Tag Archives: sacred

It All Begins Here: Birth of the Sacred…

sun He has sent redemption to His people;
He has ordained His covenant forever;
Holy and awesome is His name.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments;
His praise endures forever.  [Psalm 111:9-10]

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“It was a dark and stormy night”…

Yes, yes it was. A dark, stormy, Texas summer night… with no stars… no moon… because the sky was filled with thunderclouds. There is nothing… anywhere… like a Texas summer lightning storm. No rain, air barely moving, and it starts…

chain lightning 2Mighty thunderbolts shoot above, below, and through the billowed silhouettes of the thunderheads… flashing blue, and violet, and sometimes even green! Huge, massive, jagged spears of pure power. And the sound… the crashing… like a thousand train wrecks, all in a jumble.

You wait for it. You know it’s coming and you wait… and suddenly there it is… Chain Lightning… It starts in one huge thunderhead, and shoots to the next, then the next, then the next… sometimes as many as six or eight links in the chain…

Magnificent. There are no words for it. It is bechain lightningyond awesome! It is… GLORIOUS!

It is like standing in the midst of angels dancing in all their glory… hearing their footfalls… feeling their rhythms pounding on your chest, not just your ears.

You stand, oddly enough, in the midst of death. You realize you are in the presence of power beyond your imagination… and yet your pulse races with the sense of being immediately, presently, ALIVE, and somehow sharing in the moment.

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The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom

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The phrase had been haunting me… haunting me for weeks… it stood, stark, like a rock wall square in the path of my journey. I didn’t understand. I COULDN’T understand. But somehow… I HAD TO understand…

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom

How could this be? I sought wisdom. But I knew no fear of Him. A brilliant teacher, an Uncle in the Lord to me, once remarked that speaking to me was like, “speaking to the boy Jesus at the Temple.” That I had no religious training, upbringing, or church… but I knew Jesus and the Bible as if I’d been there. But then he added that there was only one thing wrong… one thing he didn’t understand… “Little Monk, you have no compunction whatever.” Lol… I had to ask him to define the word for me. I’d never heard it. He said, “Filial fear of the Lord.”

I remember pausing to reflect, then answering… “You’re right. I cannot imagine that. Oh, I can fear His anger… but not Him. Never Him. He’s held me on His lap since I was 3. He’s sung to me in the night. Dried my tears, and healed my hurts. How, after all that, how can I begin to ‘fear’ Him now? Can’t be done.” And I couldn’t get it, as I left Uncle’s office.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom

Years after that conversation, but still, nearly 40 years ago, now… this line came back to haunt me. I sought the Lord’s face. I trained in ministry. I sought after wisdom diligently. I learned prayer, meditation, contemplation, worship, spiritual disciplines, the art of spiritual direction… all that.

But yet, I did not understand “fear of the Lord”, and I felt that hampered my quest for “wisdom”.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom

And yet, “Perfect love casts out fear”…

I could not make sense of it. I prayed to understand. I’d studied the verbiage, I knew about “awe” versus “terror”. But I still couldn’t “GET IT”. I felt I was missing something terribly important, basic, fundamental here. Something I was called to understand, and yet failing to grasp. I prayed, I waited, I listened… God answered…

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One glorious night on a flat brown Texas field… no stars… no moon… no streetlights or houselignts. Just the pitch black darkness… and then… then… the Dance of Angels in Chain Lightning.

Louder than a battlefield. Mightier than Niagara. All around me… over me… soaring…

And out of that, God, in a quiet voice saying, “Do you like it? Do you feel it? Do you feel Me here?”

The thrill of it, Gentle Reader. The awe and worship of it… No words for that.

He went on, “This could kill you, you know. This is but a ‘flex’ of My arm. But what would happen if one of these bolts hit you, standing there? Would you survive?”

Clearly not.

“Do you realize the power here? You stand in death. You realize that, don’t you?”

I did. But I was not afraid. (Perhaps I ought to have been, but the prayer, the presence, was so powerful. There was no room for fear.)

“Now, Little Monk, understand forever more… that thrill, the pulse in your chest, this awe, this worship of My very Magificence… you realize the danger here, you are not silly… but you are awestruck, dumbstruck, with the Glory that is Me, and this small illustration of it. This… THIS, Little Monk, This exhilaration that you feel right now… THIS is David’s “fear of the Lord”… and it came from nights very much like this, in his fields, with his sheep. I could make storms like this for him, too.

“This is just an expression of Me. A picture of My power and grandeur. That feeling in your chest, is ‘worship’ and ‘awe’. That is a GOOD thing. Right now, you deeply sense the ‘Sacred’… if I asked you to kneel, right there, you’d fall to your knees in a heartbeat. This is what it is, to feel the Sacred in My presence.

“But the fact that I have such unrestrained power, does not mean I ever would or will, turn it against one of My children. You have it right, Little Monk… you have awe of Me, but no fear of Me, no terror. Never change that. Just worship Me in all things.”

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The word “sacred” has become very important to me these days. It seems to define the essence of “righteousness” and of “sin”. It summarizes all of the Law, and reflects the Gospel cleanly and clearly.

To be righteous is to treat others as sacred. To sin, is to do otherwise.

Herein lies what seems to be all that is wrong with our lives, with our children, with our families, with our government, with our world.

How has everything seemed to get in such a mess? It happens when we lose our sense of the sacredness of others, of life, of other’s rights to live free and without fear. When people become “objects” rather than sacred others… When we become “users” and “operators” rather than stewards and guardians of the sacred… life loses meaning.

But… but… we cannot, as Christians, as parents, as ministers, as teachers, as friends… promote and nurture the Truth of sacredness in and for other people, or even ourselves, until the Sacred is born in us to begin with.

That’s been an amazing thing I’ve recently discovered. I asked God where I ever got this “sense of the sacred”? For it is deep in me. Deep in the soil of my heart.

And He brought me back to this Texas field on a dark and stormy night…

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God said, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom

And wisdom begins, when you discover the heart of the “Sacred”…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Where was your dark and stormy night, Gentle Reader?


Posted by on February 20, 2014 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds, Uncategorized


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Two-touch Jesus

This is absolutely awesome. Those of you who “preach”… look at this take on the “trees”! Never EVER seen this possibility before, myself. Wow… just… Wow!

Just me being curious

We have a dog. She is a ball a muscle, full of love and energy. She would love nothing better than to roam all day in the woods. She often has. With us tagging along behind trying to get her attention to come back, that it is time to come home. She is deaf. No one has ever told her she is deaf. It’s just someone told us. And now she stays on a long lead.

The reason for mentioning our canine this morning was today’s verses.

They came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when he had put saliva on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, ‘Can you see anything?’ And the man looked up and said, ‘I…

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Posted by on February 19, 2014 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds, Uncategorized


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“Give Us This Day…”

Soda-Bread-1024x839 “When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.’” [Luke 11]

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“Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
‘Give us this day our daily bread.
‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’] [Matthew 6:9-13]

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We are exploring the unfurling of a wondrous Rose, in our gardens of spirit, considering the Lord’s gift to our lives of the Lord’s Prayer. We have acknowledged that there are two iterations of the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus gave an “amplified version” to the Multitudes in Sermon on the Mount, and a much leaner version in the Gospel of Luke to the Disciples. We have noted that “thee, thou, thy” is a more familiar form in older English, than “you, your” as we use the words today.

As we look at the Lord’s Prayer, one line per post, today we will consider:

‘Give us this day our daily bread.’ Multitude’s Version

‘Give us each day our daily bread.’ Disciples’ Version

I’m not going to elaborate on these differences but to say that these differences are real, they are there in the original texts. The phrasing of the first version seems to imply a “ration” or a “fixed quantity” of bread, one day at a time; while the second version uses a more “general span” term for each day, and a “variable quantity” of bread… sort of like, “whatever I will need day-by-day, whether that is more, or less.”

Again, the word “give” in both versions is one of those “magic Greek thingy” words, that cover vastly more than a “command” or a “suggestion”, both in time frame and in scope.

I shall leave you now, with this twirl of your own Rose, as I state that one of the coolest challenges Jesus ever offered to me was when He asked… “What if, Little Monk, you went through this whole prayer, instead of seeing all these lines as ‘petitions’ or ‘requests’… What if you saw them as ‘statements of what IS’? What if they were simply ‘affirmations’?”

It changed a lot of MY prayer life, I’ll tell ya…

Enjoy, Gentle Reader, and feel more than free to comment and discuss! Grace to thee — Little Monk


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Two Years in One Hour

This is an extraordinary talk by Richard Rohr from YouTube entitled “Finding God in the Depths of Silence”.

It expresses, with breathtaking clarity, Truths I have only come to realize in the past 18 months or so…

An hour and ten minutes or so is a considerable investment of time, life, heartbeats and breaths… but I would encourage you, Gentle Reader… to make this journey.

“Finding God in the Depths of Silence”

Please comment, as you feel led. Blessings and grace to thee — the Little Monk.

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Posted by on August 18, 2013 in Quiet Time, Uncategorized


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Peace from Conflict

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
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Isaiah 64:8 But now, O Lord, You are our Father,We are the clay, and You our potter;And all of us are the work of Your hand.
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Romans 9:19-24 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.

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Have you ever sought peace in the midst of conflict? Ever sat watching the news on TV and think, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Whether we think about the world at large, or the nation, or our county and town, or our families, or even our church… we are often faced with the reality that we so easily hurt and wound one another. And we wonder, why? How do we do this? Or, more to the point, how do we STOP doing this?

I teach, preach, and counsel in my vocation. And recently I found myself praying just to understand… how to be a peacemaker… how to help heal wounded hearts… how do we stop wounding one another?

God is just so incredible. You wouldn’t think He could answer such a prayer, but He did. He showed *me* at least, how I could become a peace bringer, and avoid ever again wounding another by my carelessness, arrogance, or malice.

It started with John 14:27… showing me that He, and He Alone, brings peace. That *I*, for one, tend to hurt another when I am “troubled” or “fearful”. When I myself am calm, at peace, self-assured… I seldom if ever lash out. I am unthinking and hurtful when I am anxious, stressed, worried, or otherwise fearful about a situation or circumstance. In Christ, when I am focused on my servanthood in and to Him, rather than on my own self-centered agenda, I have the “resources” to be a peace bringer. Without Him, I don’t stand a chance.

Next, God showed me His name as “Potter”. Whether the Jeremiah passages, or Isaiah here, or the Romans passages… GOD HIMSELF fashions every person who ever has been, or ever will be, born.

And He really HELD me here for a long time. Think about that a moment. Ever watched a Potter? Really?

I mean, there’s LOTS of way to MAKE STUFF, if that’s all He were about. Blacksmithy, woodworking, carpentry, even stone sculpting. Everything else uses “tools”… the crafter manipulates “tools” to shape the material.

Not so with the Potter. The Potter fashions His creations with His naked hands. (Did you ever see the Movie “Ghost”? If not, you may want to check out the scene on YouTube, accompanied by “Unchained Melody”, starring Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze. It is sensual and intimate, so here’s your “mature audiences” warning. But the scene has deep meaning as well.) It is that “intimacy” that is my point! No other form of “fabrication” so intimately connects the artist with the product as wet clay pottery. There is deep involvement, love, CONTACT… for God to fashion us from clay.

As He showed me this, The Lord said, “Those hands… those hands fashioning you… those are MY hands! Considering Who I am… the Holiness in these hands… how holy is that vessel I craft?”

I cannot explain what happened, so you, Gentle Reader, will just have to bear with me here, but as I simply pondered this… sat and soaked in this imagery and in His question… the most incredible realization just seemed to steal over me like sunlight creeping forth beyond a shadow…

“We are SACRED!”

Me, yes. But not only me, of course. EVERYONE so crafted. Every person on Earth, from the beginning of time to the very end… everywhere… fashioned from before the beginning by the Holy Hands of God… thought of and loved from before the womb. Sacred vessels… fashioned specifically and individually, unique, by the Mind and Hands of God… designed to be a suitable dwelling for He Himself, The Lord of Hosts!

How sacred is that? How holy is that?

There is much speculation these days about the fate of the Ark of the Covenant after the Babylonian Captivity. It captures even the attention and interest of the non-believing world. But just imagine if you can, for one moment… Imagine the Ark were found. Imagine that it were placed on a world tour as the Golden Mask of Tutankhamun was a number of years ago. How many people would come and wait hours or days on line to simply VIEW it? How sacred would we take it? How many pilgrims would travel to be in its presence and pray? Would we TOUCH IT? Would we dare?

And yet, the Ark, sacred as it is… was fashioned by the hands of man. (God’s instruction and blueprints, no doubt… but still, men’s hands). And the Ark contains (or contained) a pot of manna, the rod of Aaron, and the tablets of the Ten Commandments. The Shekinah, the Radiance and Glory of God, would shine forth at times from above the mercy seat atop the Ark, seen by the Children of Israel. Sacred? Supernatural? Incredible? Without the slightest doubt! YES!

God just “ramped this up” as a realization in my heart, mind, spirit as He showed me this incredible Ark and all He did with it. It was that sort of moment of awestricken reverence that hits us from time to time in prayer and may (physically) drive us to our knees, but CERTAINLY spiritually bows our heads before our Awesome God…

And right there… suddenly… BAM! It all changed. It wasn’t the Ark anymore… not a vessel for the most sacred artifacts man had ever preserved from His relationship with God…

It was… a person. Me, you, the next door neighbor, the loud boisterous kid who lives down the street and leaves his toys out on the road, the irritating cougher who sits on the pew behind us, and even the schizophrenic bicycle peddling homeless guy who wanders all over town.

Each of us! ALL of us! Sacredly fashioned, not by the hand of man, but the very hand of GOD! Destined not to be lost in the recovery from a military conquest by Babylon, but destined for eternity and Union with God Himself. Vessel not for holy relics of momentary divine encounters, but vessel for the Living Presence of God Himself in and with us… Intimate Immediate Presence… here and now.

Gentle Reader, it is difficult even to type these words for the power of this simple moment of “realization”. Even to “recall” this lesson, to chronicle it here, is to feel the magnetic pull of His presence trying to draw me again into the worship and wonder of it all.

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I haven’t been the same since. If THAT is what we are… if THAT is how sacred we are… if THAT is how God sees us… if THAT is how loved and treasured we are, that Our Heavenly Father would send His Incredibly Beloved Son to live, bleed, die, and rise again simply to rescue and renew such children for His adoption, such vessels to hold Him Himself…

How can I ever dare to wound or injure such a child? How can I treat so sacred a creation with contempt, or disrespect? Frankly, how can I even LOOK UPON such a creation with less than the utmost reverence?

And it’s not a matter of whether someone is, or is not yet, a Believer! If a Believer, that is wondrous! For they now fulfill the purpose of their creation, and can grow in grace, love, power, and authority to be about the Kingdom and Family Business! Wonderful! But ALL these vessels are sacred… because of the Hands Who fashioned them, the love in which they are held and sustained in creation, and the price paid to redeem them.

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Conflict? Impossible! Not for me anymore. People are just too sacred for that.

And I realized, this was the point. This is why The Lord chose this means to answer my question. People can disagree. Even strongly so. Peter and Paul didn’t see eye to eye on everything. But neither of them EVER violated the sacredness of the other. This is what I needed to learn.

We cannot wound and injure one another. Why? Because God said not to. (End of “the reason why”).

Now, once the obedience and authority are understood… God has no problem explaining that He has made each person sacred, and we are simply to treat sacred realities with reverence. I can disagree with someone without disrespecting them. I can hold a strong conviction contrary to that of another without devaluing or demeaning them, either directly or by ridiculing their position.

Jesus sort of wound this whole session down summarizing thus:

“Little Monk… I’ve commanded you three things only: Love God absolutely, without remainder, and with all you are and have. Love yourself. Love your neighbor. NOW. Child… you know exactly why We command this! It’s because ALL of that is sacred! You will love all that is sacred, and treat all with reverence!”

I had a teacher once, long ago, who tried very hard to show and teach me this. Decades later… finally I get it.

* sigh * Sometimes, I’m not a quick study! Pray for me now and again! Still a work in progress!

Little Monk

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Posted by on November 4, 2012 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds, Uncategorized


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