A Mountain in Your Life? Where does your Help Come From?

A Mountain in Your Life Where does your Help Come From

When we keep looking at the mountain of struggle, we can feel crushed, but when we know someone greater than the mountain is with us, we can find the help we need. Mountains move when we meditate on Gods goodness.

Where I live, I’m surrounded by mountains. They’re not very high mountains. The highest peak is only 196 meters high and has the name Mt. Eden and is a dormant volcanic cone.

The highest mountain I have been up to is Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs. At 4302 meters it’s so high that the breathing is difficult, but the views are fantastic.

A Mountain can be  imposing

When you go to a place where there are many mountains it can be imposing.

They dominate the scenery. Everywhere you look you see this fortress looming up into the sky. Continue reading “A Mountain in Your Life? Where does your Help Come From?”

Questions and Answers about Mindfulness

Recently I have been reading and practising Mindfulness. I have found it very helpful, so I thought it would be good to get some advice and guidance around Mindfulness. I tracked down Richard Johnston who has a website dedicated to Christian Mindfulness.

So I sent him some questions.

1. What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is our universal human capacity for attention and awareness. All people have the capacity to pay attention and to develop greater awareness regardless of faith. Continue reading “Questions and Answers about Mindfulness”

Shadow of Light – Discovering you’re not alone

 

It was a shadow, in the background, going unnoticed.

It was a Shadow of Light.

Weird really, but a shadow it was. You couldn’t touch it but it was surely there.

Light normally fills a the dark room, creating the shadows, but this was different. It was a Shadow of Light in my very very dark places.

It wasn’t bright neon ‘impossible to look at’ light, it was more ‘just there’. Dim and warm, soft and inviting.

Well it was inviting to me, but to those whose hearts and eyes had been conditioned to the darkness it was something to  pushed to the back of the room. Into the corner, out of sight, and definitely out of mind.

It just watched, silently and sadly at the darkness of thought and motive. Its image bearer hands glowing softly. Rope marked torn hands were clenched in fists that once held whip.

Shadow of Light moved a step forward then pulled back. It wasn’t time yet and I noticed a gentle restraining hand draped over the shoulder.

Why didn’t Shadow of Light act I wondered? Why the constraint in this time of pain?

I focused my eyes in on the throbbing gentle heartbeat of the Shadow. Then zoom, I was transported to his side. I leaned into listen. With the gentleness of a secure lover I felt an arm reach around behind me, gently pressing my head upon his chest.

This Shadow of light was now absorbing me into its image bearing self. A warmth was filling me that the darkness, the dirty, shameful, raping darkness could never rob away.

Do I want the shadow to intervene in the abuse of my soul? Yes, of course I do, but if it means for one moment that I could lose the sound of loves heartbeat then ‘No’ I would respond back.

There will come a time when Shadow of Light will banish every flicker of darkness away.

Till that day, I will secure myself knowing that there is a Shadow of Light walking beside me. No darkness can stick on me, no evil can define me, no abuse will ever shame my true identity.

I am a child of the ‘Shadow of Light’.

Perhaps my own Shadow of Darkness is being transformed by this Shadow of Light. Perhaps you are too.

Zoom into his heartbeat.

 

Barry Pearman
Photo Credit: kevin dooley via Compfight cc

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On Juggling Snow Balls

Disclaimer: I have never juggled snowballs.

Photo Credit: shenamt via Compfight cc

Sometimes I get a picture or a story, I believe from God, that needs to be prayerfully thought about.

 I had one of those the other day.

 I was juggling snowballs, and actually I was doing a pretty good job of it too, if I can modestly say for a non juggling Aucklander where it never snows. [pullquote]For me I want to surrender to the ambiance of God’s love flowing around my juggling snowballs.[/pullquote]  Snowballs were flying high up into the air and I was enjoying the rhythm. I was having a party.

 I, like you most likely, have a busy life. Snowballs symbolising all the various roles I have. Husband, Father, Pastor, Gardener, Trugmaker, Blogger etc.

Keeping all those balls flying requires a certain rhythm, almost a musicality to the movement. Round and round, up and down, flying high up into the air.

There is however a relationship going on here that enables me to juggle. Its unseen, unrecognised and possibly taken for granted.

 The relationship between the snowball and the temperature of the air.

Ambient – relating to the immediate surroundings of something.
Ambiance – the atmosphere of a place

 

For those snowballs to hold their shape, there must be an cold ambient temperature to keep them frozen. A few degrees of warming will cause the solid to turn to mush. Juggling will become more of a slushy mess than entertaining experience.

 

That which is unseen and out of our control does have an effect on us.

 

Scary thought isn’t it. Something beyond your control, manipulation and power, having an influence over you.

The snowball juggler surrenders to the ambient temperatures ability to hold it all together. The juggler can play, do tricks, have fun all because the atmosphere is perfect.

Just try this little exercise for a moment.

Imagine God thinking about you.

What do you assume God feels when you come to mind?

When I ask people to do this, a surprising number of people say that the first thing they assume God feels is disappointment. Others assume that God feels anger. In both cases, these people are convinced that it is their sin that catches God’s attention. I think they are wrong-and i think the consequences of such a view of God are enormous. David Benner

 Honestly, deep down, at a raw emotional level what is the ambient temperature of God for you. Are you trying to appease an assumed angry God? If you are then you will never juggle with joy and spontaneity.

 For me I want to surrender to the ambiance of God’s love flowing around my juggling snowballs.

Gravity may hold planets in orbit and nuclear force may hold the atom together, but only love has the power to transform persons.

Only love can soften a hard heart.

Only love can renew trust after it has been shattered.

Only love can inspire acts of genuine self-sacrifice.

Only love can free us from the tyrannizing effects of fear.

David Benner

 

What will it take for you to surrender more of yourself to that love?

Those who specialize in firm exhortation, think less of enjoying God as “Abba” and more of obeying him as a sergeant. Larry Crabb

 Questions to consider and leave a comment.

  1. What is the ambient atmosphere surrounding your life? Fear? Love?

  2. What do you assume God feels when you come to mind?

  3. How do your assumptions about God affect you?

Barry Pearman

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A Prayer of One Who Feels Lost

Dear God,why do I keep fighting you off-
Dear God,
why do I keep fighting you off?
One part of me wants you desperately,
another part of me unknowingly
pushes you back and runs away.
What is there in me that
so contradicts my desire for you?

These transition days, these passageways,
are calling me to let go of old securities,
to give myself over into your hands.
Like Jesus who struggled with the pain
I, too, fight the “let it all be done.”
Loneliness, lostness, non-belonging,
all these hurts strike out at me,
leaving me pained with this present goodbye.

I want to be more, but I fight the growing.
I want to be new, but I hang onto the old.
I want to live, but I won’t face the dying.
I want to be whole, but I cannot bear
to gather up the pieces into one.

Is it that I refuse to be out of control,
to let the tears take their humbling journey,
to allow my spirit to feel its depression,
to stay with the insecurity of “no home”?

Now is the time. You call to me,
begging me to let you have my life,
inviting me to taste the darkness
so I can be filled with the light,
allowing me to lose my direction
so that I will find my way home to you.

Amen.
By Joyce Rupp

Photo Credit: Sam Burriss

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God hath not promised skies always blue

God has not promised
God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.
God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.
God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain, rocky and steep,
Never a river, turbid and deep.

Annie Johnson Flint

Photo Credit: AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker via Compfight cc

I am Yours

I Am Yours

 

Before God I stand
Hands bowed at my sides
Offering the little I can:
‘I am Yours.’
No frills, no bells, no whistles.
Just fear and pain and ordinariness.
All that I am:
The good, the bad and all that’s in-between.
A simple gift
Offered in simple words:
‘I am Yours.’

 

And God’s hand reached out to me
Accepting the gift in its totality
A smile of pleasure
In moist eyes.
And then an echo whispered
‘And I am yours.’
All that God is
Offered to all that I am.
My eyes fill with tears
At the enormity of the gift.
The God of the universe
Gifting mortal me God’s self.

 

I am unworthy
But not worthless.
I am not understanding
But totally understood.
I struggle to accept,
Yet find I am accepted.
I wrestle with such love,
And find I am still loved.
‘I am yours,’
‘I am yours,’
Echoes in two hearts

by Jo Anastasiadis

Jo Anastasiadis is a born and bred Wellingtonian, wife, mother of grown children and spiritual director. She enjoys being outdoors, particularly walking on the beach, taking time out for retreats, and utilizing creativity in her relationship with God.

Refresh – Journal of Contemplative Spirituality Volume 12, Number 1. Summer 2013. I

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A Dangerous Prayer to Pray – Franciscan Benediction

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A dangerous prayer to pray.

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.

 May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

 May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection,starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.

 And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.

(Author unknown)

 

Here is a challenge. Pray this prayer everyday for the next week and post some comments as to how this prayer has changed you.

Barry Pearman

Image by NYC.andre Creative Commons Flickr