Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said,
streams of living water will flow from within him.
Well here we are approaching the last few days of the first month of the new year.
The path I have been travelling on has become narrow. Squeezed. Where it leads I'm not sure, but my faithful God has been revealing a few lessons on my journey. It's early on this road trip, but I'm brave and foolish enough to share what He's shown me so far.
Early morning. I feed the pets and prepare myself for my "quiet time". The thought comes and is somewhat startling in it's interruption into the space of my own mind.
I hear, "Come away with me, alone".
I gather my things. I hear it with more clarity. Directly addressing my immediate plans.
Come away from the busyness of your quiet time.
Oh, boy. I sense a gentle parental tone in this quietness.
Come away from all of your big ideas for yourself, Me and others.
Come away from your agenda,
away from your thoughts, perceptions expectations, frustrations.
I confess I am stubborn.
Thickheaded. Coincidentally, Italian. Not that it matters. Just sayin'.
On this morning, I heard Him.
He wanted me alone.
You'd think the reality of this would bring me to my knees, the impression was so strong.
So not of me.
I confess here the truth. I didn't want to make the trip.
I felt God calling me away with Him and truth be told, I had more important things to do.
Hold your stones!
Hear me out, first.
You see, there are obstacles...
after all the dog stared at me through pleading eyes with happy anticipation as I got dressed.
It's not like I don't have a "quiet time". Planned.
How can I go for a walk, or even get out of the door with only the purpose to be with you, Lord?
Lord, look at this dog. Surely it's selfish for me to walk without Him.
You know I love to capture the beauty of your Creation.
No camera. Just to walk alone.
I'll miss something, for sure.
(missing it already...still, keep your stones, Pharisees -Wait for it!)
But, I reasoned, at least I should walk briskly to get some exercise.
That would be OK, right?
No motive, or agenda...
away with Me.
So I went.
My Crowded Mind
As I 'm walking on the beach feeling unsure, He speaks to me.
He tells me my head is crowded.
Then He reminds me of how I used to walk alone with Him along the shore.
Many years ago. Early in my Christian walk.
Early in my journey of seeking Him.
With only the purpose being to be with Him.
no dogs, camera, agenda.
No mission oriented search for stones.
He told me my mind is busy and too crowded.
He told me my soul is distracted.
I walked the full length of the beach.
The hissing, roaring waves chasing the shoreline and my head
crowded with resistance to this very moment.
Finally, as I approach the place where the ocean and the river
meet in a glorious union of strength and gentle perseverance,
I am ready...
Peace Like A River
When you stand in this place, one ear hears the roar of the waves in the distance. As you get closer to the river, the trickling of the current, teases the other ear, like a sweet invitation to peace, tranquility, calm. Gentleness.
I realize my mistake.
As I walk alongside the river, my mind begins
You can drop your stones now, if you haven't already.
The ocean reminds me of the demands, distractions and presence of my earthly life.
Roaring, hissing, commanding my attention.
Yet the river ushers me into a peaceful, stillness, quietness.
The promise of His Presence.
The Lord desires this intimacy with each of us.
So often we complicate the beauty, simplicity and magnificence of this truth.
We let the roar of the ocean drown out the trickle of the river.
Lord, I thank you for the lessons of less that you want to teach me. That you being God, would want to walk with me, talk with me, spend time with me.That you desire to touch each of us in the deepest places of our mind, heart and soul. You long to free us from the hold of earthly distractions that we may enjoy the precious promise of your presence. Let us never take this for granted. But when we do, return to you again, comforted by your Faithfulness and Everlasting Love.
In Jesus name, Amen.
This is how the LORD responds:
If you return to me, I will restore you
so you can continue to serve me.
If you speak good words rather than worthless ones,
you will be my spokesman.
You must influence them;
do not let them influence you!