Dear Friends and Family:
Happy New Year!
For us this is a New Season as well as a New Year. We finally sold our house in New York on December 27th. This has been the culmination of many steps for several years. Although we loved our house and had nearly twenty years of great memories there, it was a strain on our time and resources which we would rather direct towards God’s purposes in our lives.
We are now in Bradenton, Florida, in a modest 1970s low rise condominium complex. There is a wonderful community spirit amongst the residents here which is what attracted us to start with, as well as the semi tropical weather, plant material and life style.
Christine spent a lot of her time in Florida as a child and Michael was in Pakistan and Nigeria, so the weather is quite familiar.
Icons of Women in the Church
Christine has finished a wonderful Icon commission of Mary. It will be delivered to Palm Beach latter this week for the Church of Saint Patrick. She is now starting on a beautiful Icon of Mary Magdalene. She has been reading the book, “The Meaning of Mary Magdalene, Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity”, written by Cynthia Bourgeault. Christine takes her commissions very seriously and does a lot of background research as she initiates her drawings.
Chaplaincy for 2019
Michael has been tying up some of the jobs involved with the house move and is excited to be starting to volunteer as a Chaplain at a local hospital.
Michael writes: Thinking of a new season, I am reminded of Jesus visiting Nazareth, where he had grown up and reading in the synagogue from Isaiah a prophecy which all the Jews were familiar with:
[ The Year of the Lord’s Favor ] The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.”
Then boldly declaring to the congregation that they were witnessing the fulfillment of that prophecy. He was declaring a new season, declaring the presence of the Holy Spirit within him and what that would mean in the future. They could expect things to be different, especially for the poor, brokenhearted, sick and downtrodden. It was a declaration of faith, at the start of his ministry as a human being, a new season for Him and for all of us.
As a Christian I ask myself, “do I carry that message in my daily life to people I meet, whether through words or actions”? I know that Jesus came to change our lives and to release us from captivity- in whatever form that might be for us. One way I try to do that is by praying for people wherever I discern a need ,and that brings me to two questions- or more correctly, two prayers.
Lord, help me know how to pray for people I meet in my daily life.
This is a question that often comes up for me. “How do I pray for the person that is right in front of me, right now?” Often the question which arises before that is, “Lord, how do I ask this person if I can pray for them?”
How do we bring God into a chance meeting with someone in a natural way, which does not intimidate or push people away? How comfortable we are in our relationship with Christ will be transmitted in every nuance we have in our voice, words, body language and eyes. The words we choose to suggest prayer to a stranger will be given to us by the Holy Spirit if we recognize it is God’s heart that we request to pray at that time.
Every Day Another Opportunity to Pray
Yesterday, while in an auto shop getting a price quote for car work, I got to pray for a mechanic and his wife. After looking at my car and giving me various estimates, we chatted a little and I noticed a bible amongst the large jumble on top of his desk. Soon he was sharing how his wife had suffered two years of multiple surgeries to fight cancer. As soon as he started sharing that, I knew this was a God appointment for me to pray with him.
I find that picking the right time in a conversation to openly declare, ‘I am a Christian and love to pray for people and have seen God heal many people. Would you mind if I pray for you right now?’
That is what I want to get over but those are not necessarily the words to use. Each person gives out leads about themselves and how open they might be to receiving prayer and it is up to us to read those leads correctly and kindly, lovingly, bring God into the picture.
This is when we just stand in God’s love ourselves and share it. Quoting many bible versus is not appropriate at this point, showing who God is, as a loving living caring person within you, is. Simple words, lovingly delivered right to the point of the situation, in Jesus Christ name. We are standing in for Jesus. We are representing Jesus directly and inviting Him and the Holy Spirit into this moment and the situation we are praying for.
This is not revelatory information, it is nothing new but if for the New Year we stepped out and simply prayed for more people, Jesus would be represented on the streets, super markets, laundries, airports, subways, anywhere we see a need. What happens after that is up to Jesus. Sometimes there is a healing right in front of our eyes, sometimes it is as though we have just been separated from the busy world around us, sometimes we get rejected outright, often we have no idea what God is doing and when. But that is OK, our part is to step up and love the person in front of us and invite Jesus in.
New Year’s Resolution
That is my New Years resolution to move through any fear I might have and pray for more people. Can you imagine what that would be like if all Christians actually stepped out and prayed for people?
We hope and pray that 2019 is a great new year, with fulfilled hopes and dreams, and that it users in a great and God filled new season for us all. Let us know how we can pray for you, it is our pleasure to add your prayer requests to our prayer time each day.
Love, Michael and Christine