Sunday, April 19, 2009

Morning Prayer.

I collect prayers. Especially ones like this. It is one my favorites: a prayer for every morning.


"Almighty God, we bless and praise Thee that we have wakened to the light of another earthly day; and now we will think of what a day should be. Our days are Thine, let them be spent for Thee. Our days are few; let them be spent with care.

"There are dark days behind us: forgive their sinfulness. There
may be dark days before us: strengthen us for their trials. We pray Thee
to shine on us this day -- the day which we may call our own.

"Lord, we go to our daily work; help us to be faithful in doing
it. Let all we do be well done, fit for Thine eye to see. Give us
strength to do, patience to bear; let our courage never fail.

"When we cannot love our work, let us think of it as Thy task and by our
true love to Thee, make unlovely things shine in the light of Thy great
love.

"Amen. "


-George Dawson (1821-1876)-

Friday, April 10, 2009

Clutter.

It’s amazing how complicated our lives have become, all in the name of simplicity.

So, you want to have a quiet time. Walk into any Christian bookstore or gift shop and you will find yourself instantly inundated with a million devices to help you jump-start or enhance your personal time with the Lord.

Electronic hand-held Bibles, anyone? Perfect for Bible-reading on-the-go. (Work-bound fathers, stuck in post-Starbucks-run, mid-rush-hour-traffic come to mind here.) Or better yet, ditch the handheld Bible—how about a Biblezine? Perfect for teens, a Biblezine is complete with topical articles, all “relevant” to today’s culture (as well as full-color illustrations, quizzes, tips, and lifestyle features appealing directly to the age group specified on the top right-hand of the cover).

But, if the “Bible magazine” look is a little beyond the realm of your appreciation, why not try a “Clearly-U” Bible? Because, guess what? You get to choose the cover from a variety of innovative, chic designs! Kids, especially, will love it.

Moving on. Devotional books, everyone? And I do mean everyone. Here we have devotionals and study books for the unmarried, the newly married, the “I’m-tired-of-being-married”, and the “I-don’t-intend-to-marry”. How about for expectant mothers? Frustrated mothers? Single mothers? Dieting mothers? Teenage mothers? Mothers of teenagers? Don’t forget the devotional books for pet-lovers, sports-lovers, gardeners and graduates!

And in case you’re feeling a little lost after 40 purposeful days, you may want to reinforce your spiritual stability with a book on how to reclaim your best life at the time when you want it most (no personal axe to grind here, of course). Or, better yet: how to make Jabez’s age-old prayer ‘fresh’ in your life again.

I digress.

The point is, we have too many choices. What was once offered in the name of simplicity, is now threatening to steal that very gift from us.

The other day, I sat down to read my Bible and in passing, thought how nice it would be to have a One-Year Bible that laid out my reading plan for me. Then, I wondered whether there was one published in my favorite translation. I vaguely speculated on the design of the book—whether it was aesthetically pleasing and whether or not the typesetting would be easy on the eyes. Would there be a study guide? Maybe one for single girls like me? Single girls who—

I stopped short.

My quiet time, in its truest, barest, most honest form, is this:

God. His Word. Myself.

Nothing more.

The extras are helpful (because of course there are some incredible resources available today which should not be discounted by any means) but they are not an end in themselves.

Quiet time begins and ends with the relationship: and until we have that established, no amount of consumer appeal, dressing up the Gospel, fancy gadgets, or relevancy is going to make it any better, easier, or pretty.

So. Is God’s Word for every Christian? Can we understand it in all of its glorious depth and richness? Do we truly need relevancy and fresh perspectives in order to seek and understand His will in our lives?

Those who ask will have it given to them. Those who seek will also find. And to those who knock, the door will be opened to them. Then we can truly echo the Psalmist when he says,

“O, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day!”

God. His Word. Myself.

Here. Eternity.

Simple, really.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Rainfall.

It’s been a while since I’ve done any real blogging. And I’m not sure why. Compared to this time last year, I’ve certainly journaled more than ever.

I’m sitting by the window, looking out across the meadow as I type this. Yesterday was sunny and warm around the edges, but today is overcast and drizzly. And still, it’s all so beautiful. So big, so open. So wet.

Leaves are beginning to show. If I squint carefully at the bare trees in the far, far distance, I can see a distinctly greenish haze around them. And soon, the flowers will bloom.

I love to walk through the rain with my head tilted up towards the sky. There’s something about staring into an incomprehensibly deep sky (whether it’s blue or black or white or grey) and feeling the rain fall across your face. It doesn’t have to be warm and gentle. Not always.

Rain is magnificent. It’s rushing and sweeping and blinding and cooling and cleansing and altogether wonderful. I want to run through it. I want it to clean the world and usher in all the changes that are waiting just around the corner. I want to imprint it all into my memory. I want it to fall and keep falling until everything is green and bright again.

Dear Today,
You are beautiful.
The Lord made you;
I will rejoice and be glad!
Love, Jenn