Monday, August 31, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Surrounded by Light

Today my prayer was
Christ beside me, on my left and my right. (St. Patrick)

As I read various devotional books and the book of Psalms today, the theme of being surrounded by Christ's light kept showing up:

Satisfy us in the morning with Your faithful love so that we may
shout with joy and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90:14)

The dawn from on high will visit us, to shine on those who live in
darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.(Luke 1:70)

Light dawns for the righteous, gladness for the upright in heart.
(Psalm 97:11)

Lord, You have searched me and known me...(Psalm 189:1)

See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.
(Psalm 139:24)

Here I am Lord--
with what's left of my day.
Remind me that I live every moment in Your presence.
Search me
Lead me
Direct my thoughts
Guide my steps
so that my actions honor You
and my heart delights in You.

Zucchini Soup

Light. Healthy. Refreshing hot or cold.

Puree 3 chopped zucchini,
3 cups chicken stock,
3 cloves garlic,
and generous sprigs of your favorite herbs:
I suggest tarragon, chives, & thyme.

I recommend pureeing this in two batches.

Pour into saucepan and cook till bubbling. Add salt and pepper.

Serve, topped with grated parmesan cheese. If you're not calorie-conscious, add a swizzle of heavy cream.

Serves 4. Any leftovers can be enjoyed chilled tomorrow.

adapted from the Eating Well Diet Cookbook

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rejoicing in the Refuge

Psalm 64:10
Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in Him.

I loved seeing "rejoice" and "refuge" in the same verse! Even when a storm is raging, He gives us a reason to rejoice as we take refuge in Him.

A year and a half ago, my father was near the end of his life, and I was stressed trying to figure out how to be sure he was cared for a thousand miles away. During the day I read a lot of Psalms and took as many naps as my children allowed me to. My sweet husband knows how to relieve my stress, and he would bring home baklava and 1960s Avengers DVDs, and we would enjoy them together after the kids went to bed--a mini retreat, just the two of us and our munchies and our British television program. John Steed and Emma Peel's elegance shines through all the cheesiness of the Avengers storylines. Though it was a stressful time, I look back on those nights as cosy and fun. I felt that the Lord used my husband to make our evenings a refuge and a time to rejoice.

The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass on Tour

I've read The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass on Tour (aged far too much to put on the cover of a book) at least three times, and it gets funnier and more poignant every time. Though the title character shares the author's name, it is a book of fiction. Adrian Plass gently pokes fun at various aspects of Christian living, but while I laugh I notice the spiritual truths he is pointing out.

It is the fifth book in a series. The first four are:
The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass, aged 37 3/4
The Theatrical Tapes of Leonard Thynn
The Horizontal Epistles of Andromeda Veal
The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass, Christian Speaker, aged 45 3/4


Detectives on TV this week

I always like to check out the Mystery programs on PBS on Sunday nights. Last Sunday I watched Inspector Lewis and I found it entertaining. There were a few gruesome details, but I reminded myself that it was, after all, a murder mystery. The friendship and working relationship between Inspector Lewis and his sargeant was convincing and amusing. I always find that British cop shows have more dialog and fewer crime-solving gadgets than American shows. Perhaps that's why I enjoy them so much more.

Meanwhile, on American television, I was happy to catch an rerun of Castle, and even happier to hear that it's returning this fall. I appreciate the two main characters in Castle--the writers give them both strong personalities and snappy lines. This is an improvement over shows like Mentalist, where one lead is strong but the other just isn't given much of a personality.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Encouragement and Hope

One phrase stood out to me today in these two verses:

May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself
and God our Father,
who has loved us and given us
eternal encouragement and good hope by grace,
encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

What an appropriate prayer for every person on my prayer list!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Shield. Refuge. Secret Place.

I am praying through a prayer of St. Patrick, one phrase at a time, and today's phrase was “Christ as a shield, overshadow me.” This was just what I needed to pray today: I've been anxious and simply not peaceful for a few days.

After that short prayer, I opened A Heart that Hopes in God by Catherine Martin and the next segment was "The Secret Place in the Trial." This reading brought me to Psalm 31:8, which told me that my heavenly Father won't hand me over to the enemy but He has set my feet in a "spacious place." I meditated on that for awhile and I could see that when anxiousness is a cage, the Lord has a far more spacious refuge for me. I looked up a suggested cross-reference and found Job 36:16: "Indeed He lured you from the jaws of distress to a spacious and unconfined place." I pictured worry as a dragon with jaws open to devour me, and the Lord as my Shining Knight rescuing me.

Another verse in the reading was Psalm 46:1, which reminded me of my refuge and strength, my "helper who is always found in times of trouble" and I realized that He is always found, but only if I look.

Catherine Martin quoted F.B. Meyer's description of the secret place as "the royal withdrawing room." Last week I watched a travel program where I saw the interior of a Georgian house in Dublin. The tour guide said that the term "Drawing Room" came from "Withdrawing Room," and it was the place where the family would withdraw after a meal. I thought of the spiritual nourishment the Lord gives me each day, and how He invites me to withdraw from the hustle and bustle of life to enjoy His presence.

Next I read a few pages of Ruth Myers' 31 Days of Prayer, where I found this beautiful prayer:

Strengthen and renew me through Your Word, keeping me from sin--
so that time after time I may know the refreshment that comes from Your presence.
My daily reading in Psalms brought me to Psalm 68. Verse 35 says

God, You are awe-inspiring in Your sanctuaries.
The God of Israel gives power and strength to His people. May God be praised!

In the sanctuary--the refuge, the secret place--I meet the awesome Lord, and He provides power and strength.

Lord, how I need Your shielding today--shielding from anxiousness and worry especially. Forgive me Lord for sometimes looking at myself and my troubles instead of my refuge.
Lord, Your presence is my shield and my refuge today. As my kids get up from their naps and our household activities continue, keep me resting in Your secret place.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sacred Signposts: Exploring the Prayer Paths of St. Paul & St. Patrick

Sacred Signposts is a Bible study that explores the prayer paths of the Apostle Paul and St. Patrick. From the back cover:

It's easy to pray when your brakes fail or your friend is terribly sick, but is prayer part of your daily routine? How do you keep that routine vibrant and meaningful?

Sacred Signposts points you to two men of prayer: the Apostle Paul and St. Patrick. Both men were focused on Christ and devoted to prayer. This book will guide you through Paul's prayers, using one of Patrick's prayers as a poetic summary. By the end of the study you will have a personal collection of prayer and praise prompts to enrich your prayers. Each chapter has four short daily segments and a hymn.

Sacred Signposts is available for $10.00 plus shipping to residents of the United States. (E-mail grapelighthouse @ (without the spaces) to find out shipping rates to other locations, or for shipping rates if you're ordering more than 10 copies.)
To purchase Sacred Signposts, click here: