Thursday Morning Freewrite

I realize that I am "frittering" away my time this morning. It started when I slept in until my alarm at 6 am. Seriously, it is a rare occasion when I sleep in until my 6 am alarm goes off. I usually get up about 4:45. I have long and luxurious times with God (the advantage of having the "sleepless elite" gene is that I only require six hours of sleep every night). I only slept three two nights ago. So, I am probably just "averaging out" to my usual (and healthy - Google the gene) 6 hours. I am better without distractions. I am better when it is dark and light comes into the world as I meditate on Scripture in the dark and the sun comes up in the late fall/early winter). But today, I slept until my alarm.

Then, I got up and Michael was getting ready to go to work (leaves at 7 am). I also didn't make my tea, but I got a Zoom call from Elizabeth. Oh yay, I remember last night and forgot this morning that we Zoom at 6:30 am every other Thursday. Good chat…

Come Rouse Us From Our Slumbering

You have visited us, God our Father, through the Incarnation of your well-beloved Son: keep us vigilant until He comes in Glory.
In you, Lord, is our hope!You have traced out for us in your Son a path of light, may the whole world arise and walk toward you in the light of His face.

In you, Lord, is our hope! As the night draws to a close and day approaches, come to rouse us from our slumbering.

In you, Lord, is our hope!Grant that we may serve you in justice and holiness all the days of our life.
In you, Lord, is our hope!And when the Son of Man appears, may he find us alert, ready to welcome Him.
In you, Lord, is our hope!You have given your love and your grace, Lord our God, to those who pray to you.  Your promise gives rise to a new world, and you will inaugurate a time of peace.  Convert us through your Spirit; with Him we shall prepare for the …

63. I Told Me So by Gregg A. Ten Elshof

This is a book about how we often deceive ourselves as we walk with Jesus and how we can be honest with ourselves. This leads to transformation.

He suggests having honest and safe community to help speak truth into our lives and not surround ourselves with "yes" men (I am not sure he uses that exact term). I have some honest people like that, and I so appreciate them telling it to me straight!

I have also found daily EXAMEN prayer to be very helpful in getting to the bottom of my sin patterns and not covering it up. 

I made a little handout with a short explanation of EXAMEN prayer, and I really like the EXAMEN.mewebsite for having a record of my daily examinations to see the patterns! 

I think this review is the best summation of this book:

James K. A. Smith  — Calvin College
“Socrates famously asserted that the unexamined life is not worth living. But Gregg Ten Elshof shows us that we make all sorts of little deals with ourselves every day in order to stave off examination and …

I am Silent. . . and Expectant

How silently,
how silently 
the wondrous gift is given.
I would be silent now, 
and expectant... 
        that I may receive 
                the gift I need, 
                        so I may become 
                                the gifts others need. 
Loder, Ted Guerrillas of Grace
(San Diego, CA: LuraMedia, 1984) p.132

Freewrite Wednesday

It has been a long time. Or at least it seems like it has been a long time since I wrote anything here. I have been journaling a whole lot at I really enjoy that, and I have able to be private in my journaling. It is a lot like the seven years I spent doing the Bible Book Club. I would journal my thoughts online, and 3500 pages later, I had journaled through the whole Bible! Now, I am journaling through the life of Jesus in 30 days, and it has brought such joy to my heart. I love meditating in a passage and then praying through it. God has been uncannily meeting me. The passages he has given me have been PERFECT for the days challenges. How can anyone say there is not a God.

I have also been using this website to do an EXAMEN prayer in the evening or at least in the morning. Actually, the last few days, I have been taking a break in the middle of the day so that I can do a noon time EXAMEN. I have been reading The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, and her recommends doing…

A Prayer to Begin the Day

Lord, I so wish to prepare well for this time.
I so want to make all of me ready and attentive and available to you.
Please help me clarify and purify my intentions.
I have so many contradictory desires.
My activity seems to be so full of busyness
and running after stuff that doesn't really seem to matter or last.
I know that if I give my heart
whatever I do will follow my new heart.
May all that I am today,
all that I try to do today,
may all my encounters, reflections,
even the frustrations and failing
all place my life in your hands

Lord, my life is in your hands.
Please, let this day give you praise. 

from Prayers for the Domestic Church by Edward Hays

Story of the Samaritan

Moved in my heart this morning as I meditated on the story Jesus told after the lawyer asked him to tell him what he must do to inherit eternal life. 

Love the LORD your God with all your
Love your neighbor as yourself.

Praying for a loved one who has wounds and needs care. We need wisdom, Lord. 

60. A Simple Life-Changing Prayer by Jim Manney

The "Prayer of Examen" has always been somewhat of an enigma to me. I had done a modified version of it last fall when I read Beyond Loneliness by Trevor Hudson, and I posted a lot of my "Prayerful Reviews," and have done it sporadically, but after reading this book and also talking to my new spiritual director (who is the BOMB), Fran, I thought I would be more consistent with it, and it has been wonderful. 
I like to know the "why" behind all of this, and this book helps me understand it according to how St. Ignatius understood it. Manney gave me the freedom to do it the next morning rather than at the end of the day because I just don't have the energy, but I am an energizer bunny in the mornings! The EXAMEN is a great way to look at your day and bring God into every nook and cranny. 

All that to say, the EXAMEN is NOT for everyone, and I have had a quite vibrant prayer life without it! (My favorite prayer book is Kenneth Boa's masterful guided Sc…

61. Discovering Our Spiritual Identity: Practices for God's Beloved by Trevor Hudson

Hudson's writing style is so warm and engaging. This would be a good book to go through with people who have never had basic follow up in living the abundant life offered in Jesus. I love Hudson's "Beloved Charter," (I have a PDF of this if you want me to send it to you) and his many exercises spread throughout the book. 

It would be a nice thing to do as a group. For some, it would be very basic, but it would very helpful for those new to the faith or struggling with their identity in Jesus. 

62. God Soaked Life: Discovering Kingdom Spirituality by Chris Webb

I liked a lot about this book. I loved his writing. I loved his way of making Kingdom living more accessible for everyone. The books starts out pretty strong, but I think it sort of peters out at the end. I liked 75% of the book though, but if you really want a good treatise on Kingdom Spirituality, I would suggest reading The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard. He fleshes out these concepts much better, but The Divine Conspiracy is a much more difficult book to get through. This book is a "Kingdom Light" introduction, but, in my humble opinion, Dallas says it much better. I think if you want an introduction to Kingdom Spirituality a book by John Ortberg is a better one.

I REALLY disagreed with his conclusions in "The Great Commission" chapter. He quotes some "hugely influential Dutch statesman and church founder" who makes a comment about the Great Commission. I have been in missions circles for 40 years. I have never heard of this "hugely influen…

59. The Cycle of Grace: Living in Sacred Balance by Trevor Hudson and Jerry P. Haas

This is such a simple concept, but it makes sense. This simple model is "based on the Gospel explorations of a British psychiatrist by the name of Frank Lake and the well-known theologian Emil Brunner, this model describes the balanced rhythms in which Jesus of Nazareth lived and ministered" (p. 11). These researchers observed mission workers in India burning out quickly. "They saw that under stress, the mission workers' pattern of living differed from the pattern they witnessed in Jesus' life" (p. 18). The cycle illustrates the "continual resourcing of Jesus by the Spirit for Jesus' ministry with and to others" (p.11). 

It is funny because three years ago at a Prayer Summit, God gave me a similar "Cycle of Grace," but I love the way Hudson and Haas articulate this! 

The cycle consists of: 

Acceptance - Jesus had a clear sense of His identity and that the Father delighted in Him unconditionally.

Sustenance - Jesus had ongoing sustenance …

A Prayer to Begin Each Day

This is the prayer that begins each day of the Retreat in Everyday Life based on The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius

Background in The Exercises:
It will be very profitable for the one who is to go through the Exercises to enter upon them with magnanimity and generosity toward our Creator and Lord, and to offer Him our entire will and liberty, that His Divine Majesty will dispose of us and all we possess according to His most holy will. - the Spiritual Exercises # 5  

In the Preparatory Prayer I will beg God our Lord for grace that all my intentions, actions and operations may be directed purely to the praise and service of the Divine Majesty. - the Spiritual Exercises # 46
A Prayer From the Online Retreat from Creighton University based on the above:
Lord, I so wish to prepare well for this time. I so want to make all of me ready and attentive…