Hot - cold. Light - dark. Up - down. You’re familiar with opposites and we make a point to learn and teach them to young children, but as we grow the need to review opposites appears obsolete. This shall not be the case to preserve right thinking.
One Sunday morning I was singing in my church a familiar lyric and by the movement of God’s good Spirit I have been beckoned to meditate on it for days.
When Satan tempts me to despair…
Snuggling with my 5 yo on my lap I glanced out the window to see a red truck park by the tree in our front yard. It looked like white smoke in the front cab. My initial thought was smoking or hot boxing, not abnormal for many in our area. Moments later a man jumped out of the front seat and immediately the flames broke out. The driver ran away while I sprinted downstairs to inform my husband. We called 911. The fire was put out. No one was hurt. My kids were both shaking from fear and excitement because a fire truck, ambulance, and police motorcycle in front of your house resembles Christmas more than you’d think.
Few places leave me with a perma-smile. Airports are wonderful. It’s easy to get caught up in the buzz all around, coffee’s faithful scent to those gleefully addicted, and the anticipation of something new or at least a trip worth repeating. I love traveling.
We, as a society, are in the business of filling. We fill our stomachs, our homes, our resumes, and our schedules. Even after doing all of this we still find ourselves seeking more. It seems we are never quite full enough. It’s no secret we want to be full. The great news is God is in the business of filling and His fullness is offered to everyone.
Gideon was a funny sort of kid. He's fallen, unlikable at times, an average young guy in a small tribe, certainly overlooked by most people. We meet him for the first time in Judges 6, hiding in a winepress.
The spiritual discipline of solitude is shown throughout Scripture in both the old and new testaments and the practice has continued throughout generations by those pursuing faith in Jesus. Retreating to a quiet place to be alone is the beginning; engaging the Lord when alone is putting solitude into useful practice. Solitude is not a means to another end. The spiritual discipline is the end itself. Solitude's goal is not to become something more or retreat from all other obligations; rather, it's purpose is coming to be with the Holy. Retreat from the physical and connect with the Spiritual.
One of the exercises I like to do around Easter was first introduced to me through Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline. Christian holidays like Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter can often get stale over time because the focus does not change and many years neither does the passage. Such repetition can prevent us from appreciating the raw emotions and events that took place thousands of years ago. To avoid callousness I encourage anyone to practice character meditation in hopes of breathing new life into the story. Read the passage once to hear it in full. Read a second time and pick a person for you to represent. Read a third time and take part as that person while you read. The goal is for the reader to immerse him or herself into the story using all five senses and to recognize the emotions present.
I first participated in character meditation when reading the final Passover meal (or Seder Supper) account in Matthew 26.