Daily Bread May 21

Courage to Change
Barbara Howard of Independence, MO, USA

“Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” -Mark 12:28-31

I have a friend who lives in constant danger in a small Central American country. He and the villagers where he lives are caught in the crossfire of armies. He described the care with which one of the village women kept her garden. The garden could be ravaged by Jeeps or soldiers at any time, but she faithfully plants her vegetables, collects rainwater, and cares for the tender seedlings. “I watch her diligence in amazement. It is as though the garden is her statement of faith. I have never known courage like I have seen here.” People live each day in thanksgiving for life, family, food, fully aware that the next day these may all be gone.

Lynne works as a peace activist. She participated in several demonstrations and she has been imprisoned at times for civil disobedience. Lynne finds courage in remembering the imprisonment of Christians, including early church leaders. Prison is difficult, but lacking the courage of conviction is unthinkable. She gains strength from the community of courageous women and men who risked in the past, and her sisters and brothers who share her struggle today. Lynne’s letters from prison carry an amazing spirit of joy. “There is much ministry to be done here,” she wrote.

Some acts of courage seem incomprehensible-the risks, beyond belief. Yet in each decision there is the promise of joy. Jesus’ commitment to life and ultimate crucifixion contained the seeds of resurrection-joy… Courage is the willingness to face each day wearing the armor of hope and conviction against life’s onslaughts. Like the rain’s dependable refreshment and cleansing, joy overflows in moments of courage. It restores us to face a new day.

-Reprinted from Journey of Joy, Herald House, 1990, pp. 65-66

Prayer Phrase

I am about to do a new thing, now it springs forth… (Isaiah 43:19).

Spiritual Practice

A New Thing

Breathe deeply and listen within. Where is the Spirit doing a new thing in you? How do you feel about the new thing that might be emerging? Are you excited, resistant, fearful, hopeful? Take whatever you are experiencing to prayer. Breathe deeply and listen around you. Where is the Spirit doing a new thing in your community? Pay attention to how it feels to discern the Spirit’s activity and presence within and around you.

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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