a quiet space to listen and experience hope, healing and wholeness with God

2014

Listening for Desire

December 17, 2014

Still on their way to Jerusalem, Jesus and his disciples arrive in Jericho. As they leave with a crowd following alongside them, a blind beggar interrupts their journey with his desperate cries for mercy. Once again, Jesus is willing to be interrupted and asks the question for a second time, "what do you want"? Why does Jesus repeatedly invite the same question? What does Jesus understand about desire that he keeps asking and listening for desire in his conversations with others?

You are invited into this same dialogue with Jesus. Are you willing to acknowledge and name what you want in his presence? Keep listening. He is calling you.

Letting Go

December 3, 2014

The rich young man who wanted to gain eternal life seemed surprised by Jesus' command that he sell all his possessions and give them to the poor. Like him, we too likely have that “one thing” left to release. If only we could simply follow the law, obey the commandments, and keep our “one thing” tucked close to our heart too. But then we see that love look in Jesus’ eyes, and we know we need to choose. They can’t both be our deepest love.
It may sometimes be that we are not aware of what we are holding onto, but, if we become honest with ourselves, we begin to realize that something is holding us back from deeper intimacy with Jesus. If we could simply return Jesus’ gaze, rather than try so hard to become godly, perhaps our grip on that “one thing” would loosen as He lifts us into His arms and into greater freedom.
One thing you can be sure of is that no matter what it is you struggle to let go of, God will never let go of you.
Do you sense Jesus’ gaze upon you?  Do you notice what your hands hold closest to your heart? Are you ready to be free of the weight you carry?

Hearing Beneath the Words

November 19, 2014

When we are on the outside listening to the conversation between others and we don't have an understanding of the bigger picture of what they are talking about, we can become confused by what we hear. Or, with Scripture, when we hear a brief section of Scripture without background or context, we can become rigid and condemning of those who seem to "break the rules." The following passage could be one of those.  Certainly Jesus is representing an ethic for relationships and for covenant relationships because God knows the rippling painful, fragmenting, generational effects on families, women, men, children when the covenant relationship and oneness is broken.

Hardheartedness is identified as a root cause of broken relationship.  The primary wound is brokenness in relationship with God. We cannot see to the well-being of another if we do not have our own source of identity and love rooted and grounded in God. This may be the real invitation in these verses. When broken relationships happen there is always an invitation into greater love in a restored and whole relationship with God.

Welcoming the Child Among Us

November 5, 2014

We all long to be welcomed, to sense that our presence is wanted, valued and esteemed. Our core identity is formed in the safe embrace and in being truly seen and greeted by the loving eyes of parents and elders. This form of hospitality is the extension of God's hospitality towards us. One again, Jesus invites us to return to the basics, the essence of why he came - to welcome all his children, that they may find and make their home in him. Experience afresh, Jesus welcoming you home to him. When you are ready, he will show you how to notice and welcome the child in your midst. 

It's Hard To Imagine

October 22, 2014

Imagine with me, if you will, standing on a high mountain with Jesus and two of your good friends.
    
    Pause…and stay there awhile if you can.

    Okay, now imagine that Jesus turns dazzling white—He transfigures—before your very eyes. Then a couple of His colleagues (Elijah and Moses) from centuries past show up. And, to top it off, a voice speaks from a cloud.

    Pause…Now? I don’t think so.

    It’s hard to imagine being with Jesus that day, let alone honor His request to not speak about it until He had risen from the dead. Risen from the dead? What? I imagine it all seemed quite confusing and frightening to Peter, James, and John, even though they were there to experience it.

    It’s hard to imagine being invited onto that mountain with Jesus, isn’t it? But I believe that He extends a similar invitation today. Can you hear Him? “ Dear One, I see that mountain you are facing. Come, join me there.”

    He is risen. He is risen indeed. And I’m not just imagining that.

Who Do You Say That I Am?

October 8, 2014

Jesus asks this question in two different ways; one, he asks about who others say he is, and second, who the disciples say he is. What is Jesus really asking? Was he trying out what they were really thinking? Was he looking for perceptions that they had of him, of who he was, who they knew him to be?  What is it?  Even in Peter's answer, "You are the Christ," one wonders what Peter's understanding of "the Christ" was. 

The question is important for us as well.  It matters who we say that Jesus is. Was Jesus a holy man, a prophet, a teacher? Yes, but is that all? As we read and study the Scriptures we come to greater understanding of who Jesus was and is as God in human form. As we encounter the living Christ in our lives we have real experience of who he is. Who do you say that Jesus is when you bear witness to his presence in your life? Who is "the Christ" to you?

You might ask Christ the same question for yourself, "Jesus, who do you say that I am?"

Living in Abundance

September 24, 2014

So, what is the yeast of the Pharisees? It is that which could permeate and grow within us becoming the compelling force of our lives. The yeast which permeates us can be fear, self effort, hoarding, over responsibility, perfectionism, approval seeking, bickering, or power over others rather than living out of the abundance, generosity and graciousness of God. God has done it for us. Jesus said, "beware". Has he not been inviting us to see, hear and understand in a different way? He invites us to live a watchful life with him in the present moment. This is a radical invitation to trust in God rather than in ourselves.

Open to Being Changed

September 9, 2014

Willing, open to receive, eager to be healed--these words and phrases  describe the deaf and mute man who was led to Jesus by others. He agreed to come; he was willing to go alone with Jesus, to experience Jesus' gentle and intimate touch, his compassion and love, to look into Jesus' eyes as he waited, willing and open, hopeful.

Hearing and speaking clearly were miracles for this man. No doubt he reentered his life in a new way having had this intimate and amazing experience with Jesus. His life had been dramatically changed and transformed. 

Are you willing to go alone with Jesus, with openness and eagerness to experience God's power and presence?  It is life-changing.

On Our Way...With Jesus Leading The Way

December 10, 2014

Jesus and his disciples are embarking on their last trip to Jerusalem. A conversation unfolds between them as they journey together.  It is a raw conversation, full of unedited honesty. The disciples must have felt quite loved and comfortable with Jesus to say out loud what they were thinking in their hearts. From a distance, it is easy to judge these disciples as self centered and absorbed and certainly we can see ourselves in them. Yet, Jesus meets each of them in their disconnect and models the wisdom of true servant leadership. He understands that radical honesty is where transformation can begin.

Jesus, our servant leader, journeys with us, tenderly takes us aside, reveals what is to happen (most often, as it is happening), invites us to ask for what we want and calls us together when we are offended by one another. Every action Jesus takes is serving our own transformation into his likeness and building his Kingdom here on earth. He invites us to serve alongside with him.

Listen in on the conversation...

Come as a Child

November 26, 2014

What would be the qualities of one's heart that would be like a child's? Is it the wonder that a child carries, the openness and innocence?

A child comes dependent on others for their care, their provision, for their basic needs to be met. In this story it may have been parents bringing their children to Jesus, seeing in Jesus One who would bless and nourish their children.

Even if you are one who wasn't brought to Jesus for his loving care, touch and blessing, you can bring yourself, the child that resides within, to Jesus to touch, hold and bless you.

Come. Come as a child to Jesus and receive God's loving care and blessing. Let him hold you for a while.

Who comes to mind that you might want to bring to Jesus for his touch and blessing? Bring them to him in your prayer. 

God's Great Desire for our Good

November 12, 2014

Jesus uses hyperbole (exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally) to make the point that what is a sin pattern in our life can steal, kill and destroy us. It also can be a hindrance to others, affect our peace and cause us to feel we have no worth or meaning.

We know that cutting off a hand, foot or gouging out an eye doesn't get to the inner life issues that can keep us caught in a sin pattern: addiction, resentments, fears, shame, and hiding. Maggots and fire suggest decay and destruction as a result. The imagery reveals that this is a really big deal to God.  Instead of destruction, God wants to give us life in abundance, freedom and joy. God desires that we be fully engaged in life and that we become a source of life to others.
   
So how do we get rid of it? Let God be God. Give up trying to control it yourself. Invite God to give you the power to do what you cannot do on your own. Get honest with another. Confess, name what is going on, and trust another to come alongside you who will accompany you through the healing process into freedom and restoration.

A Practicum in Healing Prayer

October 29, 2014

Our Rabbi, Jesus, humbly enters a chaotic scene involving a community of disciples, religious leaders, a crowd, a family and a hurting child. Tenderly, he invites them to change their focus back to him and see how he heals the oppressed. He offers the same invitation to us today to learn his unforced rhythms of grace. Jesus’ presence is a healing presence. Through prayer, Jesus offers us his presence. When we bring another with us into the presence of Jesus, we join his mission and ministry of intercession, deliverance and healing. This day, do you hear Jesus say, “Bring the child to me”?

You're Not In the Driver's Seat

October 15, 2014

Sometimes we would like to remake God into whom we want God to be. Sometimes we live out of a distorted perception of who God is. Or, sometimes we buy into popular "easy speak" about who God is because it feels safer or more comfortable and might be all about our happiness. 

When Peter declared Jesus to be "the Christ" he apparently had a distorted perception of what that meant rather than how God actually was revealing himself to be in the person of Christ. Jesus clearly tells the disciples what was coming, and it was a path of suffering, death and yes, also the reality of resurrection and new life.

Of course, we would love to get to resurrection without entering the pain and suffering path. Pain comes, suffering comes, as unavoidable realities of human life. We are invited to embrace them not run from them, learn from them, rely on God in them, and allow them to change our heart into a heart like Christ's. The process of dying to a self-absorbed life can be painful but it holds great hope for becoming fully alive. 

A Healing Touch

October 1, 2014

Today's story is a poignant, intimate interaction between a village community, a blind man and Jesus. One could wonder about why these villagers were so desperate for Jesus to heal this man. One could wonder about the way and means Jesus used to heal this man. One could wonder at the vulnerability and surrender of the blind man towards Jesus. One could wonder why Jesus would heal this man at the pleading of his village community and then instruct him not to go back there on his way home. There is much to wonder about in these few verses. Notice again today how Jesus meets you in this story. Notice where wonder arises; wonder that does not demand an explanation yet wonder that opens your soul to possibilities. Let Jesus meet you there.

Are You Hungry?

September 17, 2014

Mark 8:1-13  

Are You Hungry?

Four thousand people came together back in the day, sat on the ground, and listened to Jesus for three compelling days. Compelling, we presume, because they did not leave. They stayed because they were hungry, hungry for Jesus and for every word that came out of His mouth. So He fed them, and they were satisfied.

But before they left, He fed them, all four thousand, a feast given to them from broken pieces of 7 loaves of bread and a few fish. He had compassion on them and did not want to send them home hungry. And He didn’t. “They ate as much as they wanted.” (Mark 8:8a)

How gently Jesus offers to enter our hungry lives and lead us toward satisfaction, satisfaction that brings wholeness to our entire being. No longer do we need to demand a sign from Him proving He is who He says He is. We know, because we’ve been hungry and He has fed us.

Have you noticed where your heart feels hungry lately? Where do you see Jesus with you in that? How have you been fed?

Are you still hungry?

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