Sunday, March 31, 2013

Amen: It Is Done!

 
 
For all the promises of God find their Yes in [Jesus]. That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.
(2 Corinthians 1:20 ESV)
 
 
 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Take Courage

 
Be strong and let your heart take courage,
all you who wait for the Lord!
(Psalm 31:24 RSV)
 
 


I woke to themes of of Handel's Messiah parading through my memory, the themes which proclaim the coming King, our very Jesus, who triumphed and fulfilled God's word. What great music to accompany us, as we "wait and watch" for the Resurrection and the Life to break out and escape death, and  to deliver us the joy of the empty tomb.
 
But before the celebration tomorrow, I contemplate the sealed tomb.
 
Taking shelter in the tomb, Jesus waited for the manifestation of the Almighty Father in overcoming death with life.  Reading Psalm 31, an echo of what Jesus might have been praying falls upon my ear. Were these the words He recited to Himself, during His travail in the garden, His trial before angry men and mobs, and His time upon the cross?
 
Did you ever think of the tomb as a waystation or a refuge in times of trouble? A new thought: The tomb was the cave of refuge that kept our Rock safe, until He reappeared in the fulness of life for the tremendous finale.
 


In You I shelter;
rescue me in Your goodness,
let me not be shamed.
 
 
Make haste to hear me.
Be, Lord, my rock of refuge,
stronghold of safety
 
 
You are my stronghold,
since you lead me and guide me
for Your own name's sake.
 
 
(Psalm 31:1-3 in Haiku by Fr. Richard Gwyn)

 
 
 
 




Friday, March 29, 2013

Good News Friday


The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.





He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—

 
 

to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.


 

They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.

(Isaiah 61:1-3 NIV)



 





Photos of the Christ-thorn plants were taken in the Temperate House at the Missouri Botanical Gardens, while I was visiting the garden on Thursday. How timely that they were blooming during Holy Week.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Biggest Smile This Week: The Love of Christ

 
 
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
 
(Ephesians 3:17b-19 NIV)
 
 
Found this huge snowman in a nearby neighborhood!

Marvelous, matchless love!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Eastering by Lynn D. Morrissey {Guest Post}

 
I am honored to have Lynn D. Morrissey with us today, sharing a Lenten reflection from her rich archives. Lynn sings with her pen. She has composed a beautiful paean to laud our Beloved Jesus as we approach the triumph of Easter.
 
 
“Let him Easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us, be a crimson-cresseted east.” ―Gerard Manley Hopkins
 
 “For behold, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers have already blossomed and have given forth their fragrance. Arise, . . . and come away!” ¾Song of Solomon
 
 
The winter is officially past. Spring has come, and our daughter is off from school on her spring break. My family and I have “come away” from city life, and we celebrate spring’s arrival with time together at our cozy cabin-in-the-woods. Nonetheless, it still looks and feels like winter.
 
A riotous rain has hurriedly come and gone. After waiting for the downpour to end, my husband Michael, daughter Sheridan, and pit Poodle Chevy, as we affectionately call him, have gone for a ramble in the crisp, cold woods.
 
I have already ventured outside earlier this morning, chilled to the bone, on a walk by the wind-whipped lake. I prefer now to cloister inside the heated cabin and watch the woods from my ringside seat behind a window¾my window on the world, the world awaiting the transition from winter to spring, from death to life.
 
All is dun-dulled: The trees’ mostly leafless limbs weave a wintry web of browns, grays, camels, charcoals, crisscrossed against the pewter-rinsed sky. Fallen leaves, crumbled and lifeless, spread a crushed carpet of decay across the dampened earth. A few forlorn leaves, pitifully shriveled, shockingly petrified, still cling to branches, as if they had refused to let go and die a graceful death.
 
How can it possibly be spring, with death hovering everywhere?
 
But then, I turn my glance. I’m startled by a sunburst of brilliant yellow piercing the dimness. Jaunty jonquils, like lemon-licked pinwheels, twirl in the breeze. Beyond them, neon-brass forsythias bloom brazenly, as if just daring the remnants of winter to remain one second longer. The flowers have at long last bloomed, proof that spring is really here, that the earth is ethereally Eastering.
 
The juxtaposition staggers me: stark death and stunning life. Their paradox penetrates me to the core. Death surrenders to life. Death is not the end. It doesn’t have the final, awful word. But also, paradoxically, death must reign before life triumphs.
 
Yet does life triumph in me? Am I allowing God to Easter me? Am I among the living dead, filled with self, or am I brimming with life, *His* life? Is my heart winter-gray, flawed with sin and mediocrity, or Son-shine yellow, flooded with the dayspring light of Christ’s purity and purpose?
 
Too often death reigns in me. I don’t permit life’s triumph. I am wretched. I am bound. Will I never be set free?
 
But then . . . I turn my glance. I’m startled by the Sonburst shattering of a stone-sealed tomb. He has risen. Jesus lives. Jesus lives in me!
 
And I live in Him. He says, “Behold . . . the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. Eternal spring has come.”
 
He says, “Arise!” And I arise. And by His strength I come away. I come away and set my heart on heavenly things. I come away and turn my glance, turn it Sonward toward the crimson-cresseted East.
 
(Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved. Lynn D. Morrissey)
 
 
Lynn D. Morrissey, is a Certified Journal Facilitator (CJF), founder of Heartsight Journaling, a ministry for reflective journal-writing, author of Love Letters to God: Deeper Intimacy through Written Prayer and other books, contributor to numerous bestsellers, an AWSA and CLASS speaker, and professional soloist. She and her beloved husband, Michael, have been married since 1975 and have a college-age daughter, Sheridan. They live in St. Louis, Missouri.

You may contact Lynn at words@brick.net.

Please feel to comment on this post, as she will be checking comments. As all writers do, she appreciates feedback and your responses to her work.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Joy: Well-Being



 . . . fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
 (Hebrews 12:2-3 NIV)

 

As the bride enters the room, all rise and turn to her, but her eyes are fixed on her prize, her longed after groom.  This last, sacred week of Lent, I remember that I chose to take this journey as a bride, not a penitent.  At the start of the day, I felt forced and false. I was not looking forward to recounting the death of my Savior. I wanted to shake this grave feeling, but I needed someone to help me, like Lazarus needed unwrapping after four days in the tomb.

I ran to the Living One, who is no longer in the grave, begging for a week of celebration, rather than despair. I desired more time to linger over our honeymoon journey. I did not want to spend the entire week reeling under false guilt and recounting lost causes in my life.

And then I remembered these words: For the joy set before Him!

The cross was a joy, even though the pain was excruciating. The journey was a delight, in spite of the scourging and being spat upon and the jeering that Jesus endured. And He offered Himself to the cross, to be humiliated before all. He willingly went to that hill, because He knew that the stone would be rolled away, that His sacrifice would make possible a miracle. His love would melt our hearts of stone and bestow on us hearts that rejoice. He believed that mercy is new every morning! He had us in mind as He endured the oppression, and our faces eased His pain. For the joy set before Him!

Today, when I was tempted to give into false Lenten misery, I called my hobo (homeward bound) friend, Carol Ann, the one who invited me to see this journey as a honeymoon with the Beloved. She was feeling the heaviness, too.

But the Beloved had something else in mind for us. He was beckoning us both to experience joy. He invited us to embrace the snow laden, spring day.  I packed us some fresh bagels and coffee.  We drove past the railroad tracks to an abandoned neighborhood. We trekked to a picnic shelter, poured coffee into our mugs, dunking the bagels in our coffee for some quick nourishment. Then we packed up the picnic, bundled up in our mittens and scarves to stroll through the wintry landscape. Large snowflakes bathed us and eased us into other worldly calm, immersing us into the beauty of the Beloved.
 
 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday

 
 
 
 

 
 
 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out,
 
“Hosanna!
Blessed is he who comes
in the name of the Lord,
even the King of Israel!”
 
(John 12:13 ESV)
 
 
Linking up with:
 
 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Benefit: An Act of Kindness


 
Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits — 
(Psalm 103:2 NIV)



Winter jasmine in the Chinese garden


 

As of last week, I became a member of the Missouri Botanical Garden. Membership has its benefits. I paid the yearly fee that allows me and one other adult and apparently unlimited numbers of children into the Garden on my membership. The benefits include free visits to the Butterfly House and the Shaw Nature Reserve, plus  discounts in the gift shops.

After a lovely breakfast at First Watch with a dear friend, I headed to the Garden. Right away, I could tell the difference between my free Wednesday visits and this visit on a Friday as a member—plenty of parking. A few people strolled the grounds, but it felt like I had the place to myself. Granted it was a gray, cold spring day. Upon my arrival, in addition to my entrance ticket, I received a free ticket to the annual orchid show.

I saved the orchids for last, as I wanted to take a brisk walk around the gardens, and then find a place to sit and write. I climbed the steps to the second floor of the main building, which leads out into the garden. At the top of the stairs, I was greeted by a display of Elaine Blatt’s photography, which featured landscapes of wheat fields, orchards and vineyards in France and some close views of produce at market. A little taste of France in St. Louis.

At the end of the display stood two volunteers. The woman asked me where I was headed. I told her I was going for a walk. I couldn't help but tell her that I was a new member. Then she asked, if I knew about the “In Bloom Cart.” No, I didn’t.

Samples of plants that were currently in bloom around the garden, were placed in  numbered pots, which corresponded with a location on the map. I know this was not a member’s only benefit, but I felt special as she explained this feature to me. Now more alert, I began to notice these particular flowers, as I wandered through the gardens.
 
This visit rejuventated my zeal for the Beloved. I sensed Him inviting me to re-engage in the honeymoon mentality. We were enjoying creation together. He was taking me on a tour of His garden. So much variety, I felt like a kid in a candy shop. Which plant did I want to look at next? Think of all the places I could sit this year in the various themed gardens.

We entered the Chinese garden. I sat down in the pagoda noting observations about the plants in my journal and sketching the peonies pushing up from beneath the decayed leaves from last autumn. It was just the experience, I had been longing for, time set apart to admire God's creation.

The chill of the outdoors urged me towards the Climatron and Temperate House. The tropic warmth had me peeling off my hat, gloves and scarf. While my glasses defogged, I squinted at the tropical foliage. I walked around to the Temperate House, where the blue and white tiled atrium beckoned my imagination to a Middle Eastern oasis. I found a dry bench across from an olive tree; I removed my winter coat, pulled out my journal and poured out my praise and prose to the Beloved.
 
I recalled our journey thus far. How I had such high hopes of this Hobo Honeymoon Lenten romance, which mostly have been met, but recently were being overshadowed by anxious thoughts.
 
Then my mind returned to the early Lenten days, when I realized this journey leads to death of my Beloved. And I wondered how the disciples felt, as the days drew near, as events like the Transfiguration and Triumphal Entry gave them such heady, vibrant hopes for the future. Not knowing that a great darkness was right around the bend and an even more glorious Hope after those three dark days.
 
And next, I was marveling how a visit to a garden could boost my mood, even on a gray wintry type day. And it was as if Jesus leaned in and whispered, “See, I left you something beautiful to remember me by until I return.”  Sweet, dear Jesus, O how I love Thee!

Words fail to express the deep gratitude and joy that was restored to me today, as I felt beckoned by the Savior to come to the garden alone. To tarry there and remember the joys He longs to share.  I wanted to spend the whole day marveling over and absorbing the great creativity and vastness of His imagination. The variety of the orchids alone could not even contain His expressiveness and deep kindness extended to us every hour that we breathe.

 “Forget me not,” He whispered, as I left the Garden to head back to the suburbs.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Consider: To Think About Carefully

 
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow:
they neither toil nor spin...
(Matthew 6:28 NKJV)
 
 
 
Yesterday, we considered the butterflies...and my friend Lynn Morrissey, who inspired me to consider them in the first place, left some wonderful lessons over in the comments on yesterday's post. Go here to read more...
 
 
 
 
And now FOR TODAY...
 
 
Over at The Simple Woman's Daybook, I found these list of prompts. I thought it would be a fun way to "journal" about the first day of Spring!


Outside my window...on the first day of spring snowflakes flutter by, when I was hoping for butterflies.

I am thinking...that the honeymoon is waning, and why have I let the zeal of this Lenten journey lapse into apathy.

I am thankful...that mercy is fresh every morning, and I can recapture the zeal to seek the Beloved, and ask how He wants to finish out the journey of Lent.

In the kitchen...is a box of Little Debbie Oatmeal Pies…how did they get in the house, when I just shooed out some Ghirardelli chocolates…I get rid of one temptation and another follows on its heels. Deliver me from evil!

I am wearing...comfy jeans and a burgundy turtleneck and my winter boots, when I’d rather be wearing shorts and a t-shirt and flip flops.

I am creating...inner chaos by flitting around my anxious thoughts rather than lighting on the terra firma of God’s word.

I am going...to enjoy the remaining days of Lent, as a "daily liturgy of lilies," rather than harassing myself over past failures and vague future dreams. (See The Quiet Act of Attention by Jill Carattini)

I am wondering...how easily I lose sight of the Beloved.

I am reading...Psalm 91 in the morning, and Rules of Civility (Amor Towles) in the afternoon. Psalm 91 shelters me from the barrage of anxious thoughts, and the novel gives me a break from reality for a few hours.

I am hoping...that I will embrace whatever weather each day brings, and remember that my Beloved beckons me to find refuge in His love alone.

I am looking forward to...warmer weather, sitting on the porch swing, and the lazy days of summer.

I am learning…that just because one season ends that its effects can be carried over into the new season. A new season doesn’t erase the old one. Only God’s forgiveness eases my soul.

Around the house...I find that dust bunnies multiply.

I am pondering...whether or not I should tackle some spring cleaning, now that spring has arrived.

A favorite quote for today... "If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome."(Anne Bradstreet)

One of my favorite things...is to try something new.

A few plans for the rest of the week: meet with friends, go on my weekly writer’s adventure and enjoy each day as a gift from the Beloved.

A peek into my day...I woke up, I ate, I read, I wrote in my journal…and I visited with three friends on the phone (which is a rarity in this day of emails, facebook and texting)


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Lessons from the Butterfly

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV)
 
 
 
" . . . I noticed a chrysalis collection in a case on the wall. Though all different in size and shape, they shared one thing: Each was a tomb of transformation, a womb of waiting where the caterpillar must die, in a sense, in order to be born a butterfly."
(Lynn Morrissey,  Love Letters to God:
Deeper Intimacy Through Written Prayer)
 
 
 
Last Friday, I tried to capture the glory of the Blue Morpho butterflies swarming around the tropical setting of the Butterfly House. They were just too swift for me to snap a picture of them in flight. I had to be content with experiencing their beauty standing still in the moment. 
 
The beauty of a butterfly is fleeting. Did you know the Blue Morpho butterfly only lives for three weeks after it breaks out of its chrysalis? Some may think this is a gross waste of such beauty, yet God in His wisdom and grace grants us this brief glimpse of His glory.
 
Here's another fascinating fact about butterflies: The delicate butterfly inherits the honor of laying the eggs to reproduce this species, not the caterpillar. 
 
What a picture of spiritual growth! What would happen if we didn't progress past the egg, the caterpillar and the chrysalis stages? Our spiritual growth would not only be stunted, it would be aborted. To become the most beautiful reflection of the glorious One, one must die to self.
 
It is imperative to mature into a spiritual butterfly, or we will not multiply. We will not see others birthed into the kingdom of God.

 





Monday, March 18, 2013

At Rest: Free from Anxieties

 
 
The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.
(Mark 1:12-13 ESV)
 
 
As I enter the fifth week of Lent, I wonder how Jesus felt as He endured the last weeks of His stay in the desert. Those forty days, where the Spirit carried Him out to a desolate place, the place where He was tempted by the devil. Did Jesus know it was going to be a forty day experience? He had to be hungry, tired and anxious for the time to be over. Was He tempted to walk out of the desert? What kept Him there? What keeps me stayed on this Lenten journey?
 
I find the duration of Lent less engaging than Advent. Advent lends itself to much anticipation. Lent lingers and opens up my soul to lament. Even though I have been focusing more on a "honeymoon" attitude this year, basking in His love, the reality of Jesus' suffering on the way to the cross haunts me, places me in a somber mood.
 
Although we are no longer under the actual shadow of the cross, we feel its burden. And yet we can rejoice, because we are living in the light of His resurrection.This dichotomy of His death and resurrection, simultaneously causes me grief and joy.
 
Bear with me in this angst of soul, I want to come with tidings of great joy. Yet the message of the gospel embodies both death and life, in that Jesus died and Jesus lives, so I must grapple with both. And I am most thankful that He asks me to remember both, not just one or the other.
 
I confess that I am tempted to gloss over the rough days ahead as we anticipate the week of  Jesus' passion, (passion comes from the Latin word for suffering) and I desire to go directly to the glories of the resurrection. But there is wisdom in mourning, as it leads to comfort.
 
So I will rest with my Beloved, and recall His grief, as well as His triumph over death.
 
 
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
(Matthew 11:28 NIV)
 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Found Out in West County

 
From the rising of the sun
to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord
is to be praised.
(Psalm 113:3 NIV)
 
 
Instead of returning to the city for my writer's adventure, I drove west. To familiar territory, where hopefully the distraction of the unfamiliar might open up greater freedom to write.
 
It was a beautiful springlike day, so I headed toward one of our suburbs, Chesterfield. I had in mind to stop at a couple artsy shops, eat lunch at Faust Park, and stroll the familiar halls of Chesterfield Mall.
 
Apparently in Paris, according to Eric Maisel, the locals cultivate the art of strolling or flanerie. In my attempt to embody the spirit of a flaneur, I chose places where I could take in the sights, sounds and surroundings by blending in. What better way for a suburbanite to camouflage herself, than strolling in a county park and the corridors of an American shopping center.
 
On my way to these familiar frontiers, I stopped at a strip mall. I pulled into the parking lot near Olive and Fee Fee to check out this little bead and metal arts shop, Glasshopper Studio. As I drove around the perimeter, I read the signs above the storefronts: Happy China, Joo Joo, Ichiban, Pita + and Dobbs Tire Center and just for good measure, a Thai food restaurant. The ladies at the bead shop were friendly, and I found some ephemera for my mixed media art stash.
 
Since I wasn't feeling very international in my taste buds, I stopped at Dierbergs to browse the soup and salad bar. With my clam chowder and salad in hand, I headed over to Faust Park to have a picnic with my journal and the Beloved.
 
It was the perfect day, lots of people out enjoying the sunshine and a secluded picnic table in a cove of trees where I supped and tried to write. (This experiment of writing away from home has proved one thing so far, I'm not comfortable writing in public, it's just too distracting.)
 
I was beginning to wonder if these outings were more inspirational. With that thought in mind, I decided to check out the Butterfly House, which my friend Lynn Morrissey found very inspiring several years ago. I was going to reread her chapter in Love Letters regarding her experience, but the humidity and activity of the butterflies kept me occupied.
 
After wandering around for a half hour, mesmerized by the fluttering and flitting of these fragile creatures, I returned to my car to seek out cooler environs. Off to the mall!
 
In one of my guidebooks titled, Finally A Locally Produced Guidebook to St. Louis By and For St. Louisans, I discovered that Chesterfield Mall has dedicated a small portion of itself to the arts. Three or four "galleries" and the black box theatre, Dramatic License Productions are located in an area dubbed "Artropolis." I browsed in Fusion and The Foundrie, both with local artisans displaying and selling their wares. I really liked The Foundrie, which had a vintage feel to it.
 
During my afternoon out west, I was found out. I am easily distracted and sometimes adventures end up being more for inspiration than actual writing. However, I will not be daunted, I will find my writng place away from home. Come back next Friday, and see what else I discover about writing in St. Louis.
 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Taking it to a New Level

 
We’re depending on God;
    He’s everything we need.
What’s more, our hearts brim with joy
since we’ve taken for our own His holy name.
Love us, God, with all you’ve got—
that’s what we’re depending on.
(Psalm 33:20-22 The Message)
 
 
This week, I started out with a prayer asking God to "Save me from haste and confusion..."
 
After that prayer, confusion kept coming across my path. Both the actual word, and at times a sense of confusion about life. So, I looked up the word in the dictionary to ease my distress. The word "confuse" means "to bewilder, to mix up or identify wrongly or to make muddled or unclear."
 
Confusion comes to my heart when I do not understand God's will or direction, and especially when circumstances don't make sense. 
 
I have been asking hard questions this week:
 
Why do two of my friends have to face the fear and uncertainty of health issues?
 
Why does another friend struggle with a sense of condemnation, when she is making a huge difference in the lives of many?
 
Why do I still sit around wondering what I should be doing with my life, when I have a recent degree in English, a self-published book and people who want me to share my writing, speaking and creative gifts with them, as well as plenty of time?
 
On Tuesday, I met with a group of spiritual leaders, where we were discussing spiritual growth and the catalysts that lead to a deeper relationship with Christ. Between my questions and the good dialogue at that meeting, I discovered something.
 
God wants to take us to a new level. He inviting us to bring our confusion, our fears, our doubts, our crises, our agendas, our gifts, our strengths, our weaknesses to . . .
 
a new level of dependence.
 
Dependence on Him. Dependence on His love and grace and strength.
 
Dependence. Will we accept His invitation?
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Uncertain: Not Clearly Identified or Defined

 
Now faith means putting our full confidence in the things we hope for, it means being certain of things we cannot see. It was this kind of faith that won their reputation for the saints of old. And it is after all only by faith that our minds accept as fact that the whole scheme of time and space was created by God’s command—that the world which we can see has come into being through principles which are invisible.
(Hebrews 11:1-3 J.B. Phillips)
 
 
Hello all! I am honored to be guest posting with Dawn  over at Beneath the Surface: Breath of Faith today. The past few weeks, we have been reading and responding to our journey through Writing to God.
 
Writing to God -40 Days of Praying With My Pen
 
My desire has been rekindled to express my love and passion for God through writing. I spend my days with pen and journal in hand, scribbling love notes, writing little poems, and just talking about life with Jesus. 
The prayers and writing prompts of Rachel G. Hackenberg in Writing to God: 40 Days of Praying with My Pen have opened new vistas as I meet with God on paper.
When Dawn asked me to share this week, I immediately offered the opportunity to God. When I read the prayer offering for Day 24: Uncertain, I decided to reflect on the prayer and the prompt for this week.
We all have questions and uncertainty in our lives. This prayer has edged itself into my heart, especially these lines:  “Is ‘Jesus’ the simple answer? Looking back, I see that you offered more puzzles than answers; that still seems to be true. So I will sit here, with palms open and unresolved prayers, O complex Jesus, if you will sit with me. This I ask, for lack of answers. Amen.” (Hackenberg)  
The angst that uncertainty produces in my heart desperately needed the comfort of this prayer.
 
Click here to read the entire post over at
Beneath the Surface: Breath of Faith
 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hurry: To Perform With Undue Haste

 
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
Proverbs 31:25
 
 
Lord God, you who are source of all truth, wisdom, justice, and love...Help me constantly to rest my life upon the eternal foundations of your love and presence. Save me from haste and confusion, from wrongful desire, and the net of evil. Through the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, enlighten, instruct, and guide me all the day long. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
(A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants)
 
 
Do you ever wake up in a hurry? I do. My mind is whirring through all the activities inviting my participation, all the obligations awaiting my attention and all the unfinished projects crying out for my resolution. Some mornings, I rush through breakfast, complain to my husband for the umpteenth time about some nagging problem while sipping our morning coffee, and then dive into some pile of work.
 
Neglecting to be still.
 
Then His tender voice whispers, "Kel, Kel."
 
And I press on in my task. He taps me on the shoulder, and I reply "Oh, it's you LORD, what do you want?"
 
Then I pause, and He gently asks His routine question and offers His perennial invitation:
 
"Why all the bluster and rush? Come sit, awhile. Listen. Enjoy my Presence."
 
So I do. And then the Holy Spirit leads me into green pastures, besides still waters and onto paths of righteousness, and all the while He restores my soul.
 
One of the pastures I found myself in today was 1 Samuel 3. The story of God revealing Himself to the young Samuel. At this point Samuel didn't really know God. And it says that "the word of the Lord was rare in those days . . ." (1 Samuel 3:1). Everything was dimming. Eli, Samuel's mentor had poor eyesight, and the lamp in the temple was burning low where Samuel slept in the presence of the ark of the covenant.
 
In this rare and dimly lit moment, God calls out to Samuel. 
 
Samuel thinks Eli is calling him. And it takes Eli, dull Eli with dimming eyesight, three times before he realizes it must be God calling out to Samuel. And so he tells Samuel, go back and if you hear the voice again, this is what you should say: "Speak, LORD, for your servant hears." And Samuel goes back, and thankfully God calls him again, and God reveals Himself to Samuel and tells him some difficult news. Eli is to be judged for his negligence. Samuel reluctantly divulges this word to Eli, which Eli appears to accept with no argument.
 
Samuel continues to grow and be discipled in the truth by the LORD himself. "And the LORD appeared . . . and the LORD revealed himself to Samuel . . . by the word of the LORD." (1 Samuel 3:21)
 
Oh, how I desire to be a beloved Bride, who hears and listens to her Beloved Jesus! That He would continue to call out to me even in the midst of my hurried moments, moments that really never need to be hastily taken in the first place. That I would start my day, waiting as a disciple to listen for words for the weary. (Isaiah 50:4)
 
 
May my heart readily respond:
"Speak, LORD, for your servant hears!"