Interlude I went out walking Late at night The moonlight Was so bright My shadow walked beside me. I needed time for thinking And I sought A good spot But I could not Make out the stars above me. Too many lights glowing Mankind's tries To lighten skies Blinding my eyes To the beauty I might see. It set me wondering Of thoughts enshrined By a Darkened Mind In attempt to find An image of who we might be.
If You're a sun burning Living Fire We can desire But would expire If we dared to approach You; Are we the moon hanging High overhead Utterly dead Our light instead One that is endued? Or are we stars shining Containers of light Pinpricks in the night Scattered but bright Each with our own hue?
I see the day dawning No more night To our sight You the light The only one we can see. A glimmer of understanding What is true Us made anew An image of You Our light born in unity.
Haste this Day's coming With all restored In one accord And You adored O, Great Father of lights!
My social media feeds have been flooded with messages of good wishes for a new year, suggestions to make intentions rather than resolutions, and encouragements to be more mindful, to name but a few of the types of posts I’ve seen. I am not one for resolutions myself. I was recently at a retreat and heard someone say, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plan.” I don’t believe God is the type of being seeking to amuse Himself by throwing a wrench into our best laid plans but neither can I deny there is some truth to that statement. Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart deviseth his way; but the Lord directeth his steps” (KJV). That’s the scripture that keeps coming to mind during this time of resolutions and seeking change and so I do not seek to deviseth my own path, but to be aware of the Lord’s direction and to walk where He would have me go.
This very decision implies relationship. I cannot walk by the direction of the Lord without being aware of Him: His presence, His thoughts, and His voice. And, I am. He is always with me and I seek to always obey His promptings and corrections. I have to admit I don’t perfectly obey but it’s more of I didn’t recognize a prompting until afterward rather than deliberate disobedience. Moving into a new year, I ask The Holy Spirit to continue to guide me into greater understanding and discernment. May I recognize the sound of His voice every moment.
I have been thinking about asking questions of God. I do it all the time. If The Holy Spirit is my teacher, as the scriptures say He is, how do I learn except I ask questions? I do not know any teachers who do not want their students to ask questions. Why would we expect The Holy Spirit to be different? I already shared how I wondered about the Elder Brother in the Prodigal Son story in Luke 15 and how within a few weeks I had Malcolm Smith’s sermons on just that subject. This has happened many times. There is so much I don’t understand (Ha! Understatement) and there has never been a time where I have posed a question to The Holy Spirit and he has not answered it. Sometimes it’s through another teacher, sometimes it’s through the scriptures, sometimes it’s a book placed on the right shelf at the right time…there are many and varied ways in which He answers me and, the more He answers me, the bolder my questions get.
I ask The Holy Spirit, “why?” Two teachers I have learned a great deal from, two men I admire and respect, have both at various times said “don’t ask God why”. I understand why they say this. Consider the mind of God. If you are a believer in God and believed He created everything that is; then you believe the vastness of creation with its infinite variety, its precision, and its intricacy originated in His mind. He imagined it and spoke it into being. How can my finite mind begin to comprehend the infiniteness of God? It cannot and neither can I ask “why?” because as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways higher than my ways and His thoughts than my thoughts (Isaiah 55:9, paraphrased) and I cannot possible comprehend the answer.
And yet-I have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). The Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead lives in me (Romans 8:11). This same Spirit is the Spirit Jesus promised would guide me into all truth, show me things to come, and take all the things of the Father that were given to Jesus and give them to me (John 16:13-15). This is massive. It’s beyond words. It’s definitely a time to Selah until the reality of it saturates us to our cores. This is the life that Jesus has made available for us, I boldly ask Him “why?” and I trust He will answer me.
I do believe the way of asking is important. I do not demand to know “why?” like I am putting God on trial and expect Him to defend Himself to me. I do not spit my “whys” at Him and use them as an excuse to go my own way. I ask as His child and I ask within the parameters of that relationship.
I’m sure all of you who are parents have experienced your child asking “why?” You do not shut down that precious curiosity nor do you ignore a question that has been asked in pain. I do not believe our Heavenly Father does so either. But then, neither does a loving and concerned parent force information on a child who is too young and inexperienced to understand. Sometimes answers to a child’s “why’s” are only partial answers and sometimes they can only be answered with, “I cannot tell you that yet: you are not yet old enough to understand.”
There have been many times where that is the answer I have received and it is an answer I am okay with. When I receive that particular answer, I expect something to happen. I don’t expect anything specific but I know that an opportunity will come where I can learn something. Sometimes I recognize the opportunity as part of the answer to the question I have asked. Other times, it’s an answer to something I didn’t think to ask. Whatever happens, I know that I can trust my Father is not mad at me for asking and will, in His perfect wisdom and timing, give me the answer I desire.
To those of you who have stuck with me over the last year, thank you for reading! I don’t expect the content of the posts to change much in the upcoming year. I do hope each post will reflect growth in understanding, discernment, obedience, and delight in this life I live in Jesus Christ. My prayer for myself and each one of you in this new year is that Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation will expand our knowledge of Jesus Christ, that the eyes of our hearts will be shed with light that we may come to fully know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in us, and that we would know the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe.
I wonder as I wander Seeking no specific place There are many things to ponder I want the sun upon my face As I head hither and yonder I find I'm still in Spirit Space And I wonder as I wander How You'll help me run this race
I wander as I wonder Why I didn't have a clue This duress I have been under Had nothing at all to do with You With my misperceptions rent asunder I can clearly see what's true Those things that we call wonders Are things only You can do
Be still and know that I Am God The words have come through loud and clear I find the commandment rather odd Because I know You're more than near You are with me in this body Which is Holy Spirit dwelling sphere But I'll be still and know my God And wonder where we'll go from here
No longer do I wander I'm guided by each word You say Stillness is not time I squander Because You teach me how to pray My desire's not to maunder From this path I will not stray No longer do I wander When I'm walking in The Way
I am pleased to welcome another Renaissance Woman to the blog this week. Rebecca Friedlander is a writer, poet, photographer, film maker, musician, singer, and I’m sure there are many other talents I don’t yet know about. Rebecca is a beautiful sister in Christ and I am honored to be getting to know her.
My first experience with Rebecca Friedlander’s work was watching her film “Finding Beautiful”. I then watched her “Thin Places” film which is a history of the Celtic Church from the 5th Century to the 1900s. I am especially grateful for this film because if I hadn’t watched it I would never have purchased “Listening For the Heartbeat of God: A Celtic Spirituality” at a thrift store and would never have heard about Pelagius and the fight between his views and those of Augustine. Rebecca has been a guide for me in ways she is not aware (until now!)
Rebecca has published a new book: The Divine Adventure:Spiritual Practices for a Modern-day Disciple. I have ordered it but am waiting for it to arrive. I look forward to reading it. If her bible study modules on her YouTube channel are any indication, the book will be a wonderful resource. Enjoy her post!
When I was in Sunday school as a twelve-year-old child, the teacher asked my restless, wiggling class, “How do you get close to God?”
The pat, easy answer was, “Read your Bible and pray.”
None of us knew how to do those things very well. We just knew it was the right thing to say, and it was the most spiritually profound thing we could think of.
I will be the first one to say that reading your Bible and praying are vital to life, but I will also acknowledge that they are keys toward opening an incredible vault of treasures God has prepared for you . . . if you know how to use them. As a young woman, I found myself searching for a deeper walk with Christ that built upon the simple Sunday school formula. Writing a list of prayers and reading the Bible every day were easy, but my heart hungered for a more life-giving, revolutionary journey with Jesus. Envying the early disciples of the first century who walked with Jesus, I longed to follow him with their same connection and abandon.
Faith became to me
a programmed routine . . .
An outward demonstration
That failed to
engage my heart.
Simply put: there was more to the Christian life, and I wanted it—but I wasn’t sure how to walk with Christ in a deep, fulfilling way.
Discovering Jesus, Discovering Discipleship
When I read the Gospels, I discovered a description of Jesus that defied my early Sunday school perceptions. A thoughtful teacher and compelling communicator, he was a far cry from the pasty, stoically posed portraits my mind had painted of him. Instead, the Scriptures offer the fascinating glimpse of a hero who spoke truth, demonstrated love, and set the world on fire with his compelling message. In a time before social media or networking platforms, Jesus set an entire nation ablaze with his earth-shattering words—and he did it all in three and a half years. Christ’s life was like lighting the fuse on a battery of fireworks: revolutionary principles exploding with riveting, world-changing beauty.
Becoming a Modern-Day Disciple
Since the word disciple means “learner,” the term disciplines could be defined as “ways to learn.” These ideas help us practice being a disciple of Jesus in our modern world. Far more than a list of rules or a textbook of prayers, they give us tools to practice discipleship in intentional ways, stirring our passion for Christ and helping us live it out. Like finding a trail of footprints left by Christ and his followers, we can set our feet on the same weathered path and discover the Way they walked.
help us break from our busy lives,
shift our hearts toward heaven,
give our souls space to breathe.
They create space to partner
our hearts with God’s.
They unleash passion
My new book, The Divine Adventure: Spiritual Practices for a Modern-day Disciple is all about practical ways to pursue our faith and cultivate an intimate walk with Christ. These 12 spiritual practices will help you put feet to your faith and go deep in some of the practices of early saints who walked closely to Christ. More at: www.RebeccaFriedlander.com
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