Monthly Archives: September 2015

Burning Bushes

DSC_0261By Judy Villanueva

Exodus 3:3-8


Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.”

Moses was working. He was about the business of a normal day when he encountered God. I doubt he was expecting to meet an angel on route to the west side of the wilderness, let alone in the middle of a blazing fire! One thing is certain, Moses was available to notice an extraordinary phenomena and curious to move in for a closer look! “I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.” How often am I too busy to notice an invitation from God to come close and be curious?

God is always speaking from the middle of our lives with invitations to be with Him and learn from Him. Our part is to stay available and curious…ready to move in for a closer look!

God saw that Moses had turned aside to look and called to him. Does God watch and wait for us to turn aside and look for him so that He can talk with us? Does He know when we are available to hear Him call our name? You may think that burning bushes are not a common phenomena in our day, but think about it. If burning bushes are things in life meant to draw our attention to God then, very likely they await our notice every day. What kinds of things in your day are quietly unique, unexpected and “shining” in their ordinary-ness? Likewise, where is your place of angst, the thing that burns whenever you think of it? Admittedly, we are more drawn to move toward a pleasant thing, but…

If God is able to speak from the center of “whatever thing,” then noticing and turning toward His voice becomes holy ground embedded in ordinary days!

My burning bushes this week included catching sight of the full moon sitting atop a craggy ridge, soaking up the joy of a 6 month old and kneeling in prayer next to the “bushes” over which I feel angst. These may seem too trivial to “count,” but counting the life that is ours…the life around us…is what we have, and it matters.  Not only that, but  moving toward burning bushes helps us hear what God is saying to us from the middle of our lives…about hope and life and promised lands.

“Father, I thank you that You see me and call to me from the middle of my life. Help me to notice the burning bushes that you’ve set along my path and make me curious enough to move in for a closer look. Help me to join You on holy ground and be available to hear whatever you want to say to me about my life. Amen.”

What about you?

Are you aware of a burning bush in your life at this time? Do you think God might be calling to you from the middle of it?

Are you curious and available for a closer look?

Are you open to hear God what God will say next?

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Worship

Chewing

DSC_0463By Judy Villanueva

Taste and see that the Lord is good. (Psalm 34:8)

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4)

Winston, aka: Phatboy, was our warm and loveable English lab for over 14 years. True to the Labrador breed, he loved people, chasing balls and eating…although I’m not sure inhaling dog chow qualifies as eating!   Rain or shine, when the clock struck 4:00 he’d begin to panic and twirl around in circles to remind us that it was mealtime.  In his frenzy for food, he refused to chew anything!  Even when my husband tossed him a chunk of meat off the grill he would simply open wide and swallow!  He couldn’t possibly have tasted a bit of it but, I suppose, being a dog, he was unable to appreciate that chewing has a purpose….it breaks down food, draws out flavor and helps nutrients absorb more efficiently.

How do we taste and see that the Lord is good and how do we live on every word that comes from the mouth of God?  The other day my husband and I were reading Psalm 37 and when we happened upon the words, “Trust in the Lord and do good…” (vs.3)  I felt drawn.  I noticed these seven words above all the rest.  They seemed to “shine” and I knew exactly what I would be focusing on…chewing on that day.  I felt curious about what God wanted to say to me about these words and what they might mean for my life.  I like to take scripture with me after a morning reading and chew on it throughout the day.

I have found that while reading the Word speaks to my head, chewing on it throughout the day nourishes my soul! It is how informational reading becomes transformational.

Chewing involves returning to Word and ruminating on it. It becomes a quiet conversation where we ask the Holy Spirit to help us understand why we’ve been drawn and then, listen as He speaks to us about our lives. In the process we may receive correction, inspiration, or strength.  For example, as I chewed on the morning reading I felt God both correct and encourage me.  I’ve been preoccupied with worry lately and His Word to trust and do good pulled me out of a self absorbed place and set my eyes back on Him.  Thinking about the Word with God is how we draw out its flavors and absorb its nutrients. If we desire to be transformed we must digest the spiritual food of the morning…and prayerfully, become what we eat!

“Thank you, Lord, that you help us to hear Your voice as we read and chew on the Word. It brings us life! Teach us to notice where you are drawing our attention and encourage us to slow down enough in our day to chew, taste and learn from you. Amen.”

What about you?

Have you experienced being drawn to a particular word or phrase in Scripture?  What do you usually do next?

Beyond your normal study of Scripture, do you set aside time to read for transformation?

Most of us are accustomed to reading for information.  Are you familiar with the practice of chewing on the Word…of returning in thought to ponder and listen to the Holy Spirit?

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