Monday, September 26, 2016
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
To behold creation is to get a glimpse of God, his divine character, his invisible attributes. In the gleaming sunlight we see a ray of God’s glory and splendor shining forth without ceasing.
At times clouds may block our view—sometimes for days or weeks. This is true in the physical world when it is rainy and we have no sunshine for days. It is also true in our inner life, when dark clouds of difficulty and discouragement move in.
During these times we must trust. Too easily we give up hope and resign ourselves to life without heavenly light. Although we may not see its light or feel its warmth while clouds of many kinds darken our view and dampen our day, we must hold onto the unseen reality that heavenly brilliance never ceases, never decreases, and never changes. Although we can see only clouds and darkness, divine radiance still shines forth without end.
In due time clouds will roll away and we are once again able to see the sunshine. Though our vision of the sun was blocked for a season, we once again bask in light. We again spy the resplendence of the Lord shining anew on our world, and we bask in its beauty, its illumination, its warmth and its wholeness.
So we learn about our incomprehensible Creator. “God is light and in him is no darkness at all” (I John 1:5). He never leaves us or forsakes us. While we may not see his love and presence during dark days and long nights in life, his light will in due time break forth anew!
2016 © Glenn E. Myers
This series is Creation Proclaiming God’s Divine Nature, as Romans 1:20 declares, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.”
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Just wanted to let everyone know about a great new issue of Christian History Magazine: The Wonder of Creation.
One of the articles, "The Heavens Declare the Glory of God," I wrote on the monastic understanding of creation over the last 17 centuries.
Here is the link to the full magazine online:
Hope you enjoy!
Thursday, May 26, 2016
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit [a]of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
-John 15:4-5 (NASB)
To abide in Jesus is to remain integrally connected with him. It is to “permanent” ourselves in Jesus, making him our home. Abiding in our Lord means drawing our very life from him all day long, just as the branches of a tree or grapevine draw their life-giving sap from the trunk of the plant. To be separate from that trunk is to be severed from life itself.
Unlike a branch, however, grafting into the truck is not a one-time event to be take for granted ever after. Rather, Jesus commands us to abide in him and his word. We have a choice of abiding in him, dwelling in his word, or not. If we remain connected, the very life of Jesus flows through us as the water from the tree trunk flows into each branch.
How often, though, we disconnect ourselves from that integral connection with the Lord in search of life elsewhere. We choose to abide with friends or entertainment and neglect time with Jesus when we could have drawn from the sap of his life-giving word, when our veins and arteries could have been aligned with this in prayer so that we received his life-giving flow. We try to graft ourselves to success to give us life and meaning. Else we graft ourselves to entertainment or food or substances to give us a jot so we feel more alive.
So Jesus’ words come rolling down to us over the centuries: Abide in me!
© 2016 Glenn E. Myers
Saturday, March 5, 2016
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
-2 Peter 3:9
Lent is about preparing and waiting. As we wait—as patience is being forged in our souls—the Spirit is also at work in our hearts, testing and refining our priorities. Especially during periods of long delay that last some months or years, we slowly let go of the trivial wants and wishes to which we have been clinging, and we refocus our attention on the truly important things in life.
Often we hear from those who have gone through a long illness—or have been told they have a terminal condition—that in the wait they released many superficial things that formerly seemed so important to them: money, fame, possessions, entertainment. The focus of their lives was refined. They now found the true priorities of friendship, kindness, goodness and God.
None of us likes to wait. It means the fulfillment of our wants will be delayed. Sometimes we receive, in due time, that which we anticipated. Other times the process of waiting purges our desires so that we begin to desire something new, far more valuable than the former wishes. God takes us through a refining process. Often the All-Wise-One keeps one door closed—a door we thought we desired, a door we were waiting for—long enough to test us with fire, as it were, and purify our hearts. Then, when we are ready for it, the Lord opens a new door. That new opportunity, we discover, is far more fulfilling than the one we were tenaciously holding onto.
As we continue to wait and prepare for Easter, let us hold fast to God’s faithfulness. Allowing the Lord to take us through a refining process, let us look to our future with hope and expectation!
Sunday, February 21, 2016
So much of life is waiting. As children we wait for our birthday, we wait for Easter, we wait for summer vacation from school. Young adults cannot wait for schooling to come to an end, for the right job, for the perfect marriage partner. We must patiently wait to get over an illness. During harsh winters, we wait longingly for springtime.
Lent is about waiting. The word “Lent” comes from the Old English word for spring “lentin.” Just recently I found out that this Old English word means “to lengthen,” since in springtime the days are lengthening. Physically, the month of March is a time when the days really start to get longer—and I find myself just craving more sunlight and the chance to get outside to take walks. Spiritually, this is the season of Lent, a time to grow in my inner life.
Waiting cultivates patience in us. By nature, humans are not terribly patient. We want what we want, and we want it right now. Patience must be learned. Moreover, patience must be cultivated by having our patience tried—by being placed in situations where we simply have to wait against our wishes. Of course we can go through circumstances that make us wait for a long time without developing one bit of patience. Only with the right attitude—the right spirit—do we benefit from long, trying times. Indeed, patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit who works in our lives, and, so often, the Spirit does so by inviting us to wait.
This Lenten season, I am choosing to embrace all of the opportunities to wait in my life. There are things I am waiting for at work, home and my personal life. Accepting these many opportunities to wait as gifts from the Lord, I open myself us to be shaped by God’s Spirit. Above all, I am anticipating two big things: 1) springtime and the chance to enjoy sunshine and the out-of-doors, and 2) the celebration of Holy Week and Easter.
© 2016 Glenn E. Myers
Sunday, February 7, 2016
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
The Christian life is a pilgrimage. Over many miles and many years we walk with God, learning to know him and trust him more deeply as we go through beautiful fields as well as rough terrain. Our spiritual life is a long race, not a short sprint.
In that pilgrimage, that race, we all lose momentum at times. Life becomes busy; we come down with the flu for several weeks; difficulties at home and work drain our energy and emotions. Sometimes we drift, veering off the path we began as we are lured by worldly pursuits, pride, possessions and misdirected passions.
Lent is a special season set aside to draw nearer to God. For nearly 2000 years, Christians have dedicated the days leading up to Easter to draw close to the Lord. This is a time to reassess our life—spiritually, relationally, directionally. It is also an invitation to refresh our relationship with the Lord and to refocus our lives on him.
How are you doing on your spiritual pilgrimage right now? Are there ways you have lost momentum in your pursuit of God? Have you become outright sidetracked?
This week Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. Attending an Ash Wednesday service is a wonderful place to begin. As ashes are placed on your forehead with the sign of the cross, it is a visual reminder that, as mortal beings, we are but dust (Gen 3:19), and we shall return dust to dust, ashes to ashes. We must keep this in mind as we ask God to look into our hearts and test us (Psalm 139:23-24).
Fasting is also helpful. For nearly 2000 years Christians have fasted during Lent. Fasting is invaluable in self-examination as it helps to reveal where our focus is in life.
Honest self-examination always reveals some area of our actions, attitudes or thoughts that are out of order. Rather than pulling back from God as we see our brokenness or half-heartedness, however, we need to draw near to the One who knows all our faults, yet loves us beyond our wildest comprehension.
Setting aside special times of prayer—perhaps weekly or daily—is a wonderful practice for Lent, as it offers us one-on-one time with the One who loves us so much. Through those times of prayer, we draw closer to, and grow deeper with, our Lord. Likewise, giving to others has been a special focus of Lenten devotion since the early years of the Church. We can give money (alms) or time or service. However we are able to serve, reaching out to others not only draws us closer to them but also to God.
As Ash Wednesday approaches, what is something special you can do over the coming weeks to give the Lord your undivided attention? Where is the best place for you to have intimate time with him—a place where you know you will not be uninterrupted? How can you focus all your attention on him? This Lenten season, let us draw close to God’s loving, healing, transforming presence.
© 2016 Glenn E. Myers
Saturday, January 23, 2016
Ordinary time tests our faith. Are we following Jesus because we are genuinely committed to him, willing to be faithful through thick and thin, or are we doing so because we want more of the warm inner feelings that we enjoy so much?
January and February can be so bland. There is no green to see, no flowing water (at least in frozen-over Minnesota). Confined to the indoors, life can become dull. This is also the season of the Church Year known as “Ordinary Time.” Lost between the hope and light of Advent/Christmas and the intensity of Lent, leading into Easter, Ordinary Time is just that: ordinary. All combined, this can be a flat time of year for me—physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Ordinary life and Ordinary Time, however, are valuable because they test us. If we have been going to church and practicing daily devotions simply because we like beautiful services, inner comfort or spiritual “high,” our devotion dissipates like the morning fog in the midst of commonplace responsibilities and the commitment of daily discipleship this time of year. We shift our focus to more exciting options than the long-haul of spiritual growth. Although we still want to consider ourselves “good Christians,” our lives have little to do with pursuing Christ.
Yes, Ordinary Time proves what is inside us. If our hearts have shallow roots, anchored only in the special times of life, we dry up during long cold seasons. If, however, we choose to put our roots deep down in ongoing discipleship, we will do well, even when spiritual consolations are few and far between. Then, as the world around us begins to thaw--come Lent, Easter and springtime—we discover that our roots are stronger and deeper than ever in our devotion to the Lord.
Let us, therefore, take courage during Ordinary Time. As Scripture exhorts us:
“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly
rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have
done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
For in just a very little while,
‘He who is coming will come and will not delay.’”
2016 © Glenn E. Myers