Tag Archives: Spiritual practice

Dog Days of Summer

 “Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the blue sky, is by no means waste of time.” ~John Lubbock, “Recreation,” The Use of Life, 1894
IMG_0881These are strange and breathless days, the dog days…” ― Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting
It’s August.  Hot, humid, sticky August.  It’s the “dog-days-of-summer” and everyone is just trying to stay cool.  Lemonade and iced tea flow through the kitchen like a river over shiny, cold stones of ice.  Even the occasional rain shower is cause for celebration.  The heat of summer begs us to pause in the shade and be still.
As I sat on the porch this morning and looked out at the flowers struggling in the heat I was reminded of a scripture in the book of James.  It says, “The sun rises with its blazing heat and burns the plant; its flower falls off, and its beauty is destroyed.” (James 1:11)    Sounds fairly hopeless, doesn’t it?  But a little later James talks about tests and temptations and gives a message of hope… “Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a temptation, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him.”  (James 1:12)
As I sat there in the morning summer heat pondering James’ words I heard a swift strong breeze rustling the leaves of the trees as it approached.  It’s coolness blew through me and went on its way.  That is when I found my own hope for the day.  That “pneuma” or Holy Spirit is what keeps me refreshed when the going gets tough and I find myself in some sort of heated challenge or trial.  When I am open to the wind of the Holy Spirit I am refreshed and renewed.
IMG_0666
So just for today, grab your tall glass of lemonade and a friend.  Find some shady spot to strengthen one another in faithful living.  Remind someone today of God’s promise of love and the Holy Spirit’s refreshing gift.

If you would like to know more about GraceStone Sanctuary, please visit our website at gracestonesanctuary.com

lp.aspx - Version 7


A Thousand Ways to Pray

Day 75   March 16, 2014
PRAYER

There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
There are a thousand ways to go home again.
 Sufi poet Jalaluddin Rumi

Image 3

“The child asks of the Father whom he knows. ” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Grant unto us, Lord, that we may set our hope on Thy name…and open the eyes of our hearts, that we
may know Thee.”
“We beseech Thee, Lord and Master, to be our help and succour. Save those among us who are in
tribulation; have mercy on the lowly; lift up the fallen; show Thyself to those in need; heal the sick; turn
again the wanderers of Thy people; feed the hungry; ransom our prisoners; raise up the weak; comfort
the faint-hearted. Let all nations know that Thou art God alone, and that Jesus Christ is Thy Son, and
that we are Thy people and the sheep of Thy pasture.”
“We praise Thee who art able to do these and better things than these, through Jesus Christ the High
Priest and Guardian of our souls, through whom be glory and majesty to Thee, both now and
throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.” 
― St. Clement of Rome 100 A.D.

I Delight in the Path of the Lord

Day 71 March 12, 2014

 Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it. -Psalm 119:35

IMG_1946

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.  Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.  Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.  For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. -Psalm 100:1-5

“For it is one thing to see the Land of Peace from a wooded ridge, and yet another to walk the road that leads to it.” ―Augustine of Hippo


A Fence Conversation

Day 70 March 11, 2014

FENCE CONVERSATIONS

“Build a little fence of trust around today; Fill the space with loving deeds, And therein stay. Look not through the sheltering bars Upon tomorrow; God will help thee bear what comes of joy and sorrow.”  –Mary F. Butts

Image 4

“Some of us may just, in one-on-one conversations with our family, with our friends, over the back fence with our neighbors, talk about the reality of our lives and realize that we’re not alone.”  –Patricia Ireland

SILLY FENCES

If we could only see the irrationality of  a fence

We would soon come to know what complete nonsense

It is to think that we could hold close inside

Behind a gate those things we wish to hide.

Or that sharp pickets fail to defend

Against relationships we do not wish to mend.

So break the lock, open wide the gate

Reach out, reach in for those that wait.

-Trish Hernandez


Fasting is Not Confined

Day 61 March 2, 2014

FASTING IS-

Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.  -Andrew Murray

IMG_1050

Fasting, if we conceive of it truly, must not… be confined to the question of food and drink; fasting should really be made to include abstinence from anything which is legitimate in and of itself for the sake of some special spiritual purpose… That is fasting.  -Martyn Lloyd-Jones

A fast is not a hunger strike. Fasting submits to God’s commands. A hunger strike makes God submit to our demands. -Edwin Louis Cole


Celebrate Being Alive!

Day 58   February 27, 2014

CELEBRATE LIFE

“Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey!” –Barbara Hoffman

Image 4

“Life is what you celebrate. All of it. Even its end.” ―Joanne Harris, Chocolat

“Here is a test to find out whether your mission in life is complete. If you’re alive, it isn’t.”  -Richard Bach

“I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!” – John 15:11


A Strong Foundation

Day 4   January 4 2014
Spiritual Formation

“Your inner strength is your outer foundation”-Allan Rufus

Image 4

“Life can be awkward at times. It is part of the growing process.” ― Jim Fargiano,

“Do it again. Play it again. Sing it again. Read it again. Write it again. Sketch it again. Rehearse it again. Run it again. Try it again.  Because again is practice…”―Richelle E. Goodrich


Any Length For The Mission of Jesus Christ

Day 218  August 7, 2013

“All the statistics in the world can’t measure the warmth of a smile.”  ― Chris Hart

To What Length for the Mission of Jesus Christ?

To What Length for the Mission of Jesus Christ?

“Work only with, or be inspired by, measuring devices today, such as rulers, tape measures, and measuring cups.”  -from 365 A Daily Creativity Journal by Noah Scalin

“Go to any length or lengths:  to disregard any impediment that could prevent one from accomplishing one’s purpose.  –Dictionary.com

And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you.  For to those who have, more will be given; and from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.”   -Mark 4:24,25  

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.  -Psalm 147:5


Missio Dei Crest

Day 192  July 12, 2013

“Poverty is the worst form of violence.”  -Mahatma Gandhi 

Image 3

“Make a family crest for you own family.  If you already have one, make one for a friend’s family or even a fictional one.”  -from 365 A Daily Creativity Journal by Noah Scalin

“Coming generations will learn equality from poverty, and love from woes.”  -Khalil Gibran 

“To help the poor to a capacity for action and liberty is something essential for one’s own health as well as theirs: there is a needful gift they have to offer which cannot be offered so long as they are confined by poverty.”  -Rowan D. Williams 


Unified Rhythms of Community

Day 40  February 9, 2013

Community Rhythms

Crocheted Granny Squares
Community Rhythms

“What can you do with yarn?”  -from 365 A Daily Creativity Journal by Noah Scalin

A profound Missional Community Statement:  “The granny square is the foundation upon which unlimited new and exciting designs can be created.”  –from The Granny Square Book, by Margaret Hubert

Granny Squares – a staple for those of us who crochet.   They are usually made from colorful scraps of leftover yarn crocheted from a center cross outward through several rounds to form a square.  The squares are then attached together, usually by a unifying color of yarn.  (For a great “How-To” tutorial for making the squares go to WikiHow.)  I have always been fascinated by the colorful blankets made from them.  My aunt made me one that was unified with green yarn that was a wedding gift.  My mom made me one twenty five years later that was put together with black yarn.  I count both of these labors of love among my treasured possessions.  I also see them as a representation of congregational rhythms.  Image 2At the core of each of us is a foundational belief in Jesus Christ from which all else flows.  The activities that color our days give us our unique beauty and wonder.   And when we come together in unity to celebrate or worship, play and learn, grieve or rejoice we create a beautiful color-full body of Christ.

Mom's Granny Squares

Mom’s Granny Squares

SOME WAYS OF CREATING MISSIONAL RHYTHMS IN OUR COMMUNITIES:

  • Create ways of connecting with people where they are in their journey of life.
  • Find the rhythms available through the existing resources in neighborhoods.
  • Include Spiritual Growth and Formation as a constant rhythm in your life, both individually and with others.
  • Be prepared to accommodate others in your personal rhythms of life.
  • Discover the hurting, lonely, and suffering in your neighborhood and provide rhythms of hope and healing.