A beautiful prayer to keep close at hand:
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error; the truth;
Where there is doubt; the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Throughout this entire school year, a few members of our family took their turns helping our 18-year-old son with his College Spanish homework. During these times, when we encountered a challenging lesson (which was quite often), we would ask him: “Isn’t there a book that you can reference to help you?”; or “Didn’t your teacher cover this in class?” The answer was always “No”.
I know, I know, the fact that we would accept that answer seems like a crock; but since most of our help time took place when we all wanted to be doing something OTHER than Spanish homework; we accepted the answer and continued to struggle with how to help; quite often resorting to “googling” for the answers.
Finally, while working on the last assignment of the year – frustration ensuing – I asked the all important question once again…”Didn’t you get a book at the beginning of the year? There has to be a book!?!?” This time, instead of responding with the usual “No”, our son rose from his chair, walked away; and within moments returned with THE BOOK! (Shocking, I know!)
When I saw that our son brought out the very book that could have been helping him this entire school year, my emotions quickly ranged from being elated that he had finally brought the book “into the light”, to feeling frustrated with how much prior time had been wasted because we had been trying to do it all on our own.
If he would have simply used the resources available to him from the get go, he would have been able to know where to find the answers more readily and maybe, just maybe, even LEARNED a few things in the process (HELLO). Still, setting all my emotion aside, we opened the book, flipped quickly to the appropriate chapter; and proceeded to breeze through the assignment like never before.
It was then that God pointed out to me the undeniable similarity of how, as Christians, we often approach seeking answers to our Spiritual questions in the same manner. We try to figure it all out on our own and ignore the very book that has ALL the answers: our BIBLE.
Think about it: When is the last time you did this? Are you using the “figure it out on my own” way in a current situation?
Or, there’s the times where, if we’ve gotten no closer to the answer on our own, we reach out to others for help. This in and of itself it not a bad thing, however; even then, if we’re not careful, these moments can become more like strategic brainstorming sessions where we bounce thoughts and ideas back and forth with one another until a consensus is reached on what we”think” is the right answer.
Again, sound familiar?
In either case, we forget we have access to THE BOOK.
I hope the mere fact that you are reading this today will cause you to rejoice in the reminder that there IS a better way…that the ANSWER to ALL of life’s questions and challenges are available to you each day in HIS LIVING WORD.
And, even if you’ve been DILIGENT in:
1.Your studying of the Word;
2. Your relationship building with God;
3. Your active learning from spiritual teachers and mentors; and
may often know exactly the right verse or verses to reference without ever opening your BIBLE, I would encourage you to open it anyway.
Truth is HIS WORD IS ALIVE and BREATHES NEW WISDOM into our beings each day we turn to IT and to HIM. Because, though, HE is NEVER CHANGING, through SANCTIFICATION, we are. And, it’s through this sanctification that HIS WORDS become NEW to us and we become better equipped as HIS STUDENTS to comprehend the VASTNESS & DEPTHS of HIS TRUTHS.
So, I would encourage you to do the work: meet THE TEACHER and continue to:
KNOW HIM daily
STUDY HIS WORD daily; …and
when ANSWERS are sought, remember, there is no need to struggle,
THE BOOK. ♥
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
He is Risen! And has already provided me with a new path to help my heart’s restlessness. This video is only a sampling. I’m hopeful that it will stir something in you as well!
https://player.vimeo.com/video/148876469“>40 Days of Decrease
My daughter is not a huge fan of birds. This lack of love began quite unexpectedly one day many years ago, when as a little girl, during a visit to the zoo we decided to go into the enclosed bird exhibit. We thought it would be fun. You know the exhibit, it’s supposed to be an awesome little experience. You get a cup of nectar, hold it in one of your hands and proceed to let the birds drink from the cup. This sounded great to her! That is, until the birds all began flying towards her… That’s when the idea of “fun” turned into the idea to “run”. These little, fast flying creatures with sharp beaks, well…they just didn’t work for her 😳
To this day she keeps a “safe” distance from any and all birds; and you can rest assured that you’ll never catch her throwing bread out to them at a park; let alone holding a cup of nectar for them to drink from.
I tell you this backstory, to bring you to present day and to tell you how God recently spoke to me at, what I found to be, an unexpected time. We (my now 21 year old daughter and I) were visiting my mom and dad. They just so happen to have a female Quaker parrot, named Lolita. Lolita’s “not so friendly” ways have done nothing to help convince my daughter to give birds another chance. Nope; not happening.
Anyhow during our visit, as is always the case, Lolita’s cage is open; and she walks in and out of it freely. My mother gets her wings clipped so there’s no risk that she can fly about. Still, my daughter always sits as far from the cage as possible; and even before we’ve completely entered the family room where her cage is, she always poses the question: “Are her wings clipped?”, to which my mother always replies, “Yes”.
Always, except on this particular visit.
On this occasion my mother’s reply was: “No, I stopped having them clipped a while ago.” Then proceeded to say, “But she (Lolita) got so used to having them clipped, she no longer tries to fly.. because she thinks she can’t.”
The moment those words escaped my mother’s mouth, God’s spirit immediately brought to my mind how this is often what happens to so many of us. Myself, most definitely, included. How many times in your life, have you stopped pursuing a dream or an idea due to the memories of the past? The memories of falling short on an endeavor or the discouraging words of others; as they snip away at your hopes and desires; not to mention the enemy himself as he makes you feel inferior to any possible contribution you can make for the Gospel’s sake. All of those things, and there are plenty others, are like “shears” clipping and cutting (a little here; a little there) at our God-given wings. And their memories keep us from flying long after the snipping has stopped; for we become so used to standing safely on the ground; free of failure or criticism, that we forget we CAN still fly. Often, like a bird with its talons dug deep into a tree limb, we’ve stood so firmly in that “safe place” that we’ve long forgotten the actual desire or idea we even had to begin with. Think about it. Where have you given up the hope of spreading your wings to fly? What were your desires before the world, Satan, and fear clipped your wings? You may have to think hard to bring some of them back to the surface; but do it. Grab hold of them again, spread your wings; and take off in flight to pursue them; especially if you believe God has called you to it.
And while you’re at it, remember this: There is no snipping; clipping; cutting….no ANYTHING that God cannot restore and redeem. And here’s the irony and beauty of that: It’s when you STAND FIRM in this knowledge that YOU WILL FLY to heights you never could have imagined.
I hope to see you FLY.
Isaiah 40:31 “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint”