To Behold and Breathe

To pause, reflect, ponder. Who has time, especially in the west?

Being back in the matrix of the US brings back memories of stress and strain. Life is lived at a different pace and resulting quality. You can see it on peoples faces. They are tired, their souls are weary.

Creating space for our soul to breath, to wait on the Lord, is a gift.

Beautiful southern California at this retreat center.

I’ve been considering the word ‘behold’ in scripture. It’s been unfortunately replaced in most translations but in Greek specifically speaks to our responsibility to stop, reflect, consider and apply.  It’s usually preceding something very important, like when an angel shows up to proclaim, “Behold, I bring you great news”.. we’d be well to stop, reflect and consider what is about to be spoken.

To behold, to step back and take a deep breath and receive, is a choice.

This was a moving scene. Jesus praying in Garden while in the background the disciples sleeping.

Interesting how the enemy of our soul will do anything to keep us from our source of strength and peace, including portraying prayer as a laborious religious thing. For many years in my own life, prayer was something that made me feel good for the wrong reasons – it made me ‘feel’ spiritual when in reality, I wasn’t spiritual at all.

To pray is to come to God as a hungry, thirsty, and tired soul and simply be.

Fuller MAGL classmates hanging out tonight with course designer & author Dr. Bob Freeman.

“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation,” said Isaiah as he proclaimed prophetically the coming Savior, 2,700 years ago.  I don’t know about you, but I want to stay near my source, the unending fount of spiritual renewal.

Like I faithfully nourish my body several times a day, I need to pause, reflect, and behold Jesus. As Dallas Willard says, “Our greatest need is spiritual formation” and yet how many of us “purposefully interact with the grace of God?”

What brings you grace? A walk through a forest, a quiet moment on the edge of your bed?  We need to silence the demanding and relentless voices of our world.  Come up to the well, open your heart and receive the love of God in a fresh way.  Then do it again tomorrow.

One of the prayer stations included a replica tomb – the resurrection and hope in Christ!

Some reflections from my week so far at Fuller in Pasadena, California.

Today we spent the morning at a monastery dedicated to providing ‘space’ for those needing to listen and receive.  It reminded me how blessed we are in Ukraine to live in a slower pace where silence is the ‘pause’ is more readily available – but we still need to take it.

This week, in addition to some lectures and group tasks, we’ve been blessed to hear from over 25 of the students in the cohort.  We each had to present a 10 minute timed history of our personal salvation experience, current ministry context and hopes.

I, like always, became oblivious of the time and didn’t even get to current ministry context beyond a quick clip on Lighthouse.  It was a good lesson in how spaced out I get and how I need to, one of these days, actually try and read from a script.  It’s how Spurgeon did it!  I’ll never do it.

Big logo on side of arena, go leafs haha.

I’m excited to be sharing on this more next Sunday, August 5t at Crossroads Church in Longview, Texas. I hope to see you there!

Missing my sweet Deb and family, cramming in 8hr classroom days here with 4 more to go!  Side note, went for a walk yesterday and found an ice rink, was fun to sit and watch some little kids (mostly Asian) learn to play!

Hockey in summer, in California, who would have thought?

Plus it was free air conditioning, it’s 80-90’s here in day.  No thanks.

Deb and kids doing well.  So fun to see them tonight on video.  Claire tried to give me her blanket through the screen, and I almost convinced her I was eating her snacks.

We are planning a Saturday afternoon drive to the coast with some of our friends.  It’s the only free time I believe we’ll have to just chill and enjoy one another outside of classroom.

Bruce

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