You see, my parents always encouraged my sisters and me to give up something for Lent. More often than not, I usually gave up candy. Every week a good portion of my weekly allowance quickly found it’s way from my pocket to the coffers of Krajci’s Drugstore a few blocks from my house. In the small town where I lived, Krajci’s was one of the few places that had a huge selection of five- [Read more…]
With the New Year comes a fresh start free from mistakes, regrets, and failures of the past year. Hope and possibilities and expectations jostle for space in my soul as I look to the future. Yes, if I’m honest, some anxiety too. But mostly excitement for what lies ahead. Like sojourners of times past, I want to welcome the Lord into these next 12 months. Or should I say, I with Him. I want to be sure the door of my heart is open to Him this New Year.
I recently read about an old Scottish tradition that placed much importance upon the New Year. Folks visited from house to house as the New Year rang in, wishing each other a good year while celebrating with food and drink. Once midnight passed, each household watched expectantly to see who would be the very first guest to cross the threshold of their door, thus portending what the next year would hold. I can just envision a knock on the door and families gathered around the hearth to see who would take that first important step into their home.
To acknowledge this tradition, the Celtic Daily Prayer Book includes a “first-footing” prayer for the New Year, on page 238 called The Opening Door, in which the pray-ers welcome Christ to be the “first foot” into their home to bless them. What a lovely idea!
I was so taken with this thought that I wrote a short prayer myself to welcome Christ into my New Year.
By Jane VanOsdol
I open the door of my heart this New Year …
to see Your glory all around me;
to hear the whisper of Your voice;
to smell the fragrance of Jesus in my life;
to taste the fruits of Your blessings;
to feel the presence of Your Spirit.
Welcoming your footsteps across the threshold of my heart,
Anticipating the gift of another year.
I wonder if your heart is open to God this year? Do you feel the anticipation of new adventures waiting to be lived, or have difficulties of time past left you dreading the door before you? Open the door to Jesus so that He is the first one to set foot in your heart this year.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20
May you experience the peace of Christ and the joy of living life with Him this year.
*Image courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net artur84
As I was working in my garden tonight, I was delighted to see five caterpillars (I think they’re monarchs) on my dill plant! What a treat to get such a close-up view of them doing what they do best–eating. I love observing the small, often unseen creatures in nature. As you may or may not know, the tag line to Only By Prayer says “where the sacred and everyday meet.” When I take time to stop and intently look at the little things in life, that is one way I am ushering the sacred into the everyday.
I ran into the house to get my camera to capture these fascinating critters. Take a look below. I was able to capture it in mid-bite!
The life cycle of the caterpillar and its metamorphosis into a butterfly (or moth) is a wonderful analogy to our lives with Christ. When we give Him control of our lives, He is able to transform our lives into a thing of beauty — to a degree that we would never be able to attain on our own. It does take some work on our part, though. Just like the caterpillars are muching away gluttonously to fuel their transformation, we also need to be taking in God’s word and participating in spiritual disciplines to grow. God has put the food in front of us, but if we don’t eat it, we’ll never realize the potential that He has given to each one of us.
Let’s munch away today!
“He that dwells with God in Christ Jesus is the man whose steps are enlarged in intercession.” Charles H. Spurgeon.
I came across this sentence in the book A 12-Month Guide to Better Prayer. I’ve started working through this book/study, and am currently in Chapter 2, which emphasizes how important it is to your prayer life to abide or remain in Christ. I’m intrigued by that term and have been praying about how I might do this. The term abiding comes from the Greek word meno, which can mean “to sojourn, tarry, not to depart, to continue, to be present.” All of these things take time, don’t they? [Read more…]