Listen. Be still. Be present. Be aware. (This is not an easy task in today’s world filled with these little screens in our hands).
And…. Don’t limit the way He speaks to a sermon, Bible verse, or some seemingly theological insight. He may speak to you through a friend, a movie, the top 40 on the radio, or -most often- a quiet whisper to your own soul.
Remain consistent. Sync your every step with the Maker of your soul.
And notice…. I didn’t say (nor did the Bible) that this is a two-step plan to happiness or to the Westernized world’s version of success.
God’s best may not feel good in the moment. It may not look good or smell right or put you in the limelight.
But it will create a stronger connection to our Creator and to His most favorite creation, other people.
And… in the end, isn’t that all that matters?
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Jesus, Matthew 22:37-39
We may have been taught to pray pretty and powerful sounding prayers.
But God’s admonitions to Job’s piously praying friends demonstrates that God can handle – and is even pleased by – our raw and honest prayers and wrestlings with Him.
“After GOD had finished addressing Job, he turned to Eliphaz the Temanite and said, ‘I’ve had it with you and your two friends. I’m fed up! You haven’t been honest either with me or about me—not the way my friend Job has. So here’s what you must do. Take seven bulls and seven rams, and go to my friend Job. Sacrifice a burnt offering on your own behalf. My friend Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer. He will ask me not to treat you as you deserve for talking nonsense about me, and for not being honest with me, as he has.’” – Job 42:7-8 MSG (The Message Bible Paraphrase)
“… Until we let the Christ who consorted with hookers and crooks to be our truth, the false, fraudulent self motivated by cowardice and fear will continue to distance us from abiding restful union.” – from Brennan Manning’s writing, The Furious Longing of God. (Read it and weep…. Seriously! Reading or listening to this book will likely bring tears to your eyes as your heart grasps grace).
Have you ever tried to earn God’s favor? I know i have! So I’m lovingly saying this to both of us: STOP IT!!! (And, yes. That was intentionally bold, in italics, and all caps!). Let’s just rest. It’s time you and I stop working so hard for the unfailing love we’ve always had from our Maker God. Grace works so we don’t have to.
It’s time to refocus and give God first place rather than exhausting ourselves trying to get there. Peace flows much more easily when we give God His job back.
“I’m not interested in crowd approval. And do you know why? Because I know you and your crowds. I know that love, especially God’s love, is not on your working agenda. I came with the authority of my Father, and you either dismiss me or avoid me. If another came, acting self-important, you would welcome him with open arms. How do you expect to get anywhere with God when you spend all your time jockeying for position with each other, ranking your rivals and ignoring God?” -Jesus, John 5:41-44 MSG (The Message – Bible Paraphrase)
I have loved words my whole life, from stories told to me by family to writing my first poem in second grade. But having a way with words and saying all the right things at the right time means absolutely nothing without action.
I can say I am committed to my job, but unless I put the work in on the projects – those words are meaningless. (I am sooooo preaching to myself today as I prepare to trade this little iPhone screen for the big screen of my work computer).
I think James, the brother of Jesus, put it better than anyone when he wrote, “Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, ‘Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!’ and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?” – James 2:14-17 MSG
Kind words may encourage the hurting for a minute. But authentic action can change people forever – beginning with you.
I am so blessed to work for a hospital that was founded by the Sisters of Mercy. So it is not only a hospital, but also an amazing faith-based community. Every day, our hospital president emails daily reflections like the one below to the entire team. Today’s reflection is so powerful, I thought I would pass it on….
It may not be with a large circle of people or on a decorated platform, but it is there.
It may not be evident among the masses or recognizable among the elite but it looms in the shadows of your day to day activities.
It is calledinfluence, and you have more of it than you think.
In his bookSpiritual Influence, Mel Lawrenz incisively states, “God uses millions of no-name influencers every day in the simplest selfless acts of service. They are the teachers whose names will never be in the newspaper, pastors who will never author a book, managers who will never be profiled in a magazine, artists whose work is buried in layers of collaboration, writers whose sphere of influence is a few dozen people who read their blogs. But they are the army that makes things happen. To them devotion is its own reward. For them influence is a continual act of giving, nothing more complicated than that.”
You don’t have to become a house-hold name to change the house.
You don’t have to have your name out on the marquee to change the marquee.
People doing small things change the world.
Recognize your sphere of influence, regardless of its size, and do something to make a difference.
Perhaps it is time to let Holy Spirit lead us out of situations, habits, or places in our lives that harm us and hinder our ability to receive, do, and be everything our Maker has designed for us. It’s time to enter in to the healing place!
How different would our lives look if we applied the energy we use to talk ourselves out of things toward forward motion?
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” –Hebrews 12:1-2 NLT