This is my 2019 Christmas gift to Jesus.
It's HARD to be a listener, believe me!
The sound of silence is difficult!
Silent-spaces are awkward-spaces
in my world...
however, not necessarily in the spiritual world.
BUT, paying attention and being present in the moment is,
in fact, a SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINE.
so that, I might, consequently, hear the voice of Jesus more clearly, too,
whether in His Word, in worship, in conversation, or even in just the silence.
His voice is a whisper.
But, for those who are paying attention,
just being still;
the whispers of Jesus are loud.
Whispers are loud to listeners.
So, I'm trying
to be in the moment...
really trying not to fill every silent-second with a sentence, or two, or three...
giving full on eye-contact
asking appropriate questions
using open and inviting body language
and, for goodness sakes, not looking at my watch, which is continually spewing notifications at me.
Yesterday, in listening-practice, through the voice of a friend over coffee, I heard the voice of Jesus.
His whisper was loud!
We were discussing humility.
(Side note: one of the goodest-hardest books I ever read was Andrew Murray's book: Humility: The Journey Toward Holiness. Advice: Don't ever pray for humility if you don't want to go through the lessons to learn that one. Whoosh!)
My friend mentioned Corrie Ten Boom's teaching on humility.
Corrie was once asked if it were difficult to remain humble as she received acclaim for her book, ensuing movie, and the numerous requests to speak a word of encouragement to others. Her reply at the time was simple.
"When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday on the back of a donkey, and everyone was waving palm branches and throwing garments onto the road, and singing praises, do you think that for one moment it ever entered the head of the donkey that any of that was for him?"
She continued, "If I can be the donkey on which Jesus Christ rides in His glory, I give Him all the praise and all the honor."
It resonated, because I so related.
But there were times this past year I've felt this way:
The two lines came from a love sonnet written by Joy Davidman, before her marriage to C.S. Lewis.
"The best of me is merely common-place,
And I am tired, and I am growing old."
When those words pop into my head, they, subsequently, shout this word:
It struck me as my friend mentioned dear Corrie, that as much as I talk about God using the common and ordinary in extra-ordinary ways, that, in reality, I don't want to be common at all.
I recognized a sinful part of me, buried beneath all my wordiness...
In spite of what I say, there is still a deceitful heart within me...
A prideful spirit...
A heart that manipulates:
If I say the right thing, then maybe I will receive what I want.
I offer the Lord words that speak "hineni" (here I am, ready, available, use me however) for Your glory...
Newsflash! Sweet manipulation is still manipulation.
There is nothing of humility to be found.
And, this morning that breaks my heart.
I want my words and my life to match.
Right now the two are incongruent.
I'm sure the donkey was as shocked as Balaam.
God used a donkey to bring a very pregnant Mary to Bethlehem.
As the donkey lay beside her resting in a filthy manger, he was one of the first to witness the entrance of the Messiah to the world.
And, as mentioned, God used a donkey to carry our Savior into Jerusalem, where he would die a violent death a mere days later for us all.
Nowhere in Scripture does the donkey boast of its mission.
There is no desire on its part to be anything but a donkey
doing what donkeys do best
carrying their masters.
But, every Christmas in every manger scene there front and center is a donkey.
Now that I was silent enough to listen...
now that the Lord has my attention...
I'm giving Him back my common-heart,
my nobody status,
so I can just be a donkey
God's glory rides in on
for as long as the Lord sees fit
to bring His GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY FOR ALL MEN.
XXXXXXAnd, with this I wish a
to each of you.
I'll be taking a blogging-break for the remainder of the HOLY-SEASON, along with a continued social media fast.
I pray your HOLY-DAY of Christmas is filled with deep reflection on the heart of Christmas: Jesus!