Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Prayer for Perfect Love

LORD, Creator of all ~
You made us and delight in showing us all the ways to find You ~ in the crisp winter chill, in the perfectly blue sky, in a brilliant pansy, in sincere laughter, in honest tears, in genuine, loving words, in careful remembrance. We long to feel You and to see You and to hear You and to know You in all our moments. We desire to reflect Your beauty and Your love in acts of goodness and offerings of love.

It is in seeking this desire to be more like You that we discover our humanity. Despite our best efforts, our generous offerings, our selfless intentions, You alone are Perfect Love. You alone can feel the weary heart. You alone can see the wounded soul. You alone can hear the silent prayer. You alone can know the deepest need.

Emmanuel, God with us, we come on bended knees seeking Perfect Love that came to earth centuries ago but dwells here still in Spirit, in Truth, in Hope, in us. We come to the sacred place within our souls reserved for You alone. You call our hearts to rest in the shelter of Perfect Love. You come and heal our wounds, hear our prayers, meet our needs. Perfect Love, You wear the robe of Grace. . . O come let us adore You . . . Rejoice! Rejoice! . . . Gloria! in excelsis Deo! . . . little Lord Jesus, Son of God, Christ, the newborn King, holy Child, King of angels. . . True God of true God, Light from Light Eternal . . . Prince of Peace. . . Savior. . .O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel.
~dho 12/7/06

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem . . . a band of scholars arrived
. . . "We're on a pilgrimage to worship Him." Matthew 2:1-2 (msg)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving ~ A Season of Blessing

Offer prayers unceasing to Him, bless Him from morning to night. . .
Cornucopias of praise . . . Blessed GOD . . . the one and only wonder-working God!
Psalm 72:15,16,18 (The Message)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Prayer for Joy

Keep me safe, O God,
I've run for dear life to You. . .
All the good things I have are from You
(Without You, nothing makes sense).
And all these God-chosen lives all around -
what splendid friends they make!
LORD, You have assigned me my portion and my cup;
You have made my lot secure!
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; . . .
I will bless the LORD who counsels me; He gives me wisdom in the night.
([this is] confirmed by my sleeping heart).
I know the LORD is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me.
No wonder my heart is filled with joy,
(Heart, body and soul are filled with joy)
and my mouth shouts His praises!
My body rests in safety. . .
You have let me experience the joy of Your presence
and the exquisite pleasures of living with You forever.
Psalm 16 (MSG, NLT, NIV, NAS, TLB)

Faithful Father ~
I run to You! You are my safe place; my port in the storm, my anchor in the waves. You are my security, my confidence in the conflict, my healing rain in the fire. You are my shield; my retreat in the battle, my armor in the fight.

All the good things I have are from You. Your blessings, exceeding all needs, are like water flowing from every stream, rushing to the rivers, filling up the oceans. I am overcome with joy and write new God-songs every day.

When circumstance claims victory, when difficulty seems unending, when happiness gets lost, Hope can always find You. When I call to You, when I listen for You, when I am in Your presence, Joy reaches to every corner of my soul.

Faithful Father, You are Shelter. You are Goodness. You are Hope. You are Joy. When I am in Your presence, these are the extravagant gifts You give to me.
Without You, nothing makes sense. Hear my prayer. Amen.
~dho

Friday, October 13, 2006

Love Most High

"Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls;
All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.
The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime;
And His song will be with me in the night.
A prayer to the God of my life." Psalm 42:7-8 (NAS)

El Elyon, the Lord Most High ~
My soul calls to You with Hallelujah! but not enough for the fullness of Your presence.
Deep calls to deep
. . . I long to hear the Voice that calls to those who wander, to those who wait. Through the wilderness, I hear the Good Shepherd coming, smiling as He finds me, loving as He leads me.

"Let my cry come right into Your presence, God;
provide me with the insight that comes only from Your Word.
Give my request Your personal attention,
rescue me on the terms of Your promise.
Let praise cascade off my lips;
after all, You've taught me the truth about life!"
Psalm 119: 169-171 (The Message)

The Spirit finds my spirit, and this holiness is light. You love with tenderness and mercy, with joy and calm. In these holy moments, there is a spiritual awakening, not as I have never known before, but as I so need again this day. My heart walks the valleys that separates You and me ~ the valleys of doubt and fear, of sin and human fraility. You are Glory; my cup brims with blessing!*

"Invigorate my soul so I can praise You well,
use Your decrees to put iron in my soul.
And should I wander off like a lost sheep - seek me!
I'll recognize the sound of Your Voice."
Psalm 119: 175-176 (The Message)

The Great Provider always comes with the right provision, at the right time, in the right way. Grace floods the valleys, and I am lifted up to You, the Love Most High. It is here my soul shouts a thousand Hallelujahs** but never enough for the fullness of Your Grace. Amen. ~ dho

* Psalm 23:5 (The Message)
** Psalm 96:4 (The Message)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Goodness of God

From Devotional Classics,
The Highest Form of Prayer by Julian of Norwich,
a Benedictine nun (1342-1413).

"I saw that it brings more honor to God and
more true delight if we faithfully pray to Him for His
goodness . . . Because His goodness is full and complete,
and in it there is nothing lacking. . . For the highest form
of prayer is to the goodness of God
. . . . For we are so
preciously loved by God that we cannot even comprehend it."
God of Goodness ~
I kneel in wonder of Your Extravagant Love.
I humbly bow my head in the presence of Your
Holiness. My soul weeps that You would love
me with such tenderness, with such
compassion, with such generosity. My face
cannot look at Holiness, but Goodness reaches
for me, holds my unworthy efforts, listens to
my cries of despair, touches my broken places.
Goodness whispers to my soul with words of
mercy and love and hope. Goodness finds the
best and reassures, cleanses the wrong and
renews, heals the torn and restores. In times
of darkness, Goodness shines! In times of need,
Goodness provides! In times of joy, Goodness
celebrates! In all times, Goodness prevails!
My soul-songs repeat Praise be to God for
Everlasting Goodness! In the name of Jesus,
Lover of my soul, I speak this prayer! Amen.

~dho

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Things too wonderful for me

Then Job replied to the LORD: "I know that You can do anything, and no one can stop You. You ask, 'Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?' It is I. And I was talking about things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me. You said, 'Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.' I had heard about You before, but now I have seen You with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentence." Job 42: 1-6 (NLT)
Adonai ~
In my moments of doubt, I wonder, "How can it be?" And, yet, I hear Your truth. I feel Your desires within my heart. I know these thoughts are from You. Spirit of Truth, please forgive my shallow understanding, dim vision, timid hope.
Beside me, I watch a fragile bird. She is calling with repetition, searching for direction, asking with intention. Creator of all, is she speaking to You? Minutes and more minutes pass. Then, she flies away. Can it be that You are her instincts? Does she hear Your truth? Can it be that You are her song? Does she feel Your desires? Can it be that You are her wings? Does she know You are the Wind?
Oh, Word of Life, that I remember the simple trust of this little bird - knowing that You that will lift me up with certainty of purpose, that I can praise You without all the answers, that I can soar without understanding how. You ask, "Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?" It is I. And I was talking about things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me. ~dho

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

God appoints our graces to be nurses to other men's weakness.
~
Henry Ward Beecher

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Prayer does nothing to make God more present, for God is always present. Prayer is our response to the presence of God in our lives.
. . . from A Tree Full of Angels - seeing the
Holy in the ordinary
by Macrina Wiederkehr

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

In His Presence

Holy Father,
Everlasting Light forgive my redundant thoughts. Unfailing Love rescue my reluctant heart. Extravagant Grace fill my repentant soul. Goodness surrounds my every moment, exceeding my vocabulary. You continue to weave an extraordinary tapestry with sacred threads, torn remnants and unspun fibers. All are being woven together by Your Light and Love and Grace. What a masterpiece You are creating - thread by thread, moment by moment, possibility by possibility. Gratitude shouts Hallelujah! A thousand Hallelujahs are not enough. On my knees, LORD, find me on my knees, for You are Great and worthy to be praised! Your presence delights my soul, encourages my spirit, mends my wounds, shows me truth, offers me peace. Lord, be my strength, my shield, my joy! I long to abide in Your presence. Amen
.
~dho
I'm still in Your presence, but You've taken my hand. You wisely lead me, and then You bless me.
Psalm 73:23-24 (msg)

Friday, July 07, 2006

Listening in His Presence

God - You're my God! I can't get enough of You!
My soul thirsts for You; my whole body longs for You . . .
I have seen You in Your sanctuary and gazed upon Your power and glory.
Your unfailing love is better to me than life itself;
I bless You every time I take a breath, lifting up my hands to You in prayer.
You satisfy me . . . I will praise You with songs of joy.
If I am sleepless at midnight, I spend the hours in grateful reflection.
I think how much You have helped me; I sing for joy in the shadow of Your protecting wings.
I stay close to You; Your strong right hand holds me securely. . .

Psalm 63:1-8 (the Message, NLT, NCV) . . . a Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah


Holy Father,
Open my heart, for I long to hear Your voice. I listen for Your instructions, meditate on Your wonders. I collate my random thoughts and lay them at Your altar. Through the silence, I hear Your whispers of mercy and compassion and tenderness. Inside my longing heart, prayers of praise rise to You. My soul finds satisfaction in the shadow of Your protecting wings that exists nowhere else. Holy Spirit, bring His presence and His peace. Amen.
~ dho

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Find His Presence

Hear the loon's mournful call in the distance,
Feel the hawk's graceful, slow dance with the wind,
Remember the night sky's luminaries
As they fade when another morning speaks,
And find His presence.

Hear thunder's rumbling call, "Storm Approaching!"
Feel wind's royal power command respect!
Recall the warning; listen to the wind
As darkness struggles to control and shout,
And find His presence.

Hear whispers in the night as angels sing,
Feel holy kisses as His angels pass,
Remember sweet songs of comfort and peace
As mercy makes a home within the soul,
And find His presence.

Hear gentle words offered without reason,
Feel the rhythm of glory-words that praise,
Recall holy words written on the heart
As the Living Word restores hope's voice,
And find His presence.

Hear the empty silence of loneliness,
Feel the wordless sighs of unspoken prayer,
Remember the promise of Perfect Love
As holiness seeks ordinary time,
And find His presence.

Hear the Holy Spirit summon, "Be still!"
Feel the solitude embrace calm's repose,
Recall the mystery and the majesty
As Grace falls softly and shelters the soul,
And find His presence.
~ dho 6/22/06

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Be Faithful

In his book Everyday Simplicity, A Practical Guide to Spiritual Growth, Robert J. Wicks writes: People are not noble because they succeed or are applauded by others. Their lives are honorable and worthy of emulation because they are striving for what is good - no matter what the results! God asks us to be involved not because we are called to be successful, but because we are called to be faithful.

Let every detail in your lives - words, actions, whatever - be done in the name of Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
Colossians 3:17 (The Message)

We live in a society that defines our worth by material possessions and worldly successes. Our involvement can easily be motivated by personal gain and recognition. The scriptures remind us that Jesus should be our motivation. We should be defined by our faithfulness. ~dho

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

On A Journey

May your life become one of glad and unending praise to the Lord as you journey through this world. ~ Teresa of Avila

Holy Father,
This day shouts Your beauty! I am humbled as I ponder Your Love. For it is so much higher and deeper, wider and stronger ~ more vast than my human mind can understand. How I long to love with such certainty, without conditions. How I long to love with such freedom, without restrictions. How I long to love with such magnitude, without measure. You seal my desire to love with the love of Christ, His signature already on my soul. Your love is Pure Grace!
There are times when the days are easy, like lazy afternoons at the beach. There are times when the days are busy, like a full day of essential tasks. There are times when the days are hectic, like fragmented chaos with infused intentions. Every day we choose to find You or to lose You in our ordered ways. You are the One who gives us the choice.
Refine us through the chaos. Renew us in the busyness. Restore us with easy times. Remind us of Your never-ending Love. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
~dho

I wonder what sort of tale we've fallen into?
~ J.R.R. Tolkein, The Lord of the Rings

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Extravagant Gifts

I get up in the middle of the night to thank You;
Your decisions are so right, so true -
I can't wait till morning!
Psalm 119:62

Loving God,
The night sky is filled with luminaries that
light the darkness. Angels whisper evening
songs to our weary souls. We do not notice.
As sleep gently calls, we forget that we have
breathed the morning air, listened to laughter,
seen the evening sky appear. Another day!
Something disturbs the rhythm of our sleep,
summons our souls. In these sleepless moments,
the Holy Spirit is waiting and listens for our
response. Thank You! Thank You!
Thank You!
Father, when we fail to see the beauty of
Your day, remind us with a glorious morning
to take our breath away, a soul laugh that only
a listening heart can find, and a night sky
crowded with stars like diamonds that demand
a lingering look. Our hearts should burst with
unmeasured thankfulness! These are Your
ordinary gifts! We simply miss them in our
hectic hours, our scheduled chaos, our
saturated time.
Give our hearts the desire to breathe,
listen and see the ordinary with extraordinary
intention. Grant our souls the desire to breathe,
listen and see Your extraordinary gifts of
Love, Grace, and Joy! Let us find Your
extravagant gifts in our every day! Let us say
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
Refresh our spirit! Refine our faith!
Restore our love! Renew our strength!
Rebuild our trust! Reclaim our souls!
Amen.
~dho

Monday, May 22, 2006

God Hugs

. . . the Spirit of God dwells in you 1 Corinthians 3:16 (the Message)

In her book When the Heart Waits, Sue Monk Kidd writes "What is this still point? It represents the Center, the quiet core where God's Spirit dwells in us. . . At this inmost center of our being, a place where we are deeply and profoundly known and loved by God, is the Presence in our midst. . . Ultimately, the still point is a love meeting, an embrace."

God hugs you.
You are encircled
by the arms
of the mystery of God.
~ Hildegard of Bingen

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Island Meditation

God’s my island hideaway,
keeps danger far from the shore,
throws garlands of hosannas around my neck.
Psalm 32:7 (the Message)

Along the island shore, I walk with uneven steps.
Rocks and shells and wind and sun,
And thoughts and soul,
And God . . .
Unite.
~dho

Friday, May 05, 2006

Shelter of His Wings

Let me live forever in Your sanctuary,
safe beneath the shelter of Your wings!
Psalm 61:4 (NLT)

Faithful Father,
You are our firm foundation, the Truth on which we build our lives. There are times whenYour Glory shines from the snow covered mountain tops, from the sun-reflected oceans, from the starry night skies. There are times when Your Glory cannot be seen through foggy mornings, through stormy afternoons, through dark clouds. There are times when Your Glory seems lost in the empty silence, in the path-free wilderness, in the endless uncertainty. Yet, at all times You can find us. You are the unspoken beauty in everyday, the unseen in every hour, the unknown in every moment. Because You love us so unconditionally, You find us in all the unlikely places the world takes us. It is in the moment that You reach out for us, that we become aware of our needs. It is in the moment that we reach out for You, that we become aware of Your presence. In such holy moments, You hold us, wrap us in Truth and Light.
Oh, Father, I pray my soul will never forget these holy moments. Faithful Father, that You always find me where I am, restores and renews my longing for You. Let me wait quietly for Your holy whispers. Amen.
~dho

Everything comes from Him; everything happens through Him, everything ends up in Him. Always glory! Always praise! Romans 11:36 (the Message)

Monday, May 01, 2006

God Almighty

Genesis 43:14 [ Jacob's Prayer] ~ I pray God Almighty will cause the governor to be merciful to you and that he will allow Simeon and Benjamin to come back with you. If I am robbed of my children, then I am robbed of them.
El Shaddai -
You are the God of Possibility. Protect us
from ourselves. Show us Your Grace, for we are
incomplete without You. Release us from our prisons
of doubt and fear and disappointment. We surrender
our desires to your Divine Intentions for us. In the
name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
~dho

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Cross

"Christ Jesus came to earth for one reason - - to give His life as a ransom for you, for me, for all of us. He sacrificed Himself to give us a second chance. He would have gone to any lengths to do so. And He did! He went to the cross, where man's utter despair collided with God's unbending grace. And in that moment when God's great gift was complete, the compassionate Christ showed the world the cost of His gift." (from Max Lucado's book The Gift for All People)

Friday, April 07, 2006

GRACE

Lent has provided us time to empty our souls of the unnecessary so that we might be filled with the essential. In the moments when we found ourselves most barren, we discovered what Edna Hong called "a passionately felt need for grace." Philip Yancey's book, What's So Amazing About Grace, ends, "When grace descends, the world falls silent before it." Holy Father ~ We come to You full of the world and empty! Our human hearts cannot offer Perfect Love. Our finite minds cannot comprehend Eternal Glory. Our barren souls cannot know Everlasting Peace. Father, reveal our needs. Fill our hearts with Your Desires. Fill our minds with Your Wisdom. Fill our souls with Your Joy. In Your Holy presence, when grace descends ~ let us fall silent! "Let it be to me according to Your word."** Amen. ~dho (**Luke 1:38)

In the Temple

Meister Eckhart (1260-1327) wrote The temple God wants to be master of is the human soul, which he created and fashioned just like himself. We read that God said, “Let us make man in our own image.” . . . He made each soul so much like himself that nothing else in heaven or on earth resembles him as much. . . God wants the temple to be pure, so pure that nothing should dwell there except he himself. And that is the reason why he is so pleased when we really prepare our souls for him.

“Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were buying and selling there.”
Matthew 21:12

Eckhart continued If Jesus is to speak and be heard the soul must be alone and quiet. And what does Jesus say when the soul has been cleared? . . . He reveals the Father’s majesty with unmeasured power.

“When Jesus entered Jerusalem, all the city was filled with excitement. The people asked, “Who is this man?’
The crowd said, “This man is Jesus, the prophet from the town of Nazareth in Galilee.”
Matthew 21:10-11 (NCV)

As Holy Week begins, allow Jesus to enter the temple, clear the soul. Listen for the Father’s majesty with unmeasured power. ~dho

Monday, April 03, 2006

Breathe

© dho/2004



Prayer is the breath of life to our soul. ~ Mother Teresa

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Keeper of the lions

Daniel 6:16 . . . The king said to Daniel, "May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!" King Darius cast Daniel into the lion's den, knowing that Daniel's only hope was with the God whom you serve. Even a doubting, egotistical king was overcome with remorse when his decree revealed Daniel still chose God and must be punished for breaking the rules. There is comfort in Daniel choosing God, taking a risk; there is comfort in the king getting a second chance, choosing God.

The story is familiar. Daniel had been found kneeling in prayer, thanking and praising his God. The conspirators found him praying, asking God for help. They went to the king reminding him of his royal decree forbidding anyone to pray to any god except the king for thirty days. The punishment was to be thrown into the loins' den. The king had found favor with Daniel and was distressed to learn that he was who they were reporting. At this, the king was very upset and tried his best to get Daniel out of the fix . . . He worked at it the whole day long. But the conspirators were back, "Remember . . .the king's decree!" The king . . . ordered Daniel thrown into the lions' den. But he said to Daniel, "Your God, to whom you are so loyal, is going to get you out of this. The king could not eat, could not sleep.

Daniel was protected and the king rejoiced. Verse 23 says Daniel was saved because He had trusted his God. Continuing on with verses 24-27 The king commanded that the conspirators who had informed on Daniel be thrown into the lions' den, along with their wives and children. Before they hit the floor, the lions had them in their jaws, tearing them to pieces. King Darius published this proclalmation to every race, color and creed on earth:
Peace to you! Abundant peace!
I decree that Daniel's God shall be worshiped and feared in all parts of my kingdom.
He is the living God, world without end.
His kingdom never falls.
His rule continues eternally.
He is a savior and rescuer.
He performs astonishing miracles in heaven and on earth.
He saved Daniel from the power of the lions. ~
from Daniel 6 in the Message

There is comfort in knowing that the God we worship and love and praise, reaches down in difficult times and rescues us from those who desire us to fail. He uses our Christian witness - our confessions of mistakes, our commitment of faith and our choices - to influence others. I know that conspirators manipulate truth and that evil seeks destruction. But even better - I know God - a living God, who never falls, a savior and rescuer,who performs astonishing miracles. God saves us from the lions! And in our worst moments, when we let ourselves get in the way - He reveals Himself to us through others, provides us with a chance for forgiveness and redemption. What a Mighty God!

Keeper of the lions!

Mighty God -
I come to You on my knees with a contrite heart. How is it that You choose to love me so much? How is it that You rescue me even when I allow evil to permeate my heart? How is it that you give me second chances when I fall? I know it is easy to blame the conspirators and fear the lions. It is harder to see the manipulation and harder to trust the lions' den. Make me like Daniel, willing to risk all that I have for You. Rescue me when I fall victim to evil. Save me from the lions! And when I am more like Darius, swayed by my own pursuits, let me see You in another's actions, hear You in another's words. Let me feel Your presence in my unsettled heart. My hope rests in a Mighty God who loves me. I trust in a Living God that rescues my heart from the deeds of evil, that saves me from the lions. Praise prayers call to You from the deepest places within my soul - Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Holy Spirit, come and dwell in me. Be my Abundant Peace. I ask this in the name of Jesus, Son of the Everlasting Father, Maker of heaven and earth. Amen.
~dho

He gives a greater grace . . . James 4:6 (msg)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Spring

Oh, visit the earth,
ask her to join the dance!
Deck her out in spring showers,
fill the God-River with living water . . .
scatter rose petals down Your paths,
All through the wild meadows. . .
Set the hills to dancing. . .
Let them shout, and shout, and shout!
Oh, oh, let them sing!
Psalm 65: 9, 12-13 (the Message)

As the season of new beginnings calls to us in the splendor of His Glory, may our thoughts take notes on the wonders of the
Earth-Tamer, Ocean-Pourer, Mountain-Maker, Hill-Dresser. . . Dawn and dusk take turns calling, "Come and worship."
(Psalm 65:8)

God, mark us with grace and blessing!
Psalm 67:1 (the Message)

~dho
Future Reminiscing

It is good to have a past that
is pleasant to reflect upon.
Take care to create such a gift
for your future.

~Mattie Stepanek December, 2000

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Wordless Sighs

If we don't know how to pray or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves. That is why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. Romans 8:26-28 (The Message) Holy Father, I've told You the things of my heart ~ my thankfulness for Your unending love, my willingness to be obedient to You, my love for my family and friends. What joy and goodness You have given to me, over and over and over! My soul sits by the window and looks out at Your ocean of blessings. Your Grace, like the waves, splashes over me, again and again and again. Like the wind, my wordless sighs come to You - unseen, but known. Amen. Charles E. Poole writes in his book Beyond the Broken Lights, "We have made it through, by the grace and goodness of the One who is always up to more than we know. All those times when God was doing less than we hoped, God must have been doing more than we knew. Amen." ~dho

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Possibility

This is the assigned moment for Him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines. John 3:30 (The Message)

In her book, When the Heart Waits, Sue Monk Kidd writes Over and over again God calls you and me to the gardening of our own divine depths . . . to tend what lies seeded in the soul, this kernel of our truest nature - the God-image or True Self. She goes on to write about soulmaking and transformation and wholeness. Kidd writes C. G. Jung . . . demonstrated that there's a True Self dimension of the human personality . . . Self doesn't refer to our narrow identity or our ego (as in myself) but to the Center, the image of God within us. It has been compared to the inner kingdom that Jesus referred to (Luke 17:21).

Some of the Pharisees asked Jesus, "When will the kingdom of God come?" Jesus answered, "God's kingdom is coming but not in a way that you will be able to see with your eyes. . . God's kingdom is within you." Luke 17:20-21 (NCV)

Our True Self must reflect the image of God. So often we allow "other agendas" to occupy our Center. As believers in Christ, we must constantly slip off to the sidelines allowing Him to move into the center. If we choose God's Agenda over our agenda we could . . .
soar above those who run faster
whisper the moments of parting
chant together the music of life
recall the places time takes away
dream through the void
wonder more and want less
pray His Desires within our hearts
worship the One True Light
~dho

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Strength

We pray that you'll have the strength - the glory-strength God gives . . . strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful He has for us. Colossians 1:11-12 (msg)

Monday, February 27, 2006

Hope

I sat there in despair, my spirit draining away, my heart heavy, like lead. I remembered the old days, went over all You've done, pondered the ways You've worked. I lift my hands to You in prayer. As dry land needs rain, I thirst for You. Come quickly, Lord, for my depression deepens . . . Wake me each morning with the sound of Your loving voice, for I am trusting You. Point out the road I must travel, for I have come to You in prayer. . . Help me to do Your will, for You are my God. Lead me in good paths by Your blessed Spirit. Lord, let me live so people will praise You. Psalm 143: 4-8, 10-11 (the Message, NLT, TLB, NCV) This past Thanksgiving (2005), we traveled back to North Carolina to celebrate the holiday with Jennifer. On Tuesday, the snow was falling as we approached the base of the ascent up the mountains to Boone. Mississippi seemed far away, but my uncertainty of purpose in this new land was near. I had been missing the familiar and finding it all again challenged my thoughts of change and possibility. In the journal that I was keeping during this trip, I entered the following words: God has reminded me that uncertainty exists because we live in a world that tampers with His Plans. He - however - never changes! In Him, there is certainty of love and grace and purpose. Holy Father, the beauty of Your snow covered mountains delights my soul. With the snow, You have outlined the trees and covered imperfections. Because of sin, we need our imperfections "covered". Father, only You can cover my imperfections and exaggerate my gifts. I am listening for Your affirmations in the details - show me! The unknown confuses my ordered, analytic mind. I confess I like a plan; I love the details given sequentially. Yet, in Truth I find the bigger picture. You are a God of Perfect Love who loves us inspite of our imperfections. You are a God of majesty and miracles who reveals our beauty and requests our hearts. You are a God of compassion who finds our brokenness and restores our hope. Father, love me with Perfect Love. Let me love like You. Reveal Your beauty in me and help me open my heart. Find all the broken pieces; restore my hope. I give You all these pieces - the imperfect, disordered, uncertain pieces. Through faith, I know You can heal the broken places, guide me past uncertainty, show me possibility. Hear this searching heart. Amen. ~dho

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Prayer

True prayer . . . sifts the heart. Teresa of Avila
Prepare my heart . . . Give me Your lanterns and compass, give me a map, so I can find my way to the sacred mountain, to the place of Your presence. Psalm 43:3 (the Message) Holy Father, You are my Light, and You know the direction I must go. Father, give me a map. Be my Guide. From the valley of uncertainty I have been searching for the sacred mountain. Solitude with You replenishes my soul, and in the silence I hear Your whispers. Speak to me in the details. Absolute Goodness, Unconditional Love, Extravagant Grace, Everlasting Light, Eternal Redemption, Living Water ~ You are all these and more. I am listening for Your holy words. I am resting in Your loving arms. I will go to the altar of God, To God, my exceeding joy; . . . I shall praise You. Psalm 43:4 (NAS) Whatever You want me to hear - Whatever You want me to find - Whatever You want me to understand - I shall praise You! In my poverty of spirit, I shall praise Your Goodness. In my valleys of sorrow, I shall praise Your Compassion. In my moments of doubt, I shall praise Your Faithfulness. In my times of joy, I shall praise Your Generosity. In my abundance of blessings, I shall praise Your Love. Father, I surrender my uncertainty at Your altar and offer these praises to You, my Creator. With Your sacred threads, bind my wounds. With Your Perfect Love, teach me love. With Your angels, protect the way. LORD, hear my prayer. Amen. ~dho

Monday, February 13, 2006

Listen!

Pay attention, come close now, listen carefully to My life-giving, life-nourishing words. Isaiah 55:3 (the Message)

Listening and Obedience

Henri Nouwen writes A spiritual life requires discipline because we need to learn to listen to God, who constantly speaks but whom we seldom hear. When, however, we learn to listen, our lives become obedient lives. The word obedient comes from the Latin word audire, which means "listening".
We struggle with obedience. Either we do not hear what God is saying to us, or we choose not to do what He asks. If we do not listen for God, we have little hope of developing our obedience. Matthew 6:6 ~ Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense His grace.
When asked, "What is more important - faith or obedience?" I believe faith is the foundation for our listening hearts. Without faith, can there be obedience? It would seem that Henri Nouwen would go one step further and say that without listening, obedience is absent. He concludes The core of all prayer is indeed listening, obediently standing in the presence of God. ~dho

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Wealth and Poverty

Macrina Wiederkehr writes in her book A Tree Full of Angels:
It is time, then, for us to embrace this frail flesh of ours with love. . . What was good enough for God to embrace must be good enough for us. Let us try to . . .stop hiding behind the mask of our fraility. . . The ache for God lives on in our depths. It gnaws at us and cries out to be named. If we walk back through our days, no doubt, we will come upon many frail and glorious moments - places where our poverty and our wealth touched each other. . .
The eye of God beholds so much more than we are able to see in our lives at any moment. Always our goodness and potential loom large under God's gaze. . .We would think it strange to read about a person who died in poverty while having great material wealth stashed away somewhere within reach. Yet how often this is the truth of our spiritual lives!


My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is
the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:26 (The Message)

~dho