Tag Archives: Lent

Listening During Lent…

Becoming a Better ‘Listener’…

     It’s the day after Easter. I hope your Holy season was blessed in many ways as was mine.

     I told you at the beginning of Lent—the period of time between Ash Wednesday and Easter—a Lenten focus was not part of my faith tradition. It’s only been in the last few years I’ve embraced this tradition, albeit, oftentimes clumsily. Like honing any discipline, spiritual disciplines take practice.

     Two spiritual practices I find challenging are solitude and silence. I tend to ‘talk’ more than ‘listen.’ It’s easier for me to ‘do’ than to simply ‘be.’ A Dallas Willard Lenten devotional challenges me to pursue these disciplines: Dr. Willard says:

“Among the practices that we learn to engage in to enable effectual focus upon Christ is a combination of solitude and silence…These are root-reaching practices that slowly bring us to an understanding of who and what we really are…that allow God to reoccupy the places in our lives where only he belongs.” [1]

     I’m at a juncture in my journey when I want more than anything else for the spiritual work being accomplished in me to be “root-reaching.” I want to produce good fruit that develops from the inside out—fruit not I, but only the Spirit, can produce.

     As Holy Week 2017 came to a close, so did my meditations in the Gospel of John. One of those last mornings, I was struck particularly with words Jesus spoke to Pilate in John 18:37 “…For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come…to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” (emphasis is mine)

     The prayer I entered in my journal that morning was simple.

     Jesus, I believe you are Truth. I want to be one of those ‘everyone’s’ who is of the Truth and listens to your voice. Holy Spirit, teach me to be a better listener—to hear the voice of Jesus more clearly.

     In order to be successful in hearing “the voice of Jesus,” a voice that speaks to my spirit, I know I must carve out more time for solitude and silence.

     A simple congregational meditation Pastor Rodney Wright led us in during the Good Friday service set the tone for my next steps. I want to illustrate the simple words using photographs my husband has taken during the season of Lent.

C:\Users\Sue\Desktop\Ron Photos\Blog Post Pix\Be Still Bench.jpg

C:\Users\Sue\Desktop\Ron Photos\Blog Post Pix\Be Still Pink Flower.jpg

C:\Users\Sue\Desktop\Ron Photos\Blog Post Pix\Be Still Moon.jpg

C:\Users\Sue\Desktop\Ron Photos\Blog Post Pix\Be Still Kayak.jpg

C:\Users\Sue\Desktop\Ron Photos\Blog Post Pix\Be Still Bird.jpg

     Blessings on your journey into stillness…

Sue Reeve

  1. Biblegateway@e.biblegateway.com – Excerpted from Knowing Christ Today: Why We Can Trust Spiritual Knowledge by Dallas Willard

Listening During Lent…Walking in the Light of Truth

     A few weeks ago my husband had eye surgery. His surgeon was a woman whose rather uncommon last name was the same as a well-known family in the Montana town where I attended high school. When I went with Ron to his surgical follow-up appointment, I told the pleasant physician I’d like to ask her a non-medical question. “Are you by any chance connected to the ____________ family from ________, Montana?” Her surprised response was, “Yes, I am!”

     That question opened a door to re-connecting with three women who were all high school classmates many years ago. The brief contacts we’ve had have been special to me. Also, they’ve reminded me how little I knew about myself as a person back then.

     You see, these three women were all really ‘cool’ girls. Their circle of friends would have been viewed by many as the most coveted clique. Truly, there’s never been a time in my life when, I’ve considered myself ‘cool.’

     Since I was a little girl, though, I’ve enjoyed all types of people. Every person’s story interests me. I love diversity. I’m fascinated by traditions and cultures. Perhaps because of my curiosity, I’m usually not overly impressed by someone’s perceived ‘coolness.’ Unless my ‘safety radar’ is alerted, I generally don’t shy away from social interactions.

     But, here’s what I realized in this current reconnection and schoolmate interaction. Even though I recalled each of these women as high school girls well, and even though I’d liked each one for the worthwhile person I believed even then she was, I doubted any of them would remember me.

     In reality, each said they did remember, and the way each described her memories was touching. This experience made me realize that when I was in high school, the raw potential of my personality and values were in place but had not yet been established in maturity.

     As a teenager, I didn’t feel like I had much significance. I hadn’t grasped my identity. I didn’t really know WHO I was.

     I’ve believed in God strongly all my life, but even so, when I was a teen, I didn’t have a good grasp on WHOSE I was. Discovering my infinite value to God didn’t come until much later.

     So, what does this have to do with learning during Lent?

     I thought you might ask.

     Around the time I was having some “ah-ha” insights into my adolescent insecurity, I read from John 8, and was struck by a resoluteness in Jesus I’d never noticed before.

     To the Pharisees, Jesus said (verse 12), “I AM the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” When the religious leaders accused Jesus of bearing false witness about himself, Jesus said (verse 14), “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I KNOW WHERE I CAME FROM AND WHERE I AM GOING.” (emphasis is mine) Without any doubt, Jesus knew WHO He was and WHAT His purpose was.

     Today, as a grandmother, I struggle with occasional bouts of insecurity. Sometimes still, I want to withdraw or run away when life gets stressful. Once in a while, I still catch myself feeling unworthy unless I’m pleasing, performing or chasing illusive perfectionism. I realize, however, all of these long-held, deeply established patterns of behavior, happen much less frequently today than in the past.

     Why is that?

     During my Lenten reading, I realized the answer to this question is found in the Gospel of John 8. Jesus IS the light of the world, a truth to which I cling tightly. As I choose to learn more about Jesus, attempt to follow Him faithfully and imitate His behaviors more closely, I walk increasingly in the light of His truth rather than remaining in the darkness of my insecurities.

     We are less than one week from Easter. As the season of Lent is coming to a close, I’m praying each of our journeys will be illuminated in greater measure by the light of Jesus…

Sue Reeve

C:\Users\Sue\Desktop\Ron Photos\Blog Post Pix\Light of Jesus.jpg

Listening During Lent…Bit by Bit

     My Lenten Scripture reading the other morning took me to Isaiah 28 (ESV), and I was struck by the imagery of verses 9 & 10:

To whom will [the LORD] teach knowledge, and to whom will he explain the message?…For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.

     As I thought about these verses all during that day, I concluded my life—physically, emotionally, relationally, intellectually and spiritually—is made up of one decision, one conclusion, one choice at a time.

     A Google search for insights about the significance of small choices determining big decisions yielded a great quote from John Wooden, famous UCLA basketball coach. I thought the coach’s insight was especially significant during this season of March Madness when the region where I live is all atwitter because our Gonzaga Bulldogs will play in the Final Four for the first time ever a few days from now.

     The wise Coach Wooden said,

     It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.[1]

     The desire of a dedicated Christ-follower is to be transformed in greater measure to the character of Jesus. It’s a lifelong journey, which I’ve come to view as a lifelong adventure. Of this adventurous journey, I conclude:

My journey of transformation moves forward or backward

  • One step at a time.
  • One insight at a time.
  • One “Yes, God!” or “No, God!” at a time.

     I often prefer quick fixes and easy answers to life’s difficult issues, but that doesn’t seem to be God’s usual method of transforming a soul.

     It’s a process….

          placing one foot of faith in front of the other—one step at a time.

               practicing one new spiritual discipline at a time.

                    declaring, “Sure God, I’ll do that!” at a time.

                         trusting that as I act faithfully in the “little things,” God may cause “big things”
                         to happen!

C:\Users\Sue\Desktop\Ron Photos\Blog Post Pix\Palouse Falls Steps.jpg

Blessings on your journey of transformation…

Sue Reeve

  1. www.brainyquote.com/quotes