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MEET YOU AT THE WELL: HAVING A HEART-TO-HEART WITH JESUS!





Change and Transformation by Father Earnest Graham

Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

John 4: 13,14

Reference Scripture: John 4:1-26 (New International Version, ©2011)

All of our lives we’ve heard words, words that have molded, shaped, prompted and prodded us to either to be at a standstill or words that literally gave us wings to soar. Not long ago I received an amazing gift from Ann Meyer, I think of it as a welcome gift to St. Martin’s Administrative Team. This gift was an unexpected literary treasure entitled Guerrillas of Grace-Prayers for the Battle by Ted Loder (see inside front cover).

Listen to Me Under My Words

O God, I come to you now

Asa child to my Mother,

Out of the cold which numbs into the warm who cares.

Listen to me inside,

Under my words

Where the shivering is,

In the fears

Which freeze my living,

In the angers

Which chafe my attending,

In the doubts

Which chill my hoping,

In the events

Which shrivel my thanking,

In the pretenses

Which stiffen my loving.

Listen to me, Lord

As a Mother

And hold me warm,

And forgive me.

Soften my experiences

Into wisdom,

My pride

Into acceptance,

My longing

Into trust,

And soften me

Into love

And to others

And to you

Maybe it was the Holy Spirit, maybe it was just a woman of God that sensed I would benefit tremendously from an inspirational book, or just possibly it was our preceding conversation about the office atmosphere that lovingly erects ministry and insulates joy, peace and caring! I don’t know, but I do know that when I read, I began to include this gift of prayers as part of my work day devotional, the words of the prayers scaled my heart matters and reminded me of how sacred my relationship is with God. It’s not taken lightly. So I easily connected with the prayer Listen to Me Under My Words. And really appreciate how God helped make the prayer so relevant to John 4.

So as I read John 4: 1-26 I appreciated the Samaritan woman’s frank and direct conversation had with Jesus. She attempted to earnestly converse. What really seemed apparent for me was that while she spoke, there were deeper issues- layers of words under her words which revealed her disappointment, her outlook, and ultimately her humility. Her sarcasm and loneliness were no stumbling block for Jesus’s replies. Her quizzical nature couldn’t stump or thwart the reality that what Jesus desired for her far outweighed her reality! She had stumbled upon a moment in time that changed her and many generations later to come! She visited the well at a strategic time that God had divinely orchestrated. Jesus’ words of life would become a wellspring to be reinvigorated, renewed and experience transformed natural and spiritual living! Let’s make our way with haste to that well! Don’t you want to go?

Published in Lent Devotional (The Journey to Surrender) 2011 Lenten @ St. Martin’s Episcopal Church

Revived & Overjoyed!

Linda Mose Meadows, Urban Views Weekly Columnist and Inspirational Author of: The Blessedness of Believing A Devotional Journey of Life’s Lessons and God’s Promises and Co-publisher of Eyes of Faith Magazine

http://blessednessofbelieving.blogspot.com/

https://blessedauthorlm.wordpress.com/

http://eyesoffaithmagazine.blogspot.com/

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REMARKABLE CHAUTAUQUA: A SOUL AWAKENING EXPERIENCE!









http://www.ciweb.org/interfaith-lectures/






He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:8
Incredible God! This is thundering through my spirit as I recant the remarkable previous week spent with honored “Fellows” from diverse religious backgrounds and their spouses selected for week # 2 of The New Clergy Program (NCP) of Chautauqua Institution’s Department of Religion. The theme for week two is: The Ethics of Leadership.’ My husband Richard had the distinct pleasure to be honored as one of the fellows.
 As we careened down the highway yesterday headed for home, Ricky and I had fun reminiscing about the tremendous power packed agenda and our anointed new friends: Stephen, Nannette, Mark & Michele, Clemette & Mary, Lee Ann & Stefan, Phoebe, Jennifer & Nathan, Evie, Derrick & Marnie and Ann & Loren.
He’s the pilot smoothly navigating the highway. With pleasure, I’m co-piloting happily sharing my “road safety” commentary and speed limit observations. But for this blog post it will serve as my imaginary seat perched comfortably in the Chautauqua Institution’s Department of Religion’s Amen corner. That means I highly support and recommend Chautauqua Institution’s Department of Religion’s endeavors.
I can hardly contain all the spiritual benefits received regarding all that my heart and soul witnessed. As folks once would say, “I was weary!” Kindly indulge me and I gladly will share a few soul awakening moments.
The drive from New York through the mountains of Pennsylvania didn’t seem so tiring because our spirits are celebrating and laughing about my bold pronouncement of my “vacation”, during the opening introductions. Why didn’t I just announce the entire truth when the opening facilitator requested participants, spouses and partners share why they agreed to be a part of The New Clergy’s Program?
 Good question. Answer, probably my pride was at work!
I missed a golden opportunity to thank God audibly in that instance. I knew the moment I made my pronouncement of vacation, that that wasn’t the entire truth. Maybe I was too spent to share all that had preceded our arrival to Chautauqua Institution. So, instead I shared that I was “vacationing”, when the fact of the matter was I needed an immediate elixir. Yes my friends, what was missing prior to Chautauqua Institution was a very tall glass of spiritual refreshment, an encounter with God on a deeper level-a renewing, nectar from the wellspring of living water.
My soul yearned for respite, a safe haven and revitalization.
 Yes, Lord! Send REVIVAL!
I believe revival did happen! It was a vacation indeed, a vacation from the stressors of life! I witnessed and re-experienced revival up close and personal with many others! Life Anew! Revival which captured our Spirits!


Almighty God, We worship and adore you,
Most Holy and Righteous creator.
You have done all things well.
We have gathered in your name
And we pray for your blessing
on the church in this place called Chautauqua, its people and pastors.
Here may the faithful find salvation, and the careless be awakened.
Here may the doubting find faith,
and the anxious be encouraged.
Here may the tempted find help,
and the sorrowful find comfort.
Here may the weary find rest,
and the strong be renewed.
Here may the aged find consolation
and the young be inspired;
through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Amen.

Through many dangers, toils and snares, we have already come,
Twas grace that brought us safe thus far, and grace will lead us home.
Gracious God, in the name of Jesus we beseech you,
to hear our prayers, hear our pleas for mercy
and grace in this time of trial, called life.
It is written in your Holy word that we would be
tried, but just as we are tried, we trust you to walk with us
and guide us, along this journey.
Every good and perfect gift comes from you,
So, gift us with joy in times of sorrow, peace in the time of struggle. We lift our hearts and minds to you, looking to the hills from whence cometh our help. Knowing that our help comes from you.
Help us to abide in the shadow of thy wing. Amen.

Then the eagle will carry our prayer for peace and love,
and the people of all communities can sit in the same circle
together to communicate in love and experience the presence of the
Great Mystery in their midst.
God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,
thou who has brought us thus far, on the way,
thou who has by they might led us into the light,
keep us forever in thy path, we pray.
Let that day be today for our sake, through
Jesus Christ our advocate and redeemer. Amen.

Prayer written by Richard D. Meadows, Jr. (July 2010) for Closing Worship of The New Clergy Program of Chautauqua Institution’s Department of Religion

The beautifully sculpted prayer written by my beloved Ricky does convey this sentiment of need for a fresh spiritual wind, especially during these complex and turbulent times. (I just feel it- the Holy Ghost orchestrated its inception.)

In a final moving Praise and Worship opportunity this prayer was corporately shared. It spoke beautifully to our hearts along with Rev. Will Terry pulling no punches with his timely sermonic message and Rev. Stephen Austin lifting our spirits with his beautiful voice and piano worship selections. God was actively ministering to each of our needs. The feet washing, laying-on of hands and lifting in prayer the program’s major supporters and our exemplary servant leaders: Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell, Rev. Will Terry, Rev. Cameron Pennybacker and Rev. Dr. Albert Pennybacker was certainly in order for this blessed outpouring. As some might say, “God was in the house!”

God’s presence was not mistaken, it was apparent-surely felt and appreciated daily, especially during the morning messages from the esteemed Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Jr., President and Founder of the Healing of the Nations Foundation of New York and Senior Minister Emeritus of the Riverside Church. Rev. Dr. Forbes, Jr. beckoned believers to embrace a holistic heath regiment and appreciate the Great Awakening in our midst.

Undoubtly our minds were awakened during the Morning Lecture Series and notably when the dynamic President of Echoing Green, Cheryl Dorsey, shared about her passionate commitment and alliances with philanthropic leaders which are providing the needed seed capital and business acumen for jump starting young innovative Social entreprenuers. As a result of these “socialpreneurs” insight, lives are being changed for the better! Her testament about these global change agents was very encouraging. The power of her ingenuity and dedication for service couldn’t be overshadowed.

God’s love was visible in the stirrings and poignant accounts of Daisy Khan, Executive Director, and American Society for Muslim Advancement. Mrs. Khan shared in the Hall of Philosophy and during NCP session/dinner. Hers is a heartfelt commitment of embracing others and reaching across Ecumenical barriers. She lovingly shares her Islamic faith principles, humanitarian endeavors and hope for rebuilding torn lives.

Yes, also the divine was evident when Rabbi Irwin Kula, President of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership expressed passionately his receptivity and desire to actively engage listeners to embrace new thinking/actions for living effectively in a chaotic world. Not to mention his generosity to all the NCP’s a gift of his most recent literary work: Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life (Hyperion, Sept. 2006).

And Lord knows the creative interpretation of the Preacher Extraordinaire: Rev. Otis Moss III, pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ’s panel discussion and “talk” of our need for the urgency of all Americans to become Jazz lovers, preserving Louisiana, and more importantly not take for granted a rich musical /historical legacy which should be treasured. He creatively said we should start a jazz orchestra inclusive of all, an intergenerational experience-partaking in a united love supreme jazz rendition.  

   

 
Enriching moments experienced at these lectures and during worship spilled into simply celebratory encounters. Angelic encounters on every turn! God’s handywork was realized and you couldn’t help but to acknowledge the divine instantly! Reflecting on this my Spirit agrees that it must have also been the Spouse’s Luncheon/Partner Luncheon with Lynn Stahl wife of Rabbi Sam Stahl of San Antonio, Texas, or the raucous sacred laughter and sheer enjoyment shared!
  
No, it was marveling in awe of the picturesque landscapes, or my instantly applauding as I walked pass the Ampitheatre during the rehearsals of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, or closing my eyes and intently absorbing the choir voices and the organist’s mastery of music witnessed for early morning service! And then meeting the outstanding multimedia artisans ( Cheryl Olney aka “Louise’s Daughter”, Rebecca Grace Jones, James Sankowski, Alan Resnick and Gail Markiewicz) who displayed their anointed creations and entertained my questions too!
Well it surely was in the assortment of the delicious home baked cookies and our indulging in the slice of heavenly carrot cake! Have your tastebuds ever sang? Simple abundance was all around us! It spilled over into one opportunity after another, appreciating this stimulating community and life force at Chautauqua! It was expressed in the love of ministry, passion for sharing the Gospel and in demonstrated service .
 
It must have been in the weeklong soul connections and sheer joy of seeing God in others! It included the resounding hospitality of the Robertson’s and the Stahl’s. It was found in the welcome received at The Mission House, and Nancy Robert’s emails, her concern for us and securing our breakfast groceries? Goodness, grace, caring -there was plently distributed!
 
This was God’s soul food that we feasted on!
 
Friends, it was all of that! Rev. LaVerne Gill and Rev. Dr. George Wirth’s sweet spirit and devotion to service and inclusivity were spiritual presents, just like the inviting tall-backed white rocking chairs found on the porches.
 
How did this equation of people and spirt connect so well? It must have been the divine configuration of new clergy? Was it their partners and spouses which created an uplifting support community, new kinships/friendships and love for brethren which trust and understand our reliance of a sure foundation? Yes, I too believe it was that and a culmination of chats, the impressive and varying architecture, creative artisans, hearty luncheons, the ingenious visual and performing arts? Friends it must be God’s love woven throughout!
 
Hands down, it ‘s evident in The anointed Religion Department with their stellar leadership team of: Joan, Will, “Penny” and, Cameron and the fine supporters (i.e. Daney-Holden Family Foundation, Robertson Foundation, Constance Somers and Sam and Sarah Everett McLaren and others I am confident). Just possibly it’s the rich panel discussions, the genuine embraces, Dr. Forbes’ affirmations, receptions, testimonies, unbelievable landscapes, and culminating worship experiences gathering diverse religious and cultures converging and partaking in the wonderful Chautauqua Experience!
 
This Chautauqua Experience is an ongoing revival and nourishment for the mind, body and soul!

A real angel Cheryl Olney! Louise’s Daughter!

I feel very confident that during our past week’s sojourn the longings of our heart were evident. This private and public awakenings erupted our spiritual and natural gifts, that I am confident of. We can be peacefully assured that God is doing a new thing in us and has not abandoned us! It’s ok to acknowledge that we too are blessed even in the midst of discomforts. Thank God for the discoveries made at this historic landmark! Discoveries of self, our freedom to unmask vulnerabilities and limitations! God’s wonder filled omnipotence is present and presence enough! New leaves are falling, healing is all around.

 Thank you Holy Spirit!
Thank you Dr. Forbes!
Thank you Chautauqua!
Our hearts are forever changed we’re dancing in our new nature! Love has resurfaced void of ecumenical and denominational alliances. Heart matters are revealed, resistance haulted! Lord! Lord! Honest dialogue has spawned into sacred and cherished experiences. Remarkable! Remarkable!

The table is spread, let’s feast! Thanks be to God!

Grateful to God for a Fresh New Wind!
Sharing in Faith, Linda Mose Meadows,
Urban Views Weekly Columnist and Inspirational Author of:
The Blessedness of Believing
A Devotional Journey of Life’s Lessons and God’s Promises
http://blessednessofbelieving.blogspot.com/

WINNING BACK OUR EMOTIONAL HEALTH!


The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
John 10:10
It’s a known fact that workplace depression does exist! It’s real for many on some level, but seldom shared. Taking care of our emotional health is essential if we don’t wish to plummet down that slippery slope of burn-out. It must be my season to examine this and take an earnest look. That morning stomach ache, elevated blood pressure and mental exhaustion are bull horns bellowing that change is eminent-something must give. Friends our bodies express themselves in pronounced ways that stress is whipping us down. The excessive behaviors, over compensating, a host of unhealthy symptoms, consuming who knows what ( you fill in the blank) that is out of control, it’s a tell tale sign that trouble is on the horizon! Remember the television character Martin, he’d shout, “What’s up?” Funny, but true attention was needed immediately. And it’s a shame to say, more instances indicate that stress is triumphant and gaining on us.
Many suffer nagging migraines, energy drains, feelings of hostility, edginess/anxious and ultimately encountering diminished self worth. This low self esteem is much too tight, now worn like tight ankle socks. All of this in the name of earning a living. Come on lets open the blinds and lift our mental shades, our mindsets endeavoring to live better. The sun wants to shine in our private thoughts!
Yes , there’s a tremendous amount of discomfort suffered, and unfortunately getting a “day-off” here and there are not the complete elixir required for maintaining our sanity and reducing our stress thresholds. I encourage you to take those lunch walks, read edifying materials, learn and develop techniques that slow the breathing and regulate our heart beat. god is a prayer away He’ll provide the insight! Readily embrace seeking a mentor, acquiring a counselor to help shed light on improving our emotional and physical health.
It’s time to take proactive measures to own and win good emotional health. trust me i am pointing the finger in my direction. Like i’ve heard Clergy declare, “This is more for me than you!” Until that better job opportunity avails, begin enjoying more of your after work interests, understanding that hostile environments won’t necessarily banish, but stagnant outlooks must retreat to more meaningful thinking and lifestyle progressions. A mental retreat is needed from stress!
Yes, prayer and application of scripture are essential. Jesus reminds us that He came that we’ll have life, and have it more abundantly. I get it! My brain and heart now understand there are many dimensions for a holistic fitness. Seek out what you need. I am grateful for the gift of learning and thanking God for community resources, counseling services, outdoor public gardens, museums. boutiques, art galleries, beaches, soul stirring music, libraries and virtual websites! These treasures can awaken our heart, mind and soul, leaving an indelible impression that God meant so much more for us than being depleted and worn in environments that weigh heavy on our psyches/soul!
Reach out with improved energy and discover that fulfillment awaits us! Let’s win back our emotional health on purpose!

We are winners, yes we are!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
RESOURCES TO ENCOURAGE YOUR HEART!
  • Amazing what we can learn and share with Values.com,
inclusive of your creation of a community billboard.
Applaud those that are making a difference. Spread joy!
  • Become more active, enjoy “stay vacations” in your own backyard. Google summer events information for your city and community. Summer is approaching. Enjoy free outdoor concerts, stage performances. There are loads of outdoor fairs, visit area eateries, museums, and walking tours. etc.
  • Visit Community Centers learn about fitness programs, cultural arts & culinary classes.
  • As Bishop Vashti Mackenzie says, don’t let your wounds get in the way. Sometimes friend are limited in their scope of your deep, heartfelt needs. Don’t be hesitant about seeking advice- therapy/counseling from a professional. It’s yours for the asking! Therapy choices exist ranging from individuals, families and groups. Explore and learn about treatment preferences & specialties.
  • Consider being proactive with your job hunt, start with some sage and savvy guidance from the Job Club with Tory Johnson (http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/JobClub/)

 

  • Hear an anointed word from Bishop Vashti McKenzie, it’s a “wake-up call!”. Her messages, books, and blog are a hug direct from heaven. Her work will engage and encourage your spirit to live and not die! http://thisisyourwakeupcallonline.com/

 

Expressing Thanksgiving & Joy!
Linda Mose Meadows, Author & Inspirational Columnist:
The Blessedness of BelievingA Devotional Journey of Life’s Lessons and God’s Promises

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