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Can You Hear the Bacon Sizzle?

bacon sizzleDiving or snorkling off the Florida Keys, this sound haunts you at all depths. You can’t see why, you can’t explain it, but there it is… always… the distinct sound of bacon sizzling right next to your ear.

It’s creepy.

When I asked around about this, I was told that it was a sound audible in the ocean anytime it is quiet enough. That it is the sound of “sand being made”, as Parrot Fish, from every quarter, rasp algae off hard surfaces… rocks… coral… ship hulls… anything… by scraping the hard wall with their beak-like raspy snouts, consume the mineral mouthful, and eventually eject sand from their gill slits or other orifice.

parrot fishI don’t know if it is true or not, for I’ve not dived or snorkeled in all the waters of the world, and I can’t be sure that all of them ever truly get “quiet”. But I can tell you that wherever I HAVE been, when I am still and silent underwater, and there seems no other sound… I have heard this buzz of sizzling bacon.

I was reminded of all this today when I read some bits and pieces on prayer by some very wise, grace-filled, experienced… um… authors from ages past. The who, what, when isn’t the point here. The topic was “Stillness”, “Silence”, and “Hearing God”. Or rather… “BEING in/with God” beyond hearing or any other sensation.

We tend to be such “people of action”. We want to DO FOR God. Or DO WITH God. Or GIVE TO God. Or GET FROM God. We like to ACT, to DO, to BEHAVE, to somehow perform something that is pleasing to God.

And that it, far and away, a good thing. Yes.


But when we slow down a bit, when we focus on the Him as Him, a bit more… and the Us and Him a bit less… we are sometimes moved simply to HEAR Him. Not to do, or talk, even pray, not even to “worship” (which is often for us another “act for Him”)… but when we just settle down to ATTEND to listening to Him, hear His words, hear Him speak. In such moments we enter into a different kind of prayer than our petitions and intercessions, or even our praises. We enter in to “meditation”. We allow the Holy Spirit directly to teach, in His own words, in our own personal language.

It is like “Sunday School” with the One Teacher we need. It is “Tutorial Time”, as God Himself makes sense of the written words of Scripture, and how the living and active Word of God (Jesus) imbues and exhales His Spirit into our being, our lives, our relationships (with Him and with others). This process challenges the mind, stretches the understanding, expands our boundaries… as we grow in our knowledge (and therefore love) of God in all Persons.

This too, this other form of prayer, is an assuredly good thing. Yes.


But from time to time, at first very much at HIS behest, as He teaches us to find stillness, but then as gradually we learn the path to silence, we become ever more welcome into this… this… “garden”… this “meadow”… this “pool” where all is silent, we can come to sense what I can only call God’s very “Pulse”. It seems to reverberate below all else, and when nothing but the resonance of His pulse fills all of our being, it is as if we (as separate) cease to be at all, and all there is is this pulse, this beating heart, which is both Him and us at the same time.

When I first tried to describe this to a friend… this odd “silence”… this “still place”… and the profound effect it seemed to have for me, where there were no words, no quotations, no lessons… just HIM… and that that very HIM-ness was so profound that it left me gasping and changed in ways I did not understand at all and could not describe… that friend responded with these words:

“There is a life and aliveness in silence and stillness that is ‘other than’ the best and richest of life that is sound and action.  While there will almost always be, in our waking hours, sound and action – at the center of life there is silence and stillness.  We do not ‘go to’ this silence and stillness, we live continually in it and our outward sounds and movements are profoundly informed and changed by it.  Outward sounds and movements are important but not essential to our aliveness.  It is the silence and complete stillness that houses the well spring of our aliveness, which is Jesus Himself.”

And this also, is a different form of prayer. It has many labels and descriptions, lots of books written about it. But I’m not going to go there because all that contains the implication that these labels denote something “superior”, “higher”, “more advanced”, or even… heaven forbid… “unattainable”.

Once upon a time, (please forgive me), I believed that. I was trained that way, and had not yet learned how corrupt and humanistic so much of my training was.


I have come to realize that all such thinking is rubbish. God IS… God expresses constantly ALL that truly IS.

Here is what seems to be the first and last “complete and true” statement to be made of God…

“God Alone is God in Whom All IS. All that is not God, simply is not.”

There can be nothing beyond God. There can be nothing without God. There is God… or nothing. And “nothing” is not. Nothing, cannot be.

Hence, when Moses asked God who he should say sent him to pharaoh, God accurately (and completely) named Himself… “I AM who AM.” There is no more, or less, that can be accurately said completely to denote God.

We can say many other truthful things, yes. But to be honest, we must always acknowledge that while these may be truthful, they are all partial and incomplete. They are “fragments”, “aspects” of Him. They do not come near to “describing” or “naming” Him in a meaningful way. He is just so much bigger, so much greater, so much more, than we can find any words or concepts to relate for Him.

Only one thing…

Only one way…

Only one means, that I have found, to get near enough to “touch” that One Alone…

Silence… to find the Point of Stillness… to “float” or “drift”… to simply “BE”…  in His Ever-Presence… and then halt the mind, the constant interior monologue of thought, question, ponder, wonder, worry, even praise or prayer. To stop the flow of all the words, even for a brief time.

Simply to “Hush”… and “Be”…

This is not an arcane mystical practice, or the effort of decades of monastic asceticism… (or it doesn’t have to be).

This is a simple… “hush”… “Be still, and know… the I AM… God.”


When we dare to seek and embrace the silence… when we seek out not even His words… when we utterly relax in the palm of His hand…

Wait… listen… trust… do you hear it?

Do you hear the Pulse of God? It is there. Just be still, and that Pulse, which is your life, will fill and transform…

That pulse is always there, in the silence, in the stillness, where you may rest and breathe!

 

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2015 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds, Uncategorized

 

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The World Needs More Sleep

mary jesus sleepsRejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is [near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4:4-7]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A comment to a recent post discussing spiritual warfare brought up the topic of sleep. There are times that the enemy seems able to mess with our ability to fall asleep, the content of our dreams or nightmares, our ability to stay in peaceful restful sleep, and the like. I was struck with the vivid reminder of how true all of that is, and how important is our ability to rest, renew, and refresh in peaceful sleep.

So this is a quick “How-To” post regarding peace and sleep. As per usual, while there are scriptural anchors to this, along with some traditional theology, this is not “authoritative” “finger-pointing” “take notes now, ’cause you gotta do it THIS way” stuff. This is just “here’s some stuff I’ve learned along the journey and if it helps you, use it… if it doesn’t fit, throw it away” stuff.

Background Info:

  • Jesus is/was Son of Man, Son of God… both
  • We, in His image, have physical and spiritual nature
  • We, in His image, have will and creativity… imagination, ability to form and direct the mind in configurations we design
  • We, in His image, are subject to “spiritual input of others” whether of darkness or of Light, and we can choose how to respond
  • God is Our Father, Our Mother, Our Parent… neither abusive, nor neglectful
  • NO ONE and NOTHING is more loving, powerful, and/or protective of us… than Our Father
  • Sabbath is not only a command, but a blessing, a time for “trusting God with the care of ourselves and our stuff” without our own effort or help
  • God is Light and in Him is no darkess
  • Darkness cannot bear Light

OK, I could write an entire post (and often have), and more (and sometimes have) on EACH of those bullets… but not here, not now. If any one (or more) of them need more words from me… leave a comment or send an email.

The enemy can, at times, intrude on our thoughts and minds to prompt anxiety, stress, and restlessness. God, on the other hand, brings peace, trust, joy.

Before bed, take a few moments to prepare:

  • “Count blessings” – Childish as it sounds, “enter His gates with thanksgiving” is real, true, and grown-up. You are preparing to “sleep like Samuel” in the Holy of Holies of the Temple that is you, your own life. Begin, simply with a heart of gratitude (“gratitude is foundational”, a friend of mine says… True ‘dat.)
  • Leave worries outside the gate – Don’t deny or repress, just acknowledge all the stuff on the To Do list, pat them on the head, wish them a good night’s sleep, and resolve to see them tomorrow. For right now, you all need rest. They will manage without you for this time.
  • Wash up to change clothes – We all accumulate “road dust” through our days. Without making any big deal of it, take some time to reflect and acknowledge those moments of the day where conscience prompts that “this could have been handled better”, and resolve to improve. No archaeology here… no deep digging… just the thanks for what was done well, acknowledgement that not all was done perfectly, and resolution to do better… in our role of “clear vessel” for Him in our days.
  • Put on Your Night Robes – Draw onto your clean washed self, the fullness of your Private Interior Robes of the righteousness of Christ. He clothes you in His power, love, grace, and righteousness. Such clothing is embued with the very aroma of His grace and care. NOTHING can damage these, or pass their protection.
  • Enter the Holy of Holies, and settle in for the night.
  • Let Daddy tell you a bedtime story. Go to the Gospels, let the Spirit select a scene. Read it over, close your eyes. Use your sacred imagination to “apply the senses” to the scene. Envision it utterly, including sights, sounds, smells, textures, flavors… Then put yourself into the scene, AS A SMALL CHILD, hanging on to Jesus’ robes, or hand. When He sits down, climb into His lap and listen to Him speak.
  • Let the Spirit do whatever the Spirit chooses, and let Jesus rock you to sleep in His arms, there by the fire after supper. (Btw, He often sings or hums.)

No mother bear ever so guarded her cubs, as He guards a child in His arms.

Over time, with practice, this becomes ever more fun. He not only guards His children with peace, but He starts taking them places in their dreams and sleep. And THERE, they can do extraordinary things together.

When threatened with violence by human authorities that were astonished by His lack of fear, He responded, “…do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” [Matthew 26:53]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“Well!” one could say, “If we can do all this… Why isn’t EVERY night like this?! If THIS is what God intends in sleep, why hasn’t it ever happened to me before NOW??!!”

Um, it kinda depends on where we choose to sleep, dunnit? I myself, used to sleep in the scrub… at the mercy of every passing weasel and wolf. Then I figured out that I had my own “fortifications” available, and I used that. My own mansion, prayer closet, chamber. I knew I could hedge and post angels, and I did that for a long time.

Why didn’t I sleep in His arms? Um, ’cause nobody told me it was OK. Sounds dumb, I know… the Bible screams it at us constantly, but frankly… I thought it would be too “bold”, too “forward”, too “irreverent”. But then, one day I paid some serious attention to Samuel as a child in 1 Samuel 3, and found myself thinking/praying, “Wow, how neat would it be to have slept in the Holy of Holies with the Ark?”

God challenged me to try it. We actually LIVE in the presence of the Ark. The Ark dwells within us. The Holy Spirit within us occupies the Mercy Seat.

So… things have never been quite the same.

As to “night terrors” I shall say only this. The Immediate Presence of God is Light… no darkness. Darkness cannot enter that space. Evil, sin, cannot enter that space (just ask Nadab and Abihu). WE can enter that space because of the cleansing we have undergone in Jesus.

Use Superpowers… will, co-creation… following the prompts of Holy Spirit… and try an evening sleeping there.

Let me know how that goes…

Grace to thee — The Little Monk

P.S. This may help…

 

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Scenic Overlook

HawaiiHail to Thee, Gentle Reader! I hope this is, or has been, a wondrous day for you!

This is just a quick “sniglet”, a note, to mention this really cool little thing God did the other day as I woke up.

As you may know, if you follow this blog, I’ve sort of felt like I’m on a “quest”, a “journey” as the Lord helps me learn and grow in understanding of whatever it means to be a dweller in His Kingdom. Since Spring that has focused with ever greater intensity on Him and His Name as “Love”. Day by day and week by week, this incredibly patient and longsuffering Lord of Hosts works to teach me what that means.

As I hike along this path of gradually growing understanding, I try to leave little milestones along the way for others, through these posts. Thank you, Gentle Readers, for your ongoing prayers and encouragement in these travels… without that, progress would be much slower and harder.

Well anyway, sometimes it feels a bit “uphill”, and sometimes I feel like I’ve made a bit of progress, but then there comes this huge “wake up call”, as God turns a page to a new chapter, and I can feel like I’ve learned nothing at all. Know what I mean? Not deep discouragement or depression or anything like that… just the sense that I wish I were better at this. Or, that I wish I were better, period! lol

It’s one of those stark moments of self-honesty and clarity where we share Paul’s frustration, “The  good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” (Romans 7:19) Do you ever have those moments, Gentle Reader? Moments where you just look at that, sigh, turn and walk on? Well, from time to time I do. And the other day was just such a day, the Lord kindly brought to my awareness and began to work on a frailty of mine that I thought I’d outgrown… *sigh*.

Well, a couple days ago I awoke to the Lord ever-so-gently waking me, as if with a big smile and gentle hug. Then He said the strangest thing…

“Just remember, Little Monk, the Father is not nearly so concerned with you ‘getting it all right’, or that you DO everything in a way that pleases Him. THAT is not what gives Him the greatest joy. It is the fact that you DESIRE to be pleasing, and the effort you make to get there. THAT’s what gives Him His joy. He is fulfilled by the love of a child that seeks to please Him, far more than how successful the effort!”

It was like pausing for a wonderful rest break on this trek… pulling out onto a scenic overlook… just sitting in quiet wonder alongside Jesus… admiring His view of His Kingdom.

“Encouragement”… Gentle Reader. It was a moment of great encouragement, and I share it with you. If you also journey on this trek, seeking to be and become what the Loving Lord would have us to be… then remind yourself once in a while, it is not the success or failure of our daily efforts to grow in Christlikeness that give Him the greatest pleasure. We’ll have good days and less good days with that. It is the fact that this is the passion of our hearts, fueled by the love we bear Him…

This gives Him great joy indeed!

We’re all in this together. Thank you for praying for this oh-so-frail “work in progress”. Grace to thee! — The Little Monk

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2013 in Quiet Time, Uncategorized

 

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