RSS

Tag Archives: Hurt

Please Forgive You!

Five for Five by Brendan C. under Creative Commons License 2.0; Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/brendan-c/5536285460/in/photolist-9rdUMA-39p7Hj-faCoWC-wRWkfM-cyrFgm-pB6G22-aY7PT2-5s3wDn-ahsRVf-cWzXNS-7AoKFK-wbqgZi-5xuTd5-dRqNuF-ayg4m6-pvAtG9-9EQLnf-rfymR8-9fT9tH-8y6YMi-rRugd-mgioUt-evu6n-cv8VGW-7qS37A-brPrfq-eqonTq-6XSNjo-bv9T52-6yW3GR-7G2es1-aFHjbB-hZFWpE-n99svN-oYi4J-n7j6nt-mPv8Un-btqsVy-9GBMYG-eqVuhP-irFqq4-bZHsQU-kue8JM-dBEZyK-tHx8SA-99tqDR-aaTzvB-nuNods-5kanqy-oHwcRN

Five for Five by Brendan C. under Creative Commons License 2.0; Source

“How could I DO that! It’s not fair! It’s not right! That just hurt them too much! How can I say I love then, when I did that?!”

For the past couple posts, “In Love We Trust” and “Please Forgive Him!”, we have been discussing intimacy and the immediate love relationship with the Divine, and how it both reflects and is reflected by, our relationships with one another.The central theme I present (with which you are welcome to disagree if you choose) is:


We cannot truly love those we do not trust. And we cannot truly trust those we do not forgive.


One day, Jesus was asked…

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” [Matthew 22:36-40]

Now, Jesus was only asked about ONE SINGLE commandment. And He answered the question. But notice, He simply COULD NOT leave the statement at that. For Him to address our relationship with God, without addressing two other relationships was simply not acceptable to Him. That would have been wrong. And He refused to do that.

“TWO relationships?” you ask. Yes. It is easy to see that Jesus speaks of our relationship with others here. In fact, time and time again we see this text and that of the Good Samaritan circumscribing Jesus’ understanding of “neighbor”. But there is another entire relationship contained in His simple words “as yourself”. Contrary to a great deal of religious-looking thinking, writing, preaching, teaching… we are NOT to “despise ourselves”.

This may be a strange thought to some, Gentle Reader, but we are to hold ourselves in the same sacred love as we hold others… the same as Jesus holds us… the same as the Father and Spirit hold us. Please, stop, for just a moment, and consider that statement.

Why? Why are we to do this?

Because this is what God does, what God has willed, what God has done.

The Apostle Paul discusses this incredible reality in his letter to the Romans:

“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” [Romans 5:6-11]

God loves us FIRST! He loves and came/comes to save SINNERS, the UNRIGHTEOUS, His ENEMIES!

We SAY these things so readily and blithely, Gentle Reader. But so seldom do we stop and think them through. Are you in Christ? Indwelt of the Holy Spirit? Does God hold you in the hollow of His hand? I suspect so. (Otherwise, this isn’t a blog likely to appeal to you, so I trust that to be so.) But beloved brother or sister… just as for myself… that didn’t happen and doesn’t happen because “we got sorted out enough to entertain His presence!” Far from it. He comes to those who NEED Him, and receive Him in that need. It has nothing at all to do with our getting “cleaned up enough to touch Him”… He is the only one who can “clean us” in the first place!

So, why am I bothering to belabor such a fundamental Truth?

Because it is so very easy to forget our own helplessness, as we grow in Him. As we grow, our conscience becomes more sensitive, more attuned to right or wrong, to godliness or dissipation, to purity or depravity, to righteousness or callousness, to love or indifference. We become more aware of the moments when we forget His presence and grace, and act out of appetite, pique, or adrenalin. The Spirit within our conscience points out such moments in our considerations, we know remorse, repentance, and we grow in our understanding, compassion, and love.

It seems an odd thing, but the more we mature in Christ, the more loving we become. But at the same time, our “internal standard” increases as well. Our expectations of ourselves rise, so that often, rather than acknowledging and praising God for our growth (our increase in loving others and decrease in wounding neighbors) we feel more dissatisfied than ever. Our guilt, our shame, our dissatisfaction can increase rather than diminish. There is a subtle trap of darkness here… undermining grace, hope, gratitude… endorsing and affirming pride and a sense of hopelessness or despair.


Now, this post could become a long, scripture-laden, multi-faceted teaching… or we can keep this simple. So I just want to put some ideas our here, let you consider them (prayerfully), and see what you think. I would appreciate comment, response, reaction, and discussion if/as you feel led. So here we go…

  • God loves FIRST. He did. He does. That’s it. We can choose to receive that or not, but we never did, we don’t, and we never will… “merit”… “deserve”… or “get good enough” to deserve or earn that love. We can just reflect it to Him, and refract it to others… but only He IS and RADIATES Love as His very essence and being.
  • In this life we yet walk subject to “glass darkly” incomplete vision and understanding. We know moods, feelings, reactions, adrenalin, illusions and temptations that from time to time we use our free will to choose, in place of God’s will. That is, sometimes we sin, treating one another or even God Himself as less than sacred and holy.
  • When we recover our peace in Him, we become aware of such past moments, and experience remorse, perhaps even shame or guilt. We can respond to such awareness with either of two kinds of sorrow, one that leads to death, the other to repentance.(see 2 Cor 7:10)
  • The sorrow that leads to death haunts us, dwells in a closet of buried regrets, and emerges in our lowest hours to foment a sense of despair, hopelessness, worthlessness, and guilt that robs us of any sense of joy or life. It drives us away from God in our shame and the desire to hide from Him. The sorrow that leads to repentance is clear and can be uncomfortable, but seeks light and cleansing and hope. It is a sorrow that seeks to reconcile and render relationships whole again, rather than distant and disrupted.
  • The crucifixion and redemption of Jesus at Calvary, the sacrifice of His blood shed on the cross, was so complete and so perfect that it forgave all sin for all time: past, present, and future. Such that there is no further room in the life of the believer for an ongoing sense of sin, guilt or shame.
  • God, in the crucifixion and redemption, paid for and REMOVED all sin and its stain, from those who believe. As far as east is from the west. There was a Writ of Transgressions (a charge sheet) against us, which has been nailed to the cross and obliterated in Jesus’ blood. Our sins are buried in the deepest abyss of the sea. There are TWO goats in the Atonement Sacrifice, one that dies to pay the price of sin, the other on whom the blood is poured and is driven from the camp (the Scapegoat). There are TWO sets of “books” at the White Throne Judgment: one BOOK (singular), (The Lamb’s Book of Life) containing the names of the redeemed, and the BOOKS (plural) (The Books of Deeds) that are opened ONLY for those NOT in the Book of Life, who are judged according to their deeds.
  • Jesus has clothed us in His own robes of righteousness, which is why and how God sees us (right now!) as clean before Him.

Now, do we all “feel” this, “realize” this, walk in full “awareness” of this all the time every day? No! We yet experience our own frailties and faults, failures and missed marks day after day. Nonetheless, God has already woven all of that, and this, into His plans, His tapestry of time… and it is all accounted for in His will.

“Forgiveness” is a yes/no proposition in life. Either we choose a universe where Forgiveness exists… for ALL… or we do not. Forgive others. Yes. Forgive God. Assuredly. But also… of great importance… Forgive yourself!

So many people “stand apart” from God, because there is something in their past (or even their present) that THEY cannot forgive, so they dare not embrace Holy God.

Know what? He knows about that. He always did. He knew about it before you did. He knew about it before you did it, before you knew it was wrong, before you repented it. He LOVES you… and LOVED you BEFORE you did it, WHILE you did it, and now. He does not, and never has, despised you or been ashamed of you.

So here’s the challenge: If God Himself loves, forgives, and embraces you (and me)… knowing full well (even better than we do) all our shortcomings, vulnerabilities, failures and habits… who are we to condemn ourselves and retain our shame and guilt? If Jesus Himself DIED, according to both His and the Father’s will… to FREE us from sin, guilt, and shame… is there any merit in holding on to those despite His sacrifice?

Do you have faults, Gentle Reader? So do I.

Does an “accountability list”, or an inventory “examination of conscience” sometimes seem to fill you with despair or disgust? Well, I do that sometimes.

But it took a really REALLY long time, before Jesus sat me down one day, hugged me, and said, “I know every stumble every time, and I always have. I know every flaw and failing, and I always have. And yet I chose to die for you, knowing all that, just because I love you that much and I want you to embrace Me as I embrace you. Now… if you are ‘good enough for Me’ just as you are, will you please let yourself be ‘good enough for you, too’? Since *I* forgive you… will YOU please forgive you, too? If you can quit focusing so much on the stumbles and frailties, and focus on My embrace, instead… you’ll find you stumble a lot less.”

So there you go, Gentle Reader. Since He has forgiven you so much, and gone to such trouble to make it so and take all stain (past, present, and future) from you… Please forgive you, too! It’s a choice we make. We can live WITH forgiveness… or not. It’s entirely up to us.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 16, 2015 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Please Forgive Him!

Five for Five by Brendan C. under Creative Commons License 2.0; Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/brendan-c/5536285460/in/photolist-9rdUMA-39p7Hj-faCoWC-wRWkfM-cyrFgm-pB6G22-aY7PT2-5s3wDn-ahsRVf-cWzXNS-7AoKFK-wbqgZi-5xuTd5-dRqNuF-ayg4m6-pvAtG9-9EQLnf-rfymR8-9fT9tH-8y6YMi-rRugd-mgioUt-evu6n-cv8VGW-7qS37A-brPrfq-eqonTq-6XSNjo-bv9T52-6yW3GR-7G2es1-aFHjbB-hZFWpE-n99svN-oYi4J-n7j6nt-mPv8Un-btqsVy-9GBMYG-eqVuhP-irFqq4-bZHsQU-kue8JM-dBEZyK-tHx8SA-99tqDR-aaTzvB-nuNods-5kanqy-oHwcRN

Five for Five by Brendan C. under Creative Commons License 2.0; Source

“How could he DO that! It’s not fair! It’s not right! This just hurts too much! How can he say he loves me, when this has hurt so much?!”

Have you ever felt this way, Gentle Reader?

We look at these words and we see a hurting heart. Hearts break when we feel betrayed, when we expect to be treated one way, when we expect one thing to happen, and something entirely different… hurtful… painful… traumatic… happens instead.

Looking at this so far, we think of the times people, loved ones, friends, family, lovers, have disappointed us. Trauma… whether physical, mental, or emotional… can rupture relationships. Love is impaired in a ruptured relationship. When trust is undermined, there may still be love, but the flow… the expression… the freedom of that love is slowed. Sometimes, it can even feel like everything about the relationship has just… stopped.


A short while ago I posted In Love We Trust discussing some parallels of intimacy between our human relationships and the incredible Divine relationship. In that post we touched on forgiveness for just a moment, how we cannot completely trust those we do not completely forgive, and we cannot completely love those we do not completely trust.

So, for just one moment, let’s discuss the question of completely forgiving the Divine.

What???

“How could I?”             “How dare I?”             “How can you even think such a thing?”

Yet I can, I dare, I think… because I am REAL and these are real feelings in a real relationship. Our relationship with the Divine can be as real and immediate, as deep and as passionate, as any relationship we’ve ever known… perhaps even more so. King David, a man after God’s own heart, poured his passions out in song and poetry to the Divine that man has yet to equal. The Psalms sing of jubilation, lament, fear, worship, exultation, remorse, and every other emotion imaginable between a child and their Divine Parent.

God delights in transparency. God HONORS transparency. Anything less than transparent honesty is DIShonesty… and that NEVER belongs in this relationship. Dishonesty undermines trust. David did not always like the way God managed affairs, and expressed his feelings and concerns openly before Him. Yet, David always acknowledged God’s RIGHT to manage affairs in His own way, for God is/was God, and David is/was His servant and son. David chose to trust, even when he did not like or understand God’s will.

Jesus did the same. And so we, too, are challenged in the present day.

————————–

Rather than go through a lot of Scriptural examples, I just point to the Psalms, or the Garden of Gethsemane for the biblical supporting texts, and pose a few simple ideas and questions for your consideration.

——————————

Idea One: Countless wonderful Christians that I know, have gotten stuck in a rut, stopping their forward progress and growth in the intimate knowing of God, the drawing closer of relationship with Him. They get “so far, and no further”, because they suffer some terrible trauma in life, they come to realize the utter sovereignty of God, and they simply CANNOT bring themselves to forgive Him for their pain.

Idea Two: They cannot forgive Him, because they dare not admit (even to themselves), that they hold Him in offense. They are too programmed, too domesticated, too Christianly-trained to admit that they are angry with God (regardless of how reasonable it seems to be angry with Him)… and therefore they do not know that it is right to, or the manner in which, to approach Him and resolve the conflict in their spirit.

Idea Three: To deny one’s sincere feelings, reasonable or not, reverent or not, “acceptable” or not… with regard to one’s transparent sincere and intimate relationship with God, is to introduce a subtle “falseness”, a “lie”, between the self and God. This lie is progressive and toxic, ultimately makiing distance between the heart and God, and can stop our growth in Him.

Idea Four: True intimacy, love, and trust requires transparency. Honestly to share with the Divine that the heart feels wounded and wronged, is NOT the same thing as accusing the Divine of having wounded and wronged the heart. One can state “what is”, without assigning blame or passing judgment.

Idea Five: “Forgiveness” has nothing to do with assigning blame or passing judgment. It is a decision of the will to release offense and bitterness, restoring trust to the prior state, making way for the further growth of love.

Idea Six: The two areas where we are the most likely to “blame God” or “hold offense”, are the two areas we acknowledge as least in “our own control”, and most “totally in His”. Those are the areas of “birth”, and “death”. If there is ANYPLACE we acknowledge the pure sovereignty of God, it is in the matter of the family, culture, lifestyle into which we were born (well beyond our control)… and all matters of the death of those we love (also beyond our control).


“Well, all well and good, Little Monk, but what are you saying here? What do we DO about this, to get past this roadblock and grow in intimacy?”

Well, three things, Gentle Reader. Call them a “Prayer Experiment” if you like…

  • Think of all of your life as you grew up… all the suffering you knew… all the things you wish had been different… all that you endured before you reached adulthood and your decisions became your own responsibility… and forgive God for all of that. You are who you are right now, you have and use the gifts you have, you know what you know and you’ve come to THIS place with the Divine… as a result of every single thing you’ve lived through up to now. The painful moments of your childhood, the fears, the disappointments, the injuries, the betrayals, the wounds… all play a part in the redemptive and transformative work God has done in you, making you capable of ministering to and healing others.

Ask yourself: “If God could remove any of the hurts and wounds you knew as a child… but in so doing, you would lose some of your compassion and ability to heal and comfort others now… would you have Him remove them? Or would you prefer to stay as you are, and leave your past as it was?”

If you would stay as you are, then THANK HIM for your past, and embrace it. ALL of it. Because it is ALL part of His gift in making the you that you are now.

  • In trials of great grief, in grave illness or injury, or death of a loved one, know that the sadness and tears we experience are the very PRESENCE of the Comforter. That He is with us, He enfolds us, He feels all that we feel of our sadness and loss. But know also, that He sees what we cannot. He sees our beloved’s glorious resurrection in Him, He knows and feels their joy as well. We can trust Him in all of that. We can express our displeasure at the loss of relationship here and now, yes. But in trusting Him, in forgiving Him for “taking them”, we can come to know His peace and even (in time) the joy of knowing their ongoing life in Him. We need not understand it, comprehend it, or deny the real pain we feel. We can trust Him by choice, and over time, watch our hope in Him become concrete reality in our lives and hearts.

Ask yourself: “If God Alone knows the perfect time, the perfect moment, in the complex weave of all of Reality, for a soul, a beloved child of His, to leave the body and return to Him… If He Alone knows and controls the moment for the shell of this life to burst forth into the fullness of the life He has for us in Him… would we really want to change that timing, even from the mist of our own pain of loss? Can we trust Him who gives breath to our bodies, to know precisely the right moment to give wings to our spirit beyond this?”

If so, then even embracing our own pain of loss, we can forgive Him for the death of those we love. We can embrace the truth, the faith, the hope that here and now we dwell in the midst of death, being overtaken by Life. And even bereft and sad as we are, we can trust and forgive Him for granting those we love the freedom of the fullness of His Life. AND, we can know that He embraces US, fully, in our sadness… as we recover and move on from this temporary period of loss, until we are reunited with those we love.

  • In ALL the traumas and tragedies that we meet in our lives and our days, illness, financial reversals, tribulations, challenges of loved ones, divorce, whatever we encounter… when circumstances are beyond our control, it is natural to look towards the Divine with a heartfelt lament of… “Why, O Lord?” or “How long, O Lord?” There is nothing wrong with voicing such lament… that is being honest with Him, with ourselves, with life.

But the challenge becomes, “What if He declines to answer? What if He answers, but we cannot comprehend or hear His words or His heart? Can we accept the fact that GOD IS ALWAYS AND ONLY GOOD? That He weaves the tapestry of life ALWAYS to redemption and transformation from defeat to triumph?”

Can we… Will we… CHOOSE to TRUST Him, to embrace, to thank, to praise… simply for Who He is, not just what He does, or how we feel, or what we expect to get out of it?


Here is the challenge, Gentle Reader. The challenge is to “Forgive God”… openly, freely, rapidly. Here is where trust lies. Here is where intimacy and love lie.

It is not easy. It is, in fact, exceedingly hard. Perhaps the hardest thing we are ever called upon to do.

But it is simple. It is a choice, a decision, not to take offense into account. Not to DENY the sense of “offense”, but simply refuse to take it into account in the relationship.

Nothing I know, so consistently derails the spiritual growth of generous, loving, good-hearted Christian brethren. Try this… be transparent and honest, with self and with Him. Forgive Him for hurts (past, present, future), whether the sense of offense is “reasonable” or not. Do not be dissuaded by religiosity or pompous reverence. A child doesn’t have to be “reasonable” or “right” to express respectful displeasure at the decision of a loving parent. They just have to be truthful.

And then, embrace all of it… the was, the is, and the shall be… as though all of it were blessing.

(Because, Gentle Reader… all of it IS. One way or another, all of life is grace.)

 
5 Comments

Posted by on September 13, 2015 in Quiet Time, Reverse Polarity, Sermon Seeds

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I Can’t Blame the Cat!

“Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison”. [Matthew 5:23-25]

OK, so… “Imagine… if you will...”    * insert best Rod Serling voice imitation here *

Let’s say you are an Elder of a “Liturgical Persuasion”, and this Little Monk comes to your monastery cell, taps gently on the door, and says… “Um, Senior Brother… got a spare moment for a Confession?” And, smiling, you come out, put a bookmark at the page you’d been reading of a really EXCELLENT mystery… and together we head to the Confessional. Or, depending on generation, we head for a quiet private spot in the Garden. (Both are fine…)

And my first words after the preliminaries are… “It’s not my FAULT! I just followed the CAT! Honest!”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

OK, so what in the WORLD am I babbling about, this time? Lol. Well, I have a confession to make, and it’s as well to make it here, to you, as anyone else. You are, after all, Holy and Royal Priest… as endowed as any brother or sister of Kingdom. And you may have guessed that in sharing an idea of spirit, especially of prayer, I’m much more dedicated to “laboratory” than to “lecture” format. The most convenient lab specimen I know… considering confidentiality and everything… is myself as guinea pig, so here we are.

Well, a few nights ago, I “blew it”. I “sinned”. (Lol, nothing unexpected there, but this makes a decent illustration for today.) You may recall, the standard to which I am held regarding sin is quite simple (as I can’t handle a lot of rules or complicated stuff). So, what did I do? I “treated something or someone God loves (thus holds in existence), as less than sacred.” I desecrated someone, treating them as less than sacred.

The Crime: No big deal… (well, it was “murder” actually, but we’ll get to that.). Group of guests in my living room, as we play a paper-and-pencil role playing game. (I am a player, not a game master.) We are facing a challenge, discussing our options, and one of our company proposes a thoroughly destructive, but simple solution, that would have devastating impact on the environment and innocent bystanders. I oppose this plan, simply, logically, and succinctly. Nothing complex about the response. First speaker nods, says, “OK”, and we all go back to pondering a workable solution. (So far so good.)

But, THEN, that first guy (we’ll call him “First Guy” for convenience)…. that First Guy comes back, and restates HIS ORIGINAL PROPOSAL… like he hadn’t even HEARD me! How DARE he! (see the little “pride worm” there? I didn’t.) And in a flash, in less than a breath… I turn to him. (like, *slowly I turned… step by step… inch by inch*…)

I say, “Which word was too long?” And the entire room is suddenly filled with the slightly smothered sound of a bunch of guys trying to suppress a laugh they know would be rude. While *I* just sit there with a gobsmacked, wide-eyed look of… “Are you KIDDING me? Really? REALLY?”

God is so GOOD! Gentle Reader. Even when I SO don’t deserve it. Like a flash, one of my young ministry friends, sitting alongside me, gently and discretely tapped my arm to break my “adrenalin moment”, and took over the conversation with SUCH grace… “First Guy, we’re saying that might not be our best plan because these things would happen, and then…, and then…, and that might not be good for us. OK?” as he explains the situation with better detail and clarity. And the evening moved on smoothly. But…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Outcome:I knew the rebuke of the Spirit from that on a few issues. One, it’s perfectly ok that my mind chases cats, and sometimes moves with a speed or in an unexpected direction. Everyone in the room had followed my reasoning, except First Guy. THAT was not out of order. That, is life. Where I moved out of order, was my sarcastic remark. He was asking a legitimate question, posing a legitimate thought. Rather than receiving that and responding, my words “ridiculed” him, implied that he was “a fool”. The Lord is extremely straight up on such things… that… is out of order…. that’s sin… and, in His Book… that’s the same as murder. [cf Matthew 5:22]

My words “devalued” my friend… took life FROM him… rather than giving life TO him. I am unreservedly grateful that my apprentice stepped in as he did, and moved the words along rapidly, so that First Guy never embraced my insult. He never took it in to himself, and was never harmed by it.

Needless to say, as soon as these realizations HIT my arrogant little heart, I apologized to First Guy, and to the room for my carelessness and lack of manners.

I love Mark Lowery’s disclosure on such moments… about “sassing his mother” and “backtalk in general”… that… “Something BRILLIANT would always pop into my mind, and be out my mouth, before I stop it!” I share that feeling so easily!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So here we are, in our little “sacred space” as you hear this confession, and you agree with the Spirit, that my words and heart were out of order. Just to see my “defensiveness” blurt out! “But it’s not my FAULT! I was just chasing a suddenly jumping cat! And it was out my mouth before I could stop it!”

And as the Lord shakes His head calmly, with the comment, “No excuse, there…”

I find myself whining, “These cats… that YOU GAVE ME!” and I try to blame HIM, for my behavior, since He made me as I am!

+ Ever been there? Ever done that? It’s my most convenient excuse and whine. *

Then the Lord echoed this in my mind:

Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.” [Genesis 3:9-12]

See it? See it? “Not MY fault, Lord! YOU gave me the woman! YOUR FAULT” Of course, it didn’t fly. Not for him, not for the woman when she tried to blame it on the Serpent. And not… for ME. My cats are a part of my life. I am big enough, old enough, and well-enough trained to refrain from jumping after them, or allowing my words to flow in a harmful way. It was not my “cat”, but my “pride” that poked my words from a wrong heart. The sooner I saw that, the wiser and more loving I would be.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Together, you and I laugh at how silly such defensiveness is. We share that the Spirit doesn’t correct us, isn’t correcting us, to make us feel bad, or punish us. That my “fault”, my “failure”, my “sin”, isn’t so much an “affront at Holy God” as it is, and was, a “moment of missed sharing, missed love, missed relationship.” I could have drawn my friend “closer” to me in friendship that evening, rather than letting pride try to puff me up at his expense.

As it turned out, reconciling things and humbling myself to him, that closeness came anyway, and it edified our relationship. But I could have done the same thing without the embarrassment, if I’d gone with God’s “Plan A” direction at the fork of my temptation, rather than yielding to my own “Plan B” path of sarcasm, repentance, reconciliation! But it all ends up in the same place, because that’s how Grace works in This Family.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So I thank you for your time and kind attention Elder brother monk. I appreciate you. Speaking with you, I see that such sarcasm, even leaping after a darting kitten, offends Love and devalues a sacred heart. That’s not why I am here. It is not how He, or you, or most any of Our Family treat me, nor how I want to be treated. I shall deal more gently with my brethren in future.

Thank you for your support. Pray for me always. We’re all in this together, and I too struggle not to make childish mistakes! Grace to thee!

 
6 Comments

Posted by on January 15, 2014 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Independence Day

A short time ago, Americans were privileged to celebrate the 4th of July… Independence Day… gathering with friends and/or family, marking our political and cultural departure from Great Britain as colonies, forswearing ever again to live as part of a National Church. For many Christians, this weekend has not only been about patriotism and fireworks, but also the tremendous (and rare, in our world) opportunity we have to worship God according to our conscience, rather than according to political laws and domination by a majority.

We, as citizens, are “Independent”. And right here right now we celebrate “Independence Day”. And that’s a GOOD thing, right?

Well… yeah… right… when we mean it as the Founding Fathers did. When we mean political, economic, religious independence from bondage to an unbalanced structure of control and exploitation. But, let me ask you this, Gentle Reader… Can you imagine such a thing as “bad independence”? “Too much independence”?

Independence can be taken to mean “freedom”, “manumission”, and “release from forced bondage”. That, unquestionably, is a good thing. That is what we celebrate on July 4th as our Independence Day, or our Freedom Day. I sometimes think “Freedom” is the better word for that holiday, as the word Freedom does not imply so strong a “disconnection” from others. We can readily see “freedom” as the “right of choice” to determine our actions, our alliances, our associations, our relationships.

“Independence”, on the other hand, carries with it an implication of “disconnectedness”, of “aloneness”, of what some people call “alienation”.

*I* for one, am NOT “independent”. I am totally, cheerfully, and joyously dependent in every possible way on my Beloved Lord and His grace. I am further “mutually dependent” with countless others of my brethren around me in Kingdom Service, and as a part of the humanity of creation itself. See what I mean? I am absolutely and totally “FREE”, that is I alone make my choices and carry the responsibility for them. I choose my connections, relationships, alliances. But in making those choices, I become dependent on others, as they depend on me, and I become accountable to them. By NO means, am I the slightest bit “Independent”.

I spend most of my time involved in “counseling”, in the creation of a sacred space between myself and a person in pain, such that the Holy Spirit can reach through our interpersonal space and bring healing to a wounded heart. Sometimes, my role is to speak words into that space. Often, it is not. Often my role is simply to listen… to the person, to the Spirit, listen as the person hears and affirms what they discover.

Almost without exception, a client finds him or herself in my office because, without really knowing how it happened, they have become “independent”. They have become disconnected from anyone or anything that speaks life into their hearts. Their life may be enmeshed in a gaggle of relationships, but there is no trust, no intimacy, no transparency, no mutual edification or real accountability.

Suicide is now the third leading cause of death in the United States. It is the second leading cause in this state. Among youth, aged 10 to 25, suicide is the Number One leading cause of death in this county. That is tragic beyond words.

The single most profound factor that has been isolated by scientists studying the circumstances of suicide and the decision to take one’s own life is….

[insert drum roll here]…

A personal sense of isolation and alienation.

That is, in other words, “Independence”.

Jesus’ strongest command was (is)… “that ye love one another”. (cf John 13:34-35)

That carries with it the corollary that we allow ourselves to be loved. “Freedom” is the choice to love, relate, and be loved by others… to choose light over darkness, not because we MUST, but because we MAY! The Enemy, from the beginning, has been about separation, boundaries, guilt, gaps, alienation and distancing of loving relationships.

Don’t let the enemy have his way, follow Jesus’ command instead. Tear down walls and boundaries, love and be loved. Don’t let isolation or alienation, loneliness, and cutoffs poison either your own life or the lives of others.

Be Free, Gentle Reader! Not Independent!

Blessings and grace to thee — Little Monk

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 13, 2013 in Quiet Time, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Most Amazing Gift – Part Two

Deep in the darkness of early morning, long before my alarm went off, The Lord called my name and woke me. This was unusual in these days. Sometimes, in certain seasons, He teaches this way frequently, but on this occasion it had been quite a while. I was awake, but could sense the darkness about me, yet there was clarity. The Lord had called my name and said, “Wake up, now.”

I lay still in my bed and He spoke again, “Open your eyes…”

So I did… I think…

For when I seemingly opened my eyes I did not see my bedroom, my covers, the darkness that I knew surrounded me. I was… in Jesus. HIS eyes opened with my own. Now, this has happened to me on rare occasions before, but always at such moments, we were in MY body, in THIS world. It was Him in me, as we walked the earth. THIS time however, was entirely different… I was in HIS body, in HIS world, in HIS earthly time. Very strange.

Even stranger the grace He granted, I was IN HIM, and we were hanging on the Cross. Gradually but rapidly, He seemed to meld me entirely into Him, as not only did we look up at our surroundings, but I came to feel through His senses entirely. I assure you, Gentle Reader, never before have I had such a prayer experience… and you are welcome to accept or reject this testimony as you feel led. I simply recount it to you.

We looked up, raised our head, and I could see and hear the multitudes of the crowd jeering, cursing, blaspheming Him. I could feel the pain, the dripping of blood from head, hands, back. Face and eyes were swollen from blows. Mouth was dry from dehydration and the intensifying struggle simply to breathe. Not gonna get real graphic here with descriptions, but trust me… the experience was thoroughly so. But fairly soon, all the sensations seemed to blur into awareness of just what I could see and hear, and the struggle to breathe.

Each breath was a massive effort, demanding chest, shoulders, head and arms. But His gaze never wavered as He simply watched the crowds mobbing a short distance away. But what He FELT for them… THAT was the amazing part. He simply, totally, and completely… LOVED THEM. Ears could hear the jeers and insults, eyes could see the spitting, the screaming, the garbage flung at Him… yes. But all HE saw was “His children”. All He felt was grief at their actions, and the unspeakable yearning of His heart to gather them together in His arms, love them, and protect them.

It was the most incredible thing I’ve ever felt… the profound depths of that LOVE. It just seemed to grow. So hard to describe, Gentle Reader… By any chance, are you a parent or a grandparent? Do you know that feeling when sometimes you look at your child or grandchildren and you just LOVE them SO MUCH? Like you wish you could just scoop them up in your arms, like when they were really little, and just hug them hugely? Remember that feeling that seemed to touch you once in a while looking at them, where the love in your chest was just so pointed it almost hurt? That’s what this was like.

And watch this… it GREW… it just grew in waves, moment by moment. I’ve never felt the like, except in grief. I’ve sometimes known loss so deep that grief could come unexpectedly, and wash over me and through me like the waves of an incoming tide. But here, this was happening with love and tenderness and compassion itself! And His tears flowed over them, this totally notwithstanding that His beloveds were ranting out there cursing, screaming and reviling.

It made no sense… none at all.

But here is the most incredible part… as this all unfolded on Calvary… in the darkness of my room. This love just kept growing and growing as all the pain just faded into a dull background against the sharp relief of struggling for each rasping, rattling breath. The seconds just seemed to tick away into eternity, as I had to focus just on breathing, ever more shallowly, then the climax…

One deep breath, as His eyes filled with tears and He looked up into the dark sky towards the Father He could no longer feel, but yet believed by faith alone was there and present. He took that struggling breath, held those reviling crowds tenderly in His heart as He lifted them towards the Father and His love, and rasped out… “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”

And, deep within ourselves, we knew somehow, beyond any doubt… the Father heard His prayer… He received it… and… the Father… GRANTED… it.

Then, it was finished. With that forgiveness, it was all finished. And there was the blessed peace and oblivion of death. There was no more pain, and all was still.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

And that was it, I “awoke” so to speak, face covered with tears as yet I wept. All physical pain was gone, but the heart… no. That heart remained, the love remained, the tremendous sense of desire to gather one’s chicks up beneath one’s wings, to protect, to nurture, to cover. It’s very hard to say what was the most intense residuum here. The relief at being able to breathe? Yes. The intensity of the entire event itself? Yes. The sheer wonder at Jesus’ willingness (and capacity) to share such a moment, such an insight, with someone as totally unprepared, ill equipped, as I? Yes. All of that.

But as I lay there, utterly at a loss… as I just yet wept with the overpowering intensity of His Presence in these moments…

I gasped, “Lord… thank you… but… what WAS that? What is going on?”

Ever so gently, ever so tenderly, He said, “You needed to see that. You needed to be there. You needed that for tonight…” (an unexpectedly tough and hurtful meeting I was going to take part in). I was utterly astonished, had forgotten the meeting was THIS day, and wasn’t thinking much about it at all.

He went on, “You will hear things that will hurt. You will be confused, and people will attack one another, shouting and reviling. This would have caused you great pain. But NOW, you must see and understand. People’s words, their taunts, their names, their accusations… can only hurt you if you let them enter into you. They can only pierce you if you regard them and allow them into your heart. You must not do that. You must not embrace those words.

“Little One, you have now seen My children as I see them. You have felt My heart for them and towards them. No matter what they scream, or spit, or throw… I tenderly love, I forgive, and I seek to shelter them in My arms and heart.

“Having seen what I Myself mean by ‘forgive’… having seen how I Myself deal with ‘offense’… what can YOU POSSIBLY see, or hear, or read, that can cause you offense? Never again, will you ever look upon anyone, doing anything, but with this love and compassion. And never again, will you respond to anything at all but with forgiveness, grace, and blessing.

“If an accusation is true and of light, you bring it to Me and through repentance and contrition you are renewed, transformed, blessed and you grow. If an accusation is false and of darkness or shadow, you bring it to Me and I reveal it to be nothing but falsehood, illusion of the enemy, and it cannot touch you or your heart. Never again, are you to subject yourself to the pain of an illusion…

“Never again, take ‘offense’ at anything at all… No more shadow pain. Ever.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Gentle Reader, I cannot explain this so I’ll not try… but so it has been. Not only did The Lord equip to pass through a difficult meeting and a tumultuous time, but later of course I saw how this applied to so many things.

And, wonder of wonders, no more pain, ache, or grief at the accusations of friends! It has been utterly amazing! I didn’t even see the application when it first happened, as the business at hand was intense and absorbing.

But from that time to this, NOTHING has “offended me”, and I kid thee not when I say, I had no idea how offended I WOULD get, DID get, until I stopped doing it. So much pain, grief, ache, just totally gone!

SO!!!

Here’s this incredible, amazing gift… it took all of 10 minutes. I want to pass it along to you! Consider this a “prayer experiment”… Please, try this.

(1) Pick a quiet place and time, where you’ll not be disturbed for 20 minutes or so…
(2) Review (mentally or reading over), those last moments of Jesus on Golgotha…
(3) Apply your “sacred imagination” to the moment and scene: hear the shouts, envision the action…
(4) Ask The Lord for His grace, to bring you for the moment to the fullness of His promise, that He be in you, as you in Him… and rest in Him…
(5) Stay still for 10 minutes, remaining utterly focused on Him, allowing Him to draw you to seeing His children as He sees them, and allowing you to feel the passion of His forgiveness and loving heart for them…

Just stay there, resting in that, letting Him soak you and your heart in that… for 10 whole minutes. Reflect on what He subjected Himself to, only to forgive them and love them. Then ask yourself what you, or I, or any of us… can POSSIBLY endure to even come CLOSE to that!

After these 10 minutes, as you recover, ask yourself… if THAT’s how the Christ in you forgives…. if THAT’s how the Holy Spirit indwelling your heart loves and embraces those who accuse and revile… can any of us possibly do otherwise?

That’s what God asked me. “If THAT’s how I love and forgive… can you ever again be ‘offended’ by anything at all that anyone does or says to or of you?”

Answer?

“No, Lord. All good here, Thanks.”

Can’t tell you the impact those 10 minutes have had on my life since. Just wanted to pass the Gift along to you, Gentle Reader!

Grace to you!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 12, 2013 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Most Amazing Gift – Part One

A little while back, The Lord gave me this exquisite gift, and I want to share it with you. But it’s really hard to figure out how to do that, because simply to describe it to you would not be enough. Truly to share it with you, to place it in your hands I shall have to ask a favor of you, Gentle Reader. I shall ask for 10 minutes of your prayer when we finish… 10 minutes of your life, your breaths, your heartbeats, to be invested in an exercise, a “prayer experiment” if you will. But, it is entirely possible that your investment may become the most incredible gift you have ever received… not from me… not at all… but from Him.

Now, have you ever had your heart broken? Been accused of terrible sin by those you utterly trusted and loved? Been called names, had your motives twisted by people deep in your heart? So deep that even to hear or see the words of their accusations turn your stomach, for they are so far from your true heart or mind or spirit? It is a horrible feeling, no? Like having a dagger of ice plunged deep into your chest… takes the breath, numbs the limbs and the will.

This happened to me a while back. Such pain, such terrible empty pain. So, obviously, we take such a thing to The Lord. We “know” what to do. Scripture is clear on such things. First, as clearly I had caused offense to others, there is examination… the invitation to conviction, the readiness to repent. There is the question, “Lord? Is any of this true?” There is the surrender to the Holy Spirit in total and complete transparency… “Search me, cleanse my heart, O God! Is there anything in and of me, regarding this, that is darkness or shadow? Are these accusations founded? Have I sinned, even though this was never my heart or intention? Have I given offense?”

Interesting observation, here, Gentle Reader… one I’ve only realized in recent years. When one makes a commitment to transparency before God and mature brethren in accountability, and makes such a discipline a part of one’s life for years… then “conviction” works two ways. Just as we are subject to sharp clear conviction of sin when we have wounded the sacredness of another… so too we can experience sharp clear conviction of innocence when we have not. The more we yield to the sovereign guidance of Jesus’ presence in our lives, the more the Enemy will seek to derail us through the use of “scruple”, the wrongful accusation of sin where there is none, to tear our gaze from The Lord and focus it on ourselves in fear and timidity.

So, one goes to Him and just prostrates before Him, and waits… rests… stilling the heart and the will to hear clearly without defense, or denial, or twisting of any truth. And when the heart is still and calm enough, when the peace surpasses all understanding, He speaks. “No, child. These sins, these accusations and charges, have nothing to do with you. They do not touch your soul, and never have. They are but illusions and shadows. Do not let them touch you now… release them.”

So, you do. You have conviction of innocence, and you forgive the hurt. You hold nothing against the accusers. You lift them up, you pray for them, you respond graciously. You seek a way to change this false perception, but realize that once someone mistrusts you, your heart, your motives, there is nothing you can do to repair that twisted vision. Any effort you make only looks like conflict, argument, defense… you can only make things worse. Only God Himself, only the Holy Spirit, can correct anyone’s very perception and vision of another… so you gently release them to Him, and you pray for them, surrounding those who have hurt you with your love and your grace.

The circumstances are not important, but assuredly you’ve shared the experience. Sometime in the life of any and every mature believer, a brother or sister has misunderstood you, wounded you deeply, and caused breathtaking hurt that you have released and forgiven. But the hurt, the pain, the woundedness… they persist. To touch that place in your heart, to recall memories of that and of times before, brings the deep ache of grief. While that grief may fade a bit over time, still there is ever pain.

Here is where God did such an extraordinary thing, where He granted such an amazing gift.

One morning, in prayer for those I lift up, as my spirit touched and lifted these accusers (for God commanded that my prayer, blessing, intercession for them should not change one iota across all this…) that ache awoke in my heart, and God interrupted my thoughts and feelings.

“No… this will not do. You have examined, yes. You have forgiven, yes. But you’ve not yet come all the way with My commands. You are grown enough to be obedient to Me, and you are not obeying.”

‘How, Lord? I don’t understand. I cannot control my feelings, only my actions and will. As far as I know, I am obeying. What then, do I lack?”

And He brought to my mind what I call “inconvenient scriptures”. Specifically, His teaching that those who are judged and reviled for doing His will are “blessed”. Even more pointed, He focused me on the truth here at…

    1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

God made clear to me that I had “taken offense”. That I was taking into account a wrong suffered, and failing to acknowledge the joy, the blessing and peace, of my very innocence. Hard to wrap words around this, but that I was accepting into myself pain, stripes of condemnation, as though guilty… where He Himself had both declared innocence, and by His blood and cross cleansed from all unrighteousness.

My “head” could grasp this, but my “heart” could not receive it. His command was clear, my pain was in my “taking offense” at these accusations. That was not of Him, that was out of order, and I was to stop that. So I tried. Several days I tried with all my might and will. But I failed, not only yet experiencing my grief, but now adding my own regret of failure to yield to Him here.

Ever been here, Gentle Reader? Ever had God rebuke and correct you for an attitude out of order with Him and His Word, that try as you might, you simply COULD NOT correct in yourself? Betcha have… I’ve been here often. So… I did the only thing I could. I gave up. I realized that nothing in or of me could fix this, and I yielded to Him. I just released this to Him, knowing He would renew and transform as I got out of His way and permitted Him to do so. I’d repented, I’d yielded, and now I would trust to Him.

And then… quite unexpectedly one morning… He gave me The Gift!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 12, 2013 in Quiet Time, Sermon Seeds, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Pearl Inside the Gift Box

The holiday season, pretty lights, gifts under the tree, and… in OUR lives… consistent reminders of the Greatest Gift! Right? So… like… here’s another post, another Christian post, this one a little late… but another “sermon” about the Greatest Gift… right? Well… almost right.

Yup, this is about that Greatest Gift of God to our lives. Yup, that gift is Jesus. But it is NOT about a baby in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes. At least, not directly. This is about a gift I’ve learned to seek and find every day. I guess you could say this blog post is a “story”. A story about a little boy. But this little boy wasn’t born in Bethlehem, but right here in the U.S. And he’s not newborn, he’s seven years old. And he’s not headed off to exile in Egypt with his mother and foster father, he’s here in my house and we had breakfast this morning, and his father was murdered two feet away from him a couple years ago and his mother is in prison. A very different little boy…

Yesterday morning I was driving to our local hospital (a not unusual place for a church staff minister to be headed, even on this “off week” between Christmas and New Year’s). I got a phone call from my boss asking if I could house a little boy at risk of violence in his home, and of course I could. So I was told to drive home, he came, and I have enjoyed his presence immensely. I had the privilege of walking with this youngster through much of the pain he has been through, and of helping him meet and embrace His King Jesus, and agree to be His little boy forever more. I watched him, months ago, become an indwelt son of Our Father, and from time to time I have encouraged him in his growth into his inheritance. The situation is a bit delicate and somewhat awkward, I must tread carefully and gently, but I do what I can. In short, this precious little boy lives in a fairly sad place. There’s sadness in his past, and more sadness in his future, and it frustrates me sometimes that I can do nothing to “fix it”.

This morning, over breakfast, knowing that I will shortly surrender this boy back to the sad currents of his own life’s river, unable to intervene or change its course, I handed this all to Jesus, sitting there at the breakfast table with us. I had a moment, not one of my shining moments, but a simple and human moment where I felt angry and frustrated that “all I can do for this little boy is pray for him”.

“All I can do is pray!”

I thought that thought apologetically… weakly… timidly. I turned my frustration and helplessness to Jesus, and He answered that without hesitation or remainder. I was so very out of order.

Prayer. We do it all the time, don’t we? We talk about it, teach about it, proclaim its power and impact. But so often, at least for me, when it is “all I can do”… I look upon prayer as rather the red-headed-stepchild of my personal impact arsenal. As if I could do MORE than God can do if only I could get on the phone and make some arrangements to fix the problem, or counsel, or teach. If I can intervene in a situation under my OWN power, and see the forces at work, then I FEEL much more “effective”, much more “capable and potent”, than if I simply wrap my love around the one I am concerned with, and place him/her into the hands of Our Father with my faith, hope, love, and trust.

Do I hear an “Amen?”, or am I the only one here who ever feels this way?

But then Jesus taught me this wonderful thing, and had me share it with my young friend. The Lord wasn’t even mad or disappointed at my weakness of prayer, He just assured me that He SO honors loving trusting prayer that this was NOT the weakest weapon in my arsenal, but my strongest. That, in fact, everything else would only “work” to the extent that prayer made way for the success.

But as to the gift He showed me, we see it here:

Judas not Iscariot said to Him, “Lord, how is it You’re going to reveal Yourself to us and not to the world?”
Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. The one who doesn’t love Me will not keep My words. The word that you hear is not Mine but is from the Father who sent Me. “I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful. You have heard Me tell you, ‘I am going away and I am coming to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. I have told you now before it happens so that when it does happen you may believe. I will not talk with you much longer, because the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over Me. On the contrary, I am going away so that the world may know that I love the Father. Just as the Father commanded Me, so I do.“Get up; let’s leave this place.” John 14:22-31

Now, there’s all kinds of richness there, but Jesus only wanted me to focus on one thing this morning… on the “gift He left” there for His formerly-disciples-now-called-friends. He left them the gift of “peace”. He gave them His own peace. And He wanted me to receive that this morning, and to share it with my young friend.

But the context here is and was critically important. He was about to leave these men who had followed Him for so long and who loved Him so deeply. They were going to feel alone, orphaned and abandoned. That is a dreadful, powerful feeling. It is a feeling of ultimate weakness, anxiety, fear, and timidity. There is little in the world as dreadfully sad as feeling orphaned and abandoned by those you love most. And that is what these men were beginning to feel, and worse… would shortly feel with a far greater depth.

But Jesus knew better. Jesus could see what they could not see. Jesus knew they were in the “now”, in a single passing moment of the present. Jesus knew that those moments were moving forward to the greatness of the full Redemption, and beyond that, to the coming of the Holy Spirit… to His very presence, and that He would be with them in an undeniable way forever after that. And in that moment… in that in-between moment… fear and pain behind them, more fear and pain before them… He gave this gift, this incredible gift… His Own Peace. What grace!

In THAT moment, whatever had gone before and whatever was to come, He was with them. He was present with them. And they could rest in that, rely on that, and trust to that. He was in the midst of the greatest teaching discourse in the entire Bible, and equally in the midst of the greatest act of divine grace in the history of Creation. And right here, right now, with Him, He gave peace and there could be joy, free of all anxiety and fear and timidity. What would it take to receive this gift? Only trust… to trust and believe in the words He spoke, uttered, shared from the Father… to be “kept”, “received”, and embraced by their hearts and minds.

This was what Jesus showed me this morning at the breakfast table with my coffee and with my young friend. That this youngster had painful fearful days in his past. He had more painful days in his future. But at THIS moment, in the NOW, in this sacred space of the grace and love of my house, we had and could share and enjoy… Peace. Right here, right now, Jesus was present with us and there was nothing to be anxious, timid, or fearful about. At this table, we could talk, and laugh, and rest in the joy and peace of loving one another and Jesus loving us and we loving Him.

Our Lord had me speak words into my young friend’s heart and life. That he should always remember that Jesus gives us peace, as a grace gift, whenever we look to Him for it. That every day… every… single… day… Jesus gives us a whole new day of life for ourselves as a gift. We don’t “make” a day, we can’t “manufacture” or “create” one, we can’t even “lengthen” one or “slow it down”. Each day we have is a gift directly given us from the heart, and love, and hand of God Himself. But that beyond even THAT gift, Jesus gives us Peace, and has promised us that. And that in each day, somewhere, there is joy.

I told him that Jesus only gives us one day at a time. We only have the “now”. And that is precious. If we spend today, the Now, focused on the past and its pains, or focused on the future and its worries, we miss the gift entirely. That if we can focus on today, and on Jesus being with us in today, we will find that He places a “pearl” in the day for us… there will be joy somewhere. If we seek it, if we will love others without fear, and let them love us without our mistrust, we will find the pearl of joy that Jesus places somewhere in every single day. But if we forget Him, forget to thank Him or forget to look for the grace and blessing in today, we’ll get caught up in the memories of pain in the past, or fears of the pain of the future, and we’ll miss the gift entirely.

I didn’t know if this little boy could understand me. But he did. That’s the strange thing about suffering… sorrowful as it is, it can bring an amazing degree of wisdom with it. He understood. And I was very relieved, for so many adults I walk with and love deeply find it impossible to understand this.

“Look for the joy in every day. Hold on to the Peace Jesus puts in every day. And see, and remember always, that you are NOT alone… ever. He is there, right there with you all the time, and you are never ever abandoned. Don’t let pain in the past, or fear in the future, take away your peace or joy in today. The grace is only HERE! This gift… today… it is only here! Don’t miss it, or walk past it.”

He needed to hear that, and he received it and has embraced it all this happy day. But I needed to hear that, too. I have had sadness in recent days. And there are some fearful challenges in the days to come. It is so strong in me, this temptation to focus on shadows, sadness, grief, fear, or timidity.

But Jesus reminded me today, through a wonderful seven year old boy, of this incredible Gift. I needed to be reminded that He gifts with only today, and there is grace enough only for today. I know this. I know you know this. But as for me, sometimes, well… I’ve learned that even though I’ve heard something many times, sometimes, I just need to hear it again.

It seems that Jesus agrees… or, at least, He did this morning. Peace and grace to you, Gentle Reader!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on December 28, 2012 in Quiet Time, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: