Friday, March 4, 2011

The Joy of Service

As I watched my son in law whirl around my grandson in the air I, enjoyed the screams of glee from my grandchild, and the loving smile and tender twinkle in his fathers eyes. In a family these are the moments we all live for. Those times of complete and utter joy.  The contentment of being joined in that moment. Where all is Love, peace and Joy.

It is this same joy which we should have in our service to the Lord as He leads us by His Spirit.  

If you follow my writings you may notice a common theme of the importance of waiting prayer and obedience. However, I must make it clear lest some misunderstand~ that a prayerful and obedient life need not be mournfully downcast and stoic in nature. And my nature would definitely not be described in that manner.

No! If we have been with the Lord and led of His Spirit we are joined with Him and filled with His love and joy.  

                           "You will show me the path of life;
                     In your presence is fullness of joy;
                   At your right hand are 
                     pleasures forevermore."
                                                                   Psalm 16:11

When we walk according to what He has shown us is right, we maintain that unbroken bond of union with Him, and can't help but enter into that joyfulness.

When my grandson does something disobedient or willfully wrong, in which he knows he is going against what his father has said, there is a following dicipline, a teaching time and a 'time out' in his case. He also notices that the smile and joy from his fathers face is gone, and so is his. His father is nearby, but there is a separation. In some cases it is accompanied by tears and sorrow of his own.

How plainly this matches with our relationship with the Spirit. The Holy Spirit has been sent to us to lead us into all truth.

         " But "the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit,      
whom the Father will send in my name, 
               he shall teach you all things, and bring all things 
                       to your remembrance, whatsoever I                             
 have said unto you."  (Jesus)  John 14:26

When we are walking in obedience to what the Spirit of God is showing us. In how we are to live unto Him, unto ourselves, unto others, then we have that unbroken communion. The closeness of heart to heart and true joy.

God will always love us, but our behavior sometimes causes a distance to be placed between us. If we are willing, the Holy Spirit reminds us of His word or reveals something to bring us into understanding.  Then if we are obedient to repent, we are right back in that joy of communion.

Because we have this joy of communion, our service unto God is a pleasant one.  We are not his slaves, but servants by choice. Whatever He shows us to do we put our hands to gladly knowing that the Spirit of God is working through us to get the job done or to touch that person He wants us to. 

So we go to the service to which He has called us each individually. (and what He calls one to may not be the same as what He calls another to.)  We go not with long, sour faces but in the joy of the Lord. We put our hands to it with a contagious joy. A joy which comes from our lasting communion with Him. A joy that creates a questioning hunger and thirst in others seeking the truth. A joy which will draw them to Christ.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Noisy Separation

Did you ever notice how the very atmosphere of the world around us has been filled with noise. For most people it starts with some sort of noise from the little box beside their bed to wake them up in the morning. Then for many it is simple habit to put on the radio with it's quibbling morning shows of either outright nonsense or slap-you-back-in-the-face-with-my-opinion quasi news programing. Such an inspiring way to start a day.

Next it's into the kitchen, take care of morning business there and then click on the TV in the living room.  After all we need to keep up, we need to be informed members of society. BREAKING NEWS: Linsey Lohan out of back to the revolution in Libya.

Then it's out of the house and into a full onslaught to the senses, particularly the eyes and ears. For todays post I am considering the ears.

Remember the little rhyme;

               Oh be careful little ears what you hear,
                    be careful little ears what you hear.
               For the Lord up above 
                     is looking down in love.
              Oh be careful little ears what you hear.

Such wisdom in a simple little rhyme. Over the past generations it seems as though he who makes the most noise is the coolest, the most powerful, the most...(place desired definition here.)  If you are young and you can fill your trunk with stereo sound equipment that will actually vibrate the windows of the other cars sitting next to you at a stop light.....oh wow, you are IT! You have reached the pinnacle of coolness.

If you are a business man and you can make your ads on the television or radio jump up a few decibles to really grab the attention of listeners and potential customers, then as a savy yet refined gentleman of business you are willing to put on a silly hat and scream you lungs out. Business is Business.

The louder the noise around us has become, the louder we have become. Don't stop the noise....or get away from the LOUDER! Until we don't even realize that we have become a society of people who continually assault one anothers senses.

Could it be that the noise, the lack of peace and quiet is having negative affects on us.
Well, of course we know it does. Anxiety, depression, the physical affects on the body have been duly noted by both Medical Doctors and those in the field of Psychiatry, and is evident in the stress of many around us.

A noisy atmosphere disrupts peace and often leads to confusion and chaotic thinking, the inability to concentrate. It's as though the mind is firing on many different frequencies and languages, trying to understand everything at once, while following the recipe to bake a cake, or get that monthly report done at work.
That's when the stress level increases, the anxiety rises etc. etc.

When I had this revelation of the noise all around me in the earth, 
I understood it was designed as a simple tool.
Used to separate us from that still small voice
we all must depend upon.

I knew immediately that I must make changes. Of course I shared with my husband what I had heard in the Spirit, and he felt that inner witness and agreed whole heartedly.  We then decided that the first thing to go was the television. 

Our viewing consisted of the news (for the 10 minutes we could usually tolerate it), the History Channel, when it was actually something to do with history. The Discovery Channel, when it had something to do with discovery. I say that because both channels have veered into some strange programing.
And the last channel would be Turner Classic Movies, old movies.  But so much between programming is becoming more and more of a sinful nature. So even though you don't watch that program, the image and message was still absorbed and I believe does harm.

We've kept a radio for emergency weather, things like that, but it's not on till needed.
And we both use a laptop. He for organizing and running household budget and paying of bills etc.
I for instruction gathering on my many creative activities.
And both of us for study, Quaker fellowship and that occasional bit of news
They have become tools which lead to a productive point. 

A note on a noiseless home:
I remember visiting my grandmothers house, maybe you can remember visiting yours or some older member of your family. I remember the first thing which was immediately noticeable was the quiet. Perhaps all one would hear was the ticking of a clock or a bird chirping through an open window, or maybe a few dishes clattering letting you know that grandma was at work in the kitchen. 

She had no stress, no high blood pressure, she didn't need Xanex, breathing techniques and therapy. She didn't need to center down as if from another realm.
She lived centered. 
And I believe a large part of that was just how she arranged her daily life for her family in the home.

I had this spirit leading about noise and quiet many years ago, and what-do-ya-know! I came across these people the Quakers! Who I knew were in my family line, but surely they didn't still exist. (well you know the rest) The whole thing the Lord was showing me was about simplicity and quietness in daily life.  In everything from clothes to furniture. My husband and I see the fruits in our lives over the decisions we've made and they are good.

The peace is there, it is as though the ear is constantly attuned to only one station and thereby the message of the spirit is heard clearly. It is more engaged moment to moment and is not cluttered out by invading auditory forces negative to spiritual growth.

Now in closing I will say that I am not against entertainment, art, music etc.  In fact I am an artist myself and so is my husband, I am also a vocalist and love music, and laughter makes the heart merry.  My point is that we must be certain that our entertainments do not hurt the spirit of God within us. Weather it be a movie with bad conduct, music with a negative or ungodly message or humor which is base in nature.
And that we don't constantly fill our lives with such noise as would separate us from the peace of God.

Your friend,

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Finding the Silence

I love this time of day, it's about an hour before light begins to break across the morning sky. The first bird has yet to awake. The cats are curled at the end of the bed and the dog takes it's rest from chasing. There are no stirrings through the neighborhood. Three generations of my family lay slumbering and still. All is silent....It is then, that I hear God speak.

I do not live in the country, on a farm which I know has busyness and distractions of its own, but in the city. I look to my left now and right into my neighbors living room, I look straight ahead and into my neighbors living room across the street, (that is if the blinds were up) I look to my right and see all the large equipment, gravel dirt and debris of a job in progress for the last three years.

This is what I mean when I say a quiet life in the city. There is noise, disruption and distraction in all of our lives. Silence is something that has to be searched for, sought after, to be found.  A special endeavor of discipline to find where the silence lies and then enter in. Where that of God dwells in all of us.

I once read of a Godly housewife who lived on a farm.  She had may children and duties to perform throughout the day, but she had in place her own discipline of prayer three times a day.  She made special effort to rise early for her quiet morning prayer before starting her busy day. Likewise, in the evening, no matter how long her day went or how tired she was, she never allowed sleep to come until she had spent those last thankful moments with God.

But it was her afternoon prayers that impressed me most.  In the midst of the laundry and the bread baking, with a child or two tugging at her for attention, she would throw her apron up over her head and have her meeting with God. She kept this discipline all her life, and I suspect depended on it for refreshment and nourishment from God for all she was used for in ministering to the lives around her.

As a Quaker and feeling called to the quiet, life as I am, I too have had to make choices. Choices against the flesh and the call to life's busyness and concern. To set disciplines and a definite order of things in my life. Otherwise I feel a waining of the spirit, a lack of closeness to God. This I do not want, when so much of Him is available to me if I will only seek Him. (seek ye first the kingdom of God... and  If you draw near to me, I will draw near to you).  But clearly, we must be there for the meeting.

So yes, the answer to the question of my last post "Is a quiet life really still possible in today's society?" I say again yes!! But it does not come to YOU, you are invited to IT. (behold I stand at the door and knock and whosoever opens I will come in and sup with him.) And oh what a spread of communion with the Lord is there waiting for us! Yes, there are some bitter morsels of clarity of sins and needed repentance but then there is the sweet meat of His word and the peace of His presence.

All this and more is found in the quiet places of life. The set disciplined times of prayer and meditation you make for yourself and also those other times, in the midst of your day. So let us 'Throw our aprons over our heads'....close our eyes on that bus commute to work. Before getting out of our car and running into that store, let us take a few minutes and enter into that quiet place.

The affect on our spiritual lives will be a noticeably positive one. Both in the way we live before God and before those around us.

Ps. 27:8- When you said "Seek my face," My heart said to you "Your face Lord, I will seek."

Blessings to you friends,


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Is a quiet life possible?

Time, illusive, slipping through our fingers-time. The alarm goes off, late again. You rush to the bathroom, rush to get ready. The faster you go the more confusion you have and the less you accomplish. You gulp down some coffee and you're out the door, not really completely dressed. And definitely not together.

You beep open the garage and the car while holding your ear to a cell phone and placing your travel mug of more coffee on the roof of the car.  Putting the coat, briefcase and other necessities in the car you get in, close the door, start the engine, turn the radio on, all while still chatting about this afternoons meeting on the phone. "Yes, I got it...everything is in order." you say on the phone.

Ten minutes later and miles from home your call is finished, so you reach for that much needed second cup of coffee.  "So glad I brought the travel mug today" you think.  Then as you reach toward the cup holder you realize that it is empty.  Yep, you left it on the hood of the car....again. And to add insult to injury, your garage door will be open all day.

This is the beginning of each day. This is the pace of the world.
But wait a minute, aren't we to be in the world, but not of the world?
Is it really possible to live a quiet life in all the ear-splitting noise of the world which surrounds us daily?

Well, in the first place God would not call us to things which were impossible, that's pretty easy right. In 1 Thessalonians 4:11 (I'm condensing)  
"aspire to lead a quiet with your own hands..
that you may walk properly..that you may lack nothing."

So how does one achieve a quiet life? Where do I start? Is it something that is really sustainable today?
Well, these are some of the questions which I will be addressing in my next post, so come back soon and I will let you in on a few more tid-bits from my journey!