Monday, December 19, 2016

Journeying with Mary toward Bethlehem: Advent Breathless Anticipation

Mary knew: her body told her,
She was about to deliver.
It would not be long now
Until the Baby would be born.

Soon contractions would begin,
Mother breathless in labor.
At the thought of her Baby,
Mary even now breathless with expectation.

Mary’s imminent delivery:
Deliverance for the world!
God’s deliverance from slavery
To sin, to Satan, to self.

Such deliverance from on high:
Each of us needs today.
Setting us free from self
Releasing us from bondage.

Many things hold us in chains:
We pretend they are not there,
Yet we know we need help
From Jesus to set us free.

Mary’s soon delivery:
Deliverance for us all.
With Mary we now wait,
With breathless expectation!
© 2016 Glenn E. Myers

Friday, December 9, 2016

Journeying with Mary toward Bethlehem: Advent Hope

The road to Bethlehem was long,
Bumpy, dusty, tiring.
Nine months pregnant,
Mary uncomfortable and exhausted.

Weariness faded the memory
Of Gabriel’s visit,
Of God’s promise,
Of the purpose for this all.

Now it was pure stamina,
Discipline to stay focused.
Obedience keeps saying “yes,”
Fortitude, pure and simple.

But behind such endurance
Lay hope—divine hope.
God’s Spirit traveled with Mary,
Albeit hid in the dust from the road.

God’s Spirit journeys with us too,
As we walk beside Mary.
We follow in obedience,
Persevering in spiritual pilgrimage.

Even if we cannot feel it,
Hope within disappoints not.
God’s plans still stand firm,
Buoying us up in hope!

© 2016 Glenn E. Myers

Monday, December 5, 2016

Journeying with Mary toward Bethlehem: Advent Secret

What were the rumors?
Mary pregnant without husband:
Joseph must be blamed,
Or perhaps it was another.

Did such words hurt her
As she and Joseph traveled south?
Seeking Bethlehem,
Was she ostracized and shamed?

Yet held in her heart,
Mary had a secret from God:
Her child was holy,
From the Holy Spirit Divine.

Mary spoke in faith:
“Behold the servant of the Lord,
Be it done to me,
According to God’s promised word.”

As Advent moves on
We travel along with Mary,
Sharing in her secret:
God mysteriously at work.

Then we join her prayer:
“Here I am, the Lord God’s servant,
Be it done to me,
According to God’s promised word!”

© 2016 Glenn E. Myers

Friday, November 25, 2016

Journeying with Mary toward Bethlehem: Advent Expectation

Mary expecting,
Her womb great with child.
Pregnant with her firstborn,
God’s Only Begotten Son.

Mary’s heart full of expectation:
She would be a mother!
What will it be like to give birth?
How will she rear the Son of God?

Soon to travel toward Bethlehem,
The city of David, Joseph’s ancestor.
How will the trip go?
Where will I deliver?

Expectation of good,
Mixed with apprehension.
She prepares for Bethlehem,
For the birth of the Christ child.

This Advent we join Mary
Along a bumpy road,
Many unanswered questions,
Yet hearts full of expectation.

These four weeks we move forward,
Co-traveling to Bethlehem,
Expectation of new life for each of us,
Opening ourselves afresh to New Birth!

© 2016 Glenn E. Myers

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Thanksgiving: The Whole Earth is filled with Awe at Your Wonders!

What an opportunity we have to express our thanks to God on this Thanksgiving Day. We join people across the nation in awe of God’s goodness toward us. He has indeed blessed our crops and crowned the year with bounty!

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders;
    where morning dawns, where evening fades,
    you call forth songs of joy.
You care for the land and water it;
    you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
    to provide the people with grain,
    for so you have ordained it.
You drench its furrows and level its ridges;
    you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
You crown the year with your bounty,
    and your carts overflow with abundance.
The grasslands of the wilderness overflow;
    the hills are clothed with gladness.
The meadows are covered with flocks
    and the valleys are mantled with grain;
    they shout for joy and sing.
            -Psalm 65:8-13

Thank you, O God Eternal, for your goodness toward us, for your provision of food and clothing and shelter. We shout for joy and sing of your greatness and your kindness toward us. Thank you, O Lord. Amen.

2016 © Glenn E. Myers

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Thanksgiving: Beholding God's Goodness

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
            -Psalm 34:8

From beginning to end, our God is pure good! God is good in the sense of always having our best in mind. He is good, wills good, and does good. 

As we read through the Psalms, we become impressed how often they declare God’s goodness. The Lord has good intentions: “For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, / And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You” (Psalm 86:5, NASB).

The Almighty does not withhold any good thing from those who seek him and obey him:

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
    the Lord bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
    from those who walk uprightly.
            -Psalm 84:11 (ESV) (see also Psalm 34:10)

The Lord blesses crops, giving food for all (Psalm 85:12). Moreover, the Almighty provides for all our needs: “For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, / And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good” (Psalm 107:9, NASB).

However, we often miss the Lord’s gifts. Preoccupied with activity and weighed down with cares, we walk right past the good things all around us. We fail to behold what the Almighty has given us.

A wonderful spiritual exercise is going through the day, spotting all the little manifestations of God’s goodness. I have sought to practice this many days over the past couple of years. In the morning see the Lord’s goodness in providing breakfast, causing the sun to rise, providing a job, surrounding me with a wife and many friends. Throughout the day I see the Almighty’s provision and care displaying his goodness toward me.

At bedtime, I think of 3 things for which I am grateful and express my thanks to the Lord. Then in the morning as my feet touch the floor, I begin my day by expressing gratitude for 3 more blessings.

The practice of looking for God’s goodness totally changes my perspective and attitude as I do so. This month of Thanksgiving is an excellent time for this simple but profound practice. I invite you to join with me in actively and intentionally beholding God’s goodness. Indeed, “The LORD is good to all, / And His mercies are over all His works” (Psalm 145:9)!

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.”

Saturday, November 5, 2016

God of Autumn Abundance!

“They feast on the abundance of your house;
    you give them drink from your river of delights.”
            -Psalm 36:8

Every autumn Sharon and I love to take drives. As well as enjoying all of the beautiful colored leaves gracing the countryside, we notice the fields ripe for harvest. This year the Lord has blessed us with ample rain, and the crops are rich and full.

Autumn speaks to us of abundance. It speaks of God’s provision. What a wonderful picture of the Lord’s forethought and care we get each fall as the fields turn golden, ripe for harvest!

Indeed our God is gracious and giving. The Almighty is benevolent, supplying food for creatures great and small. Psalm 145:9, 15-16 declares:

The Lord is good to all;
    he has compassion on all he has made.
The eyes of all look to you,
    and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand
    and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

As we drive through the countryside this year, I want not only to see the bean fields, golden for harvest, I want to see God’s hand of abundance touching the earth. Not only does the Almighty provide food for us, he provides for all our needs.

The more we truly see that abundance—physically perceiving it and mentally comprehending it—the more we cannot help but praise our God. Not only has our Creator given us a beautiful season of fall, he has lavishly supplied all that is essential and more. Our God is a God of Autumn Abundance!

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.”

Saturday, October 29, 2016

New Every Morning: The Lord’s Steadfast Love and Mercy

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
-Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)

Our God is a God of order and symmetry. All of creation moves to a divine rhythm. We see the stars proceed in succession across the sky each night. Each season gives way to the next: winter, spring, summer and autumn. Day rolls into night, which springs again into day.

That divine rhythm offers us a fresh start each morning. While our previous day may have been marked by disappointment, failure or discouragement, we are offered a clean slate at the dawn of each day.

Not only do we get a new beginning, we are given fresh grace each day. In the midst of a terrible time in Judah’s history, the prophet Jeremiah was able to proclaim that God’s mercies and steadfast love never cease. Instead they are new every morning! Even in our darkest times, we can trust that God’s light will break forth anew in the morning as surely as the new day comes into the world!

As you and I arise each morning this week, let us turn our focus during the opening moments of the day to God, his control of the universe, his rhythm and his mercies and love that are new each morning. As we see the sun rising, let us also see the Son of Righteousness rising with healing in his wings. All we need to do is reach out and receive the abundant grace that is offered us for the new day.

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.”

Friday, October 21, 2016

Cascading Beauty

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
            -Ecclesiastes 3:11

Beauty is found all around us when we have eyes to see. Delicate flowers grace the side of the road in springtime; shades of lush green blanket the hillsides in summer. Brilliant leaves set trees ablaze in autumn, and snow adorns the earth in the dark months of winter. Beauty radiates in the world around us. From glimpses of a small hummingbird to grand vistas of snowcapped mountain peaks, magnificence fills the Garden of Eden where the Lord has placed us.

All beauty here on earth has poured forth from eternal Divine Beauty. It cascades down like an ever-tumbling waterfall, and saturates the world in which we live. Whatever splendor we see in the dazzling sunrise or the fiery sky at sunset is but an image, a manifestation, a flowing out of that invisible Beauty who spoke: “Let there be light!”

God is good—all good. Such goodness manifests itself in creation as order and beauty. Far from being an accident of chance, the cosmos exudes balance and order, proportion and rhythm. Without order and consistency, life would not be possible. Beyond such structure, however, the cosmos also bursts with beauty. We not only live on an earth where there is food and sunshine and the necessities of life, we live in a world drenched with beauty!

Although it is often assumed that beauty is subjective—“beauty is in the eye of the beholder”—there is a deeper sense of beauty that is objective and universal. It cuts across race and age and personal preference. The sunlit sky, the stars at night, the wonder of a newborn baby all take our breath away.

The idea of God’s beauty behind all earthly beauty is at the heart of St. Augustine’s vision of creation. St. Augustine sees all things beautiful on earth as a reflections of God’s beauty: “Were they not fashioned by Him whose unseen and unchangeable beauty continually pervades all things.”[1] Elsewhere he addresses God, “O my Father, supremely good, beauty of all things beautiful.”[2]

My prayer echoes Augustine’s thoughts: O God of beauty, light and majesty, thank you for this magnificent earth where you have planted us. Praise you for the sunrise and splendor of each new day. We thank you for color and creativity that envelop us day by day. We praise you for radiance of the stars at night. O Lord of the universe, we bless your glorious name forever! Amen.

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.”

[1] Augustine, City of God, (X.14), translated by Marcus Dods, New York: The Modern Library, 1950, p. 319.
[2] The Confessions of St. Augustine, (III.6), translated by John Ryan, New York: Image Books, 1960, p. 83.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Autumn: God’s Beauty Painted across the World

“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.”
            -Romans 1:20

When we behold creation, we get glimpses of God’s divine nature. This is especially true when we watch the seasons change. Autumn offers us a unique perspective into different aspects of our Creator’s character, creativity and glory.

Fall is such a wonderful time of the year! For those of us who live in the northern climes, we have the opportunity to see God’s beauty written in brilliant yellows, fiery reads, joyful oranges and rich golds. God paints his glory across fields ripe for harvest. He sets the hillsides ablaze with autumn leaves. Whether kicking fallen leaves along a path through the woods, driving in the countryside or winding along mountain roads, we behold the handiwork of a God bursting with creativity, brightness, blessing and beauty!

“For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the Lord which from our birth
over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.”
       -Folliott Pierpoint

All the beauty we see on earth is just a reflection of the One who is Beauty itself! As we see the beauty of creation this autumn, let us behold God’s character—full of goodness, Wisdom, and Beauty! Then let us pour back to our Creator in praise and exaltation!

2016 © Glenn E. Myers

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

All Creatures of our God and King: Praise on the Feast of Saint Francis!

“All creatures of our God and King,
Lift up your voice and with us sing.
O praise Him! Hallelujah!”
            -William Henry Draper

Based on Francis of Assisi’s hymn, Canticle of the Creatures, “All Creatures of our God and King” calls on all nature to worship God.

Francis of Assisi saw the cosmic reality of all creation praising God. He recognized the value in each human being and each living creature. Much of Francis’ personal prayer time was spent in the woods and fields of central Italy. From 40-day retreats in the mountains above Assisi, to solitary prayer in praise to God half the night in the forest, Francis met the Creator in the beauty of creation.

The Psalms are filled with rivers clapping their hands and mountains singing for joy. These are more than mere personification in the Scripture. Rather, such images reflect the eternal reality that every bit of creation was made to praise its Creator. Indeed, in time all of nature will erupt in worship to God, as Jesus said, “the rocks themselves will cry out!” (Luke 19:40). Psalm 148 (NIV) declares:

Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels;
    praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon;
    praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
    and you waters above the skies.
. . .
Praise the Lord from the earth,
    you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
    stormy winds that do his bidding,
you mountains and all hills,
    fruit trees and all cedars,
wild animals and all cattle,
    small creatures and flying birds,
kings of the earth and all nations,
    you princes and all rulers on earth,
young men and women,
    old men and children.
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
    for his name alone is exalted;
    his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.

Today let us join with Francis—and countless believers over the centuries—who have found nature to be a wonderful sanctuary in which to meet God. Let us soak in the beauty that surrounds us and praise the Author of Beauty for his wonderful gift to us in creation!

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.”

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Green Growth

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
    whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
    that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
    for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
    for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
            -Jeremiah 17:7-8 (ESV)

As I look out the window this morning, I see green all around. God has blessed us this year with abundant rain, and our fields and gardens, trees and lawns, are lush green and verdant.

When we reflect on God’s creation—the Book of Nature, as early Christians called it—we discover principles at work, both in the natural realm and the spiritual realm.

Greenness speaks of growth. The Lord created a world in which living things are meant to develop and flourish. Plants, animals and people—we are all designed to “green” and grow, to move toward maturity. God could have made a world in which everything was static, but instead he fashioned everything that draws breath to change and progress and come to fruition.

Seeing the greenness all around me in creation begs the questions: How am I growing right now? Am I maturing emotionally? Am I cultivating healthy relationships in my life? Am I green and growing spiritually, putting roots deep down in the Lord?

Sometimes growth is not immediately obvious. Some seasons of life are drought—hot, dry and difficult. But, as Jeremiah 17 notes, these are times when we put down our roots deeper into the Lord. Beneath the surface, we actively extend our roots into God’s living water.

In due time, then, fruit will begin to appear. The drought may still be going on—time of desolation, as Ignatius of Loyola calls it—but we do not need to be wither up. Instead, as we draw life from our Creator, we can growth stronger through the difficulties and go on bearing fruit in our lives!

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.”

Monday, September 26, 2016

Splendor of Light!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
            –James 1:17

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

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

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

Abiding in Jesus

“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

Lenten Waiting: Refining our Focus

“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

Lenten Waiting: Cultivating a Spirit of Patience

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

Lent: Ash Wednesday—An Invitation to Draw Near to God

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
-James 4:8

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.

Sober Self-Examination
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.

Draw Close
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: Testing Daily Discipleship

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.’”

     -Hebrews 10:35-37

2016 © Glenn E. Myers

Friday, January 15, 2016

Integrally Connected with God along Life’s Paths

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not trust in your own understanding.
In all your paths know him,
and he will direct your path.”
-Proverbs 3:5-6 (translated from the Hebrew)
How do we know God’s path for our life, or even for our current stretch of the Journey? First of all we have Scripture, God’s Word, guiding us. “Thy word,” cries the Psalmist, “is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (119:105 KJV). God’s Word lays out the principles for living a godly life and walking with our Lord.

“The decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous. . . .
By them your servant is warned,
in keeping them there is great reward.”
-Psalm 19:9-11
Second, God gives us more personalized guidance in our lives. Although we might like a set of directions printed out before we begin the journey—like Google Maps offers—the Almighty seldom guides us that way. Rather, he is more relational. The Lord wants us to stay in contact with him. God is more interested in our getting to know him than how quickly we get to a given destination.
Proverbs 3 exhorts us: “In all your paths, know him.” The word for “know” here is Yadah. Although it is often rendered “acknowledge,” that translation does not bring out the full import of the word. Yadah is much more hands-on, much more intimate: it implies personal knowing and experiencing. The same word used for Adam “knowing” Eve, resulting in a child!
Thus we are called in Proverbs 3 to know the Lord personally, be attentive to the Lord, as we walk life’s paths. We are to experience his presence and love and protection. We are to know him personally, talking with him along the way. If we do so, he will indeed “direct our path.” Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven belonged to little children (*). As a little child, each of us can walk hand-in-hand with him along the path.
How can you and I walk on a new level of “knowing” the Lord as we go through this week? Whatever method we might use, I pray that we would Yadah the Lord—know him, experience him, be attentive to him, even walk hand-in-hand with our loving Heavenly Father. As we do so, he will indeed direct our path!

© 2016 Glenn E. Myers