As Leigh McElroy says so well in her book, The Beautiful Ache, staying in the journey of the Jesus life is only possible when we know what we know . . . the God of the universe calls my name! When we are completely honest, there is so much mystery, so much pain, and so many challenges along the road of life (as He said there would be, John 16:33) that the essential SWEETNESS that we need to know is that we are known and loved.
Our names are written on the palm of His hand (Isaiah 49:16). If you are not certain of this–for you–I encourage you to pause . . . pray . . . meditate on the Scriptures . . . and wait long enough to know all over again (or perhaps for the first time) that you are seen, understood, accepted and cherished by Jesus. He calls you by name!
All of us have good reason to invite Mr. Grudge into the house of our soul. However, if we entertain him, allow him to remain even for a few days—and God help us—welcome him to become a permanent resident—we put our entire soul in danger! Beware, beware!
Mr. Grudge may appear friendly and compassionate, even comforting at times—after all, he seems to understand our pain, and is always ready to affirm that we have every reason to lick our wounds from so and so. But here is the truth: he is the darkest villain and deadliest enemy—a FOX who wishes to destroy our very lives. He licks his lips as he eats us up.
This villain who disguises himself as friend has one–and only one, desire: to steal, kill and destroy our very soul! Mr. Grudge is a fiend of Satan who plants a bitter root that will bring us down, down, down until darkness and slime are the waters in which our soul dwells.
So no matter how comfortable we are with him, we MUST OUST him out of our house—urgently! He is poison! And whoever Mr. Grudge came to discuss with us, forgive that person!
Jesus, lover of our soul, has forgiven us . . . and Jesus asks, no demands— that no matter how little the person seems to deserves it—we must forgive as we have been forgiven. It is inherent in the divine nature to forgive. God is ready and eager to forgive us . . . and as His children—loved and forgiven by GRACE—then we must also forgive.
Forgiveness, hear this, is the deepest expression of love. Forgive and we love as God loves. Forgive and we share in the divine nature.
So love, love, love! Swim in those waters . . . and we will flood our lungs and life with light, and health and peace! Oh yes, breathe, breathe, breathe . . . and the fiend will flee from the fresh air of forgiveness . . and we will be FREE!
Listen to this:
“Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many” (Hebrews 12:14-15).
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).
It always puzzles me how Christ-followers can be some of the most most driven and anxious humans on earth . . . Do we forget that we follow Jesus, the Prince of Peace? “And His name will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Perhaps that is why so many people are turning away from churches to spas, to yoga, even to Buddha to find the peace their souls are starved for? And perhaps they would turn back home to Jesus if they see peace in His people . . .
May our souls radiate the quality of calm that Jesus lived and modeled for us . . . even in the midst of constant demands, challenges, and opposition. Clearly, His connection to the Father’s heart and will kept Him in the vortex of sweetness and peace. Come, Lord Jesus, comfort your people with Your peace . . . so that we may be the lights of love in the darkness.
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
In hindsight I can clearly see that every place AND person that has felt like a hard struggle in my life has been appointed by God for a purpose! He wants to teach me something, or He wants to redirect me for reasons that I clearly cannot see at the time. NOTE this: “I could not see at the time!” Yet, when I trusted Him (all that He asks), and continued to move on . . . noticing the boulder, blessing the boulder in my soul (yes, this takes faith 🙂 I have lived long enough to see, and continue to see, all of the blessings of the boulder!
What boulder is in your path right now? What invitations does the boulder give you?
Ask the Spirit of the living Christ to help you . . .
In prayer, stand beside the boulder and ask Jesus to come and give you the power to bless it . . .
Now move forward as He directs. The path continues according to His perfect design. And you, have just received a blessing that hindsight will fully reveal. May His love go with you . . .
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them” (Romans 8:28).
The human soul was created to need a face. Babies that are deprived of mother’s face suffer deeply throughout their lives from attachment deprivation. Yet, there is hope for everyone! A face remains that heals the bewildered heart . . . day after day after day. Our personal God, Creator of the universe, reveals more and more of Himself as we seek Him.
Even long before the birth of Christ, he Psalmist David heard the Lord ask him to seek His face. He cried out to God: “Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! You have said, ‘Seek my face.’ My heart says to You, ‘Your face, LORD, do I seek‘” (Psalm 27: 7-8).
There is mystery here! Although God told Moses that no one can see His face and live (Exodus 33:20), we are also told that God used to speak to Moses “face to face” as a man “speaks to his friend” (Exodus 33:11). Surely our infinite God “who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see . . . ” (I Timothy 6:16) humbles Himself and takes on the form of a servant to commune with those who love and seek Him.
Further, it is important to understand that in seeking Him, and seeing His ever emerging form . . . that we ourselves are steadily transformed into His own image! As the Scriptures teach us: “we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is” (I John 3:2).
Jesus always leads forward. When you feel lost, confused, afraid, and or exhausted, ask Him to help you find the next step forward. He will show you the way . . . step by step. Years ago a mentor of mine, Elisabeth Elliot, taught me to ask myself: “What can you do?”
Jesus always leads forward. When you feel lost, confused, afraid, and or exhausted, ask Him to help you find the next step forward . . . and He will show you the way . . . step by step.
We tend to focus on what we cannot do . . . we feel too weak and overwhelmed in our human fragility.
But Jesus is gentle. He puts His arm on our shoulder and helps us see the one thing we can do. One thing.
Take one step forward. Maybe it is the one thing that brings you joy. I can paint . . . I can go for a walk. Or maybe it is that one thing you MUST do. I can brush my teeth . . . get out of the chair . . . or out of bed. Or, make one phone call. Send one text. Say the Lord’s prayer. One thing.
Energy begets energy.
Follow the trail . . . step by step.
He will lead you . . . He knows the way. He is the way.
Someday you will look back and be astonished.
Our souls are limited only by our vision of who God is! He calls us to sublime audacity! If we lift our hearts towards the love of Christ that is wider, longer, higher and deeper than all that we can possibly imagine . . . we will filled to overflowing with a measure of the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19).
Think of it. A measure of the fullness of God. He is a God that we cannot possibly exaggerate because He is above all that we can ask or think–so full of love and radiance and goodness (which is holiness) such that our souls wish only to break out in an ecstatic dance of glorious union with the the Divine!
I encourage you to find this dance! It is all that our soul longs for!
In my pilgrimage with Jesus, He has taught me to trust Him in the seasons. As the Scripture instructs, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest . . . ” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2). I don’t know what you are going through right now, but it is just a season, though it may feel long and unending. I can assure you that even if the cold blight of winter seems to have descended . . . do not be afraid. Under the ground, roots are being nourished and strengthened by the holy and invisible Spirit of God. God works for your good–and the good of all who trust Him . . . through all of the seasons.
Our Father is a merciful craftsman! And, with His vision, we can endure and THRIVE in the most difficult days . . . Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty!
“On that day the LORD their God will rescue His people,just as a shepherd rescues His sheep.
They will sparkle in His land like jewels in a crown” (Zechariah 9:16).
“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).