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)

🌀🌀🌀🌀🌀🌀🌀🌀🌀🌀🌀🌀🌀🌀🌀

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!

🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗

❤️🧡💛💚💙💜🖤🤍🤎❣️

💕💞💓💟💗💖💘

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.

🙏🏻🤍🙏🏻

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

Lent 02•25•2021: Show Me The Way

Thursday, February 25th, 2021

Hello friends,

The above photo was taken on February 24th, 2021 in western Indiana. A gorgeous Indiana sunset. I was driving home from visiting my dad when I noticed the beautiful colors dancing in the western sky. It took my breath away with its spectacular colors seeping into one another. Bravo to our Father in heaven, creator of all things.

The RADICAL purpose of Jesus’ ministry was to do one thing; to do the will of his Father. The first recorded words of Jesus were when he spoke to his mother in the Temple. Mary and Joseph had been looking for Jesus for three days after they had left Jerusalem and attended the feast of the Passover. They returned to the city and found Jesus in the Temple, when they stated their worries to him, Jesus replied with, “Did you not know that I must be busy with my Father’s affairs?” (Luke 2:49). Jesus’ whole life was about doing the will of the Father, his Father. His last words on the cross, Jesus remained steadfast and sure in his RADICAL purpose, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46).

In the Gospel of John, there are other examples of Jesus’ RADICAL purpose.

—John 5:19, “The Son can do nothing by himself; he can only do what he sees the Father doing.”

—John 10:37, “If I am not doing my Father’s work, there is no need to believe me…”

—John 14:24, “My word is not my own; it is the word of the one who sent me.”

Everything that Jesus did and said was done completely out of obedience to his Father. I believe, there’s much to be said about this obedience and why the scriptures talk about obeying and trusting God. In fact, according to, Bible Gateway (reference below) obedience to God is mentioned 8,454 times in the Bible!

Paul the Apostle, recorded these words in Romans 5:19, “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” English Standard Version

Obedience: Definition in the Bible

  • The general concept of obedience both in the Old and New Testamentrelates to hearing or hearkening to a higher authority.
  • One of the Greek terms for obedience in the Bible conveys the idea of positioning oneself under someone by submitting to their authority and command.
  • Another Greek word for obey in the New Testament means “to trust.”
  • According to Holman’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, a succinct definition of biblical obedience is “to hear God’s Word and act accordingly.”
  • Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary states, “True ‘hearing,’ or obedience, involves the physical hearing that inspires the hearer, and a belief or trust that in turn motivates the hearer to act in accordance with the speaker’s desires.”
  • Thus, biblical obedience to God means to hear, trust, submit and surrender to God and his Word.

Let us all pause for at least 10 minutes and reflect upon Jesus’ RADICAL purpose and follow where he leads. Jesus, Show Me The Way!

“All that Jesus does we may also do.” —Henri J. M. Nouwen

Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:

~Start Seedlings Day 8

Plant seeds in small jars and place them in the light. Let them be physical reminders that we partner with God in creation.

💕Prayer 💞

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

References:

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

https://biblehub.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/dictionary-of-bible-themes/8454-obedience-God

https://www.learnreligions.com/obedience-to-god-701962

(NJBV) New Jerusalem Bible Version/Translation

Lent 02•24•2021: Show Me The Way

Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

🏵 Philippians 2:12-15 🏵

“So work out your salvation in fear and trembling. It is God who, for his own generous purpose, gives you the intention and the powers to act. Let your behaviour be free of murmuring and complaining so that you remain faultless and pure, unspoilt children of God.”

Below I am sharing the definitions of two words I rediscovered as I was reading my Lenten devotional today by Henri J. M. Nouwen. I hope you discover a nugget or two of knowledge as well.

Gnosis (the knowledge of God, St. John)

• esoteric knowledge of spiritual truth held by the ancient Gnostics to be essential to salvation

Memoria Dei (the memory of God, St. Basil)

• This memoria becomes an inner presence, and this presence becomes prayer – life lived before God and in the awareness of his presence.

Show Me The Way…

We are asking God to show us the way. But before anyone ever gets to the point of asking and seeking God; we must admit he exists.

Nouwen shares in his book, when we say from our hearts that God exists, EVERYTHING trembles in heaven and on earth. This is because when we acknowledge the existence of God, all that is, flows from him. A way of knowing that we have come into the true knowledge, (Gnosis) of God; we openly allow ourselves to become acutely aware of how we experience ourselves. Take the time to name and claim those things that are uniquely (YOU)! The list should include everything not a list of good vs. bad, just who you are.

About me…I’m an artistic, I’m a learner, I like food, I like going to Disney World, my feelings are easily hurt, I’m fearful, I’m a thinker, I like romance, I like sunsets, I like the ocean, I am too quick to judge, I’m a giver, I’m smart, I like to talk, I talk too loud, I’m a fighter, I’m a lover… that’s a few things, get the idea. I EXIST!

Experiences of love and hatred are different, the desire of power is different from a desire of service; however, these are sameness insomuch as they relate to my existence, as to what really counts . I exist no more or no less based upon my values, likes, desires, political affiliations, etc.,

I Exist. •PERIOD•

What does count about existence, is that as soon as I say, GOD EXISTS, my existence is no longer the center of my life. This is because of (Memoria Dei) the essence of the knowledge of God, it has revealed to me and opened my eyes; my existence as deriving it’s total being, from him. Yes, him, God, I exist only because God exists!

Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:

~Clear Out Day 7

Donate personal possessions such as clothes, books, shoes, to live a second life. Take time to figure out what is essential and what is extra.

~Prayer~

You who live in the secret place of Elton,

spending your nights in the shelter of Shaddai,

saying to Yahweh, “My refuge, my fortress,

my God in whom I trust.”

You who say, “Yahweh, my refuge!”

No disaster can overtake you,

no plague come near your tent;

he has given his angels orders about you

to guard you wherever you go.

—Psalms 91:1-2, 9, 10-11

~ Amen

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

References:

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•23•2021: Show Me The Way

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

Hello friends—

Our prayers and prayer life are essential for a healthy relationship with God. Prayer is how we communicate with God. In my own personal experiences it has been a great source of comfort and at times frustration due to my own lack of listening skills. Our frustration can be of our own making, due to our impatience and inability to listen to God’s voice. At times our prayers can be viewed as a monologue instead of a dialogue. We do all the talking and either don’t wait for a response or we don’t want to hear the response. Our prayers sometimes sounds like a litany of requests, thanksgiving, guidance, answers, questions, solutions, compromises and many more that are rooted in logic parts of our minds and not our hearts. Nouwen says this about prayer life, “The crisis of our prayer life is that our minds may be filled with ideas of God while our heart remains far from God.” The key to a dialogue prayer life, is our hearts! ❤️ God speaks to our hearts, when we listen with our hearts, then we can connect with God on an intimate level. God’s voice is gentle and is soothing to the soul.

🔹 2 Thessalonians 3:5 🔹

“May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”

Our lives and the world are filled with so much noise that some of us simply cannot sleep in deafening silence because we are so saturated and conditioned to the noise. And as hard as it may seem, it is within that quietness and stillness, we can hear God’s tender voice calling to us.

When we recognize the voice of God we begin to see and hear him all around us. One of my favorite places to see and hear God is in nature. I love to take picture of things that seemingly call out to me, things of beauty that perhaps only my eyes can see. At this very moment I’m listening to the clock “tick” from across the room, as if God is saying Charlotte, you are not alone. God is in the face of strangers, a smile from someone sharing their joy with you. God is the sun rising from above a heavy fog. *This is one of my most favorite photos.

Photo credit: Me (10/03/2018)

And, borrowing from a conversation I had yesterday with my very dear friend Barry, “God is the lighthouse; anchored and leading us home.” God is always the immovable lighthouse ready to welcome us home, it is we who move freely toward and away from the lighthouse, only to be tossed to-and-fro by the waves of the world we live in and by the choices we make.

Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:

~Let Go Day 6

It is human nature to hold on to resentment and grudges. Today practice letting go of resentment and open your heart to new possibilities.

✝️ Prayer ✝️

Why, O Lord, is it so hard for me

to keep my heart directed toward you?

Why does my mind wander off in so many directions,

and why does my heart desire

the things that lead me astray?

Let me sense your presence in the midst of my turmoil.

Take my tired body,

my confused mind,

and my restless soul into your arms

and give me rest, simple rest.

~ Amen

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

References:

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•22•2021: Show Me The Way

Monday, February 22nd, 2021

💠 Monday of the First Week of Lent 💠

~Matthew 25:34-35, 40 (NJBV)~

♥️ HOSPITALITY {vs} HOSTILITY 📛

Hospitality:

  • hospitable treatment, reception, or disposition (thanked our hosts for their hospitality)
  • the activity or business of providing services to guests in hotels, restaurants, bars, etc. —

Hostility:

  • deep-seated usually mutual ill will (glad to have gotten throughthe divorce proceedings withoutany visible signs of hostility OR showed open hostility toward outsiders)
  • conflict, opposition, or resistance in thought or principle action

Hello friends and Happy Monday to all of you! 🌻💛

The Bible gives us many examples of hospitality and Mr. Nouwen reminds us it is an important virtue on page 26 of his book, Show Me The Way. “When hostility is converted into hospitality then fearful strangers can become guests revealing to their hosts the promise they are carrying with them. …but even more than that [virtue] in the context of hospitality guest and host can reveal their most precious gifts and bring new life to each other.”

Biblical stories of hospitality can be found throughout the Bible, below are a few:

1. Genesis 18:1-15 (Sarah/Abraham’s son announced)

2. 1 Kings 17:9-24 (Widow of Zarepharh/Elijah)

3. Luke 24:13-35 (Traveler/Emmaus/Stranger)

The words from Mr. Nouwen spoke to my weary heart today. As I left work I felt very tired and somewhat disappointed in myself. I thought to myself, I could have been a better version of myself, my voice could have been more soothing at times, I could have been more patient, and I should have taken more deep breaths and prayer more often. For those I work with, they probably did not see the person I’m describing, I am much too harsh with myself and more likely they accept me…flaws and all. I can say with all honesty that I had no preconceived notions to raise my voice when discussing things that I am passionate about. I did not set out to be impatient, I know I get anxious and sometimes it’s hard for my brain and mouth to work positively in unison 🤣😉

The truth is this my friend, a stranger is someone we just haven’t met or met properly. It’s good to be cautious and to use common sense, practice safety and to trust your intuitions. Baby steps friends, the scriptures tell us, when we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, and welcome a stranger…we are welcoming Jesus! Peace to you my friends. 💞

Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:

~Quiet Time Day 5

Spend 10 minutes today in silence and prayer. Will this be easy or hard for you?

🙏🏻 ~Prayer~🙏🏻

Dear Lord,

show me your kindness and your gentleness,

you who are meek and humble of heart.

So often I say to myself, “The Lord loves me,”

but very often this truth does not enter

into the center of my heart.

Let these weeks become an opportunity for me

to let go of all my resistances to your love

and an occasion for you to call me closer to you.

~ Amen

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

References:

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

https://biblehub.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

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

(NJBV) New Jerusalem Bible Version/Translation