The Gift of Reflection

Dear Lord; Happy Tuesday Father!

Well Father, to start off our week together I want to thank You wholeheartedly for the wonderful Christmas weekend You Blessed my family and I with.  Saturday evening we attended a beautiful candlelight service at Ewell’s-St. Paul UMC, followed the next day by a lovely Christmas morning with the kids and a trip to my (earthly) father’s house for a family dinner.  And most importantly Lord, I was Blessed to have three whole days spent wrapped in the love of my wife and children.  It was an absolutely joy-filled time of respite and celebration Lord, and for that I am truly grateful.

Today Father, I’m very Blessed to have the opportunity to share a guest “Email to God” from a dear lady and fellow Christian Blogger; Jean Wise from  Jean’s posts never fail to inspire and encourage her readers (including me), and I’m excited to have her sharing her prayers here today.

Happy New Year, Lord!

I love the end of December – watching the transition from one year to the next. It is a time of new beginnings and renewed energy. You invite me to sit with You, reflecting on the past 12 months and praying about the coming year.

Lord as we “harvest” my journal, sort through my emotional ups and downs, and dig deep into my past experiences, help me to remember You were with me then, You are with me now, and will stay by my side into the unknown future.

I pause and lift up 2011 and my entire life journey once again into Your hands. With a highlighter and my favorite pen in hand, what shall we look for?

  • ·      Cherished moments.
  • ·      Unexpected joys and obstacles
  • ·      Reoccurring thoughts or stubborn nudges that You won’t let me forget
  • ·      Bible verses that guided me or still sing to me even if I don’t know why
  • ·      Times I felt Your presence and times I walk in lonely darkness
  • ·      Lessons I learned and lessons that will take a life time to fully comprehend
  • ·      Answered prayers and dreams that still bubbled with life and passion

Lord, be my companion, teacher, and guide as 2012 unfolds. Let this coming year be filled with warm relationships and the strength and wisdom to help those You place before me. Help me to love You more, love others as You do, and to love myself as only You can.

And Lord I ask for a bit a whimsical joy in 2012. Give me childlike wonder to see your creation with new eyes. I ask that You lavishly send love, peace, kindness, and patience to fill my heart and remove the pettiness, greed, and jealously that I hide in its corners.

The gift of 2012 is not for me, but an opportunity to serve You, love You, and give You glory. Father, the One who “makes all things new,” help me keep my eyes only on You the coming twelve months.

Thank You for being the God of our yesterdays, of our todays, and all of our tomorrows.


~Jean Wise

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Meditations Monday: Honored and Blessed

Dear Lord; Happy Meditations Monday Father!

Well Father, it certainly was a busy weekend that You Blessed us with!  Between household chores that needed to be done, cooking (lots of cooking!), baking and time spent enjoying the fellowship and company of friends, our weekend was jam-packed and quite enjoyable.  Thank You so much for that time together Lord!

And on top of such a happy, hectic weekend Father, yesterday marks the one-year wedding anniversary of two wonderful friends of mine; Dan and Francine.  One year ago Sunday, I was both honored and Blessed to stand with them in Your presence, and pronounce them joined as man and wife.  It was a beautiful event Lord, and Your love was abundantly felt by all those in attendance.

“The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.

Then the man said,
“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” – Genesis 2:20-24 (ESV)

From the first days of Adam in the Garden Father, You knew that it wasn’t good for man to be alone.  To bring him that “completeness” and give him a partner to share Your love, You drew from his flesh and breathed life into the one with whom Adam’s life was to be made whole; man and woman joined together in the presence of their Creator.

And so it continues to this day.  🙂

Heavenly Father,

We thank You Lord, for Your faithfulness in bringing together those whom You intend to be joined, and uniting them through Your gift of Holy Matrimony.  For those awaiting Your match for them Father; please grant them the patience, comfort and discernment to take the time necessary to know Your will.  For those that You’ve already brought together in that union, guide them Father; Bless them with the knowledge of Your will for them, the compassion to put their spouses first, and the discipline to cling to one another when difficulties occur.  Help us Lord, to recognize marriage for the Blessing that it is, and to honor You by holding it sacred as You intend.

In Jesus’ Name we pray,


~Phather Phil

P.S. Happy Anniversary Dan and Francine!

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Thankful Thursday: Mary’s “Plan B”

Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!

As You know Father, for the past several weeks our Tuesday night study group has been working through a DVD Book Study based on Pastor Pete Wilson’s book : “Plan B: What do you do when God doesn’t show up the way you thought He would”.  I’d read the book earlier this year and very much enjoyed it, so when the time came to choose a new study, I was quite pleased that everyone agreed to pursue “Plan B”.  As of this week, we’ve completed three sessions of the study and so far it’s been an inspiring and encouraging examination of how even in the midst of seemingly hopeless situations, You perform some of Your most powerful work in us.

As I was thinking today on some of the things we’ve been discussing in the group these past few weeks, it dawned on me that Christmas itself is the celebration of Mary and Joseph’s “Plan B”.  Before being visited by the Angel Gabriel, Mary’s life was proceeding along a fairly normal path.  She’d become betrothed to a man named Joseph, and was very likely planning for her role as his wife, and the future mother of their children.

And in a moment, her world turned upside down…

And our world was forever changed.

Her “Plan B” was Your “Plan A”.

This hammers home a very important point Father; in the midst of those situations where our lives seem to be flying desperately off course, You’re not shaken or confused.  What we view as turmoil, You see as opportunity…

May we all seize those opportunities Father; embracing the understanding that our “Plan B” moments, were Your “Plan A”s all along.  🙂

And now Lord, on to this week’s Thankful Thursday list!  This past week has been simply overflowing with Your Blessings Father, but I’d like to give special thanks for:

421. Having friends that pray for me.

422. Getting to spend much of the day Saturday cooking for family and friends.

423. A quick healing for the eye I scratched.

424. Some helpful advice from a friend that helped get the Jaguar running again.

425. New glasses for Jonathan.

426. That the Rimadyl is making an obvious improvement in Brandy’s pain level.

427. Having friends that can tell when I’m having a rough time, and pushing through my “wall”.

428. A quiet walk in Blackbird State Forest with Jonathan last Sunday.

429. That even though I fall short in so many ways, You know my heart and guide me ahead.

430. Candy Cane Hershey’s Kisses.

431. Real kisses from my loving wife.

432. The Kids Construction Workshops at Home Depot.

433. Seeing my children reach out with giving hearts.

434. Knowing that I’m Your Beloved Child.

435. Having a full collection of inspiring Christmas Music to play on my iPod during the day.

And so much more Lord.

Heavenly Father,

We thank You Lord, for the many Blessings you bestow on us each day; both those that announce Your presence like sirens in the night, and those that grace our lives in Stillness.

In Jesus’ Name we pray,


~Phather Phil

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My Traveling Companion

Dear Lord; Happy Tuesday Father!

Heavenly Father,

I come to You today not in pride,

But from humility.

Not in stability,

But from within my brokenness.

Not as a man,

But as Your Child.

Walk with me Father,

And be my Strength.

I seek Your presence Lord;

Your divine touch that rights my troubled spirit,

Your radiant visage that lights my path,

Your comforting embrace that soothes my anxious heart,

And Your guiding hand to lead me.

Walk with me Father,

And be my strength.

I’m tired Lord,

And weary,

And burdened,

And fearful;

And Your voice seems quieter than usual.

Help me silence that dissent Lord,

And free my heart from those things that obscure You from me.

Walk with me Father,

And be my strength.

Draw me to You Lord;

Allow me haven in Your tender mercy,

That I might shed my soul of earthly trials,

And focus on Your will.

Though the road before me twists and turns,

My Traveling Companion knows the true path.

Walk with me Father,

And be my strength.


~Phather Phil

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Jumping In

Dear Lord; Happy Wednesday Father!

First off Lord, I want to thank You for yet another wonderful Small Group gathering at the house last night.  We’re three weeks into the “Treasures of the Transformed Life” study, and so far it’s been an encouraging and inspiring series.  And while the course material has certainly been an excellent starting point for our discussions, the tangential conversation topics that have evolved from that syllabus have been even more of a Blessing to the group.

This week’s section was called “Jumping in With Both Feet”, and focused primarily on the role of our church family in our Walk with Christ, and also how important our presence is for that family to thrive.

Without going into a great deal of detail, the chapters this past week were dedicated to helping us understand how significant a commitment to our church membership truly is.  The author draws a very distinct line between our “attendance” and our “presence” at church, making the differentiation that when we’re “plugged in” to the other members of the congregation, we open ourselves to listening, caring and aiding them when they’re in need.  In addition, when we joyfully share the unique combinations of Spiritual Gifts that we’ve each been Blessed with, we strengthen and expand the Body of Christ, which in turn aids us in growing our faith, and in showing Your light to others.  The Apostle Paul wrote of this relationship in his Epistle to the Romans:

“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” – Romans 12:4-8 (ESV)

Our group last night was an excellent example of what Paul described; coming together with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and sharing the encouragement, support and perspective that Your intimate presence in our lives brings about.

Heavenly Father,

All-in-all Lord, last night was another wonderful, inspired gathering, and I thank You for bringing us together once again to dig deeper into our relationships with You.  Please continue to guide us in Your will, that we may grow both as Your Blessed Children, and as members of the Body of Christ.

In Jesus’ Name we pray,


~Phather Phil

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