Saint Patrick's Prayer

Prayer is a profound mystery that envelops deep truth alongside the simplicity of child-like faith.  Last St.Patrick's Day I came across a prayer by Saint Patrick.  It quickly became one of my favorite prayers, because it is filled with so much Scriptural truth.  It is a prayer that provides a framework for how I live my life.  But before we get to it, I just wanted to share two quotes by Eugene Peterson from Tell it Slant on the topic of prayer:

Prayer accomplishes with us, within our spirits, deep within our souls, what is later lived out in the circumstances and conditions of our obedience.  A stiff upper lip won't do it.  A fierce resolve won't do it.  An exemplary life won't do it.

Prayer goes beneath the surface and penetrates the heart of the matter... When we pray we willingly participate in what God is doing, without knowing precisely what God is doing, how God is doing it, or when we will know what is going on - if ever (pg.237)

May this prayer by Saint Patrick lead you and guide you as you journey on in Christ:
 As I arise today,
may the strength of God pilot me,
the power of God uphold me,
the wisdom of God guide me.
May the eye of God look before me,
the ear of God hear me,
the word of God speak for me.
May the hand of God protect me,
the way of God lie before me,
the shield of God defend me,
the host of God save me.
May Christ shield me today.
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit,
Christ when I stand,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Amen

In Christ,

With New Eyes

The Sermon on the Mount has been in the forefront of my mind the last several weeks, and I have been loving it.  I'll admit that there was a time in my life, when coming to that entire section filled me with dread, fear and condemnation.  But it no longer does that, instead it fills me with excitement and a desire to say, "Yes and Amen" to God's Kingdom, what He is doing in it and how He has invited us to participate.  Some of the leading influences in this excitement and changed perspective has come from NT Wright's 40 days of Lent, Todd Hunter's sermon Beatitudes (Feb 2, 2014), The Message's version of the sermon on the Mount and my own reflections on my life via the Holy Spirit.

The following post will be snippets from Matthew 5 with my own reflections interjected in-between.  I hope you enjoy:

I must start with the end, before I get to the beginning, because the end frames it up so well:

48 Live out your God-created identity. 
Live generously and graciously toward others,
 the way God lives toward you.

This is what Jesus is inviting us to throughout the Sermon on the Mount, in fact throughout His whole life as He proclaims, "God's Kingdom come on earth."

I got to get away this past weekend for a Women's Retreat with my church.  During the silent retreat time, I was overwhelmed by God's faithfulness to me and to my life.  I was filled with utter joy.  The past 10 years of my life have been filled with many hard, hopeless, tear-filled days.  There were times where I did not want to get out of bed because the pain in my heart was so deep.  But as I reflected on these times and the things that I have learned through it - I have realized that I have emerged with a deep trust in God's heart and His love for me and those who surround me.  This conviction has partially come from living out the truths found in the Sermon on the Mount.  I have realized that the very words of Jesus are true and living and do produce the life-giving Kingdom that He has promised.

Here are a few of the snippets that jumped out at me as I read through Matthew 5 this morning:

vs 5  “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are
—no more, no less. 
That’s the moment you find yourselves 
proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

Learning to be content in my own skin, with who God has created me has been one of the treasured lessons I have received out of this journey.

vs 6-9
6 “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. 
He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
7 “You’re blessed when you care. 
At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ 
you find yourselves cared for.
8 “You’re blessed when you get your inside world
—your mind and heart—
put right. 
Then you can see God in the outside world.
9 “You’re blessed when you can show people 
how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. 
That’s when you discover who you really are, 
and your place in God’s family.

This joy and love for God and His kingdom is being awakened during the season of Lent. Celebrating Lent is a fairly new concept for my faith-walk but it has been a beautiful experience.  As my pastor said during our Ash Wednesday service - Lent is not about beating yourself up and punishing yourself to try and get yourself to be acceptable before God.  Rather it is placing your sin at His feet and listening for His words of truth over you.  So as I've entered into this season - I have stopped to listen with new eyes and fresh ears to what God has to say, instead of my preconceived notions of what I think He should say.  The difference is beautiful.

Let me tell you why you are here. 
You’re here to be salt-seasoning that 
brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? 
14-16 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. 
 If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? 
I’m putting you on a light stand.
 Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! 

For me, Lent is a season to reflect on these truth of being salt and light and remembering that I get to shine.  The spaces where godliness has diminished I get to bring before Him and let Him fix, heal and teach me.  For He says,

“Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures—either God’s Law or the Prophets. 
I’m not here to demolish but to complete. 
I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama.
God’s Law is more real and lasting than the stars in the sky and the ground at your feet. 
Long after stars burn out and earth wears out, God’s Law will be alive and working.

God's way seems backwards and sometimes it is hard.  And that's where this trust and understanding of what He is up to makes all the difference in the world:

You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, 
‘Do not murder.’ 
I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. 
Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. 
Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire.
The simple moral fact is that words kill.

This is not about the tit-and-tat of the law.  Rather it is about understanding the power we have as image-bearers of God.  The power of our words and of our hearts.  Self-indulgence in what feels good for the moment can have long-lasting negative effects on those we love (and do not love).  How then can we love?


“You’re familiar with the old written law, 
‘Love your friend,’ 
and its unwritten companion, 
‘Hate your enemy.’ 
I’m challenging that. 
I’m telling you to love your enemies. 
Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. 
When someone gives you a hard time,
respond with the energies of prayer, 
for then you are working out of your true selves, 
your God-created selves. 
This is what God does. 
He gives his best
—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—
to everyone, regardless: 
the good and bad, 
the nice and nasty. 

So we have come full circle.  Back to where we started:

Live out your God-created identity. 
Live generously and graciously toward others, 
the way God lives toward you.

My conclusion is that coming to know how God feels about me has enabled me to walk this out in my own life and as a result I am enjoying the fruits of this kind of living.  Even in the midst of the difficulties, the unknown, the darkness and the questions - clinging to God's way, loving the way that He loves - it is worth it.

In Christ,




All Scripture has come from BibleGateway's website.

Worrying


                                              
                                                                      
                                                                       Today I am thankful. 

Thankful for the Lord's amazing faithfulness and for all the lessons He has taught me that have brought me into a fuller and more peace-filled life. I am currently in a season of immense blessing. Years of prayers on different subjects have been answered and all I can do is stand in awe of the movements of The Lord. I recently started a full-time job working from home and I continue to homeschool so blogging has to fit in through the cracks. Unless The Lord smacks me with something overwhelming on my heart, I plan on recycling old posts. I don't mind, I like reflecting on what He has taught me - because I never get it the first time, or the second or the third...  So I hope you will still join me and enjoy looking through the lessons learned. 

A post from 2013:

Life has been stressful the last couple of months.  My husband has had some health issues that we have yet to find the root cause.  The next two weeks are full of busyness and as they've come closer I have found myself filled with dread.  One of my friend's texted me the other day to check in on me and I was going to text her back that "I just want to close my eyes and fast-forward through the next two weeks."  But as I went to write it, I felt a little check in my spirit and I was reminded of what the Lord has been teaching me over the last few weeks.

For the last month, my daily prayer time included the following verses:
Remember my affliction and my bitterness, •
the wormwood and the gall!
But this I call to mind, •
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, •
his mercies never come to an end;
They are new every morning; 
great is your faithfulness.
‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, •
‘therefore I will hope in him.’
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, •
to the soul that seeks him.
It is good that we should wait quietly•
for the salvation of the Lord.
For the Lord will not reject for ever; •
though he causes grief, he will have compassion,
According to the abundance of his steadfast love; •
for he does not willingly afflict or grieve anyone.
Lamentations 1.12, 16a,b; 3.19, 21-26, 31-33

Reading and praying those verses everyday has been great preparation my heart and mind.  As each day came it was tolerable and actually a lot of days were for the most part good - but no matter what they were all filled with grace.  Grace of a handwritten note of love, emailed prayers and encouragement from friends, pulling out a freezer meal made by friend for a rainy day, texting my mom back and forth with notes of prayer requests, watching my daughter snuggle close to her dad, getting Starbucks dropped off just because... the list goes on and on.  

So as I thought about these verses and these moments of grace - I knew without a shadow of a doubt that God's mercies are new every morning and that He had been faithful to me everyday.  I also knew that it was safe for me to rest in His steadfast love.  But yet there were many moments when I thought about the "possibilities of the future" that hopelessness would begin to settle into my heart and then it dawned on me: Worrying is when I create a future void of God's grace

When I reflected on the past and I lived in the present I could see the grace of God and just as He promised His grace was sufficient in my weakness.  However, when I looked to the future it was bleak and it appeared too hard to walk through.  The missing component of all my future fears was that reality that God was still going to be present, able and loving no matter what happens.  As I venture forward, I have heard the whisper of God that He is a safe place for me to put my hope in and He will be faithful to my family every step of the way.  So I am leaving tomorrow in His hands and resting in the grace that He has provided for today.

In Christ, 
Jaime

360 Vision


As Christians, we have the benefit of 360 vision, to bring us through each and everyday.  We have the past saints to look at for inspiration and understanding of how the Lord moves and weaves in an individual's life.  We have the living and active Word of God today - that moves and interacts with us.  Finally, we have the book of Revelation that gives us a glimpse of the reality of our future.  So today, I would like to interact with this 360 vision to help us to see how God invites us to walk with Him into a life that lacks nothing.

James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.


Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.


Revelation 9:16
Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’
nor any scorching heat.
17For the Lamb at the center of the throne
will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.


These are all familiar Scripture passages, but for this post, I appreciated reflecting on the connections between them.  We all love the imagery of Psalm 23: being led beside quiet waters, having our souls restored.  Yet we don't always find ourselves in those situations.  Sometimes we find ourselves faced with the valley of the shadow of death...Then we are confronted with James - "Consider it PURE JOY, whenever you face trials of many kinds..."

How? Why? 

This is where the 360 vision comes in handy (you can start from any spot) but for this post we will start at Revelation 9.   See the Lamb, seated on the throne and what does He promise to be for us - our Shepherd.  We are reminded in this very picture, that He, himself, the Lamb, walked through a very dark valley of death to get to His throne.  We see His promise to us is to Shepherd us and one day to wipe every tear from our eyes.  We get to step into life with Him, from this place of trust knowing that He sees, He knows, He understands and He offers to come along with us.

From this vantage point we can pan back to present day: consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds... It develops perseverance/ patience and you will NOT lack anything...

Pan over to Psalm 23 - the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want...

Do you see the circle? Do you see the benefits we receive from our current position? 

The Message ends Psalm 23 with this:

Your beauty and love chase after me
    every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
    for the rest of my life.

So my brothers and sisters in Christ - consider it pure joy - no matter what you are going through, because the Lord is your Shepherd.  He is walking beside you, leading you and guiding you with love and beauty.  Sometimes by streams of water and sometimes He is walking with us through a valley, a shadow, a place of trial and uncertainty.  The path may be unclear to you - but the end destination is clear and sure.  There will be a day when He will wipe every tear from your eyes.  

You are not alone and you were never asked to go through this life alone.  Lean on your Good Shepherd today - the Lamb of God who alone is worthy.

In Christ,

 

Photo courtesy Melanie Guest Photography

Finding Peace in Today


                                              


As I reflect back on the theme of my heart last year, I feel that the Lord was teaching me how to trust Him more deeply ~ in each and every situation ~ the good, the bad and the ugly.  And as I've paid attention to my heart these first few days of the New Year I've noticed a natural tendency towards stress and intensity.  This seems quite strange since I don't have "anything I have to do."  Obviously, my daily life has responsibility and in many ways I'm my own boss, but apparently I'm a tough taskmaster.  But as I went through Daily Prayer this morning, I was overwhelmed by God's invitation towards a different way of living in the midst of the real world.  Since I've learned to trust that His heart towards me is good, then what... how can that affect my daily life?  And I realized that the answer to that is that I have a different taskmaster: Christ.

Here are some of the verses from Daily Prayer that encouraged me that this exchange is worth it:

Unless the Lord builds the house,
    those who build it labour in vain.
Unless the Lord guards the city,
    the guard keeps watch in vain.

In the past, I have seen the reality of me trying to build my own house and it truly was in vain (Draw Me a Map) but in the last 3 years, I've experienced the sweet reality of letting the Lord build my marriage and it is beautiful; watching how Christ has put us together to work together in a way that brings life, love and beauty to each other, to our family and to His kingdom.

Psalm 127:2
It is in vain that you rise up early
    and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
    for he gives sleep to his beloved.

I love sleep, especially refreshing sleep.  But this verse especially reminded me of His invitation to us to be called His Beloved.  Since I am His Beloved - it should and does make a difference in how my life is guided, directed and lived out.

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
    my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
    too great and too marvelous for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
    like a weaned child with its mother;
    my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.

These verses captured the cry of my heart for this year.  A satisfied child leaning quietly, in satisfied trust against her mother.  The lessons learned from the past year, on how to trust that God's heart towards me is good, truly good is the groundwork that was laid to begin the act of resting. 

Then she said, ‘May I continue to find favour in your sight, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, even though I am not one of your servants.’

14 At mealtime Boaz said to her, ‘Come here, and eat some of this bread, and dip your morsel in the sour wine.’ So she sat beside the reapers, and he heaped up for her some parched grain. She ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over.

In the book of Ruth, Boaz is a foreshadowing picture of Christ and as I read this passage, I was overwhelmed by the picture of communion as a response to Ruth's cry for favor. "Take the bread and dip it in wine." She eats, until she is satisfied and then has some left over.  Every Sunday at my church, before we go up to communion we hear the words:

 Take and eat
this in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and feed on
him in thy heart by faith, with thanksgiving.

These words remind me that participation in communion is a reminder that Christ and His presence is daily needed and available for my sustenance and satisfaction.   Looking at this picture of Boaz coming to Ruth in the middle of her work day and giving her everything she needs and more is a beautiful picture of what Christ does for us ~ today.

These verses have overwhelmed me with joy to release the reigns of today to the right taskmaster.  The verses from Ruth show me that Christ can come in the middle of my day and satisfy.  His reality and His presence weaves into every moment: the building of my house, the work of my hands, my sleep, my relationships and my meals.

Thank you Christ for who you are today. 

________

If you are looking for a way to get into the word of God this year, Daily Prayer has been a beautiful way that I have been able to engage in the Word, in a life-giving way.  Because I love it so much, I have added their feed to the bottom of my website.  But no matter what - know that He loves you and that He will walk with you today.

In Christ,



Daily Prayer

Disqus for For His Glory Alone

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...