August lectionary invited us to examine the Letter to the Ephesians and the “I AM/Bread of Life” statements of Jesus found in the Gospel of John this month. Here’s my brief summary: Praise GOD – Choose LIFE!
That’s the message threaded threw the words of praise, admonition, encourage and metaphor: Praise GOD – Choose LIFE! What brings you LIFE is healthy and sustaining! Intellectually and physically, we know this. But how hard it is to make the right choice in every situation. There are housing choices, education choices, food choices, exercise choices, relationship choices, financial choices, and on and on. The reasons are varied and deep as to why we all make unhealthy choices. I don’t have answers but I am going to offer THREE suggestions that might help build us up.
First, we could Thank and Praise GOD more! I know when I intentionally give thanks to GOD in the morning for simple things – like hot water in the shower, grandchildren & dog kisses, bread toasting…, I find my day goes better. I find more blessings throughout the day. When a temptation or obstacle does come my way I have those blessings to help pull me through. Does this always work? No. But more often than not it does.
Second, try memorizing 2 or 3 scripture passages. I am not a huge advocate for memorizing scriptures out of context. I believe in prayer, study, and discussion. However, there are many scripture passages that I refer to as Encouragement Passage. These passages are quick to memorize, and, in context, relate to encouragement and perseverance. Here are a few that I use:
Psalm 121:1 “I lift up my eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help.”
Psalm 23:4 “Ye, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.”
Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I AM GOD.”
Matthew 11: 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and are heavy burdened and I will give you rest.”
Matt 11:29-30 “Take up my yoke and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart. And you’ll find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, … nor anything in all of creation, will ever be able to separate us from the Love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
My Third suggestion is invite someone to be your Spiritual Friend. Most of us have a special friend we turn to when life becomes difficult. A Spiritual Friend can be there, too. A Spiritual Friendship can begin simply by intentionally offering prayers of peace, hope, joy, and love for one another on a daily basis. Knowing someone is praying for you can be powerful. Studies have shown prayer helped patients heal faster and more fully. Prayer gives LIFE to both the supplicant and the recipient. Where and how that friendship grows is up to the friends. Who couldn’t use more prayers?
Grace and Peace,