God is pleased with such a servant: An offering from Dr. Nancy Kate Dunkerley

Isaiah 53:10-12

Hard to understand that “it pleased” God that the good servant suffered, was crushed in pain. What? It sounds like God wanted the undeserved pain of one who serves! How can that be?

I try to see more… to see the love the servant has for everyone else, for all the others, the many who sin, whose relationship with God is broken (including me and many whom I love). That the servant’s love for God is great enough to restore all those others? That one person’s love can have such an effect on the many?! That one person can save so many?!!

Yes, surely God is pleased with such a servant.

And there are such servants among us. One was David Sherrard, 37, husband, father, police officer in Richardson TX. Killed in the line of duty, February 7, 2018.

May his soul and all similar faithful servants rest in peace. Surely God is pleased with them.

(c) Dr. Nancy Kate Dunkerley
HeartPaths Core Faculty
Spiritual Director and Supervisor

Little Children Come to Me – An offering from Eduardo Ugarte

Mk 10:13-16 Let the little children come to me.

This is a wonderful invitation that Jesus makes to all of us, be like a little child.  How can I be or become a child?  A child is simple, all trusting, without agendas, and no control is needed.  A child comes to its parents simply to ask a question, to ask for something it wants, perhaps to ask for a hug, for a kiss or for something to eat.  They trust/believe what the parents lovingly give or tell them.  Children are totally reliant on their parents to the point that their life depends on them.  We must remember that is child is totally dependent on its mother for nine months.  It is crucial to recognize our dependence for everything on our Father/Mother in heaven just as a child is to its parents.  We must become children to enter a loving relationship with the Father/Mother.

(c) 2018 Eduardo Ugarte

Spiritual Saltiness: An offering from Donnie Hawley

For everyone will be salted with fire. 
Salt is a good thing, but if salt has become insipid,
how can you season it again?
Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another.

Mark 9:49-50

“Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another.”

What does Jesus mean by this?  Those of us who cook know that too little salt makes food somewhat tasteless and it becomes insipid, while too much salt will ruin the food and it becomes inedible.  Salt is a seasoning and a preservative.

Is Jesus trying to tell us that the right amount of spiritual saltiness is needed?  In our relationship with God and others, if our spiritual saltiness is insipid, the peace we seek will also be insipid and our relationships will not be preserved.

On the other hand, if our spiritual saltiness is over bearing, God and others whom we want to be in relationship with will be put off by the brine and the crusty residue that brine leaves.

The question we have to ask ourselves is how do we develop this balance of spiritual saltiness that leads to peace?

(c) 2018 Donnie Hawley

Let go and trust: An offering from Eunice Cheshire

Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.

John 8: 46-47

It seems as social media and the internet expands, what we can really trust as truth diminishes.  However, of this we can be confident:  we can believe the truth of who Jesus is and what Jesus says and does.  And yet, so often we struggle to trust Jesus – to place our lives, circumstances and consequences solely in his hands.  Instead we impatiently take charge to try to make “something” happen – sometimes we are so impatient we will settle for “anything” we can make happen.  The closer we get to Palm Sunday our invitation may be to let go, to again trust Jesus’ truth and to join the procession of the followers to Jerusalem who trust and to put our lives in Jesus’ hands.

(c) 2018 Eunice Cheshire
HeartPaths Core Faculty
Spiritual Director and Supervisor

We Offer Our Bodies to God – An offering from Aimee Larson

“Therefore, I urge you, brother’s and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-…

I remember clearly the day I came upon the words of a poem written by Teresa of Avila. The image she painted with her prose took my breathe away because of its beauty, simplicity, and relevance:

“Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Your are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses the world…

And, is this not how we offer our bodies to God and to each other? This simple understanding that through the power of the Holy Spirit, we too become the body of Christ and the eyes with which he looks compassion on the world?

Aimee Larson
Spiritual Director
Yoga instructor RYT
Bible Study Teacher

Beyond the Past and Before the Future – An offering from Brad Syverson

Isaiah 43:18-19

I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

We read in the scriptures great stories of how God moved among the Israelites, the Galileans and the early Christians.  We ask God to move in events to come.  But God never settles for the past tense or the future tense. God is moving in the present tense.  “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs fourth, do you not perceive it?” Isaiah 43:19.    Great stories of faith from the past embolden us to live with hope and clarity.  The promises of eternity call and guide us.  However we are living this very moment right now.  We forget that is where God lives as well.  So we have to show up to each moment, looking for God.  Perceiving is up to us.

“Wake up” Spirit calls to us.  “I am springing fourth within you each moment, each heartbeat.  Don’t miss it!”

2018 Brad Syverson
Spiritual Director

Setting my mind on surrender: An offering from Nancy Jagmin

Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.
Mark 8:31-33

I am very aware of some of the things I want to put behind me.  There are regrets, of course, which I want to resign to the past. However, this Lent, I am much more aware of the other things I want to put behind me:  the way I often think about my life in the present.  I fall into habitual ways of perceiving events that drive my priorities, and I’m not always happy with where those priorities take me.  Can ways of seeing the world which seem as comfortable as my own skin really be counter to God?  Does my desire to make things happen the way I want them (as Peter did) sometimes run counter to the divine?  Are my priorities really all that bad?  Maybe not, but I won’t know unless I surrender them to God. I ask for the grace to set my mind on that.

(c) 2018 Nancy Jagmin
SMI Board
HeartPaths DFW Faculty

Divine, Healing Love – An offering from Dr. Cheryl-Ann Monteiro

Psalm 51:1-2

2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 

Lent often brings to my mind the parable of the prodigal son, replete with teachings. What made the wayward, destitute young man decide to beg forgiveness and a livelihood of his father to whom he had not been respectful? His resolve seemed rooted in the possibility of a better life as his father’s servant, rather than an expectation to be welcomed as a son. Self-preservation brought him down the path where he could receive the full enormity of his father’s healing love. Loving God, who washes away our sins, what invitation to recover mys true self do you have for me this Lent? Show me one step in that direction that I may be open to your divine, healing love.

Submitted by

(c) 2018 Dr. Cheryl-Ann Monteiro

Heart Paths Year III student

Whining in the Desert – An offering from Brad Syverson

Mark 8: 1-10

How can one feed these people with bread here in the desert?

In the story of Mark chapter 8, Jesus finds himself with thousands of hungry folks out in the desert.  It breaks his heart, Jesus tells his disciples.  The disciples look at the thousands and the vast deserted desert and whine.  “Well what do you expect us to do about it?” they ask.

Jesus shows us hunger, poverty, hurt and grief among his people.  “It’s breaking my heart,” He tells us.  We’re tempted to whine as well.  What do you expect US to do about it, God?

What if whining melted into prayer?  We could ask:  “What DO you expect me to do about it, God?”   Honestly, I don’t know if I’m ready to hear the answer but I don’t want to miss the miracle either.  May we pray that question today and may we be emboldened to listen and act!

(c) 2018 Brad Syverson
Spiritual Director

Do not cause anyone to stumble – An offering from Rev. Lil Smith

1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1 (NIV)

31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. 11 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

I find some of the most compelling images are the selfless acts of competitive athletes: helping a competitor cross the finish line, stopping mid-race to render aid, carrying an injured player on the other team around the bases because she hit the ball out of the park and earned the run.

I find these acts so compelling not just because of the good that is being shared with the other, but because of the selfless act of giving up the dream of winning to be in service to another.

For it is in these moments my earthly dream is overshadowed by the kingdom-come dream God has for all of God’s children:  following the way of Christ.

May we be your followers today and help others who stumble.

(c) 2018 Rev. Lil Smith
Spiritual Director and Supervisor
Retreat House Spirituality Center