Discovering Self

What does a Christ-like mind look like as we live in the world? We can see it clearly in the great saints and martyrs, such as Mother Teresa or Albert Schweitzer. I’m drawn as well to the idea William Placher suggests in his book “Narratives of a Vulnerable God” as he uses an illustration from the world of basketball. Professor Placher writes, “In basketball the players who are always asking, ‘How am I doing? Am I getting my share of the shots?’ Those are the ones who never reach their full potential. It is the players who lose themselves who find themselves. And it’s that kind of self-forgetfulness that makes the best players.” And isn’t that the case with all of us in whatever we do?

I read about one of the fastest growing churches in the world, with branches in 2-28-18-332 countries already. It is called the Winners Church, and according to its leaders, it lives by a motto that comes from America’s religious culture. Here’s the motto: “Be happy. Be successful. Join the winners.” People flock to that kind of church, I guess. But it all depends, doesn’t it, on how we define winning? I wonder what kind of church you would have if your motto were “Whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant.” Or about this one for a motto, “Those who want to save their lives will lose them and those who lose their lives for my sake, will find them.”

For the past several years I have lived with the Christian mystics and sought that God would allow me to learn from them. One of the most important lessons they have taught me is the act of putting self behind. In doing so, I place God in front. He belongs there.

If a monk does not think in his own heart that he is a sinner, God will not2-28-18-2 hear him. The brother said, ‘What does this mean, to think in his heart he is a sinner?’ Then the old man said, ‘When someone is occupied with his own faults, he does not see those of his neighbor.’

—-Abba Moses of the Desert

This type of theme of careful introspection resonates very loudly in our grudge-filled and judgmental society. The poet Anne Currin writes, “You’re so devoted to all your grudges, You cherish them like they’re a prize; You hold them with pride on your pedestal Bursting with bliss as your relationships die.” Many years before the poet wrote those words the people of the desert were pondering how to deal with such things. In this saying, the Abba points us directly to our awareness of personal sin and its effect on our behavior toward others.
His advice is quite simple. We are called to believe in our hearts that we are sinners, and sin is our nature. Until we can recognize our nature, it is very difficult to improve our lot. When we turn our energies toward self – improvement we steer away from judgment of others, and towards unity with God. That unity, after all, is our primary goal. Own your sins and ask God to give you the grace to overcome.


Lord, give me the wisdom and insight to discover my true self and the grace to live with the knowledge, Allow me to be able to prosper, not because of who I am, but because of what your grace can make me to be, Let your light shine brightly in all my days and your peace rest with me in my nights.


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Lent Day 13


February 28

In God’s Hands

Psalm 31:5-6,14-16
Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.

You hate those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the Lord.

But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.”

My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.

Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love.

Prayer Thought
Lord, commitment is a difficult thing but I know that you are faithful and will see me through the hardest of times.

, American religious figure.

, American religious figure. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Make sure of your commitment to Jesus Christ, and seek to follow Him every day. Don’t be swayed by the false values and goals of this world, but put Christ and His will first in everything you do.
—-Billy Graham

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Lent Day 12

February 27

Christ Our Teacher

Matthew 23:1-12

1Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2“ The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; 3therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. 4They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. 5They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. 6They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, 7and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. 8But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. 9And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. 10Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. 11The greatest among you will be your servant. 12All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.


Prayer Thought
Lord, free me of the temptation of self-exaltation and allow me to present myself with humility.

“Renounce yourself in order to follow Christ; discipline your body; do not pamper yourself, but love fasting.”

— Benedict of Nursia

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Lent Day 11

February 26

Do Not Judge Others

Luke 6: 36-38

36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

37 ‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; 38give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.’

Prayer Thought

Lord, it is so difficult not to past judgment on the people and things that hurt our world. Give me your insight so that I may live as you will.

If you want to find rest here below, and hereafter, in all circumstances say ‘Who am I?’ and do not judge anyone.

—Sayings of the Desert


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Lent Day 10

February 24

The Lord’s Treasure

Deuteronomy 26:16-19

16This very day the Lord your God is commanding you to observe these statutes and ordinances; so observe them diligently with all your heart and with all your soul. 17Today you have obtained the Lord’s agreement: to be your God; and for you to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, his commandments, and his ordinances, and to obey him. 18Today the Lord has obtained your agreement: to be his treasured people, as he promised you, and to keep his commandments; 19for him to set you high above all nations that he has made, in praise and in fame and in honor; and for you to be a people holy to the Lord your God, as he promised.

Prayer Thought

Lord, give me the wisdom to be able to identify the treasures of my life.

“The greatest honor we can give Almighty God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of his love.”

― Julian of Norwich

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Lent Day 9

February 23

I Cry to You Lord

Psalm 130

A Song of Ascents.
1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
2   Lord, hear my voice!

Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications!

3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,

English: Portrait of John of the Cross

English: Portrait of John of the Cross (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lord, who could stand?
4 But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered.

5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
6 my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.

7 O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.
8 It is he who will redeem Israel
from all its iniquities.

Prayer Thought

Lord, I believe that you hear me in my distress. Come to my aid.

“In the twilight of life, God will not judge us on our earthly possessions and human successes, but on how well we have loved.”

—John of the Cross

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Lent Day 8


February 22

Who Is Jesus?

Matthew 16:13-19

13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ 14And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.’ 15He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’16Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God. 17And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.18And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’

Prayer Thought

Lord, give us to courage and the understanding of who it means to say you are the Son of the living God.



“The psychotic drowns in the same waters in which the mystic swims with delight.”
― Joseph Campbell


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Submission and Humility

One of the fathers use to say, ‘before anything else we need humility: a being ready to listen whenever a word is spoken to us, and to say, “I submit”, because through humility every device of the enemy, every kind of obstacle, is destroyed.

——Dorotheos of Gaza

The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.

—-Mathew 23 :11-12


Perhaps the definition and function of humility is the foremost issue for anyone who wishes to follow the path of God. Humility is the ability to put yourself last, and to accept hardships that come along with the path of God. For any of us to follow after God, we must have the capacity to submit to God and others. Acquiescing to God is a tough charge, but to others is a near impossibility. We all find submission a problematic part of living. The monk says that submission is the first action, and that all others will follow. Humble wisdom gives us the capacity to sense the good in an act of submission. Further, it is the act of choosing the path that will lead to peace with God and our fellow man. Our day is full of strife and conflict. We live in a time where everyone demands to be heard and followed.

Our challenge is to be humble enough to learn the value of a simple act of submission.


Lord Jesus, when you walked the earth,
Your humility obscure your Kingship.
Your meekness confused the arrogant,
Hindering them from grasping your purpose,
Your nobleness attending to the destitute.
Teach me to model after your eminence,
To subject my human nature to humility.
Grant me with a natural inclination
To never view myself greater than anyone.
Banish all lingering sparks of self-importance
That could elevate me greater than you.
Let my heart always imitate your humility.


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Lent Day 7

February 21

Receive Forgiveness

Luke 11:29-32

29 When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, ‘This generation is an evil generation; it asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be to this generation. 31The queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here! 32The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here!


Lord, help us to take sin serious this and every day so that we are moved to repent and be forgiven.


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Lent Day 6

February 20

Forgive Our Debts

Matthew 6:7-15

7 ‘When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words.8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

9 ‘Pray then in this way:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

   Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

   Give us this day our daily bread.
   And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

   And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.

14For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; 15
but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Prayer Thought

Lord, help me to look at others with forgiving mercy.

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