Thursday, July 31, 2014

And the last chapter is called “The Healing of the Harms."

Ten piedad de mí, oh Dios, ten piedad de mí,
porque en ti se refugia mi alma;
en la sombra de tus alas me ampararé
hasta que la destrucción pase. Salmo 57:1

Turn to me and have mercy upon me; give Your strength to Your servant; and save Your child. Psalm 86:16

Blessed be the Lord day by day, the God of our salvation, who bears our burdens. Psalm 68:19

Jesus taught us, saying: ‘Come to me, all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’ Matthew 11:28

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful, for I have taken refuge in you; in the shadow of your wings will I take refuge until the time of trouble has gone by. I will call upon the Most High God, the God who maintains my cause. He will send from heaven and save me; he will confound those who trample upon me; God will send forth His love and his faithfulness. I lie in the midst of lions that devour the people; their teeth are spears and arrows, their tongue a sharp sword. They have laid a net for my feet, and I am bowed low; they have dug a pit before me, but have fallen into it themselves. Psalm 57:1-5

So really my favorite thing to do right now, in this sorting out period is read the Narnia Chronicles. And as I curled up with my very favoritest one yesterday, The Silver Chair, and with my favoritest character, good old Puddleglum, God spoke to me again and again. And yes, whomever I was talking to last week, I think C. S. Lewis is definitely anointed, and that the Spirit has spoken through his wise words to many a soul throughout time.

And some of the bits are just practical, such as ““Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do,” and “Life isn't all fricasseed frogs and eel pie,” and “You do not see as quite as well as you think,“ there are some profound eternal truths wrapped up in particularly the webbed-foot, stringy-haired marshwiggle, that speak gospel truth to my aching heart.

“...Aslan didn't tell Pole what would happen. He only told her what to do. That fellow will be the death of us once he's up, I shouldn't wonder. But that doesn't let us off following the signs.” 

“Don't you mind," said Puddleglum. "There are no accidents. Our guide is Aslan; and he was there when the giant king caused the letters to be cut, and he knew already all things that would come of them; including this.” 

“One word, Ma'am," he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. "One word. All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder. I'm a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won't deny any of what you said. But there's one more thing to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things-trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we're leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that's a small loss if the world's as dull a place as you say.” 

But most of all, I am reminded that the enemy is the Liar, who wraps me up with coils as green as poison, with a forked tongue that flickers in and out horribly, but whose head can be hacked off with the sword of truth, even if the horrible thing can keep coiling and moving after it dies, and leaves quite a nasty mess.

I lie in the midst of the Liar who devours the people; his teeth are spears and arrows, his tongue a sharp sword, but God will send forth His love and his faithfulness.

I will call upon the Most High God.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Dribbling down my neck

Señor, pon guarda a mi boca;
vigila la puerta de mis labios.
No dejes que mi corazón se incline a nada malo,
Que el justo me hiera con bondad y me reprenda;
es aceite sobre la cabeza;
Salmo 141, 3-5

Set watch before my mouth, O LORD, and guard the door of my lips; let not my heart incline to any living thing. Let me not be occupied in wickedness with evildoers; Let the righteous smite me in friendly rebuke; it is oil for my head; let my head not refuse it.  Psalm 141:3-4

Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. Philippians 4:14

Show me Your ways, O LORD, and teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; in You have I trusted all the day long. Psalm 25:3–4

As for the part in the rich soil, this is people with a noble and generous heart who have heard the word and take it to themselves and yield a harvest through their perseverance. Luke 8:15

I will remember the works of the LORD, and call to mind Your wonders of old time. I will meditate on all Your acts and ponder Your mighty deeds. Psalm 77:11–12

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know my necessities before I ask and my ignorance in asking: Have compassion on my weakness, and mercifully give me those things which for my unworthiness I dare not, and for my blindness I cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ my Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Well today is my day to sit on the “Potter’s Wheel” and have a kindhearted group of brothers and sisters sort through my life for two and a half hours and look for lies that I have believed and areas of my life that need to be entrusted over to our Loving Father. 

And once again, providentially, the lectio divina Scripture prayers for this morning have spoken deeply to my heart and mind. As to what is true as I prepare for the reproof, encouragement, and correction.

And this discipline is such a gracious gift from God, the beauty of praying Scriptures throughout the day, joining the Church across the globe around the clock, the rhythms of God at work in His beloved creation.

And what is true is that the Evil One is the Father of Lies, seeking to destroy and damage anything and everything beloved by God. And may I meditate on what is true and rest in that perfect peace.

And Phil Driscoll discusses this peace of God today, “I had to let go of my need to understand, and trust that God understood the situation better than I did. Not only that, but He cared about the circumstance and wanted to see me get through it, even more than I did. When I embraced those truths I found peace come flooding back into my life, not for a day or a week or even a month. It’s a peace that lasts forever.”

“God help me to let go of my need to understand everything. Help me to trust in your voice and your promises, that I would lean on your understanding and not mine.

Thank you for your abiding peace that is ever with me and will never leave me.”

To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

I especially remember piling up on the couch in front of the fireplace and begging for one more chapter

You are my hope, O Lord GOD, my confidence since I was young. Psalm 71:5

Know this, the LORD himself is God; He himself has made us, and we are His; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Psalm 100:2

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-12

Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know my necessities before I ask and my ignorance in asking: Have compassion on my weakness, and mercifully give me those things which for my unworthiness I dare not, and for my blindness I cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ my Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

So this week I am doing Potter’s Wheel, an intensive five-day workshop exploring who we are as image bearers, how the Fall has distorted the image in us, and what we can do about it. Very intensive.

And, well, we spend a lot of time reflecting on our story and the decisions we made and how that impacts how we now live and how we see God, ourselves, and others. And how we can walk into utter dependence on the LORD God who unconditionally loves us and has called us according to His purpose. And all of this reflection has made me very grateful for my childhood, for my parents and brothers and sister, and the goodness woven into our life. And perhaps there was a bit of “quitcher bellyachin’” as we cinched up our hip belts and headed up the steep mountain of life, but we were together and the vistas were stunningly beautiful.

And one can never forget the prayer of our mother for each of her children as she and dad knelt by their bed every single night to pray: May they love You, Father God, and may they lead interesting lives.


Friday, July 25, 2014

The only sound is the fountain in the greenhouse, peace

Por lo demás, hermanos, todo lo que es verdadero, todo lo digno, todo lo justo, todo lo puro, todo lo amable, todo lo honorable, si hay alguna virtud o algo que merece elogio, en esto meditad. Lo que también habéis aprendido y recibido y oído y visto en mí, esto practicad, y el Dios de paz estará con vosotros. Filepenses 4:8-9

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9

Mind control. Releasing my thoughts to Him, who is faithfully at work in each of our lives. The nice thing is that the idea of practice is that I am not perfect, but there is the promise that I can become more adept and quick to hear. And slow to speak.

That useless thoughts spoil all: that the mischief began there; but that we ought to reject them, as soon as we perceived their impertinence to the matter in hand, or our salvation; and return to our communion with GOD. Brother Lawrence

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Por nada estéis afanosos; antes bien, en todo, mediante oración y súplica con acción de gracias, sean dadas a conocer vuestras peticiones delante de Dios. Y la paz de Dios, que sobrepasa todo entendimiento, guardará vuestros corazones y vuestras mentes en Cristo Jesús. Filepenses 4,6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

I am reading Phil Drysdale again, Renew Your Mind in 30 Days. The main thrust of the book is that “Repentance is the process of discovering what God says is the truth and aligning your faith with His.

 “We see over and over again the apostle Paul state that while grace has been given in full it can only be accessed through faith. This highlights that, while God has given us something, our trusting (having faith) in that gift is what allows us to enjoy it.

To have the truth set you free is one thing, but to know you have been set free is a whole other story.”

And this morning my supplication was that I would live in this freedom. And really, my heart and mind feel bathed in the peace of God.

Off to a new day.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

You're bound to get idears if you go thinkin' about stuff

Regocijaos en el Señor siempre. Otra vez lo diré: ¡Regocijaos! Vuestra bondad sea conocida de todos los hombres. El Señor está cerca. Filepenses 4, 4-5

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand. Philippians 4:4-5

The ache is very real. Steinbeck exactly captures the same questions of gratuitous injustice and inhumanity to man as the headlines in this morning’s newspaper chomped down alongside my bowl of oatmeal.  As declared by the LORD God to His people in Isaiah. And the call is to engage. To loose the bonds. To undo the straps. To break every yoke.

And this ache sort of saps all of the flavor out of that bowl of plain oatmeal and milk. With a banana sliced on top.

And I was talking to a friend last night how to make sure that El Camino didn’t just turn into a mountaintop experience. Or thirty or forty mountaintops, complete with quaint villages and picturesque farmhouses connected by swooping beautiful beaches.

And we are both moving into the last third of our lives. And what should that look like? Can we be intentional? Pause and consider? Pause and listen to that still quiet voice? That sweet Voice that has become more clear each day? And that is my prayer for this year, that His plan would be made clear.

We are not called to go quietly into the night, into the darkness, distracted and complacent. But neither am I called to angry judgmental finger pointing. And I read Ann Voskamp this morning. And her conviction to “keep writing it out here everyday, the words I am seeking to live — about this wondrously messy, everyday-holy life….about finding the beauty and quiet, about slowing to see the sacred in the chaos, Just listening – laundry, liturgy, life, — all of life, holy ground. A holy experience — because God has flaming bushes everywhere.”

And how am I to go about this life? With rejoicing. And reasonableness. Because His goodness is at hand. And thus it is a holy experience.

Sinners, take your shoes off.