"Brief Devotions For Busy Lives"
By Rev. Dr. Mary B. Johnson
"I always considered my ministry at Richmond as a shared ministry. Mary had the expertise that helped me function as well as I did. I received critiques on the way home after the services. I finally realized that I may have “arrived” when one day she was pleased with my performance with no critique! That took several years! So, I would love it if you would use the picture of the two of us and mention Rev. Dr. Mary Johnson as my spouse and partner in ministry, and she continued to be until the day she died, four days before the end of my appointment at Richmond."
Pastor Arnie Johnson
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?" -Jesus in Matthew 7:7-9 (NET)
Persistence can take lot of faith and effort. It also offers challenges few of us want or seek. Yet Jesus tells us to persist in prayer and the seeking of God in today's scripture from Matthew. However, many of us often give up after a few halfhearted efforts and conclude God either cannot be found or he doesn't answer prayers very well. But knowing God takes faith, focus, and follow-through. By so doing, Jesus assures us we will be rewarded. Certainly if a bill collector has made a mistake on a bill we will persevere no matter how long it takes in finding ways to correct the mistake and ensure we get our money back and our record cleared. How much more important to persist in communicating well with God! Don't give up in your efforts to seek God. Continue to ask him for more knowledge, patience, wisdom, love, understanding, and perseverance. He will give them to you along with abundant blessings that are amazing in their depth and scope.
The children in Jesus' example asked their parent for bread. If we would never give our children stones to eat instead of bread, would God do any less? Yet as we learn to trust God and know him better as our loving Father, we can also learn to ask more clearly for what is good for us, and then rest assured our Lord will grant our request in His time if we persevere in prayer. Yet prayer is not just an "I Want" list but a relationship developed and maintained in loving thankfulness. Let God hold you close as you talk to Him sheltered in divine arms of love. Say thank you for what He has done and is going to do for you. Pour out your heart, grief, fear, joys, concerns, thankfulness, and love. Then listen for what God would say to you in return. Hear our Lord's words of love for you as his beloved child. Then wait with confidence and trust for the answers to your talk with God. You will not be disappointed. God will then indeed supply all your needs beyond your greatest expectations.
Prayer: Father God, Thank you for your gift of prayer and your invitation to share my love and concerns with you every day. Amen.
Meditation For The Day: God is the only perfect Father.
Brief Devotions For Busy Lives: Daily Spring Renewal Paperback – February 21, 2017, by Rev. Dr. Mary Johnson (Author)
Rev. Dr. Mary Johnson, D.Min., (1942-2018)
Mary was Ordained in 1975.
She served both as a Parish Pastor and in multiple Specialized Ministry Settings.
She worked on the Clinical Staff of New England Memorial Hospital and Middleton Pastoral
Counseling Center in Massachusetts and was a Director of Green Pastures Counseling Centers in N.H.
She was a state Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Nationally Board Certified Counselor (N.C.C.), and Nationally Certified Pastoral Counselor (AAPC) and held certification as a Clinical Member of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (A.C.P.E.).
She received a Doctor of Ministry Degree in Psychology and Clinical Studies from Andover Newton in Newton, MA.
Dr. Johnson also founded Good News Specialized Ministries, Inc. This unique ministry provided education and Clinical Christian Counseling to thousands of people over the decades and trained numerous Clinical Counselors and Counseling Ministers while offering weekly non-denominational worship services to the community for more than 20 years.
"Love never ends"
(1 Corinthians 13:8, NRSV)
Rev. Dr. Mary Johnson is the author of eight other published books including:
"Activating The Power Of Pastoral Care: A Team Approach";
"Brief Devotions For Busy Lives: Daily Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter Renewal"(Vol.1-4);
"Flying Free: Transforming Grief and Loss into Renewal";
Following The Angel Trail: In The Steps Of Jesus";
"Love In Action: The Healing Heritage Of The Counseling Ministry Of The Church";
"Visions Of Hope: Voices Of Americana";
"Healing Streams: Journeys Of Healing".
She has also been published in the AAPC professional Journal "Journeys" and in the Keene Sentinel.