Tag Archives: Luke

Waiting

Waiting:  it is perhaps one of the things we like the least but do the most.  Each day, we find ourselves forced to pause while someone or something completes a task.  Perhaps we find it frustrating because we are used to going through life at our own pace and find the imposition of a different pace to be both uncomfortable and irritating.  Or maybe it is because we feel that, as we are waiting, we are being cheated out of our time because we don’t have control over how long we must wait.

As frustrating as we find waiting to be in situations we do not think of as spiritual, it is no surprise that we are similarly irked when we find ourselves forced to wait in our Christian walk.  This may take shape as hitting a spiritual plateau in which we do not feel the same sense of growth that we used to.  We may also encounter waiting as a sense of being distant from God.  Nonetheless, from this handful of examples, we can see that waiting is an inseparable part of our spiritual journey.  It is part of the undulating road that we walk as we seek to draw closer to God.

Waiting, itself, is no novelty in Christianity:  after Christ’s ascension, the disciples were told to wait until they had received the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49), the kings of Israel, Judah, and Edom had to wait until morning for the ditches that had been dug to fill with water (2 Kings 3:20), and we live our lives in anticipation of eternity, just to name a few examples.  Though we are forgiven the moment we repent and turn to Christ, Christianity is not of religion of instant gratification; it is a religion that is founded on relationship, and sometimes that means waiting and remaining faithful.  One of the most poignant examples of waiting on God is the story of Abraham being called out of his homeland by God (Genesis 12:1-9).  Abraham (then called Abram) was told to pack up, leave his home, and go to a land that God would show him.  In many ways, Abraham was being asked to go and wait.  It is one thing to wait while we are secure in the midst of familiar surroundings and quite another to wait while outside of our comfort zone.  Such circumstances bring to mind the question of exactly how we wait:  what do we do when we are waiting on God?

One way we may go about waiting on God is to push our spiritual life to the side.  There doesn’t seem to be much going on there, so why attend to it?  Surely our time is better spent on something else at the moment.  While such a mentality can assist us in becoming better multitaskers, it can also be a detriment to our spiritual growth.  Another way that we might approach waiting is to very simply refuse to do it and give up on our spiritual walk altogether.  After all, is it really worth the time and hassle if we’re just going to have to wait?  This, too, is spiritually unhealthy and cause for us to reconsider where we stand with God (Matthew 13:20-21).

So what are we to do when waiting on God?  Above all else, we must remain faithful.  This means continuing to be diligent in our daily lives:  maintaining our times of devotion and prayer and continuing to live our lives according to Christ’s example.  Our obedience to God and acts of devotion are responses to God’s love for us (1 John 4:17-5:5).  As such, they are not dependent upon immediate feedback because they are based on something far grander in scale.  Love is more than a feeling:  it is obedience, commitment, and selflessness, among other things.  When we love someone, our attitudes and actions towards them ultimately proceed not from temporary feelings (though these may certainly have influence), but from deeper within our hearts, from a deep-seated desire for them to be truly happy.  Love does not consist solely in doting and being doted upon, but also of making hard choices for the betterment of the other party.  This is why, for example, parents discipline their children:  it is not pleasant for any involved, but that discipline teaches the children valuable lessons and is instrumental in their continued healthy development.  When we are waiting on God, we continue to pursue Him and remain faithful, not because it is particularly pleasant at the time or we are trying to earn His love, but because He loves us and we love Him.  Perhaps we wish the answer was more complicated than that, but that is the heart of the matter.  Our response to God’s love persists even when we are not filled with the warm glow of affirmation.

It would be remiss to overlook why God sometimes makes us wait.  As stated earlier, when we love someone, we seek for them to be truly happy.  As God works in us to grow and shape us, sometimes He steps back to allow us to stand on our own.  It is not unlike a child learning to feed itself.  There comes a point when it must learn to convey food to its mouth on its own.  Even though the parents are no longer spoon-feeding it, they don’t love it any less; as a matter of fact, it is because they love it that they put it through the ordeal in the first place.  Likewise, when God asks us to wait on Him, it is because He is teaching us to feed ourselves:  to take what He has given us and be nurtured by it, rather than being spoon-fed.  It helps us to grow and mature spiritually.

When we are waiting on God, despite appearances, we are going through an important process of spiritual maturation.  We learn to show love when we don’t necessarily feel love as we are shaped into the image and likeness of Him who gave the fullest measure of love for those who hated and reviled Him.  Our growth while waiting is not restricted to times when we are waiting on God:  when we wait on others, we can still share the love of God with how we wait.  Are we patient?  Are we kind?  Do we give grace as we have received grace?  As the seed lies seemingly inert in the ground before growing into a fruit-bearing plant, so the times when our spiritual life seems inert eventually grow and bear spiritual fruit.

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Flay & Pray

I have written about League of Legends in the past, and I hope you will permit me to write of it again for illustration’s sake. One of my favorite characters to play as is Thresh, “The Chain Warden.” His tools of choice are a pair of chains tipped with a scythe and a lantern respectively. Thresh’s primary contributions to his team come in the form of restraining and locking down enemies while protecting his allies and helping them reposition on the map, all while soaking up the damage the opposing team dishes out.

Thresh’s first ability is “death sentence”. When activated, with the clatter of links, Thresh twirls the scythe over his head like a lasso before hurling it in a target direction. If it collides with an enemy, the scythe hooks onto them and they are stunned while Thresh tugs them toward him twice. He can even reactivate this ability to use the chain like a zip-line to dash to the hooked target. His second ability is “dark passage”. This causes Thresh to toss his lantern to a target location providing a shield to one nearby ally. If an ally clicks the lantern, Thresh uses it to quickly pull them to his location, even across walls and other obstacles. (This is sometimes called riding the “Thresh Express”.) Third in Thresh’s kit is a not so flashy move called “flay”. Passively, it causes Thresh’s basic attacks to do extra damage. Upon activation, he sweeps his chain in a line extending in front and behind him which pushes all enemies in its path a short distance in the direction of his swing and slows them. Last is his ultimate skill, “the box”. Activating this ability causes Thresh to summon five spectral walls around him, closing in anyone caught inside. If an enemy runs into a wall the wall is broken, but in return they take heavy damage and are slowed by a full 99% for 2 seconds.

As you might guess, these skills can be chained together to accomplish some pretty useful things. Most notoriously by grabbing an enemy with “death sentence”, tossing the lantern to an ally, then zipping to the enemy and using the lantern to bring your friend along to say hi. However, it is the subtle “flay” that plays a huge role in bringing many of Thresh’s combinations together and also brings a boatload of utility to the team. The slow it provides can be used to make landing “death sentence” easier and it can be used to push enemies into the walls of “the box”. “Flay” can also be used to interrupt enemy’s dashes, preventing them from escaping or diving onto one of your allies. In many ways, this least visible of Thresh’s abilities is also arguably the most important to his kit.

So why all this explanation? Well, this “flay” ability and the place it occupies in Thresh’s kit provides a good illustration of how the less visible and less public of our spiritual practices are the most important to our spiritual wellbeing. It is often the case that when we think of doing spiritual things, we think of going on mission trips, taking some huge leap of faith, or intensely spiritual experiences in general. However, while these things are good for our growth and service to God, they aren’t things that make up a large portion of our daily life. Rather, they are like highlights that give us a graceful boost. It is a dangerous proposition to try to engage in a spiritual journey using only these hops and runs, as we will soon find ourselves short on energy and short on progress.

It is better for us that we find a pattern and routine of regular time spent with God. This is, in fact, what we see modeled for us by Christ in the Gospels. In Luke’s Gospel, especially, we are shown that Jesus regularly withdrew to be alone with God and pray. When word spreads of how Jesus healed the leper and crowds come to Him to hear and to be healed we read: “So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.” (Luke 5:16) This isn’t Jesus fleeing from the crowds and refusing to minister to them. It is Jesus making time to spend with God in quiet, even in the midst of His rapidly growing ministry. Later on, in chapter six, we read: “Now it came to pass in those days that he went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.” (Luke 6:12) This account is situated directly after Christ healed a man with a withered hand and right before He calls the twelve. Again, we see Jesus stepping back from His more public and visible actions to spend time in quiet with God. In verses 9:18 and 11:1, we get another interesting perspective of Jesus’ prayer-life: “And it happened, as He was alone praying, that His disciples joined Him, and He asked them, saying, “Who do the crowds say I am?” (Luke 9:18) “Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1) In these two instances, we encounter Jesus’ withdrawing to be in quiet prayer as something that He regularly did.

Although these portions of the Gospels are brief and not very flashy, we should not discount their significance nor overlook the importance of the picture they present when viewed together. We see Christ, who was 100% God and 100% man, regularly making time to spend with God in quiet; especially when things got busy. These times of quiet form the base from which we work and are sustained. Without them, it is easy to be swept up in and consumed by the busyness of the very endeavors we seek to serve God in. We might think of them as a sort of glue which holds the rest of our spiritual lives together by being the means by which we remain in God and abide in Him.

Just like Thresh’s “flay” is a subtle skill that brings the rest of his kit together and is crucial to him being able to fill his role well, our times of quiet retreat into secret prayer are vital to us being able to be good stewards of the gifts God has given us and to travel well on the road of discipleship.

Chibi Flay


The Benefits of Memorizing Scripture

Growing up, one of the staples of any youth-oriented church activity was “memory verses”. We would set our little minds to engraving Bible verses on our brains, either as a part of the regular activities or in order to obtain some kind of reward. However, there were always the looming questions of “why?” and “what do I do now?” Of course, there were the immediate reasons of following directions and trying to earn prizes. One might also include the justification of it simply being what you do at church. At one time, I thought of it as memorizing a set of rules so that I would have an appropriate response ready for a given situation. The problem is that there is a lot of Scripture that doesn’t neatly fit into this schema, so I again found myself with a fist full of words that I didn’t know what to do with. Confusion and frustration aside, we may also question what benefit there is to memorizing Scripture anymore since we can have access to entire libraries at the push of a button on our phones.

 

Before proceeding into the benefits of memorizing Scripture, we must first recognize and acknowledge that the act of memorizing Scripture, in and of itself, does us no good and has no merit. In the tradition of the ancient monks, we read the story of one monk who boasted to his elder that he had memorized the entire Old and New Testaments, to which the elder replied with the observation that the monk had only filled the air with words. If we want something more definitive, we need only look as far as Jesus’ lamenting the state of the religious leaders who, despite their many religious-appearing acts, were no closer to God for them. (Matthew 23:1-36)

 

The benefits of memorizing Scripture come not from having memorized it, but from what we do with what we’ve memorized. One might think of it as laying up the written word of God in an extremely easily accessible place. Once stowed in our memory, we can easily recall it in order to ponder it and meditate upon it anytime, anywhere. Being able to regularly submerse ourselves in a passage rather than skipping along the surface is more conducive to letting it read us and soak into our hearts. Another thing that memorized Scripture can be used for is prayer. Sometimes we find ourselves spiritually or mentally out of gas and out of words to speak to God. At such times, being able to recall Scripture from memory can be helpful because it gives us words and material to pray to God. The last use for having Scripture memorized that I wish to point out is what is sometimes referred to as “talking back”. Essentially, this amounts to using the words of Scripture to rebuke the sinful thoughts and temptations that come to us. The ancient monks took this practice from the story of Christ’s temptation (Luke 4:1-13) in which He rebuked the devil each time by quoting Scripture. When we talk back to our temptations, it also helps us to move back to the straight and narrow path by refocusing on God when evil would lead us this way or that.

 

I suppose, ultimately, the core benefit of memorizing Scripture is ease of access. There are few things as mobile and easy to get to for us as our own minds and if we wish to better subsist on every word of God, we cannot ask for a better lunchbox.

Chibi Memory


Temptation is no Laughing Matter!!

Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!! (ドウンタウンのガキの使いやあらへんで!!) is a popular Japanese variety show the name of which translates as “Downtown’s ‘This is no task for kids!!’”.  It is hosted by the comedic duos known as Downtown and Cocorico along with comedian Hōsei Yamasaki and features a variety of skits, games, and other antics.  Perhaps the most intense of these is the annual “no-laughing” batsu (punishment) game that the cast engages in to ring in the New Year.  During these games, the hosts undergo a 24-hour “training” session for some job (such as spy, reporter, or hotel man) during which they are strictly forbidden to laugh.  If they do laugh, they are immediately punished (usually with a swift whack to the posterior).  However, the “training” that they receive is a series of skits and set-ups designed for the sole purpose of making them laugh.  The winner is the one who receives the least number of punishments.  Needless to say, the final tallies are all always in the triple digits.

While the show primarily provides wild and often unpredictable entertainment, it also gives us a mirror of sorts that shows us how things turn out when we try to stop sinning using our own willpower.  Just as the hosts are told to stop laughing one day, we also are tempted to think that we can just decide to stop sinning.  The problem is that our decision is to stop sinning, not to submit to God, which is at the heart of the matter.  We cannot overcome sin except by God’s grace.  Without resting in this grace we keep ourselves at the mercy of sin just as the hapless hosts are at the mercy of the pranks and skits they encounter.  No matter how hard they try, they will inevitably break down and laugh.  Similarly, we can fight temptation as hard as we want, but it will always win in the end if we don’t have God in the equation.

James sums up this dynamic by writing:  “Therefore submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts you double-minded.  Lament and mourn and weep!  Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift your up.” (James 4:7-10)  Submission to God comes first and foremost.  When we humble ourselves before God, then and only then are we able to rely on His strength to resist the devil and temptation.  When we think about what James means by “Let your laughter be turned to mourning…” we shouldn’t be lead to the conclusion that being humble before God means that we should never laugh or be joyful.  Jesus presents what this humility is about in the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. (Luke 18:9-14)  The tax collector who “went down to his house justified” sounds a lot like James’ description of humbling ourselves.  The key lies not in any particular emotional state, but in recognizing God as our savior, our justifier, rather than ourselves.  “God, be merciful to me a sinner!”

So it is that when we trust in God rather than ourselves, we meet with better results in avoiding sin than the Gaki members do in their ill-fated attempts to avoid laughter (and the subsequent punishments).


WTH 3 – Divine Intervention

Last week’s topic was God’s holiness and why sin cannot exist with that holiness.  God deals with sin by disposing of it in hell.  Thus, we cannot take our sin to be with God.  The question we are left with is how we fit into the picture.  However, before we get to us, it is worth talking about angels.  The fallen angels were cast out of heaven when they rebelled against God and became sinful.  The ringleader of this detestable lot was none other than our adversary and accuser, Satan.  Now, when Satan and his ilk were cast out, it wasn’t merely being kicked to the curb.  Jesus states that He, “…saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” (Luke 10:18)  Dante Alighieri, in his epic poem, The Inferno, paints a humorous picture of the result of this bolt-like descent.  He places Satan at the very bottom of hell, where, after having performed the mother of all face-plants, he is buried up to his waist in ice, heels to the heavens.

In 2 Peter 2:4, we are reminded that God, “did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment”.  We often think of hell as a kingdom ruled by Satan.  However, this is simply not the case.  The Bible never speaks of Satan holding any kind of power or authority in hell.  Satan is sometimes described has being the ruler of this world, but not hell.  He may perhaps be the most notorious inmate, but he is certainly not the warden.  In the words of a preacher I once heard, “He’s down there soaking up the heat like everyone else!”

Thus is the state of the fallen angels and ours would be no different.  We, too, are marred by sin and it is not something that we can separate ourselves from.  We are incapable of living sinless lives.  Because of the sin we’re attached to, we find ourselves staring down the maw of hell.  Simply put, God is set apart from all unclean things, including us.  This however, is not the end of the story; it is at this point that God intervenes:

“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.  But God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

-Romans 5:6-8

In His death on the cross, Christ took upon Himself everything in us that is hellbound.

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

2 Corinthians 5:21

Additionally, He received the wrath of God laid up for us on account of our sin.

“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our inequities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”

-Isaiah 53:4-5

In doing this, our bounds to sin where severed and we are free to lay down our burden.

Christ’s work on the cross and continuing ministry as our great High Priest separates us from our sin so that we may be counted among the holy.  (This isn’t to say that we don’t still stumble into sin, hence His continuing ministry.)  Additionally, God makes His Holy Spirit to dwell in us and carry out the sanctification and conversion of our hearts.

God looks upon our state, our inability to stand before His holiness on our own, and is filled with compassion.  He gave His only begotten Son so that we may be reconciled to Him and stand before His holiness, not by our own strength, but by His.  It is God who casts into hell, but it is also God who saves from hell.  To get a more complete handle on the love that God has shown us in Christ, consider this:  “For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham.  Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.  For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” (Hebrews 2:16-18)  Christ did not die for Satan who is described with the powerful images of a dragon and a roaring lion, or for the other fallen angels described as stars.  Rather He died for us, who have frames that are weak like dust.  With this in view, we can truly say with the Psalmist:  “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that you visit him?  For you made him a little lower than the angels, and you have crowned him with glory and honor.” (Psalm 8:4-5)

Practical Questions:

  1. What are some ways that we are led to think of Satan as a ruler and king over hell?
  2. What dimensions does the idea of defilement and uncleanness add to our view of sin?
  3. What does it say about God’s character that He takes action to bridge the gap we are unable to?

WTH 1 – Yes, Virginia, There Really is a Hell

Hell can be a difficult thing to get our minds around.  Perhaps the most difficult part of it is reconciling a God Who is love with a God Who created hell.  We will be spending the next couple of weeks considering this topic.  I do not promise that at the end we’ll have all the answers arranged in neat rows, but I do hope that as we work our way through it will help you to get a better handle on the matter and on Who God has revealed Himself to be.  That being said, the first step we’ll take in our little journey is to consider what hell really is.

The Scripture that we are going to look at is Mark 9:42-48.  Here, Christ gives a warning about what awaits us if we remain in sin.  Christ does not literally say “hell”.  Instead, He speaks in metaphor, making a comparison with something that His audience would have been familiar with:  Gehenna, also known as the valley of Hinnom.  Located just outside of Jerusalem, it functioned as a city dump where garbage and all manner of unclean things (such as dead animals) were thrown and all of this garbage was ultimately disposed of by burning.  Thus, the image that Christ paints of hell is a place where unclean things are disposed of.

Here’s a brief thought experiment to try:  envision a place filled with garbage, and not just empty cans and candy wrappers, we’re talking animal guts and other such refuse that rots and putrefies.  You can almost feel the filth rising off of everything and clinging to your skin.  That’s not all, everything is burning and the smoke carries the stink up into the air, up into your nose, and the soot that rests on your already dirty skin is itself infused with the stench and rot of the garbage.

That’s the kind of place that Christ uses to describe hell in terms that we can understand.

Here are some more passages where the Gehenna imagery is used of hell:

Matthew 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33

Luke 12:5

James 3:6

Christ also speaks of hell as a place where “Their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.”  This is actually a quotation from Isaiah 66:24 where God describes the corpses of those who transgressed against Him.  In that particular passage, it is added that, “They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh”.  Think back to the thought experiment and, instead of merely imagining being in the place, consider being that which is constantly putrefying and being consumed by fire and worms.

Having these analogies in mind makes it easier to understand why Christ would use such strong language when making the case that it is better to enter into life maimed rather than to enter into hell.  Christ says that it would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around your neck, to lose a hand, to lose a foot, or to lose an eye and enter into life rather than to go to hell.  Of course, Christ is not advocating self-mutilation as a means to avoid sin; such physical acts cannot prevent us from sinning (which has its origin in the heart).  However, He is making a point of how much better it is to enter the kingdom of heaven and have life than it is to choose hell.  Another way we may think about it is to recall the various stories that have been told about people and animals severing their own limbs in order to escape from certain death.

Using such graphic imagery and intense language, it is apparent that Christ isn’t talking about a metaphorical or figurative place but a reality that awaits us should we not enter into life.  Notice that hell is not itself a metaphor, the metaphors are used to describe hell.  Jesus’ statement is not “It would be better to lose a hand and enter into life because otherwise it would be like going to a place which is like…”   Instead, His statement flows as, “It would be better to lose a hand and enter into life than to enter into the place which is like…”  Christ sets up a dichotomy where there are two possible outcomes:  1) we enter into life and are with God forever.  Or 2) we enter into death and spend eternity in hell.  If God is real, if heaven is real, if sin is real, then hell must also be real; but more on that next week.  For now, let’s sum things up with the following:

  1. Jesus describes hell as a place where unclean things are disposed of.
  2. Jesus uses metaphor to describe the reality of hell, He does not speak of hell as a metaphor itself.

Practical questions:

  1. What or who have been the greatest influences on your idea of hell?
  2. What does that idea say about God’s character?
  3. How does Christ’s description of hell differ from your own idea of it?
  4. What does Christ’s description tell us about God’s character?

Being Alone With God – Being

“Being” means that you have to be with God.  “Being” is a somewhat foreign concept as we are so well-practiced in the art of being in one place while our minds are focused elsewhere such as what task we have to do next or whether we’ll be late to an appointment.  Being with God gathers our attention together and places it on God.  The story of Mary and Martha provides an illustration of what it means to be with God.

“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.  And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.  But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?  Therefore tell her to help me.’  And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.  But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

-Luke 10:38-42

The problem is not that Martha was working, but that she was letting that work distract her from Jesus.  As a matter of fact, we spend most of our time as a “Merry Martha”, going about our daily business with our gaze fixed upon Christ (Colossians 3:23).  However, during wilderness time we seek a primarily Mary-state-of-mind, quietly and intently attending to God.  The question that naturally follows this is “What do I do to imitate Mary?”  The answer is to do what Mary did:  to “sit at Jesus’ feet and hear His word.”  In other words, following Mary’s example does not consist so much in doing as much as in being.

We typically strive for a balance between Martha and Mary because both are needed.  Faith, after all, is a fusion of belief and action.  In the story, Martha’s problem arose when she let her busyness come between her and Jesus whereas Mary made it her business to hear Jesus.  The difference being that Martha’s actions made her deaf to Jesus while Mary’s actions allowed her to hear Him.  When we approach wilderness time, it is tempting to focus on what we are doing and, like Martha, miss what God is doing.  This is where our intentional submission to God helps us.  Is our intention to form ourselves for God or to be formed by God?

In many ways, taking the time to be with God helps us to realign our priorities.  We carve out a block of time for God and then we don’t allow other things that normally distract us from Him to interfere.  Setting aside this time and going without the activities we typically occupy ourselves with gives us a more tangible way of setting God at the top of our list of priorities.  It also gives us the chance to make our other desires and concerns play second fiddle to our desire for God.  This may be the most difficult part of being with God.  It is one thing to put God on equal footing with our other priorities, but it is something completely different to make them secondary to God so that He alone is our top priority.

Being with God is difficult and requires time and practice because it requires that we set aside things that not comfortable setting aside.  However, in so doing we open ourselves up to receive from God.

Practical Questions:

1)      What competes with God for the top spot in my life?

2)      Am I content simply being with God at times?  Why or why not?

3)      What specific steps can I take to follow Mary’s example in my wilderness time?