Lent 03•07•2021: Show Me The Way

Sunday, March 7th, 2021

Greetings friends and family —-

Today marks the third Sunday of Lent and with it we can see many changes happening around us. The days are getting longer, trees and flowers are budding, and the sun is providing warmer temperatures. The stores are stocking up on Easter candy, baskets and spring clothing. One of the things I miss most about Sunday is sharing in communion with my church family. I know it should be the same doing it alone at home but it is not. I miss sharing in community communion along with my church family, soon hopefully soon. 🙏🏻🤍

Whoever drinks this water

will be thirsty again;

but no one who drink the water that I shall give him

will ever be thirsty again:

the water that I shall give him

will become in him a spring of water, welling up for

eternal life.

— John 4:13b-14

The Eucharist, as communion is commonly referred to in many churches and by Henri J. M. Nouwen, author of “Show Me The Way,” the companion book I’m reading as I blog each day. The Eucharist is the most concrete and visual thing, we have as believers in God’s love. It is through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus that we see him fully divine, fully human and he became the bread and wine. It is through the eating of the bread and the drinking of the wine that’s God’s love can become our own. Jesus is not an abstract idea made up, or a theory being tested, no Jesus makes it very clear in his own words in John 6:55-57

Each and every time we receive the bread and wine, Jesus’ love is give to as, the same love he showed on the cross. God’s love/Jesus’ love is for everyone; through all places and times, all religions and creeds, all races and classes, all tribes and nations, all sinners and saints. (1)

Jesus praying for those killing him is the enemy-loving love of God; that is the love offered to us in the Eucharist. Jesus’ love has no boundaries, all are welcomed to his table, at the Eucharist. “That is a divine gift. That’s why it’s so important to make the Eucharist the heart and center of our lives. It is there that we receive the love which empowers us to take the way that Jesus has taken before us: a narrow way, a painful, but the way that gives us true joy and peace and enables us to make the non-violent love of God visible in this world.” (2)

Jesus shows us how far God’s love goes when he prayed for those executing him. “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.” — Luke 23:34.

Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:

~ Be Inconvenienced – Sunday 3

Cut out a modern convenience that you use regularly (digital devices, microwave, coffee maker, etc.) for a day. How does this change your daily activities?

🙏🏻 Prayer 🙏🏻

As the deer yearns 🦌

for running streams, 🏞

so I yearn 🤍

for you, my God. ✝️

In you is the source of life, 🌎🌏🌍

by your light we see the light. 🔆

— Psalm 42:1; 36:9

~Charlotte, the Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing 

(1) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 62, paragraph 1.

(2) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 62, paragraph 2 (some paraphrasing).

https://biblehub.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

(NIV) New International Version Bible/Translation 

(NRSVA) New Revised Standard Version Apocrypha 

(NJBV) New Jerusalem Bible Version/Translation

Lent 03•06•2021: Show Me The Way

Saturday, March 6th, 2021

“I will leave this place and go to my father and say: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired men. So he left the place and went back to his father.

“While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him.”

— Luke 15:18-20

Rembrandt van Rijn,
The Return of the
Prodigal Son, c. 1661–1669.
262 cm × 205 cm.
Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg

Hi friends— The devotional for today is about “returning.” The beautiful painting above, a “Rembrandt” painted in the 1660’s and Henri J. M. Nouwen says this about it, He (the father) seems to think only one thing: “He’s is back home, and I am so glad to have him with me again.”(1)

An interesting tidbit, I had picked the Rembrandt photo to use even before I read today’s devotional; I had only read the Bible verse. The Lord truly works in mysterious ways and works all things for good. *God Moves in a Mysterious Way” is a Christian hymn, written in 1773 by William Cowper from England. *See reference below

The message of the prodigal son is a message for all of us. The prodigal son’s return was out of fear that he would die of hunger, he knew his father’s servants had more to eat than he did. The son returned so that he would live and not die. But the father was elated in his son’s return. The father did not ask for an explanation or provide a lecture for the son’s behavior. No! The father greeted the son, kissed him and welcomed him home with total unconditional love.

Does this story resonate with you?

This is how God is with each of us. He welcomes us home again and again, no questions, no lectures, not anything…he’s thankful for our return with unconditional love. Whatever it is that draws us away from God, He will always welcome us home again. Some leave to follow their own desires, chase a dream only to find nothing but disappointments, others may chase fame or fortune only to end up broke and alone…not even these things can separate us from God’s love. There’s no excuse to make or price to pay when we run away from God, simply return to his love. “God is glad to see us home and wants to give us all we desire, just for being home.” (2)

Listen for the voice of Jesus, “I am your God, I have molded you with my own hands, and I love what I have made. I love you with a love that has no limits, because I love you as I am loved. Do not run away from me. Come back to me — not once, not twice, but always again. You are my child. How can you ever doubt that I will embrace you again, hold you against my breast, kiss you and let my hands run through your hair? I am your God— the God of mercy and compassion, the God of pardon and love, the God of tenderness and care. Please do not say that I have given up on you, that I cannot stand you anymore, that there is no way back. It is not true. I so much want you to be with me. I so much want you close to me.” (3)

Jeremiah 31:3, “Yahweh has appeared to me from afar; I have loved you with an everlasting love and so I still maintain my faithful love for you.” (NJB)

Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:

~ On The Move – Day 16

Be intentional about silencing your phone and radio when in the car alone. Instead, use that quiet time to talk to God.

~~~ Prayer ~~~

O Lord, my Lord,

help me to listen to your voice

and to decide for your mercy.

~~~ Amen ~~~

~Charlotte, the Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing 

(1) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 59, paragraph 2.

(2) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 59, paragraph 1.

(3) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 59-60, paragraph 5, 1 respectively.

https://biblehub.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://www.britannica.com/biography/William-Cowper

(NIV) New International Version Bible/Translation 

(NRSVA) New Revised Standard Version Apocrypha 

(NJBV) New Jerusalem Bible Version/Translation

Lent 03•05•2021: Show Me The Way

Friday, March 5th, 2021

~ Matthew 21:43 ~

“I tell you, then, that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.”

💭💬🗯💭💬🗯💭💬🗯💭💬🗯💭💬🗯

Speaking Truth – Hearing Truth

As I read the devotional for today I felt overwhelmed. Nouwen has a gift of helping his readers fully grasp the message of Jesus. Truth is something most of us hold in high esteem. It is the cornerstone of all things, neither good or bad. We have heard and read, “The truth will set you free.” Now that word “free” has its own set of rules; free from guilt, free from penalty, free from…the list is very long depending upon the situation.

“And real listening means nothing less than the constant willingness to confess that you have not yet realized what you profess to believe” (1)

Some truth examples that Nouwen shares:

• Who wants to hear, for example, that the last will be first, if he happens to be first?

• Who wants to hear that those who are poor, who mourn, who hungry, thirsty, and persecuted are called happy, when he is wealthy, self-content, well-fed, praised for his good wines, and admired by all his friends?

• Who wants to hear that he has to love his enemies and pray for those who persecute him when he calls his boss an S.O.B., his own son a good-for-nothing tramp…(2)

Truth is RADICAL! It goes to the root of our humanity; few want it and the freedom that comes with it.

As I continued reading my devotional today, I read the following things Nouwen included (I will be paraphrasing):

For a Christian is only a Christian when…

▶️ He/She unceasingly asks critical questions of the society in which they live and continuously stresses the necessity of conversation, not only of the individual but also of the world.

▶️ He/She refuses to allow themselves or anyone else to settle in a comfortable rest and dissatisfied with the status quo.

▶️ He/She keeps saying to everyone he meets that the good news of the Kingdom has to be proclaimed to the whole world and witnessed to all nations. (3)

Friends…this is the point in which I become very overwhelmed. My truth is I believe in all these things. My truth is also, I allow the human nature in me to rise at times to a “me” level. Meaning, I giving into the comforts of life and at times indulge in many things to include quietness, solitude and sleep, lots of sleep! I am NOT saying these things are bad or make me less of a Christian, we all have to answer life’s questions for ourselves and our call to the Christian life we live. As for me and my wish for everyone is that our conversion and commitment to living a Christian life is between the individual and God, alone.

Our actions often speak louder than our words, for example how I treat others may speaks volumes to someone verses getting them into church to hear a sermon. The same could be said of sharing the good news of the Kingdom of God and witnessing, some are called to be missionaries traveling abroad, others can do as much by wearing a shirt that reads, “Got Jesus?” or uses a pen with a logo, “Jesus Loves You!” We all have a mission and they all have the same goal, the only differences are the methods in which we use to accomplish them. God created me and you, same but different. He loves me and you the same but different.

Thank you for stopping by my blog space today, may you feel the presence of God today and always. ~Peace to you my friends~ 🙏🏻🤍

🔹 Ephesians 4:4-7 (NJB) 🔹

4:4 There is one Body, one Spirit, just as one hope is the goal of your calling by God.

4:5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,

4:6 and one God and Father of all, over all, through all and within all.

4:7 On each one of us God’s favour has been bestowed in whatever way Christ allotted it.

Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:

~Learn A Song – Day 15

Find a psalm or a hymn text that is meaningful to you. Write out the words, learn more about the song, and read/sing it throughout the day.

My Favorite Song – In The Garden

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am his own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

He speaks and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am his own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

— Gospel composer C. Austin Miles (1868–1946)

— Written March 1912

https://www.hymnologyarchive.com/in-the-garden

– Prayer –

God, you wish to reveal to us

how rich is the glory of your mystery

among the gentiles;

it is Christ among us, our hope of glory!

This is the Christ

we are proclaiming, admonishing, and instructing

everyone in all wisdom,

to make everyone perfect in Christ.

— After Colossians 1:7-28

~Charlotte, the Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing 

(1) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 55, paragraph 1.

(2) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 55, paragraph 1.

(3) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 56, paragraph 2.

https://biblehub.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/truth

https://www.hymnologyarchive.com/in-the-garden

(NIV) New International Version Bible/Translation 

(NRSVA) New Revised Standard Version Apocrypha 

(NJBV) New Jerusalem Bible Version/Translation

Lent 03•04•2021: Show Me The Way

Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Hello friends and welcome to a new day! Thank you for sharing part of your day with me. I feel particularly close to God when I am enjoying nature. I see God in the trees, the leaves, the bark and the soil. I see God in the sunlight and in big fluffy white clouds. I can also see God in other weather related scenic views. The below photo was taken at a nature park that I like to visit often. I hope it is uplifting to you.

After reading today’s devotional by Henri J. M. Nouwen, some specific words began floating around in my thoughts.

Everyone has a desire to accomplish something in their life. I have been extremely blessed to have accomplish things that others have only dreamed of and I do not take any of them for granted. Some people dream of building a new home, graduating from college, inventing something revolutionary, writing a book, becoming an actor/actress, being the next great leader, finding lost treasures, becoming a mom/dad; no matter how big or small these things may be, they indeed matter to the person wanting to accomplish them.

What about once you have accomplished “the thing,” did you feel completely fulfilled? Sometimes we chase something only to find out it wasn’t really what we thought it would be. Other times we seek to accomplish things for all the wrong reasons. This my friends is what I like to refer to as “LIFE.” I have shared the past two days about my competitiveness, there was a time in my life when I believed life could get no better than being a “Champion.” When I played softball, I wanted to be the fastest runner, steal the most bases, hit the most home runs, yell the loudest…get the idea? I did accomplish some of these but the truth is in life someone else will comes along and will be better yet. That my friend is life. We must move forward, which I did and I have beautiful memories. Those years of playing, yes they were competitive but that’s not what I most remember, it is the shared experience of my teammates, trophies and road trips.

Life can seem like a giant scoreboard, where each of us is only worth the points we put on the board. When we are scoring other will cheer us on, once we are no longer seen as worthwhile and valuable, the cheering stops. Everyone is dispensable, no one is indispensable.

“To live a Christian life means to live in the world without being of it.” (1) Nouwen

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”

—John 15:19 (NIV)

We all need alone time to be with God, Nouwen refers to this as, “A life without a lonely place, that is, a life without a quiet center, easily becomes destructive.” (2)

When we hold onto our own accomplishments and actions, we too often see everyone else as our enemies. We feel threatened and become possessive, keeping others at a distance. It is in our solitude, our quiet time listening for God’s voice and the Spirit’s guidance, we can find peace and find our center. Nouwen says, in discovering this center, we see that we are not what we can conquer but what is given to us. That my friend is life, God gave us life. God loved us before we could love in return; God spoke to us before we could speak; God healed us before we could even gesture for help; he set us free long before we could free others. “In solitude we become aware that our worth is not the same as our usefulness.” (3)

God’s love is not property for us to cling to, but a gift to be received and shared with the world.

As I was contemplating writing this entry a poem I wrote a decade ago came into my thoughts. The circumstances of me writing it were vastly different from where I am in life right now. I can now read it with new eyes and can see things coming full circle. I understand now I needed to learn about caring for myself and others more acutely, I needed to understand solitude and it’s true value. I find the last line rather ironic, silence was all that I had (and) was exactly what I needed to find my center. To reconnect with God, who loved me first, listened to me before I could speak, healed me before I could even gesture a need, and set me free.

I Don’t, I Want, I Need

I don’t need to be in love
I want to be loved
I don’t want to give care
I want to feel care

My faith is weak
My anger is strong
I want to run
I need to be held

I want to let go
I’m all tied up
I want to scream
I’m too scared

I want to cry
I need to cry
I curb my wants
I deny my needs

God wants in
I push God away
I blame, I question
Silence is all I have…

~C.A.Robinson ©️
10/25/2011
12:36am

Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:

~Save * Share – Day 14

Buy one or two extra non-perishable foods each week at the store or set aside 10¢ a meal. At the end of Lent, share what you’ve saved to help feed others.

🪔 Prayer 🪔

Yahweh, you examine me and know me,

you know when I sit, when I rise,

you understand my thoughts from afar.

You watch when I walk or lie down,

you know every detail of my conduct.

God, examine me and know my heart,

text me and know my concerns.

Make sure that I am not on my way to ruin,

and guide me on the road to eternity.

— Psalm 139:1-3, 23-24

~Charlotte, the Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing 

(1) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 53, paragraph 1.

(2) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 53, paragraph 2.

(3) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 53, paragraph 3.

https://biblehub.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Charles-de-Gaulle-president-of-France

(NIV) New International Version Bible/Translation 

(NRSVA) New Revised Standard Version Apocrypha 

(NJBV) New Jerusalem Bible Version/Translation

Lent 03•03•2021: Show Me The Way

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021

Happy Hump Day!! 🐪 🐫

— Matthew 20:26-28 —

Today, I am sharing about “servanthood” and the knowledge that Jesus came to serve and not be served. I found the below definition and defining of what that means:

https://tecartabible.com/share/2107/410

Henri J. M. Nouwen says this about servanthood, “It is in his servanthood that God chooses to reveal himself as God to us.” (1). When we read about Jesus’ compassion, his entering with us and the world, as a slave. We see the true nature of God, not as a conqueror or ruler demanding worship or allegiance. No, it was when Jesus emptied and humbled himself, we were encountering and seeing God for who is really is, his true divinity.

God did not come into the world under any false pretenses; his servanthood is God’s self-revelation. Nouwen introduces, “RADICAL SERVANTHOOD,” it is a new level of encountering God. Being humble and persecuted cannot be desired unless we can find God in them. As be begin to see God as the source of all our comforts and consolation, at the very center of servanthood, we see compassion as more than simply caring for the unfortunate.

RADICAL SERVANTHOOD when encountered with COMPASSION, transports us past the differences that our eyes see and we can begin to see with our hearts.

🔔 A Profound Spiritual Truth 🔔

Service is an expression of the search for God and not just a desire to bring about individual or social change.

Wealth ↔️ Proverty

Success ↔️ Failure

Fortune ↔️ Bad Luck

Here’s an excerpt from Nouwen’s book where he brilliantly describes, “RADICAL SERVANTHOOD” (2)

Henri Nouwen: Show Me The Way, page 50

When we see real service, we also have the opportunity to see real joy, because at the heart of it, is a divine presence, the presence of God.

Friends, following in the footsteps of Jesus and the example he set for us was never promised to be free of pain and disappointments, but I can tell you there is joy! Joy and peace that can only come from God. We know the truth of God’s compassion because we have witnessed it. We are loved not because of anything we have done, we are redeemed by means of our own actions…God loves us. No matter what trials this life can heap upon us, we can rise above, for if God is with us who can be against us.

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” —Romans 8:31 (NIV)

Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:

~Press Pause – Day 13

Press pause on videos, shows, movies and streamed content. What can you fill this time with instead?

Artwork by: Me 🤗

🔹 ~ Prayer ~ 🔹

Lord,

you are the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

No one comes to the Father

except through you.

— After John 14:6

~Charlotte, the Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing 

(1) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 49 paragraph 2.

(2) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 50, paragraph 1.

https://biblehub.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

(NIV) New International Version Bible/Translation 

(NRSVA) New Revised Standard Version Apocrypha

(NJBV) New Jerusalem Bible Version/Translation

Lent 03•02•2021: Show Me The Way

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

Hi friends, thanks for joining me today as we continue to examine and discuss “Show Me The Way” as we journey through Lent. I am discovering the beautiful appeal to Henri Nouwen’s writings. He is able to share his experiences and scripture knowledge so plainly and beautifully. I first learned of Nouwen through two very dear friends and in my opinion they are two of the humblest human beings I have ever had the privilege of knowing. God has surely blessed me with great teachers and role models in my life. (Thank you, JJ and PC).

— Matthew 23:11-12 —

“The greatest among you must be your servant. Anyone who raises himself up will be humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be raised up.”

The scripture verse today calls us to be humble. Humble, (is) the way of Jesus, humble (is) Jesus and (is) the way he calls his followers, his disciples.

Here’s a few Bible verses to guide us and how Jesus, “Shows Us The Way.”

🔸Luke 14:11, “For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’”(NRSVA)

🔸Mark 8:35, “…anyone who loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.” (NJBV)

🔸Matthew 18:4, “…the one who makes himself as little as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.” (NJBV)

🔸Mark 8:34, “…If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (NRSVA)

🔸Matthew 5:3-10, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (NIV)

🔸Matthew 5:44, “…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (NJBV)

Photo credit: Me (Top-Mooresville, IN; Left-Indianapolis, IN; Right-Indianapolis, IN (2015)

Mr. Nouwen uses the phrase, “the descending way,” on page 46, “[Jesus] presents to us the great mystery of the descending way (1). As I read the words, the idea of the rising and setting of the sun came to my minds eye. Being humble may not sound prestigious or a thing to aspire towards to many. I do believe it is something to aspire to, something to strive for and I know it is no easy task and definitely not for the weak. As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I have been competitive for most of my life, striving to be the best. It requires practice and dedication; but I believe to being humble also requires practice and dedication for something way more valuable than trophies or ribbons; our eternal life in heaven with Jesus and the Father. Our human existence is factual; it is a priority to live, grow but what if our spiritual lives (?), they too require nourishment and growth. Jesus lead by example, he was fully human/fully divine and he loved fully, cared fully and did not seek places of power or recognition for himself. He was faithful to his Father and all glory and honor went to the Father. Life is a balance of taking care of our physical bodies as well as our spiritual growth and maturity, that can only come from being in the scriptures and following in Jesus’ footsteps.

Photo credit: JCornettcartoon

Being a Christian is not a one size fits all! Nouwen poses the question of “how, in imitation of Jesus are you/we to find that descending way (of Jesus). He goes onto to say the question is a personal one, an intimate one. Each person must decide for themselves, no one person can give you or me the answer. Referencing the verses from above, “It’s not simply a matter of renouncing your money, your possessions, your intellectual formation or your friends and family. For some people, it has indeed meant this but only because they felt personally called to that road. Each one of us has to seek out his or her own descending way of love.” (2) Page 47.

The descending way requires much patience, much prayer and lots of guidance. This descending way is concealed in our hearts and will take some effort on our part to clear a path to its hidden gems. (3) Page 47

Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:

~Prayer Wall Day 12

Use a large piece of paper or sticky notes to write or draw prayers of joy and concerns. Visit the wall regularly and continue to pray for the prayers that have been posted.

✝️ Prayer ✝️

Lord Jesus Christ, make ours

the same attitude that was yours.

You emptied yourself,

taking the form of a slave,

you humbled yourself,

becoming obedient to death,

even death on a cross.

— After Philippians 2:5, 7-8

— Amen

~Charlotte, the Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing 

(1) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 46, paragraph 3.

(2) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 47, paragraph 2.

(3) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 47 paragraph 2.

https://biblehub.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://www.redbubble.com/i/ipad-skin/One-Size-Fits-All-by-JCorbettcartoon/23369092.MHP6F

(NIV) New International Version Bible/Translation

(NRSVA) New Revised Standard Version Apocrypha

(NJBV) New Jerusalem Bible Version/Translation

Lent 03•01•2021: Show Me The Way

Monday, March 1st, 2021

Happy Monday Everyone!! I hope it’s beautiful wherever you may be! I am blessed to be able to share this Lenten season with you and the opportunity to share the insightful words from Henri J. M. Nouwen.

Photo credit: Charlotte (me); Place Gatlinburg, TN (Fall 2020)

https://www.biblestudytools.com/

COMPASSION:

The definition of compassion is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is hurting, in pain, or has misfortune and is accompanied by a strong desire to help the suffering. Jesus Christ is the greatest example of someone with true compassion. Not only did Jesus have compassion and heal people from physical suffering, he also showed the greatest compassion for mankind when died on the cross for our sins. Below are verses relating to compassion:

• Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (NIV)

• 1 Peter 3:8, “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” (NIV)

• Colossians 3:12, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (NIV)

• 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (NIV)

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Compassion…this is a beautiful word and even more magnificent when seen in action. In general, I think many of us would say we are compassionate, but after reading Nouwen’s words, I am doubting myself. “Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate,” is a command to participate i. The compassion of God himself. He requires us to unmask the illusion of our competitive selfhood, to give up clinging to our imaginary distinctions as sources of identity, and to take up into the same intimacy with God which he himself knows. This is the mystery of the Christian life; to receive a new self, a new identity, which depends not on what we can achieve, but on what we are willing to receive.”(1).

One of the things that caught my attention was the mystery of the Christian life…depends on what we are willing to receive(?), not what we are willing to do, write a check for, to donate to or pray about. As we look at ourselves in the mirror can we say with complete truthfulness, “I want to be compassionate like my Father is compassionate.”

“I am one with the Father, I am one with Christ, I am COMPASSIONATE.”

* Apologies, I am a Star Wars fan. As I typed the words, “I am one with the Father, I am one with Christ, I am COMPASSIONATE”. The above scene was playing in my head.

Nouwen talks about competitiveness, more accurately “Through union with him (Christ), we are lifted out of our competitiveness with each other into the divine wholeness. By sharing in the wholeness of the one in whom no competition exists, we can enter into new, compassionate relationships with each other. (2).

Life without competition, seems impossible as it is everywhere we look. It is in sports, businesses, personal lives, reality TV, beauty contests, and the list goes on and on. I personally am very competitive. I played sports for many years, competition between teams, teammates and even myself to continue to sharpen my skills. I am competitive in my job, I am always interested to learning new ways to improve my performance, I am even competitive with my cars performance as it relates to how many miles I can get out of a tank of gas. It’s crazy! I guess what I’m trying to say, (at least from my personal viewpoint) is competition can be something positive when improving oneself. Compassion should not be a completion. Full disclosure, I could be completely wrong in my way of thinking. I would also like to add is that as I have grown and matured in life my need for competition has lessened. I remember early on when I started my blog, I was constantly looking at the number of views I had and how many posts I uploaded but even that competition has changed over time.

Nouwen writes this about compassion, “it asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless.” (3)

COMPASSION means full immersion in the condition of being human…

“It is not surprising that compassion, understood as suffering with, often evokes in us a deep resistance and even protest. Compassion is not among our most natural responses. We are pain-avoiders and we consider anyone who feels attracted to suffering as abnormal or very unusual.” (4)

Compassion and kindness start with simple invitations of sharing our joy with others. Compassion is making eye contact with a stranger who just needed to be noticed today. Friends, compassion is everyone’s responsibility, let’s share the love and compassion of our Father with those around us today. May the Lord Jesus Bless and Keep You, Amen. Much Love to all of you ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜🖤🤍🤎💗💓💞💖

Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:

~God Sightings Day 11

At the end of the day ask yourself “Where did I see God today?” Make a list.

💠 ~ Prayer ~ 💠

O Lord Jesus,

you who came to us

to show the compassionate love of your Father,

make your people know this love

with their hearts, minds, and souls.

And to me, O Lord, your stumbling friend,

show your mercy.

~ Amen

~Charlotte, the Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing

(1) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 43, paragraph 1.

(2) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 43, paragraph 2, Page 44, paragraph 1.

(3) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 44, paragraph 2.

(4) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 44 paragraph 2.

https://biblehub.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://www.biblestudytools.com/search/?s=references&q=Compassion

(NIV) New International Version Bible/Translation

(NJBV) New Jerusalem Bible Version/Translation

Lent 02•28•2021: Show Me The Way

Sunday, February 28th, 2021

Dear friends, welcome to the second Sunday of Lent. I am feeling much better today, I slept well last night and felt very refreshed when I woke. I thank God for these blessings. I pray that you experience the love of God in very real ways today.

“He was still speaking when suddenly a bright cloud covered them with shadow, and suddenly from the cloud there came a voice which said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.’”

— Matthew 17:5

In reading Nouwen’s words for today’s devotional, I discovered a connection with his selected verses I had never before thought of. The experience was as if my thoughts formed a circular pathway that connected seemingly separate stories from the Gospel’s of Matthew and Luke. The connectedness of share a meal, the meal of communion, as we call it now. I have missed the breaking of bread with my church family. Communion is a sacred celebration that is both personal and communal for me. It’s an opportunity to express to one another the story of Jesus’ life and how our lives are in him.

The Bible gives us three accounts of Jesus breaking bread. Each time he took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to his friends.

Jesus saw the HUNGRY, felt COMPASSION and FEED them.

1. ➡️ Matthew 14:19, “He gave orders that the people were to sit down on the grass; then he took the five loaves and the two fish, raised his eyes to heaven and said the blessing. And breaking the loaves he handed them to his disciples, who gave them to the crowds.” Matthew 15:36, “and he took the seven loaves and the fish, and after giving thanks he broke them and began handing them to the disciples, who gave them to the crowds.”

Jesus saying FAREWELL

2. ➡️ Matthew 26:26, “Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to the disciples. ‘Take it and eat,’ he said, ‘this is my body.’”

Jesus on the road to EMMAUS

3. ➡️ Luke 24:30, “Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them.”

Since the death and resurrection of Jesus, Christians have broke bread in memory of him. The breaking of bread is the celebration of Christ’s story with our own stories. (1).

Salvation’s story is the Father took his only son and sent him into the world so that through him the world might be saved. John 3:16-17, “For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. For God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but so that through him the world might be saved.”

The Bible also gives us two accounts of God calling Jesus his son, his BELOVED.

Matthew 3:17, “And suddenly there was a voice from heaven, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on him.’”

Matthew 17:5, “He was still speaking when suddenly a bright cloud covered them with shadow, and suddenly from the cloud there came a voice which said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favour. Listen to him.’”

Each time we participate in communion, the eating of the bread and drinking from the cup; we have the opportunity to experience the moment with the compassion of Jesus in a very personal manner. Nouwen describes it, “we become his life and are thus enabled to represent his life in our time and place.” (2). I love that no matter our age or the generation we live in, we can experience and celebrate the life of Jesus.

Jesus, is not a fade, he’s never out of date and is always relevant.

The Apostle Paul addressed a letter to the people of Philippi with the following, in order to commend to them, the descending direction on a ladder of life.

Make your own the mind of Christ Jesus:

Who, being in the form of God,

did not count equality with God

something to be grasped.

But he emptied himself,

taking the form of a slave,

becoming as human beings are;

and being in every way like a human being,

he was humbler yet,

even to accepting death, death on a cross.

— Philippians 2:5-8

Jesus loves his disciples with the same love that the Father lives him,

and as this live makes Jesus one with the Father,

so too does it make the disciples one with Jesus. (3).

Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:

~Nourish Sunday 2

Cook a meal for a friend or neighbor. We never known what people are going through, and even a simple meal can make a big difference in someone’s life.

🛐 Prayer 🛐

God you have told us

to listen to your beloved Son.

Nourish us with your word

and cleanse the eyes of our spirit,

so that we may know your glory.

We ask this through Jesus Christ.

~Amen

~Charlotte, the Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

(1) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 40, paragraph 2

(2) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 41, paragraph 1

(3) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 42, paragraph 1

Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing

https://biblehub.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

(NJBV) New Jerusalem Bible Version/Translation

Lent 02•27•2021: Show Me The Way

Saturday, February 27th, 2021

Hi friends! I hope today is all you want and need it to be. I’m still tired and my spirit is willing! Thanks for stopping by my blog post today. You are a blessing to me. Some non-blog related news to share, I received my second covid vaccine yesterday, WooHoo 🙌🏻 🎉 🤍 one day closer I hope to stop wearing the mask and another day closer to greeting my friends and family with hugs!

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❤️🧡💛💚💙💜🖤🤍🤎❣️

💕💞💓💟💗💖💘

Questions To Ponder:

(Answers below)

1. What is the most RADICAL words written in the Gospels?

2. What is a touchstone of being a Christian?

3. What is considered the main criterion of holiness for saints?

There are a few individuals in my life that have their own special place in my heart that is there’s alone. Friends that have significantly impacted my life; lovers who changed my life for the better and family members.

Prayer is defined as an address (such as a petition) to God or a god in word or thought; an earnest request or wish; the act or practice of praying to God or a god according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Prayer is central to the Christian life, it is communicating with the Divine. As Christians, we often post prayer requests in church bulletins, newsletters, emails, personal visits, and phone conversations. Mr. Nouwen explains, “Prayer allows us to lead into the center of our hearts.” It is within our hearts where we keep our deepest and most precious “things.” We protect it. But what exactly are we protecting it from or whom? Jesus was by far the most RADICAL individual in the Bible and he tells us to do this. “…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” This is our verse for the day, Matthew 5:44.

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Praying for our enemies is certainly not an easy task to do. It requires patience and discipline, loving others as Jesus does. Praying for those who love us in return is an easy thing to do, praying for those who hate us is much more challenging. I use the word challenging because praying for them opens ours heart to them, that intimate and protected space we treasure. I will quote Mr. Houwen as his words are better than mine, “Prayer allows us to lead into the center of our hearts not only those who love us but also those who hate us. This is possible only when we are willing to make our enemies part of ourselves and thus convert them first of all in our own hearts.” (1).

As we begin to pray for our enemies it can be the first steps to reconciliation; it can convert an enemy into a growing friendship, or perhaps two individuals that no longer hate one another but agreeing to compromises. Prayer is very powerful and praying for our enemies is the most difficult, but not impossible.

I’ve thrown a lot of information in my post today and I know it’s a lot to take in but the message is quite simple LOVE!

My authentic self knows the lesson for today is a challenge not because I don’t understand it, but because I must unlearn things I was taught, passed down to me and were culturally accepted practices. Hate did not start with an explosion, no it was a spark. And I know that things will change even if it must starts with a spark. This all reminds me of a song I sang at summer camps…Go on sing along 🎼🎶🎵

Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:

~Unplug Day 10

Unplug as much as you can – perhaps even the wifi router! Make room for connection with those close to you.

🅿️ Prayer 🅿️

O Lord, look with favor on us, your people,

and impart your love to us —

not as an idea or concept, but as a lived experience.

We can love each other

only because you have loved us first.

Let us know that first love

so that we can see all human love

as a reflect of a greater love,

a love without conditions and limitations.

~ Amen

~Charlotte, the Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

Answers to questions to ponder:

1. Love your enemies (page 38)

2. Love (page 38)

3. Prayer for our enemies (page 38)

Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing

(1) Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing • Page 37, paragraph 1.

https://biblehub.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prayer

(NJBV) New Jerusalem Bible Version/Translation

Lent 02•26•2021: Show Me The Way

Friday, February 26th, 2021

Friends— I am tired! I felt the need to be honest and forthright with you because I want to be authentic in sharing my faith. I engaged in a conversation today about doing this blog series and my struggles with being tired, both physically and mentally. I love doing blog series, especially Advent and Lent as they challenge me to dig deeper and share my faith openly and honestly. I thank God for each person that visits the site and appreciate all the comments. I am also thankful for the opportunities it provides for me and the readers to exchange knowledge. The tiredness I speak about comes from expecting too much from myself instead of allowing others help me. I love my friends and I’m always ready and willing to help them, the same is true for my family. As for my professional life, I love my job and find it challenging which in truth is a good thing and as well a negative thing from time to time. After reading Mr. Nouwen’s devotional for today, I felt like I had been given the cliff notes to, “secrets to life & freedom” by Henri J. M. Nouwen!

Lesson 1: Forgive

Lesson 2: Don’t Hold Grudges

Lesson 3: Forgive

Nouwen writes this, “If I could fully accept the truth that I am forgiven and do not have to live in guilt or shame, I would really be free. My freedom would allow me to forgive others seventy times seven. By not forgiving, I chain myself to a desire to get even, thereby losing my freedom. A forgiven person forgives.” *(1)

According to biblegateway.com; the word forgive is referenced 121 times in the Bible. I think that’s a big deal!

If God forgives me, “As the distance of east to west.” (Psalm 103:12). I/we should be willing to do the same. Forgiveness is not like writing a blank check to someone you don’t know, you can forgive and move on with life. No where does it say you must become best friends, hang out together…no that is entirely something else. Forgiveness sets YOU free of the burden of not moving forward and past the obstacle. Nouwen’s message was personal for me, because it is hard to forgive someone who continuously offends us on some level…but, isn’t that what we do to God (?). When we seek God’s forgiveness, it’s in remorse for what we did or didn’t do. God does not keep a count of our offenses, and we should do the same. Only then can we be truly free. The world can be troublesome at times, never ending wars, hatred and visible hostility towards one another for some questionable reasons (my words). I need to be more compassionate, slow to anger and forgive generously. Jesus set a perfect example for loving one another, I can try a little harder. We all could do that.

➡️ When faced with hostility, respond with love.

➡️ When offended, ask yourself “Why am I offended?

➡️ Ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?”

Above all, know that you are LOVED, you were CREATED with a purpose, you MATTER!

Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:

~Finger Prayer Day 9

Use your fingers to guide your prayer:

Photo: My hand.

~ Prayer ~

Bless Yahweh, my soul.

never forget all his acts of kindness.

He does not treat us as our sins deserve,

nor repay us as befits our offenses.

As the height of heaven above earth,

so strong is his faithful love for those who fear him.

As the distance of east from west,

so far from us does he put our faults.

As tenderly as a father treats his children,

as Yahweh treats those who fear him.

—Psalm 103:2, 10-13

~Charlotte, the Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing

(1) Show Me The Way•Page 37-38

https://biblehub.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=Forgive&version=NIV

(NJBV) New Jerusalem Bible Version/Translation