Just for you, I offer simple reflections and inspirational memes that can help you blossom and grow spiritually. Enter into the peace of The Sanctuary Garden blog and let Jesus speak to your heart. Unless a seed falls into the garden soil, it will not grow. A seed that is swallowed up by the garden will sprout many flowers.
“I went to a quiet place hoping to meet God.
But God was already there, waiting just for me.”
The Sanctuary Garden
A Reflective Blog
by Lisa Are Wulf ~
I was reading the newspaper some time ago and there was a quote from Jeanna Wearing who runs the classical music radio station here in Colorado Springs. She said, “You seize the opportunities that you have.”
Hmmmm…maybe I don’t have to wait for the perfect day to do ministry. Maybe I don’t have to wait for the perfect ministry venue. Maybe God is handing me his choice assignment for me right now. All I have to do is “do it!”
It’s a comforting thought. So as they say, “Let’s Get Moving!”
What do you think? Do you struggle with this?
By Lisa Are Wulf ~
Are you a giver or a getter? I heard that question once in church. The pastor wanted to know how many people were there to get something out of church. Lots of hands went up. Then he asked how many were there to give something. Only a few arms were raised in the air.
So I started thinking. We all want blessings from God. We all want the good things that he has to give us. We all ask him daily to help us with our needs and struggles. But something’s missing.
What about giving? I don’t mean just giving money. What about giving of ourselves? I believe it has been said that we are the hands and feet of Jesus since he doesn’t have any now. So when we’re giving, are we not reflecting him to the hurting world that needs him?
I have several pictures of Jesus and my favorite one is of him rising out of a communion cup. It’s called the “Bread of Life.” The reason I like it is because I hope to have my life reflect this picture. I like to think of myself as figuratively serving communion, or the body and blood, to each person I meet. I’m not always very good at it, and sometimes I fail miserably. But that’s my goal.
So what are you looking for in your faith life? Receiving from God is certainly good and edifying. But what are you giving? That’s a tough question. Sometimes we don’t think we have anything to offer. Sometimes we’re too worn out to give. Sometimes we just want to look the other way. But is that true holiness? What do you think?
By Lisa Are Wulf ~
Some days just seem to end before they even get started. Maybe something unpleasant happens. Perhaps we get some bad news. Sometimes we just wake up with a fuzzy mind. But whatever the cause, when it happens to me, I just want to forget about today and start over again tomorrow.
Bad idea. It’s a waste of time. I happened to hear a TV personality, I think it was Dr. Phil, say recently that he is at the age where he can count the rest of his life in months. Hmmm… I think I’m there too. So every day that’s thrown away is a fraction of a month that’s lost. With the end looming in sight, even though it could be 30 years, I don’t want to lose any more time.
But even worse than that, it’s a waste of purpose. Why am I here at this time and place? Is it to have fun? Is it to make a lot of money? Is it to be famous and admired? Well, that would be cool – but those answers aren’t quite right. Perhaps my purpose is to reflect God to others. If I take a day off, he isn’t any less radiant. But others might not see him quite as clearly, at least not in my life.
Christianity has survived for 2000 years because God wants it to. But beyond that, it has also survived and grown because of those who have put one foot in front of another every day for thousands of years. What if they had slacked off?
The daily work of God isn’t always about activity and getting things done. Maybe it’s about reflecting him to others, lending a hand or an ear to those in need. Sometimes it’s just resting in his presence. But every day that we write off is a day lost to God.
What do you think? Are you ever tempted to just chuck it today and try again tomorrow?
By Lisa Are Wulf ~
Have you ever seen the movie “Amistad?” I believe it’s a Spielberg movie from about 10 years ago or so. It tells the true story of a group of Africans whose slave trial goes to the Supreme Court in the 1830’s. There is a scene where one of the Africans talks about his ancestors with former president John Quincy Adams. The African remarks that he must call up their strength to help him through the trial because he is the whole reason that they existed at all.
Even though I don’t follow ancient African traditions, I’ve always been taken by this scene. There’s a strong word here for us. What we do today matters. What we do during our lifetime matters.
Look at it this way. We’re the ones carrying the torch of faith right now. This same torch has been carried for 2000 years and now it’s our turn. If we carry it well, Christianity moves to new generations. If we’re slackers, they won’t receive what we did.
We’re on the stage of history right now and, in a sense, the African is right. Faithful actions and prayers down through the centuries are pointing to us today. From our limited human perspective, everything they did has culminated in our lives today.
So how will we handle it? The Bible talks about the cloud of witnesses who are watching us run our race. Will we dilly-dally on the race course? Will we be distracted and wander off the track? Or will we run the race that is marked out for us? Will we pass on the faith that our ancestors passed to us?
What do you think?
By Lisa Are Wulf ~
Acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly. Some time ago I received the alumni magazine from Fuller Theological Seminary. There on the cover were these words from scripture. I confess I only scanned the articles, but I was obsessed with the cover and have kept it on my desk for months.
So what does it mean to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly? This is a big challenge in my spiritual life. Being a person with some prophetic gift, I’m pretty good at standing up for justice. In fact, standing is something that’s always fascinated me. I love movies where someone is standing up for something important. I confess, though, that when faced personally with the injustice of others, I don’t always stand up for myself.
Walking humbly isn’t too hard for me either. (Now that doesn’t sound humble does it?) Anyway, although I used to be a leader in the limelight, I’m content to work quietly at my ministry and don’t crave attention. Extravagant lifestyle isn’t really a problem either since I don’t care much about material stuff.
I think my biggest challenge is mercy. Maybe it’s because of the interaction with justice. When I see a wrong, I am sometimes not quick to show mercy. On some level, I just hate to see people get away with stuff. I suppose that’s not really the issue with mercy. After all, God shows mercy to all of us even when we have a pretty bad track record.
All in all, living these three phrases is an ongoing challenge for me. Maybe it is for you too. Consciously trying to do this makes for some pretty intense internal struggles. What about you?
By Lisa Are Wulf ~
Does this happen to you? You fall asleep, only to wake up again just a few hours later. When this happens, I’m generally consumed by thoughts of what I didn’t do. What I didn’t do spiritually, that is. I lay in bed thinking, “I forgot to read the Bible today.” Or, “I missed my regular prayer time.” Whatever the thought, I’m always delinquent in my service to God!
I wonder if this is about God – or is it really about me? Does God require such slavish devotion or am I consumed with trying to earn his favor? I’m a seminary graduate and I know the answer, but somehow that doesn’t stop my nocturnal nitpicking.
When I’ve prayed about it, the clear answer is always “Don’t worry so much about this.” And I know it’s true. I try to center my life on God. He’s my first thought in the morning and my last at night. And I believe that’s how he wants it. A friend once told me that the chief end of mankind is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. I’m pretty good at the glorifying. But enjoyment – that’s another thing entirely.
Maybe it’s time to just chill and hang out with God. My “internal spiritual task-master” needs a good night’s sleep!