Lent – The Wilderness

“With deep devotion, Francis dwelt in the heavenly mansions in complete-emptying. He remained for long periods hidden spiritually in the wounds of the Crucified Christ. For this reason, he sought solitary places where he could cast his soul entirely upon God.” – Thomas Celano, Italian Friar, Poet and Author

The Lenten season begins Wednesday, March 6, 2019. And like Saint Francis of Assisi, I, too, will be seeking solitary places, fasting and praying ‘hidden spiritually’ in the wounds of my Crucified Christ.

What is God calling me to do?

What fire is calling me to put out? Doubt? Or is he stoking a fire within me?

Jesus: “Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is unclouded, your whole body is full of light. But when your eye is evil, your body is full of darkness. 35 So be careful that the light in you isn’t darkness. 36 If your whole body is full of light and not darkness, it will be as bright as a lamp shining on you.” Luke 11:33-36

I will examine the Rev. Martin Luther’s “Two Kinds of Righteousness.” What kind of private Apostle am I? “The Apostle means that each individual Christian shall become the servant of another in accordance with the example of Christ.” ‘Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.”’ Luke 23:34

Whatever God’s calling me to do

I know that what God may be calling me to do is grounded in Nehemiah’s prayer:

4 When I heard this, I sat down and cried. I mourned for days. I continued to fast and pray to the God of heaven. 5 I said, “LORD God of heaven, great and awe-inspiring God, you faithfully keep your promise [a] and show mercy to those who love you and obey your commandments. 6 Open your eyes and pay close attention with your ears to what I, your servant, am praying. I am praying to you day and night about your servants the Israelites. I confess the sins that we Israelites have committed against you as well as the sins that my father’s family and I have committed. 7 We have done you a great wrong. We haven’t obeyed the commandments, laws, or regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses. 8 Please remember what you told us through your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations. 9 But if you return to me and continue to obey my commandments, though your people may be driven to the most distant point on the horizon, I will come and get you from there and bring you to the place where I chose to put my name.’ 10 These are your servants and your people whom you have saved by your great power and your strong hand. 11 Lord, please pay attention to my prayer and to the prayers of all your other servants who want to worship your name. Please give me success today and make this man, King Artaxerxes, show me compassion.” Nehemiah 1:4-11

I continue to rebuild the walls of my life. I know God is asking me to bare all as Luther writes, “Therefore they put off the form of their own righteousness and put on the form of those others, praying for their persecutors, blessing those who curse, doing good to evil-doers, prepared to pay the penalty and make satisfaction for their very enemies that they may be saved. (Matthew 5:44). This is the gospel and the example of Christ.”

You do what God as called you to do. You show up. You put one foot in front of the other. No matter how big the call. No matter how small. You have no idea what God is calling you to. But he needs you. He needs me. He needs all of us.” Father Mychal Judge, Franciscan Friar, Catholic Priest, and Chaplain to the New York City Fire Department.

ASHES

My Lenten Prayer

Dear Lord, bring clarity to my confusion. Rescue me and bring rhythm to my calling just as you set the sun and the stars to motion in precise rhythm of day into night and night into day. Instill within me the patient endurance to enlighten me of my specific mission and to complete the mission with the wisdom and maturity through an unwavering faith in Christ. Grant me confidence in Your mercy and hope in Your promises. Help me to watch with You in your passion, that I remain awake to the infinite power of Your Love. In Him, give me courage and strength. Amen.

May I ask for your prayers during this Lenten season?

My Spiritual Journey

The Prayer Journal’s blog is my personal spiritual journey in conjunction with writing my spiritual memoir.

Please reach out to The Prayer Journals if I can answer any questions about keeping a prayer journal of your own. A prayer journal is an intimate communication between you and God. You don’t have to be an articulate writer. Use your gifts to communicate with God by perhaps with your talent as an illustrator, a painter, a poet, a lyricist or creator of scrapbooks. God enjoys hearing from you. I know you will be blessed! I know I am!

I enjoy hearing from you too! I’m praying for you.

Blessings on your day,

Sheri

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Getting to Know God – A Disciple

 

When I was young growing up on the farm with my parents, older sister and brother, we enjoyed going fishing. We never owned a boat but rather we fished from shore. I was never a good fisherman. In fact, the only thing I caught was a hook at the tip of my right index finger from the neighbor boy when he went to cast his line. I remember the ER physician asking me as he yanked the hook from my finger if I wanted to keep the hook for memory’s sake. “No,” I whimpered, “I think I will remember this day even without the hook.”

Lake of Gennesaret

“One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.” Luke 5:1-6

Listening as a Disciple

As a disciple of Christ, I had doubts about how successful I could be in business for myself. But God led me to believe that I could be and how He did this is still quite extraordinary when I think about it. Because it wasn’t my success in dollars and cents that I would be successful, but the interactions I had with prospective clients and their customers.

After concluding an appointment early in the beginning of starting my business, I was straightening up a borrowed office. When I was walking toward the door, the gentleman who at my appointment came back into the office. He said, “May I ask you a personal question?” I said, “sure.”

He asked, “Are you a Christian?” Somewhat taken aback, I thought he must have seen I was wearing a gold cross necklace. “Yes, I am,” I answered not knowing where this conversation was going to lead.

He said, “I knew you were. You were so kind and helpful during our appointment.” As he turned to leave with his wife and somewhat speechless, I thanked him for coming back to share that with me and wished them a good rest of the day.

I flew home with the biggest smile on face that afternoon praising God letting Him know, I knew He needed me to believe I was on the right track.

Believing as a Disciple

Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.
“Come and see,” said Philip.
47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”
48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”
50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” 51 He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.” John 1:43-51

Christ wasn’t the only one that saw me as a disciple, but my conduct with this customer caused him to believe it too. This experience had shown me that I needed to believe how my faith can make a difference in the lives of others.

Although not all my interactions were as friendly as this one. On another occasion during an appointment with two women, I remained silent and went about conducting the appointment in a professional manner. They had obviously seen my gold cross necklace and made snide comments about how “the light should remain under the basket.” The implication coming from the verse, Mark 4:21-23 “21 He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? 22 For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”

Thankfully and unfortunately for these two women who obviously failed to read Christ’s words further, Mark 4:24-25 “24 “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. 25 Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”

The encounter with these two women left me shaken and sad. So much so, I spent the rest of the day in prayer. I was shocked by women’s brazen ridicule of me even though they had never met me before. These were professional women in the legal field, but God was with me. I did not show emotion nor bend to their conversation. God handled the situation and through prayer I realized that God was there to handle whatever my situation. As in my fledgling new business or in my personal life, situations arise – good and bad, encouraging and discouraging – I just needed Him to remain in control.

Marie

A Prayer from My Journal

Lord of my life, my life is not my own by yours. Help me to live under Your direction and ready to hear Your call, “Follow Me.”

Lord of my life, You control the night and day. Help me to be aware of Your presence and knowing that I have the gift of Your Spirit.

Lord of my Life, You are the Giver of all good things. My prayer is to surrender to Your care and directions so that others may receive Your love and mercy through me, your disciple.

Lord of my Life, when life becomes difficult and I become tired or afraid. Help me not to speak irrationally or make selfish mistakes. Help me to see, feel, and know Your love, forgiveness and mercy are there for me. Use me despite my reluctance and doubt.

Lord of my life, walk ahead of me so I may not be afraid to follow, fall and follow again. I pray this all Lord in Jesus’ name. Amen

May I pray for you?

The Prayer Journals are my personal spiritual journey in conjunction with writing my spiritual memoir. My posts in 2018 are a series relating to this theme. If you have just joined The Prayer Journals, I hope you will take the time to explore previous posts on this site.

Please reach out to The Prayer Journals if I can answer any questions about keeping a prayer journal of your own. A prayer journal is an intimate communication between you and God. You don’t have to be a master writer. Perhaps you are an illustrator, a painter, a poet, a lyricist or creator of scrapbooks. Use your gifts to communicate with God, however you wish in your prayer journal.

Blessings on your day,

Sheri

P.S. I am a week behind in my 30-week series due to my dog, Barkley LeRoy having back surgery. He is doing great and I praise God that my faithful fur-companion will be back at his “editing” desk soon. I will do my best to catch up this week.

Connect with The Prayer Journals

Facebook:                 Facebook/ThePrayerJournals/PrayerPrompts
Twitter:                    @PrayerPrompts
Email:                       Hoot@thebloggingowl.com

 

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