Saturday, September 25, 2021

Gentle & Lowly Book Club - Session 3

Hello again, my friends!  

I hope this Sabbath finds you rested and at peace, even amidst the busyness that late September always seems to bring our way.  I'm so glad you're joining with me in creating space for reflection on chapters 13 - 18 of Dane Ortlund's Gentle and Lowly: the Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers.


The Spirit's role ... is to turn our postcard apprehensions of Christ's great heart of longing affection for us into an experience of sitting on the beach, in a lawn chair, drink in hand, enjoying the actual experience.  The Spirit does this decisively, once and for all, at regeneration.  But he does it ten thousand times thereafter, as we continue through sin, folly, or boredom to drift from the felt experience of his heart.

The one who rules and ordains all things brings affliction into our lives with a certain divine reluctance.  He is not reluctant about the ultimate good that is going to be brought about through that pain; that indeed is why he is doing it.  But something recoils within him in sending that affliction.  The pain itself does not reflect his heart.   He is not a platonic force pulling heaven's levers and pulleys in a way that is detached from the real pain and anguish we feel at his hand. 

God's thoughts are so much higher than ours that not only does he abundantly pardon the penitent; he has determined to bring his people into a future so glorious we can hardly bring ourselves to dare hope for it ... God's heart for his people is building toward a crescendo as the generations roll by, preparing to explode onto human history at the end of all things.  Our joyous restored humanity will surge forward with such spiritually nuclear energy that the creation itself will erupt in raucous hymns of celebration.

What do you perceive him to be in your sin and your suffering?  Who do you think God is - not just on paper but in the kind person you believe is hearing you when you pray?  How does He feel about you?  His saving of us is not cool and calculating.  It is a matter of yearning - not the yearning for the Facebook you, the you that you project to everyone around you.  Not the you that you wish you were.  Yearning for the real you.

God is always inviting us into something deeper and more vibrant.  What is He calling you to as the final quarter of 2021 begins?

Next Sunday we'll wrap up our discussion.  I hope you'll be back to reflect with us!
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Thursday, September 23, 2021

A Special Announcement

I am excited to announce that I am now a Board Certified Mental Health Coach (BCMHC) as well as a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor (BCPC - 2007) through the International Board of Christian Care (IBCC).

I also received an M.S. in Christian Counseling from Cairn University in 2000.

My focus will continue to be on ministry in the local church, facilitating support groups for women and partnering with other leaders to develop future care-giving ministries.

And, of course, continuing to do life with you and other kindred spirits right here on the blog, still going strong since 2007.  

I love that God invites us to re-invent ourselves along life's pathway, using whatever gifts He's given in fresh and innovative ways.  There's nothing I'd rather be doing than serving you and Him here ... and in the local church family where He has placed us.

Gratefully His ~

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

A Bunch of Autumn Snapshots

This is the day the Lord has made;
we will rejoice and be glad in it!
-  Psalm 118:24  - 


Fall's shimmies on in, slow and graceful yet persistent.  And even though I usually drag my feet when it's time to bid farewell to summer, I'm welcoming this fresh season with a good measure of serendipitous enthusiasm and wide open arms.   

The sun is shining all golden and warm, a cool breeze makes its way through when the clouds float by, the birds are going crazy feathering their nests, their songs often insistent, sometimes fleeting.  The leaves around here stubbornly refuse to don their autumn hues yet being out and about is an absolute pleasure.  

A brisk morning walk never seemed so delightful, so right, so welcome.  A late afternoon stroll down the beach so mandatory, so serendipitous, so therapeutic.

Despite life's very real and valid concerns, I'm sleeping better than I have in years.

There's some reorganizing projects going on, a few pieces of furniture to be hauled around, a stack of books to settle down with, a decision or two awaits.  I'm finally eating healthier instead of randomly grazing at will.  A new door is opening, we gather with friends and visit with Mom, yet another family member looks to be emerging from covid's awful grasp.

God is good.  

Yes, work and family and those screens and homekeeping tasks beckon us to stay inside and busy.  But when at all possible, let's not linger too long indoors.  Let's do what we need to do and then head outside.  For we know that before long we'll decide that lingering indoors in front of a warm fire is the only sane choice to make.

These are the good old days.  And we will rejoice and be glad in them!

Now ... if I can only find some of those elusively serendipitous blue pumpkins ~

Yep, serendipity is my 2021 One Word.  You'll find more snapshots right here.

P.S. #2 
My friends Barbara and Debby have penned the loveliest odes to September ... click on their names to savor their serendipitous musings.


<<  Gentle & Lowly Book Club -
Session 2

A Special Announcment  >>


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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Gentle & Lowly Book Club - Session 2

Hey Dear Friends, 
welcome back to
Book Club!

This week, we're comparing notes & observations 
from chapters 7 - 12 of Dane Ortlund's
Gentle and Lowly: the Heart of Christ
for Sinners and Sufferers

Christ's heart is a steady reality flowing through time.  It isn't as if his heart throbbed for his people when he was on earth but has dissipated now that he is in heaven.  It's not that his heart was flowing forth in a burst of mercy that took him all the way to the cross but has now cooled down, settling back once more into kindly indifference.  His heart is a drawn to his people now as ever it was in his incarnate state.  And the present manifestation of his heart for his people is his constant interceding on their behalf.
Let Jesus draw you in through the loveliness of his heart.  This is a heart that upbraids the impenitent with all the harshness that is appropriate, yet embraces the penitent with more openness than we are able to feel.  It is a heart that walks us into the bright meadow of the felt love of God.  It is a heart that drew the despised and forsaken to his feet in self-abandoning hope.  It is a heart of perfect balance and proportion, never overreacting, never excusing, never lashing out.  It is a heart that throbs with desire for the destitute.  It is a heart that floods the suffering with the deep solace of shared solidarity in that suffering.  It is a heart that is gentle and lowly.
Perhaps we feel that to the degree we emphasize Christ's compassion, we neglect his anger; and to the degree we emphasize his anger, we neglect his compassion.  But what we must see is that the two rise and fall together.  A compassion-less Christ could never have gotten angry at the injustices all around him, the severity and human barbarity, even that flowing from the religious elite.  No, "compassion and indignation rise together in his soul."  It is the father who loves his daughter most whose anger rises most fiercely if she is mistreated.
He is with us, as one of us, sharing in our life and experience, and the love and comfort that are mutually enjoyed between friends are likewise enjoyed between Christ and us.  In short, he relates to us as a person.  Jesus is not the idea of friendship, abstractly; he is an actual friend.


Book Club continues next Sunday as we focus on chapters 13 - 18. 

Christmas is coming, people!  And I know no better gift than Gentle & Lowly {and maybe the journal?!}
Kindle  -  $9.99
Hardcover  -  $14.79

As an Amazon Affiliate, I may receive a small financial reimbursement when you use these links to make a purchase.  Thank you!