I like to close my eyes and imagine these restful waters by which the Lord leads me. They bring me to a place of calm in my mind. However, in real life, it seems I walk beside high surf and waves. The type of water that seems to draw you into the rip tides of busy–ness and self.
Perhaps this is what you long to reveal to us, Lord. With you there ARE restful waters…the turbulence of the crashing waves we feel as we sink in the midst, is our own stirring of the waters through pride, our “my way is the best way”, our sinfulness, and the echo of accumulated evil in the world.
You long to lead us by restful waters…those streams of everlasting life that flow forth from Your side…however we often choose the rip tides. Save me Lord from my foolish following of the high surf and lead me to that place of repose…restful waters and verdant pastures…immersed deep within Your heart and in align with your most holy will for me.
Ah…restful waters…a beautiful meditation for this next week of Lent.
The Parable of the Man with the Withered Hand has always intrigued me. The healing comes from Jesus’ directive, “Stretch out your hand.” How often we go through life with withered hands…hands that pull back in selfishness and self-absorption. What begins with withered hands soon affects our hearts and our minds as we shrivel into a “my way” view of life.
And yet in the reaching out there is healing. In the reaching out there is a re-connecting…in the reaching out there is a re-attaching to the Body of Christ in which His love and strength infuses the souls of His people.
Yes, in the reaching out comes the healing from within.
“We must leave ourselves behind if we hope to have even a glimpse of our true potentialities. But this surrender of self is the thing we find most difficult and so rarely succeed in. To the modern mind it makes no sense…Only by voluntary unreserved surrender to God can we find our home…” Fr. Alfred Delp
These boots are made for walking…right into the New Year 2016. How will you enter into the New Year? We are hearing a lot about resolutions, but as a positive psychology practitioner, I would like to point out…
Resolutions focus on changing something we perceive as wrong in our lives. Beginning with the negative often ends in the negative. How about starting 2016 with the positive? With ONE WORD. ONE WORD that represents a new focus, a new outlook, a special quality that marks the way ahead. Words are powerful…a single word can inspire, motivate, connect, build up and forge a path forward when that ONE WORD becomes a signpost on our journey. I challenge each of you to prayerfully ask God to reveal to you ONE WORD, YOUR ONE WORD, for the path ahead this year. Then post this word somewhere you frequent, ponder it, chew on it, allow it to transform your faith filled, journey ahead! (partially re-posted from New Year 2015, because I know how powerful this New Year’s tradition can become in your life and the lives of your loved ones. Listen to their words as well and let that guide your prayers for them for the upcoming year)
Your boots will walk right into the New Year with a positive, faith filled stride!
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language…And next year’s words await another voice.” T. S. Eliot
“Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders…Take me deeper than my feet will ever wander and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.” Hillsong United
What if you led your life with a trust without borders…a trust in a God whose unwearied, extravagant love for you personally is so beyond what your mind and heart could ever fathom? What would your life look like? How would it change?
With unshakeable confidence let us set forth this week knowing with our eyes on God, we can walk on water.
“There once was a monk named Epiphanes. One day he discovered in himself a gift from God that he never suspected to possess: he could paint beautiful icons. However he wasn’t any more at peace: he wanted, at all costs, to portray the face of Christ. Where to find a suitable model that would express at the same time suffering and joy, death and resurrection, divinity and humanity? Epiphanes then set off on a journey. He traversed Italy, France, Germany, Spain, scrutinizing every face. Nothing. The face suitable to represent Christ was not there. Tired he fell asleep repeating the words of the psalm ‘Lord, I seek Your face. Show me your face!’ He then had a dream. An angel appeared to him who brought him back to the people he had met and for each person, pointed out the one detail that made that face similar to Christ: the joy of a lover, the innocence of a child, the strength of a farmer, the suffering of a patient, the fear of a condemned man, the tenderness of a mother, the dismay of an orphan, the hope of a young man, the joy of a jester, the mercy of a confessor, the mystery of the bandaged face of a leper … Epiphanes understood and returned to his monastery. He set to work and after a while the icon was ready and he presented it to his abbot. The abbot was astonished: it was wonderful. He wanted to know which model he had used because he wanted to show him to the other artists of the monastery. But Epiphanes said “Nobody, father, was the model because no one is equal to Christ, but Christ is similar to all. You cannot find Christ in the face of one man, but in every man is a fragment of the face of Christ. + Anonymous
Every person is an epiphany of God. He “hides” within each of us and we are invited to seek His face in the faces of all those brothers and sisters upon our path. Holy Spirit, teach us to recognize the many forms of Your presence in one another. Happy Feast of the Epiphany to all!
Stare at the four dots in the center of the picture for about 30 seconds. Then close your eyes. What do you see?