Sunday, February 01, 2015

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Focusing on the Book

As I write today, a winter storm has begun with a combination of snow and ice so thick already that our satellite transmission cannot receive transmissions from Direct TV.  The family who lived in this home before us was wise in keeping the original TV hookup to an antennae, which is how our living room television receives transmission.

No snow and ice stops the old fashioned way of tuning in... although trees in midsummer can make bringing in the PBS signal a little difficult.  I like the idea of a rather simple backup in the world of technology.  It also blends in well to all the pondering I have been doing lately.

In spite of a stack of books waiting on the coffee table to be read and reviewed, I have been picking up my used copy of What Makes Life Worth Living and reading a short essay here and there.  W. Phillip Keller's books have the same affect on my soul as does the late John Denver's music... it grounds me and causes me to fly all at the same time.

But Keller's books add an additional sense of Due North, they point the reader toward the Creator of all that is Beautiful.  While I can listen to Rocky Mountain High on the itty bitty iPod as I walk the trails in nice weather, reading essays by Keller also can take me to the  mountains or the beach or the forest or the wilds of Africa.  Back to nature.  Back to the God of Abraham, Issac, Jacob... and to Jesus Himself.

I am not one who likes to sleep outside.  My family has always said my idea of roughing it is staying at the Holiday Inn instead of the Hilton.  But having said that... I feel closer to God when hiking trails or walking along the sand at Lake Michigan than I ever had in a building.  I feel... focused.

After reading a few of Keller's essays, I started thinking of the words of the children's song which goes, "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.  Little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong".  Very simple.  Theology in its' purest form.  Focused.  Real.  Velveteen Rabbit real.

I am still working on the distractions of life which keep me from brewing a little pot of Paris tea, curling up in the overstuffed chair in the Study, and spending time with the One who wrote the Book.  I can't tell you how many nights that I am getting ready for bed, I realize I hadn't picked up the Word that day.

Oh, I do pray!  I was talking to Him last night and telling Him he was like an old shoe to me.  And before lightening zapped down from the Heavenlies, I knew the Lord understood completely.  For it is a good thing to be so comfortable with God that you feel His comfort all day.  Sometimes it seems when we take Him for granted that life often takes an unwelcome turn which sends our thoughts and attentions back to our True North!

It is as a result of walking through the storms of life with Him that I feel He is Comfort itself.  How many moments and hours and days and weeks and months and years have I had to cling to that Rock, fearing if I let go the winds of adversity would send me flying away into the netherlands.  Kind of like a scene from a favorite disaster movie.  Only this one has real life consequences.

I wonder, is it that very familiarity of His Presence that allows me to be less focused on His Word?  Oh, that is never an excuse and I am certain when I one day stand before His throne and rewards are being distributed, trying to explain that one would never work.  He does, as you understand, know our deepest thoughts and the intentions of our soul.

Is that why He allows us to go through our Dark Nights of the Soul?  Those times when our prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling and it appears He has forgotten all about us?  If we don't feel His presence, how do we know He is there?

His Word.  For it was the Word that was made flesh.  Him.  The Eternal Word, made flesh... for our Redemption.

And He knows us well enough to know if we truly want to focus on Him and His Word... being human and all... it is often when we absolutely have to do so that we are no longer distracted from the things of this world.  When everything around is falling apart, we head for the Book.

So as part of my intention this year to remain more focused on all that is important... I need to remember that Jesus does love me, this I do know, for the BIBLE tells me so.  He is there from Genesis through Maps... that which is often called the red thread of Salvation throughout the Word of God.

As for my focusing this week, I will make certain in the midst of reading that stack of books to review... I don't forget THE BOOK.  For we are told it is spirit and it is life.  No other book makes that claim... and the Word became flesh.  Jesus.  Savior.  Redeemer.  Soon coming King.

Image:  The Son of God movie


Glenda said...

LOL - I have always told my kids that my idea of camping is the Hilton. Now, I have a granddaughter who feels exactly the same way; gotta love those genes:).

Ann said...

Brenda, you always get right to the core of things in your Sunday posts. I need to remember, too, that just conversing with the Lord is not enough; that His way of communicating with me is through His Word. If I want to hear from Him, I need to pick it up every day and read what He is saying to my soul.

Keri said...

Beautiful post, Brenda! I wonder if there's a Christian alive who doesn't sometimes struggle with spending enough time in the Word. Of course, the fact that it's a common struggle doesn't make it excusable. But you do make a good point about the feeling of His presence making it seem like you've already spent time with Him all day long. Which, of course, is true -- when we pray and have our hearts tuned to His voice all the time, we ARE in His presence. But as you point out, it doesn't replace focused time letting Him speak directly to us through His Word.

On another subject, while I'm sorry for the inconveniences that you'll experience from this storm, I must admit to some jealousy. After a 2-inch snowfall in mid-November, we here in Louisville have experienced a serious snow drought, and until a couple days ago, we snow lovers had been hanging onto hope that this storm might finally end it for us, and in a big way! Alas, the storm took a more northerly track and we're left here with nothing but rain. But I'm consoling myself with the fact that life can go on normally for us today and I can still make it to our Sunday school class Superbowl party this evening! ;-)

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I find myself nodding while reading this post. I too find myself chatting away with Him or about Him all day, and yet struggle to get into the word on a regular basis.

Thank you for the reminders and encouragement to be in the WORD.


Living on Less Money said...

I treasure His Word. Oh, what a delight it is! Great post.

Vee said...

Oh me! I am one who is often guilty of spending more time reading about the Bible over actually reading it.

Jean said...


I haven't been reading blogs for quite a while, and it's been wonderful to catch up with you here. About 5 or 6 years ago, you encouraged me to set a special table for my holidays even though spent alone. I responded to your good counsel and to this day recall the wonderful feelings of belonging that ensued. (Isaiah 41:10)

What was once a total feeling of abandonment has evolved into a beautiful walk in The Word. So true are the words you write. Our Awesome Provider lives, breathes us on through this "living" connection.

This post is such a delight to read and hold close to the Heart. Thank you for bringing all this goodness to light.