Contemplative Rest

Look for my guidance, and you will find it.

Meditation Thought: “O Lord… chart the path ahead of me, and tell me where to stop and rest.” (Psalm 139: 1,3 The Living Bible translation)

“Sometimes you have the impression that because you are aware of many needs to be met, that I want you to constantly be working at them. This is not so, I designed you for rest – not only physically, but you need the contemplative time, the relaxation time to understand the who, how, why, where of new activities.

‘Look’ for my guidance, and you will find it. The proper balance of activity and contemplation will allow my Spirit to work more effectively in prompting your spirit to be so attractive to others that they will seek me through seeing the balance which makes your attitude attractive to them. When you are so completely aware of my Spirit working that you are unaware of your own spirit or thoughts or activities, then you are doing My will for you at that moment. Practice makes perfect, and as you exercise listening to me and obeying me, then your spirit will become more accustomed to yielding to My Spirit, and harmony will result.”

 

A Father’s Love and Motives

…apparent defeat is changed into victory…

Meditation Thought: “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.” (Psalm 103:13)

“I am your Father – fathers do not harm their children. If they allow the children to face stressful situations, it is only to strengthen and teach them. But always the father is there to help, to console, when the situation is difficult and the child fails. The father does not send the child to do his assigned task and then forget him. He is interested in it going well for the child – he helps prepare the child for the task before he sends him to accomplish it.

I have created families so that you can know something of a Father’s love and motives – so that you can have some hint of what I am like -what unselfish love can be, what a close relationship can be. Trust me, I created you to love, not to abuse. Relax in my arms, feel my love, then go to your task reassured that the loving arms are always there to return to, for rejoicing together in victory, for consolation in defeat – and apparent defeat is changed into victory as you learn how to understand and obey My instructions more maturely, more completely.”

Refuge in Battle

…therefore we can live in hope and not in fear. 

Meditation Thought: “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.” (Nahum 1:7)

Just knowing that we have a stronghold (a refuge; a place that has been fortified so as to protect it against attack) to turn to gives us courage – so that we have more power as a result of knowing of our stronghold; we do not have to bear the burden of the battle without help.

However, we need to know where our stronghold is in order to use it, and to use it if it is to be of any value to us. We can learn to use our stronghold effectively if we search for it, become familiar with it, and practice using it. No matter what happens in our lives, we know we have that stronghold to protect us; therefore we can live in hope and not in fear.

Jeweled Crown

And so what appears to be death of self is actually the resurrection of self in new glory

Meditation Thought: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

When we place our delight in the Lord, we will have constant delight – for the Lord is always loving, caring, helpful, dependable, powerful – and willing to fulfill the desires of our heart. When we learn to be adept at taking our delight in the Lord, we will rejoice in the fulfillment of our desires as a natural consequence.

The ability to become adept at taking our delight in the Lord, however, is one which must be rigorously developed and practiced. There must be time to learn His Word, to listen to His Counsel. There must be courage to act upon His instructions – and His instructions may well bring the ridicule of the world, and most devastatingly, even our loved ones. We must learn to seek truth and not accept face values, we must “fight city hall”, we must be active and not passive, we must put duty above pleasure, we must sacrifice ego to become God’s weak vessel into which He pours His strength.

When we are able to submerge ourselves into what we thought was a swallowing up of our identity into God’s will, we learn that miraculously the very burying of ourself in Him crystallized us into all we were meant to be: we are fulfilled in an unsuspected joy as we emerge more totally individual than ever before – a new creature in Christ, a jewel set off more brilliantly because of our placement in His crown. And so what appears to be death of self is actually the resurrection of self in new glory, the clay reworked by God into a new and beautiful vessel to be used by Him, to be delighted in by Him, a completion of His creative process.

 

Atmospheric Conditions

…as we move into the atmosphere of God rather than the atmosphere of the world. 

Meditation Thought: “Delight yourself in the Lordand he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

The closer we are to the sun, the more we receive of its light and its warmth. It is always there, but if we have clouds between us, or our situation isn’t right (our side of the earth turned from the sun), or the season is one where there is more distance between us and the sun, then we receive less light and less warmth than we do under ideal conditions.

God wants us to be in the ideal conditions to receive the most of His light and His warmth – and unlike the sun, He influences conditions to provide improvement – if we are perceptive enough to see the truth of the conditions and to act in a way that will bring us His light and His warmth to the fullest extent.

We can think, we can act, and we can change our position relative to God. As we move more closely to God, we move more closely to the desires of our heart, for the desires of our heart originated from God. Sometimes we have some desires which are counterfeit and get between our God-given desires and us, but they do not thrive well in the atmosphere of the Spirit of God, and will die out and disappear as we move into the atmosphere of God rather than the atmosphere of the world.

 

Rays of Hope

Who is with us every second of our lives; who is constantly concerned for us; who seeks to help us? Our dear Lord –

Meditation Thought: “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4

Who is with us every second of our lives; who is constantly concerned for us; who seeks to help us? Our dear Lord – when we rejoice in Him, He is always there – no disappointment that the one we wish to rejoice with and in has disappeared.

The Lord is our source of rejoicing – pouring out “rays” of love, peace, help, guidance; rescuing us in times of trouble with His energy and wisdom. But unlike the sun, which sends out heat and light, but receives nothing in return; we send our “rays” back to the Lord – rays of hope, of trust, of love, of obedience. There is constant exciting movement from one to the other; an inter-changing of rays to make the other glow with love and gratitude, and a sense of fulfillment. All of the rays are needed to make the relationship whole, to make both God and His creation whole, totally as we were intended to be when He created us to complete the outpouring of the love which He needed to express.

 

The Blessing of Confession

As we lose ourselves in prayer for another, that is when we come closest to being made in the image of God, for we are serving, unselfish, loving, and giving at that moment.

Meditation Thought: “Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” James 5:16

Confess. Confess is a pouring out of a thought – as you pour it out of yourself, it is no longer part of you; that thought is not inside of you, to cause festering, to be interfering with thoughts on which God wants us to concentrate: thoughts full of beauty, holiness, kindness.

As others hear of your sin, they can express the confirmation of God’s forgiveness and of their forgiveness – thereby also reinforcing their own need to confess their sins and be forgiven.

And pray – always pray for one another, for to pray is to express love and concern, and to call for power for the other. As we lose ourselves in prayer for another, that is when we come closest to being made in the image of God, for we are serving, and unselfish, and loving, and giving at that moment – a child imitating our parent. And in the imitating, becoming more like the parent, more God-like – more as He teaches by His example. Varied as His examples are, they are always consistent in their nature: they exemplify love.