Hello is thing on?! I have no idea what this will look like.
I love to cook. Even more, I love it when a recipe turns out perfectly. Truthfully? When anything I do turns out better than I expected it to, I write it down, step by step, and save it. No matter what anyone suggests, I will do it exactly the same, every single time because in my mind, if I don’t deviate, it will always come out perfect.
This morning we sang a couple songs and in both songs the phrase, “Spirit of God fall fresh on us” hit my heart like a gong. The words literally stopped me from singing and I didn’t understand why. So, I started praying and I knew I was hearing from God, but it was different this time. Immediately, I thought about all the times that I had one those “goosebump” moments with God. Those moments have always seemed so perfect to me and this was different. It was a very matter-of-fact conversation between my spirit and the Holy Spirit. And when I could feel myself getting frustrated that it was one of those perfect moments with Him, I felt Him comfort me saying, “If every moment we had together was the same, it would get boring.” This was a fresh moment I was having with God. But, because I am not perfect, I didn’t get very excited about the fresh moment… I kinda wanted the goosebumps. Then I realized this…
Last night I made an amazing salad full of fresh lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, cilantro, and chicken. It was perfect. On the menu tonight was steak, sweet potatoes, and corn. If I had showed up with the fresh ingredients from last night, it would have been good, but it wouldn’t have made sense for tonight. I needed something different to have an equally amazing experience at dinner. And at the same time, something different, something fresh, in my experience with God today.
Upon waking this morning I felt cold and closed-off toward my usual practice of thanksgiving and prayer. Instead of joy and ambition to commune with God, I felt distant from God and hesitant about how to yield my mind. Frankly, I didn’t feel like God was awaiting me with open arms and honestly, I felt shunned. Have you ever felt this way?
Sometimes our minds can play tricks on us and cause us to imagine concepts that make us feel things that are simply not true. I believe this is what was happening in my mind early this morning and I desperately desired to change how I felt. I didn’t want to stay closed. So, I offered a short, quiet prayer asking the Holy Spirit to help me open my heart, and then I turned to the written Word…the Holy Scriptures. I started with two beautiful prayers in Ephesians 1 and 3, and allowed the alchemy of Spirit-inspired words spoken with my voice to work in my heart and woo me to open myself to God.
As I read and prayed my eyes were drawn to the following passages that absolutely transformed the way I was feeling and freed me to open my heart to communion with God:
“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19, 21-22 NKJV.
“For it pleased the Father that in [Christ] all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind (italics mine) by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.” Colossians 1:19-22
After reading these passages it was very clear to me that how I felt was actually contrary to the truth. You see, THIS is the truth about who we are and how God relates to us and my feelings upon waking were not accurate. The truth is, we are not shunned by God but we have been reconciled to God. The truth is, we are not distant from God but we have been brought near to Him. The truth is, we are not enemies or strangers to God but we are citizens and members of His household.
Notice that Colossians reads that we were “alienated and enemies in our minds…” Isn’t that powerful? That the feeling of being alienated from God comes from the mind, and once we are reminded of the truth that we are not alienated from God, the mind can change. And let’s go one step truer, we are actually the dwelling place of God in the Spirit and we can’t get much closer to God than that!
Needless to say my feelings changed, my morning practice was invigorated and I was relieved to receive the truth of these beautiful words in to my heart along with brand new feelings toward God. Join me?
Meditation for Mind Renewal: I am not an enemy, a stranger or a foreigner to God. I am a friend, a citizen and a member of God’s household in Christ. I am a friend of God. I am a child of God and I am without blame in His sight. I am the dwelling place of God in the Spirit. God is not mad at me, nor is God shunning me. I am at peace with God and my mind is being renewed to this transformative truth even now. Thank you Holy Spirit for opening my heart and showing me how close I really am. Amen.
People are the most important part of any business deal, transaction, or exchange, for it’s the people whom God loves the most. The heartbeat of the person; the feelings of the person; the cares and concerns of the person; the good of the person involved, all of these things are uppermost and important to God.
The Apostle John quoted Jesus as saying, “By this will all people know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” This is a powerful statement to consider. Love in action, or love demonstrated is a lifelong experiment in the life of a lover.
It’s natural to be self-focused, closed-off and afraid to open ourselves to the risk of loving. Disappointments don’t wait until we’re ‘of age,’ they start pummeling all of us very young and we automatically create our callouses, shields and protection mechanisms which prevent us, one disappointment at a time, from really loving.
Loving is risky. Being open and seemingly vulnerable is risky. So why would we do it? Why would we risk loving when so many times it results in disappointment, rejection or even betrayal? I have an answer for you to consider and it’s this, because we are so loved by God, we are so covered by God; we are so full of the love of God which has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit that we can risk the joy and pain of loving.
The love doesn’t naturally come from us, it comes from God. God is love and in God there is no fear at all and there’s no limit to the supply of love from him.
May we open ourselves to God’s love today and experience this love in action.
“Everything we need in life is already within us.” ~ Joan Chittister