Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lord's Prayer

Growing up my Mom had a porcelain version of "The Praying Hands" that sort of resembled the photo above. I have no idea what ever happened to it!
Our Pastor has been doing a series on prayer. Unfortunately, I have missed a sermon by being in New Mexico. His teachings on the Lord's prayer reminded me of the contemporary version:
Our Father in heaven
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our dialy bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive thsoe who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and forever. Amen.
Then J. Bill Brent quoted this version by John Fischer which was also set to music. I would love to hear it sometime! I could not find a video to post.
Holy Father hear our prayer
Keep us always in Your care
May Your kingdom come to us
And may we learn how to trust
Do Your will among us now
As we here before You bow
Give to us but what we need
As upon Your word we feed
Keep us from the things that do You wrong
When we're weak because we think we're strong
Save us from our selfish desire
Fill us and with your love inspire
Honor greatness belong to you
Love and peace and mercy too
Praise to you again and again
Have you prayed today? How do you pray the model that Jesus gave us?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How Do You Sup?

Too often today we sup on the move. One factor for rising obesity is due to the fact that many of us eat unconsciously and therefore eat too much! How many times have you passed another vehicle on the road around a mealtime and the occupants are stuffing their mouths with burgers and fries and fried pies?
J. Brent Bill compares Quaker silence to the communion sacrament.
Now the Episcopal words said to those taking Eucharist in Rite 1 came to mind when I read that Quaker silence is comparable to the communion sacrament.
For the Bread: The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for you,
preserve your body and soul unto everlasting life.
Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for you,
and feed on Him in your heart by faith and with thanksgiving.
Last year I read Flunking Sainthood. The first chapter addressed fasting. Now I have never been good at fasting in the past. When I asked The Lord what about me and fasting in 2012? His response was, "Your Type II Diabetes diet guidelines are your fast unto Me." In other words, I am to keep a fast towards Him the rest of my life by following the guidelines as closely as I can, not just for my health, but as a sacrifice to the Lord.
Living with the Cookseys I have taken their habit of eating breakfast, then a large meal for mid-day, a smaller portion of something in the evening. This would be imposssible to for us to accomplish at home as long as Bob is still working his many, many hours per week. But here, in the company of retirees, I made it work. I have had to remind myself about adequate fruit and vegetable servings, but it has been working for me.
Watching the mountain, pondering the Holy Silence and Flunking Sainthood books and my journey with Christ brought all of these things together for me in a way I could put into words. If I will take the time to feed upon Christ daily, through prayer and devotionals, meditation and contemplation, He more than fills my needs, especially the needs I have often tried to meet by overeating. Holy silence leads me to mindfulness in any activity I set out to do. If I will carry that holy silence into my everyday activities, pausing to remember Christ is at my right hand as Brother Lawrence practiced and Psalm 16:8 declares, I can feed on Him in my heart by faith and with thanksgiving continuously.
Here is my final photo of the mountain series. Sadly, on Tuesday the sun set before it was able to light up the snowy mountain top.
May your life today be transfigured into a comunion table with our Lord.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Why we watch the mountain

While visiting with Dan and Betty one of the constant daylight amazements is the Sandia Crest. Here is a sample of why we like to watch the mountain.
Weather makes the mountain disappear!
Today there is more snow on the mountain than a few days ago. The blue sky photo that follows is the same few minutes, just looking a different direction! I am hoping for some sun directly on the TOP of the mountain before sunset.
Above the high winds are kicking up the sandy soil!
Maybe so sun cooperation today :-(

Monday, January 28, 2013

He Bids Us Come Higher

Sunday Morning I wrote:
It would be hard for me to walk up the sloped foothills that rise from the mesa,
yet You bid me come higher.
The mountains rise and tower over those foothills
So high that this morning they have their own weather system going.
You call me forth with You
saying to trust for You will carry me if need be.
Come, my Lord, Adonai, Rabbi, Savior
Show me Your high places and
Lead me on.
Then Sunday late afternoon the photo below. The foothills I wrote about are the little rises at the bottom with scrubby green trees.
Folow where He leads you!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Grandma Snapp

When I was a child we could sometimes get my Grandma Snapp to play our piano using the hymns she almost knew by heart. She would object to playing saying that her hands were not what they used to be and it was hard to stretch for the chords. When she would relent, precious memories were formed! To this day some of those hymns roll through my soul from time to time. Mom had taught us how to harmonize and we would stand behind Grandma and sing the lyrics and she went along.
The Old Rugged Cross was one of those hymns that she played. To me it looked as if she were crashing the chords out, but it sounded glorious. I had to view many, many You Tube videos to find this gem. The website is HiFiHymnBook. Wait through the pipe organ intro and the hymn is played on piano. I hope you enjoy it. If you do not know the words, I posted them below, too.
Old Rugged Cross

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,

the emblem of suffering and shame;

and I love that old cross where the dearest and best

for a world of lost sinners was slain.


So I'll cherish the old rugged cross,

till my trophies at last I lay down;

I will cling to the old rugged cross,

and exchange it some day for a crown.

2. O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,

has a wondrous attraction for me;

for the dear Lamb of God left his glory above

to bear it to dark Calvary.


3. In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,

a wondrous beauty I see,

for 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,

to pardon and sanctify me.


4. To that old rugged cross I will ever be true,

its shame and reproach gladly bear;

then he'll call me some day to my home far away,

where his glory forever I'll share.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Am I a Barrel Racer?

Last night I got to go to the rodeo with friends who actually could explain to me the challenges and rules of each event. This morning while contemplating what to put in the blog it seemed as if this question formed itself, "Am I a barrel racer?" Those who know me well will laugh, aware of my irrational fear of horses.
Now Wikipedia defines the rules as: The timer begins when horse and rider cross the start line, and ends when the barrel pattern has been successfully executed and horse and rider cross the finish line. The rider's time depends on several factors, most commonly the horse's physical and mental condition, the rider's horsemanship abilities, and the type of ground or footing (the quality, depth, content, etc. of the sand or dirt in the arena).
As I watched these young ladies gallop their horses as fast as possible out of the arena I ignorantly wondered what the hurry was. I was amazed how they could bring their animal to a halt before crashing into the pens and walls just off the field of play. It was fun to watch, but now I see they were being timed back through the gate they came out of.
Now how would this apply to my life? We all have barrel courses set up through any given day. The chores and duties of life, the way we conduct ourselves through those activities.
In places of Corrales the speed limit is 15 miles per hour and 20 miles per hour and these are not even school zones! It makes me aware of how much hurry colors my life in Batavia. Betty and I were talking about how low can one set the cruise control on the newer cars? I remembered that a few years ago I read about "hurry sickness," defined as a malaise in which a person feels chronically short of time, and so tends to perform every task faster and to get flustered when encountering any kind of delay."

There is also the tendency of Type A personalities to rush through things. "The person with type A personality traits often feels an urgent need to complete a task. This type of time sensitive urgency is relative to impatience. In turn, those around the type A personality traits may confuse the time-urgent sensitivity as bad manners or boorish behavior. The concern for the type A personality is that they are [may be] unable to control the time sensitive urges. There is a need to move quicker and achieve maximum amounts of activity in a minimum amount of time. This can be very frustrating to the type A personality. The extreme type A may feel controlled by time and urgency and are often unable to overcome the need to continue at a faster pace."

While learning these things I was challenged to go the speed limit or 5 mph under the limit on the freeways. It was hard for me. I do often unconsciously approach life with a barrel racing mindset. Do the job, round the barrels in the correct order, race back to the finish line and crash through the gateway on a horse who is galloping as fast as it can. Then "off to the next event!" Wow! The problem illustrated once again with a fresh perspective.

Cultivating holy silence and centering in Christ have been good ways for me to modify my behavior. Coming to New Mexico for extended rest and time for contemplation has untold benefits. Tomorrow I will try to summarize what L. Brent Bill wrote in Holy Silence about learning to sense my own need for silence.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Tamaya Resort

Thursday afternoon we took a lovely walk through the cottonwood trees, along the Rio Grande River, the area called the 'Bosque.' What a gorgeous day in New Mexico! The water was higher than the last time Dan and Betty strolled here. The sky was lovely, the coloring along the ground subtle. The fallen cottonwood leaves captured the light in a way that I thought the camera might ruin. I did not even try to take a photo of that. We did not find cranes, but Canada Geese jumped out of the water, lined up on the bank like soldiers, and then took flight as if to show the girl from Ohio their great formation in case she had never see them!
Below is our view from the patio where we ate our lunch. There was a slight breeze which kept the sun from making us too hot, and reminded us that, yes, this is still January.
Reading Holy Silence yesterday morning the author quoted Tayeko Yamanouchi as saying:
As I silence myself I become more sensitive to the sounds around me, and I do not block them out. The songs of birds, the rustle of the wind, children in the playground, the roar of an airplane overhead are all taken into my worship ... I think of myself like the tree planted by the "rivers of water" in Psalm 1, sucking up God's gift of life and being restored.
The walk together was refreshing. It is lovely to be in the company of friends who do not require constant conversation. We observed the light in the trees fallen and still growing, the rolling waterway, the earth.
During our lunch the laborers were working on the roof next door and their compressor putted and snorted throughout our lunch. But even that distraction could not distract from the grandeur and great silence of the Sandia mountains.
Another New Mexico memory formed, complete with a great bar-b-que lunch from the "Bosque-Q' at the resort.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sun Rise in Corrales, New Mexico

Beige blinds transformed
into lemon curd
as blazing sun rises over
watermelon mountain.
Paint us, too, with Your light,
Father, arise in our hearts.

No, I cannot look into Your face, my Father,
any more than I can stare right at the
sun rising over Sandia Crest.
Yet, just as the mist graces the unlit portion of the mountain
I can stand in Your midst
by sheltering my eyes in the silencing of my soul.

Wash me with Your light, my Lord.
Come, Holy Spirit, ignite my soul.
Embrace me, Father, and lead me further
into Your Kingdom.

I once wrote that we can be as still
as New Mexico rock formations.
Psalm 91:4 declares "He will cover you with His feathers,
and under His wings you will find refuge;
His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."
And, even so, this portrait in the rock calls me
to rest under His wings 
(see the bird wings over the woman)
and be still.

The wings of the Holy Spirit at La Ventana Arch in New Mexico.
(The face on the rock reminds me so much of the facial features of my mother! One day I will scan her photo with this one.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Drawn to the Fountain of Life

Words of wisdom from Oswald Chambers. Wish I could have met and and known the man in person!

The most important rule for us is to concentrate on keeping our lives open to God. Let everything else including work, clothes, and food be set aside. The busyness of things obscures our concentration on God. We must maintain a position of beholding Him, keeping our lives completely spiritual through and through. Let other things come and go as they will; let other people criticize us as they will; but never allow anything to obscure the life that “is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). Never let a hurried lifestyle disturb the relationship of abiding in Him. This is an easy thing to allow, but we must guard against it. The most difficult lesson of the Christian life is learning how to continue “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord . . . .”

So how might we do this in a day to day rhythm? Each time you sip a beverage, focus on Him, Use your life circumstances to journey towards Him. Make "keeping your life open to God" the first and strongest priority. There is an old hymn that goes "Open my eyes that I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me; place in my hands the wonderful key that shall unclasp and set me free. Silently now I wait for thee, ready my God, they will to see. Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!

My prayer today is that you and I might open our lives to God in a deeper, truer way, that His name might be glorified in and through us.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Found this in the devotional called Joy & Strength. I really like the "you will."
When you find that weariness depresses or amusement distracts you, you will calmly turn with an untroubled spirit to your Heavenly Father, who is always holding out His arms to you. You will look to Him for gladness and refreshment when depressed, for moderation and recollection when in good spirits, and you will find that He will never leave you to want. A trustful glance, a silent movement of the heart towards Him will renew your strength; and though you may often feel as if your soul were downcast and numb, whatever God calls you to do, He will give you power and courage to perform. Our Heavenly Father, so far from ever overlooking us, is only waiting to find our hearts open, to pour into them torrents of His grace.

So I have to ask you to read that once more and answer the query, "Will you do those things?

As the Episcopalians declare,"I will, with God's help!" Great answer, I think!


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Feel Thy Stay

Interesting phrase by Isaac Penington, quoted in Joy and Strength this morning on-line. (In the book it is not used until Sunday.)

" THEREFORE, in the evil hour, lie still,

feel thy stay, till His light which " makes manifest "

arise in thee, and clear up things to thee."

Now I find this especially interesting in that we own a dog and have been trying to teach her the command "Stay!" for years now. "Feel thy stay." Oh that speaks volumes to me! When I want to run ahead of the Lord and "fix things" I am reminded to 'Feel thy stay." When God seems to be taking too long and I believe I have the answers to solve a situation, I am reminded to 'Feel thy stay."

Wow! Can you imagine the power of The Lord upon the earth if an entire congregation were to wait upon Him, 'feel thy stay' and move only in obedience to Him?
Not too ruff through the power of the Holy Spirit, if only we would learn!Over and over in Scripture the Word says, "but you would not." Help us, Father, to obey.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

2013 Adventure

This is the book we are beginning in our small group. We had a smaller than usual group last night. The seven of us had a lively time! We started with the "Prayer for Aging" in the front of the book written by Sr. Moya Hanlen. My purpose in offering this particular book is to have an activity that appeals to person of our age. The "Last Third" refers to persons 60-90 years old. One of the authors is in her sixties; the other in his nineties. There are seven sections in the book with seven selections under each topic. I was thinking we could cover one section in two meetings. Oops! I forgot how much we humans like to talk about ourselves. We covered 1-1/2 sections. However, the sharing was lively and every single person spoke. This will be a good study. Next time I will try to get the focus on the Scripture for each section and the purpose put forth by the authors.
We began with "Gateway 2" Living with Limitations. I skipped Gateway 1 as we just did a study that had a huge focus on death. We all know at our age that death is inevitable.
Here are some of the verses from last night's study:
2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."
2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
And the best discussion questions were: If you are an older person, what are some of the limits aging has placed upon you? How do you deal with them?
What is your response to the prayer,"May you die young at a very old age?"
What relationship do you see between the contemplative life and the life of doing? Do the two approaches seem opposed, in competition, complementary? Explain.
I hope you enjoy reading this and following along with your own consideration of the questions.
I will keep you posted on our progress!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Silence and Holy as the Day is Spent

Reading more from J. Brent Bill I was struck by the reminder that "Jesus is everywhere. Silence helps us see that. Holy silence shows us God's wants of us. It infuses us with God's spirit and power so that we can live faithfully in life's common ventures."
Then to give an example of how the Lord makes each day holy, he quoted a song I had never heard before. I hope you enjoy the YouTube version!
The lyrics start
Holy is the dish and drain
The soap and sink, and the cup and plate
And the warm wool socks, and cold white tile
Shower heads and good dry towels
And frying eggs sound like psalms
Witha bit of salt measured in my palm
It's all a part of a sacrament
As holy as a day is spent.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"Holy Silence"

Last night before retiring I was reading J. Brent Bill's book "Holy Silence, The Gift of Quaker Spirituality."
I marked the following quotes:
"The desert fathers emphasized silence as more than mere absence of sound...Their practice of silence varied according to their own interpretations and needs."
In the fourteenth century Master Eckhardt said, "Nothing in all creation is so like God as silence." In 1609 Alphonsus Rodriguez quoted St. Bernard of Clairvaux: "Continual silence,and removal from the noise of the things of this world and forgetfulness of them, lifts up the heart and asks us to think of the things of heaven and sets our heart upon them."
"Bordenkircher says that "Being quiet with God allows us to create enough psychological and spiritual space that God can truly create an inner sanctuary in us."
That one really made me pause! I create space, but God creates the sanctuary. Cool!!
"William Penn knew holy silence isn't about stillness, as such, but rather about encountering God in a living and vital holy hush.
Now all this was refreshing, confirming and quieting.
I guess it was no wonder that having been up less than an hour this morning I found myself in the "Slough of despond" with self-esteem drenched in a fetid pool of negativity. Yikes! A far cry from the reading the night before!
I MADE myself sit down and focus my heart and mind upon the devotionals I have been reading. George Matheson was quoted in Streams in the Desert as having written: " God spoke when there was no inward storm. He could not speak when the mind was fretted; His voice demands the silence of the soul. ..In the hour of perturbation, thou canst not hear the answer to thy prayers...The heart got no response in the moment of its crying - in its thunder, its earthquake, and its fire. Thou must rest, O soul, if thou wouldst have thy heart's desire. Still the beating of thy pulse of personal care."
I was left no room to indulge in the negative. I chose to get out the evening book and re-read the passages. then I set my eyes upon Him who loves me best.
May you, also, silence your turmoil, create the space for God to build an inner sanctuary in you. Then enter with praise and thanksgiving, finding true rest and refreshment for your soul.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Working too hard

I am about killing myself here cleaning! Almost 60 degrees today and I washed windows, cleaned out the toaster oven, up and down the stairs with laundry, etc., etc.
Too bad Bob is not on Facebook to read these funnies! Someone has been getting really good ones, like this:

Very excited that Jesus Culture is coming to the Taft Theater in February. Hope to go to their worship conference with Tiffany!
What is wrong with this idea? .... there are daffodils on my back hill 6 inches tall! Too muddy from torrents of rain to photograph, but come on! It is only January and we do not live in San Francisco Bay Area where they bloom in January or February!! Bah, humbug. I do not like it when nature screws up spring.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Found a Card

Found a card among my things that is so old, well, I typed it on a typewriter. The 4 x 6 paper is discolored and starting to fall apart in one area where it is torn!  It reads:

Saved by
Humility of heart
Resignation to God

5 weapons of Satan to destroy the Word
  1. Affliction
  2. Persecution
  3. Cares of this world
  4. Deceitfulness of riches
  5. Lusts of other things
First duty of the day:
get into the right place of dependence before God, in meek, patient, humble, resignation to Him.

Turn from all struggles and self reproach, IN STILLNESS YIELD TO HIS WORKING and in meek and humble resignation expect deliverance nowhere but from God Himself.

 The 5 weapons of Satan are from the Scriptures. The other quotes are from "Freedom from a Self-centered Life / Dying to Self Selections from William Law, Edited by Andrew Murray.
Oh, William Law, you never steered me wrong even once! "He was a religious guide not only to the family but to a number of earnest-minded people who came to consult him. The most eminent of these were the two brothers John and Charles Wesley."

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Elliot's biography of Amy Continues to Inspire

On the Indian Continent Amy Carmichael was "given a Christian tract to translate. It read:

“Let us meditate on the All-Pervading Spirit, 
the Fountain of Bliss, 
the Incomparable one, 
Light dwelling in tranquility ...
Distant, and yet near, 
Light dwelling in tranquility, 
Possessor of Perfect Felicity, 
pure intelligence, 
and inconceivable …”
Oh! that we might meditate upon Him, too!

The story goes on that when she asked the old Hindu scholar (who had asked her to do the translation) if he believed all this, how he could worship stones he was adamant in his answer. Elliott writes that "Amy, acutely aware of being, in herself, nothing more than a clay pot - ordinary, plain, fragile - knew that the pot held a priceless treasure which the old Hindu scholar had never seen: "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 COR 4:6) 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Elliot's Biography of Amy Carmichael

I read this book last year and was so blessed that I turned down some pages to copy quotes form. Just now getting to it!

“By July 10 she was comfortably ensconced in a room of the China Inland Mission in Shanghai. She made it her own by hanging family photos and the mottoes she cherished:


and a single embroidered word, RABBONI, Mary’s word when she saw the risen Christ: My Master!

On the table lay a calendar with the words, “The Lord thinketh upon me.” She reminded her correspondents of the million a month dying without Christ in China, and the eighty thousand dead of plague in Hong Kong in the previous few weeks.”

‘To any whom the Divine Hand is beckoning: count the cost, for He tells us to, but take your slate to the foot of the Cross and add up the figures there.’”

I am trying to simplify my life this year and my notorious desk. (Bob will be cheering when he reads that because he sees it every day!)  Perhaps I can adorn it with these or similar sayings of inspiration.

Better yet, see tomorrow's blog for a meditation idea from a long ago Christian tract in India.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Nothing is Too Hard for God

2 COR 4:6-7 "For it its God who said, "Let light shine our of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us."
Recently while praying for someone my heart was heavy and I asked the Lord to show me HOW to pray for that person. He graciously reminded me of 2 COR 4 (which, by the way, I am trying to memorize this year). He showed me this person floundering in darkness and asked if I would just pray that she would be wrapped in His light. As Lord of the Universe he is able to MAKE light shine out of darkness. Nothing is too difficult for God.
Jeremiah 32:17 “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.
So I continue in prayer for her. I light a candle in the house as a reminder to stay in prayer asking the Lord to bathe her in light, surround her in His light, invade her darkness with the light of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Praying in accordance as He has shown me has brought me a curious sense of peace. Then I heard in my dream that this person was going to have "reticular surgery." The second time this was impressed upon me I looked up reticular. My iPad dictionary defines reticular as an adjective saying: 1. Resembling a net in form; netlike: reticular tissue. 2. Marked by complexity; intricate. Bob thinks it refers to an eye surgery. I began to blow off the dream and then in prayer began to realize that the Lord is about to perform the surgery and my prayer that the eyes of her heart be opened may be on the horizon.
Now who was blown away? This Ohio woman. So my candle is lit to remind me to intercede. The Lord is at work even when I do not know it. i saw this in calligraphy at the Convent last autumn. It rings through my heart now!
"Landrum P. Leavell wrote, "Have you ever thought that light is aggressive? It is. When you open a curtain in a lighted room to the outside darkness, light spills out - darkness does not spill in. The light pushes back the darkness." Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. MT 5:14 NIV"
Even so, my Lord, push back the darkness and open the eyes of those who sit in darkness. (Isaiah 9:2) The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. (Mt 4:16) Help them focus on Your goodness and care for them. Draw them into Your Kingdom. Amen.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Streams in the Desert and Still Upward

Ezekiel 41:7 The side rooms all around the temple were wider at each successive level. The structure surrounding the temple was built in ascending stages, so that the rooms widened as one went upward. A stairway went up from the lowest floor to the top floor through the middle floor.
"Still upward be thine onward course:
For this I pray today;
Still upward as the years go by,
And seasons pass away.
"Still upward in this coming year,
Thy path is all untried;
Still upward may'st thou journey on,
Close by thy Saviors side.
"Still upward e'en though sorrow come,
And trials crush thine heart;
Still upward may they draw thy soul,
With Christ to walk apart.
"Still upward till the day shall break,
And shadows all have flown;
Still upward till in Heaven you wake,
And stand before the throne."

This poem from Streams in the Desert, possibly written by Spurgeon, brought several things to mind for me. First the obvious challenge of embarking on a New Year. This becomes a more poignant excursion for me as I grow older. The verse from Ezekiel took me by surprise and I had to go back and read it. I forgot about all the measuring in that book! The Temple represents for me the dwelling of God. We are told in 1 Peter that we are to be priests and kings unto God. 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Ezekiel 44:28 “‘I am to be the only inheritance the priests have. You are to give them no possession in Israel; I will be their possession."

So how are we to grasp this possession and fulfill this role of royal priesthood? How might we ascend still upward in our fellowship with God? The Nautilis shell represents for me my spiritual journey. The rooms get larger as the shell grows to accomodate the growth of the animal. Our fellowship with God is to grow as we learn of Him, trust Him more and fellowship with Him. My intimacy with Him draws me into the center of my being, much like the center of the shell. The more I practice being in His presence, the more quickly I can descend " the stairway from the top floor through the middle florr to the lowest floor." As I withdraw from the things of the world, occupations of anxiety, regular courses of thought, He seems to draw more near to me. In fact, I am just peeling away the layers of distraction that I might live more aware of Him.

Today I could not go to intercede at the Church Office as my car is being repaired. So I determined to pray here at home. I was awakened with a song in my heart, "Forever Reign." I made my way through the first few morning necessaries and into prayer. The place in my heart where I meet God is like no other. I used a list of names of those in our church leadership and the song to draw me back to the purpose of my prayer anytime my attention wandered. And I felt certain that this song is for our part of the Body of Christ for 2013.

When I moved on to my devotional reading, I found the poem "Still Upward" and came to blogging.

I pray that as you journey into 2013 the call will resound in your soul to travel "Still Upward" into the larger places of fellowship and ministry where your Lord awaits you, and also into the deeper places of intimacy with Him where He can touch and direct your heart. Be His living stone. He has promsied to BE your possession and inheritance. Possess your inheritance. May you be richly blessed with an increased awareness of His presence.