31 July 2008

Truth

My head and heart have been pondering truth much these last few weeks. How do you know what is truth and what is believed to be truth by our fallible perception? Currently in my family there is some disquiet over what several are believing to be the truth as they know it. I have to wonder if they too are seeking to find what is really true and what is deception?

Facts are absolute. Gravity exists. The earth revolves around the sun. The pull of the moon sets the tides. Yet at some point in time all of these facts were not known as truth and people were punished for spreading heresy. How can you be sure what you are believing is the truth?

For me the search for truth begins and ends with Jesus. He is the proof of truth that God loves His creation. So many truths were kept in Him. God's promises were made complete when He gave us His son. Jesus' Kingdom consists of those who listen for the truth. When Pilate was questioning Jesus he tried to understand what kind of king Jesus was.

Then Pilate said, "So, are you a king or not?"

Jesus answered, "You tell me. Because I am King, I was born and entered the world so that I could witness to the truth. Everyone who cares for truth, who has any feeling for the truth, recognizes my voice."

John 18:37

The Message

When my feelings are in a jumble, I rely on the comfort of conversing with God. The truth only comes to those who are listening to the voice of Jesus. One of my favorite hymns tells me the only way to find the truth is to dwell in the Lord.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

It is for me a reminder that I can find no truth if I am not at one with the Christ; The King of all truth. I am praying that each of those caught in the difficulty will remember to seek the Originator of all truth. As much as I would wish it so, I cannot force anyone to listen for the voice of Christ. God Himself waits for us to respond to His Love. I can do no less.

Listening and praying that others will listen too,

jené

30 July 2008

28 July 2008

100 push ups a day?

As many of you are aware, I have been working with a physical therapist this past year. I happened to mention at a session that my nephew had twittered about doing 100 push ups a day. (If you don't know, twitter is a way to stay in touch via the web or text message.) She immediately decided it would be a good idea for me to add this to the regime she has me doing at home.

So a couple of weeks ago I went to their website and did the preliminary test. Based upon how you do, they outline a six week course for you to follow. Right now I am in week two. Today I did 46 push ups, not all in a row but in sets with breaks in between the sets. As with everything she has outlined in her plan for me, I am uncertain of just how this will benefit me. I do believe that all exercise is beneficial, even if you don't see physical results.

Knowing that even with my diminished health this year I can still work on my body has been a energizer. Mostly I like how my mind wanders while I am working out. I always put some tunes on to play and find myself in the same sort of meditative state stillness brings. I can truly understand how Brother Lawrence used to find the time on his knees scrubbing floors as a good time to listen to God. Push ups work as well, toward the end you are definitely calling out to Him. Those last few really tax your system. At least they do for me.

I am excited to find another way to calm my heart and center my soul. Push ups do more than a body good.

Frequently on the floor,

jené

24 July 2008

Labyrinth

I have never walked this labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral but have often walked many here in the Houston area. It can be used as a meditative tool for contemplation and prayer. The labyrinth has no mystical power. As with all things regarding prayer, the miracle happens in how prayer changes people.

I have always used walking as a tool for prayer. The nice thing about using a designed pattern is the freedom to let go of your surroundings. You don't have to watch for danger. You just set you feet on the circuitous path and let your heart soar in prayer. What I find joyful in wandering the path is how often you come close to the center only to be drawn away. Labyrinths are actually named for how many times you circuit the center before reaching the end. It for me is a metaphor for my life. I remain focused on the journey's end, but need to be aware of the twists and turns in the path.

Right now I am spending much time in prayer for someone who seems to have let go of her focus on the meaning of life's journey. I want so desperately to go and get her and make her see where she has misstepped. I know she can really only come to the knowledge of this on her own, but it doesn't lessen my desire to see her return to seeking God's plan for her life.

I am confident that God has not released her from His care and I am hopeful she will soon remember this. Until then, I will be praying and walking much.

-jené

20 July 2008

A noteworthy day

Saturdays have been pretty rough recently and I have been late to church for several weeks in a row. Last night I was talking to the Lord about it and asked for His help in getting moving earlier in order to be in His house at the start of the service. It was a close call but I made my way down front right before the prelude began. Hooray!

I was excited because I knew my friend Jane would be delivering the message this morning and God always uses her to reach me with His message. She generously gives of her own spirit to share how the Holy Spirit is working in her life; it is always a learning moment in her presence.

Using the entire service to speak to me God also had the choir reinforce His Message as well. Several times this week when things have been difficult I have pulled out the Zune and zoned out to tunes. One in particular has popped up repeatedly.

Before The Throne of God Above
Words and Music by Vikki Cook, Charitie Bancroft

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!

In this time where my abilities are changing it is ever reassuring to know that my life is not dependent on what I can accomplish but rather what Christ has done for me. From my salvation to the desires God places in my heart, I can count on Him to see it through. For everything I can do can only be done with His strength. As my own has waned a bit, this is good to know.

Grateful I only have to be strong enough for God to use me,

jené

14 July 2008

I'm not short...I'm space efficient

Another flair I just had to have. My Aunt Carol spent the night last night. She was on her way from New Orleans to Austin. I was happy to have her here as she had not been to visit in a couple of years. She gave the new apartment a once over and declared it was tasteful and organized. When you live in an efficiency you have no other choice, it has to be that way.

So you see, I am space efficient in many ways. When you realize I work at The Container Store you would expect me to make good use of my space. When I am out running errands after work and people spot my Container Store shirt, they can't wait to tell me what they love about us. They will tell me about their experience at the store or a favorite product.

That got me thinking, what if everyone who follows Christ wore a shirt which identified them? Would people come up to you and share how much someone else with that shirt helped them? Would they share positive stories about their experiences with other Christians? I was reading another blog where the writer confessed she had been a bit ticked off but did not reveal it when she recalled she was wearing a shirt from her church. Maybe the key to being a consistent representation of Christ's love is to remember that in everything you do refers back to Him.

I think when I get dressed in the morning I will imagine I have Christ's brand over my Container Store logo.

-jené

05 July 2008

To sleep.... perchance to dream

In sleep may my body be rested.
In sleep may my soul be renewed.
In sleep may my dreams be carriers of truth,
borne by the night's visiting angels.
In sleep may I know you in love, O God,
in sleep may I be known by you,
the Lover of every living soul this night,
the Lover of my ever living soul.


from Sounds of the Eternal, A Celtic Psalter
by J. Philip Newell

04 July 2008

Loving freely

Someone I love has placed herself in harm's way and I can do nothing about it. I long to rush in, wrap her in my arms and carry her away from the troubles she is heading into. My heart wants to see her to safety. My head knows I need to stand back and let her choose her own path freely. In many long moments in the night this past week I have come to a better understanding of God. How often has he watched as I have made foolish decisions He knew were going to hurt me?

It is so hard to love someone well enough to allow them to make decisions you believe will cause deep anguish in their lives. All the while they are certain they are doing the right thing, you are internally silently screaming "let me take you from danger and keep you safe." Because my words will not be heard by her I have spent most of my time this last week taking my words to my Savior. He has listened as I have poured my heart out to Him.

I am thankful that God had not stopped loving me freely when I made poor choices and that He continues to love me today. I am grateful that He welcomed me into a deeper fellowship with Him when I chose to seek His way instead of my own. I will be forever joyful that there is nothing that can separate me from Him. I am certain that my prayers will be answered and the person I am praying so hard for will again seek God's plan for her life. I am hopeful that will be accomplished soon. I am remembering that God's sense of time is not mine and I must be patient.

Praying,

jené

02 July 2008

Friends are like bras.......close to the heart and always there for support.

Have you ever thought what it would be like to have no friends? Honestly I cannot imagine such a thing. I have been blessed in finding friends wherever I go. Part of growing up as a military brat meant always being the new kid on the block. If you did not have people skills it could be rather daunting. For me it allowed me to make friends all over the world, many of them still keep in touch.

On a deeper level, not knowing anyone in the neighborhood when you first moved in was easier if you could count your sisters as your friends. Thankfully I can still count my sisters as my closest friends today. My mom always said the beauty of having three sisters was that it was highly unlikely I would be mad at all of them at the same time so there would always be someone to go to. What she didn't add was how much my relationship with my parents would change as I grew up. Now I find my parents among those I consider my friends. I call my mom or dad several times a week just to chat. While I will always respect what they instilled in me as parents, I appreciate more the relationship we have now as friends.

Even more support is found in my best friend. I start my day with thoughts of Him and His love and comfort are what see me through all sorts of situations. Jesus is my best friend. He brings me peace and joy. Because of Him I know the Creator of the universe. Because He cannot be here with me now on this earth He left me a supporter in the Holy Spirit. Because He cares so much for me He has His other friends love and encourage me. So if any one ever asks you about Jesus, you can truly say He is like a bra. He is close to my heart and always supports me.

Glad Jesus is the everlasting variety and not the 18 hour kind,

-jené