joy

Contemplative Practices – How to Connect to God through Mindless Activities

Our connecting with God and practicing ways to be contemplative aren’t limited to prayer, meditation and writing. While I promote prayer, meditation and journaling as powerful tools, there are many simple ways to feel the love and presence of God every day.  By incorporating mindfulness of the presence of God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, or all three, through simple acts we perform, we can bring a sense of peace, wholeness and clarity into our daily living. What do I mean?

Have you ever stopped to think of simple things you do – Preparing a meal, walking your dog, painting, gardening, cleaning your house or apartment, sitting in the presence of a loved one and not speaking, fishing – almost any kind of hobby?  All of these activities lend themselves to putting your whole heart into it. We may even call these activities “mindless”. What these actions represent are contemplative practices.

I put house cleaning on the list because it seems so odd, right?  Continue reading

Are You Paying Attention? God can Answer in Funny Ways

Perhaps you’ve heard this joke before, but it bears repeating even if you have.

 

A town was being pelted by rain. The local river was in danger of flooding so the authorities went door to door to tell the inhabitants that they needed to grab their belongings, leave and move to higher ground.

 

One gentleman was indignant and refused to leave. He told the officers, “God will take care of me.” After trying to convince the man that he had to leave, to no avail, the officers left.

 

Soon the water was coming fast and furious and the water began flooding over the gentleman’s porch. Several of the local neighbors came by in their row boat and urged him to get in the boat. The man refused saying, “God will take care of me.”

 

Quickly the water rose up to the man’s roof. He climbed to the top of his house in order to escape the rising waters. A helicopter came by and urged the man to grab hold of the ladder. The man refused saying, “God will take care of me.”

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Do Otters Meditate?

I absolutely love otters. I remember as a kid watching Disney stories on Sundays and one particular episode showed a family that had two river otters that played and created havoc throughout the house.

 

Any time I visit a zoo, I immediately look on the map to see if they have an otter area. I finally got to see an otter up close and personal for the first time this past summer. Robert took this picture of a sea otter and every time I look at it, it makes me smile. It makes me feel instantly calm because it looks like this otter is meditating.

 

Why do I like otters so much? Because they are always playful and mischievous. To me, otters exude joy. They act as if they have no cares in the world.

 

As Christians, we are also supposed to exude joy. Jesus says in John 15:11 – “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”

 

I love animals, so I am always interested in watching animal documentaries. One documentary talked about animal behavior. I had never given it much thought but man is the only animal that worries and dwells on an event. No other animal does that.

 

Take for example, an antelope living in Africa. It’s quietly eating grass when a lion comes out of nowhere. Continue reading

Christmas Ideas Don’t let the Christmas Season Steal Your Joy

Don't Let the Hustle and Bustle of Christmas Steal Your Joy

 

Don’t let the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season steal your joy.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” What is there not to be joyful about? December is the month that we celebrate the birth of Jesus, Emanuel, God with us.

But I have a confession to make. Almost every year I have been a joyless Christian. I have allowed the hustle and bustle to steal my joy. Almost every December work was crazy and the… Continue reading