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

Articles tagged with: presence

How Do You Recognize God's Voice?

October 11, 2017

Now able to physically see, we can only imagine the sensory overload of all the many sights previously 'unseen' by the healed blind man. He likely had developed a highly attuned capacity to hear as a result of his physical blindness. It is interesting that Jesus continues to seek this man out. Jesus seems to be deliberately assuring the healed man of his presence and training him in learning how to recognize his voice. Even today he comes alongside us to help us learn to recognize his voice and see what was previously unseen.

John 9:35-41 (NLT)
 When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and asked, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”
36 The man answered, “Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.”
37 “You have seen him,” Jesus said, “and he is speaking to you!”
38 “Yes, Lord, I believe!” the man said. And he worshiped Jesus.
39 Then Jesus told him, “I entered this world to render judgment—to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.”
40 Some Pharisees who were standing nearby heard him and asked, “Are you saying we’re blind?”
41 “If you were blind, you wouldn’t be guilty,” Jesus replied. “But you remain guilty because you claim you can see.

For Reflection and Prayer:
Was there a word, phrase or image which ‘shimmered’ for you as you listened to or slowly read the text? Quietly reflect on it in your prayer with Jesus. Journal your conversation.

Is there a particular feeling you experience as you reflect on these words? Welcome this feeling into your prayer and have a conversation with Jesus about it.

Remember words which Jesus has spoken to you in the past. How did you hear them? How did you know that it was Jesus speaking to you? What was the tone of his voice? What was the fruit of those words spoken to you?

Savor any consoling words or pictures as you quietly rest in God.

Remembering Dwelling with God Together

July 12, 2017

The Jewish Feast of Booths is the context within which the following conversation takes place between Jesus and his brothers. This annual feast is celebrated communally as a remembrance of God's dwelling with the Israelite's as they journeyed through the wilderness (that place where we go to hear God). God's sheltering presence was with them before and with them now in the person of Jesus - the Word who became flesh and made his dwelling among us. Stay curious. What might Jesus want them and us to eventually discover about his presence?

John 7:1-13  ESV

After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him. 2 Now the Jews' Feast of Booths was at hand. 3 So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. 4 For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For not even his brothers believed in him. 6 Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. 8 You go up to the feast. I am not[c] going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” 9 After saying this, he remained in Galilee.

10 But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private. 11 The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, “Where is he?” 12 And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, “He is a good man,” others said, “No, he is leading the people astray.” 13 Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him.

For Reflection and Prayer:

If something grabbed your attention - a word, phrase, an image, a sound - stay with that and receive the explanation the Holy Spirit may give you.

Observe the family and community dynamics surrounding this "holiday". What do you notice? If anything intersects with your own story, bring this into your prayer with Jesus.

Receive any consolation that comes to you and quietly rest in God as you conclude your time of prayer.

Encountering Faithfulness

February 1, 2017

In the midst of truth telling - while being known and loved, we witness the Samaritan women encounter faithfulness, perhaps for the first time. She remains vulnerable in the presence of Jesus and boldly asks her big questions about God. Jesus meets her in her questions, her wondering and graciously invites her home to I AM.

The first appearance of I AM recorded in the Scriptures is at the burning bush in Exodus 3:14. Moses is invited to take off his sandals and be at home with God. There God makes himself known as I AM. Moses comes to know God relationally. Now Jesus offers the same invitation to this woman from Samaria, in essence saying, 'you who have never experienced faithfulness...come home to me. You will find me faithful'.

As you enter your prayer, consider the true you God is inviting home. Be there with God, as simply and honestly as you can.

On Pilgrimage to Worship

January 4, 2017

The text recounting the pilgrimage of the Magi is still relevant for us today. This group of wise ones paid attention to the light they did not fully understand and they courageously set out on pilgrimage to worship a King guided by a starlight. This starlight seems to appear and reappear, eventually hovering over the presence of Christ, where they were overcome with joy and responded by bending their knee in worship.

We too are on pilgrimage to recognize the presence of Christ before us. Right here. Right now. In this present moment. In what is in us and before us. It is a long journey often fraught with distractions, fear, shame, worry and harassment along the way. Yet the star still guides and the Christ is eager to be found by us.

God has chosen to make known...the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27

 

Near To The Father's Heart

September 14, 2016

The freedom to truly be a child -
dependent;
not responsible for anything too big for us;
to cry out for what we need, whether nourishment, physical comfort, protection or attention;
living in the moment with whatever captures our interest and attention;
to be seen through the eyes of love and simply delighted in;
- these are the gifts of being a child who lives near to the Father's heart.

Jesus, show us how to live near to our Abba's heart.

Our Hiding Place

June 1, 2016

The place we go to hide can become the place where we become found by God and find God for ourselves. It is a place where we can be seen and known with love and compassion, including the parts of ourselves we most want to hide from. As you find a quiet moment to listen to the words of Psalm 32, give them room to soak in like a softly falling rain.

Our Exodus Story

March 2, 2016

As we continue to pray with the Psalms through Lent, this one is of particular significance. It is the hymn of the Exodus, traditionally sung or spoken before the Passover meal of remembrance. Psalm 114 invites us to remember our own Exodus story, those places where God saw our oppression, came to our rescue and delivered us to a place of sanctuary. Perhaps this story is still unfolding in your life. Take courage and ask God for what you need. Our Deliverer is surely coming.

Psalm 114 NLT
When the Israelites escaped from Egypt—
    when the family of Jacob left that foreign land—
2 the land of Judah became God’s sanctuary,
    and Israel became his kingdom.
3 The Red Sea saw them coming and hurried out of their way!
    The water of the Jordan River turned away.
4 The mountains skipped like rams,
    the hills like lambs!
5 What’s wrong, Red Sea, that made you hurry out of their way?
    What happened, Jordan River, that you turned away?
6 Why, mountains, did you skip like rams?
    Why, hills, like lambs?
7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
    at the presence of the God of Jacob.
8 He turned the rock into a pool of water;
    yes, a spring of water flowed from solid rock.

vs. 8 references: Exodus 17:6, Numbers 20:11

For Reflection and Prayer:

What word, a phrase, image, or feeling affected you as you listened to the text? How did it affect you? Bring this into your prayer with Jesus.

Remember and reflect on your own Exodus experience. Take time to journal and record your story as a remembrance. What did God do for you? What oppressive place and ruler did God deliver you from? Where did God bring you to a place of sanctuary?

How does this Exodus still affect you today? How is God teaching you to draw forth water from the rock? From rocky places? Where or how does God lead you to springs of living water for each day?

How do you like to celebrate your Exodus?

Walking Hand in Hand

January 6, 2016

Walking hand in hand can evoke fond memories of a loved one, such as a special friend or trusted adult. There is a mutuality which unfolds as the pace is set by one and matched by the other, so that the movement occurs in graceful tandem.
Today's Psalm invites us to ponder the mutual companions of love and truth walking in tandem with us, all the while attending to us. It is God's perfect, unfailing love which enables us to be unafraid and unashamed of truth and courageous in it's presence. When you begin your prayer today, imagine love and truth as your faithful companions while you enter and dwell in God's presence. 

Training In Discernment

July 19, 2017

It is midway through the Feast of Tabernacles. The boy who stayed after the Feast of Passover amazing them with his understanding in the temple at age 12 is back as an adult providing foundational instruction in discernment. They marvel because there has been no formal training in the interim. At this Feast to celebrate God dwelling with them in the wilderness they fail to see God dwelling with them in the person of Jesus.
How can we be aware of God and know His will? This passage provides numerous guideposts in discerning God's will. It begins with our desire to want only the will of God. Listen slowly. Wait unit you really hear the heart of Jesus in his words, demeanor and intention.

John 7:14-24 NLT
Then, midway through the festival, Jesus went up to the Temple and began to teach. 15 The people were surprised when they heard him. “How does he know so much when he hasn’t been trained?”a they asked.
16 So Jesus told them, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me. 17 Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. 18 Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies. 19 Moses gave you the law, but none of you obeys it! In fact, you are trying to kill me.”
20 The crowd replied, “You’re demon possessed! Who’s trying to kill you?”
21 Jesus replied, “I did one miracle on the Sabbath, and you were amazed. 22 But you work on the Sabbath, too, when you obey Moses’ law of circumcision. (Actually, this tradition of circumcision began with the patriarchs, long before the law of Moses.) 23 For if the correct time for circumcising your son falls on the Sabbath, you go ahead and do it so as not to break the law of Moses. So why should you be angry with me for healing a man on the Sabbath? 24 Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”
a from the Greek word gramma meaning: a letter, writing, letters of sacred learning

For Reflection and Prayer:

What caught your attention-a word, a phrase, an image or emotion-as you listened to the text? Have a conversation with Jesus about what you heard.

Was there a particular feeling you experienced as you listened to the conversation? Bring that feeling into your prayer. How do you need Jesus to meet you in that feeling?

At the “remembrance of God dwelling with them in the wilderness” Jesus is teaching on discernment. Prayerfully reflect on your own discernment – where have you noticed God’s presence with you or God’s word to you?

Be still and savor any consoling words or pictures in your prayer.

Where Are You Seeing God At Work?

May 3, 2017

The beloved John continues to bear witness to the complex, crazy-making, critical culture created by scrupulous rule following. He contrasts these Jewish leaders with Jesus who is focused on watching for his Father's initiative and action. His words invite us to consider where we see life and renewal happening in and around us. His ways invite us to participate in God's life giving work through observation, contemplation, prayer, discernment and action. Begin with stopping to see. Where are you seeing God at work around you?

John 5:16-23 (NLT)
So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules. 17 But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.” 18 So the Jewish leaders tried all the harder to find a way to kill him. For he not only broke the Sabbath, he called God his Father, thereby making himself equal with God.
19 So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing. In fact, the Father will show him how to do even greater works than healing this man. Then you will truly be astonished. 21 For just as the Father gives life to those he raises from the dead, so the Son gives life to anyone he wants. 22 In addition, the Father judges no one. Instead, he has given the Son absolute authority to judge, 23 so that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son is certainly not honoring the Father who sent him.

For Reflection and Prayer:

What did you hear or see as you listened to the text? Did something particular catch your attention? Bring it into conversation with Jesus.

Give yourself room for the word to affect you. What are you feeling or sensing? Without judgement, gently bring this awareness into your prayer with Jesus. What does Jesus say to you?

What are you seeing the Father doing? Where are you seeing God working?

Savor any consoling words or pictures as you quietly rest in God.

Who Are You Talking To?

January 18, 2017

Today's text begins a soulful, honest conversation between Jesus and an unnamed woman from Samaria. Listen in on the conversation, noticing who Jesus is - his manners, customs, values and actions. What do they reveal of his heart? How does he look at her? What do his eyes convey? Does his body language reveal anything about his attitude towards her? What is it about Jesus that enables this woman to be so real, bold and honest with him?

Consider your own prayers and conversations with Jesus. Who are you talking to when you pray? How does Jesus listen and engage with your story? As you listen in on this particular conversation at the well, notice where it intersects with your own.

Involving Jesus in Our Shame

October 19, 2016

John chapter 2 begins with a dramatic scene of the miraculous: water stored within ceremonial vessels becomes wine. Astonishing! This story invites further exploration with its many layers of metaphors. It is rich with community, family, friends, cultural norms and customs with threads of shame woven through it. The text invites us to prayerfully place ourselves into the story and allow it to unfold and intermingle with the themes in our own story. What do you want Jesus to know about your shame? What might happen if we ask Jesus to become involved in our personal or communal shame? Listen in to what Jesus tells you.

Counseled By Loving Eyes

June 8, 2016

Counseled by loving eyes which look upon us with compassion
Eyes which say, "choose life"
Eyes that understand our deepest needs and fears
These eyes are not critical, cruel or cunning
They do not evoke fear of punishment
Rather they convey love, hope and kindness
Because of unfailing love, they delight in us learning to walk in the ways of life.

Turn again to see God's loving gaze upon you.

Seen Through The Eyes Of Love

April 27, 2016

Psalm 139 invites us to relate to Hagar and later David's experience of God in the wilderness - that of being seen, known, understood and lavishly loved by God.  Seldom would we choose to go into the deserted wilderness of our own volition. Yet the wilderness is a place to go to hear God speak.
May the presence of God meet you today, where ever you are. Pause and allow yourself to experience God seeing you. Always, you are seen through the eyes of love.

Safe Shelter

January 20, 2016

How might your prayer open the door to experiencing the safe shelter of God, regardless of circumstance?

God meets us in our prayer as we quiet our hearts and allow God's abiding presence to create a sense of safety within us. This may not happen instantaneously and our sometimes unconscious images of God keep us from trusting that God could actually be safe enough to be real and honest with. Yet God promises us his perfect peace as we set our minds on him and it is God's supernatural, mysterious power which brings this peace to us. Be patient with yourself as you learn to approach God in quiet confidence. Sometimes beginning our prayer with an image in our heart of a safe meeting place with God helps us find courage to begin to trust that possibility of safe shelter.

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