Well, there’s no denying it now! The seasons have changed, daylight savings time has kicked in, and… the shortened daylight hours are a reality.
While most of us will probably admit to a vague internal battle with sadness, it is kind of nice having this pause between lawn mowing and snow shoveling. It also is nice to have long cozy evenings to perhaps enjoy fireplaces or wood-burners…and having that “extra” time to dig into a good book.
Ahhh and isn’t it neat to replace the wafting grill aromas with soups and chili and perhaps homemade bread or rolls (at least on the weekends)? I think it’s safe to say that most of us are ready to pull out our fleeces and sweaters as well.
However, this all means one thing. It’s that time again. It’s time to tackle that dastardly deed…changing out the closets and drawers! For moms of larger households, it is a daunting task that pretty much requires setting aside a whole morning or afternoon. I smile as I think about years gone by.
For me now, life is much simpler. As I finally faced the job last week, my mind really wasn’t on the clothing. It was focused instead on the choices. Do I need this? Could someone else benefit from this “still really nice, only gently worn” jacket? In my new season of life is this suit, or dressy banquet dress or long velvet skirt still relevant? And speaking of relevance, what joy that jeans are in! Aside from a pair of basic black slacks, all I now need are clean, well-kept jeans that can be beautifully dressed up or down. I’m free!! I am free!!!
In the last blog I challenged you to stop and ask yourself some questions…..and then decide, what is the greater good?
Thinking about your responses, this week’s question is: what are you wearing in the midst of what you are doing?
Scripture has much to say about this. Here are only a few verses:
“The Lord reigns. He is clothed with majesty; The Lord is clothed, He has girded Himself with strength…” Psalm 93:1.
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness,…” Isaiah 61:10.
“Therefore as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” Colossians 3:12-13.
“The royal daughter is all glorious within, her clothing is woven with gold. She shall be brought to the King in robes of many colors;..” Psalm 45:13-14.
As you think about what’s in your closet, ask yourself: What choices am I making? What is my soul wearing today?
With this blog and the next, I will temporarily be hitting the pause button in our series of going deeper into the Lord’s prayer. I believe you will see the timeliness of these next two heart messages that brought me to that decision. We’ll finish up the beautiful prayer that Jesus taught, in November.
Greetings Dear Friends,
When you read this, most probably the recent glorious Fall days of Northeast Ohio will have given way to the more seasonable rain and chill of late October. I will have just returned from a week of literally stepping “out of time”…reveling in the love and presence of kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. I will have also had the privilege of holding and snuggling extensively with my latest newborn great-grandson. What a truly precious gift that was.
It also was God ordered, because from the perspective of that sweet space I received a little wake-up call from the Lord. I recognized that ever so gradually, I was being pulled back into the vortex of overscheduling, overextending, and the mindset of over-busy-ness (if that is even a word).
Being recently retired from full-time employment, the new rhythms I have been establishing are indeed, freeing and fruitful. All the things I’ve put my mind to are good.
They are all good.
But…(I started asking myself)…am I supposed to be doing all of them all the time?
Are there not times when I’m supposed to be choosing between two goods?
Are there not times when I’m supposed to be choosing the greater good?
Reading this passage of Scripture I saw something very important:
Where are you in your life now? Are you doing much that is good? Are you trying to do it all?
Are you sure you’re supposed to be doing all that you’re doing?
Perhaps the Lord would assign simply a greater good for you to consider…at least for now.
When was the last time you checked in with Him?
Perhaps this week you can take some time, as I have, to just ask Him.
“Let us go…for that is why I came out.”
“Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10
These past days meditating on the Lord’s prayer, I’ve been fixated on the passage in Luke 7:18-28 concerning John the Baptist, and Jesus’ discussion with the people concerning him. John’s disciples had just left after relating his bewilderment in prison concerning just this issue: “Thy Kingdom come…”
John was asking, “Art thou he that should come? Or should we look for another?”
After answering them, Jesus’ also asked a question,…the same question - three times!
“What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment?...
But what went ye out for to see? A prophet?”
I ask myself concerning this Kingdom: what would I have gone out in the wilderness to see?
Here is what Jesus answered:
“This is he, of whom it is written, ‘Behold I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.’ For I say unto you, among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”
Dear friends, this is us! This is us!
Let this wash over you as you speak the words of the Lord’s prayer into the heavenlies and into your own wilderness! Realize that we,…the least of us in the kingdom of God,… are greater than John.
This is true, only because today, we have the Indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit.
This is true because we also are called to “…prepare thy way before thee” in the wilderness of our chaotic times.
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.”
“And it came to pass, that as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, one of His disciples said unto Him, Lord teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1
If you’re anything like me, you’ve known the Lord’s prayer from childhood. It is perhaps the best known prayer among Christians, as it is simple and comforting. In fact it is so familiar, there may even be times when you find yourself saying those beautiful words almost “casually” … only half thinking of what they mean.
Again, I’m speaking from personal experience. However, there was a point in my life when I came face to face with the deep theology and power in those words spoken by Jesus on the Mount of Beatitudes. In the next few blogs I would like to just stay with those words and allow you time to soak in their depth. Are you ready? Let us begin.
Jesus said: “When ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not therefore like unto them; for your Father knoweth what ye have need of, before ye ask Him. After this manner therefore, pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name.” Matthew 6:7-9
Our Father which art in heaven…
I’m writing this in September of 2017 and so far this month there have been four major hurricanes,… three of which have wreaked havoc upon the United States of America. Because of our advanced technology we have been able to sit in our comfortable homes and watch satellite images of a whirlwind so large that it encompassed the entire state of Florida in its approach. We cried and prayed for all those in its path as we watched in disbelief. Yet, this whirlwind does not even come close to displaying the magnificent, powerful transcendency of God in heaven…who is also our Father. The word Jesus used was Abba,… our Daddy.
Hallowed be thy name…
We speak this next phrase in our western culture, not realizing the privilege of approaching Him as Daddy. The Hebrews of Jesus’ day (and throughout the Old Testament) were in such awe and fear of our transcendent Creator, that they never, NEVER spoke His Name. They referred to YHWH as Ha Shem, “the Name.” Yet amazingly, with these words Jesus opened for us the portal of relationship without lessening the holiness of His Father’s Name.
Dear Friends, as you meditate on these two verses in the days ahead, please pause also to embrace another time when God Himself used the word hallowed:
“For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day. Wherefore, the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exodus 20:11
Greetings Dear Friends,
As I write this today, the air has turned a tad crisp and the trees are definitely starting to change colors. In my neighborhood the sounds of school buses depositing their treasured passengers back home have now replaced the distinct sounds of summer. Gratefully, I can rejoice in the fact that my windows can be open and the curtains billowing in the fall breeze. As thankful as I am for air conditioning in the heat, I can honestly say that I’m loving this!
I’ve been thinking a lot about the things I love… and about my love for the Lord.
Since writing the last blog, I’ve become so aware of the state of my soul and have asked myself:
“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches … As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love. John 15:3-10
But Lord, what about my first love? How do I know it’s still first?
The following story called “The Little Fish” from the Indian Jesuit, Anthony de Mello, is a little parable about the awareness of God’s abiding love:
“Excuse me”, said an ocean fish. “You are older than I, so can you tell me where to find
this thing they call the ocean?’
“The ocean,” said the older fish “is the thing you are in now.”
“Oh, this? But this is water. What I’m seeking is the ocean,” said the disappointed fish as he swam away to search elsewhere.
“Stop searching, little fish, says de Mello.
“There isn’t anything to look for. All you have to do is look.”
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you” John 15:11-12.
Thank You, Lord Jesus. Thank You.
I'm a spiritual Director, speaker, and teacher with a sincere desire to share all that the Lord has taught me. It is my passion to help you create a “sacred space” of deeper intimacy with Jesus.
Resources for Going Deeper
Consider the Lilies
1. "Busy Lives & Restless Souls" by Becky Eldredge
1. "Sensible Shoes"
2. "Two Steps Forward-A Story of Persevering in Hope"
3. "Barefoot - A Story of Surrendering to God"
All titles by Sharon Garlough Brown
What Would Come Out if Someone Bumps Into You?
1. "The Way of Discernment: Spiritual Practices for Decision Making" by Elizabeth Liebert
What is Your Sacred Pathway?
1. "Sacred Pathways, Discover Your Soul's Path to God" by Gary Thomas
Spring Training...have you Started?
1. "The Good and Beautiful God, Falling in Love with the God Jesus Knows" by James Bryan Smith
Hurry and Slow Down
1. "Spiritual Disciplines Handbook" by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
2. "Answering God" by Eugene Peterson
3. "Soul Keeping: Caring For The Most Important Part of You"
by John Ortberg
STOP Before You Start Your Journey
1. "Sabbath" by Dan Allender
2. "Spiritual Disciplines Handbook" by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun
3. "Soul Feast" by Marjorie Thompson