May 31, 2013

Pray in that Secret Place

Framed in creamy painted wood, 
delicate lace curtains hung behind an old four pane window 
that had that aged bubbled character of old glass.  

The space on the other side unknown, 
but perhaps small, lit with the filtered shadows of lacy forms. 
Perhaps if the window is open, a gentle breeze whispers across 
a simple desk or a carved rocker situated in it’s quiet corner 
inviting a momentary retreat, a stilling pause. 

“Without solitude it is virtually impossible to live a spiritual life. 
Solitude begins with a time and a place for God, and him alone.” {p.69}

“Although the discipline of solitude asks us to set aside time and space, 
what finally matters is that our hearts become like quiet cells 
where God can dwell wherever we are and whatever we do. 
The more we train ourselves to spend time with God and him alone, 
the more we will discover that God is with us at all times and in all places." {p.79}

"Through the discipline of solitude we discover space for God in our innermost being. ... 
It is in that divine space that God’s Spirit prays in us." {p.90}


Excerpts taken from:

Making All Things New by Henri  J. M. Nouwen.

May 26, 2013

I Fed You in the Land of Drought

It was I who fed you in the wilderness,
    in the land of drought.
Hosea 13:5

Across the landscape of living most of us tread across years of 
personal drought and seasons of personal wilderness. 
The scorched seasons of scarcity or trial 
or loss take different dimensions 
but all are no less filled with suffering. 
For we the faithful, it is not a solitary journey.
Woven through every portion of the searing experience, 
God’s presence shepherds, encouraging, and girds the heart.

The Creator gifted the desert plants with structures
that insure their survival in formidable seasons.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit strengthen our character 
to provide faithful endurance 
through our lean or burdened times. 

Thanks be to God, life’s periods of drought 
are followed by renewing rains, flowering bounty 
and wilderness regions eventually transform into 
productive and inhabitable territory.

A portion of today's gratitude list:
  • the Lord’s provisions in all seasons
  • Psalm 34:4 “...He delivered me from my fears”
  • Hosea 13:5 “It was I who fed you in the wilderness ...”
  • for those around us who serve as ‘angels’ for the Lord
  • scripture’s guide and assurance through troubling hours
  • Psalm 23 “...for thou art with me”
  • prayer's relational power

May 19, 2013

Hillsides Blossom with Joy

The grasslands of the wilderness 
become a lush pasture,
And the hillsides blossom with joy.
Psalm 65: 12-13

"Stop and reflect on our own life. 
What seeds are you planting today, 
hoping for a glimpse of the kingdom of heaven?

Paul names the fruits of the Spirit as 
"love, joy, peace, kindness, 
generosity, faithfulness, 
gentleness, and self-control 
(Galatians 5: 22-23).

Are the seeds of these fruits being planted 
in your life and in the lives of those around you?"
Helen Cepero

Journaling As A Spiritual Practice ~ 
Encountering God Through Attentive Writing 

May 8, 2013

God, the Gardener of Life

In simple humility, 
let our gardener, God, 
landscape you with the Word, 
making a salvation-garden 
of your life. 
James 1:19-21 MSG

There is a path through the church's garden, through the trees and shrubs, where new spring growth has taken hold here and there. Wildflowers lift their purple and yellow blooms sunward. Light green, early growth foliage hangs low over the walk. Stones line the path intermittently yet continuous enough to mark the way. 
In preparation for the morning I’ve selected scriptures, identified intentions for prayer, and chosen to greet Him as Abba, and otherwise determined to be a listener as each step is taken. 
Breezes move gently through the canopy of limbs and against my face. Scripture images of Bible text scroll across my mind: the comfort of the Psalms, the teachings of Philippians, the promises in the Book of John... In the walking, hymns rise in a hum; Abba’s gift, not my plan. 
As I make my way, these stones remind me of the Biblical markings of God’s way and God’s voice. These wildflowers, they remind me of thanksgiving for even the unplanned, the unsightly circumstances of living for that too is redeemed as beauty. That scent, the invisible yet present. These buds near to bursting forth, so like the promises of our faith, the renewal of life. And that wind, always the image of the life giving breath of God. 
At the journey’s end I circle back retracing my steps, lingering slow to whisper a well of gratitude. The dappled shade playing across my heaven tilted face.