, the temptations we succumb to, the weakness and discouragement in our work, the disorder and lack of discipline in our thinking and in our dealings with other people․all these very frequently have their cause in our neglect of morning prayer. The ordering and scheduling of our time will become more secure when it comes from prayer.

Biblical Wisdom

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. Mark 1:35

Questions to Ponder

  • In what ways might “prayer offered in the morning” be “decisive for the day”? Well, for me at least, prayer often is more of a refocusing my heart on God and on His will and desires for me and on being grateful for the things He has blessed me with… So, if I get my heart and mind and attitude right first thing in the morning, things will be better throughout the day because I start in the right place, instead of starting off grumpy or something.
  • Do you agree that many of the problems we encounter have “their cause in our neglect of morning prayer”? Why, or why not? Yeah, I can see that…for the reasons mentioned ^. However, I would say that an equally large number of problems could be caused by not continuing to pray or focus on God throughout the day.
  • How can prayer lead to the “ordering and scheduling of our time”? not sure on this one. Maybe being more in-tune with God and His heart encourages us to get things done more efficiently and joyfully, whereas being focused on ourselves we can be much lazier and unhappy and waste a lot more time? Any thoughts anyone else?

Psalm Fragment

Give ear to my words, O Lord;
give heed to my sighing.
Listen to the sound of my cry,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch. Psalm 5:1-3

Journal Reflections

  • Write about how you usually spend your mornings. What do you do before work or school?Uh, well, I usually wake up to a baby crying 😛 and so the first time I usually do in the morning is to quick make my bed and go feed him. After that it usually depends… but devos doesn’t usually even get thought of until morning naptime for baby…
  • Are you satisfied with the way you spend your mornings? If not, how would you like to spend your mornings? Honestly? I would much rather get up earlier (if I go to bed on time) and wake up, work out (so the blood is moving and I’m thinking clearly) and take a shower and spend time with God…and THEN have my kid wake up and go on with my day.
  • How is prayer presently a part of your morning? Any changes you would like to make? It’s more of an afterthought or something I try to squeeze in… 😦 I would like to change it to the first thing I do when I’m fully alert and awake. 🙂 as mentioned ^. 

Prayer for Today

Lord, show me a time in the morning when I can listen to you for the day ahead and when I can talk to you for the day ahead.

40 day Journey with Deitrich Bonhoeffer – 1

Day 1

Those who follow Jesus’ commandment entirely, who let Jesus’ yoke rest on them without resistance, will find the burden they must bear to be light. In the gentle pressure of this yoke they will receive the strength to walk the right path without becoming weary.…Where will the call to discipleship lead those who follow it? What decisions and painful separations will it entail? We must take this question to him who alone knows the answer. Only Jesus Christ, who bids us follow him, knows where the path will lead. But we know that it will be a path full of mercy beyond measure. Discipleship is joy.

Biblical Wisdom

Come to me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28–30

Questions to Ponder

  • What is Jesus’ “commandment” that we are to follow? My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. (John 15:12)
  • If this commandment is Jesus’ “yoke,” how might we be changed if we bear it without resistance? We would be changed to be more like God, we would be self-sacrificing, we would be servants, we would be forgiving and gentle. We would be strong and able to approach those we love living in sin and speak to them out of love and truth.
  • Why might following Jesus’ commandment lead to tough “decisions and painful separations”? Jesus had to leave heaven and His father and die a slow and painful death because of love… if we are his people why would He ask less of us?

Psalm Fragment

Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long. Psalm 25:4–5

Journal Reflections

  • To be a disciple is not just to believe in Jesus, it is to follow Jesus. In your journal, reflect on the ways in which you are presently following Jesus. Unfortunately, I think this is a short list. I try to love the people around me and speak truth and love into their lives. I try to honor my husband and respect him. I’m struggling to be a self-sacrificing person and to be disciplined and faithful in the small things. I try to remember to spend time with God.
  • Do you experience your discipleship as “joy”? Is the “burden” of your discipleship “light”? I guess that all depends on my attitude for the day :P. Some days, it is very very joyful and light and happy, and other days if I’m focusing on me and nit-picking everything I want to be grumpy about, I feel guilty and overwhelmed by how far away I am from being the person God wants me to be. But I think it’s really my choice how heavy I want my burden to be…
  • Do you sense there are places Jesus might want to lead you where you would rather not go? If so, where are they and what is holding you back? I think God wants to lead me into a deeper prayer life…and after college it’s just kind of a scary place to go, especially alone since I don’t have a prayer partner like I did up there. It’s a huge time commitment and things can blow up and get crazy emotionally and mentally and I know it’s just me experiencing a LOT more of God than I am now and it’s a good thing… but it’s also pretty scary. I guess I like keeping God small and manageable…. 😦

Intercessions

Pray specifically for family, friends, and colleagues that they might clearly hear the call to discipleship (which is the call to love and justice), and that they might experience following Jesus’ commandment as joy in the concrete realities of their lives.

Prayer for Today

Lord Jesus, only you know where my path will lead, but I trust that, even if I do not know either the way or the destination, you are with me and before me, and I follow you with joy.