Tuesday, June 21, 2016


I couldn't sleep because I had too much to do, waking up early with the list revolving in my head. As I logged in my computer, a page popped up that made me stop and focus.  I was obsessed, consumed, and distressed by my work of  Melissa's Prayer Journal,  but all that God wanted was for me to be devoted.  I needed to let go and let God.  So ironic that my ardent desire to do ministry gets in the way of actually being with the Lord, which is what He most wants from me!   So, I took a deep breath, prayed and felt the peace that passes all understanding.  Sending this peace to you. ~ JBM

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


I just listened to a great TED talk on mindfulness, the new buzzword for good reason.  A growing body of research gives evidence to the positive changes that come from such practices: meditation on breathing, listening, focused gratitude.  Many scientists admit that these are ancient practices with a new label, which is true.  Ancient wisdom counsels us to pray: bring our worries to God and focus on the good in our lives.  When I turn to the Lord, I feel His love and goodness, which immediately relaxes me, and I breathe.  In prayer, I remember how much God has blessed me and taken care of me, and promises to always do so, and I listen, not just to my environment, but God's presence and messages to me.  When I enter the presence of God, I am immediately aware of all that the Lord has given me, and I am filled with gratitude.  So, prayer is mindfulness wrapped in a relationship with our eternal, faithful and all-loving Creator.
       One enormous advantage comes with prayer that mindfulness research lacks: the true power of the Person of Jesus Christ, the real peace of a real God who shows us real love, and the promise of eternal life. As much as focusing on the blessings of every day will hugely improve our happiness, there is always the ultimate reality of our physical death. The closer we get to God, the more we understand that our happiness is a continuum that will extend forever, once we are in the arms of our Lord.  Melissa showed this peace, and wrote more prayers of thankfulness than any other kind of prayer, even while battling cancer. She had a peace and joy that came from a Higher Power, which she constantly proclaimed!  Following Melissa's lead, I will practice prayerfulness for the calm, focused and grateful life that living with God will bring.  Blessings ~ JBM

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Secret to Peace

We all want peace, that feeling of contentment that all is right with the world.  Meanwhile, we live surrounded by conflict, aggravation, overwhelming demands, discomfort, and even suffering. What a contrast!  One of the best instructions on staying in peace comes from Philippians 4: 4-9.  We are to bring our concerns to God with thanksgiving! *  This is a two-step process, and you need both steps!  Not only do you tell God what is bothering you, you also THANK God for whatever is pure, true, excellent, lovely or worthy of praise.  Melissa had this recipe down to the letter!  All of her prayers started with her worries, and ended listing her blessings!   Melissa's coping was so very effective, that her prayers are now serving as an example of positive coping for nurses to use in helping others.  Melissa was confident in God's provision, dependent on His presence, and faithful in bringing her concerns with thanksgiving to God.  Her prayers role model positive coping in any circumstances and at any point in life!  A scientific research study of Melissa's Prayer Journal found Thanksgiving to be the most frequent prayer in her journal!  Gratitude strikes again!  God cares about our concerns, but tells us to focus on Him and on His provisions of our needs: the secret to peace.  Wishing you the peace that rises us above our circumstances, always! 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Fear Not!

In the traditional Christmas story, the angel Gabriel first came to Zechariah, who was frightened at the sight of this heavenly messenger.  Gabriel's first words were: "Fear not."  Later in the story, Gabriel came to Mary, also saying, "Fear not."   The night Jesus was born, the angels came to the shepherds, first saying, "Fear not!"  Do you see a theme here?  Although the sight of a holy messenger triggers our terror, God never wants us to be afraid!  The whole point of Jesus coming to earth is so that we will never be afraid to go to God: never afraid of God's rejection, never afraid of God's condemnation, never afraid of God's judgment no matter what we have done!   Why?  Because every mistake we have ever made or mean thing we have ever done is erased by Jesus coming and taking the blame for us.  We are forgiven through Him who is Lord, and all we need to do is accept this gift: just believe in Jesus.  ~ What are you afraid of?  God says "Fear not" to any and all your concerns.  The Bible says "fear not" 365 times*, one of every day of the year. So, we need to joyfully trust God's unconditional love for us, God's complete forgiveness of all past and future mistakes, and God's promise to provide for us, turning our fears into faith in Jesus Christ this coming year. How do we get this faith?  Turning to God.  The more we talk to God in prayer, the more we will feel His love and forgiveness. Melissa conquered her fears by focusing on helpful scripture verses that she posted on her mirror and wrote down in her journal. This year, fear not.  Move boldly to the throne of forgiveness, knowing that your loving heavenly Father has already paid for your mistakes and waits patiently to show you just how much He loves you.  Blessings~JBM

*Warren, R. (2015). Saddleback Church, Sermon Archives.