Friday, May 30, 2014

For the Looking

"We are surounded by everyday epiphanies. To get in the habit of encountering them, look each day for two things:

Something that surprises you
Something that inspires you

Many of us blunder through our lives as though we were asleep. Just being deliberately focused on seeing makes you more alert, more excited, more optimistic. You look, listen, and expect a life-giving surprise. Daily lives are transformed into expectation of meaningful sights. You may see things you have never noticed before."

- Judy Gattis Smith, Fear Not

When Kathy and I go for a walk we are quite a pair. She looks down and I look up. She loves all the tiny plants, the flowers the size of a drop of water, the ground cover with its hairlike roots. I am searching the clouds for elephants. Both of us are always surprised with our discoveries.

I think the point is to just be looking with a sense of anticipation. To enter the walk or the day with hopeful curiosity and to keep your eyes open.

Grace and delight make many entrances in our days and our nights. God is leaving signs of His Presence for us to discover in nature and in one another. In light or darkness, in all the time zones, in every language, high or low, in the clouds or at our feet...GOD!

May you find Him for the looking.

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that thou art;
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

God Bless,
John LaMantia

Monday, May 19, 2014

But When The Right Time Came

Lacy wings overcome by water
Become heavy as stone
An afternoon drink turns to death
Four perfect wings struggle to rise
Need has killed them
Exhaustion slows their effort
Iridescent helpless beauty

An insignificant breeze
Just a puff really
A nutsedge bows a tall green stem
Across the birdbath
Heaven has come to hell
Grace has built a floor
Over oblivion

The Nutsedge

-by Kat

But when the right time came, the time God decided on, he sent his Son, born of a woman, born as a Jew, to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, so now we can rightly speak of God as our dear Father. Now we are no longer slaves but God’s own sons and daughters. And since we are his sons and daughters, everything he has belongs to us, for that is the way God planned. Galatians 4:4-7

(I saw a lovely dragonfly dying in the water of our birdbath and then a long stemmed weedy blade of grass bent in a breeze and saved it before I could. -kl)

Underwater Dragonfly, watercolor and ink

Friday, May 16, 2014

My Heart is a White Flag

My dear one, give me your heart. Let your eyes find happiness in my ways. Proverbs 23:26

I work with a population that has many times given up. Giving up is not in the plan of God. Surrender, however, now that brings us home.

Few of us are willing participants. We seldom seem to have the requisite white flag when one is called for. Surrender often feels like dying and so we shun the experience.

Surrender lets us change sides, first as captives (but captives of love) and then as friends. Surrender empties out the bowl and waits on the Lord of the Feast. Not for what He brings but for Himself.

Long ago Our Father's love made provision to "rest" in our lives, to be pleased to be there. We are in the season of His pleasure if our days are being emptied of own wisdom, our own efforts.

It seems such a contradiction that hungry men and women come to the Mission to be filled and our ambition is to see them empty. It is not. The things of God cannot fill what has not been offered, what is too full of things not of God.

It is important for us to be the example of God-filled men and women to those we serve. To be transparent, authentic, genuine. We have to be the change we want to see in others. Surrender gets us there.
We can't be gnat sifters or camel swallowers either. It must be Christ radiantly loving the world from our hearts enamored of Him. Surrender.

God's economy is so perfect. The swap so momentous. The transformation breathtaking. The method so simple. Surrender.

Surrendered or not we cannot make Him love us more but surrendered His love is perfected through the life of Christ in us. That love is the medicine the world needs. When we discover the holy-empty which leads to the magnanimous God-life available to us it is life changing and not just our life that changes.

Oswald Chambers says it beautifully, "Genuine total surrender is a personal sovereign preference for Jesus Christ Himself."

My heart is a white flag.

-John LaMantia