I’m in Cambodia & have met women here in the sex industry & their eyes are vacant. On the surface, our initial reaction could be one of shame, disinterest, judgment, revulsion or not even seeing her. When a persons eyes seem empty or vacant, it can be easy to overlook them. But we need to see past the surface & we need to look beyond our initial reactions to see a human for whom Jesus died & deeply loves.
No one, including you & me, wants to be ignored, overlooked, shamed, judged nor rejected. With genuine love there is never a scarcity, so this helps us to see beyond the surface. In contrast, there’s always a shortage with transactional love.
Let’s let Holy Spirit Help is to see beyond the surface!
Have you ever been in the middle of something & felt like you’re kind of in limbo? Sometimes, I feel like this between Christmas and New Years. There’s a nice exhale after all the frenzied Christmas flurry but I can also feel the New Year coming into focus, even though I’m not quite ready for that yet.
Limbo land is kind of a weird place. It’s the middle area between starting & finishing, so it can be a short little jaunt, like a quick trip to the grocery store, or the entirety of life between birth & death. When I think about this middle space, I’m reminded of lots of Bible folk who found themselves in this experience:
David in his flight from Saul lived for many years in this middle space, where God cultivated strength, committment & maturity in him.
Moses lived in limbo land between his flight from Pharoah and the burning bush, where it looks like some of his youthful hubris was deflated over the course of 40 years, making him ready for the burning bush experience that launched his destiny to liberate the Israelites from slavery and so much more!
Peter had some limbo time between when he betrayed Jesus and was reconciled to Him after Jesus’ resurrection; perhaps those days helped Peter see his utter dependence on Jesus in sharp contrast to his frail flesh, being reconciled through the loving interaction with Jesus in the Q&A session about Peter’s love for Jesus
Let’s be sure to keep a laser focus on Jesus in between the holidays 🙂
Being part of an elite group can be very attractive. The sense of belonging, being special & set apart appeals to our emotions & sense of significance. Sometimes there can seem to be some good reasons for being exclusive: excellence, comraderie, influence, achieving high goals, etc).
A problem, however, with being exclusive is that it becomes easy to allow the status of the group to influence the way we see ourselves. Sometimes we can think that being part of an exclusive group makes us elite or a cut above “other people.”
Another problem with being exclusive (religious, social, economic, fashion, athletic, etc) is that we can often remove ourselves from connecting with others who are not as elite, don’t achieve as highly, don’t dress in the same fashion, don’t had the same income bracket, aren’t as athletic, or don’t have a similar mental prowess.
The biggest problem with being exclusive is that such a mindset runs entirely contrary to how Jesus taught us to live. In John 13:14-15, Jesus models for us a servant mindset, ready to wash feet & lay down His life for others for the simple & revolutionary goal to express genuine love. Let’s always keep our sites on the end goal to love with a genuine heart & sincere expression!
Whenever my kids tell me, “Mom, don’t feel out when I tell you this, . . . ” I brace myself for what comes next. Sometimes it’s something easy, like “I forgot to tell you about a school assignment.” At other times, they spring something on me that’s more robust or unsettling. Whenever we have one of those “freak out” conversations, it always helps me to remember that nothing makes God freak out.
Indeed, God is never shocked nor chased away by us, our struggles or questions. And in full truth, God’s love continues to pursue us, even when we give up on ourselves. Be encouraged! You will never freak God out!
I really like to study languages. Thus far, I’ve studied probably half a dozen & it always fascinates me when I get to explore a language and how a culture communicates through it’s language. It also fascinates me to consider that anywhere from 40%-80% of the way we communicate is non-verbal. Furthermore, I would suggest that the better you know someone, the fewer words you need to communicate with them.
With these ideas in mind, it’s been my experience that God communicates with me in lots of different ways:
Bible: ground zero, full stop
a soft whisper or witness in my heart that’s difficult for me to ignore (1Kings 19)
desires (Ps 37:4) – I ask God to guide me by giving me desires that affirm God’s plan, will and kingdom
conversations – there are many times that God will speak to me through someone in some kind of seemingly common discussion, but something very uncommon stands out to me in that chat (Emmaus Road – Luke)
very often, I don’t sense God speaking to me in words or verbally, but rather I sense God’s presence and I just enjoy keeping company with God
How do you sense and hear God? Please share with us! 🙂
Today, I was driving and having a God chat. We talked about some of my concerns and frustrations and I tried to not do all of the talking, but this is a tricky balance. Conversations that facilitate a deepening relationship go both ways – both parties listen and both talk, hopefully not at the same time. To get to know the other person in a relationship, we need to be present, attentive and available. In the same way, for the other person to get to know us, we need to be present, sincere and forthcoming.
We all have relationships where we play our cards really close to the vest – we don’t openly share about painful areas, hotspots or vulnerabilities. But if we are going to have a deepening relationship with God, then we need to put our cards on the table and equally listen, pay attention and value the feedback and input that God gives us, not only to solve problems but moreso for the purpose of connecting and attaching. God talk is a two-way street 🙂
We get to work with a really cool team of people & Tues mornings we make some time, as a team, to connect with God. This morning, we did an exercise around the definition of love in 1 Cor 13: love is & love is not. One of the things that is continuing to linger with me after this exercise is that love isn’t arrogant. I’ve been thinking about this idea & here are a few things for your consideration:
love connects but arrogance repels
arrogance is an exalted but erroneous perception of self
One of the ways that God expresses Their love (Trinity) to us is through friendships – and we get to also be a conduit through which God can express Their love through us! What a cool way for genuine love to be multiplied 🙂
And here’s my thinking, I think that genuine love is unlimited & cannot be confined, so friendships are one of these ways for love to be demonstrated. God is so cool in all of the different ways that They express love to us!! Saving Moses is another way that God shows genuine love as well 🙂 YAHOOO!!
We can all have very busy days, filled with demands, responsibilities, activities, interactions, etc. Sometimes, it feels like there’s no pause in a day and that we just go from one challenge to the next without any breathing space. I’m not very keen on these kinds of days and I’m thankful that I don’t have these fast paced days everyday. But here’s something to consider: God is present throughout everyday, including the crazy busy times as well as the more sane seasons. My goal is to connect with God on a steady basis regardless of the demands of a day. One of the best ways I’ve discovered for ramping up my connection with God is by increasing my awareness of His presence throughout my life – in the busy season, in the quite moments, in the grocery shopping, picking kids up, running errands, cooking, etc, As my awareness of God increases in my life, it seems like His integration throughout my life gets better and better 🙂