Day Eleven: Hope from His Mysterious Plan

Day Eleven: Hope from His Mysterious Plan. 31 Days Relishing Hope

 “I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself.” Colossians 2:2

This last week, our family went on a little vacation to Southern California. We started our trip with a lovely stay in the mountains with some dear friends. Years ago, God assembled this random little group and I can’t begin to explain what happens to my heart when we are together. Back in the day, we would meet every Monday night in our living room in Los Angeles. We would bring all the joys and struggles of our days and lay them down at our Father’s feet together. For hours (not kidding), we would pour our hearts out to God. Have you had a friend advocate for you before the throne of Grace? I count these as some of the most precious gifts I have ever received.

During the time that this little group met, we were all doing the hard things of life. There were big changes, health issues, missions and ministry. To be quite honest, there was a lot of heartbreak and a lot of seeming impossibility. As we would come together to share what God had done, our stories were not usually the big, miraculous happenings that we were hoping for. Instead, they were a steady stream of faithfulness that looked much like the group He had knit together.

In Colossians, Paul says, “I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself.” As we walked together through the hard things, we caught glimpses of Christ. There was the knowledge that we were never really alone and the ability to do the very hard things, because dear ones were praying strength into the weak places. With every act of encouragement and sacrificial love came a better understanding of how God loves. And, even though, we wanted a different kind of answer to our prayers, the one He was offering was the very plan He has for us all. Himself.

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Dwelling

Mondays are the days that I focus on Other People’s Words.  My thoughts, on a Monday morning, probably should not be shared.  It’s safer this way.  And, way less annoying for you. (:

This morning, I had a lovely time with Henri Nouwen.  He taught me again, through his book, In the Name of Jesus, what it truly means to be a leader.  I pulled out one of my favorites for you:

If there is any focus that the Christian leader of the future will need, it is the discipline of dwelling in the presence of the One who keeps asking us, “Do you love me?  Do you love me?  Do you love me?”  It is the discipline of contemplative prayer.  Through contemplative prayer we can keep ourselves from being pulled from one urgent issue to another and from becoming strangers to our own and God’s heart.  Contemplative prayer keeps us  home, rooted and safe, even when we are on the road, moving from place to place, and often surrounded by sounds of violence and war.  Contemplative prayer deepens in us the knowledge that we are already free, that we already found a place to dwell, that we already belong to God, even though everything and everyone around us keeps suggesting the opposite.

We are already free.  You have already found a place to dwell.  As your day comes at you with full force, and interrupts all that you had intended to do, I hope and pray that you will be home, safe and sound, in His presence.

“Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4

I Rise Today

Sometimes on a Monday morning, I need someone else’s words to get me going.  Today, I wanted to share St.Patrick’s Breastplate.  I love this piece/prayer because of it’s completeness.  He really doesn’t leave anything out, including the spells cast by women.  (Haha.  Yeah, I was offended for a second too, and then I remembered that women cast spells all the time.  We write books, movies, commercials celebrating this attribute.  And, he was a priest, after all.  The man needed protection! ;))

I’ve read a little bit about St.Patrick and his ministry.  He, like his prayer, gave everything there was to give in surrender to God.  He is just the person to lead us into this new week. Ha, especially with St.Patrick’s Day right around the corner!  Seriously, didn’t plan that.

St. Patrick’s Breastplate

I rise today

in power’s strength, invoking the Trinity,

believing in threeness,

confessing the oneness,

of creations Creator.

 

I rise today

in the power of Christ’s birth and baptism,

in the power of his crucifixion and burial,

in the power of his rising and ascending,

in the power of his descending and judging.

 

I rise today

in the power of the love of cherubim,

in the obedience of angels,

and service of archangels,

in hope of rising to receive the reward,

in the prayers of the patriarchs,

in the predictions of the prophets,

in the preaching of the apostles,

in the faith of the confessors,

in the innocence of holy virgins,

in the deeds of the righteous.

 

I rise today

with the power of God to pilot me,

God’s strength to sustain me,

God’s wisdom to guide me,

God’s eye to look ahead for me,

God’s ear to hear me,

God’s word to speak for me,

God’s hand to protect me,

God’s way before me,

God’s shield to defend me.

God’s host to deliver me;

from snares of devils,

from evil temptations,

from nature’s failings,

from all who wish to harm me,

far or near,

alone and in a crowd.

 

Around me I gather today all these powers

against every cruel and merciless force

to attack my body and soul,

against the charms of false prophets,

the black laws of paganism,

the false laws of heretics,

the deceptions of idolatry

against spells cast by women, smiths, and druids

and all unlawful knowledge

that harms body and soul.

 

May Christ protect me today

against poison and burning,

against drowning and wounding,

so that I may have abundant reward;

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me;

Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me;

Christ in my lying, Christ in my sitting, Christ in my rising;

Christ in the heart of all who think of me,

Christ on the tongue of all who speak to me,

Christ in the eye of all who see me,

Christ in the ear of all who hear me.

 

I rise today

in power’s strength, invoking the Trinity,

believing in threeness,

confessing the oneness,

of creation’s Creator.

For to the Lord belongs salvation,

and to the Lord belongs salvation,

and to the Christ belongs salvation.

May your salvation, Lord, be with us always.

 

I found St.Patrick’s Breastplate in The Celtic Way of Evangelism, How Christianity Can Reach the West. . . Again by George G. Hunter.  And the image of St.Patrick is from here