Saturday, May 12, 2012

More Thoughts on Solitude (RJD #7)

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness
to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty
days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came
and ministered unto him.” Matthew 4:1-2, 11 (KJV)

(I continue my thoughts on Solitude. As a writer, I need to have solitude in order to be able to think, plan, and create. As a Christian believer, I have to spend time alone with God so I can grow to be more like Him.) These thoughts come from February 8 and 9, 1997.

(2/08/) Dietrich Bonhoeffer speaks of solitude in a way I find novel. “If you refuse to be alone you are rejecting Christ’s call on your life.”
God calls us to be His; he moulds us into the person He wants us to be. I have friends who are also Christ’s children but His call on their lives can be different than His call on mine. Christ calls each of us as individuals; He equips us as He wishes us to be. God forms us in the womb by ourselves; (unless we were part of a multiple birth.) He calls each of us to repentance alone and, most of the time, the Lord calls us to heaven one at a time. Even in the events where multiple fatalities occur, I believe he interacts with each one separately.
I find it interesting that the older I get the more comfortable I am with being by myself, yet at times I don’t care to be alone. But that seems the way we learn to be comfortable with solitude. Jesus used His being alone the best of anyone I know of—He prayed.

(2/09/) Henri Nowen writes, “In solitude we can slowly unmask the illusion of our possessiveness and discovery in the center of our own self that we are not what we can conquer but what is given to us.” I find this to be a powerful thought. What I gather from this is that I am not made to be who I am by God to be victorious over my shortcomings by myself. But God make me as I am to allow Him to work out work out those frailties of who I am.
In the early 1980’s, I used to get rattled, upset and even frustrated very easily. I began hearing the word, ‘trust.’ Every time I’d see a passage of scripture that contained that word, it looked like this: Trust. I believe God was speaking to me at that time.
However, I really didn’t fully listen as I should have. I went through a phase where I realized I lost a considerable amount of energy each time I got angry. A while later, I discovered Proverbs 3:4-5 “Trust in the Lord your God, with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” God doesn’t give up on refining us; He sometimes lets us go until we mess up. He, then, accepts our apology and allows us to grow from the experience.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Safely Rest

One of His trees providing shade for a couple of families

“. . . you will cross the Jordan and settle in the land the Lord
your God is giving you as an inheritance and he will give you
rest from all your enemies around you around you so that you
will live in safety. Deuteronomy 12: 10 (NIV)

            “. . . you will cross the Jordan . . .” At one time or another, we all face issues—life changing circumstances. These situations seem critical and almost insurmountable. God says that we will come through these trials.

            “. . . settle in the land the Lord your God is giving you. . .” God places us where He wants us. He saw to it we found home in the exact opposite part of town from where we had lived. Because of His choosing our home for us, we were situated between the elementary school and the junior high school our son would attend. For several years, our church was a half- mile away. A grocery store was a half-mile in another direction. Another positive aspect of our home is the hospital less than a mile away.

            “. . . he will give you rest. . .” God takes us through the harried times of personal or family illness or trial and, when we have traveled beyond them, we find ourselves able to see things more clearly.
            “. . . from all your enemies around you . . .” We have times that everyone seems to go the distance in pointing out our shortcomings. When we come to that place where we don’t react to those criticisms our detractors cease bothering us, God has given us the strength to withstand their attacks.

            “. . . so that you will live in safety.” God wants his children, you and me, to live worry free. His desire is that all who call on Him will be kept safe. He shelters us from the onslaught of our detractors by arming us with messages from His Word.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Review: Fear, Faith, Patience, By Felecia Killings

             Felecia Killings, a young Christian Afro- American woman, had prepared for her teaching career her entire life. She received her B.A. degrees in English and African and African -American History from UC Davis. She returned the next fall to pursue studies for a teacher’s license, receiving a Master’s Degree.
            As a part of her teacher training, she was in a mentor program where she taught at an area high school. She excelled in gaining the respect of the students so much the mentor teacher began interacting differently with her. She finally asked to be reassigned.
Toward the end of her additional year of studies, she attended an educational job fair. She met a representative from one particular high school who seemed to like her. She applied to that high school.
            Felecia also applied to another school but wasn’t selected. She got hired by the woman she met at the job fair. She believed God was in this.
            Her goal in life was to instruct young people to respect others and to respect their background. In trying to stand for what she believed, Miss Killings received disrespect from the administration of the school where she taught.
            This treatment went of for three years. At each subsequent evaluation, the ratings seemed to worsen. The administrators were not going to let the event which she called them on be in their past.
            As most protracted trails do, this series of events took a toll on Miss Killings—a spiritual one. She had to withdraw inside herself and spend time alone with her God. During all this upheaval, she was accused of a heinous crime. It took a while for the accuser to admit he had fraudulently made up the charge. As of the writing of this book, the outcome has not been decided.
            Miss Killings goes to great lengths to explain what happened after she blew the whistle on the administration of the high school. I found the book one I had to read in sections, a bit at a time. She achieved her goal—to inform the public about the harsh side of the education system. All this upheaval and stress took would take a toll on her because she believed she was in God’s will when they enter the field of teaching.She has founded and is CEO of Power, Faith, and Love Ministries which oversees seven organizations. For more information about the groups, go to

Monday, May 7, 2012

I Will Give You Rest

“Come, all who are weary and burdened
and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11: 28 (NIV)

            The Master invites us, when we are overworked, when we feel underappreciated, when we are stressed out, and those who seem to drown in our to-do lists, to join Him. We sit down at His feet and we listen to His words.
             At this time, He asks nothing of us. He gently tells us that He loves us. He draws us close to Him and whispers in our ear words of cheer, of comfort and healing. Sweet aromas surround us as we drink in what He shares with us.
            At the end of our time together, we depart refreshed. We can breathe easier and work more efficiently. Our activities no longer overwhelm us. We have been with Jesus.
            A few days ago, I found this to be true. Twice, I was unable to think of questions for some Bible studies that I am writing. Each time, I prayed about what I needed. Later when I picked up my composition book, I had received God’s direction and was able to allow the words to flow. Before I had actually started on this project, I couldn’t decide whether I needed to do a collection of devotions or a Bible study. I prayed about this decision and found myself setting down the format for a Bible study-as yet unnamed.

            Dear Lord Jesus:
                        We thank You for Your kindnesses and Your grace You give us when we accept your invitation to come to You. We thank You for Your words of encouragement and comfort that You so freely give to us who fellowship with You. We give thanks to You for Your gentle leading. We give You all the praise. AMEN

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...