Monthly Archives: February 2014


God, give me grace to accept with Serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.

This is the full version of the Serenity Prayer written by Lutheran pastor and theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. I find it fascinating that this prayer was distributed by chaplains to soldiers during World War II. Moreover, today it is said by millions of men and women who attend Alcoholics Anonymous or other recovery groups.

As I honestly face my addictions and attachments to the things of this world, I realize I am like a soldier combatting an enemy who is trying to brainwash me. I am bombarded by “not enough thinking” and the lies that a little more of this or that will perfectly free me of pain and problems. In reality, there is no perfection or serenity in my messy life until I finally accept that there are things I cannot control. Courage to face the enemy of my soul is a grace coming forth from wisdom and the process of discerning what can and cannot be changed.

And wisdom ushers in a greater hope that does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:5 NASB). Only the love of God and the supportive fellowship of Holy Spirit can satisfy every longing within the human heart.

If you are like me, you can easily find yourself alone and attached to things or behaviors that control your life. The words of this prayer invite us to be honest with ourselves and God, but ultimately to be found in the serenity of the Lord’s loving arms.

God grant us the SERENITY
to accept the things we cannot change;
COURAGE to change the things we can;
and WISDOM to know the difference.


A Certain Hope

Most High,
Most glorious God,
Enlighten the darkness of my heart.
Grant me a right and true faith,
A certain hope, and
A perfect charity, feeling, and understanding
Of You,
So that I may be able to accomplish
Your holy and just commands.

This is a prayer that St. Francis of Assisi prayed for himself often. I wonder if he was drawn like I am to the words: a certain hope. Is it a coincidence that hope is asked for in the middle of the prayer. No doubt, hope is needed both in the beginning and end of our spiritual journey but perhaps even more in the middle when we long for our true and right faith to help us understand and accomplish what God commands of us.

Hope is pivotal in my life. There seems to be a point in each new day when I have a choice to make. Will I ask God to enlighten the darkness of my heart? Will I seek after God’s certain hope?

This prayer that St, Francis prayed reminds me of the benediction Paul wrote to the church in Rome:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit
you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13 ESV)

May you and I abound not just in hope but in a certain hope for the sake of God’s kingdom.

The Beauty of the Soul

St. Augustine was a philosopher and early Christian theologian, who famously said: You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you. I can identity with these profound words that describe the longing for intimacy that can only be filled by the Creator. If I don’t let God fill the holes in my heart, it becomes so restless it starts to wander away from the One who knows me best.

Recently, I happened upon another quote by St. Augustine: Love is the beauty of the soul. These words invite me to take a step toward God. Do I love in a way that reflects the beauty of the Lord? What would it look like to have such beauty in my soul? Perhaps something like this:

I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies.
(1 Corinthians 13:3-10 MSG)

Take a moment and read these verses slowly.    Try to catch a glimpse of the possibility of love creating new heart habits which settle beautifully into the soul.  May you and I be more equipped than ever to share Christ’s love…the beauty of the soul.

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Shower with Love

It’s February, and I am excited about celebrating Valentine’s Day. Is Valentine’s Day really just a Hallmark holiday? Perhaps. But as I look at the store displays of greeting cards, I see cards designed to help us shower all the people we love with love. And I think of Christ command:

‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Mark 12:31 ESV)

When I was in college, I looked forward to Fridays with no business classes. There was such freedom leaving downtown Los Angeles and driving along the Pacific Coast Highway with James Taylor’s greatest hits playing in the cassette deck in my 1972 blue Ford Maverick. One song in particular challenged me as I headed home.

I was young, learning to love and stumbling over my foolish pride. The lyrics to Taylor’s song, Shower the People, appropriately described the condition of my heart at that time. But I desperately wanted to do as the chorus said:

Just shower the people you love with love
Show them the way that you feel
Things are gonna work out fine if you only will.

Today, I still stumble as I seek to love others as much as I am loved by God. So I let myself thoroughly enjoy celebrating Valentine’s Day, not because it is a a Hallmark holiday. Rather, it is an opportunity to practice showering family, friends and neighbors with love.

Who are you and I called to shower with love, not only on February 14th but every day?