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Commitments.  They define us.  If we are true to a commitment, it means that we can expect future decisions to be made based on an initial commitment.  That will sometimes be painful for it may mean other choices will need to be made in the interest of a commitment.  Those who have committed their lives to Jesus Christ, know that certain actions, habits, and people are no longer a part of one’s life.  Similarly, those who live in Jesus know that the blessings one yields from a relationship with Him cannot be matched in quality or measure by any other person or means.
 
Commitments cost us something.  When we feel a hurt due to a death of someone or something to which we have been committed, there can be deep pain when that ending comes.  But if one has tried to live up to that commitment while there has been opportunity to do so, conclusions that come–for whatever reason–are not filled with regret.  Endings in life bring a degree of melancholy.  The degree of it is determined in part by the manner in which we invested ourselves in someone or something while there was time.  Endings in life that produce sadness due to regrets give us the opportunity to pray to the Lord and ask for help to live differently in the future toward others.  We cannot change what has been.  But those who live in Jesus Christ possess the magnificence of His redemptive power to transform what has been and what shall be into peaceful acceptance.  
 
Lord Jesus, in You we live and move and have our being.  Thank You for the commitments made to You, to others, to our work and our callings.  Sometimes commitments require us to pass on other choices set before us, even apparent good choices.  Help us, Lord, to seek You for wisdom, strength, and courage to do all You would have us to do to make and keep commitments such so we know Your peace.  In Thee, Lord Jesus, Amen.

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Opening up.  Grief is an experience that can force one to open up even if it seems as though one goes into a cocoon.  Grief sensitizes.  It provokes awareness.  What one becomes aware of may or may not want to be known or faced.  Yet, if it is the truth, it has the potential to heal and offer relief.

Jesus is the One who can take the truth and carry it when we cannot.  Jesus holds your heart and holds information and emotions such that He can manage the depth of that reality, and give you peace in the midst of making emotional adjustments to a painful truth.  Whatever loss may have brought you to grief and then to a truth that is hard to face, Jesus will be with you to and carry you by His strength.  Will you let Him?

Lord Jesus, You have the heart that can hold all the truths and pains that each one knows this side of Eternity.  Lord, it is Your desire that no one suffers alone.  By Your touch, may each one who hurts let You carry sorrow.  You remain the reason for hope.  In Thy Name Lord Jesus, Amen.

The events of 9/11 will be visited in memory and emotion this week as Americans and citizens of the world mark the tenth anniversary of that dark day.  While we consider with others where we were, what we were doing, and how our lives changed that day, we will likely be reminded of other personal losses that have happened in our lives in the past ten years.  There have been deaths, births, residence changes, divorces, graduations, and military deployments.   In these past ten years–through it all–God has been there.
 
Do you trust the presence of God in Christ, even when you cannot see or trace His presence?  He is there.  When weak times comes, when challenges are faced, His face stays fixed on you.  Jesus stays at your side, devoted and caring to your every need.  Sad events do not move the Lord of all time and place. He stays.  As you remember what happened on 9/11 and recall what happened since then in your life, remember that Jesus has been with you.  Maybe you know that because you have let Him in.  Or, maybe it is time to open the door of your heart to let Him come in. He wants to share life with you.  
 
Lord Jesus of Love, Your heart stays with people whether or not they invite you to join them in the walk of life.  Lord Christ, as we ponder what happened on 9/11 and what has happened in our lives since then, may each heart open to the presence of You so You may reconcile yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  In Thee, Amen.

Opening eyes of faith can occur because eyes have cried tears of sorrow.  It is often difficult to see the Hand of God and believe in it when all is well, stable, and seemingly predictable.  It is when circumstances change and faith is weak that God can reveal the might of His faith–in you and in me.
 
If sorrow has been part of your life, and either it has been or it will meet you in the future, then you have a prime opportunity to grow a deeper faith.  Oh, yes, life’s losses and difficult transitions do hurt.  But nothing–nothing–will keep the Lord from staying near through life’s trials.  His love and faithfulness keeps Him anchored to you, even if you do not feel it.  Faith is not about what we see; it is about what we do not see yet can trust.  May you open your eyes today to see God’s faithfulness to you.
 
Lord, faith pleases You.  It is everything to you. When trials come and losses are painful, faith is weak.  But Your faith remains strong.  Lord, carry those today who are weak for whatever reason so they develop a deeper and abiding faith through a time of sorrow.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11

The memory of the righteous is blessed.   Proverbs 10:7           

Memories are made up of various components.  Sights, sounds, textures, and aromas are among the fragments of life that can stir emotions when memories with certain people cannot be duplicated.  Of course, every day we live is a triumph for life.  Every day bears it opportunities and expressions for giving and receiving.  But often in the fullness of living, this truth is not foremost in minds and we may think that there will always be another day for expressing.  In reality, today—this moment—is our only certainty.  Memories remind us of that.           

The tenth anniversary of 9/11 is a time for memories.  Remembrances and memorials are ways that people can gather together to join with a nation that still feels the pains of sorrow and concurrently the blessings of hope.  Life has gone on; it shall continue to move forward.  However, special memorials will ignite memories that individuals may not even realize they house.  All lives on in the chambers of the heart whether or not we are aware of the existence of certain moments.  These memories are triggered at different times and often unexpectedly.  The gatherings on the weekend of 9/11 are sure to prompt some of those memories into the forefront of hearts and minds.  We can all expect the unexpected that day.           

How will you spend 9/11?  Will you gather somewhere for a memorial service?  Will you stay home and watch television coverage?  Will you donate time, talent or treasure to a certain charity?  Will you try to ignore the day and get past it because it is too difficult to face?  Only you can answer these questions.  But a question you cannot answer is what will your memories be on that day?  Swirling around inside of you may be the fullness of a moment you did not realize was alive inside of you.  God knows it is there.  God will be with you as you remember.           

God is the giver of life.  Jesus is the Redeemer of life.  In Him, the value of memories is kept timeless and priceless.  Even when recollections are painful, the grace of Christ’s presence can balance all.  God never wants us to suffer losses such that we think there is nothing left from what has been.  If all trust is placed in Jesus, then through His heart, memories are still meaningful, healing, and life-giving.  God’s interest is always in continuing. Sometimes this is done through weakness, sometimes strength.  Whatever the condition of our spirit during respective seasons, God is there.  God will always be there.  Trust His presence with you.           

However you spend the 9/11 weekend, may you take time to spend it with the Lord.  In prayer, in visits to special places, and in memory, may you share time with Him.  Because of His love for you, for me, and for all people, the Lord’s love will cover that day and infuse it with beauty and purpose. God, the Maker and Keeper of memories, can transform that which is painful into something meaningful if we let Him. May we let Him.

Lord of Love, You know the hearts of all people.  You know the pains and sorrows that some suffer and the challenges that some still face due to abrupt and tragic endings.   Lord, by the might of Your Spirit and the integrity of Your love, integrate yesterday, today, and tomorrow so that Your peace reigns in hearts.  In Thy Name, Lord Jesus, Amen.