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Zonky, Sam, and the love of God

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Zonky escaped—but Mr Grumpman caught him and brought him back.  Zonky was our pet turtle whom we found in the middle of the road —down the ‘Jordan Hollow’ on the way to granddad’s house.  We were actually in granddad’s car when we stopped, rescued this turtle, and took him home.  We made a pen for him around a tree in the back yard and got out some red paint and painted ‘Zonky’ on his shell.
I’m telling you about Zonky because of the deep theological truths he represents.  Zonky represents why God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Eden when life as humans—as we know it began.  
Simply put—if God had not put that tree in the garden, Adam should have been called Zonky.  Are you ready?  Follow me:
God—rich in mercy, abundant in kindness, the true definition of love —creator and sustainer of all and everything—created man for one purpose—-LOVE.  More specifically, to be a recipient of love.   Now the very nature of love demands a response and a decision.  Love …

COVID - 19 and Affirmations of God's Kingdom

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COVID - 19 and Affirmations of God's Kingdom
Lord I have heard:
Conspiracy theoriesCommunism takeover by the government 
The stories and the rhetoric abound and everyone has their opinions.  Social media provides a platform for many. Lord I affirm that you are King and LORD over everything.  The early Christians and the early church faced horrendous things compared to this.  And did they panic?  Did they rebel? On the contrary they blossomed!  They honoured their leaders.  They obeyed.
Romans 13:1-5 (NIV) Submission to Governing Authorities 1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one…

Write it down: The discipline of journaling

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Write it down!

Exodus 17:14 (NKJV) 14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this for a memorial in the book and recount it in the hearing of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.”
Nehemiah 9:38 (NKJV) 38 “And because of all this, We make a sure covenant and write it; Our leaders, our Levites, and our priests seal it.””
Jeremiah 36:1-2 (NKJV) Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: 2 “Take a scroll of a book and write on it all the words that I have spoken to you against Israel, against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spoke to you, from the days of Josiah even to this day.
Habakkuk 2:2 (NKJV) 2 Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision. And make it plain on tablets,  That he may run who reads it.
Luke 1:3 (NKJV) 3 it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus,
Jude 1:3 (NKJV) 3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write…

On prayer books and reading prayers

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I was raised in a conservative holiness tradition.  No one read prayers!  Somehow reading prayers, to me was a sign.  Now, how I processed this, or I came to the understanding of this—I haven’t a clue.  If you read prayers that meant you really didn’t know God—you were pretending.  If you knew God in a personal manner you would never read something someone else had written.  That was tantamount to taking your special someone on a date to a fancy restaurant and reading out of a book all evening long rather than sharing your heart.
At least—that’s what I thought, or I was told—or I concluded.


John Brownhill broke the rules for me.  John was the rector of the Anglican Church in South Porcupine and became a personal friend of mine.  I can’t quite recall how we initially met, but I recall his story.  He was sick—very sick—I believe with cancer and found his way into a Pentecostal church where he was healed.  Afterwards he was called into the ministry and became an Anglican priest.  At the ti…

Praying the Offices—The Divine Hours

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David said:  I will praise you seven times a day because all your regulations are just. (Psalms 119:164 NLT). If you take a 24 hour day and divide it by seven, David was thinking about praising God every 3 1/2 hours.  Some of the early monasteries took this literally.  Every 3 1/2 hours they would proceed to the chapel and recite the next portion of the book of Psalms—their prayer book.  In one week’s time they would have recited the entire book of Psalms.  For seven days they would recite seven times a day about three Psalms.
Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer.  This was the time of the evening sacrifice, which was 3 p.m.  Remembering that a day for a Jewish person would begin at 6 p.m. through to 6 p.m. the next day.  The morning sacrifice was at 9 a.m. (the third hour).  The afternoon sacrifice was at 3 p.m. (the ninth hour) which, coincidentally was the time Jesus died!
Acts 10:30-32 (NKJV)  So Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hou…

The Jesus Prayer

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The Jesus Prayer
In the middle of the 19nth century the story is told of a young man in his 20’s, who after his wife had suddenly died—left his little village and began traveling around his native country Russia.  He was unable to find work primarily because his right hand was withered from a childhood accident.  He wandered around seeking spiritual guidance.  He happened upon a monk one day and approached him with a question: “Is it possible to pray without ceasing?”  The monk replied: “Yes!  Follow me.” The monk led the way up to a monastery where the old monk taught the young man the power of ‘The Jesus Prayer.’ The words of  The Jesus Prayer are: “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me.”  There are some variations—all based on a variety of scriptures.

Psalms 6:2 (NKJV)  Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled.
Luke 18:38 (NKJV)   And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Matthew 15:22 (NKJV)  And behold, a woman of Canaan c…

Meditation

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Meditation
I realize as we move on with this series that there are two things that need some clarification.  We already looked at the idea of silence and quietness—this week we will look at meditation.  Let’s begin by giving you the descriptions of the differences between these two disciplines.  Although from an outsider’s position there may be little or subtle differences, I want to help you process the vast difference between these—-and the immense benefit from both of these disciplines:




Silence/ Quietness:
Here the idea is shutting out your active mind —leaving lots of space for two things.  First, space to give your mind a rest, relaxing your mind.  It is a stopping of your mind from racing around solving all the problems of the world.  Second, giving space to hear from God! It is laying aside your agenda.  It is putting aside the debris, hurriedness, and hectic pace to relax in God’s presence.  Often music can help you with this.  Using the “Jesus prayer” (more on this in the future)…

The practice of silence and quietness

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About four years ago I had the privilege of being on Iona Island just off the Isle of Mull on the West Coast of Scotland and participated in a two day spiritual retreat.  It was all part of a Celtic Christianity tour I was participating in.  One of the evenings we were attending the night prayers at the local abbey.  This was a beautifully restored cathedral originally built in the late 1100’s but restored in the mid 19th century.  The leader of the prayer gathering that particular evening stood at the podium to begin the prayer service and said: “The first 20 minutes will be in silence.”  And, with that he sat down without another word spoken and the silence began—for 20 minutes. 
Now, by that time I had had enough practise in silence that I simply began my prayer of silence along with everyone else.  Silence is not something I was ever taught or ever practiced—and certainly did not entertain using it in a public gathering.  I had however begun to experience and love the discipline of…