May your Lenten season be blessed… Here’s a gift for you:
(click on image to enlarge)
More quotes and images to ponder coming your way, one per day during Lent…
Until next time, Amen!
“Being close to God means communicating with him–telling him what is on our hearts in prayer and hearing and understanding what he is saying to us. It is this second half of our conversation with God that is so important but can also be so difficult. How do we hear his voice? How can we be sure that what we think we hear is not our own subconscious? What role does the Bible play? What if God says to us is not clear?” — From the back cover of “Hearing God” by Dallas Willard.
Lent begins today, and if you are still looking for some special way to observe the season, you might consider reading this book, “Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God.” As most of you reading this blog know, prayer is not just about chattering on and on to God. Prayer is also about listening to God, paying attention to the presence of God.
But precisely how do we do this “listening” when it comes to God? Is there something wrong with us if we don’t actually hear a voice with our ears or in our minds? Is there some other way of “listening”?
During Lent I am facilitating a “virtual” book study about “Hearing God” in a small group format using e-mail. A friend of mine from church did this last summer with a group of Christians using a different book, and I learned a great deal. It was very convenient because we just wrote our thoughts at whatever time of day we wanted. We shared with people from different parts of the country, too. Frankly for me it was both challenging as a Christian (it was that kind of book) and JUST PLAIN FUN.
I already have a couple of people who want to discuss “Hearing God” in this way. If we have enough people (we need a few more to make it work), we will start the group process around next Wednesday, March 12. You can buy the book on Amazon or Christian Books or other places. There is even a Kindle version and audio version. (I will be using the 2012 updated version–and I’m also hoping to watch the related DVD’s.)
Please join this group only if you have an open heart to learning about this important topic. People who join us should be prepared to be honest but polite, respectful of other people’s feelings and ideas.
Will you join us? If interested, please send me your first and last name and e-mail address by March 10. I am not charging a fee for this–just buy the book, and have fun reading and pondering the ways of God.
Contact me via e-mail at juliemccarty (at) usfamily (dot) com —OR– send a message to my Facebook page called “Spiritual Drawing Board by Julie McCarty.”
Whatever your spiritual practices this Lent, may the good Lord bless you.
Until next time, Amen!
I took this photo a couple of weeks ago in Lebanon Hills Regional Park, a place not far from my home in Eagan, Minnesota. We’ve had more snow than usual this year, and on this day, the sun was out (on and off!) and there was a temporary thaw underway.
It may be difficult for people in warmer climates to imagine the joy I felt walking outside in weather like this, but it was exhilarating. The milder temperatures of the day allowed me to take deep breaths and walk freely across the crunch, crunch, crunch under my feet. Lebanon Hills is such a huge area of woods, meadows and lakes that I felt the wonder and happiness I often feel when submerged in a nature walk.
The canoes in the picture, the little naked patch of land, and the water sitting on top of the frozen lake remind me that spring is coming–even if it seems like winter lasts forever. Little by little, the daylight hours are growing longer, something that gives me renewed energy.
Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the church season called “Lent,” a word that comes from the English word for “spring,” the time of year when the days lengthen (Lent, lengthen). Just as the warmer temperatures melt the snow, we allow God to melt the places in our hearts that are harsh, icy, or cold. We focus more intentionally on spiritual things to make room for whatever growth the Spirit wants for us. We die to sin in order to be ready for the springtime of resurrection.
On this day, I wish you a good Ash Wednesday and a very blessed Lent. Until next time, Amen!
P.S. If you want to see a larger version of the photo for your own meditation, try clicking on the picture.