"When the mind comes into its own stillness and enters the silent land, the sense of separation goes."Martin Laird from Into The Silent Land, A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation.
I started a new book last night, Into the Silent Land.
Have you ever felt that you have been alone and God is not present? I can look back in these times of my life and know that I did all the things that I knew to do to bring back the feeling of connection on my part. The broken connection was just that, it was a feeling, that dwelt within me. But, it wasn't truth. It was a lie. God was always present within me. I just didn't feel it. Feelings are pretty dicey. We can do great things, we can do hurtful things all because of feelings. They don't always tell us the truth, and they can entice us from what is Good and Beautiful, to what feels good but will bring ruin.
Through my readings and practices, what has been so evasive or maybe just not complete, is starting to break through the fog of unknown.
God you have heard me say...
Where are you God? I am reading, serving, singing, running after You. I am so empty because I know you are there, but I can't feel you.
And where was God. He is everywhere, but more personally, He was and is in me. In all the seeking I have done at times of dryness, if I would have just stopped, been jealous for the silence and aloneness to commune with You, God. Thirty minutes a day has transformed me. Me, God, quiet. My breath is what I hear. Nothing miraculous that I can see or feel, but the miracle is what is silent within me and transforming. Devotion to my quiet time with God has lifted me to Him where He is my well-spring. His glory pours forth to my soul.
It is no wonder that so many seek, but feel they cannot find. The life of screens has taken our down time and ushered us into drowning out the voice of God that lives within us. The life of busyness, that we are addicted to, and embarrassed if we do not participate in, is turning many into empty tombs.
Father, forgive me for my busyness. I am thankful that You are so present in my silence. Within me is You. And I need you so badly. I am grateful for Your love.
But You came like a winter snow, yes, You did
You were quiet, You were soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below
Ooh no, Your voice wasn't in a bush burning
No, Your voice wasn't in a rushing wind
It was still, it was small, it was hidden
Oh, You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below
Falling, oh yeah, to the earth below
You came falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below
February 10, 2012
February 07, 2012
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.James 1
I have been in the book of James for weeks now while working through our women's bible study on James, called Mercy Triumphs by Beth Moore. James is a special book to me for many reasons. First and foremost it was the book that 20 years ago ushered me into clarity on what a Christian is supposed to do and act like. Many will say that James focus' more on works than faith, but I see works being the overflow of faith. They work together as good friends not as adversaries. Sometimes as Christians we don't want to do the hard thing. Sometimes we know God's word, maybe even we know the words like the lines on our hands. But they are not written on our hearts.
Starting in James 1:19...
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
There are times within our walk with Christ that we are at a fork in the road, a couple of paths ahead to choose from. One leads to destruction, but might feel good for a while. The other leads to Love. True love from God above. Love that will fill our hearts with the fruit of the Spirit...God's love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control.
I have written on my blog over the last many years of my pursuit of God and Him calling me deeper. And I have written about how I am inspired by the great men and women of faith who have walked the earth with us, or gone on before, those people who are tangible representations of God's love. Those people have helped me see that great faith in God is possible. They would be the first to say that they were nothing special, only broken people who recognized their overwhelming need for God to be in their lives. They were willing to sacrifice pride, possessions, personal glory and time, to name a few, to humble themselves to the path that God would call them to. These people were not special in that they were people born of great faith, they were people who simply responded to God's call and made some difficult sacrifices along the way. As the scripture says above, they allowed perseverance to run its full course in order for it to do it's work and refine them into maturity.
My greatest desire is to allow perseverance to finish it's course in me. I will be giving perseverance reign in me until the day that Jesus calls me home, and it will be that day that I have been made complete in Christ. Until then, I want to not be like the man who forgets his own face in the mirror, I want to be someone who lives the love I have been so mercifully and undeservedly given by the Creator of the Universe, otherwise known as Abba Father.
Thanks be to God for the influences of Christ. May I never look away and forget.