Posted by: John | October 31, 2014

In the Bible and Life

Sadducees
Pharisees
wanna-bees
could-bees
should-bees
try-to-bees
hope-to-bees -
and me

Posted by: Lisa | October 30, 2014

The Struggle

“Christianity isn’t a narcotic that dulls you into obedience. It involves battle – it’s excruciating to give up control. But that is why we must not feel despair if we are struggling. To struggle does not mean we are incorrigible. It means we are alive!… Heaven will not be filled with innocent people running around saying, ‘Oh, was there another way? I guess I never noticed.’ Rather they will say, ‘You bet there were other options that begged to control me. By God’s grace and my struggle, Jesus is my Lord.'”
— Rebecca Manley Pippert, “More Myself” in Women’s Devotional Bible

Excruciating!
Crucified
Give up control
Resist Satan’s traps
Struggle without despair
Trust the Father
Crucified with Christ
Death leads to life
Drowning….
Help!
Christ died
Christ lives in me
I trust

Posted by: Lisa | October 29, 2014

Freely Given

“Slaves, be obedient to your human masters with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ, not only when being watched, as currying favor, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, willingly serving the Lord and not men, knowing that each will be requited from the Lord for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.”
(Ephesians 6:5-8)

Freedom freely given
to the Lord saves
from servitude.
What once was burden
is done in love;
all toil here below
aims to please
God above -
God Who is spouse,
employer, friend,
even a seeming foe -
asking only what’s
for our good,
not ever for woe.

Posted by: Lisa | October 28, 2014

Holy Mistakes

“Jesus went up to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also called Apostles:. . . .” including “Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.”
(Luke 6:12-16)

Jesus spent the whole night in prayer before choosing His Apostles, yet He still seemingly made a “mistake” in choosing Judas Iscariot, His betrayer. This, of course, was no mistake; it was part of God’s plan for the death and resurrection of Jesus, for the welfare of the world.  That death and resurrection had to be accomplished somehow!

We often wonder how we could have made terrible mistakes – even after spending much time in prayer before making important decisions.

For example, I prayed intensely for many months before following what I believed was a genuine call to enter a hermitage (religious community) in 2007. Yet, the place turned out to be a nightmare of emotional and sexual abuse for me. Was it a mistake? It sure seemed that way at the time. But looking back at the experience now, there are many small and large lessons I’ve taken from my time there. These lessons have been helpful to me – and through me, have been and will be helpful to others.  Some of them are:

** I learned to cure my bouts of Raynaud’s syndrome by holding my inner wrists under hot running water for ten seconds. This instantly solves an uncomfortable problem that normally takes twenty minutes to resolve on its own. I’ve even shared this “tip” with other women on a few occasions.
** Since I was “ordered” to create Christmas and Easter flower arrangements for the chapel out of huge bouquets of fresh flowers, I learned that I have a talent for flower arranging. This was something I’d never considered. Now, I use this talent to decorate our dining room table at home. It’s amazing how uplifting something so simple but beautiful can be.
** I learned that people who profess to be religious and God-fearing can sometimes be wolves in sheep’s clothing. Yes, my innocence was shattered – but it needed to be shattered. I needed to see the world as it really is, not as I assumed it was.  Not everyone can be trusted.  That’s a fact.  My experiences in this area can be used to help others see the hidden facets in human nature.

I believe all of this was part of God’s plan for me, for my good.  (“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11)  My “mistake” gave me experiences which made me stronger, more whole.  Since I am now studying to possibly work with seekers in Spiritual Direction, my holy mistakes have become part of who I am in relation to others – enabling me to meet people from a place of understanding and compassion.

What are your experiences with “holy mistakes”?

Posted by: Lisa | October 27, 2014

Blood and Water

Footsteps drawn to the sound
of spouting triple-tiered fountain
where waters eternally leap and pour
matching the torrent of tears
in my desolate inconsolable soul.

Skin so thin yet
unable to be torn
blocks my raw bloody
core so sore yet
pulsing with desire
unable to be worn.

You hung upon the cross
for three hours –
really, I know,
for three thousand years.
Otherwise, I’d gladly
trade three hours
for 70-80 years.
In blood and water
we are born.

“To your eyes a thousand years
are like yesterday, come and gone,
no more than a watch in the night.
Our span is seventy years
or eighty for those who are strong.
And most of these are emptiness and pain.
Make us know the shortness of our life
that we may gain wisdom of heart.”
(Psalm 90:4, 10, 12)

Posted by: John | October 26, 2014

Quick Bits

Time is created.
Time means nothing
to the Creator
Who always was
and always will be.

++++++++++

Who can hear the call
of the writing on the wall?
Does it make you big or
does it make you small?

++++++++++

I’m lost among the Google-ites,
among the half-rights,
the up-tights,
and the Let’s Fights!

Posted by: Lisa | October 26, 2014

Clear Vision

When we begin to see
the difference between
what our small self wants
and what God wants,
we’re stuck, eh?

We want what’s safe, easy, fun.
But from the Hound of Heaven
can we always run?

Posted by: Lisa | October 25, 2014

Inchworm Meditation

This poem of mine is published in the Fall 2014 issue of WestWard Quarterly Magazine:

Inchworm Meditation

Gazing past trees and bushes -
to see calm water beyond.
Some tiny movement close-by.
Inchworm measures length
of bark, brown and slant.
Ah! One moment,
silly and playful -
the next poised tall
on hind legs.
Perfect stillness.
Image of a stick.
Serene meditation.
Not even the tiniest
flicker of movement now.
Oneness with bark is all
that’s evident in the moment.
This attention can go on and on.

Posted by: John | October 24, 2014

Mind Training

You know your meditation session is over
when all your thoughts break out of the closet
in your mind where you had them stashed
and rush to overrun your being.
You’re out of OMs.

++++++++++

The more we can realize and accept
we cannot comprehend Omnipotence,
the easier it is to be humble
and willingly go with the will of God.

Posted by: Lisa | October 23, 2014

Ecumenism

While on my recent quarterly retreat at Richmond Hill, a lady I’d never met expressed surprise that a Roman Catholic would make a retreat at an ecumenical retreat center.  Besides the fact that there are no longer any Catholic retreat centers in SE Virginia (my own neck of the woods) since the Diocese of Richmond has shut them all down, I actually enjoy being in an ecumenical atmosphere.  Surprise!  Not all Catholics are hell-bent on exclusivity, setting themselves apart from and above everyone else.  I refer to myself as a Hindu-Buddhist-Christian anyway.  What does it matter?  God sees my intentions.  God loves me and I love God – and from that place of love, I do my best to complete the work God gives me to do each day.  That’s really all anyone can do, right?  It’s all good.  May we all be One in God – Who is One!

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