Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Lesson of the Moth

Lately, the Lord has been impressing upon me the need to increase my openness to His presence in my everyday life. To look for Him in the ordinary. I recently purchased a book entitled, "Contemplative Vision, a guide to Christian Art and Prayer." The author is Juliet Benner. She is an international retreat and workshop leader as well as a spiritual director. Juliet uses art as a means of connecting to God. In the book she focuses your attention on a variety of art work with Christian themes. The purpose of the book is to draw you to "enter in" and meditate on the particular painting allowing God to share His word to you through the Holy Spirit. I have found this contemplative exercise exciting and very rich in the lessons God has to teach me. My blog entry which focused on the Matisse painting "La Danse" is an example of this type of spiritual discipline. After focusing on one of the paintings in the book, I asked the Lord to increase my awareness of His presence. His response was to challenge me to meditate on the image of a moth drawn to the light. The question laid on my heart was, "What draws the moth to the light?" The next day after I came home from work as I was walking up the stairs to open the door, a tiny moth landed on my pants leg. I was excited as I felt it was an answer to prayer about being aware of God's presence, especially since I had been challenged to think about moths. However, that event did not fully answer the question about what draws them to the light. I began wracking my brain over all the possibilities.  I thought about the qualities of moths and the characteristics of light to no avail. Out of frustration I decided to go to the source of answers to all questions--Google! As I was searching, there were many interesting theories but I wasn't feeling any closer to an answer. The Lord finally impressed upon my heart, "You won't find the answer among men." The "spiritual two by four" hit its target. To the Scripture I went and finally understood that there was a connection between the moth attracted to light and the one that landed on my pants leg. Light represents the presence of God and His creation is attracted to it. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world." (John 9:5)  In 1 John 1:5 we read, "God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all." The gospel of John proclaims Jesus as, "The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world."(John 1:9) The remarkable thing is that we as believers in Jesus Christ also reflect His light. Jesus tells his followers, "You are the light of the world." (Matthew 5:14) He further exhorts us not to hide our light but to, "...let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16) These are just a few of the Scripture references that refer to light and the presence of God throughout the Old and New Testament. The lesson God was teaching me was that little moth was attracted to His presence in me! What a profound thought! The light of God's Spirit is so strong within us that even creation is attracted to it. This thought further deepened my understanding of the many times God gifted me with the opportunity to get up close and personal to dragonflies. I encourage you to be open to God's presence around you. Let the Spirit of Christ so shine through you that not only will people take notice but so will creation.
Be Blessed,
Pastor Sheree

Monday, July 11, 2011

Good Gifts and Gentle Reminders

It has been awhile since I last posted for a couple of reasons. First, as I mentioned in an earlier post, my husband's son and daughter-in-law are home visiting from their teaching jobs in South Africa. When they arrived on June 24, they spent the first few weeks visiting in Massachusetts and staying with us. This didn't leave much time to focus on writing or spending much quality time with the Lord. Second, the unfortunate consequence was that I found myself disconnected and distant from the Lord. After our visitors left to see friends and family in Maine, I struggled to hear from God. My times of being still and trying to hear his voice in the depths of my soul fell flat. I thought about some of the special times that God intervened in my life in some unusual ways through His creation when I was spiritually dry and longing to hear from Him. One of the more memorable times took place last summer when we had a very large population of dragon flies around our home. I have always found these creatures not only beautiful but intriguing. I asked the Lord to allow me to get up close and personal with these little wonders. God answered my prayer and I was able to merely reach out my hand and they landed, allowing me to speak to them about their beauty and praise God at the same time. Well, this summer there aren't as many dragon flies around so the opportunity to connect has been missing. Last Saturday my husband and I stopped by a greenhouse/nursery in search of a plant for my office at work. One of the owners of the business is an elderly, frail woman in her late 70s maybe early 80s. She was extremely pleasant and helpful and my husband had the opportunity to share the Lord with her. While he was ministering I watched the various insects flying around the shop. My attention was drawn to a buzzing sound at the customer entrance. It was a beautiful yellow dragonfly! The closed door was hindering its ability to get outside. At that moment I extended my hand and it flew over to me and landed. The owner of the store commented, "Look at that!" I drew the dragonfly close and began speaking to it while admiring its beauty. A short time later it flew off. In that moment I realized that God was gently reminding me that He was there. He knew the struggle in my soul and graciously sent a familiar messenger to remind me that I am loved. In Matthew 7 we are told, "Ask and it will be given you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him? (Matthew 7:7-11) Furthermore James states, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created." (James 1:17-18) Yes, my heavenly Father knows how to give good gifts and gentle reminders to His children when they are hurting. 
Peace & Blessings,
Pastor Sheree