Dr. Tom Pace, Dr. Tom Pace lll, Senior Pastor St. Lukes UMC, Sr Pastor St Lukes

God, sometimes life is marvelous and wonderful, and gratitude comes easy. But sometimes, life is difficult. Bad things happen. I’ve seen it in the lives of other people I care about. People they love die too young. They get cheated or swindled or robbed. The job they count on goes away. Their marriages fail and friendships falter. Children struggle and parents disappoint. Money gets scarce and pressures rise. Sometimes, God, these problems are “circumstances,” out of their control. Sometimes, they contributed to the problem. And God, you know there have been times in my own life that have been more difficult, too. It is hard to be grateful in the midst of these times. So where are you when the darkness comes?

God, I thank you that you are at work even in the terrible moments of life. When I have made mistakes which have consequences, when my best efforts have not been enough, when circumstances beyond my control have meant heartbreak for people I love, when life just turns sour… you have been at work in the midst of it to redeem it all. When my life has felt shattered, you have put the broken pieces together into something even more beautiful. Your purposes are always good. If it isn’t good, it isn’t you, and when it isn’t good, you don’t give up. In you, all things work together for good in some way. Your purposes will not ever ultimately be thwarted.

So God, give me the discipline to choose gratitude in every situation, in every circumstance. Help me to discern your presence when my heart is broken, leading me forward on the path toward the goodness you have in store for me and for all your children.

In the name of the one who redeemed even death on a cross, I pray. Amen.

This Sunday, July 28, we conclude our sermon series “Father Abraham Had Many Sons (and Daughters).” We will address the story of Joseph and his brothers, the power of forgiveness, and God’s purposes for good.

This is your last week to sponsor a child in the Christian Community Service Center back to school drive. Your $45 provides school supplies and uniforms for one of the thousands of under-resourced children in Houston. You can sign up at the table by the Sanctuary, or contact Madeline Beem at [email protected].

Next weekend, make sure and come see Tapestry Players presentation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore in St. Luke’s Rotunda Theatre. Shows are Thursday through Sunday, August 1-4. Get details or tickets here.

Please remain in prayer today for our Senior High students returning this weekend from their mission trip in Kentucky.

Sunday, July 28
Loving God, we pray for a world without injustice and a future filled with your mercy. Through your grace, establish justice, and in your justice, may we remember the mercy revealed to us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Give our world leaders the wisdom to govern their countries in a manner that honors your name. Amen.

Monday, July 29
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of family. We confess that we often take our family for granted. We pray that you would help us to find new ways to show our love to our family so that they know how much they are loved and appreciated. Amen.

Tuesday, July 30
Oh Lord, Your world seems so mixed up. Values and priorities appear wildly different from people to people and nation to nation; leadership skills are questioned and dissected with little regard for respect. We pray for worldwide leadership to be offered to men and women who know You and are guided by lessons of faith, trust, hope and sincere compassion. You have given Your world so many gifts; now we beg that You place the responsibility for using these gifts into the hands of believers in the beauty and wonder of human life and the freedom to live in peace. In Christ’s name, Amen.

Wednesday, July 31 
Father God, show us the ways of forgiveness, of loving our neighbor, even those most outcast, as ourselves. Open our eyes to those who are rejected, powerless, oppressed, or overlooked. You have such great promises for us when we shoulder their burdens with them (Isaiah 48.) Let us be a voice for the voiceless. It is through you that all things are possible. Amen.

Thursday, August 1
Lord, we pray for your protection from hurricanes this year. We pray that you would shield us from these storms and grant us a peaceful season. We praise you and thank you as our almighty, powerful creator who can calm the storms. Amen.

Friday, August 2
God, draw us close to you as we are out of our normal routines for the summer. Keep our eyes, ears, hands, and hearts tuned to what you would have us do here in our community. Amen.

Saturday, August 3
Heavenly Father, we confess that often we would rather take the easy way out rather than do what is right in your eyes. We pray that you would strengthen us and grow our self-discipline so that you are our priority. Help us to take time to commit to following you no matter what the cost is. Move us from self-serving to serving others. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.