Thursday, March 29, 2012
Most of the time we as Christians are far too easily satisfied with a shallow walk with God. We settle for an acquaintanceship with Jesus instead of a robust friendship. We nibble at God’s Word instead of feasting on it and digesting it, making it part of our very being. We want faith without its accompanying repentance. We rush through a quick prayer list but never listen to the Lord speaking to us. We try to witness, but in reality we have little to say to unbelievers since we ourselves have not encountered God radically transforming us.
Although we often tell ourselves that we are doing just fine as believers, underneath we know there must be more. There has to be so much more to a vibrant walk with God than anything we are experiencing!
Holy Week is an invitation to a deeper spiritual life. By “deeper” we mean putting our roots down further in the Lord, loving God on a whole new plane, and soaking in Scripture so it becomes our daily bread. It means seeing the Lord radically alter our thoughts, attitudes, word and deeds.
A deeper life entails substantive transformation in our lives—down at the root level. The word “radical” comes from the Latin for “root.” Radical change is therefore transformation at the root level instead of superficial change on the surface.
Holy Week is an opportunity to take a hard look at ourselves and our walk with God. As we walk through this week before Easter--observing the Last Supper on Thursday, Jesus’ passion on Friday, and the emptiness and waiting of Saturday—we have time for the Lord to search us within. Since the early centuries of the church, Christians have set aside these days leading up to Easter as t time for serious “spring house cleaning” within.
A deeper life with the Lord begins with honesty—being real. Where am I right now? How am I genuinely walking with God, and where have I strayed off the path?
During Holy Week, take a few minutes to write down some reflection to these questions:
-Where am I with God at this point in my life?
-How close or how far away from the Lord has my daily life been over the past couple of months?
-How do I want to go deeper with Jesus?
-What hinders me from being more open and vulnerable with him?
You may want to share these answers with a friend—someone who you can be candid with and someone who cares enough about you to check back and see how you are doing.
Holy Week is a time of redirection—setting a new course in life. The word “repentance” comes from the Greek metanoia. Metanoia means to change our thinking or our direction in life. It means we were headed one way but now we are turning around 180 degrees and heading in the opposite direction. Repentance is not simply saying we are sorry. Rather, it means that we move deliberately in the other direction.
What area of your life is sliding in the wrong direction? It can be an action or an attitude. It can be what you say or what you do. It can also be what you are failing to do.
Don’t Miss the Opportunity
In our anticipation of Easter, let us not miss the opportunity for reflection that Holy Week offers us. Let us receive its invitation to enter more fully in the deeper life with Christ than we have ever before experienced!
© 2012 Glenn E. Myers
Friday, March 16, 2012
Awake, O my soul!
Awaken to the new day and be fully present to all that is before you.
Awake, O my heart!
Be watchful and embrace all that God gives from his bounty.
Be still, O my thoughts. Do not scatter here and there.
Be attentive to the voice of the Lord and receptive
to all that he is speaking to you this day.
“Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.” (Ps 57 NIV)
My heart sings your praise this morning, O Lord,
because you are great and greatly to be praised.
My mouth cries with shouts of joy because you are
clothed in power and strength and majesty.
This is the day that you have made, O my God!
Indeed, I will rejoice and be glad in it.
All day long I will declare your kindness, your goodness,
your magnificence and your splendor.
Yes, be exalted, O God, in my heart and in my life this day.
Be exalted, O God, and let your glory fill the heavens and the earth!
© 2012 Glenn E. Myers
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
“Awake, my soul!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.”
Lent is a time to wake up spiritually. Just a David roused himself awake in Psalm 5, so Lent is a season set apart for us to wake up and seek God afresh in our lives.
Lulled to Sleep
For many of us, we start the New Year with a fresh fervor for seeking the Lord. Our devotional times are alive, and our prayer life invigorated. Maybe we begin a new Bible-reading plan or devotional book.
But over time the newness begins to fade, and our intensity wanes. Life has a way of lulling us to sleep—emotionally and spiritually. Sometimes, we simply become tired. Week after week our responsibilities pile up, and we become weary as we fulfill them. Perhaps we catch a cold and need some extra rest. When we finally feel better physically, we realize that we have lost the momentum we had a couple of months ago.
Or, sin can lull us to sleep. We give in—just a little bit at first—and the next thing we know we have become numb to God. We avoid spending time with the Lord because we know we are not right with him. As time goes on, we make excuses and begin to sear our conscience. We move into a spiritual sleep.
For others, we simply become sidetracked. All the cares of the world divert our attention, and over time, we lose our focus. As a result, the fervor we had for pursuing God a few months ago cools down, and we drift into a bit of a spiritual dullness. So long as we are in our mortal bodies, such a slowing down is bound to happen.
Rousing Ourselves Awake
We need to stir ourselves awake. Lent provides just such an opportunity. As a forty-day preparation for Easter, Lent is a time to rouse ourselves awake emotionally, physically and spiritually.
We can do so in a number of ways. We can begin a devotional book for Lent that guides us through Scripture reading and some short reflections that provide a structure for our quiet times with the Lord. These are very helpful in drawing us out of the rut that we are in.
Another help is fasting. Fasting is a wonderful spiritual rhythm that has been associated especially with Lent for most of Christian history. That fasting can be from food or it could be from things like television, which often contributes to our spiritual lethargy. When we fast, we declare our independence from the desires and addictions of our bodies, in order to focus our attention on the Lord.
Still another practice is simply stirring ourselves more awake each morning, especially if that is when we have devotional time with God. I began doing that this summer. When we were away on a retreat, I realized that, although I was having regular quiet times with the Lord, I was not fully present. Therefore I started the practice of moving around a bit more before settling into my devotional time. I also set aside ten minutes for worship before trying to listen to the Lord’s voice in Scripture and prayer. That practice has made a huge difference. Especially mornings when I am feeling dull and lethargic, I make sure to rouse my soul awake as a praise God afresh and seek his face.
A Time to Wake Up
How do you need to wake up to be fully present with the Lord? Whatever has lulled you to sleep, Lent is a tremendous opportunity to wake up spiritually. Find a practice—a rhythm—that works for you, and be like David, who summoned his soul awake and then proceeded to wake up the dawn in his love for the Lord!
© 2012 Glenn E. Myers
Friday, March 2, 2012
Strasbourg Cathedral where Tauler Lived
Just a note this week to mention the article that came out last week on Johannes Tauler in CBN.com
You can click on the article on the left panel of Deep Waters, or you can copy and paste the URL: http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/churchandministry/churchhistory/Myers_Johannes_Tauler.aspx
Tauler was a tremendous preacher of the 14th century, and his sermons have been printed and reprinted around the world for the last 800 years. In fact, he is the preacher that has influenced my life more than any other! Tauler is also significant in that both Protestants and Catholics highly appreciate him.
Tauler was born and reared in Strasbourg, and spent most of his life in ministry there. His tombstone can be found there today.