Posts Tagged ‘God’s love’

humilityDo I really want to know? Or, more likely, don’t I already know it? And yet, in the course of troubles, how often have I said, “What do you want from me God? How much more must I endure?” And in the still small voice, the answer comes again and again:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God. [Micah 6:8, NIV]

These words come down to us before Christ. These are ancient words by the prophet Micah and much like the two great commands from Jesus (also based on the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 6:5) to “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, strength, and mind; and, love your neighbor as yourself” [Luke 10:27]

These words of Micah are another way of walking out the two great commands because acting justly is God’s foundation to true humanity. Those who are unjust break all of the commands in one swift blow since no love can live within the sphere of injustice.

Other translations of this verse write “loving mercy” as being compassionate and loyal in love or to embrace faithful love. In any case, acting out of mercy is other oriented, leaving both the heart and the hands open.

And finally, “walking humbly” requires a certain self-knowledge: a knowledge that recognizes that God is God and sovereign. If God is sovereign, then I should be able to rest in that understanding. All circumstances can be held in the hands of God and transformed accordingly (much like the potter and the clay). To walk humbly implies explicit trust in God’s ultimate desire for my good.

higher powerEven for those who shun the language of God or Christ, they too can benefit from the words of Micah if they acknowledge some “higher power” or “Spirit” or “consciousness,” as long as humanity is in this 3-D world, in human form, constrained by time, we can choose to walk humbly in that knowledge, doing what we can for others in the name of justice and unconditional love.

All of these things I know, what God requires of me. Today, as with every day, I must choose to enter the activities of this day with intent, to act justly, to extend mercy, and to humbly accept those things I cannot change, those things I give over to God who promises to carry them for me and when the time is right, to transform them.

Surrender to God is the first step in a humble life.

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A prayer and a blessing all rolled up into one. It’s a call for guidance and help along the way. It’s a process prayer in the midst of a situation. It’s acknowledging the present while seeking support in the “next step.” And along with this succor comes the presence of love and perseverance.

II Thessalonians 3:5
May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.

I want this prayer to be part of my daily mindfulness.

Another reason I like this prayer is that it’s direct and promises an answer from within myself, an answer that I am more likely to understand and hear. So often believers are taught to ask God what to do next. But in this short appeal, we acknowledge that all direction comes from God and will manifest in me.

If God directs my heart, I will know what to do. I will recognize the way.

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God's Light by Max Ash

God is light [I John 1:5]; God is love [I John 4:8]. And I am offered a chance to live my life in the circle of both: light and love. I ask for God’s indwelling and both are available to me. So, why do I continue to shutter the light and edit the love? Why do I “kick against the goads?”

Ephesians 5:8-10
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.

This is the prayer that Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity would recite each day (by John Henry Cardinal Newman)

Dear Jesus,
Help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly,
that my life may only be a radiance of Yours.
Shine through me, and be so in me
that every soul I come in contact with may feel Your presence in my soul.

Let them look up and see no longer me,
but only Jesus!
Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine,
so to shine as to be a light to others;
the light, O Jesus will be all from You;

none of it will be mine;
it will be you, shining on others through me.
Let me thus praise You the way You love best,
by shining on those around me.
Let me preach You without preaching,
not by words but by my example,
by the catching force of the sympathetic influence of what I do,
the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You.

It’s a process, that’s why. It’s a daily prayer, a daily unveiling, an awareness, a practice.

I’m thinking this is more difficult alone than in a group. The whole point of fellowship with other light-minded people is to help keep the light shining, to fan the flame, to encourage the embers, to light the darkness.

“Kindle in me the fire of your love . . . ”


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I don’t like doing anything slowly. Part of that is my personality and part of it I inherited from our current culture. Fast food, fast cars, fast acting detergent, whatever! About the only ones who appreciate slow are the Slowskies from the Comcast commercials.

Galatians 6:7b, 9
A man reaps what he sows. . . . Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

But truthfully, sowing has it’s own rate of speed. I can’t make something grow any faster than it’s intended to grow. It’s total futility to sit in front of a small pot and try to talk a seed into germinating. That is all God-stuff. It’s that way in nature and it’s undoubtedly the same way in the soil of the human soul.

I have posted about the Tortoise before. This ongoing battle of speed. My mind starts that buzzing first. I wake up in the mornings, and my mind is racing far ahead of my body. It makes me tired. I want to go back to sleep just to shut it off. But it’s even worse if I put that clock on sowing good things.

Good things will always reap good, eventually. If the motive is good, the results will be comparable. But I cannot predict what this “good” will look like. Sometimes, things get worse before they get better. Sometimes, the good we sow seems absorbed and lost. But, that is just perception. Good has a power, like energy, and cannot be destroyed. Good is love.

God is good. “Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.” [Mark 10:18b]
God is love. [I John 4:16b]

I believe our focus should be on the planting, the sowing, part of the equation. Plant love in the lives of others and good will grow. I have been too “results” oriented. I’ve been looking for harvest.

My kids are all teens and I keep crying over the mistakes their making in their lives, the false starts, the collapsing dreams. I’ve been counting on those early seeds to be bearing fruit already. And sure, in some cases, that’s how it happens. But now I’m thinking, they are still germinating. And instead of sorrowing over the slow growth, I should be planting more and more. No one has ever said that we’re supposed to sow and then sit around and wait for the reaping. That will come, in its good time.

More sowing. Nice and steady. Every day. Every day.

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When people say, “it’s all in your head,” that’s more true than not. The mind is at the core of who we are. The mind is quite mystical and unpredictable. The mind thrives within, not just in the head, but also in the heart, the gut, and the soul.

Romans 8:6
Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever].

The mind is also a lover. The question is with whom or what? The mind can be seduced. The mind can be fooled. The mind can be capricious (changing from one behavior to another). The mind can be a slut or a saint.

Joyce Meyer has an entire video series on the “Battlefield of the Mind” but sometimes I think it’s a little more like “speed dating.” Going from one thing/person to another, the mind is looking for the current fit, the “feel good,” the curious, the challenging, or the appealing.

Thank God the Spirit is patient.

It is in the mind that the story of Hosea and Gomer is truly played out on a regular basis. Gomer, the prostitute, who breaks covenant with her prophet husband, and yet, he forgives her again and again.

My mind is too much like Gomer. I am linked by promise to the Spirit, and yet I stray. Each year, I stray less and less. As my mind becomes more submissive, by choice, to the loving Spirit, the relationship strengthens. My mind is becoming more content.

God is teaching me how to feed my mind with prayer, scripture, music, reading, nature’s beauty, koinonia relationships, love, hope, rest, and solitude. When I feed my mind well, I am not so hungry for the “next new thing.” When I am disciplined and consistent, my mind experiences peace.

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John 20:24b
But he [Thomas] said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”

Poor Thomas has become legendary by the phrase, “doubting Thomas,” used in both secular and religious circles to mark someone as “unwilling to believe.” So often, the implication is that he was a second-class disciple because he didn’t believe at the first. And to make matters worse, Christ himself admonished Thomas by saying, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” [verse 29]

But I think we are being a little unfair. After all, the rest of the disciples DID get to see Jesus appear that first time in the locked room. We don’t know if they would have done any better than Thomas, had any of them missed that gathering. Direct experience is powerful. And it is for this reason that many people over the years have become believers: a direct experience with God in Christ.

Everyone else is initially dependent on the testimony of others. Is our story compelling? Is it complete? Is it loving? Is it inclusive? Is there room for doubt?

I think there is a healthy place for doubt. In some cases, it’s better to face the truth of our fears, our concerns, our uncertainties and engage them. To camouflage doubt is much more serious and weakens faith even more when the tough times come along. There must always be room for questions and those who don’t doubt must embrace lovingly those who do.

Christ returned to the locked room specifically to meet Thomas there, to meet his doubt. The transformation of Thomas in that moment is worth noting: he went from doubt to total belief and faith. I am convinced that Thomas was never shaken again by doubt. When doubt is authentically washed away by the revelation of truth, it sticks.

But we should not fear doubt, instead, lay it at the foot of God who will address it. Sometimes the road from doubt to faith is a slow journey. For instance, if we have doubt in ourselves, it often takes a series of positive experiences to reveal our ability to do or succeed at something. And the building of our faith in God may be the same way. Each person is different. Some achieve faith in the blink of an eye and some along a path that is only illumined one stone at a time.

My own doubt in God’s love for me has traveled in waves over the years. Naturally, it tends to rear its head when circumstances are most difficult: when my marriage was in crisis, when I couldn’t bear children, when our finances were stripped bear, when our parents died, and so on. But each time, I can say, Christ appeared in the locked room of my heart. His presence replaced doubt with hope and I was made new again.

I am on the slow path, I guess. And although I am not Thomas, I am stronger for each doubt challenge along the way.

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Psalm 32:5b, 22
…the earth is full of his unfailing love… May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.

The earth is full of examples of God’s love. Today, we have sunshine after long days of rain. The fields and grass are vibrant and green. The flowers are blooming. Early in the morning, the birds sing and celebrate a new day; Children laugh, dogs bark, cats purr. Oh the glory! How can I miss it?

The promise of God’s love is unfailing.

There is only one condition to experience this unfailing love: hope. We are asked to place our hope in His unfailing love. And as we do this, we will have the strength to face anything, to survive anything, to stand.

Whether we are in pain or not, whether we are whole or not, whether we are rich or poor, strong or weak, political or apolitical, victim or victor, soldier or slave, does not change God’s unfailing love. The difference is my acknowledgment of this love in the midst of it all. This is a choice.

Today, this is my mantra: My hope is in God’s unfailing love.

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