Monday, February 28, 2011

O Love That Will Not Let Me Go

Again Charles Spurgeon leaves me a little awestruck as I slowly read through his evening devotion tonight:

"I am sure he would not have loved me so long if he had not been a changeless Lover.  If he could grow weary of me, he would have been tired of me long before now.If he had not loved me with a love as deep as hell, and as strong as death, he would have turned from me long ago. Oh, joy above all joys, to know that I am his everlasting and inalienable inheritance, given to him by his Father or ever the earth was! Everlasting love shall be the pillow for my head this night."

I grow tired of myself at times even!  How much love can Christ's container of me hold?  More than I can imagine for sure.  I too sleep on the cloud of His everlasting love with the old hymn, "O Love That Will Not Let Me Go" on my mind.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Who Am I?

Casting Crowns has some very nice songs.  Here is one for your Sunday morning.  See you in church.   Click here

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Take the Time

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
   my hope comes from him.
6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
   he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
   he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, you people;
   pour out your hearts to him,
   for God is our refuge. -- Psalm 62:5-8

Georgia O'Keefe once said, "Nobody sees a flower -- really, it is so small it takes time -- we haven't time-- and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time. " 

God is our rock and salvation.  To know God as a friend and trust Him takes time.  To trust God at all times takes some conscious effort and work.  God can be very small -- microscopically so in some people's lives.  I say this because it is such a simple thing for God to be invisible (tiny) amidst all the busy-ness with which we fill our lives.  To see God takes time.   I think for God to become a more present friend requires, at first, setting aside at least two or three formal times a day to intentionally focus on God.  It is perhaps one way Muslims have it

Friday, February 25, 2011


Israel, put your hope in the LORD,
   for with the LORD is unfailing love
   and with him is full redemption. -- Psalm 130:7
There is a massively larger cosmic organization to existence than the tiny corner of reality that we manage and call our "life."  I used to be amazed in my 20's, 30's and 40's how I could get so deeply and passionately involved in a project or an issue that, for awhile, it felt like I had been consumed by it and that was the only thing I thought, breathed, ate, and slept.  Then some small appointment or event would occur that I had to attend and I would be almost literally shocked with the "oh yeah moment" of "Wow, this has been here all along."  Life is bigger and grander than that issue/project.  Life is more.

God's redemption is the message that life is more, little human.  Life is not my behaviors, my loves, my projects, my family, my schedule, my sins, my failures, my... business.  Life is the larger cosmic organization where "my" dissolves into an us with God.  Jesus came to pull our eyes upward from our own blindness, infirmity, smallness, illness, or grief.  Putting one's eyes on Jesus allows us to see beyond ourselves and to see The Offering that God makes to lift us to a grander identity rooted in unfailing love, and fully redeemed for something larger and more magnificent than everything I thought I had or was.  God takes the smallness of our ingrown world and explodes it outward into an existence that is ripe with grandeur, assurance, and peace with Him.  May that knowledge be yours today.  Amen.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Profession of Faith from 1675

I believe
in the Father, benevolent affection;
in the Almighty, saving power;
in the Creator, providence for guarding, ruling, perfecting the universe.
In Jesus, salvation,
in Christ, anointing;
in the Only-begotten Son, sonship,
in the Lord, a master’s treatment,
in His conception and birth, the cleansing of our unclean conception and birth;
in His sufferings, which we owed, that we might not pay;

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mercy Mercy

I lift up my eyes to you,
   to you who sit enthroned in heaven.
2 As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master,
   as the eyes of a female slave look to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the LORD our God,
   till he shows us his mercy.

 3 Have mercy on us, LORD, have mercy on us,
   for we have endured no end of contempt.
4 We have endured no end
   of ridicule from the arrogant,
   of contempt from the proud
. -- Psalm 123 (NIV)
Believing in God has perhaps always been suspect, but it seems to be more that way now.  Perhaps it is the difference between living personal experience and looking through the historical looking glass?  Faith is a sensitive topic.  It (and we) are easily misunderstood.  Science has made objective and provable into a religion of it's own and it's arrogant and prideful tenets are often called on to be used against my pre-modern subjective soul-filled way of knowing.  Others' assumptions immediately pop into place when we express

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Go With God

It seemed like a dream, too good to be true, when God returned Zion's exiles.
   We laughed, we sang,
      we couldn't believe our good fortune.
   We were the talk of the nations—
      "God was wonderful to them!"
   God was wonderful to us;
      we are one happy people.

 And now, God, do it again—
      bring rains to our drought-stricken lives
   So those who planted their crops in despair
      will shout hurrahs at the harvest,
   So those who went off with heavy hearts
      will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.
                                                                                 ---Psalm 126 (The Message)

Go with God.  Seek the high roads, the silver lining in the clouds, the beauty in the uniqueness of a snowflake (if snowfall be your on-going mid-winter curse).  God has delivered many - so many, in fact, that we do not begin to even recognize them -- even when "they" are me.  Turn your eyes on Jesus and find his gentle gaze looking back at you - reflecting in the tiny glint of his eye the strong desire that you only have to "Follow me."  Let the Savior lead - plant your crops, weigh your heart and find at day's end an armload of blessing.

Monday, February 21, 2011


One of the most treasured hand-me-downs from my father's things was this book -- The Devotions of Bishop Andrewes. Vol. I by Lancelot Andrewes.  He was a well known Anglican churchman in his time (1555-1626) and had a hand in translating the first King James Bible in 1611.  This is a snipet from his Morning Prayer confession.
 And Thou, my Saviour Christ,
Christ my Saviour,
Saviour of sinners, of whom I am chief,
despise me not,
despise me not, O Lord,
despise not the cost of Thy blood,
who am called by Thy Name;
but look on me with those eyes
with which Thou didst look upon
Magdalene at the feast,
Peter in the hall,
the thief on the wood;—
that with the thief I may entreat Thee humbly,
Remember me, Lord, in Thy kingdom;
that with Peter I may bitterly weep and say,
O that mine eyes were a fountain of tears
that I might weep day and night;
that with Magdalene, I may hear Thee say,
Thy sins be forgiven thee,
and with her may love much,
for many sins yea manifold
have been forgiven me.
And Thou, All-holy, Good, and
Life-giving Spirit,
despise me not, Thy breath, 

despise not Thine own holy things;
but turn Thee again, O Lord,
at the last,
and be gracious unto Thy servant.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cheerful Hearts

 A cheerful heart is good medicine,
   but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. 
--Proverbs 17:22
He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” --Ezekiel 37:3
It is interesting to speculate that the valley of dry bones described in Ezekiel 37 was there because the people's spirit had been crushed.  What kind of things crush a spirit?  I think I'll leave that question for you to ponder in your heart, as it's a personal perspective thing.  What is crushing for one person, may not be for another.  For example, loneliness for one person can become crushing, while for another being alone is bliss.

Friday, February 18, 2011

My heart is not proud, LORD,
   my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
   or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
   I am like a weaned child with its mother;
   like a weaned child I am content.
                          --Psalm 131:1-2
The writer is speaking words that do not fit what he feels.  With his mind he claims that he has nothing worthy of worry.  But, the writer was anxious enough that he had to find a way to calm himself.   Perhaps his anxiety is rooted in the fact that he is nothing?  Pehaps he worries he'll be forever stuck at this one place in his life.  Whatever the precise anxiety stirred up, he calmed himself through imagining himself in his mother's arms.

Some of the medieval mystics tell of having "showings" or visions where they have vivid experiences of being with God.  The Psalmist here either had one of these vivid spiritual experiences of God holding him, or he used a mediation technique to visualize himself calm and quiet like the weaned child lies safely in it's mother's arms.  

In moments of anxiety we might pray for God to give us the vision of Him holding us like a weaned child with it's mother. There is something quite peaceful in meditating on this scene; like Jesus' mother holding her new son and pondering all things in her heart.

Merciful God, let the peace that passes all of understanding be ours and let us find moments of rest throughout our days.  In Christ and with Christ.   Amen.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

He Doesn't Let Go of Us

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
                                                              -- Romans 8:35, 37
 With winter hanging on in a lot of places, I thought I'd provide a simple reminder of last summer on the beach to remind us that summer will conquer winter.

As summer conquers winter so Christ conquers the cold and winter in our hearts and lives.  Whatever life throws in our way, He is there with the promise that He has an adequate and complete handle on it all.  He never lets us go.

God we affirm that Your grace is sufficient for whatever deficits our lives contain.  Lift us up in Your love and separate us from all worry and anxiety.  Through Christ, lover of our souls, Amen.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Completed Love

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.-- I John 4:8
This is a brief encapsulation of the mystery and crazy depths of Christian faith.  Take a few minutes and just work through this one verse phrase by phrase.  Use what's called the Lectio Divina method where you simply breathe consciously and listen intently as you weigh what each phrase means and implies about life.  (For complete instructions on Lectio Divina click here.)

I recognize the intrusiveness of throwing in my own thoughts, so you need go no farther if you wish to do this process on your own with God.  But, if you wish to hear some inadequate ramblings of my listening carry on.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Resting in God's Love

If God doesn't build the house, the builders only build shacks.
   If God doesn't guard the city,
      the night watchman might as well nap.
   It's useless to rise early and go to bed late,
      and work your worried fingers to the bone.
   Don't you know he enjoys
      giving rest to those he loves? 
-- Psalm 127:1-2 (The Message)
We work really hard to create our lives.  We claim a self-sufficiency and operate under an illusion that all is under our control.  We plan, set goals, implement the plans, evaluate, and adjust.  The future is in our hands.  We believe we have the world by the tail.  Only it isn't.

I sometimes get an image in my mind to paint.  Yet, when I sit down to paint, I can never make it look as well as I see the picture in my mind.  Such are the paintings and plans we do on our own.  We can lay awake at night worrying how to improve our lot.  We can wake up early and work our fingers to the bone trying to make our plans pan out.

Doing anything without God goes harder, and comes together less perfectly with less

Monday, February 14, 2011


A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.  -- John 13:34-35

Valentine's Day -- what else is there to say on this day but something about love?  In a world where the news catches entirely too much evidence of the lack of love, and a special calendar day is designated for love it's ironic that love is so absent.  Even the holiday today is morphing a little more each year into being a sappy sexualized observation somewhat far removed from the love Christ has for each of us.  Think on the love He had for each one of us today and what He gave to pass it on to each of us.  Then let St. Valentine's be imbibed with that love, Christ's love, and love one another with that eternal reality.   Amen.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Running Races

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us...  -- Hebrews 12:1
We are each blessed with two kinds of races.  There is a corporate race we're in together as people of faith, and there is the individual race each of us run that fits like an interlocking piece into the larger faith race.  No matter how old we are, there is a race being run.  The finish line is not the point, it is the getting up and running the race itself.  What race does God call you to persevere in running?

The crowd of all our predecessors is cheering us.  Yet, so many things hinder: thinking we can't, thinking we aren't good enough, thinking we're not smart enough, distractions of every kind and description, and then the sins that entangle often to deaden us to the "not good enough" self-talk.  Almost every great person of faith in the Bible has apparent moments of this kind of struggle.  Moses stammered.  Jonah ran.  Sarah couldn't believe her ears about having a baby in her old age.  They all resisted joining the race at first.  They also all succumbed to picking up the baton and running under whatever "persuasion" God had to use.  The sense we get from each of them is when they do start the races to which they are called a feeling of satisfied completion and peace with themselves takes over.  So throw off whatever hinders you and just start running with it.  It's easier than resisting, because in the end, God WILL have His way.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

An Assurance of Things Hoped For

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2For by it the people of old received their commendation. 
                                                           --Hebrews 11:1
I think the book of Hebrews, a New Testament book, is perhaps one of the more eloquently written books in the Bible. Verse one in the eleventh chapter is one of the more commonly quoted passages.  It does not so much define faith, as it expresses the nature of living with it.  As I read the eleventh chapter again, I was struck by two things.  One is that the author takes us through an impressive list of Biblical characters in whom he sees faith being lived out.  The selection is not really surprising.  The big names are included, and arguably it is their examples for which scripture was composed and given to us as models by which to live.  The second observation I had was that the phrase, "but they are dead" repeats like a musical refrain.  In each of the characters we are given a vignette into the hope they lived by while alive, and then in their deaths an evidence of things unseen -- namely, that in each one's footsteps arises another person of faith.

John Calvin writes:
Then these two things, though apparently inconsistent, do yet perfectly harmonize when we speak of faith; for the Spirit of God shows to us hidden things, the knowledge of which cannot reach our senses: Promised to us is eternal life, but it is promised to the dead; we are assured of a happy resurrection, but we are as yet involved in corruption; we are pronounced just, as yet sin dwells in us; we hear that we are happy, but we are as yet in the midst of many miseries; an abundance of all good things is promised to us, but still we often hunger and thirst; God proclaims that he will come quickly, but he seems deaf when we cry to him.  (Commentary on Hebrews)
There is this constant both-and quality to faith with which all Christians struggle.  We live knowing faith is bigger and better than what we have now -- Christ will come again!  Yet, there is the invisibility of faith at times when living our more difficult daily realities.

The evolving Christian church at the time of Hebrews carried an accepted assumption that when Jesus had said He would come again, it would be in their lifetime.  Many dropped out of living altogether simply to wait for His coming.  The writer of Hebrews is seeing through that assumption and giving examples of all those who carried on in faith even though they are now dead.  The message is: "Life in faith moves on, and you should do the same."  Life is not going to sit still, and faith is not going magically zap away the harder elements in living we each get tossed at us.  But like Moses and Abraham...and prophets and Apostles...and martyrs and saints... and our parents and even you and I we have a conviction not seen, and which, ultimately, is the only thing that can matter.

Our Father, give us this day our daily bread...Amen.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Do You See Christ in the Mirror?

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.  Acts 4:13
 "A Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ. You have read lives of Christ, beautifully and eloquently written, but the best life of Christ is his living biography, written out in the words and actions of his people. If we were what we profess to be, and what we should be, we should be pictures of Christ..."  (Charles Spurgeon)
What would it mean if others were able to see Christ in your face?  Can others tell you've been with Jesus?
I would argue it does not take anyone especially gifted or talented, not anyone well spoken or influential to let Christ be seen.  Peter and John were rough, unschooled and plain.  You simply need to be yourself and not be afraid to let your light shine -- your courage to demonstrate forgiveness and caring, to just tell your own faith story, to stand beside someone having a problem.   Don't be shy.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Come to Jesus

The first time I heard this song was at the funeral of a mom who died in her early 40's.  She had been my daughters' Destination Imagination coach for 3 years.  It is perhaps because of that connection that it has meant so much, or perhaps it's just that powerful of a song?  Hope it helps you through your day.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Children Shall Lead Them....

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  -- Matthew 19:14
There are few things in life which test one's spiritual resolve like parenting.  I didn't know what parenting was until my two daughters hit puberty.  Perhaps the most painful part of all is the very rude and "out there" mirror that they stick in your face causing you to see in yourself all the things you don't want to be and swore on all your ancestors' graves you would never do.  It's frighteningly easy to get pulled into a base, unattractive (even ugly) tit-for-tat battle before you even know it.  One such ugly father-daughter shouting match ensued at my house this morning and I find myself in a penitent mood for having lost it with one of my daughters.

"Let the children come to me," -- Jesus never saw them as teenagers!  Yet, in them we can discover our own weaknesses, our own hurts, our own places of conviction for drifting into those arrogant "just because I'm the parent" power trips.  We realize the depths and propensities to forget our flowery untested spirituality and are introduced to our seamier uncharitable side in the awkward, silent, repentant moments following.

Anything that brings us to our knees reflecting on our needs for repentance and the rejoining our spirits brings us closer to the kingdom of heaven.

For the occasions that brings us to our knees and closer to You, Oh God.  In Christ's name.  Amen

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.  -- Psalm 126:3
The two verses prior to this one are recounting how God restored the fortunes of the people, while the two verses following this one ask God to remember to restore their fortunes.  In the present moment of verse 3, Israel stands in need.  In spite of their present need they affirm God's faithfulness and they celebrate with joy.

Joy in this sense is not equivalent to happiness; it is a fruit of the Spirit that comes as a result of pilgrimaging daily with God regardless.  It does not necessarily mean that everything is great and going the way one desires.   As Eugene Peterson says in A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, 
"This joy is not dependent on our good luck in escaping hardship.  It is not dependent on our good health and avoidance of pain.  Christian joy is actual in the midst of pain, suffering, loneliness, and misfortune."
True joy arises out of the assurance we have of God's omnipresent atoning act in Christ that completes our life second by second.  Joy is a deeply held secret safety in God's control over my world -- my internal world running my thoughts, emotions and physical health, as well as my external world of work, and the sum of my social network.  Whatever happens God has a handle on it and will supply the ways to carry us through for a higher good that is quite possibly going to remain mysteriously clouded from our limited sight.  Joy arises out of an eternal certainty, not whether everything is going our way at the moment.  All we can do in the present moment is say with the Psalmist, "God has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy," while we wait for a future where whatever we might deem ourselves to have lost or not have is restored.  With joyful certainty we know it will be, by and by.

Lord, carry us and fill us with a joy that transcends our human ability to comprehend.  Amen.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Daily Pilgrimage

And Terah took Abram his son, Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife, and they went forth together to go from Ur of the Chaldees into the land of Canaan; but when they came to Haran, they settled there. -- Genesis 11:31
Nothing was inspiring me last night, so I'm a bit late posting today's missive.  I walked into my office this morning and thought: "This place needs to change."  So I rearranged the furniture in my office.  I began pondering the nature of moving things around in our life.  

The Old Testament is full of stories with the similar plot line that fairly mature, older adults get called upon to pick up and move lock, stock, and barrel to another place.  My brother wrote a story of my great-great-great grandparents picking up at the age of 71 and moving from Denmark to America.  That wins over the OT characters as far as distance goes, but what is it about moving to a new place?  I think in the OT, as well as for my g-g-g grandparents, the impulse to move comes out of the confluence of two simultaneously occurring situations.

The first situation is the place people are living becomes fraught with difficulty.  Living in the land of Ur became difficult for Terah and his family as they didn't believe in the prevailing heathen culture in which they found themselves.  So, the struggle to face the people they lived with became intense.

The second situation is that something, or better yet, Someone became more important than place.  Pursuing God and their faith provided a deeper sense of home than the geographical location in which they found themselves.

In all of the Biblical pick-up-and-move situations there is a pilgrimage quality to the move.  They aren't moving for job security or for prettier scenery.  They move in pursuit of a place that embodies for them the presence of the Divine.    This is an admirable pursuit.  We can do the same.  It is a pursuit that all of us should be open to taking.  Not so much in the physical sense, but in a spiritual sense.  Life is fed by the pilgrimages we're willing to make.  Each day we should take a few minutes, to pilgrimage to a place of solitude and pursue the Presence of the Holy. 

Lord, bless us in our travels to draw near to You.  Amen.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Setting Aside Dejection

You have turned my mourning into dancing for me.
You have removed my sackcloth, and clothed me with gladness,
To the end that my heart may sing praise to you, and not be silent.
Yahweh my God, I will give thanks to you forever! -- Psalm 30: 11-12

John Cassian, an ascetic monk from the Fourth century, wrote about the eight obstacles of thought that prevent perfection.  The fifth one is depression/dejection.  He says it is “as the moth injures the garment, and the worm the wood, so dejection the heart of man.”  Depression eats away at our ability to see God and hold onto God.  When faith is lost, according to Mary Margaret Funk in Thoughts Matter, "the dynamism pregnant in each moment and in the totality of the cosmos" is lost.  Spirit crumbles, mood degenerates, thought evaporates and we become immobilized.

Cassian places the blame for dejection on repressed anger, frustrated gain in achieving the plans we have, or for no particular reason at all (physiological dysfunction of the brain.)

Pharmaceutical companies can perhaps help in the case of the third, but the vast amount of depression can have blame for it laid on the first two reasons.  Both of these causes require contemplative help from God, or the Divine Therapist as Father Thomas Keating refers to God.  For the repressed anger we hold we must find the means to open up to the forgiveness available through the grace of Jesus Christ.  For the frustrated plans, likewise, we need to lay the plans at Jesus feet and release the attachment to them.  It is our attachment to the plans or anger, rather than to the Guide, where we are beating our heads into a wall, losing our sanity and happiness.

Jesus stands at the door of our depression and knocks.  Letting Him in to clean out the anger and disappointment, and to take your hand and lead you out of that space is a very good meditation on which to ponder.  Psalm 30:11-12 then becomes real.

Precious God, come and take what ails us that we might turn to dancing, gladness, and celebration.  Amen.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Horn of Salvation

 1I LOVE You fervently and devotedly, O Lord, my Strength.    2The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my keen and firm Strength in Whom I will trust and take refuge, my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my High Tower.  ---Psalm 18: 1-2 (Amplified Bible)
There are many verses of scripture that one can cling to in times of stress or trouble.  This is one of them.  It contains a number of descriptions, metaphors, and attributes of God in a protecting relationship with us.  There are two of these phrases that caught my eye and caused me to more deeply consider their meaning.  Without offering other interpretations, virtually every translation uses the same phrases:  "Horn of my salvation" and "High Tower."

High Tower reminds me, for some reason, of Habbakuk maintaining a watch on the wall.  For God to be my High Tower implies that God keeps a perpetual watch over my life and can see many storms (and bright spots) long before they arrive.  This High Tower allows God to be prepared for whatever comes our way, long before we ever experience it.  In being able to see to the farthest horizon God can prepare our way and direct us in the straightest path through every event coming at us.

The harder phrase is the Horn of salvation.  Most commentators see the horn as a symbol of  strength, or power of the King.  But, another thought I came across spoke of how the Temple altar had four horns, one on each corner and anyone who clung to a horn would be granted sanctuary.  To be pursued by enemies and flee to the altar of God, clinging to the horn of the altar a person could be blessed by being saved from their enemies, protected by God's hand and the sanctity of the Temple. 

God keeps watch over our lives and, often without us even being aware, steers us into the best possible positions to be protected.  If we turn to Him and hold onto the horn of salvation we will be surrounded and protected.

Thank you Dear God, for watching over us, for guarding us with your strength and shield, for giving us a place to which to retreat and hold tight -- your Word and our Light.  Hear our prayers, guard our lives, and grant us Your peace, O Lord.  Amen.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Guided Meditation

I did a video that walks you through the guided meditation I did in print version about a week ago.  This is kind of an experiment to see how it turns out.  Let me know what you think.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Consider how much you owe to his forgiving grace, that after ten thousand affronts he loves you as infinitely as ever. Consider what you owe to his power; how he has raised you from your death in sin; how he has preserved your spiritual life; how he has kept you from falling; and how, though a thousand enemies have beset your path, you have been able to hold on your way. Consider what you owe to his immutability. Though you have changed a thousand times, he has not changed once.  -- Charles Spurgeon, Morning Readings
 A little different set of blessings counted than we might typically conjure up in our reflecting?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

High Anxiety

[27]Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
                                              -- Matthew 6:27

 I woke up early this morning with high anxiety.  So let me walk through what I thought about this uncomfortable, sleep-depriving condition.

First, the reasons for it are not that important because I frequently come across people who tell me about being anxious when there is not even a reason for it that they can imagine.  So, I concluded from that knowledge that no matter what the reason, people feel anxious and it's okay.

My second thought was how ungrounded being anxious makes me feel.  In fact, perhaps it is the other way around: we feel anxious because we are ungrounded.  So, I did some grounding exercises.  These included:
  • Conscious Breathing
  • Changing my location
  • Taking a short walk
  • Taking a hot bath
  • Getting busy with some mundane chore
  • Thinking about stories of Jesus during all of the above

The story that stuck was the same one as I wrote about in yesterday's blog.  Jesus walking over the unsettled stormy water.  I don't know how to swim so great, so the idea of being in water over my head kind of freaks me out in a lot of situations.  Yet, here is Jesus offering a hand and lifting Peter, who had floundered with his water walking, out of the drink to get back in the safe boat.  Anxiety is life's water over your head.  It is letting go of Jesus' hand and letting yourself flounder in worry.  Get back in your safe boat with The Master and all will be well.

Take my hand, Lord and lead me through this day and safely into the night.  Work your miracles in me throughout my life.  Amen.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Walking on Water

(Jesus was) walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost.  They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified.  Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” -- Mark 6:48-50
So I thought I'd tell you about why i named this blog Walking on Water.  A good friend accused me of perpetually rebelling against reality, and asked why it is so hard for me to accept the way things are.  I think it's because I don't accept "reality" as real.  Senses fail us and what may seem real is only the power of my (or someone else's) mind to create an illusion.

Take Peter for example.  He was invited OUT of the boat to walk on the water.  For a few seconds he forgot his "human limitations" and he actually took a couple steps before panicking and falling into the water, proving humans CAN walk on water.  Madeleine L'Engle wrote a book by the same title - Walking on Water.  I'll blame her for my craziness, for like her I often sit beside or walk near water and contemplate whether I can walk on water too.  You can fairly often even find me practicing.  I don't like believing I'm stuck with anything the way it is, and by believing in God strongly enough my spirit is able to catch the belief that all things are possible.

We can over come our limitations.  Keeping our eyes on Jesus walking toward us out of the storm-tossed sea and believing we can join him there reduces the size and "reality" of the storm's power over us.  I named this blog Walking on Water mostly to remind myself not to succumb to the definitions of reality that keep me small and surrendered to circumstances; that there is a larger Reality who believes in me and invites me out of the boat and the safe harbors to walk with Him.  Walk on!

Help me Holy God to meet You on the storm-tossed waves and taking Your hand to not be afraid.  Amen