Sitting with Jesus

Lately, I seem to have too much noise clattering around in my head leaving me a bit disorientated and somewhat overwhelmed. I have found refuge in the one place that always brings peace, Jesus’ lap. I love sitting on His lap. He takes my anxiety and turns it to dust blowing it out of His hands to never been seen again. Until I stumble again.

I have also found His wisdom and stillness by reading through “A Clean Heart Create In Me” daily  Lenten reflections from C. S. Lewis. It is compilation of works by Lewis edited by Mark Neilsen for Creative Communications for the Parish. It is a hand out that I received through my church for Lent  this year. At first, I read through it just as passages to read not thinking much about what I was reading. Obviously, I was not ‘reflecting’ only going through the motions of reading the words. I placed in neatly within my Bible when I had finished reading all the passages and did not think any more about it.

In the last few weeks, I took it out of my Bible, I highlighted the little prayers at the end of the passages, and I began to read those prayers during my quiet time. Then, I went back through the passages highlighting some parts of them that spoke more to my heart. Then I went back through them again and again. Wow, how they speak to my turbulent heart. When I replace the parts in the passages where Lewis uses we, him, you or us, for Me, Myself or I, the words take on a whole new meaning to me. They become personalized. I understand it better. I find God’s answers within some of those passages. That makes a huge difference in my little world.

I find myself coming back again and again to a couple passages in particular. Here is the first passage from Lewis:

A Deeper Change using the Bible verse: So if you think you are standing, watch out that you do not fall. 1 Corinthians 10:1 Here is what Lewis says: The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self—all your wishes and precautions—to Christ. But it is far easier than what we are all trying to do instead. For what we are trying to do is remain what we call “ourselves,” to keep personal happiness as our great gain in life, and yet at the same time be “good.” We are all trying to let lour mind and heart go their own way—centered on money or pleasure or ambition—and hoping, in spite of this, to be behave honestly and chastely and humbly. And that is exactly what Christ warned us not to do. As He said, a thistle cannot produce figs. If I am a field that contains nothing but grass-seed, I cannot produce wheat. Cutting the grass may keep it short: but I shall still produce grass and no wheat. If I want to produce wheat, the change must go deeper than the surface. I must be plowed up and re-sown.

Here is the second passage:

A Higher Level using the Bible verse: Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:19 Here is what Lewis says: When a man turns to Christ and seems to be getting on pretty well [in the sense that some of his bad habits are now corrected], he often feels that it would now be natural if things went fairly smoothly. When troubles come along—illnesses, money troubles, new kinds of temptation—he is disappointed. These things, he feels, might have been necessary to rouse him and make him repent in his bad old days; but why now? Because God is forcing him on, or up, to a higher level; putting him into situations where he will have to be very much braver, or more patient, or more loving, than he ever dreamed before. It seems to us all unnecessary: but that is because we have not yet had the slightest notion of the tremendous thing He means to make of us.

When I read these passages using Me, Myself and I instead of the third person, the words stir within my heart and begin to  move through my thoughts helping to me to remember that I need to have faith in the Lord, not to understand everything. Most of all, these passages help me to find fulfillment in being a beloved daughter of God and what He would want me to become.

It has been a huge struggle for me recently to keep my focus on Jesus. I have been easily distracted by our daily life happenings, my sister’s health, my husband’s health, my health, my mom, my fumbling with my little sister and nephew and much more. Ah, the heaviness that I have allowed darken my view. Waiting it all out and the heat of the summer have not helped to make it any easier to be patient for the Lord to work out in and around me what He is trying to accomplish.

Yet, I read ‘because God is forcing [me] on, or up, to higher level; putting [me] into situations where [I] will have to be very much braver, or more patient, or more loving, than [I] ever dreamed before. It seems to [me] all unnecessary; but that is because [I] have not yet had the slightest notion of the tremendous thing He means to make of [me].’ I realize my desire for the things I wish is perhaps stronger than my desire for the will of God to be fulfilled in its arrival. He knows my need better than I do, and His purpose in waiting is to bring more glory out of it. I want to make it about me and what I can do…not about Him and what He is better able to do.

Thank you Jesus for letting me sit on Your lap, to talk with You, and best of all to hear what You have to say.

Entering 2010

Good day to all Keeper of the Hearth visitors:

An explanation.

~And your ears will hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way; walk in it, when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left.~ Isaiah 30:21

My intent was to be back adding Daily Devotionals right after Christmas. However, when I sat down to begin the next devotional, I sensed as if I was put on pause mode instead. Something inside cautioned me to remain quiet for a longer period of time. As the Holy Spirit leads and guides me, I obliged and have spent the last few weeks seeking guidance during my quiet time and asking how can a better use this blog. Am I where God wants me to be? Am I carrying out what His plan and agenda for me? Or am I merely giving lip service and putting myself first?

I miss Jesus so much when I neglect Him and our precious relationship. I stumble and fall, such a mess I am, when I loose sight of Him. I am ever so weak and it seems I am constantly putting my agenda out front before His.

DSCF0026 I believe I had written that we have two Great Pyrenees on our homestead. They require good sound training, attention, and daily walks. If these very simple things are not provided for them, then they become restless and tune us out. There is a valuable lesson within that observation. A dog has a keen sense of order, this is commonly referred to as ‘pack  mentality’ [which actually holds true for all animals]. They strive for the big dog position, the leader of the pack. Not ever having raised or had dogs as pets growing up, my husband and I have little or no experience in understanding how to care and maintain a dog [let alone TWO!]. This concept of ‘alpha dog’ is all very foreign to me. Yet, in the arrival of these two most amazing dogs of God’s design, I have read and learned a great a deal about it. AND realize there is ever SOOOOO much more to learn as well.

If I do not establish myself as the ‘lead dog’, my dogs will try and take that position for themselves. For example, on a walk, who goes first? The dog or me? Does it matter? YES, I do! I am the lead dog they are to follow after or beside me. If I allow them to lead, they are pulling me [literally] and it is a stressful walk when this happens. It is hard to hold onto 140 lb dog when the ground is covered with snow. We get into all kinds of tangles and trouble when I allow them to lead. So, I have learned that when we walk we take a ‘pack walk’. I go first, being the lead dog, and they follow me. This includes stopping for sniffing and relieving themselves as well. I make the decision when and where they stop to do this. After all that is what the lead dog does, it communicates to the other dogs who is in charge and where they fit into the pack. When I walk our dogs in this fashion, it is a most enjoyable walk. We can walk longer and we all get more benefits from the walk. I can walk both [the 2 and half year old and the 5 month old one] of them together, one on either side of me.

Coming back to my relationship with Jesus, He is the Big Dog if you will. I am to follow after or along beside Him. Not the other way around. In fact, if I put myself out in front of Him, He does not follow me. I am just out there on my own fumbling and stumbling along. Utter chaos and confusion takes over my life and circumstances. Very stressful walk indeed.  Putting Jesus out front where He belongs, make for a more enjoyable walk.

Let Jesus Get it!

back porch A little boy was afraid of the dark. One night his mother told him to go out to the back porch and bring her the broom.

The little boy turned to his mother and said, "Mamma, I don’t want to go out there. It’s dark.”

The mother smile reassuringly at her son. “You don’t have to be afraid of the dark,” she explained. “Jesus is out there. He’ll look after you and protect you.”

The little boy looked at his mother real hard and asked, “Are  you sure he’s out there?”

“Yes, I’m sure. He is everywhere, and he is always ready to help you when you  need him,” she said.

The little boy thought about that for a minute, then went to the back door and cracked it a little.

Peering out into the darkness, he called, “Jesus? If you’re out there, would you please hand me the broom?”

For My Friend

fog for blogforgetfulness clouds my mind.

easily i fall into the fog.

blindly i wander through the density.

the more i struggle, the denser the fog.

so stubborn i am fighting against the fog.

how can this cool chilling density be lifted from around me?

i call out. no response.

i fall. i see a hand reaching toward me

taking the hand within my small hand

i am gently pulled into the sunshine seeing the fog far below me.

as i come out into the light, i see a reassuring face.

gently i am placed upon my path once again.

tenderly a comforting pat upon my behind.

with a nod to reconfirm i am headed in the right direction.

going forward with a renewed spirit & peace.

grateful i need not fight alone against the obstacles placed upon my path.

thank you my Lord Jesus

Recognize O Christian Your Dignity

pray13 The following is an excerpt taken from a story I encountered on the internet a couple of years ago. I placed this piece into a prayer newsletter I designed for my dad. I apologize, that I cannot offer more information as it is not found the Mepkin Abbey site today. I find it as helpful in remembering my part in prayer and my participation in being able to love. It is written by Brother Stanislaus Gumula, ocso, Mepkin Abbey [click on link for more: www.mepkinabbey.org]

The goal of the Christian life is summed up in the ringing words of an early Doctor of the Church: “Recognize, O Christian, your dignity.” In a short essay on prayer and the techniques of prayer, we can do no better than to spend some time reflecting on this powerful statement and its implications for us as we try to deepen our living of the Christian reality.

The Dignity of the Christian

In what does this dignity consist? What says the tradition?

My reading of the Bible and the writings of the great Christian authors over the centuries would indicate it is twofold—not in the sense that this exhausts the reality, but that it sums up its core. Very simply, our dignity consists in being loved and in being able to love.

“God saw everything that he had made and, indeed, it was very good.” Genesis 1:31

“I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry…and I have come down to deliver them…I will be with you.” Exodus 3:7-12

“You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might…You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18; cf Matthew 22:37-39

“In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:10-11

“To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1:5-6

“In the end we will be judged by love.” John of the Cross

“The Lord Jesus, when he prayed to the Father ‘that all may be one…as we are one’ [John 17:21-22] opened up vistas closed to human reason. For he implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons and the union of God’s children in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that humans cannot fully find themselves except through a sincere gift of themselves.” Vatican II, Constitution on the Church in the Modern World 2:24

To be loved and to love stand at the center of our human and Christian experience and so at the heart of our Christian prayer as well.

 

Inspirational Thoughts

The Bible offers encouraging words and wisdom for any situation or circumstance.

cross bible “It’s impossible”: All things are possible [Luke 18:27]

“I’m too tired”: I will give you rest [Matthew 11:28-30]

“I can’t go on”: My grace is sufficient [2 Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15]

“I can’t figure things out”: I will direct your steps [Proverbs 3:5-6]

“I can’t do it”: You can do all things [Philippians 4:13]

“I can’t forgive myself”: I forgive you [1 John:9 & Romans 8:1]

“I can’t manage”: I will supply all your needs [Philippians 4:19]

“I’m afraid”: I have not given you a spirit of fear [2 Timothy 1:7]

“I’m always worried and frustrated”: Cast all your cares on Me [1 Peter 5:7]

“I don’t have enough faith”: I’ve given everyone a measure of faith [Romans 12:3]