Lent 02•18•2021: Show Me The Way

Thursday, February 18th, 2021

Deuteronomy 30:19-20

“Today, I call heaven and earth to witness against you: I am offering you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live, in the love of Yahweh your God, obeying his voice, holding fast to him; for in this your life consists, and on this depends the length of time that you stay in the country which Yahweh swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that he would give them.”

“A life of faith is a life of gratitude.” -Henri Nouwen.

A life of faith is a life that is dependent upon God; it is praising God and thanking God unceasingly. I whole heartedly agree with Mr. Nouwen, I also am acutely aware of my ineptness to be obedient. When I was much younger I found the verse and phrase “pray without ceasing” very difficult to comprehend.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NRSVA)

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

It took some time but I think I now understand that “without ceasing” has more to do with ones actions and overall perception towards God and the life He created. Praying without ceasing seemed impossible to my young mind but as an adult I see more clearly, my praying without ceasing has less to do about my words, a bowed head and clasp hands; (although still relevant) and a lot more to do with my entire being and connection with God. I find myself praying in the most remote places, in my car, in an elevator, in line at the grocery, at scenes of accidents, and seeing emergency vehicles just to name a few. These are all possible because I know that God is with me always. He is with you too, my friends. As we journey together through Lent let us be mindful that we are all God’s children, He loves each of us and He will never leave us. Do not confuse obedience with perfection. God has never ask us for what we cannot do. We are human, not an excuse but a truth that we are born into a sinful nature. We live in a world overshadowed at times with darkness and temptations, we must seek the light, the Light of Jesus and find the perfect love that can only be found in God.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“…Though the light has come into the world

people have preferred

darkness to the light

because their deeds were evil.

And indeed, everybody who does wrong hates the light and avoids it,

to prevent his actions from being shown up;

but whoever does the truth

comes out into the light,

so that what he is doing may plainly appear as done in God.”

— John 3:19-21

Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:

Pick something that happens regularly— like brushing your teeth, taking a walk or washing dishes. Say a prayer when completing these task.

~Prayer~

O God, you are not far from any of us,

since it is in you that we live,

and move, and exist.

You, who have overlooked the times of ignorance,

that they must now repent.

— After Acts 18:27-28, 30

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

References:

Show Me The Way by Henri J. M. Nouwen

• The Crossroad Publishing Company (1992)

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Lent 02•17•2021: Ash Wednesday

Hello my dear friends around the world and close to home—

As the season of Lent begins, let us be reminded that this is a time of be nearer to God. It is a time of prayer and fasting as we journey the path that Christ traveled to Jerusalem, to Golgotha and to His final victory over death. The road we must travel has been described by many as a “narrow path” and not a wide and gentle avenue. Lent is a time of recognizing and putting aside the things of darkness and putting upon ourselves the light, the light of Jesus Christ.

As we spend time in prayer, let us be mindful to listen for God’s voice. Pray is not a one way conversation, it’s easy to present our needs, wants and yes, even our desires to God; but how often do we stay alert and truly listen to God’s answers(?). In the busy and noisy world we live in, it can be difficult to hear our own thoughts at times. A challenge is to spend ten minutes every day with God, I believe this firm foundation is a great starting place to build our lives being in sync with our Creator. Who knows, it could change our lives from the ground up, up to the Heavens!

Henri Nouwen shared a couple of paragraphs that read like I had written it about my own life experiences; I found it to be very profound and very human, I hope it speaks to you as well.

Photo: Show Me The Way by Henri J. M. Nouwen, page 13, paragraph 2 & 3.

Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:

1. Become aware of God’s presence.

2. Review the day with gratitude.

3. Pay attention to your emotions.

4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.

5. Look toward tomorrow.

Prayer

Faithful God, trusting in you,

we begin

the forty days of conversion and penance.

Give us the strength for Christian discipline

that we may renounce evil

and be decisive in doing good.

We ask this through Jesus Christ. ~Amen

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

References:

* Show Me The Way by Henri J. M. Nouwen

* Biblical references from the New Jerusalem Bible

Why Lent?

Tuesday, February 16th, 2021

Dear Readers & Friends—

Tomorrow starts the beginning of the Lenten season of 2021. It is my hope and prayer to share this season with you and that together we can listen for God’s voice. May we seek God and ask Him to “Show Me/You/Us The Way” the way is a reference to “road signs pointing to decisive commitment, to deep love of God and our fellow men and women.” (1)

History of Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday, in the Christian church, the first day of Lent, occurring six and a half weeks before Easter (between February 4 and March 11, depending on the date of Easter). Ash Wednesday is a solemn reminder of human mortality and the need for reconciliation with God and marks the beginning of the penitential Lenten season. It is commonly observed with ashes and fasting.” (2)

“In the early Christian church, the length of the Lenten celebration varied, but eventually it began 6 weeks (42 days) before Easter. This provided only 36 days of fasting (excluding Sundays). In the 7th century, 4 days were added before the first Sunday in Lent in order to establish 40 fasting days, in imitation of Jesus Christ’s fast in the desert.” (2)

“It was the practice in Rome for penitents and grievous sinners to begin their period of public penance on the first day of Lent in preparation for their restoration to the sacrament of the Eucharist. They were sprinkled with ashes, dressed in sackcloth, and obliged to remain apart until they were reconciled with the Christian community on Maundy Thursday, the Thursday before Easter. When these practices fell into disuse (8th–10th century), the beginning of the penitential season of Lent was symbolized by placing ashes on the heads of the entire congregation.” (2)

“In the modern Roman Catholic Church, the ashes obtained by burning the palms used on the previous Palm Sunday are applied in the shape of a cross on the forehead of each worshipper on Ash Wednesday. Together with Good Friday(which marks the crucifixion of Jesus before Easter), Ash Wednesday is an obligatory day of fasting and abstinence, where only one full meal and no meat are to be consumed. Although Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation, it is traditionally one of the most heavily attended non-Sunday masses of the liturgical year. Worship services are also held on Ash Wednesday in Anglican, Lutheran, and some other Protestant churches. Eastern Orthodox churches begin Lent on a Monday and therefore do not observe Ash Wednesday.” (2)

I am going to be using a book by a Henri Nouwen, “Show Me The Way” and a pamphlet from Vibrant Church Communications, “Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practices” as we journey together.

Anchor Verses for Lent

Photo: Book jacket back

Crossroad•New York 1992

Pre-Lenten Prayer

From the Beginning of Time

Jesus,
you have known us from the beginning of time,
you have known us in the depths of our dreams and in the darkness of our shame,
you know us as your beloved.

Help us to own that core identity more and more in this season of repentance and mercy.
Give us the rock-solid assurance of your unwavering faith in us
as we seek the same in you.

Amen.

—Author Unknown

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

Reference:

(1) Quote from Henri Nouwen “Show Me The Way” page 9.

(2) https://www.britannica.com/topic/Ash-Wednesday-Christian-holy-day

https://www.xavier.edu/jesuitresource/online-resources/prayer-index/lent-prayers

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/new-jerusalem-bible-1985-roman-catholic-njb-voice/id802886356

Loneliness

Thursday, February 11th, 2021

Loneliness

Friends—

Please know that you are never truly alone although it can feel like it especially these days during the pandemic. I want you to know that God is always with you. He may not be visible to your human eyes but trust me, His presence can be felt. Many times I have felt His presence when I have been so distraught and there was no one to console me. God loves you and He does not want to see you hurting. You may not wholeheartedly believe me and that’s okay; however, I would challenge you by asking you to open a dialogue with God for yourself.

Isaiah 41:10

“…do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”

Isaiah 41:13

“For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.”

Hebrews 13:5-6

“Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’ So we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?”

Matthew 28:20

“…and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Proverbs 8:17

“I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.”

1 Peter 5:7

“Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.”

Below is a link to a Meditation from the Henri Nouwen Society. I found it “comforting” to read the words that have often describe moments in my life. It can be truly overwhelming to consider all the important and critical things going on around us. Life is happening no matter where we live, work or (play). Also, below are other links you might find helpful for depression, loneliness and isolation. I am not familiar with any of them personally, please you at your own discretion. I would recommend speaking to a licensed therapist, it doesn’t mean you are sick or that anything’s wrong with you, counseling is an opportunity to speak freely about your own thoughts with an objective person listening, not judging.

Loneliness

I wish you PEACE, my friend!

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

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://www.openbible.info/topics/god_always_with_me

https://psychiatry.uchicago.edu/news/17-easy-things-do-when-youre-feeling-lonely

http://www.contacthelpline.org/emotional-listening-support

https://www.crisistextline.org/topics/loneliness/#signs-of-loneliness-1

https://www.crossroadshospice.com/hospice-palliative-care-blog/2020/march/18/support-hotlines-for-loneliness-depression-and-isolation/

https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-deal-with-loneliness

Lent 2021 Daily Devotionals

Saturday, February 6th, 2021

“Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life and honor.”
~Proverbs 21:21

Hello friends—

Today is February 6th, 2021 and Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 17th. That’s in just 11 days!!!! I hope you will visit my blog during this season of the Christian life. I have decided on using a devotional book written by Henri Nouwen to guide me and share with you. The book is, “Show Me The Way.” I certainly can use some clarity in my life right now. This past year and continuing today has been a struggle for me and I’m sure for many of you as the COVID pandemic continues. Let me be very clear, struggles or struggling is not a sign that you have lost your way or even your connection with the Divine…let’s be honest, life is hard right now PERIOD! Perspective helps, could life be worse, the answer should always be a hardy, YES! I am reminded that no matter how bad I think things are, they could always be worse. No matter life’s circumstances, God is in control and God loves me/you! Please hold onto those two truths. I am looking forward to Lent for multiple reasons, increasing and clarifying my relationship with God. I have missed my church family, attending and participating in group activities. I miss hugs! I miss the embrace of friends! Sending love and encouragement to all of you reading! 🤍🙏🏻

I found used and new copies of the book on Amazon and Half Priced Books:

https://www.hpb.com/

https://hpb.com/products/show-me-the-way-daily-lenten-readings-9780824513535

https://www.amazon.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Show-Me-Way-Lenten-Readings/dp/0824513533/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=henri+nouwen+show+me+the+way&qid=1612653275&sprefix=henri+nouwen+show+&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.com/Show-Me-Way-Lenten-Readings/dp/0824513533/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=henri+nouwen+show+me+the+way&qid=1612653275&sprefix=henri+nouwen+show+&sr=8-1#mediaMatrix_secondary_view_div_1612653349961

New Jerusalem Bible

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

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

Thorns and Roses

Sunday, January 31st, 2021

Ecclesiastes 3:1-20

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. What gain have the workers from their toil? I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him. That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already is; and God seeks out what has gone by. Moreover I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, wickedness was there, and in the place of righteousness, wickedness was there as well. I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for he has appointed a time for every matter, and for every work. I said in my heart with regard to human beings that God is testing them to show that they are but animals. For the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and humans have no advantage over the animals; for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knows whether the human spirit goes upward and the spirit of animals goes downward to the earth? So I saw that there is nothing better than that all should enjoy their work, for that is their lot; who can bring them to see what will be after them?

Hello friends–

I heard the above song on the radio today and it was one of those moments when time seems to slow and memories flood your thoughts. I remember I was thinking of the word “regret” for whatever reason when the song started. I was asking myself if I have regrets? I have often felt that using the word regret would downplay the lessons I have learned from my less than stellar choices in life. My thought process is if I choose to describe my choices as regrets it would nullify the good I had learned. Am I sorry for things I have done and the pain I have caused, directly and indirectly…absolutely. I have expressed to those I have hurt that I am sorry which doesn’t seem to be enough (for me), and perhaps that is as it should be, to be a reminder of my actions in the future. I have a bad habit of carry guilt around long after it’s been forgiven, it’s as if at times I am compelled to punish myself over and over. I know from the bible this is not what God intended, the suffering over and over for our sins, our mistakes. Let me also clarify that I do not mean that mistakes are the same as sin, necessarily. In either situation, an apology would only help. The point, which I am trying to make and doing a poor job of it…If God forgives, who do I think I am by continuing to hold onto it, whatever it is(?). I am going to go out on a limb and name it, PRIDE, my own selfish pride. I am the child of God, if God forgives, who do I think I am by not accepting it(?)! Psalm 103:10-14 “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far he removes our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him. For he knows how we were made; he remembers that we are dust.” God is not punishing me, I am punishing myself but for what and at what cost. Ephesians 4:31-32 “Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.”

THE COST: Fractured relationships. Fullness of life and living life.

SIN: transgression of divine law: any act regarded as such a transgression, especially a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle.

MISTAKE: an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge; a misunderstanding or misconception.

Advice I am sharing and telling myself is this…Life is a gift. Life is short. Life is about experiences. Love and Forgive Often.

The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive. ~John Green

“Without forgiveness and love, you will live with resentment, bitterness, malice and strife which result in more pain. You can never love without forgiving. Forgiveness deepens your ability to love and frees you from pain.” ― Kemi Sogunle

Peace to you, all my friends

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

References:

https://www.biblestudytools.com/nrsa/

https://www.dictionary.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/

A Bit of Wisdom by C.S.Lewis

January 26th, 2021

Hello dear friends—

This quote caught my attention for two reasons; it is from C.S.Lewis and I found it to be very deep and profound. I will admit I do not fully grasp its depth; however, I felt it within my soul. I will also admit my first thought after reading it was of my mom. The pure delight and pleasure of having been blessed with a mother as mine, A fact that was truly not fully recognized until she was no longer with me and my family. I continue to learn and grow because of the woman she was, for the things she valued and for her bold and unapologetic spirit.

Chapter 7 of “Out of the Silent Planet” by C.S.Lewis

I found a couple of fellow bloggers that have written about this particular quote and have listed them below, they provided insights for me and maybe you too. Or, you may choose to do your own research and find your own insights and understanding. I have sat with this quote for a few days and other events of my life have spouted to the surface and there is pleasure in the “remembering” of people, places, and things. God indeed is good, God is always good.

Lastly, I want to share with you something I hold dear, it is obvious that I tend to write things from my specific point of view or at the least my perspective, BUT please know that your stories, viewpoints, and feelings are equally valid. I pray that my posts help to expand minds to explore the wonders life has to offer and most importantly, to discover more of YOU!


—Numbers 6:24-26—

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.” ~Amen

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

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Profound Insights: Out of the Silent Planet by C.S Lewis

Completing the Atonement? A Lewisian Experiment in Theology, Memory and Poetry

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

Merriam-Webster: Atonement

• the reconciliation of God and humankind through Jesus Christ.

I’m a Seeker

Wednesday, January 6th, 2021

Hi friends—

I heard a song on the radio yesterday that seemed perfect for my “One Word” for 2021. The word is “Exasperation” but the key to my One Word is seeking comfort, happiness, joy and patience. I hope you enjoy the song.

Link to My One Word: https://charlotteannrobinson.com/2021/01/01/my-one-word-2012-exasperation/

The Seeker

by Dolly Parton

I am a seeker
A poor sinful creature
There is no weaker than I am

I am a seeker
And you are a teacher
You are a reacher
So reach down
Reach out and lead me
Guide me and keep me
In the shelter of your care each day

‘Cause I am a seeker
And you are a keeper
You are the leader
Won’t you show me the wayI am a vessel that’s empty and useless

I am a bad seed that fell by the way
I am a loser that wants to be a winner
You are my last hope
Don’t turn me awayI am a seeker
A poor sinful creature
There is no weaker than I am

I am a seeker
And you are a teacher
You are a reacher
So reach down
Reach out and lead me
Guide me and keep me
In the shelter of your care each day

‘Cause I am a seeker
And you are a keeper
You are the leader
Won’t you show me the wayOh, you are a mountain
From which there flows a fountain
So let its water wash my sins away

‘Cause I am a seeker
And you are a keeper
You are a teacher
Won’t you teach me the way
Reach out and lead me
Guide me and keep me
In the shelter of your care each day

Songwriters: Dolly Parton The Seeker lyrics © Velvet Apple Music

It’s only six days into 2021 and I can say with certainty that not all of our days will be what we want them to be BUT, I can also say with absolute certainty that in our every single day we are not alone! God is with us through each of our days. He is a God of goodness and perfect love; however, we live in a world filled with imperfections and sinfulness. Even in the midst of this conditional world with its ups and downs, we can still experience goodness and gratitude because our God loves us with an unconditional love, a RADICAL LOVE!

—Titus 3:4-5—

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”

—Ephesians 2:8-9—

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast.”

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

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Isaiah’s Words – Relative for Today

Tuesday, January 5th, 2021

—Isaiah 1:16-17—

“Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.”

Dear friends near and far—

When will we ever learn the lessons from history?

My devotional verse(s) for today comes from the Book of Isaiah in the Old Testament. Isaiah, was a prophet and his prophecies were recorded between the 8th century and the 6th century BCE, (from c. 740 to 700 BCE). *Additional information can be found below under references.

Isaiah was a contemporary of the prophets of social justice: Amos, Hosea, and Micah. Influenced by their prophetic outcries against social injustice, Isaiah added themes peculiar to his prophetic mission. To kings, political and economic leaders, and to the people of the land, he issued a message that harked back nearly five centuries to the period of the judges: the holiness of Yahweh, the coming Messiah of Yahweh, the judgment of Yahweh, and the necessity of placing one’s own and the nation’s trust in Yahweh rather than in the might of ephemeral movements and nations. From about 742 BCE, when he first experienced his call to become a prophet, to about 687, Isaiah influenced the course of Judah’s history by his oracles of destruction, judgment, and hope as well as his messages containing both threats and promises.

I believe the words from Isaiah could have been written for today’s climate culture for the injustices and atrocities occurring around the globe. I believe there’s enough blame for everyone. After all, we are all sinners, no one can escape that fact. When is enough going to be just that…ENOUGH! When will the violence, corruption and all things evil and greedy going to lessen, let alone stop. I don’t have the answers but I know the One who does, God the Father; He know us and knows what’s best for us. He created us. He loves us, every single one of us.

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

References:

https://www.britannica.com/topic/biblical-literature/Isaiah

http://www.biblegateway.com/