If this were the last thing I'd recommend it would also be the first thing I'd recommend.
Love one another.
Today I miserably failed to follow this simple advice. Simple, in that all I needed to do was put others ahead of myself. I was miserable because I did not heed the need of my heart to be heard exhibited by by my not hearing the other person's heart first.
Sad. My selfish heart discounted the other's heart.
Love is just the opposite.
God's first and last plan for you is to love you and let you know there is no law against loving each person indiscriminately and equally. In fact, the very Spirit of God is most happy doing so and we most miserable when not letting Him do so through us.
I received an honest prayer from a friend concerning AK who has Stage 4 cancer and is going through his 4th round of Chemo treatments and also of his friend LJ who recently graduated to your presence. I am deeply moved by its candor and invite you to let this same prayer be made your personal prayer concerning any persons for whom you are concerned.
Lord Jesus, I believe and trust you know all things, see all things, and share our joy and sorrows. I thank you, Lord, for who you are and I thank you for hearing my prayers. I do not always have the most fitting words to say, but you hear my heart's cry.
I place AK before your precious name, JESUS. Oh Lord, my God, I also want to thank you for giving me my friend LJ who has just graduated and is now with you. Even though my heart is broken and pains, I know you have never left me and intend to heal this broken heart.
I ask you that you would please bring comfort to LJ's friends and family along with my friends that knew LJ. I know that they hurt also.
Once more, I want to praise and thank you, LORD, for the new socket for my leg whether I received my new computerized leg or not I will praise You for the possibility to be able to walk and stand with whatever you give me. I praise you for your generosity and blessings, including with whom I am staying. I thank you, LORD, that they trust in you. Truly, you are our provider. I thank you for all you gift me in JESUS's name. As you have gifted so I have received.
Please comment on this post with the initials of someone you know who is facing a physical issue or has fallen asleep. The comment will look like (MC-COVID-19, DH-Cancer, GG-departed, PW-crippling arthritis, MY-personal issues with neuropathy).
You are, if you desire, invited to share this prayer.
Why wouldn’t I?
Why wouldn’t I cry out from head to toe my enthusiasm for Him? He loved me when I hated myself. He claimed my soul to be comfortable living in everlasting peace. He shares not only His ideas but His friends.
Even though, and I am ashamed to admit it, I have unsuccessfully tried to escape His lovingkindness, He pursues me as if we had never met. And once again is there, right there for me.
When I was wandering in darkness past His shining home, admiring all its beauty, even jealous of its amenities, He rushed out into the storms of my life to introduce Himself to me and ever so slowly walk me to His hearth and dressed me in dry, clean linens then led me to His kitchen table to partake of nourishment that not only satisfies my senses but all of my cravings.
He is the man who holds the very best statistics, the bank that owns all banks, the CEO of every worthy adventure. He includes me where I fit so I can glide through life and He fits me to be included in what He is doing. Each task is my desire and I pursue it with such gusto, I cannot escape a glance His way and say 'thank you.' Others peer at my life looking to see me hustle and bustle, but find me resting under a tree once ignored by Adam and Eve. There I watch, yes even witness, that the life from the fruit of that tree satisfies all needs, even the need to need.
Many ask me today, ‘why won’t you be quiet about Him’ and then I bow my head in shame realizing I have misrepresented Him and they have only heard words and missed my life.
I was raised under a system of faith that first made me feel so guilty for being human that I was convinced I needed to believe Jesus took the whipping I deserved trusting I would feel better until I was again behaving like a human.
Years into this madness I found Jesus at my door asking to take residence within me without the theology of what, why, how, or any expected results. I thew out all I had trusted to free me from fear, guilt, and shame which included any effort on my part, and let Him in.
Well, unless you have been there and done that and have the T-shirt to prove it there is no way to express to you my experience of freedom.
I call it rest. Now I simply trust Him. For what? This life and any Godliness needed in it and in the future.
I also struggled like hell to enter and stay in that rest and even now flop around a bit like a fish long out of the water. But when again exhausted of my efforts to live on my terms with my expected outcomes I find Jesus still next to me on His favorite recliner smiling that silly grin that tells me He's glad I stopped wiggling so much.
I lived on a high desert.
At night the moon acted as a spotlight throwing my shadow against the sagebrush as I trekked to nowhere in particular. When the moon slept, the stars would take its place and light my path. After a while, the silence was interrupted only by my ears straining for a sound not willing to be revealed. Then a gust of wind would dance at my feet and kiss my face only to run and hide in the arms of that same silence.
Now with even the silence gone, I entered a state of being authored by a god I could not name. Like Moses, I was intrigued by a previously unseen ‘burning bush’ that would not change its state from burning nor be consumed. Bowing to its charm I entered a rest unwilling to disguise itself with any activity or thought.
There I paused as if a stranger before an odd-looking door leading to a surprise I was not yet prepared to know. I knocked. It was already open, but I did not know it had been opened years before my birth. In fact, it has always been open. I called in, “Can someone come out and play?”
My chest leapt for joy at something that had left its footprints over every moment of my self-awareness. Its name was ‘I AM always with you.’
Yes, IT had always been there.
Frightened at this discovery I withdrew to the stars and wind and turned for home, humanity, and any distraction I could conjure. Escape itself ran through my legs and soon my heart followed with fearful cadence to my running. Once shrouded by my house and in the presence of my wife and child, I cautiously ventured toward sleep, hoping that stalking revelation would vanish with the dawn and be put to rest.
But even that phrase, put to rest, caused the desert to reappear in its all-encompassing silence. Over time, and with age itself, I began to lose command of the now too familiar distractions. Friends and family died by the hordes leaving few behind. Our dance was at an end with more shadows twirling into the dark than music to accompany. Their exit was promising my own re-entrance into His presence once this body was silenced. The distractions were all but gone.
Even now my body has joined in the mutiny, leaving me with an empty schooner’s riggings creaking, declaring the best had passed. Unwillingly, I discovered myself once again before that open door but I know the name of the one on whom to call. With shame, I bowed to the silence and re-discovered, from the inside, the “I AM always with you”. The betrothal to Jesus had now become a marriage feast.
I was one and the same time married to this ineffable presence who not only authored and finished the events, but the heartbeats to go with it. I discovered a desert full of all I needed for both living this life and remaining in that union with life itself from which I had tried so hard to ignore. I had joined the wind and had begun a dance for which all are invited.
Thank You, Jesus.
Forgot to look into your eyes
As if I was meeting you for the first time
Or not leaning over really close
To catch your every word
Nor enjoying the warmth of you
Snuggling up within my space
You just want to be near
Yes, I have ignored you taking time out of your living
To enjoy my life
Forgive my hearing your story
As an addendum to mine
Or ignoring your touch
As if it were out of time
And my clamoring to be seen
When I forgot your face
I heard your pain and saw your tears
But hid my tears for shame
Forgive me for turning my music up so loud
I could not hear myself much less
Seeing your dancing to my tune
And see your oneness dressing my loneliness
For so trying to get noticed
I let slip the opportunity to notice you
I have counted my own breaths
Forgetting why I breathe
Even how I breathe
Watching your story unfold
I was too busy to see it
How it fit with mine
Then you touch me again
Ignoring the past
Forgive me for letting you
Experience the dark
Lost in it
And my not even shouting in
Nor listening for an echo
Broken by your call
Broken by your whimper
And most of all
Forgive me for not loving you
Dedicated to the Christ who has walked with me in the form of Linda now for 53 years on her 76th birthday.
I love you, Linda!
“we forever remain the dependent member in the union.
And the union is never safe until we know that.
So, until you have a few good knocks on the head and discover your conceited self, you're not safe to know the union. Maybe you've had plenty of knocks. They're the healthiest thing we can have. We've got to be made safe and understanding for this tremendous relationship.
He is the Lord. We are the co-operators. We are receivers.”
Reading the scriptures pointed to Him.
Knowing Christ as a historical figure didn't do it.
Knowing Him as a great teacher, no one follows, didn't do it.
Knowing Him as MY Savior opened a world of possibilities.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit is amazing but all too often egotistical.
Trying to complete what He began to do in and through me has failed every time.
Entering Him, as if He were my rest, freed me from trying to be like God.
Then Christ revealed Himself not only in me but living out through me as me.
Now i look to what He is doing.
And i get busy.
I LIVE in Him and He in me, yes He is my life and LIVING
All too often, when faced with disaster, we think God must have taken a vacation. Nothing could be further from the truth. He never closer nor more ready to be your answer than when we cannot be our own answer.
How about every time you run across a very big problem face to face, or on social media, you say out loud, "God TOO big to salve this one." Go ahead and laugh too.