Monthly Archives: January 2014

Renewal of Soul

“A man who teaches without doing what he teaches is like a spring which cleanses and gives drink to everyone, but it is not Retreat Pictureable to purify itself.”

 —-Abba Poeman

This thought may require some deep introspection. The idea that I would like to draw from this is the concept of our inability to purify ourselves. Purification, refinement, absolution are all needed to continue in the Christian life. There is a tendency in all of us to stop at a particular point and act as if we have arrived. Such an attitude is soul- endangering.

Undoubtedly, the most important aspect of the Christian walk is renewal. Renewal is ongoing conversion of the soul that leads to deeper understanding of sin and service. If we work and preach to others and never take time for the renewal of our souls we, just as the spring, will ultimately dry up. We must all take time to do a retreat or seek a director that will guide to the next step.

  • Are you teaching without doing?
  • Are you neglecting the renewal of your soul?

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Filed under Advent, Contemplation, Desert Fathers

Peace

Abba Poeman

Abba Poeman

 “If you take little account of yourself, you will have peace wherever you live.”

 —-Abba Poeman

 

Over inflated egos are an ancient problem. Abba Poeman gives us these simple words from his desert monastery fourteen hundred years ago. If we are to take little account of ourselves, we must develop a sense of self that is beyond our earthly reach. My world, your world, is dominated by goals and ambitions to further quality of life. This is not wrong in and of itself, but it must be tempered by acknowledging that all comes from the Lord God.

 There are countless stories of people living lives plagued by self-doubt and restlessness, and all of their pain is rooted in their own self-gratification. They move from place to place, relationship to relationship, and job to job searching for that perfect place of peace. The key to peace is knowing who we are in the sight of God. He created us for good. He created us in His image, and yes, He wants us to live in peace. Such a peace is found when we offer ourselves to Him. In offering ourselves to Him, we become smaller to the things of the earth and larger to the things of heaven.

 Give it some thought. Begin to see yourself as a child of God and not a child of man. This transition could give you abundant peace.

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A Thought

The most important question that any Christian can ask.martin-luther-king-jr-quotes_1389501869

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The First Stone

So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

——–John 8:7

Medical doctors and counselors tell us that a great deal of sickness, both mental and physical, is brought on by the fact that people carry around a tremendous burden of unresolved guilt.  As creations of God, we long for His forgiveness, even though we don’t even recognize the need.  Hear a story of forgiveness.

            The woman was being shoved and jostled along the dusty road.  Her long, dark hair was covering her face.  She could see little.  She had stumbled and fallen several times and the brush burns on her elbows and knees stung.

The men harassing her called her terrible names as they roughly pushed her along.  They were taking her to the right place – the church.  They were taking her to the right person – Jesus.  But, they were taking her there for all the wrong reasons.

The men were well dressed, finely appointed religious leaders.  On the outside, they were excellent examples of the best religion had to offer, but on the inside, they were dead and filthy.

They had found this woman in the act of adultery and were anxiously anticipating stoning her to death.  Thinking to entrap Jesus with a violation of the law at the same time, they took the woman to the temple where Jesus was teaching.

In response to their question about the death sentence on this woman, Jesus at first ignored them and began writing in the dirt with His finger.  The woman cowered, terrified that she would be stoned to death within minutes.  She dared not lift her eyes to meet any of theirs.  Her whole body shook in fear and horror at the situation.

Jesus knew her fear – He could see it.  But since He was God, He also knew her heart and the hearts of the pompous men so ready to crush her bones.  Jesus looked at the adulterous woman as He looks at you and me.  He was filled with love for this woman He had created just a few years before.  Maybe as He wrote on the ground, He thought of you and me.  People He would create 2000 years later.

His eyes met the eyes of the religious leaders.  He looked into the emptiness and rot of their hearts.  He made a simple statement that carried with it the authority from heaven and said, “If you have not sinned, you can throw the first stone.”  Those men convicted by the irrefutable authority of the Lord walked away – one by one.
Then His eyes met the frightened eyes of the woman.  He asked her where her accusers were.  Upon her reply, He performed a remarkable miracle.  He forgave her.

God’s miracle of forgiveness continues 2000 years later.  During this Lenten season confess your need for God’s forgiveness.  By the grace of Jesus Christ – you are forgiven!               Monica Boudreaux

PRAYER:  Father – We confess our need for forgiveness and gratefully receive it.  May we forgive those who have “trespassed against us” as you have forgiven us.

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New Ways of Exploration

 Van Gogh's Starry Night

Van Gogh’s Starry Night

“It is central to Christian living that we should celebrate the goodness of creation, ponder its present brokenness, and, insofar as we can, celebrate in advance the healing of the world, the new creation itself. Art, music, literature, dance, theater, and many other expressions of human delight and wisdom, can all be explored in new ways.”

― N.T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense

I have read and taught Bishop Wright’s Simply Christian more than once, and it is a very well written and insightful book. Everyone would do well to be exposed to his understanding of the Christian message.

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GOD MOMENTS

 We’ve all had them.  Those special moments frozen in time.  Those moments that will be remembered when we are very old and sit daydreaming about life.  They are gifts of God to cherish into eternity.

Everything is more sharply focused in that instant, time stands still, the rest of the world disappears.  For this one tiny piece of life, everything is more precious, and God grants a brief interlude in the usual business of living.

The very last time I saw my grandmother, we shared a long, speechless look that no words could capture.  In that look, we relived a lifetime of love.  In that first second that I looked into the tiny face of our newborn son, the awesomeness of God, the Creator of life, was so real to me I could almost feel His physical presence in that room.  Touching moments.  Funny moments,   Heart-breaking moments.  Eternal moments.

Jesus must have had such moments while He was here among us.  The look of love on John’s face as he baptized him.  The look of shame on the face of the woman caught in adultery.  The look of hatred on the face of the Pharisees.  The look of heartbreak on Mary’s face as she watched her boy die.  The look of joy on the face of Peter when he saw his Savior alive again.

If we are not careful, we will let these special times slip by unnoticed.  They can never be recalled.  Once passed, they are lost in an eternity of seconds, minutes, hours, days.  Learn to recognize when you are part of something much larger than yourself.  Take notice of “God moments” in your life.

 

PRAYER:  Father – Thank you for the special moments in life that are from you.  Help me to live each one to the fullest.

Monica Boudreaux

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I Am A Witness

This blog post is great food for thought for all Christians.

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Give Your Heart

Abba Poeman

Abba Poeman

He also said, ‘Do not give your heart to that which does not satisfy your heart.”

—–Abba Poeman of the Desert

We miss so much of life because we are not following our hearts. From a very early age we are taught that the longings of our hearts are selfish and should be suppressed. I am a believer that we all have some special something that we can give heart and soul to. This something is a gift from God that satisfies our heart in a marvelous way. Far too many people spend their lives in meaningless toil and misery because they do not seek the deep desires of their heart.

Though Abba Poeman advice is over a thousand years old, it still speaks to us. Our world is full of people in unhappy marriages, jobs, and all other sort of contentious activities. These less than satisfying endeavors of the heart lead to depression and anxiety. Just imagine how much better your life would be if we sought the desires of your heart. Most of us cannot just abandon our present lives and go seeking some Shangri-La, but we can take a heart centered look at what we are doing.

What am I giving my heart to today?

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Filed under Abba Poeman, Christian Journey, Christian Living, Desert Fathers

It Takes a Dark Night to See Forever

I like that in the darkest nights we see out to forever.

The Night of Sense

Our humanness—that is, our selfish, sinful, materialistic ways—distances us from God.  And anything that is at a great distance is hard to see or to hear.  Take the stars, for example.  You need a clear, dark night to see them.  And the darker, the better.  To get things dark enough, you should really get away from all distractions (what star-buffs refer to as “light pollution.”)

That’s the essence of contemplative prayer.  It involves isolating ourselves in a quiet place, and then closing our eyes and ridding our minds of any thought.  Without any distracting thought clouding our mind’s eye, we begin to see the faint aura of the Holy Spirit from its great distance.  The more often we pursue this practice, the quicker we are able to “darken” our inner sky; and the quicker we become receptive to God’s call upon us.

Some people say God speaks to them directly…

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The Mystery of Faith

LutherIn 1520 Martin Luther explained the nature of faith using marriage as an illustration: “The third incomparable benefit of faith is that it unites the soul with Christ as a bride united with her bridegroom. By this mystery, as the apostle teaches, Christ and the soul become one flesh [Ephesians 5:31-32]. And if they are one flesh and there is between them a true marriage … it follows that everything they have they hold in common, the good as well as the evil. Accordingly the believing soul can boast of and glory in whatever Christ has as though it were his own …”

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Filed under Devotional Quotes, Martin Luther