How Does It Feel to Walk With Jesus?

John Kenneth MacKenzie (25 August 1850 – 1 April 1888) was an English medical missionary to China. I’m sure he encountered many difficulties that could have discouraged him. Yet, in this quote, I can see that walking with Jesus kept his attitude positive.

“My position has come to this, Am I living near my Savior?; then I am as happy as the day is long, and as light-hearted as a child. It may be that I have plenty of annoyances, but they don’t trouble me when His presence is with me. Am I downcast and worried?: then I am away from God.”

Every Which Way to Pray by Joyce Meyer–Book Review

The animals at the Everyday Zoo want to be closer to God and that means prayer! But what is the right way to pray? Harley the hippo has a book on prayer with lots of rules — kneel, speak softly, and use special “holy” words, for example. However, as he talks to the other animals he learns that you can pray:


*In a loud voice, or without words at all

*Kneeling or standing, walking or even upside down!

*For a long time or with just one word — like HELP!

The important thing is to stay in touch with God, and to pray from your heart.

Every Which Way to Pray (Everyday Zoo) by [Joyce Meyer, Mary Sullivan]

The bright illustrations by Mary Sullivan, would make this a great book to read out loud to a Sunday School group, or with your youngster at home. Children will be able to understand and relate to the message that prayer is not difficult and can become an everyday activity. It’s probably best suited for children age 4-7.

VERDICT: 5 STARS. I recommend it.

For more books for children see:

Little Sweet Pea, God Loves You — Book Review

GraceFull by Dorena Williamson — Book Review

When I Hold You by Ashley Huffstutler–Book Review

Jesus and Me

Since my husband retired last month, we have been visiting churches in our area, allowing the new interim pastor of St. Paul’s some time to settle in. Last week we went to church with a good friend and they sang a song I’d never heard before. It seemed to go with the monthly theme, so I decided to share it with our readers. Let me know what you think!

For more music about Jesus see these posts:

Victory in Jesus

Jesus Loves Me

I Am Jesus’ Little Lamb

Jonathan Edwards on Walking With God

” In all your course, walk with God and follow Christ as a little, poor, helpless child, taking hold of Christ’s hand, keeping your eye on the mark of the wounds on his hands and side, whence came the blood that cleanses you from sin and hiding your nakedness under the skirt of the white shining robe of his righteousness.”

Jonathan Edwards

For more about Jonathan Edwards see:

Heaven is a World of Love by Jonathan Edwards — Book Review

The Holy Spirit and Prayer #2

Who were (are?) the Puritans?

Strangers in a Strange Land

I’ve started a lectio divina reading of 1 Peter. If that’s unfamiliar to you, it means reading a chapter or a short portion of the Scripture daily in a slow, meditative way, letting yourself see what phrase or verse stands out. Maybe because the theme this month deals with walking and traveling, what stood out for me in the first chapter is this:

“… live your life as strangers here in reverent fear.” 1 Peter 1:17 (NIV)

In the English Standard version, it’s stated this way:

“Conduct yourself with fear throughout the time of your exile.” 1 Peter 1:17(ESV)

What does it mean to live as a stranger or an exile?

The first thing that comes to my mind is, as a stranger, you aren’t too attached to the things around you. You don’t want to accumulate too much, because you won’t be here forever. Who wants a bunch of junk you just have to pack up and move, or leave behind? That is certainly a scriptural theme, as we are told in Matthew:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-24

That brings another thought to mind: as strangers we are always yearning to get home. We’re not entirely comfortable in this place — maybe we don’t speak the same language, or wear the same clothes, or eat the same food. We just don’t blend in. In fact, as Christians, we don’t want to blend in. We need to remember who we are and to whom we belong (that’s the reverent fear part).

So today, after my reading, I’m asking myself:

*How important to me are my “things”? After all, they are only temporary.

*Can the people I meet everyday tell I am a Christian? Or do I look and behave exact like everyone else? If so, I’m fooling myself about the depth of my faith.

*Am I looking forward to “the life of the world to come’? Or am I really devoted to the here and now?

*Am I “afraid” of the right things? Do I have a reverent fear of God and a desire to be holy, or am I really just afraid to die?

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

I can walk with Jesus or walk with the world. I can’t do both.

For more about conforming to the world see these posts:

Pilgrim or Tourist?

Am I Habituating?

Do You Have a Saintly Worldview?

The Book of Wanderings by Kimberly Meyer–Book Review

In this memoir author Kimberly Meyer and her daughter go on a pilgrimage, following in the footsteps of Felix Fabri, a medieval Dominican Friar. They travel from Venice to the Mediterranean, through Greece and Cyprus, reaching Israel and crossing the Sinai Desert and finally arriving in Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt. In each location Ms. Meyer juxtaposes notes from Fabri’s trip with her own impressions, as well as some ancient and modern history of the regions. Read carefully and you will learn a lot!

Personally Meyer finds herself in a liminal place — her daughters are on the cusp of growing up and leaving home, and she is rediscovering herself as an individual. She says:

“I think what drew me to retrace Fabri’s medieval journey was in part a hope that I might see briefly into that unseen, enchanted realm, like catching a glimpse into the unknowable lives of others from the window of a passing train. I was caught in this earthly pause between two eternities. But if I could know that this pause in which I was watching my own erasure in the growing bodies and shifting faces of my daughters –images of me–was only part of an immortal pattern of reality that did not change, this might allow me to let them go.”

The Book of Wanderings: A Mother-Daughter Pilgrimage

Unfortunately, despite visiting and pondering the significance of many religious sites, Meyer is not a believer, and her travel does not make her into one. Her trip moves her physically, but not spiritually. She tells a Muslim who questions her about her beliefs,

“… I did not know if I believed in God, but I supposed that if God existed, He would be one spirit that pervades all things.”

She also mentions that she does not believe in Jesus as the Son of God, except in the sense that we are all children of God– and God to her seems to be a rather impersonal, universal spirit.

VERDICT: THREE STARS. At the core, this book is a travelogue. It will help you visualize the settings of many Bible stories, but don’t expect to be enlightened spiritually.

Walking Toward Heaven

My husband and I recently watched a television series about the life of singer Aretha Franklin. She began her career singing gospel songs in her father’s church. Later in life her gospel album entitled Amazing Grace (this was a live album recorded over two days in January 1972, at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in South Los Angeles.) included the song, Climbing Higher Mountains. It reminded me that our walk with Jesus has a destination which is our true home — heaven.

For more gospel music see these posts:

Oh Happy Day

Just a Little Talk With Jesus

This Little Light of Mine

Evangelicalism: What It Was, What It Is, Can It Survive?

One way to deepen our walk with Jesus is to learn about Him and His body, the Church. Starting in September, my husband, a retired pastor, will be teaching a continuing education class at Shepherd University. Here’s his class description:

I couldn’t tell you how many news articles and other publications I’ve seen in the last thirty years or so that refer to people called “evangelicals.” The problem I often see in these references is the lack of definition in the way people, especially the news media, use that word. Just what makes someone an evangelical? How does that fit in with the historical definition of the word? When and why did people who call themselves evangelicals become one of the many groups seeking to impact American politics?

We will begin our search for answers to these questions by looking at the history of evangelicalism beginning 500 years ago and continuing up to today. We will assess the relationship of evangelicalism to such hot topics as race, gender, national culture, national politics and the Christian Church in America.

A few years ago someone said the only common thread he could find among evangelicals was that they were people who liked Billy Graham. Well, I think there’s a lot more there and it would help us all if we could actually come to understand the way this group of Americans think, act and worship. The good, the bad and the less than handsome parts of this American religious phenomenon affects us all in one way or another.

If you are interested in taking this class follow the link below. It will be available on the campus, but also through Zoom.

For more about evangelicalism see:

Billy Graham on Hope

Film Review — The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel

Stott on the Christian Life by Tim Chester –Book Review

Walking Like Christ

“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21

The longer we walk with Christ, the more like Him we become. This quote by George Hodges (1856-1919), and American Episcopal theologian expresses it well:

Evidently, in order to be a manifestation of Christ, we must in some way be like Him. He is a Christian who follows Christ, who measures all things by the standard of His approbation, who would not willingly say a word which he would not like to have Christ hear, nor do an act which he would not like to have Christ see. He is a Christian who tries to be the kind of neighbor Christ would be, and who asks himself in all the alternatives of his business life, and his social life, and his personal life, what would the Master do in this case? The best Christian is he who most reminds the people with whom he lives of the Lord Jesus Christ. He who never reminds anybody of the Lord Jesus Christ is not a Christian at all.

Whoever claims to abide in Him must walk as Jesus walked.” 1 John 2:6

For more about imitating Christ see these posts:

Leaders Who Imitate Christ

Practicing Brotherly Love

Keep in Step with the Spirit

A Walk of Faith–the Labyrinth

A labyrinth is an ancient symbol which represents our journey through life. The most famous labyrinth is the thirteenth-century labyrinth in the Chartres Cathedral in France, which originated in the Middle Ages and served as a substitute for going on pil­grimage to Jerusalem when the Crusades prevented people from traveling there. Labyrinths have been widely used as tools for meditation and prayer. You can also use walking the labyrinth as a ritual to welcome someone into a group, say good-bye to someone who is moving, celebrate a special occasion, or remember someone who has died.

The labyrinth is not a maze since there is only one path. You cannot get lost. It leads you on a circuitous route to the center and back out again. You can walk the labyrinth alone, or with others. You can walk in a slow, solemn manner, or joyously. Children often run through the labyrinth.

I’ve personally walked labyrinths a number of times and have found it to be a calming, meditative experience. It slows me down. It gives me the time and space to reflect on my life and the way God has led me through a variety of experiences. When you walk with a friend, you will find that sometimes you are moving along together, and other times you move away from one another — just like life! Even when you feel you are alone, you aren’t! Others are on the same journey, just in another place. Once I walked with a boisterous family I didn’t know. At first, I was irritated and found their noisy comments distracting; then I realized how like real daily life that is, too — we have to learn to stay focused amidst the many things that pull us away from listening for God. Every time you walk, you will have a different experience.

If you would like to find a labyrinth near you and give it a try, follow this link:

World-Wide Labyrinth Locator – Welcome

For more about labyrinths see:

Sensible Shoes by Sharon Garlough Brown — Book Review

And Then There are Pilgrimages …..