Ephesians 6:13-18 The Message
13-18Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
Prayer is essential. I invite you to join me in specifically covering MCI for Hope - a work & learn experience in Kenya this week, and SOAR Heartland, a week-long mission in downtown Winnipeg happening right now. We can stay connected to what they're doing by following their blogs listed below.
MCI for Hope Blog
SOAR Heartland Blog
Thursday, March 15, 2012
I have had a lot of opportunity to be still lately. The circumstances are not necessarily what I would have chosen, but the gift in it has been being able to gaze into the face of Jesus regularly.
I'm wired to pursue routine and discipline and so for the past number of weeks, as soon as I am alone in the mornings, I have given myself over to several minutes of centering prayer. Sitting in silence, agreeing to the presence of the Holy Spirit, and letting go of thought, even releasing any other type of prayer, intercession or petition. It is a discipline that I am still learning and I'm not going to evaluate it or measure it, just experience and enjoy it.
This morning, for some reason, I did not go to my "prayer chair" first for that time of quiet. I'm not particularly busy these days, and there is no work I must do, but somehow my morning slipped away in trivial ways. And I had a sense of restlessness. I started to do a few things, always abandoning them after a few moments. I found myself looking for some way to satisfy my restless feelings. It didn't take long for me to wonder if missing that still, quiet time at the beginning of my day was what had me derailed. The good thing is, I have the luxury right now of declaring a "do-over" on my day. I sat. I was still. I am still.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Something I read a few days ago started me thinking along certain lines, only to have the whole thing reframed as I processed it further. The reading had to do with discerning what is true. The challenge was to ask "Is it true? ... is it objectively true?" No matter who said it, or whether or not I like it or any other nuances of context or meaning, but simply "is it true?"
My ego, that part of me that is judgmental and strives to be in control and be superior, and to protect myself from possible hurt, does not want to strip everything else away and simply ask "is it true". I want to react to everything else that surrounds the truth - the source, the context and my own needs. I want the "easy" way.
But that is not at all what I am being asked to do. I sense I am being asked to allow myself to be led down a path of surrender - again! And what would come of that?? I know what has come of surrender work in the past. Light. And I do long for the light.
This meditation came to my inbox this morning and it looks as good a starting place for surrender work as any. Join me?
Monday, February 27, 2012
"Neither I nor the churches themselves really live much of the real Gospel - at least enough to actually change our present lifestyles." (from Falling Upwards by Richard Rohr).
These words brought me to tears today. During my quiet time before I started reading, a thought that came to me was something like "the first word was Love. The last word must be Love". What does that look like? Surely not judgement, competitiveness, or righteousness. Love. Isn't love the word that totally encapsulates the Gospel? How can it sound so simple and yet be so difficult, complicated, and seemingly impossible to understand and live out? What are we missing? Surely we don't have to "try harder".
What if we opened ourselves up to allow love in - to give love the run of the house, to look to love for guidance on how to respond, react, and live. Wasn't Jesus operating out of love 100 percent of the time? Love for his Father, love for us. What's so confusing about that? In fact, it really sounds like the pressure's off. If love is our go-to response then what would our daily interactions look like? What would all our relationships look like? What would our responses to the "big issues" of the day look like? What would our churches look like??
Lord, hold us accountable to Love.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Today is the first day of my favourite season: summer. For me summer is a break out of routine; time seems to slow down just a bit, and God's creation invites me to experience and enjoy.
Something I have engaged in for the past couple of summers, is asking God where he is drawing my attention to for these glorious, languid months. I have had both great pleasure and significant growth through intentionally walking my way through various books of the bible, as well as engaging more regularly in listening prayer.
Usually I have approached God on my own and asked for focus, and followed from there. This time, however, I joined my prayers with two dear friends and team-mates as we asked and listened for each other, then shared what we heard. This was a wonderful time of affirmation, and it was also refreshing to hear God's voice through others. An added dimension that I am looking forward to is the support of this little community, as we have agreed to pray for and check in on each other periodically throughout the summer to see how things are going.
So this summer it seems I am being invited to begin each day in a meeting place with God - to meet him in the river, so to speak. From there, I believe my scripture focus may be to reacquaint myself with the story of Moses. I really wonder what God plans to reveal to me in that story ... not only where I will find him, but also where I'll find myself. There are usually a couple of surprises along the way.
What if we each asked God what he wants to draw our focus to for the summer? Either on our own, or with a trusted friend or two? And then what if we went for it?! Might these sweet summer months become just a little bit sweeter?
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Holy Week for me this year was ... holy. What made it holy was reading and experiencing the story of Christ's passion from a new perspective. It was as if my eyes had been opened to an aspect I hadn't thought of before.
Each day of the week preceding Easter, when I read a portion of the story in scripture, I asked Jesus where I might find myself in the story. Often when I've done this, I've had an experience of picturing myself in the scene ... of seeing, hearing, smelling and feeling my way through the story. This time it was as if Jesus opened the story to who I am ... who he's made me to be.
My first stop was in the garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus prayed and the disciples fell asleep. When I read or hear this story, I'm usually a bit disgusted and less than understanding of the disciples. I mean really, they couldn't stay awake by their dear friend and master's side when he was clearly experiencing extreme anguish? But this time, my intercessor's heart was awakened. How, I wondered, would someone with a heart for intercession pray in a time before the Holy Spirit had been revealed to them? What would the disciples' prayers have been like? Did they think that was even an option for them? I found myself that day praying into that story with an intercessor's heart. Interesting. Holy.
Another experience was in the story of Peter denying Jesus 3 times in the courtyard of the Chief Priest. Again, I've never been overly sympathetic of Peter in that story. I mean really, denying him three times?! Peter, who earlier that evening took up arms against a soldier in defense of Jesus?! But once again, I found myself wondering: was Peter praying in the courtyard? Could he have been in constant dialogue with God, as we can today? Did he know that was even an option for him? Again, I found myself praying into that story from an intercessor's perspective. Interesting. Holy.
And then there was the Via Dolorosa. Jesus' walk to the crucifixion site, carrying his cross. Where would an intercessor be on that "way of suffering"? Was it possible to intercede for Jesus even as he took those painful steps? And once again, I was on my knees, with my heart for intercession broken in this story. Interesting. Holy.
Thank you, Jesus, for revealing a fresh angle to this story. This ancient, precious story that is always new. Thank you for showing me my place in this story today.
Monday, April 18, 2011
"Wherever you go, there you are", is a saying a friend of mine likes to share. It usually is received with chuckles and shakes of the head. Somebody usually comments on how profound that statement is. It's worth a giggle and we move on.
Not that long ago, though, I put some thought into that silly saying. It was after I'd been away for a bit, and realized once again, that my thought patterns, habits, and how I respond to things go with me wherever I am. Things that bug me at home, bug me when I'm not at home. How I respond to someone at home, is mostly how I respond to them when we're away from home - both in the positive and the negative sense.
Who I am and how I do things does not really change just because I go away for a bit. So when I think I want or need to "get away from it all", often what I want to get away from goes with me.
I asked Jesus what he has to say about this. The good thing is, he is the one who really does not change. (see Hebrews 13:8), Plus, he's always with us (see Matthew 28:20). I was reminded that when I find myself in a place where I thought I was getting away from myself (make sense?!) the only place I'll find real change - or transformation - is with him.