Pocketed Sermon: "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ"

    Monday, April 14, 2014, 7:26 PM [General]

    Several Sundays ago, we had a last minute emergency regarding a guest minister and I was asked to preach if the guest was unable to make it. I agreed, and began to think about what I would say to the congregation.

    I meditated on what is the most important reminder the church universal needs regarding who we are and why we are here.

     I was led to this passage from 2 Timothy 1:12:

    “…I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.”

    Here are the words of a man about to face execution, a man  who has been abandoned by his associates and betrayed by those who thought he could rely upon. This man, Paul the apostle, is facing death because of his testimony for and about Jesus Christ.

    Paul, a man who was widely regarded as a powerhouse intellectual in his day and time, had been cajoled  and laughed at for believing in fairy tales and false truths as he traveled, taught, and preached the gospel. Still, Paul says he is not ashamed because of one fact:

    “I know whom I have believed and am convinced that he is able to guard  what I have entrusted to him for that day.”

     What does this mean?

    First, it means that for Paul, Jesus was not a concept, or an idea. Jesus was a person Paul knew, loved, trusted, communed with, was led by, and looked forward to seeing in eternity. Paul says he knew this One In Whom He Believed. How often have you been ashamed of someone you have known, loved, trusted, and found friendship in?

    Second, Paul says he knew Jesus was able to guard what Paul entrusted to Jesus. This means Paul knew his earthly life and eternal self were secure because Paul trusted Jesus completely. Why so much trust in the unseen?  Paul believed in Jesus because Jesus had kept Paul safe in his earthly life.

    How much safety did Paul need? Paul faced stoning, beatings, legal troubles, jailing, nasty church politics, loneliness, constant travels under rough conditions, a mysterious physical ailment, religious controversies, and outright hostile opposition to his message and to his life. At the end of his life, Paul could look back and reflect upon how Jesus had kept him secure and on message through all of these experiences.

    Third, Paul says he’s entrusted himself to Jesus “for that day.” “That day” or “in that day” is a phrase that appears throughout the Old and New Testaments, referring to that final re-arranging of reality, the final judgment, or the complete restoration of God’s original plan for humanity.

    What Paul is saying here is that he sees himself as an eternal spiritual being that will live somewhere forever. He can’t anticipate everything about that future life, but Paul says that all he’s ever been is safe in Jesus’ care, and even after Paul’s physical body is destroyed, his life will be kept and restored fully in God’s will and on God’s schedule.

    I didn’t need to preach this sermon that morning. The guest preacher arrived just in time.

    I think Paul’s farewell message is one we can never hear too often: have no shame or silence regarding the greatest gift to humanity---God’s salvation from our failing selves and our failing world. Reflect upon what God has done for you through your fellowship with Jesus Christ. Finally, be the person who is not afraid to share who you are and what you know to be true. Every day, some event or person will challenge you to say or show who you are and why you are here. The answer should always begin with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

     

     (c) 2014 Deborah Evans

    From: Paravanes:Meditations

     

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    The Truth About Christian Community

    Saturday, April 5, 2014, 12:09 PM [General]



    Graphic is from reachingcampus.com


    More insights from my Lenten reading, this one from  pages 44 and 45 of Joan Chittister's  Wisdom Distilled From The Daily.

    "So, even liking one another is not enough. The truth about Christian community is that we have to be committed to the same eternal things together. What we want to live for and how we intend to live out those values are the central questions of community. Without that understanding, communities fail and marriages dissolve and people leave religious life and nations go to war."

    "Another function of community is to enable us to be about something greater than ourselves. It is no small task in a world that tells us" (especially in North America--my words) "constantly that we ourselves are enough to be concerned about and that everything else will take care of itself. Well, that kind of enlightened altruism has not saved us from the destruction of the ozone layer, or the deterioration of the centers of our cities, or massive unemployment even among educated upper-middle class executives, or wars against the innocent."

    God, help me to be in and about and for community. Now and always.


    From: Paravanes:Meditations

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    Revelation 1:1 Where Is Jesus Now, And What Is He Doing?

    Monday, March 17, 2014, 3:03 PM [General]

    " [This is] the revelation of Jesus Christ [His unveiling of the divine mysteries]. God gave it to Him to disclose and make known to His bond servants certain things which must shortly and speedily come to pass a]">[a]in their entirety. And He sent and communicated it through His angel (messenger) to His bond servant John,

    Who has testified to and vouched for all that he saw [b]">[b]in his visions], the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ." --Revelation 1:1. The Amplified Bible

    While growing up (I'm a PK), I asked my father if he would ever preach a sermon on the following topic: where is Jesus right now, and what is He doing? He did later (years later) preach a sermon on a topic that begins to answer the question. He preached from the Book of Revelation and described the challenges for the church at Sardis, an ancient city near modern day Turkey.

    During this season of Lent, I've been reading and re-reading (silently and aloud) the Book of Revelation. It is in this book that the answer to my childhood question is found. This is a powerful book, with a unique, personal message to each person who cares enough to read it and meditate on it.


    The first three chapters of the book describe Jesus' messages of encouragement and correction for several ancient churches. More importantly, we see Jesus as He is now. He holds a place of honor in the Eternal Presence. He is guiding, protecting, encouraging, and correcting His churches. His words given thousands of years ago still have meaning because, for better or worse, human nature hasn't changed much in 2,000 years.


    Jesus expresses to each church (and by extension, each believer) that He knows their true situation. Whether it is poverty, arrogance, fear, boldness, steadfast determination, or failure. He is not watching us at a distance through a telescope. He is ever present, and knows exactly what we are dealing with. We never have to begin our prayers with "Lord, look at what these people are doing!" He's right there; He knows.

    He tells believers what must be done in order for them to move forward. He is in total control of the circumstances of human life.  He is, as John says in the first chapter, The Ruler of The Kings on Earth.


    Jesus has a word of compliment and a word of correction for most of these churches---and again, by extension, for each of us. He expresses empathy, explaining in detail how much He  understands of their condition. He stands against the heresy that misleads innocent seekers and weak believers. He explains the rewards awaiting those who stick with Him until the end. He warns those who refuse to accept correction, who live by the motto "Do You." He encourages those who are struggling under tough circumstances. Most of all, He promises a clear and valuable, eternal reward for those who worship and love Him.


    Revelation may seem an odd book to dive into during Lent, when so many of our lessons and sermons are taught and preached from the Gospels. Still, after the gospels come the teachings and after the teachings come The Revelation of the One We Are Following. He never left us, not really. He walks among His church and His believers. He doesn't always promise escape from pain, but He always promises His presence. He promises that, at the right time, He will wipe away every tear. The end of the story is a glorious one, in which pain and loss will be removed, destroyed, and forgotten---eternally replaced with joy, completion, reunion, and reward.

    (c) 2014 Deborah Evans

    From: Paravanes:Meditations

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    Climb the Mountain or Speak to the Mountain?

    Monday, February 10, 2014, 1:57 PM [General]

    “Now Lord, don’t move my mountain
    But give me the strength to climb.
    And Lord, don’t take away my stumbling block,
    But lead me all around.”
    --Inez Andrews
    Mahalia Jackson, a gospel music great, as was Inez Andrews, made this song famous. Others have performed it over the years with soul, energy, and conviction. It sounds powerful, convicting, and inspiring. It has the essence of determination and commitment in the words. 
    This song makes you a believer in getting up and trying one more time.
    As much as I love this song (and have enjoyed listening to it over the years), I stumbled a bit when I considered what Jesus said about mountains and how to handle them.
    At Matthew 17:20, Jesus answers his disciples when they questioned why they were unable to drive out a demon and heal a sick boy. Here’s what Jesus said:
    “…because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
    When was the last time you heard a sermon on this?
    Jesus is not speaking  to super-developed saints here. He tells the disciples they couldn’t heal because of their lack of faith. Please note: the failure to heal had nothing to do with the faith of the person requesting the healing. Remember this the next time a televangelist asks someone in the audience if that someone has enough faith to be healed.
    What Jesus says here is that we are not to ask him to move the mountain and we are not to ask him to give us strength to climb. We are supposed to speak to the mountain, telling it to move, and it shall move.
    When was the last time you or I did that?
    When was the last time I spoke to the mountains of fear, procrastination, bitterness, or stagnation and told them to move? When was the last time you or I spoke to any mountain, telling it to move?  Did these mountains move? Did we really want them to move? Have we started to like some of these mountains?
    Did that mountain move the first time I told it to move, or did I have to tell it to move more than once?
    Keep in mind: speaking to the mountain is not the same as speaking about the mountain.
    Is it too much to accept Jesus’ words when He says “Nothing shall be impossible for you?”
    You might tell yourself, “Oh, Jesus was just speaking to His disciples who lived with Him. That’s not for today.” Isn’t that a nice way of freeing yourself from responsibility for speaking to your mountains?
    Do you and I love struggle more than we love faith and mountain moving? You don't need great faith to move a mountain, according to Jesus. Mustard seeds are tiny!
    Are we afraid to go to the next level because we don’t know anyone who has? Are we afraid to view the world as a place where we can move mountains? When Jesus tells us “Nothing shall be impossible for you”, does a little voice in your mind say, “That can’t be right”? Where would that little voice come from?
    Do we really know what it means to be Christian, as in Christ-like, or Christ-ian? Whose directions are we following?
    Jesus didn’t say our power would move the mountain, but He did say we must speak to the mountain.
    “ I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
    (c) 2014 Deborah Evans
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    Forgive and Forget? Let's Be Honest Here

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014, 3:25 PM [General]

    Often, we are told, in the name of being obedient or “good”, to forgive and forget. What does this really mean, and is it possible to truly forgive and forget?

    I suppose that depends upon what you are forgiving and forgetting. If you are forgiving and forgetting someone cutting you off in traffic, or taking the parking place you were going for in a busy lot, maybe you can forgive and forget that.

    What happens when we consider something on a larger scale?

    You or a family member or close friend becomes the victim of a violent crime.

    A doctor misdiagnoses you, and now you face a deeply rooted serious illness.

    Your spouse abandons you without reason, and your personal and financial life is devastated.

    You are unfairly fired from the job you badly needed.

    You are the victim of domestic abuse, or, more accurately, home violence. You leave your home one day with only what you can carry.

    Yes, I believe you can work on forgiving the person or persons responsible for these things. But forgetting these things? No, I don’t think so.

    When events are major markers in our lives, we don’t really forget them unless something happens to damage our memories or thinking processes.

    Just as we don’t forget the high points of life ( graduating from school, a first job, a wedding day, a child’s birth, a grandchild’s birth, that first apartment or house, etc.), we don’t forget the deep injuries because these events shape our lives and often permanently change life’s direction.

    Forgiveness does free us, and keeps a single event from destroying other good things life could offer. What about the forgetting?

    Well, you might not be able to forget the event, but you can choose to forget how it made you feel. You can forget the sense of being less than, the sense of being unappreciated, the sense of being forgotten and disrespected, the sense of being unwanted and uncared for, the sense of being less valuable than others seem to be.

    You can remind yourself on a daily basis: what someone else did is not the defining moment of my life, unless I allow it.

    And actually, why should you forget? Someday, you may be able to help someone else by saying: “Yes, it’s possible to overcome _______. I know, because I’ve been there and I’ve done it Let me help you on that path.”

    In the back of my mind, there’s also my little suspicion that people who say we should forgive and forget sometimes just want to set us up to be hurt over and over again by someone who doesn’t care about us and doesn’t deserve the right to injure us without limit.

    Forgive because forgiving is one of the most healing gifts you can give yourself. You have to do it on purpose and no one can do it for you. You put your own life back on course when you forgive. It’s a reclaiming of your power. Without forgiveness, the injury-maker reshapes your entire life and you shouldn’t give them that right.

    In the back of your mind, you know the person who injured you really can’t heal you, so if you want to be healed, why keep your energy pointed in their direction? Get help if you need it, but release the injury-maker and take your life back.

    Forget the pain and remember the victory. Grow stronger, share, help others, and widen the circle of your life. That’s true winning.

     From Paravanes:Meditations   

    (c) 2014 Deborah Evans

     

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    Spiritual Lessons from the Gym

    Saturday, January 11, 2014, 12:01 PM [General]

    Spiritual Lessons from the Gym

     

    Early in 2013, I switched gyms and worked with a trainer who helped me put together a program that led to a huge increase in my fitness level throughout the year.

    I also spent some time reading exercise and strength training books and articles. I found several principles about working out and exercising that made it easier for me to understand why I needed do to the things I needed to do.

    Some of the principles are:

    “You must become comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

    “You must do what you do not always enjoy doing.”

    “You must get enough rest; relax, and reward yourself for accomplishing a major goal.”

    “What you eat and drink---food---will determine what you are capable of doing.”

    More and more, these principles seemed to also have a spiritual application.

    1 Corinthians 9:24, etc., says it this way:

    “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

    The good thing about the Christian life is that everyone who wants to win can.

    The hard thing about the Christian life is that no one wins without following a training program. The training program has already been set up.

    If I do not consume the right “spiritual food” (Scripture, prayer, good fellowship, Sabbath rest, listening to God), I won’t be capable of doing what I am supposed to do. There will be no resources for me to draw on, no reserve of energy waiting to empower me to finish what I’ve begun.

    It is OK to say “no” to someone asking me to do just “one more little thing.” I must remain aware enough to know my limits and protect those limits. I am not indispensable and flattery will not trick me into attempting more than I should within any day, week, or month.

    I do not usually enjoy apologizing to people I’ve wronged, or extending a hand of reconciliation in a damaged relationship, or trying one more time to forgive the person who has wronged me. But if I don’t do these things, the person and work of the Holy Spirit cannot flow through me as needed, and I will become limited and frustrated and fail to meet my purpose.

    How to do I become comfortable with being uncomfortable?

    I accept that I must walk by faith, not expecting to fully understand every aspect of everything that happens to me, and trust God to handle my circumstances when I can’t. Over time, my comfort zone will enlarge. If I refuse to experience any discomfort, my comfort zone will stagnate, and possibly shrink, making me less available to do whatever God wants me to do. That’s failure.

    The opposite of failure is getting into training and staying there, allowing the lessons of the gym to guide some of my spiritual “strength training.”

    From: Paravanes:Meditations

     (c) 2014  Deborah Evans

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    "Before Abraham Was Born, I Am"

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 6:52 PM [General]

    This statement, made by Jesus while he was engaged in what some might call a “lively conversation” with religious rulers at the temple in ancient Jerusalem, is one of the most controversial statements he made.

    What does this statement mean? Why is it controversial?
    The religious leaders engaging Jesus in a discussion about his identity became so angry at the “Before Abraham was born, I am” statement they picked up stones and determined to kill him on the spot. The text says he “hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.”
    You can read the text of the entire debate in the Gospel of John,chapter 8, beginning in verse 12. 
    Ancient Jewish religious leaders understood the use of the term “I Am” to mean the speaker is making him or herself equal to, or the same as, God. That’s why they became enraged when Jesus said “I Am.” It was considered blasphemy for any person to say they were the same as God. Some would say it was even an outrage because most of us instinctively know we are not in possession of the qualities associated with deity (unlimited knowledge, unlimited power, immortality, etc.)
    It is absolutely true Jesus claimed to be God. His claim was accurate and completely true.
    It has been popular in some circles to say Jesus never claimed to be God, but that his followers later attached this quality to him to make his teaching more distinctive, more powerful, or more unique. Not so.
    He worked miracles for those who came to him and asked for his help, but obviously these people already trusted in his ability to do something supernatural and unusual. At the very least, they were open to the possibility he could do what others could not. For those individuals, Jesus showed his power.
    Others accused him of being “mad” and of “having a demon.”
    There really was not a lot of middle ground in response to Jesus while he lived on Earth.
    Today, there is a lot of middle ground.  Some have said Jesus was a great teacher and storyteller, a radical rabbi, a political subversive, a deluded mystic. The list is endless.
    For those of us who are Christian, Advent reminds us God decided to become like us for a while in order to do something that could be accomplished in no other way.
    For ages some have cried out “If there is a God, why doesn’t He show himself?” 
    God did just that. God answered the request to “show Himself.” He picked a place and a time and he was there. If you are disappointed he didn’t decide to physically show up during your lifetime, I have nothing to offer except this: He will be real to you now if you seek Him now.
    That is the good news.
    (c) 2013  Deborah Evans
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    One "Like A Son of Man": Reflections on Christ the King Sunday

    Wednesday, November 27, 2013, 3:38 PM [General]

    In my religious tradition, the church celebrates themed days on an annual basis. Almost everyone knows Christmas and Easter as two of those days, but Christ the King Sunday seems to be sadly fading into obscurity in some corners.

    The revelation of Christ the King is clearly seen in the first chapter of the Book of Revelation, in the New Testament. Revelation is one of those sections of Holy Scripture that frighten some away, while others focus on small and difficult to interpret details of what’s known as “the end times.”

    A man known as John the Revelator (possibly the “beloved apostle” John, who wrote other parts of the New Testament) describes his experience in encountering the ascended, supreme Jesus who bears almost no resemblance to the God-Man person who spent approximately thirty-three years living among regular people in Palestine and teaching about the Kingdom of God.

    Here is what John says about his encounter with Christ the King:

    “I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man”, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.

    In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.” –Revelation 1:12-16 (NIV)

    Depending upon how you read this, John is describing a horrible image of an unnatural being, or John is using a series of similes to describe someone whose presence challenges effective description.

    If you are a student of the Book of Revelation, you may be familiar with the many ways in which writers have attempted to explain the person described here. The long robe represents honor, authority, and royalty. The golden sash suggests a unique, eternal priesthood. Snow white hair speaks to agelessness, while eyes like blazing fire suggest a penetrating, never dying insight into all that is. The glowing bronze feet imply stability, certainty, upstanding and unwavering status. A voice like the sound of rushing waters? Such a voice has no beginning or end, is irresistible and unstoppable; it is beyond ignoring and impossible to deny. The two edged sword in his mouth tells us this person speaks the word of God.

    But what does it all mean and why are these words in Scripture? How do we benefit from knowing how Jesus chose to reveal himself to a lonely man who was in exile because of his testimony of and for Jesus? John says he was a “brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus.” (Chapter 1, verse 9)

    Jesus chose to reveal himself because we need to stay clear about the Savior and Lord we are worshiping and following.

    How often, when we think or speak of Jesus, do we imagine a human-looking person walking or riding a donkey in an ancient culture? Do we have crosses and crucifixes as symbols of Jesus? Do we imagine someone exiting an empty grave, or someone speaking to a crowd about how to live in the Kingdom of Heaven? Do we think of a man who worked miracles, ate with sinners, and incurred the wrath of traditional religious leaders?

    All of these would be accurate, but none of them would be complete images of who Jesus is today.

    He is one “like a son of man”, but he is also the eternal God. He has complete and total authority over all that has been, is, or will come into being. He is observing, walking among, evaluating, and protecting the church (the seven stars referred to by John).  He holds the “seven stars” (the seven churches later referenced in the Book of Revelation) in his right hand, a place of honor. The church is never far away, unimportant, or absent and unaccounted for by Christ the King. His face, “shining like the sun in all its brilliance”, represents a Presence too powerful to resist. John says “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.” In other words, John passed out. Then, John adds, “He placed his right hand on me and said ‘Do not be afraid.’”

    He says the same thing today to anyone who will listen.

    As we leave Christ the King Sunday (November 24, 2013) and head toward the beginning of the Advent season, let’s remember Jesus no longer lives as a baby, or a carpenter, or a rabbi, or a master teacher and storyteller. He is God Almighty, who decided to become like one of us for a while:  to live, to eat, to work, to cry, and to spend time living as we live, so that we can trust him when he says, “Do not be afraid.” He knows exactly how we feel because he has been one of us, but he was always more than we could ever be.

    We can know him without fear, and experience all of the life and love he has for us. He is Christ the King and makes all things possible and do-able for those who follow him.

     

     (c)2013 Deborah Evans

    From: Paravanes:Meditations

     

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Wisdom from PositiveChristianity.org: Surrender

    Monday, October 28, 2013, 5:20 PM [General]

    I am preparing to dive into National Novel Writing Month, and will return with original meditations in December.

    PositiveChristianity.org is one of my favorite resources. Here is their October 28, 2013 post:

    t has been said, Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more
    than standing in a garage makes you a car. I’ve met some of the finest
    people that I’ve ever met in church, and also, to be honest, some of the
    worst. Some people come to worship God in love, and some just to carry out
    personal agendas, or human power trips. Of course the latter is missing
    EVERYTHING.

    Personal power can be an addiction. Needing to be in control of others and
    situations, can often rob a person of spiritual spontaneity of the
    serendipitous experience of finding unexpected good.

    The ultimate power, is human surrender, to experience the FULL power
    of the infilling of the Christ.

    Spiritual masters have said for centuries, that we must empty ourselves so
    that we may be full. Each of us, at times, have been so full of ourselves
    that nothing else could come in. This only continues for a temporary time
    though, because we soon discover we are not any good on our own.

    In (the book of) John, Jesus said, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I
    judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the
    will of the Father which hath sent me.”

    In (the book of) John, Jesus said, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own
    will, but the will of him that sent me.”

    We must be about the business of God, not limited human agenda. The
    business of God is love.

    Each of us is probably felt alone and helpless at some point in our lives,
    often at a time like this we want to take matters into our own hands and
    control everything. But when we are in total human control of people, and
    events—we are really out of control.

    Especially at these times, let us remember that God is our protector and
    provider. We may need to create an image in our minds that reassures us.
    Can we envision ourselves protected as a child, who is tenderly cradled in
    the arms of a loving parent? Perhaps we envision the way before us cleared
    of all obstacles as we look for new opportunity.

    These mental pictures serve us well, for they remind us that God’s
    presence is everywhere that we are. They remind us that we can never be
    where the presence of God is not. We do not have to be controlling to win
    in life. We win in life when we allow God to inspire our thinking and
    direct our moves. We win in life when our actions are for the good of all,
    not just ourselves.

    The real desire to control others and events has its root cause in fear.
    When God surrounds us, and is within us—there is nothing to fear.

    The ultimate power that we can feel as a human being is our connection
    with our source of power, God.

    If we are experiencing a challenge that is causing us to be confused, or
    in doubt about the right decision to make, we do not have to have high
    anxiety and fear about it. We don’t have to be in control, we have to be
    in prayer.

    Wherever we are, we can be in communion with God. No matter how trivial or
    serious our challenge is, God will listen. God cares. As we talk with God
    in prayer, our mind is eased, and the burden is lifted. We will often find
    that our way is not the best way. God will guide us to the highest
    possible solutions and wisdom. God will also guide our actions and our
    directions.

    As we speak freely and honestly with God, our mind and heart are opened to
    Divine inspiration. As we listen to God, and emptying ourselves of
    personal opinion, will, and agenda, we find that we can hear the answers,
    and understand the guidance.

    We relax in life as we let go. Joy and love come forth from our heart and
    we are able to offer true words of praise and thanksgiving for the
    unbelievable perfect answers to everything in our life.

    ---from PositiveChristianity.org, with many thanks!
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    Omnipresent: "God is in the room with me"

    Sunday, October 20, 2013, 2:20 PM [General]

     

    Having grown up regularly attending Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, I recall my teachers often mentioning this: “God is watching!”

    My child-mind imagined “God is watching” meant something like this: “In a place far away (and unknowable by you), God’s telescopic vision enables Him to see everything you do, so you’d better behave.”

    My child-mind reasoned if God was far away, His telescopic vision might turn from me for a moment. During that moment, I might “get away” with something I wanted to do, but believed would be labeled “bad.”

    The idea that God was in the room with us was never entertained by me or taught by my teachers. The thought of every movement and action happening in the very “face of God” was perhaps a bit too much for my teachers and was definitely more than I could imagine.

    Julian of Norwich, one of my favorite devotional writers, describes all of creation as a walnut in the palm of God, a creation regarded with love by a “courteous” God.

    Knowing God is omnipresent—present everywhere at all times—is at once comforting and troubling. Questions are raised by this knowledge. Why does a holy God tolerate the madness and atrocities that must offend His presence on a daily, hourly, and moment-by-moment basis? One might at the same time ask why we tolerate these things. Does God see more than we see in the events that surround us daily?

    Lately, I have reminded myself three or four times per hour (usually silently if I’m with others): “God is in the room with me.”

    This exercise informs me that everything I am and everything I am becoming is within God’s constant view. It is impossible for me to be forgotten, ignored, or overlooked by God. I do not have to ask God to “look down” from somewhere, because while God is in Heaven, God is also in the room (or car, or train, bus, etc.) with me.

    Knowing this truth has restrained my speech, encouraged me to take necessary but difficult actions, and allowed me to easily drift off to sleep at the appropriate time.

    Knowing God is “in the room with me” has revolutionized my prayer life. I no longer need to outline or explain my situation to God as a part of my prayer. God was right there when it all happened, or was all said, or all planned, etc.

    Knowing that my entire self is open and present to the “face of God” means my daily experience is one in which I “live, move, and have my being” in God. I exist in Him. I am His creature and have no possibility of existence away or apart from Him. I cannot hide or obscure any part of myself from God. His presence, His observation, and His insight are beyond my ability to block or limit or redirect.

    Knowing that God is always “right there” means it is possible for me to be totally honest, totally authentic, and totally the self He created me to be. It’s the beginning of knowing and living the life I was created to have.

    (c) 2013  Deborah Evans

    From Paravanes:Meditations

    3.7 (1 Ratings)

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