It was perfect timing. Papa's timing, of course.
The premise of the book is about what your life will be like if you live as one who bears the signature of Jesus.
Just like a baseball who has been signed by a famous player is valuable and not because it is a ball, but because of who has written their name on it.
Our value is immeasurable because of the Name we bear.
The title of one chapter in the book is "The Courage to Risk." Risk implies the possibility of failure. Most of us try to avoid failure at all costs! We expect too much of ourselves and we forget the value of allowing ourselves to fail.
Brennan ends the chapter with a few words he has heard the Father say to him and then his own comment.
"'My point, little brother, is this: I expect more failure from you than you expect from yourself.' In season and out of season, in success and failure, in grace and disgrace, the courage to risk everything on the signature of Jesus is the mark of authentic discipleship. In the words of Winston Churchill: 'Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It is courage that counts.'"I love that he quoted Churchill, as I have always appreciated the man and had listened to his biography on my way home from West Virginia. The man had no fear of failure and when he did he faced criticism without cringing. His value was not in being perfect or perfectly accepted by all.
Above all else I want to be authentic! That is what Papa wants for me too.
Another chapter spoke of giving our whole energy to "Grabbing Aholt of God." In it Brennan suggested an exercise that wasn't new to me just forgotten. It is one I learned of in California a few years ago and one that has been an great blessing to me.
Why would I have let it slip away from me?
I think I have been letting too many things distract me from 'my first thing', as Rich Mullins said in one of his songs.
The exercise is simple. I will quote from the book again;
"1) Take a few minutes to relax your body and quiet your spirit. Then, in a simple act of faith be present to God dwelling in the depths of your being.He recommends that this exercise is done before breakfast and dinner. I decided to do just that.
2) Choose a single, sacred word or phrase that captures something of the flavor of your intimate relationship with God. A word such as Jesus, Abba, Peace, God or a phrase such as 'Abba, I belong to you,' 'Help me to live in Your presence," etc. Without moving your lips, repeat the sacred word inwardly, slowly and often.
3) When distractions come, as they inevitably will (even in the most advanced pray-ers) simply return to listening to your sacred word. Picture yourself sitting quietly in a rowboat in the center of a placid lake. All is still and quiet. Suddenly a speedboat roars by about fifty yard on your starboard side. The ripple of waves rocks your little rowboat violently. The ripple represents the wanderings of the mind. Again, gently return to your sacred word.
4) After a twenty-minute period of prayer, conclude with the LORD'S Prayer, a favorite psalm, or some spontaneous words of praise and thanks."
I followed the four steps this morning except instead of a rowboat my transport was a canoe. I did not like it being a canoe, but it would not change!
I reached for the oars and heard my Jesus tell me that He would be doing the rowing.
It was not my job.
He then told me to relax; His canoes never tip... I had been sitting very stiffly as I do not like rocking boats and the possibility of falling into the water!
His voice was very calming and reassuring. "I want you to get over your fear."
We moved along in silence. It was so peaceful...
Okay, why don't we go walk along the beach now?
I became aware that we were approaching the foot of a waterfall.
"Enjoy the beauty. Do not fear the energy and power. Revel in it!"
"I want you to jump into the water and swim into the waterfall."
"You need to do this. You will enjoy it!"
For some reason I believed Him. He is really trustworthy, so what was to doubt?
The water was refreshing and as I entered the waterfall every one of my senses was heightened! It was invigorating!!
Passing through the falls I found myself behind them. It was so peaceful and sheltered.
"You can come here anytime that you want. You need both rest and the stimulation of life." Do not fear the turmoil, find the beauty in it."
Afterward I read the ninety-sixth Psalm, closed the book and went to make breakfast.
Throughout my day I have found myself returning again and again to the refreshment I experienced this morning.
The refreshment of His Presence.