Tag Archives: understanding

Treasure God’s Word in My Heart

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, December 1, 2017

Psa 119-11 hidden Your word, Bible

Treasure God’s Word in My Heart

We come to a verse that I memorized very early in my work of Scripture memorization. As I still remember Psalm 119:11, “Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” (The first number of verses I memorized came from the King James version of the Bible. A lovely, poetic version, but not always the most understandable.)

As Dietrich Bonhoeffer writes on this verse, he translates it “I treasure Your promise in my heart, that I may not sin against You.” Similar content, slightly different translation of the first section. Slightly different imagery, but still an awesome verse. I think this has been one of my favorite verses—and concepts—from the Hebrew Scriptures that I have ever committed to memory.

I absolutely agree with Bonhoeffer. Straight off, he says “I do not treasure God’s promise in my understanding but in my heart. It is not to be analyzed by my intellect but to be pondered in my heart.” [1] Yes, theological concepts can be analyzed. Certain weightier sections of Scripture benefit from a careful, clinical study. However, the psalmist here states plainly enough that God’s word needs to be pondered, and hid—or treasured in one’s heart.

How deeply do I need to allow God’s Words to penetrate into my innermost being? Bonhoeffer says “It must penetrate deep within us, dwell in us, like the Holy of Holies in the Sanctuary, so that we do not sin in thought, word, or deed.” [2]

Oh, dear Lord…those words of Pastor Bonhoeffer convict me to the heart. I am not even thinking of any specific sin, or shortcoming, or place where I need to mend my ways. However, I know that I very much need God’s Word in my heart. Oh, boy, do I need it!

While this verse is one of my all-time favorites, yet, it also convicts me. I hesitate, even, before allowing it onto my internal radar screen. Dear Lord, gracious God, help me to follow You more nearly and love You more dearly. Encourage me to hide Your word in my heart, because I do not want to sin against You, and do things (or think or say things) that displease You and even make You angry. Dear Lord, forgive my falling away, and my falling short. In Jesus’ precious, powerful name I pray, amen.

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000, 117.

[2] Ibid.

G.K. Chesterton and God’s Guidance

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, May 9, 2017

g-k-chesterton5

G.K. Chesterton and God’s Guidance

I have been intrigued by G.K. Chesterton for some years. And, no. I still have not read any of his writings. (Although I do have one or two Father Brown mysteries on my shelf, waiting for me to read them.)

Born in a middle-class family, at first studying art and then English literature, he developed into an astute writer of apologetic essays and books. He became a Roman Catholic in midlife, and was called “Defender of the Faith” by the Roman Catholic church.

This extended excerpt by Chesterton is not from his later period, when he was all somber and serious. However, this is from his younger (and to his mature mind, more frivolous) period.

“For instance, we often hear grown up people complaining of having to hang about a railway station and wait for a train. Did you ever hear a small boy complain of having to hang about a railway station and wait for a train?” [1]

In this selection of pieces, Chesterton is writing in a light-hearted, breezy style. Yet, he is writing about people and events that shape our own understanding of Christianity, after World War I.

Chesterton wanted to bring up the length of the flood (or, was it the German word for the flood?) And then, something tongue-in-cheek happens. He had such a way with words (even as a younger man) that he was able to communicate matters of faith in a lighthearted way.

This extended selection is in this book partially to show that we need not be somber and sober all the time. A gentle reminder for those who are reading this book with their mouths constantly down-turned and somber.

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 301.

Worship with Evelyn Underhill

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, April 20, 2017

worship cursive

Worship with Evelyn Underhill

When I read about Evelyn Underhill, I get overwhelmed. I feel very small, indeed. She was such a talented academic, knowledgeable in the nature and forms of Christian worship. But, even more so, she had great understanding in the practical-theology end of worship and spiritual formation. (I can’t even begin to compare myself to her…)

Miss Underhill wrote classic texts on worship and mysticism. The provided excerpts on several aspects of worship are soul-stirring, indeed.

“…we are called to worship because this is the only safe, humble and creaturely way in which men can be led to acknowledge and receive the influence of an objective Reality.” [1] This deep action of the soul, as she calls it, has been found to be a reality in many people’s lives, worldwide. The impetus to worship transcends racial lines, cultural differences, differing climates and places of gathering.

“Worship, then, is an avenue which leads the creature out from his inveterate self-occupation to a knowledge of God, and ultimately to that union with God which is the beatitude of the soul.” [2] If I read Ms. Underhill’s writing correctly, she says that worship is a means of getting me out of my own head and focused away from self-occupation. I need to have something outward to direct my attention and understanding towards… If I can stop focusing on me, myself and I, that can only be beneficial.

The second part of the above statement: “that union with God which is the beatitude of the soul.” How high and lofty a statement this is. When I think of worship, I do not often concentrate on such ineffable thoughts. True. (Guilty as charged.) However, just because I rarely think of such thoughts does not make them false. Ah, “the beatitude of the soul.” I just taught a bible study sequence on the Beatitudes, so I do understand them a bit better than I did before. I understand this quote a bit better, too.

Miss Underhill, I wish I could get closer to the true heart of worship. Thank You for Your great writing and example. Dear God, gracious God, thank You for loving us far more than we deserve and caring for us even when we run away.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] [1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 254.

[2] Ibid.

Pray in the Here and Now.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, January 26, 2017

now-clock

Pray in the Here and Now.

It’s a challenging thing to calm yourself, slow down, sit and compose yourself for prayer and meditation. Sometimes, that is.

In this little book How to Sit, the teacher Thich Nhat Hahn said, “Enjoy your arrival. How wonderful to feel that you are home, that your true home is in the here and the now.” [1]

What I understand from that quote feels homey. I can feel the comfort, and warmth. Thich Nhat Hahn expresses such simple—yet profound—statements in such a way that his words often make me sit back and think. Think deeply. And, the homey-ness, comfortability and warmth of these statements make me feel almost as if it is absolutely natural for me to seat myself in sitting meditation. (I am not quite there. However, I am trying. And, I keep on trying.)

It doesn’t matter which faith stream this book comes from, ultimately. There have been so many wise men and women over the centuries, giving their wisdom and understanding on how to pray and meditate. I hope I can begin to follow in this teacher’s footsteps, just as I have tried to pray in the manner of several other wise believers.

Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] How to Sit, Thich Nhat Hanh. (Berkeley, California: Parallax Press, 2014), 38.

Looking for Peace, the Olympic Way

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, August 20, 2016

olympic-peace

Looking for Peace, the Olympic Way

As I finished up with the personal definitions of PEACE I receiving from the good people in the Englewood neighborhood, I couldn’t help but think of current events. Yes, the south side of the city of Chicago does have crime, and shooting, and even killing. Similar to parts of Rio do Janeiro, where the Summer Olympics are being held right now.

The history of the modern Olympic movement is something I learned about when I was in elementary school.) It must have been in the early grades, because my memories of this material go really far back.)  The Olympic movement is based on the vision of Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games. He promoted certain values. These values continue to inspire what is known as the Olympic tradition.

The Olympic values of de Coubertin—the ideals of respect, fair balance, pursuit of excellence, joy in effort, and balance between mind, body and will—these are all important. To be reached for by all Olympic participants.

Just as these values were (and are) all important for Olympic competitors, so is the goal of peace. De Coubertin wanted to “build a more peaceful world by educating the young in a spirit of understanding.”

The Olympic Games will end tomorrow. Another four years to contemplate these wonderful values and ideals.

Each four years, at each Olympic Games, those ideals and values are stressed again. Plus, those ideas and values match so closely with Jesus and His values and ideas. May we follow Jesus and the values and ideals that please God, not people. May we follow God’s will and God’s way. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

PEACE: Cooperation, Understanding, Acceptance

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, May 26, 2016

peace, dove stained glass

PEACE: Cooperation, Understanding, Acceptance

I continue a series of posts from Gemini Jr. High School in Niles. (Again, a big thank you to Mr. Rich Groeling, Gemini’s principal!)

What an opportunity to engage with the young people! I encouraged them to make a sign with their personal definition of PEACE. This was a chance to listen to viewpoints on PEACE.

First, Reuben’s definition: “Peace is cooperation and understanding and long lives.”

Next, Sarah’s definition: “Peace is acceptance of everyone around you, regardless of your own personal beliefs.”

Truly, cooperation and understanding are part and parcel of any kind of clear communication. And, if we inject “peaceful” into that equation, we find something high level negotiators long for. (Thanks, Reuben.)

The second definition is similar, in several important ways. Acceptance is key to liking ourselves! Liking ourselves, accepting ourselves—go hand in hand with liking and accepting others. Here is the best part: if I have a relationship with others around me regardless of their (and my) personal beliefs, then I truly am pursuing peace. Breaking down walls, and extending openness and positivity. (Superb definition, Sarah!)

With young people who think like that, I have hope for the future.  Amen!

#PursuePEACE

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza  And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

 

PEACE is Community (Repost)

Just reposted this to my new Facebook page, Pursuing Peace. Also, to my blog, matterofprayerblog.wordpress.com

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, February 12, 2016

PEACE is Community

IMG_0146

As I ask people for their personal definition of PEACE, I am intrigued by the ones who have to think hard about the decision. Sometimes, taking a good deal of time for the answer. And, I am equally impressed by the ones who immediately know what their definition is going to be.

Today’s definition falls into the latter category. The name of the person I talked to? Karen Hohl. Her personal definition of peace: PEACE is Community.

Fascinating definition! I never, ever thought of that word before. A breath of fresh air.

When I asked Karen for a sentence or two of explanation about her choice of definition, She was quick on the draw with the following words and thoughts. “When I think of Peace I think of community. [To me] means sharing with others, caring about others, understanding and respecting our individuality and uniqueness, similarities and differences. All are essential to building and nurturing a healthy peace as comm-unity.”

Such a wonderful way to think of community. According to Karen, sharing, caring, understanding and respecting are all hallmarks of a peace-filled community. Another way of saying it, I think, is a community that actively strives for peace.

Karen is one of the conveners of the Des Plaines Ministerial Alliance, and an instrumental part of the DPMA. I have heard—a number of times—that Karen is a marvel at lifting up the work and ministries of the different houses of worship and nonprofit organizations that make up the DPMA. She is a minister at large at the moment, and is looking for a good fit for employment. Her skills for detail and office management, and gifts of compassion, encouragement, love, and organization make her a marvelous addition to any ministry or nonprofit organization.

We can pray that Karen finds a community that appreciates her many skills and gifts. Dear Lord, thank You for Karen and her love for the community, both local and more wide-reaching. Please support and encourage her heart as she continues to look for a good fit, in terms of employment. God, bless her richly today. Amen!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza  And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er