Those who have gone ahead

Moses was taking care of the flock for his father-in-law Jethro, Midian’s priest. He led his flock out to the edge of the desert, and he came to God’s mountain called Horeb. The LORD’s messenger appeared to him in a flame of fire in the middle of a bush. Moses saw that the bush was in flames, but it didn’t burn up. Then Moses said to himself, Let me check out this amazing sight and find out why the bush isn’t burning up.

When the LORD saw that he was coming to look, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!”

Moses said, “I’m here.”

Then the LORD said, “Don’t come any closer! Take off your sandals, because you are standing on holy ground.”  He continued, “I am the God of your father, Abraham’s God, Isaac’s God, and Jacob’s God.” Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.

Then the LORD said, “I’ve clearly seen my people oppressed in Egypt. I’ve heard their cry of injustice because of their slave masters. I know about their pain. I’ve come down to rescue them from the Egyptians in order to take them out of that land and bring them to a good and broad land, a land that’s full of milk and honey, a place where the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites all live.Now the Israelites’ cries of injustice have reached me. I’ve seen just how much the Egyptians have oppressed them. So get going. I’m sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt. ”

 But Moses said to God, “Who am I to go to Pharaoh and to bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

God said, “I’ll be with you. And this will show you that I’m the one who sent you. After you bring the people out of Egypt, you will come back here and worship God on this mountain.” ~Exodus 3:1-12 (CEB)

“The Bible and saints who have gone before us give ample evidence of God’s consistent call to each of us. The Bible and the saints who have traveled this road before us also make clear the universal nature of God’s call to all humankind. No one is left out, exempted, or overlooked. All are of equal worth and all are called. While we may think of certain vocations as callings, God appears to consider all of life as our calling, and that includes every honorable vocation.

Regularly practicing disciplines of the holy life puts us in position to hear God’s call clearly. Those disciplines include prayer, fasting, community and personal worship, acts of mercy and compassion, and faithful living.

Hearing is an important step in saying yes to God’s call. But once we hear, we must still decide whether we will go where invited or sent. In other words, hearing may be the easy part of saying yes to God’s call. Once we have heard and counted the cost the most difficult task remains. However, with deep faith in the living God who calls us, the only reasonable response is to say yes. For in our best moments, we know God will ask us, only us, to say yes to an invitation that is right and good for us.  Listen closely, think deeply, pray fervently, and you will be lead to the right answer to God’s invitational call. In my experience the right answer is always yes. The good news is that even when I was unable to give the right answer, God was patient and gave me opportunity to grow in faith until I was able to say yes and to claim another part of my inheritance as a child of God.” ~ From A Guide To Prayer For All Who Seek God, Rueben P. Job

Hearing God’s call is an everyday experience for me. Answering Him is a moment by moment decision. First I need to hear his voice. Sometimes I need to look to others’ example to help me along my way.

Heavenly Father, help me to discern Your will in my life as I seek you though regular discipline of holy living. May the scriptures I read in the Bible help to tune my ears to hear Your Word. Amen.

Seeking

The LORD proclaims: When Babylon’s seventy years are up, I will come and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the LORD; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope. When you call me and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you search for me, yes, search for me with all your heart, you will find me. I will be present for you, declares the LORD, and I will end your captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have scattered you, and I will bring you home after your long exile, declares the LORD. ~Jeremiah 29:10-14 (CEB)

“[Jesus] has said: ask and you shall receive, seek and you will find. Unfortunately we ask for the ephemeral which isn’t really satisfying. We seek what is passing and will leave us empty- until we come to realize in truth we do not know what we truly want, where our true happiness lies. We need to seek a teacher, a prophetic voice- the guidance of one whom the Lord has sent, the Church who makes Jesus present to us today, Jesus who is all our hearts seek. Until we seek and find Truth we will in fact be in a desert chasing mirages, encountering delusions, finding all swaying and unstable.” ~From Living in the Questions by M. Basil Pennington

Help me this day O Lord to seek Your Truth in all I do. Guide my steps through this day so that I may better live for You. Amen.

To say yes to life

Since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, this is the reason that I don’t stop giving thanks to God for you when I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, will give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation that makes God known to you. I pray that the eyes of your heart will have enough light to see what is the hope of God’s call, what is the richness of God’s glorious inheritance among believers, and what is the overwhelming greatness of God’s power that is working among us believers. This power is conferred by the energy of God’s powerful strength. God’s power was at work in Christ when God raised him from the dead and sat him at God’s right side in the heavens, far above every ruler and authority and power and angelic power, any power that might be named not only now but in the future. God put everything under Christ’s feet and made him head of everything in the church, which is his body. His body, the church, is the fullness of Christ, who fills everything in every way. ~Ephesians 1:15-23 (CEB)

“Daily personal prayer, examination of conscience, and participation in a faith-sharing group: these smaller practices can be of real benefit to us in sustaining the larger practice of saying yes to life, saying no to destruction. Together, they help us to understand, judge, and evaluate our daily choices and decisions in light of their relation to our daily choices and decisions in light of the relation to our ultimate happiness, as individuals and as humans in community. If we are to enhance and build up the capacities for a good, wholesome, and holy life, we must learn to say yes to what affirms and renews wholeness and life. And we must learn to say a related no to what induces and brings about destruction and ruin. In this practice, we are invited and challenged to make a fully conscious voice about who it is we are and who it is we shall become.” ~From “Saying Yes and Saying No” by M. Shawn Copleand in Praciting Our Faith, ed. By Dorothy C. Bass

Heavenly Father, I thank You for the faithful friends you have placed in my life that helps me to decipher Your will in my life. May I ever be willing to hear what You have to say. Amen.

Simplicity

They asked him, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You don’t know me and you don’t know my Father. If you knew me, you would also know my Father.” He spoke these words while he was teaching in the temple area known as the treasury. No one arrested him, because his time hadn’t yet come. ~John 8:12-20 (CEB)

“Simplicity and regularity are the best guides in finding our way. They allow us to make the discipline of solitude as much a part of our daily lives as eating and sleeping. When that happens, our noisy worries will slowly lose their power over us and the renewing activities of God’s Spirit will slowly make its presence known.

Although the discipline of solitude asks us to set aside time and space, what finally matters is that our hearts becomes like quiet cells where God can dwell, wherever we go and whatever we do.” ~From Making All Things New by Henri J.M. Nouwen.

The simplest truths can be the hardest to put into practice. Discipline helps to keep the worries at bay. Fears still lurk outside but making time for God helps to keep the stress at bay. The more I try to put into practice the things that the Bible tells me to do the more I realize I am finding myself.

Thank You Heavenly Father for sending Your son into the world so that we might get a glimpse at You. Thank You for choosing to dwell in my heart. Thank You for guiding my steps so that I could begin to realize who I really am, the daughter of a King. Amen.

Complete

“Happy are people who are hopeless, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs. “Happy are people who grieve, because they will be made glad. “Happy are people who are humble, because they will inherit the earth. “Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full. “Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy. “Happy are people who have pure hearts, because they will see God. “Happy are people who make peace, because they will be called God’s children. “Happy are people whose lives are harassed because they are righteous, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs. “Happy are you when people insult you and harass you and speak all kinds of bad and false things about you, all because of me. Be full of joy and be glad, because you have a great reward in heaven. In the same way, people harassed the prophets who came before you. ~Matthew 5:3-12 (CEB)

“Since the human soul is capable of receiving God alone, nothing less than God can fill it; which explains why lovers of earthly things are never satisfied. The peace known by lovers of Christ comes from their heart being fixed, in longing and in thought, in the love of God; it is a peace that sings and loves and burns and contemplates.” ~From The Fire of Love by Richard Rolle

Remember that song that had the line “looking for love in all the wrong places?” I think that is what happens when we run around trying to fill our “God shaped holes” with anything else other than what fits exactly. When the fit is perfect there are no spaces where that love we are longing for can leak out.

Heavenly Father, I thank You for filling the cracks in my heart so completely that no love can leak out. Thank You for feeding my soul so that I no longer thirst or am hungry for the things I once longed for. Thank You for promising complete happiness with You. Amen.

Reorganization

Seek the LORD when he can still be found; call him while he is yet near. Let the wicked abandon their ways and the sinful their schemes. Let them return to the LORD so that he may have mercy on them, to our God, because he is generous with forgiveness. My plans aren’t your plans, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my plans than your plans. ~Isaiah 55:6-9 (CEB)

“It is unlikely that we will deepen our relationship with God in casual or haphazard manner. There will be a need for some intentional commitment and some reorganization in our own lives. But there is nothing that will enrich our lives more than a deeper and clearer perception of God’s presence in the routine of daily living.” ~From “Ways of Prayer: Designing a Personal Rule” by William O. Paulsell in Weavings September/October 1987

I know that when I spend time with God first thing in my day the day just seems to flow better. It isn’t that bad things don’t happen because I spent time with God, but that I find it easier to turn to Him for guidance when the door of communication has already been opened for the day. Nurturing my relationship with Him keeps Him foremost in my mind when bumps in the road happen or when fear is sneaking in the back door again. Because my ears have already been listening for Him it is easier to hear His voice say “This is the way you should go.” (Isaiah 30:21) Because I have already looked to Him it is easier to see His blessings in my life.

Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your Presence in my life. I Thank You for Your guidance and the blessings that You bestow. Help me from slipping into a causal relationship. Instead help me to keep my life intentionally organized so that I have a clearer perception and a deeper understanding of You. Amen

Clinging

God! My God! It’s you— I search for you! My whole being thirsts for you! My body desires you in a dry and tired land, no water anywhere. Yes, I’ve seen you in the sanctuary; I’ve seen your power and glory. My lips praise you because your faithful love is better than life itself! So I will bless you as long as I’m alive; I will lift up my hands in your name. I’m fully satisfied— as with a rich dinner. My mouth speaks praise with joy on my lips— whenever I ponder you on my bed, whenever I meditate on you in the middle of the night— because you’ve been a help to me and I shout for joy in the protection of your wings. My whole being clings to you; your strong hand upholds me. ~Psalm 63:1-8 (CEB)

“Nothing is real without deriving its reality from God. This was the great discovery of St. Francis when he suddenly saw the whole world in God’s hands and wondered why God didn’t drop it. St Augustine, St. Teresa of Avila, St John Vianney, and all the saints are saints precisely because for them the order of being was turned around and they say, felt, and- above all- knew with their hearts that outside God nothing is, nothing breathes, nothing moves, and nothing lives.

This makes me aware that the basis of all ministries rests not in the moral life but in the mystical life. The issue is not to live as well as we can, but to let out life be one that finds its source in the Divine life. ~From Gracias! By Henri J.M. Nouwen

It is a good reminder to not get caught up in trying to live as well as I can. Then my focus is on what I am doing. So quickly it seems sometimes that I go from wanting to do something because I feel led by God- to putting all my energy into what I am doing and I forget where my energy should be in the first place. On God. Any time my focus is on what I am doing, even if what I am doing is ultimately for Him, I find myself back in the try-hard life forgetting that Jesus said that “His load” was easy.

Heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Jesus into the world to show me that our burdens should not be heavy. The key is simply to keep my focus on You. Amen.

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