Water Prayer

[First photo by r m dutina]

While traveling in the Smoky Mountains one year I bought what could be a flower vase. It was pinched in the middle giving it two ‘spouts.’ The longer I looked at it and handled it the more it became a vessel for my prayers. We were always near the running water of the spring rivers be it the Little Pigeon or “one of the 2,100 miles of rushing mountain streams and rivers that flow through the park.” I would show you a photo, but when we downsized I let the vase/pitcher go. 😦 sigh

Here was part of my inspiration

And so my morning prayer gradually became

Jesus, I pour out this water
before the undivided Trinity:
Let my living be this day
an offering and thanksgiving.
This day caress me.
This day possess me.
Open my ears and eyes
to Your Love for us.

Try making a ceremony around your prayer time. I have taught that many ways. When you get a drink of water, say a prayer, turning your attention to the Holy One. Are you a coffee addict? Dedicate each sip to the Trinity. 

Keep a glass near the water faucet and try a water prayer of your own. Or use mine. 
The idea is to turn your heart and mind to Him who loves you best.

Our soul is like a stream of water, which gives strength, direction, and harmony to every other area of our life. When that stream is as it should be, we are constantly refreshed and exuberant in all we do, because our soul itself is then profusely rooted in the vastness of God and his kingdom, including nature; and all else within us is enlivened and directed by that stream. Therefore we are in harmony with God, reality, and the rest of human nature and nature at large.

Dallas Willard in Renovation of the Heart

Best Laid Plans

Well the new computer said I had to restart to install updates. I hit the button and went off to eat breakfast. I really wanted an early start on writing Have had so many interrupted writing days lately. Wanted to get ahead for when we travel next month.

Came back after breakfast and still spinning though it said 100% complete. Started a load of wash. Still spinning. Updated paper journal. Still spinning. By now I was getting aggravated (one of my mom’s favorite words) . Over 45 minutes had passed.

Salvador Dali’s Melting CLock

At Bob’s suggestion asked online what the deal is. Seems Windows 11 is having massive trouble with these updates. Well that does not help me WRITE TODAY!! Turned off computer. When I turned it back on updates started all over. At the moment 63%. So here I am writing on the laptop. Perhaps this is planned practice for when we travel?

Then I thought of this quote and found it on https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/our-emotional-footprint/201602/man-plans-and-god-laughs

“Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” is an old Yiddish adage meaning, “Man Plans, and God Laughs.” Despite our most careful planning, the Road of Life is unpredictable.

Saul Levine, M.D.

Things will have to be cleaned up on this post for certain! And then updates worked and I am back on the desktop. Yikes. I am not in charge of this blog. Each day I give it over to the Lord. I ask Him to bless the content and the readers, that is you!

We all get frustrated and irritable when things do not go our way. My goal is to shorten the time when this happens and get back to putting my attention upon Jesus as quickly as possible. As Thomas R. Kelly wrote,

Lapses and forgettings are so frequent. When you catch yourself again, lose no time in self-recriminations, but breath a silent prayer for forgiveness and begin again, just where you are.

The Light Within

Would you try that right now? Read the quote above and give yourself a moment to do it. Breath a silent prayer and begin again with Him who loves you best.

Offer this broken worship to Him and say: “This is what I am except Thou aid me.”

The Light Within

I usually pray, “Left to myself I will always mess it up.” Jesus said, “Of myself I can do nothing.” John 5:30a

Help me remember, Lord

As lawn guys go thundering past my window I pray you will keep me focused upon You, Lord God. Help me stay in Your Presence regardless of what the day brings or does not bring. I agree with Kelly, “we are owned men and women.” Have Your own way in and through me. Amen.

Praying for Florida

The opening image is “Hurricane Ian is seen in a satellite image at 9:10 a.m. ET on Sept. 26, 2022.”

The prayer requests here are collecting for Hurricane Ian and the Florida residents. As of today I am praying for people in Destin, Santa Rosa, Clearwater, Boca Grande, and Naples.

Since weather forecasters try to tell us what might happen, we all know they have no control over the actual weather. Please join me in prayer for those who may be hit by this storm.

Known and Unknown

I believe one reason we fear silence and stillness is we do not want to know ourselves and what God has to say about us. If we could only trust Him in a small way we would learn that He loves us more than we love ourselves. In fact, He treasures and adores us.

The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing

Zephaniah 3:17 NRSV
Stefan Kunze Upsplash

The writings of Oswald Chambers contained in the book noted below were excerpted from articles published by God’s Bible School in Cincinnati. The articles were taken from his classroom lectures and Bible studies and published in the school’s periodical God’s Revivalist.

What does the Bible mean when it says to be an example to the flock of God? You must be a walking example of what you believe, in every moment of your life, known and unknown. You must bear the scrutiny of God until you prove that you are indeed a specimen of what He can do. Then He will send you out to disciple all nations.

Oswald Chambers, September 18 selection from “Devotions for a Deeper Life”

Every moment known and unknown. Things done in secret. I do not think this refers just to shameful things. Our deepest wounds are often kept private. The healing the Lord may give from those wounds is also usually given in private. The deep formation of a disciple usually takes place in private.

But whenever you pray, enter into your inner room and shut your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Matthew 6:6 NIV

Your Father who sees in secret. He hears every whisper or shout of a prayer. Your Father knows you inside and out. He will not require that you share with others what He does in your secret place of prayer. There may however, come a time when you want to shout His work from the rooftops.

Matt Hanns Upsplash

Dietrich Bonhoeffer captured my attention writing in The Cost of Discipleship when he emphasized that we each walk alone with God.

Every man is called separately and must follow alone. 

Bonhoeffer, Cost of Discipleship, Discipleship and the Individual

Many of us admire other Christians but we know little or nothing about what it takes for them to be public Christians. We have no clue what happens between them and the Trinity in private. No idea the depth of their wounds or the strength of the healing times the Lord has sent to them. All most often occur in private.

You interact with your Father in a private place, even if you are kneeling in a sanctuary packed with other people. We can share our experiences with others but we are essentially alone with Christ in our walk. Yes, He encourages fellowship with those who are like minded, but in the final analysis we are each alone with Him. He reads our heart. He corrects our course. He convicts us when we go astray. He gives us His righteousness. He suffered and died for our salvation and for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despised the shame and sat down at the right hand of the Throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 NRSV)

Public, private, the deepest things occur in a private place with your Holy Trinity God.

Steffany Gretzinger in her song “Forever Amen” sums it up for me. “I was made to love You. Let me hear the sound of Your voice…”

I would strongly encourage you that when you hear the sound of His voice, go running to a quiet place. Listen up! For unlike human parents, the Father does not waste His breath. He speaks to us with power, love, meaning and transformative powers.

Be Astonished

To be astonished is one of the surest ways of not growing old too quickly.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

During an evening walk with Lucky, when I was way beyond tired, delightfully astonished to find this praying mantis on a neighbor’s car.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4: 4-7 NIV

Present even your fatigue! Keep watching for those treasures in plain sight! Reminders of His care and the glory of His creation.

Praying Mantis outside office window at last home

Kiss the Joy

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise.”

William Blake

I likely had not read or heard this since high school. So true! And leads me to another bit of humor.

We have a niece who lives in England. She and her husband are expecting their first child in January. Since we are going to visit her mom in California next month, I needed to purchase some flannel and yarn for baby blankets. So I hit the sale at Joann’s fabrics.

A man entered the store after me. I overheard him ask an employee, “Where can I find the snaps?” Under my breath I laughed, “In Norwood!” You see, my mother’s maiden name was Snapp. Most of her family lived in the small town of Norwood, now completely surrounded by Cincinnati.

I was cracking myself up!

A few minutes later I came across him in the wrong isle. I told him my joke and he obviously knew where Norwood is. He cracked up, too. Then I showed him the correct isle.

“Kiss the joy as it flies, live in Eternity’s sunrise.” Wise man that Mr. Blake!

Physical therapy is a self-discipline that I am trying to rejoice over. Yes, I still have pain in my foot, but I am trying to walk more and stretch more in regular shoes. No easy feat after months in the boot. It reminds me of a prayer request I made to God many years ago. You are no doubt familiar with these retractable dog leashes? The owner starts on a walk and can push a button to let the dog run further and further ahead if desired. Pushing the button on the handle the leash begins to retract into the case.

When I first saw those I was , “Nope. Not for me.”

More my style, in fact, this is what Lucky uses. (Colored circles indicate colors to choose from)

My prayer became, “Lord, keep me on a short leash. I want to stay by Your side. Do not let me run too far ahead of You or lag behind. Please, keep me on a short leash.”

I pray you are doing your spiritual and physical disciplines. I hope you can rejoice in staying at the Master’s side on a short leash. I find I stay out of trouble that way!

Mr. Lake and Friends

Brandon Lake published/released a new CD called “Help!” in May of this year. The writers have nailed the hearts of so many Christians with these insightful lyrics. One song is written from God’s point of view instead of ours. The title is “Don’t You Give Up On Me.” With so many seeming to turn their backs on God this is a timely and true call to come back to the Shepherd of our souls. He loves us more than we love ourselves or each other.

The writers are Michael John Fatkin, Benjamin William Hastings, and Brandon Lake. Part of the lyrics read:

I see you child
Though you can't see me
And I know your thoughts
Before you even think
I heard every last prayer you prayed
Though I answered all the time
You just didn't hear my reply
And I know it's not easy, oh

Don't you give up on me
'Cause the darker the night gets
The brighter the light hits
Don't you give up on me
You ain't seen what I promised
Child we're just getting started
Oh There is so much more

That is just a portion of the lyrics. When I heard the song the first few times I thought he sang, “I heard every last prayer you prayed, Though I answered all the time, You just didn’t heed my reply.When I actually printed the lyrics I saw it was written “You just didn’t hear my reply.” Hearing and Heeding.

Just as we are called to trust and obey, we are also called to hear and to heed. What good is hearing His reply but not heeding it, not walking in step with His will and ways?

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 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.

James 1:22-25 NIV

The line “I heard every last prayer you prayed” has a different emphasis from any other line in the song. Trust me, I have listened to this one repeatedly. The writing is genius. Even after I have listened I sometimes hear this one line echoing in my spirit, “I heard every last prayer you prayed.”

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
 You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
 You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
 Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.

You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Psalm 139: 1-6 NIV

Have you been tempted to turn your back on God and run with the ways of the world? Have you ever known a reliable source in the world that can say the following?

I'll be your way
Whеn there's no way out
And I'll be your strеngth
When your strength runs out
And if you walk into the fire
I'll be right there in the flames
I wouldn't have it any other way
'Cause loving you's easy, yeah

We are also reminded that God is not finished with us yet.

Open your heart, open your hands, open your eyelids
I've got more dreams, I've got more plans, I've got more blessing
Don't lose your hope, don't lose your faith, that's where your fight is
I've got more dreams, I've got more plans, I've got more blessings

Here is Brandon speaking about how they wrote this song over Zoom. If you wait there is a few seconds and the link will play the song.

Learning Curve

Oh my goodness. I was brought up short by my ignorance during a visit with my oldest Grandgirl the other day.

She met her boyfriend on Snap Chat. And he is a looker! Lives about 27 miles away. They have a limit of seeing one another 4 times a week, at least before school began. With the price of gas I am not surprised on that limit.

She wanted to come over and bake a cookie recipe with me that she got from Tik Tok, I think. It has pretzels, chocolate chips and chopped caramels in it. She baked those with him, too. Told me she did not think they would be too hard for him. Oh my, dear. The male ego is fragile. Hope she did not say that to him!

She had to teach him how to crack an egg. She liked that fact. The cookies were delicious!

I am so out of touch! Yes, I suppose I must lean into this learning curve. Parts of me sarcastically say, “Really?” When we began an account on Facebook our children were upset as they saw it as their domain. Now they have moved along without us. The Grandgirls helped me load Snap Chat a few years ago. Without practice I have forgotten how to use it and the value of even having it on my devices. Not certain I even want TikTok. Here is more information in case you are interested.

“TikTok is a short-form, video-sharing app that allows users to create and share 15-second videos, on any topic.”

https://influencermarketinghub.com/what-is-tiktok/

I do not take many videos. If I mastered videography would I only want you to see it for 15 seconds?

And what about Snapchat?

Snapchat is an American multimedia instant messaging app and service developed by Snap Inc., originally Snapchat Inc. One of the principal features of Snapchat is that pictures and messages are usually only available for a short time before they become inaccessible to their recipients.

Wikipedia

Do I really need more apps and time destroyers? I’m thinking not, but perhaps I am just thinking old! One pastor called one of these apps a tool of the devil. I think that demon can find his way into anything, but not certain the entire platform is evil? More likely the techno-crazed modern brain is caught up in too much information bombarding daily. It is amazing how modern technology has made it possible for us to be connected to others if we want to be!

Not likely I will load and use either of those apps. Just thought you might want to know how out of touch this Grammy is! I do pray for the protection of my grandchildren and all those using these apps. Most of all, may they turn their eyes to the Lord God Almighty.

But my eyes are toward you, O GOD, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!

Psalm 141:8 ESV

How to Choose?

Do you remember the story in Samuel about the Lord choosing the next King for the nation?

So it happened, when they had come, he looked at Eliab [the eldest son] and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass before Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.”

1 Samuel 16: 6-8 AMP

Jesse had eight sons in all. He presented the first seven to Samuel, but God told Samuel not any of them were to be king. Jesse guessed wrong. Samuel guessed wrong. Only the Lord God knew the one He had chosen. The one whose heart He had read and found to be the best for the position. Nope, not by appearance, height, handsomeness, physical stature. New Jewish Bible reads “Adonai looks at the heart.” Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition says “the Lord beholdeth the heart.”

A man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22)

Our God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. He alone can read hearts. How dare we presume to judge others without this sovereign ability?

When it comes to serious decision making I would hope you use something less like this childhood game and more like prayer. If we are uncertain what to choose it is usually much better to wait on the guidance of the Lord than to move out in our own strength, with our guess. Patience is difficult for most everyone, but it pays off when serving the Living God. Authorities believe that David waited about 15 years to rule as King over Israel. (https://www.biblestudy.org/question/why-did-king-david-wait-to-rule-israel.html)

As the Living God reads your heart He has plans for you. It might take months or years for those plans to become clear. We are told repeatedly to cling to Him by faith and with thanksgiving. He will use you. Remember since He could use Balaam’s donkey, (Numbers 22:21-29) He can surely use you in His kingdom work!

Have You Seen This One?

In our Psalm 23 study group one gal suggested we watch this documentary. It is fantastic. Besides the opening scenes are shot in St. Andrews, Scotland where Bob went to school for a year!! Please make time to watch it. An interesting challenge to genuine Christianity and the priests and religious who serve the sheep. The documentary has humor, beauty, wisdom and far reaching thoughts for each of us.

I love when the monk says, “I am a sinner. But not only that, I am a beloved sinner.” Rich wisdom in this short documentary. Imagine if we each were to slow down enough to really get to know our fellow sheep? Do you know the people in your small group beyond superficial greetings?

I challenge you for the next month to slow down to God’s speed and discover what He has for you there!