Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Scattered thoughts about Soul Friends

This week I am focusing on the spiritual discipline of confession: agreeing with God about who He is and who I am.
Ancient Irish Christians chose a “soul friend” or in Gaelic, an anamchara. The Gaelic for soul means the whole person, so an anamchara was a friend you could talk to about anything—even sins. The practice began in monasteries where new monks were assigned mentors who were a little further on in the faith, but soon laypeople began soul friend relationships too. An anamchara would listen, offer encouragement, and assure the friend of God's forgiveness. He or she would also suggest changes for the future and hold the friend accountable.
A "soul friend" is a beautiful relationship, and if you don't have a friend you can talk to about absolutely anything, you should put this on your prayer list. However, I think there are sometimes seasons of life where the Lord is your only soul friend, and He calls you to lean on Him in a new way.
...By God’s grace I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not ineffective.
(I Corinthians 15:10)
I greatly rejoice in the Lord, I exult in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation and wrapped me in a robe of righteousness, as a groom wears a turban and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)
Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. (I John 3:1)


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Soaking and Shining

When I was little I had a plastic cross. All day long it looked very plain and plastic while it hung on the wall and soaked up the light. But when I turned off my lamp at night, the cross would glow for several hours.
If I kept it hidden away in a dresser drawer all day, it didn't have any light to give at night. Of course if I hid it at night, it didn't have a chance to do what it was designed to do: bring light to my room and remind me of my Savior.
Jesus called Himself the Light of the World, but He gave His followers this title too. We all need time with the Light, seeking Him and soaking in His wisdom. Then He enables us to shine.
Some of us feel more connected to God when we are soaking in His light (studying His Word, singing His praise, calling out to Him prayer), while others feel connected when they are sharing His light (serving Him by reaching out to others). Worship is not a feeling--it is an action and a choice, but God does interact with us through our feelings at times, giving us an awareness that we are worshipping.
Do you feel connected when you soak in His light?
Or when you shine in His service?
We're all called to both, obviously. Just like that plastic cross, we need God's light, but we are designed to shine. We all have different personalities and strengths. I am fascinated by the variety in the body of Christ.
When I asked my friends when they felt connected to God, they spoke of praying and praising and mopping and walking. They talked about turning up the music and dancing with their children as well as escaping to pray in solitude. One friend paints, another volunteers in an orphanage.
I like to drink coffee, read Psalms and look out my window at the mountains. Those quiet study times lead to my ministry at Bible study.
For God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God's glory in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)
Are you soaking in the light today? Are you listening to His voice calling you to an opportunity to shine for Him?
This post is adapted from Practicing Glory. Read about this Bible study here.
I found this picture here.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A still spot in the afternoon

I'm reading God in the Yard, by L.L.Barkat. I am fascinated by her commitment to sit in her yard for a little while each day to look and listen.

 We recently added a bench to our yard decor, and I find it very soothing to sit there with a cup of tea.

I hear the traffic on a nearby busy street, but our brick wall blocks it from my sight. The neighborhood gate clangs and I hear someone coaxing her dog out for a walk.

I see my garden gnomes and a few speckled lizards. I see the rosemary bush that I started to trim yesterday. I need to finish that...but first I'll watch the clouds rush overhead, and listen to the wind shake the palm tree.

I smell the basil and thyme in my herb garden. I'll run my hands through a few of those leaves before I go in, so I can take the fragrance with me.

I feel the sun's warmth and the wind's energy, and I am so grateful that it is October and seventy degrees instead of July and one hundred and ten degrees.

A peace enters my afternoon when I take time to just be.

Be still, and know that I am God...(Psalm 46:10 NKJV)

On In Around button

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Psalms on Sunday: Praise Yahweh

In Exodus 3, God introduced Himself to Moses as “Yahweh,” the I AM, the always existing, ever-present God. God said He cared about His people and He had a plan to deliver them. When God came to earth centuries later, His name was Jesus, which means “Yahweh saves.” Praise Yahweh today! Thank Him for His faithful love.

Praise Yahweh, for Yahweh is good;
sing praise to His name, for it is delightful. (Psalm 135:3)
May Your faithful love rest on us, Yahweh, for we put our hope in You. (Psalm 33:22)
Not to us, Yahweh, not to us, but to Your name give glory because of Your faithful love, because of Your truth. (Psalm 115:1)
It is good to praise Yahweh, to sing praise to Your name, Most High,
to declare Your faithful love in the morning and Your faithfulness at night.
(Psalm 92:1-2)

Today's post is a selection from Practicing Glory, by Ruth J. Leamy and Mark J. Leamy.
Photo: Red Rock Canyon, near Las Vegas, Nevada. Source Unknown.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Food Links on Friday

I found a menu planning website that features a gluten free option: 5 Dinners in an Hour . I'm trying one of the weekly menus in the next week. I'll let you know the results. The blogger makes five meals in an hour and then puts them in the fridge and cooks one each day. I like my veggies freshly chopped (onions taste better, in my opinion, if they are chopped the same day they are cooked), so I'm just appreciating the quick prep for each meal.

Today I found a monthly menu at Easy Eats. This is an online magazine filled with gluten free recipes. This does not have the easy ready-to-print shopping list that 5 Dinners in an Hour features, but the recipes look more interesting and thus more appropriate for my family's tastes. The Moroccan stew and the grilled shrimp and the arugula pizza look fabulous.

Last night I made a yummy roasted chicken recipe, and it was very easy and the children gobbled up the chicken, but I am wondering why my oven always requires a bit more time to cook chicken than recipes suggest. Cakes and cupcakes cook in the time specified, but chicken takes longer.

Check out my Gluten Free board at Pinterest.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My prayer disappeared

I wanted to post a prayer today.
I carefully chose each word,
and I had it all ready to post when the timer beeped.
I checked on the chicken and returned to my blog.
The power cord had jiggled, my laptop had turned off,
and my prayer was gone.

Now the power is back
and I decided not to rewrite my prayer here.

Because the Recipient already received it.

God heard the prayer I offered as I typed it.
It was for Him, not for cyberspace.

If you are studying Practicing Glory, please remember that the
spiritual practices are for Him.

He is the Audience.
The Recipient.
The One who Enables our gift-giving to Him.

Thank You, Lord, for hearing and seeing and caring.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Capturing a Moment

I wish I'd grabbed the camera. I am a terrible blogger. All the cool blogs have a photo with every post. I forget to take pictures, so I will just write words to capture this moment.

My eight year old ran outside this morning, her hair a tangled mess of curls, and her paisley skirt looking surprisingly cute with a leopard print shirt. She wore one shoe. The shoe was, of course, to help her stomp on a cockroach.

She jumped up and down on the doomed bug, and then leaned over to look at its splattered remains. Her blonde curls bounced in the warm autumn breeze.

She hummed and giggled and was just so completely herself.

This middle child is a blending of opposites. She is my most  feminine daughter--she loves the color pink, ribbons, tutus and baby dolls. Yet she loves to watch Lord of the Rings, fascinated by the battle scenes. She loves science and bugs and animals and she never turns away from the most gruesome photo in the science book of a lion devouring a zebra.

Several months ago I tried to start a conversation with her about heroes and people she admires and people she might want to emulate. "Why would I want to be like anyone else?" she asked, her blue eyes wide and puzzled.

Good question.

So today when I saw her jumping up and down humming and squishing a bug, I wanted to capture the moment, to show you my daughter just being herself. She's really good at it.

This is my post for On, In and Around Mondays.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


My friend asked me why the subtitle of my new book is "Light...Worship...Action!"

"Why not lights?" she asked, referring to the usual "Lights, Camera, Action!"

Here's why:

For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)

Practicing Glory discusses ten worship actions. God's light has shone in our hearts, giving us the knowledge of His glory. We respond by serving Him with our hands and our hearts. The word "Light" in the subtitle reminds me that this all begins with Him. He shone the light that awakened me to His salvation and prompted me to worship Him.

The worship actions (also known as spiritual disciplines) in Practicing Glory are

Worship: respond to God's love
Confession: agree with God's grace
Stillness: quiet your heart
Surrender: accept God's will
Serve: obey God's call
Fellowship: encourage God's people
Sacrifice: give and give up
Discernment: recognize God and His guidance
Celebration: choose joy and thanksgiving
Simplicity: be God's creation

I'm going to begin a Facebook group to discuss this book in the season leading up to Christmas. Please contact me at grapelighthouse @ if you would like to join the group. I will be leading a group through this book at church, beginning in January. At that time I will also begin a discussion group at Ministry for Women.

Thank you to all of you who prayed with me and discussed the worship actions with me!

Order Practicing Glory today

Practicing Glory is available to order!

All the details are here.