Invitations. They come as anything from delightful surprises to ghastly moral obligations (aka GMOs). So, we can be thrilled to bits or caused to groan inwardly, depending on the category. In the first, Sue’s parents regularly invited us to spend Christmas with them. It was incredible! We showed up and everything was done, in place, planned, well thought out. We just kicked back and enjoyed the time with them. Dad would put lights out in the garden that we could see across the golf green before arriving at the house. The two Christmas trees flanking the fireplace wall up on the mezzanine would be lit and there would be a roaring fire awaiting us (bestest in-laws ever!). In the second group, would be a hotly contested congregational meeting at church which promised to be everlastingly ugly immediately following the opening prayer (let’s just say, Christians – none reading this, of course – can be, at times, um, unsaintly. I’ll leave it at that). If you’ve been spared a similar experience during your journey with Jesus, I encourage you to stop right now and thank the Lord for his tender mercies toward you! If you’ve been traumatized by a similar experience and need prayer for healing, please let me know.

Leading the pack in the blessing category, are Jesus’ invitations to us to spend time with him, to talk with him, to ask him questions, to ask for advice, for discernment, for renewed peace, etc. These six weeks of Lent include a particularly sweet invitation to explore and experience the love of the Father, using the Prayer Journey document which was sent as an attachment on March 1. As much and as often as we are able, Jesus looks forward to every minute we invest in our growing relationships with him. Regardless of where we are in this spiritual trek to knowing the Father’s heart, there is, forever, better news waiting for us to uncover. It’s not possible to be too loved! Take all the time you need to be comfortably seated and unhurriedly quiet (preferably awake). If words are awkward, no problem. If silence is awkward, no problem. All we need to remember is these are the best kind of invitations we will ever get! (If it doesn’t feel like that to you, tell Jesus how you feel. He’ll understand without judgment and encourage you to give it a shot.) Whatever the hurdles, hassles, distractions, irregularity, initial discomfort, even a sense of weirdness, it’s all worth it! If you haven’t even thought of beginning, this is your lucky day! I, and Jesus, invite you to start today (we’re on Week Two/Day 5). For those I’ve heard from who are loving this exercise in prayer, would you please plan to share a highlight with us after the message this Sunday? Thank you! It will be a huge encouragement to us all to hear how it’s going.  Have a blessed week, y’all! PD

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