Sanctuary

IMG_20170718_161203627_HDROur friend the Barred Owl was back and hunting early today. We missed him yesterday, but had a hawk come to visit us twice in his stead. He landed, as he’s come to do, facing the house and peering our way as if looking for us in the windows. I stepped out on the back porch to take this shot and tell him how handsome he looked and how glad we were to see him back. He seemed to know both of those things already as he remained in place and posed.
Earlier this morning, we had a pale orange cat take up temporary residence under a table near the swing out in the back yard for a few hours…just sitting at ease and appearing to rest while being alert and guarding us from invading squirrels.
“Worshipers never leave church…we carry our sanctuary with us wherever we go.” ~Aiden Wilson Tozer
 Grace and Peace!
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Just like Roscoe P. Coltrane…

Here of late, I’ve been in “hot pursuit” of an elusive prey:  the quiet life.  In another–and perhaps more telling commonality with Roscoe P. Coltrane–I’ve been more than a bit clumsy in achieving the quest.  It seems as though the harder I pursue this path, the more I trip myself up and create more chaos and disruption around me.  This does not have the result of mitigating my need for some quiet at all.

Lest I become downcast at the very idea of having so much in common with Roscoe, God was kind enough to orchestrate the appearance of the following quote by A.W. Tozer in my email earlier this week:

“We Christians must simplify our lives or lose untold treasures on earth and in eternity. Modern civilization is so complex as to make the devotional life all but impossible. The need for solitude and quietness was never greater than it is today.”
I wonder what would Tozer think if he were with us today?!  While I’m somewhat mollified that I can claim a similar thought process with the spiritually and mentally sound Tozer, I fear that connection may be infinitely more tenuous than my Roscoe ones.  Oh, dear.  On with the study of quiet…
 
The second verse I looked up on the word “quiet” was 1 Timothy 2:2 (NKJV) and for that verse to make the most sense, verse 1 must be included, as well.
Therefore I exhort first of all that suplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
Imagine that!  Consistency in Scripture!  Once again, I’m reminded that my pursuit of the quiet life involves other people.  It would seem my plan to become a hermit is doomed.  I’m going to be required, not only to consider others, but to take up some of my valuable time praying for them…and be thankful for them in the process.  (Wow, God.  You’re really asking a lot!) 
 
I love that Paul’s first priority here is prayer.  While my “supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks” may involve my concerns for others, the idea here is that I would be in a one-on-one conversation with God…first.  Prayer is a priority in the search for the quiet life.  While Paul is addressing issues about public worship and the idea that we are to publicly pray for those around us (all men), as well as our government officials, my prayer life cannot be limited to only those prayers prayed in public worship. 
 
 I must say that I started to write the words “public servants” there in the last sentence, but I find that many of our official office holders are more official-position/power-hearted than servant-hearted.  Perhaps that is where my prayers need to start.  My God is in the heart-changing business and I’d say we have need of that particular skill today.  Who knows?  Perhaps my heart will change toward them as I pray!  Imagine what could happen if our governments were truly led by those whose greatest desire was to serve God well by serving His people well!  It seems a worthy prayer request, indeed.
 
In order to achieve my ‘quiet life’ I’m going to have to
  • include someone besides myself in my thought processes and my prayers.
  • pray for some of the very people who cause me grief and frustration (since I’m instructed to be praying for “all men”–and no, ladies, I’m not using that terminology in it’s most literal fashion!  I’m including us in that phrase, as well…as God intended).
  • pray specifically for our government leaders and all who are in authority over us…including my teacher and pastor friends.
  • spend more time talking to the only One who can calm my spirit and make the changes needed in our leaders…and in me. 
I’d love to stay and chat, but apparently, I’ve got some praying to do…Come on, Roscoe, let’s go.