Archive | January 2012

The Sun’s Light


I decided to spend my quiet time at the Cross at Camp Keystone in Starke, Florida. I came because this place has such tangible, beautiful memories for me. I have arrived just as the sun is peaking over the trees across the lake. I pulled out my Bible and flipped to Isaiah 61 – as I had been studying the Scripture the night before. While starting to read through chapter 61, I was drawn to the beginning of chapter 60 (verses 1-2)

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord arises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.”

Often times, I am drawn to only watch the sun rise (but mostly sun set, as I am not a morning person). As I sit here, I realize I do not often enough look at the creation around me and witness the beauty of the light gently revealing the leaves, the dew of the grass, slope of the land. The sun’s rays pick up the beauty unaware to the beholder until its in just the right light…

“…but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.”

As I sit and ponder this small, yet impactful revelation, the sun reveals itself fully. Brightness is a bit too much – I am now squinting as I write…

Can the Lord’s glory be too much?

I mean, we are (I am) only human – weak and wandering. I can only take on so much before I crumble. Now there is a glare disturbing my view of the lake and its peacefulness. As I shield my eyes, I am reminded that we are not only meant to bask in His glory. We are also called to turn around, face where the sun is illuminating the landscape…and go! Christ tells us,

“My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 msg

The sun’s brightness eases and I can see the lake again. The chill of the January air is evident through my sleeves. I conclude by writing this simple reminder to get me on my way…

Turn around,
Make certain the landscape He is revealing
and go in His strength.

Questions for the Moment:

1. As you turn around and look at the “landscape” before you, what does it look like? Are you to befriend and “be Christ” to the homeless, the cashier clerk at your local grocery store or someone in your neighborhood? Do you feel there is something more the Spirit has been prompting you to do? 

Maybe it is time. 

2. Journal your thoughts about where you see the Lord leading you. Ask Him to go before you and give you wisdom as you take the first step.

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Written (while on this very journey) by: Kim Touchton, Divisional Women’s Ministries Program Assistant

From Me to You in the New Year


You may have plans for new beginnings in 2012.  I do.

My list includes numerable good intentions to take better care of myself under the heading: “Personal”.    The list grows quite long under another heading: “Family”.    New beginnings in “Ministry”, and “Office/Administration” are listed and now just reading about what I intend to do in the new year makes me tired before the old year has ended!   “Relationships/Friends” are important, and this list fills out yet another page.

So.   I have decided to focus on one thing, seeing how that is the Biblical thing to do. . .  and I quote:  “Martha, Martha,” the Lord said, “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.”  [Luke 10:41].

Jesus said it!   I believe it!  That settles it!  Gracious sakes, He even used my name.   Yes, he was speaking to another Martha, at another time and place, but He has my attention, and since only one thing is needed I will focus on “Spiritual Renewal”.    This heading will encompass all of the others, and I share it with you to see if it will give you a jump-start on 2012 as well.

  1. Serve others with my words.  Protect people’s reputation and speak well of others as a way of serving them.  Kind words are great deeds.
  2. Serve others by letting them have “space.”  I sometimes overwhelm people or consume their time or usurp their freedom with my expectations.  I will make a concerted effort to give people space.  I will ask them what they want to do or if they want to be alone, or if they are free to talk before imposing my expectations upon them.
  3. Read my Bible every day.  Don’t “try” to do it.   Just do it!  Begin the day and end the day in God’s Word.  I will choose my strategy and fill my heart and mind each morning when I wake and at night before I sleep – without fail.
  4. I will talk about my faith in Christ Jesus with a relative or close friend.  I sometimes neglect to do this with the most important people in my life!
  5. Take God with me wherever I go.  I will make a special effort to be a “tabernacle” where God dwells.  I will cooperate with God to bring good wherever I go – in the neighborhood, at the office, at home, while shopping, at church, everywhere.
  6. I will practice the service of hiddenness.  I will look for ways to do a kindness without being asked, and without expecting recognition.
  7. Continue to gain confidence in the promises of God in Christ.   I will look for His promises in His Word and claim them for myself and for others.
  8. Cultivate integrity in my speech by focusing on what is true and pure in all that I say.  I will watch for guile and deception, which can creep into what I say in subtle ways.  I will be ruthless in seeking to tell the truth in everything.
  9. I will secretly and silently pray for the unsuspecting – those I know, and complete strangers as well.   Standing in line, driving in traffic, wherever, whenever.
  10. Stop wanting what someone else has that I do not.    That is ‘coveting’ and leads to turmoil.
  11. Purge.   I have too much, and I keep getting more.   If I get something new, I will get rid of something I already have.
  12. In my prayer life, I will be more conscious of the Holy Spirit.  I will ask the Spirit to intercede when I cannot find words to express myself – my concerns, my needs, my joys.

[some of my Spiritual Renewal ideas came from “A Spiritual Formation workbook, Small Group Resources for Nurturing Christian Growth; A Renovaré Resource for Spiritual Renewal”, James Bryan Smith with Lynda Graybeal; 1991, Harper Collins Books.]

 

Written by: Lt. Colonel Martha Jewett