Moment by moment

These things were my assets, but I wrote them off as a loss for the sake of Christ. But even beyond that, I consider everything a loss in comparison with the superior value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have lost everything for him, but what I lost I think of as sewer trash, so that I might gain Christ and be found in him. In Christ I have a righteousness that is not my own and that does not come from the Law but rather from the faithfulness of Christ. It is the righteousness of God that is based on faith. The righteousness that I have comes from knowing Christ, the power of his resurrection, and the participation in his sufferings. It includes being conformed to his death so that I may perhaps reach the goal of the resurrection of the dead. ~Philippians 3:7-11 (CEB)

“The holiest of men still need Christ, as their Prophet, as ‘the light of the world.’ For he does not give them light, but from moment to moment: The instant he withdraws, all is darkness. They still need Christ as their King; for God does not give them a stock of holiness. But unless they receive a supply every moment, nothing but unholiness would remain. They still need Christ as their Priest, to make atonement for their holy things. Even perfect holiness is acceptable to God only through Jesus Christ.” ~From “Christian Perfection” by John Wesley

Moment to moment, breath to breath is not such a bad way to live if it keeps me in God’s light. It helps me to feel better when some of Christian history’s “great’s” speak of having to live just one day at a time. It is the way we were intended to live so that we never think too highly of ourselves and thus take our eyes of the reason we are able to live in the light in the first place.

Thank You Heavenly Father, for the power of the resurrection and the journey towards eternal life. May I follow in the footsteps of the saints that have gone before me always striving for perfection. Amen.

 

Creator, Protector and Lover

The LORD’s trees are well watered— the cedars of Lebanon, which God planted, where the birds make their nests, where the stork has a home in the cypresses. The high mountains belong to the mountain goats; the ridges are the refuge of badgers. God made the moon for the seasons, and the sun too, which knows when to set. You bring on the darkness and it is night, when every forest animal prowls. The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God. When the sun rises, they gather together and lie down in their dens. Then people go off to their work, to do their work until evening. LORD, you have done so many things! You made them all so wisely! The earth is full of your creations! ~Psalm 104:16-24 (CEB)

“And in this [God] showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand, as it seemed to me, and it was as round as a ball. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and thought: What can this be? I was amazed that it could last, for I thought that because of its littleness it would suddenly have fallen into nothing. And I was answered in my understanding: It lasts and always will, because God loves it; and thus everything has being through the love of God.

In this little thing I saw three properties. The first is that God made it, the second is that God loves it, the third is that God preserves it. But what did I see in it? It is that God is the Creator and the protector and the lover. For until I am substantially united to [God], I can never have perfect rest or true happiness, until, that is, I am so attached to [God] that there can be no created thing between my God and me.” ~From Showings by Julian of Norwich

Almighty God, in wisdom you have created us and all things. Provide my daily needs and grant me grace and strength to fulfill the ministry that You call me to today. I offer up my prayer in the name and spirit of Christ. Amen.

Poured out

15541682_10154180621387285_7691963953595270761_n

Therefore, my loved ones, just as you always obey me, not just when I am present but now even more while I am away, carry out your own salvation with fear and trembling. God is the one who enables you both to want and to actually live out his good purposes. Do everything without grumbling and arguing so that you may be blameless and pure, innocent children of God surrounded by people who are crooked and corrupt. Among these people you shine like stars in the world because you hold on to the word of life. This will allow me to say on the day of Christ that I haven’t run for nothing or worked for nothing. But even if I am poured out like a drink offering upon the altar of service for your faith, I am glad. I’m glad with all of you. You should be glad about this in the same way. Be glad with me! ~Philippians 2:12-18(CEB)

At a baptismal service recently, I was deeply impressed when the pastor did not dip his hand into a baptismal font already filled with water. Instead he took a pitcher, lifted his arm above his head, and poured the water into the font, creating a small waterfall. As he poured, he gave us scriptural verses on the water of life as a direct, loving energy from God that blesses and heals and flows from within us, through us, beyond us.

We begin to see our daily acts of love as flowing like a river from our center, and poured out on the dry and needy lands around us. Our actions become not willpower but released gestures of pouring, flowing.

When the woman of Bethany came to Jesus and poured precious ointment on his head, it was a released gesture of generous love. ‘She has done a beautiful thing to me,’ said Jesus to those who were scandalized at such an act.

To do a ‘beautiful thing’ to God in released, responsive love is intended to be the only source for the Christian’s words and actions. As one of my students once said to me, ‘The Christian is release from perfectionism to being a love of life.’” ~From Release by Flora Slosson Wuellner

Lord of life and love, help me to worship You in the holiness of beauty, that some beauty of holiness may appear to me. Quiet my soul in Your presence with the stillness of a wise trust. Lift me above dark moods, and the shadow of sin, that I may find Your will for my life; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen

Freedom of the soul

12923300_10153542933022285_654895281283153181_n

Brothers and sisters, I want you to know that the things that have happened to me have actually advanced the gospel. The whole Praetorian Guard and everyone else knows that I’m in prison for Christ. Most of the brothers and sisters have had more confidence through the Lord to speak the word boldly and bravely because of my jail time ~Phil. 1:12-14 (CEB)

“We are desperately afraid of having no power. We fear loneliness, poverty and boredom. We fear failure terribly.

Nonviolence, nonpleasure, nonaggression are also part of our American shadow. These are the things that we avoid to create our character armor. We lust after the kind of aggression that allows us to be dominant, to be powerful. We settle for a certain kind of pleasure that really isn’t joyous. Sometimes pleasure, as a limited [secularized sacred] experience, is the avoidance of joy. It is to entertain one part of our body, perhaps, but at the price of the inner glow and juice of our whole being. Poverty is the ultimate shadow for many of us. We cannot imagine being happy without our money. We would be petrified to be without our many options. We’ve substituted freedom of choice for the freedom of the soul which alone gives spiritual joy.” ~From Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr

Almighty God, may Your strong hand defend, guide, and empower me along my journey today. Help me to overcome the darkness with Your light, my selfishness with Your love and my indolence and cowardice with Your steadfast devotion that I may ever live in Your presence and perform faithfully over my appointed tasks, and finally come to everlasting life; through the Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

Called out

Later, Jesus himself appeared again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberius. This is how it happened: Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two other disciples were together. Simon Peter told them, “I’m going fishing.”

They said, “We’ll go with you.” They set out in a boat, but throughout the night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples didn’t realize it was Jesus.

Jesus called to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?”

They answered him, “No.”

He said, “Cast your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”

So they did, and there were so many fish that they couldn’t haul in the net. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard it was the Lord, he wrapped his coat around himself (for he was naked) and jumped into the water. The other disciples followed in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they weren’t far from shore, only about one hundred yards.

When they landed, they saw a fire there, with fish on it, and some bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you’ve just caught.” Simon Peter got up and pulled the net to shore. It was full of large fish, one hundred fifty-three of them. Yet the net hadn’t torn, even with so many fish. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples could bring themselves to ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came, took the bread, and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. ~John 21:1-14 (CEB)

“For those who profess and call themselves Christians, the lens through which everything else is interpreted is a person: Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection. Just as the lover never plumbs the mystery of the beloved, so we do not exhaust the mystery of Jesus. This, at first, seems a strange claim. But it is not less extraordinary that contemporary ‘messiahs, saviors, and gurus’ possess the consciousness of modern men and women . . . . A walk on a Saturday evening through the streets of a busy city reveals what models, exemplars, paradigms are operating in the lives of the people.

We cannot do without a paradigm to help us live. As a believer, I keep bumping into Jesus. I wander away, and there he is, perhaps in the eyes of someone on the street. There is no escape for me. Nor do I want there to be.” ~From Soul Making by Alan W. Jones

Almighty God, in every age You have called out men and women to be Your faithful servants. Be with me this day as You call me to join in the work of Your hands. Grant me this day and always a clear vision of Your call and strength to fulfill the ministry assigned to me. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

True meaning

20180406_123543

The Son is the image of the invisible God,

the one who is first over all creation,a

Because all things were created by him:

both in the heavens and on the earth,

the things that are visible and the things that are invisible.

Whether they are thrones or powers,

or rulers or authorities,

all things were created through him and for him.

He existed before all things,

and all things are held together in him.

He is the head of the body, the church,

who is the beginning,

the one who is firstborn from among the deadb

so that he might occupy the first place in everything.

Because all the fullness of God was pleased to live in him,

and he reconciled all things to himself through him—

whether things on earth or in the heavens.

He brought peace through the blood of his cross.

~Colossians 1:15-20 (CEB)

“Living in awareness of the risen Jesus is not a trivial pursuit for the bored and lonely or a defense mechanism enabling us to cope with the stress and sorrow of life. It is the key that unlocks the door to grasping the meaning of existence. All day and every day we are being reshaped into the image of Christ. Everything that happens to us is designed to this end. Nothing that exists can exist beyond the pale of His presence (“All things were created through him and for him”- Col 1:16), nothing is irrelevant to it, nothing is without significance. ~From Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning

O God, who through the grace of Your Holy Spirit doth pour out the gift of love into my heart, grant me health, both mind and body, that I may love you with my whole strength, and with a glad heart so that I may perform the things that I am called to do for Your glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A dry well

Just like a deer that craves streams of water,
my whole being craves you, God.
My whole being thirsts for God, for the living God.
When will I come and see God’s face?
My tears have been my food both day and night,
as people constantly questioned me,
“Where’s your God now?”
But I remember these things as I bare my soul:
how I made my way to the mighty one’s abode,
to God’s own house,
with joyous shouts and thanksgiving songs—
a huge crowd celebrating the festival!
Why, I ask myself, are you so depressed?
Why are you so upset inside?
Hope in God!
Because I will again give him thanks,
my saving presence and my God.
My whole being is depressed.
That’s why I remember you
from the land of Jordan and Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.
Deep called to deep at the noise of your waterfalls;
all your massive waves surged over me.
By day the LORD commands his faithful love;
by night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.
I will say to God, my solid rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I have to walk around,
sad, oppressed by enemies?”
With my bones crushed, my foes make fun of me,
constantly questioning me:”Where’s your God now?”
Why, I ask myself, are you so depressed?
Why are you so upset inside?
Hope in God!
Because I will again give him thanks,
my saving presence and my God.

“And the well runs dry. It’s one of the most common experiences in the spiritual life. A practice that we have cherished, a habit that has deepened us and drawn us closer to God, a discipline that we perhaps have engaged in for years, no longer seems to work. Gradually over time or overnight with no warning, its familiar contours turn foreign, dull, perhaps even painful.

Pondering the questions that lie at the bottom of a dry well offers a journey of its own. What I know is this: to find the answers, we have to pay attention to the dryness. This is a desert place. As uncomfortable as it may be, there is no substitute for these desert places in the spiritual life. They offer a wisdom that we cannot get any other way.”~ Jan L. Richardson, In the Sanctuary of Women

Guide me through the desert Lord. Quench this thirst deep in my soul. Do not leave me alone in my wanderings. Guide me safely home. Amen.

Previous Older Entries