Lenten Meditation: a Word of Abandonment

Lenten Meditation:  a Word of Abandonment

Abandoned!  Left on the "doorstep of Life"...but with no Rescuer in sight! What happens next in the unfolding drama of the crucifixion of our Lord is incomprehensible!

It's an abandonment so profoundly mysterious that it boggles the mind...but ravishes the believing heart! Let's watch it unfold...

It is noon.

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Longing and Learning to Hear God

Longing and Learning to Hear God

As far back as I can remember, I longed to know God.  At my mother's knee, I would sit and listen to stories she would tell me from our big gilded Bible.  You know the one...with the records of births and deaths, marriages and first communions. But it wasn't until later, in my young adulthood, that I became aware that I could hear God's voice speak to me...not audibly, but in the still, small voice of His sweet Spirit dwelling within.

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Hearing God...when getting mixed messages

Hearing God...when getting mixed messages

I have a precious friend named Kitty. She sees and hears God EVERYWHERE! Her favorite "mantra," so to speak, is"He is is SO personal!"  And that's what I love about Kitty!

However, for Kitty and for all of us, hearing God can be a little tricky.  Jesus said we DO hear Him if we belong to Him. But how? Where does the hearing take place?

Kitty and I had such a conversation the other day.  Here is my paraphrase:

KittyI'm struggling.  One minute I hear this message in sermons and songs and blogs,

"Wait upon the Lord.  Keep silent and wait." 

And that's what I'm trying to do. But then the next minute, it is

"God is waiting for you to step out in faith, and then He will move." 

Which is it?

JanThis is the key, Kitty...

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"Your heart has knees..."

"Your heart has knees..."

I would like to tell you about Lou, a friend and brother in the Lord.  Lou was a "flower child" of the '60's.  He, of course, would never have missed Woodstock -- along with all his long-haired hippie freak friends.  And Lou loved to share.  What he always shared was the latest "turn on" he had discovered and enjoyed, no matter what it might be. But there was Something missing in Lou's life.  He didn't realize that it was a God-shaped Someone, and He had a Name.  His Name is our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

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Lenten Meditation: a Word of Family Affection

Lenten Meditation: a Word of Family Affection

Dear woman, behold your son…behold your mother.  John 19:26

Jesus has a special love for His own.

As we’ve already seen with His forgiving and saving attitude in the midst of excruciating agony, His concern was not with His own suffering.  Rather His attention was next drawn to His precious loved ones at the foot of His cross, His mother and His beloved disciple John.

What agony Jesus must have seen on Mary’s face

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Kiss Me...I Might Be Irish

Kiss Me...I Might Be Irish

That was the saying on a balloon I saw at Kroger.  And it was also the sentiment in the elementary school we kids went to in New Jersey.  St Matthew’s was an Irish parish (maybe because the founding pastor was Irish, Fr Duffey), so our sports teams were the “Fighting Irish.”  Anyway, the sentiment was that everyone was Irish on St Patrick’s Day. I remember us Renner girls (mom’s maiden name = Galuszka; so you do the “ethnic” math ) spraying our hair green, putting on our already green uniforms, and heading next door to school.  (Yes, we lived next to the church and school!).  We FELT Irish…even if we were really German & Polish!

Everyone was indeed “Irish” at St Matthews on St Patrick’s Day, except for the few rebellious students and even teachers who wore orange instead of green.

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Lenten Meditation: a Word of Salvation

Lenten Meditation: a Word of Salvation

Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise. Luke 23:43

Jesus seems to have a special love for lost people ... This makes me think of the criminals executed with Our Lord Christ. They certainly were the lost sheep, ...the lost coins, ...the lost sons...and Jesus came to seek them.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. Luke 19:10

They obviously had been running away from God...who knows what kind of crimes they had committed!  The Bible just calls them "criminals" [thieves, malefactors KJV].  Maybe God didn't come into their thinking...but that's the point.  They had gone their own way.

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The Key to the Christian Life

The Key to the Christian Life

Christianity is a PERSON, not a procedure; the LORD, not a list! Not church attendance, not Christ-like qualities, not good works, not the Christian "to-do list" (which may vary depending on the group and "camp" you are in)...

Not evangelism, not mission trips, not a quality "quiet time," not Scripture memorization or Bible study...

Not spiritual disciplines, not prayer, not fasting, not obedience, not miracle-working faith...

Not ______________________ (you fill in the blank with your favorite supposed "godliness-producing external" activity).

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Lenten Meditation: a Word of Forgiveness

Lenten Meditation:  a Word of Forgiveness

Alexander Pope (1688-1744), English poet, once said,To err is human; to forgive, divine.

So true...but we humans more readily echo what someone else has said,

To err is human, but to get even? THAT is divine.

We struggle so, with forgiving our offenders!  Perhaps that's why we are amazed and awestruck to realize that Jesus' first words from the Cross were ones of forgiveness.

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Lenten Meditation: Last Words and Conversations

Lenten Meditation:  Last Words and Conversations

The last words of a dying person are important.  They can communicate good or ill to those left behind.  Why?  Because the last words are so final...and so revealing of what was uppermost in the person's mind as he was leaving this earth to face his Maker. I've never been at the bedside of a dying person.  But I have been with a few people just days before their death.

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The Secret Place of Communion

The Secret Place of Communion

Where do you go to commune with your God? 

Do you go to a chapel or a church?  to a favorite place near a stream, at a mountain retreat, or on a beach? Do you go to a "prayer closet," a special place in your own home?

But maybe you are frustrated because there never seems to be a "place" where you can go. Maybe you're a mom with young children or a special needs child. Perhaps you are a working mom or a worker who needs to moonlight at a second job to make ends meet. Maybe you or a loved one has a handicap or serious illness that takes you to services and medical places that seem to consume your life. Where is the place for you?

I have good news for all of us ... 

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Dust to Dust but Glory to Glory!

Dust to Dust but Glory to Glory!

From dust you have come, and to dust you shall return. 

Ash Wednesday has taken on a new meaning for me this year as it did last, since my 91 year old mom passed away early in November 2015. There was something that arrested me right in my tracks the day of my mom's funeral. I was undone by deep sobs of realization. And the depth of it had been helped along by the incense and the reverence afforded the treatment of my dear mama's frail little body being put to rest (or so they say).

But it wasn't the finality of it all. It had already been final when she had breathed her last, days before.

No! It was the Sacredness that came crashing through!

 
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Another Love Song...

Another Love Song...

I've been thinking about the true love that we all crave in our heart of hearts. It's a love that we only get glimpses of in this life in this broken world.

So here's another love song (remember the last post?)...one that we usually connect romantically and emotionally to that favorite someone. But again, truly...if we listen to the words...can we really sing it to another human being? I suspect that if I really honestly sing a song like this one to someone on this earth, then I would probably be making that someone a "god" in my life.

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A Love Song to Jesus

A Love Song to Jesus

When my husband John and I were seniors at the University of Arizona, the Carpenters were at the top of the music charts.   We embraced them as our group who sang our songs as we were "a-courting."  Their mellow sound and rich melodies fed our romantic feelings toward each other and toward life in general. At our wedding, we danced to, you may have guessed it, "We've Only Just Begun." Lyrics like "White lace and promises, a kiss for luck and we're on our way" made it the perfect song to start out a new marriage...or so we thought.

But as the years have rolled by and reality and maturity have set in, so has the realization that the romantic expectations of youth are so unrealistic and can only truly be fulfilled by an Almighty God.

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Findings in the File: Memoirs from days gone by

Findings in the File: Memoirs from days gone by

A few years ago, I did a series I called "Findings in the File." As I was making an attempt to clean out files (which still hasn't totally happened), I found treasure after treasure buried there. And  just the other day, I had another "finding in a file"... ok, notebook, hidden in one of those infamous files. It was such fun to find. 

Since I'm working on sharing my spiritual journey with a new Bible study group soon to begin, it was a delightful "trip into yesteryear" when I found this -- a "life story and favorite things." It was a presentation done with a small group of precious friends back in 2007, who shared their memoirs also. And then we celebrated each other's lives. What joy!

And so now I thought maybe I would just share my "outline"found in that notebook, in that file...just for fun of it and to encourage you to think about your own life with the "mind of Christ" and gratitude for the treasure that is YOU!

But first, something that came at the end of my outline, but I don't want you to miss if you have just a few minutes to read -- truths still most precious to me. I hope they encourage you too.

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This Day, This Bread

This Day, This Bread

I'm receiving Christ's fullness as my daily portion, morning by morning, day by day.

Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.
John 1:16 NIV

And so as I embrace HIM for my day, moment by moment, I'm also revisiting some of my previous meditations.

Would you like to join in and relearn with me? I don't know about you, but I need to be reminded often of that which I already know. But I need to know it today ... in my real life ... now.

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