To Move a Mountain

Fear can be a destructive force if we don’t confront it and take authority over it.
I’ve learned some basic things about fear that have helped me (if I remember to
use them!)

When I engage in fear, I’m thinking about the future, and not living in the present
moment. When I’m in fear, I’m thinking about myself, and usually convinced the
outcome of a situation will be different than the way I would like. I’m not loving Jesus
enough to trust Him with my future. If I’m being obedient to what God wants for me, I
can stand firm in His provision.

If I’ve decided to let fear in, then I can decide to “kick it out!” Satan is the author of fear,
and I can pray and ask the Holy Spirit to usher fear out.
And lastly, a question that comes to me – if faith the size of a mustard seed can move
mountains, what mountains remain unmoved because of my lack of faith and my fear?

Forgiveness – An Antidote to Anger

My father has been gone for quite a while now, but I’m still learning things about him.

While I was growing up, I remember him as having quite a temper, and I’ve often wondered how he mellowed so as he aged. Recently, I was going through one of his Bibles, and a typed prayer, that had been sent to him from a friend, fell out.

It said, “Lord, You know how I am angry and hurt over what this person has done to me. I would like to make them suffer the way they have made me suffer. But I can’t be close to You and hold this anger at the same time and I want to be close to You more than I want to get even. I know You are always having to forgive me for how I wrong You and others around me, so I confess my pride to You, my haughtiness, and in Your Name and with Your Power, I forgive this person. I believe that You love them as much as You love me. Into Your hands I release them and the consequences of whatever they have done. Help me to continue to release them each time that I think about them. I desire Your peace and healing within my heart. In Your Name I ask this. Amen.”

The note went on to say, “Is it enough to pray this once, or twice, or seven times? Probably not. But you can be assured that before you have ever reached the 490th time (which is ‘seventy times seven’), you will be changed; you will be free of the anger; and you will see this person in a very different way. Hope this helps.”

What a gift to come upon such a powerful prayer. I have to think he must have prayed it often, for he was a changed person.

Advent Shadows and Light

During this time of Advent, we’ve been having an opportunity to have personal conversations with the Lord about Light.

There is so much to learn about light and darkness, places they come up in the Bible, and places they are present in our lives.

Today, the words came to me, “without a shadow of a doubt”, and I asked the Lord what He had to show me. He taught me that when I allow my doubts to linger in the shadows, they grow and become fears. If I will expose those doubts to the light, the shadows will dissipate, and I will be able to trust.

Be still and know that I am God

by Faithful Finch

If I would only stop and take the time to really slow down, still my soul, and re-center on the Lord, it makes everything else fall into place. Somehow, I forget this, and think the faster I go, the more I can accomplish in my own power. The truth is, if I really remembered who God is, I would take the time and be still. It works both ways—if I will be still, I will know that He is God, and if I know He is God, He will still me.

I think of a body of water with its surface tossing from the wind, and when it becomes still, it is able to reflect the light of the sun. When we let ourselves be still, we are able to reflect the light of Jesus.

Cast your cares upon him

by Faithful Finch

I’m the kind of person who worries if I don’t have something to worry about, so the scripture, “cast your cares upon Him, for He careth for you.”( 1 Peter 5:7) is a good reminder for me that I need to do something about those worries.
The verb, “cast” is such a great, active verb and makes me think of when I used to go fishing with my Dad, and would cast the line out as far as I could.
I find that when one is used to having worry so close by, there is almost a vacuum once you have cast it away, and there is a need to fill the space the worry has taken. I was thinking about what would be the best thing to fill this space when a sentence in a book by Henri Nouwen hit me, and I realized both what I had been doing by choosing to worry, and what I needed to do with the void once I cast my cares on the Lord!
The sentence says, “Continual complaining is more attractive than facing reality.” All these years, my worrying has been complaining that God is not enough! Facing reality is that God is there, and the answer to filling the void is to praise Him for His faithfulness, because He does care for me.

The Sign of the Cross

by Faithful Finch
During Eucharist, I was crossing myself, and saying the words, “Unite us to your Son in His sacrifice, that we may be acceptable through Him,” and the words and the action of crossing myself seemed to be united, and they were both in slow motion and high volume.
It was one of those times when a stunning reality hit me: If I am uniting myself to Christ in His sacrifice, why am I surprised when I have to sacrifice, or go through times that are difficult? I am literally making a sign of the cross on myself. Why not let the tool of letting things cross me out remove the things that keep me from being close to the Lord? It sounds so easy, but seems so much harder in everyday life. I suppose it is because I forget that if I am uniting myself to Christ in His sacrifice, I also can claim the acceptance that comes from being in Him.
Community of Jesus

Yes, and….

by Faithful Finch

This morning I was reading the account of the angel Gabriel’s annunciations to both Zechariah and Mary of the miraculous births of John the Baptist and Jesus.
All day, I’ve been coming back to think about their responses to the angel. They were both initially afraid, but there was a difference in their responses. They both had a question for the angel, but Mary somehow had a simple and solid faith in God’s goodness.

In putting it into everyday language, I could hear Zechariah’s question begin with, “yes, but…” whereas Mary’s question would sound more like, “yes, and….”

Perhaps even the result of Zechariah’s unbelief, causing him to be unable to speak, helped him to learn a similar faith by forcing him to listen more than being heard.

AnnunciationFraAngelico

Active Dying

By Faithful Finch

Recently I heard that a hospice patient was “actively dying”.  I’d never heard of this term before, and it seemed like an oxymoron. It made me stop and really think about the death process. No one can really help you with the hard “work” of dying.  It is yours to do alone. Yes, there are those who will be there alongside of you to stand with you, comfort you, and encourage you along the way, but the active dying process is yours alone.

I think the same can be said about the process of dying to those sin patterns and habits that keep us distanced from God and our friends and family. We each have to choose to actively work at letting those patterns die inside ourselves. It can be painful and lonely but the work helps to shed the very block that is preventing us from living free.

SaintintheSnow

From the Bell Tower: Facing Fears with Friends

By Faithful Finch

“For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.'” Isaiah 41:13

I find it so interesting that ringing bells can be a spiritual exercise!

The other day, some of us were learning the process of “ringing the bells up.” This can be a frightening experience because if you don’t do it properly, you can have an accident. As the Lord is accustomed to doing, he taught me a lesson in the process.

I was so stuck in my fear, that I was doing things that blocked me from going forward in the process. I wasn’t breathing, my knees were locked rigid, and I couldn’t even hear Br. Matthew’s instructions he was giving me to help me. I had been quietly saying out loud, “Jesus, I trust in You. Jesus, I trust in You.”

To my surprise, all of a sudden, I found myself saying, “Br. Matthew, I trust in you.” When we stopped ringing, I had a good laugh with those ringing with me, but realized, sometimes my lack of trust isn’t just a lack of trusting Jesus. It’s not trusting my friends around me that want to help and that the Lord has put there for me. I realized I allow my fear to block myself from going forward. Things don’t always have to be as difficult as I allow my own sin to make them.

What a great lesson!

Ringers at the bell tower, Church of the Transfiguration

At the Cross Point

by Faithful Finch

Recently, a friend of mine was having one of those moments we all have of feeling discouraged about who she was. I asked the Lord what He wanted me to say to help her, and got, “You need to keep your eyes on who you are, but don’t lose sight of who I (Jesus) am in the process. That point of intersection is the cross, which is My mercy.” What a helpful word to balance those times when our sin overwhelms us.

Processional cross at the Church of the Transfiguration, Community of Jesus