Out on a Limb

We won’t find the Life if we don’t go out on a limb!

Meditation Thought: “And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich. And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.” (Luke 19:2-6)

Zacchaeus did just what was needed to give himself a new perspective and thus a new life. He was curious about who Jesus was; he moved himself from the ordinary place into an unexpected position, and is doing so was more visible to Jesus. He made his preparations – making sure he was on the proper road, and in the position where he could see Jesus. And when Jesus spoke to him, Zacchaeus responded promptly and joyfully and obediently.

In addition, when Zacchaeus understood who Jesus was, he responded to this knowledge by doing what he could to rectify what actions had been taken wrongfully before he met Jesus, and also decided to live differently in the future. Zacchaeus wanted to be found: he placed himself in a position where the possibility was greater to be found, though he was unaware of it at the time, and then, when Jesus called to him, seeking him, he answered as Jesus desired him to answer. Thus both Zacchaeus and Jesus were pleased with the results: both had fulfilled their desires and their missions.

Each one is sought by Jesus – and each of us who seek to see who Jesus is, and make effort to find a place where we can see who He is (going to the Word, to the places the Word is preached, to the prayer-time and concentration of thought on what Jesus is saying through the Holy Spirit) and then respond to what He does say to us promptly, joyfully and obediently – we find and He finds.

We learn who He is and He saves us because we do learn and we do obey Him, believing in His authority and in His ability. We find the Life we seek, and He finds His mission fulfilled.

But we won’t find the Life if we don’t go out on a limb!

Map to the Kingdom

It was – and is – confusing to understand the directions to a ‘place’ which is not physical, but must be reached through prayer, thought and faith, and through actions which reflect the wisdom and knowledge gained through them.

Meditation Thought: “…the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” (Luke 17:21)

Perhaps Jesus meant by this remark that the kingdom of God is wherever Jesus is – wherever He has awakened a mind and a heart to who the Father is. Wherever the faith exists which is of the quality of Jesus’ faith, wherever a mind and will are seeking and set upon the Father’s will, wherever a heart reaches out in love, wherever desires are sacrificed to please another, wherever there is a forgiving attitude, patience and understanding, wherever love abounds – there is the kingdom.

The kingdom is ‘found’ as soon as it is perceived as Jesus perceived it. He used many forms to teach the Way in which it could be found: His thinking, His praying, His choice of activities and choice of companions, His parables and admonitions, His attitude – His behavior in every way was for the purpose of revealing the location of the kingdom.

It was – and is – confusing to understand the directions to a ‘place’ which is not physical, but must be reached through prayer, thought and faith, and through actions which reflect the wisdom and knowledge gained through them. We are forced to deal with our physical environment and our physical nature. We are requested to deal with our spiritual nature and spiritual truths: this is the nature of the relationship with our spiritual Father: we can choose to acknowledge the relationship and to strengthen it – which brings Him joy, and brings us joy too. Or we can ‘block out’ the spiritual part of our being, rejecting our relationship with our Father. This doesn’t change the fact that we are related – but it does rob both of us of the joy of the relationship.

It is the strengthening of our relationship with the Father that was and is Jesus’ mission, and His position is Revealer of Truth, sure guide along the Way, and the Light of the kingdom shining from within, wherever He is embraced as Savior and Lord.

Maximize the Benefits

To know that I am helpless is not to know I’m hopeless – quite the opposite.

Meditation Thought: “God chose you from the beginning to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

I have been chosen to saved (what care!) – through sanctification by the Spirit (how wise – I couldn’t do it on my own!) – providing I have sense enough (my free choice!) to believe the truth when it is presented to me.

‘You are no longer a baby, dependent upon your elders, you are a thinking adult with experiences and opportunities and choices. Every moment your intelligence, your conscience and your spiritual antennae guide you – unless you foolishly relinquish them to be replaced by your whims of feeling and influence of others.

You know what will serve you well in the long-term analysis, in the eternal perspective. Be imaginative in bolstering your strength to cling to your intelligence, conscience and spiritual antennae and to reject your ever-changing feelings and advice from who may have their own best interests in mind rather than yours.

There is maximum benefit to be derived from every situation, and to be aware of this and to learn how to take advantage of this knowledge is the applying of the keys to the locks on the kingdom’s doors.

The confusion lies in recognizing the difference between earthly benefits – that which are temporary – and heavenly benefits – those which are eternal. Decisions can be made to maximize the eternal benefits when there are specific principles which can be confidently applied to measure alternatives. In addition to the principles clearly outlined in the Word, and demonstrated by the Life, there is the Way revealed when the Truth is perceived by the revelation of the enlightening indwelling Spirit.

Each person will be confronted with unique choices: yet the purpose is one – to develop spirits which are reflections of the Spirit, to develop minds which function as the mind of Christ, to develop attitudes which are identical as an inheritance from the loving Father, and to develop the ability to do as well as the accomplishment of “greater works”.

To know that I am helpless is not to know I’m hopeless – quite the opposite. It is when I am most helpless that hope is born and grows. It is in the climate and condition of my recognition of my weakness that the seed of God’s power and love and mercy can grow and thrive – and my hope sprouts and grows with His seed’s growth – for my hope is a branch of His vine. Without His Presence, I am something less than I should be – but when my helplessness breaks my own self will, and I yield to His will, then my hope comes alive as His Presence is welcomed and His power and love and mercy spring forth.”

Aided Hearing

When I remember that God can work good out of what I perceive as bad, I can persevere more easily.

Meditation Thought: “And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!'” (Luke 9:35)

When I ‘listen to Jesus’, how does it affect my life?

  • I am more aware of the joy of being alive, more enthusiastic about living in a fascinating, constantly changing world.
  • My angst is diminished.
  • I can cope more easily with the ‘bad times’ – the disappointments, the sadness of making errors – especially if they adversely affect other people.
  • When I remember that God can work good out of what I perceive as bad, I can persevere more easily.
  • Although disappointment is difficult, knowing that God created us to bond with us as we bond with our loved ones helps to east the angst.

So, my Creator, my Teacher, my Helper, I pray for You to guide me on the path You desire for me to take. Help me to perceive what I am to do to accomplish Your will. I know You desire good for me, as I desire good for my beloved family – and You have the right, and the ability, to guide me as You desire. Thank you, Lord, for your blessings.

“Miracle Formula”

The formula Jesus revealed is the intent and will of the Father for a fulfilled life.

Meditation Thought: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:24-25)

“BELIEVE, PRAY, FORGIVE” The formula Jesus revealed is the intent and will of the Father for a fulfilled life. Fulfilled for whom? Fulfilled for the child and the Father of the child. How? By the power of God’s Holy Spirit pouring out into the channel the child opens in himself as he is exposed to the truth of the formula, believes in the power of it, and acts accordingly.

What are miracles? They are correct applications of the formula – the natural consequences of cooperating with the order of the universe created by God.

Over and over the New Testament reiterates the necessity of belief (faith), of prayer, of forgiveness – and of the integrity of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.

When I believe, when I pray, when I forgive, then I too have integrity – I am being true to nature – to the nature and character of my Source of being. I am functioning correctly, effectively – almost effortlessly, because the process is natural, and the power is not of my own labor, but flows in to move me.

I know only in part the end result of my functioning – God is the Master Planner. But to know in part is so awesome, so exciting, so fulfilling, as to change completely the volume and quality of my output.

There is abundant evidence that when the formula is used, it produces magnificent results.

I pray that I may be inspired, upheld, strengthened, enriched, and live my moments, my days, my years, in such complete adherence to the “miracle formula” that I shall be in truth, an enlarger of the spiritual area of life wherever the opportunity presents itself to me.

From Manipulation to Transformation

When this takes place there is the brilliant radiance, comforting warmth, and assurance of power…

Meditation Thought: “So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.” (1 Corinthians 3:20-23)

The circle of Christ’s light, and warmth of His love, and power of His being is within reach. But I must move, by my desire to be there, to that place. Perhaps I see another that has moved into this ‘magic’ circle – and I can observe the change. This makes me desire to change also – enough to take courage and move from my familiar habitat to the new area.

At first I see only the ‘greener grass’; I do not realize fully the requirements of living in this place… and by the time I do, I am willing to forgo my own ego-centered desires for the continuing pleasure of the revealing Light, the comforting Love, the moving Power.

And then the miracle: what I have willingly given up is returned to me, but transformed by this Holy Power we call God, Creator of all. I find that though desires are still a part of my life, they are not of their former character – they seem more unselfish, more flexible, more of a spiritual nature than of a material nature. And they do not seem to be at variance with God’s Word, nor His will as I perceive His Word and His will.

And thus my transformed desires are able to be fulfilled. No longer am I trying to manipulate God into fulfilling my self-conceived desires. I am desiring those things that God seeks to fulfill my life. When this takes place there is the brilliant radiance, comforting warmth, assurance of power that Jesus’ life demonstrated.

To what extent it is possible for me to live this life – or perhaps since the total possibility exists from this moment on – I should state more accurately: though I do not know to what degree I will be able to embrace this concept and this life, I am grateful to have come this far in the perception of such a life. I desire to live it. I will try to live it. I pray to God that I will be given the wisdom, knowledge and strength to live it. So help me, God! Please!

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O my Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer!

With All

God seeks to bless us, to nurture us and to mature us into pure images of Himself.

Meditation Thought: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)

To “love your God” is in effect to love neighbor and self. God is neighbor and self, not limited to neighbor and self, but these are a part of God, for we are His, created by Him, for Him and in His image.

Merely because we do not perceive that all of us have a “connecting link” does not deny the existence of it. Wind cannot be seen. Emotion cannot be seen. Yet the effects of wind and emotion can be of great visibility and tremendous consequence.

We need to understand that this commandment of Jesus was not given merely because God was seeking glory and adulation, but because God seeks to bless us, to nurture us and to mature us into pure images of Himself.

The greater our understanding of who He is, and how intensely He desires us to understand so that we may share joy with Him in the fulfillment of our relationship as knowledgeable participants, the more assurance we have of a life both satisfying and yet dynamic.

Dawn: Moment by Moment

I desire that you see the pure, lovely, effective life ahead unmarred by the life that you lived up until this moment.

Meditation Thought: “ Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these [a new heaven and a new earth], be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation…” (2 Peter 3:14-15)

“I seek to lift from you the burden you have taken up which is not My choice for you to carry: the burden of fear of not thinking, saying and doing everything perfectly according to My will.

I do desire for you to do everything perfectly according to My will, for this behavior will bring you maximum joy and will be the most effective way to be My minister to the world.

But: you do not accomplish this most perfectly by being so uptight about it that you feel constrained. As in worldly matters, you perform best spiritually when you feel such rapport and love and confidence and enthusiasm that you are content and relaxed enough to move freely to express yourself naturally.

I wish for you to be your unique self – true to My Word and My principles, but trying any way which seems right to you to express them.

Jesus came to demonstrate My tolerance: tolerance to the point of forgiveness: forgiveness to the point of doing for you what you are unable to do for yourself: cleansing you completely of all sins, including the sin of not believing that you are actually forgiven to the extent that your sins never took place in My sight – and I desire that you also see by the insight which I reveal to you the pure, lovely, effective life ahead unmarred by the life that you lived up until this moment.

Yes, you will err – and when you do, take proper steps to once again find the proper Way. But do not walk the way in such fear of taking a wrong turn that you do not enjoy it and you go along at a snail’s pace. Use the methods Jesus used: constant prayer, constant ministry, constant forgiveness, constant appropriate, creative expressions of love.

How? Take time to pray, develop your mind, use your body, be preceptive and observing and appreciative. Consider each moment as a dawn: the dark cold night of ignorance, fear and rebellion is being removed by the Son breaking into the darkness.”

An Effective Workout

…the life which is meaningful, purposeful and full of joy.

Meditation Thought: “since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;” (1 Peter 1:23)

The living word of God: to live is to grow, to change, to produce. The word of God, as it grows in you changes you and produces the fruits of the Spirit. This is to be “born anew” – into the life which is meaningful, purposeful and full of joy – not due to any person, circumstance or event – but due to the obsession with the Creator of the universe: who He is, who you are as a part of Him, and He of you – who and what is all of creation, particularly as it relates to you – the pursuit of a concept of life that is beyond physical, beyond finite.

If you are focused on long-term ideals and goals, you react entirely differently to daily events than when you are at the total mercy of these events. Do not be at the mercy of events, but of God. God’s mercy overtakes all other mercy – when you are willing to receive it.

How can you be willing to receive it? When you recognize that it is your only hope! When you know that you cannot manage yourself, nor your affairs with any degree of success apart from God’s mercy and grace and power and love!

Would you truly be effective? Then do it through the living and abiding word of God. A “living” word is a word which prompts a response, an action! An “abiding word” is a word which is in residence!

God’s word residing in your mind is then communicated to your spirit, which then touches your emotions, and your emotions set into action your body. And the motion of your body pumps the “living water”, the cleansing, purifying, life-sustaining water, and the cleansing, purifying, life-sustaining blood of the sacrificed Lamb into the parched and starving world!

Do you not realize that to be a primer of the pump, through your faith, and an enthusiastic pumper of good works, pouring out life-sustaining, life-glorifying nourishment is the most exciting, exhilarating, healthy exercise you could have?

Up, up and away!

Transforming the thinking, the attitudes and thus the actions of the world into kind, loving, unselfish, freely expressed.

Meditation Thought: “For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment… For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” (James 2:13, 26)

When we, through heeding His wise Word, allow our mercy to triumph over judgment, and our faith to be demonstrated by our works, we are transforming the thinking, the attitudes and thus the actions of the world from selfish, cruel, law-bound into kind, loving, unselfish, freely expressed.

No longer bound by sin and shame,
But free:
Up, up and away!
To mountain tops
and cleansing streams.
Pure air, sunshine bright.
No longer oppressed by shadows dark
And fog of unbelief
Our hope, our joy,
Our strength of faith,
Raise our hands to His!
And once He sees us reaching up –
Pure ecstasy abounds
As His arms enfold
Us, drawing us close,
And the warmth of
His embrace –
The mutual love released,
These are the “keys to the kingdom”.
And the possession,
The use of them
Opens vistas glorious,
And possible to explore.
Halleluiah! The journey is so entrancing
That the replacement
Of judgment with mercy,
and the doing of works in faith
Simply fall into place –
Naturally, easily:
Feeling His embrace,
Knowing His love,
Trusting Him to
Move us surely
Across the years,
The obstacles,
To the glories
glimpsed and beckoning,
We are so caught up
In following Him,
Mercy and good works
Become our new nature.
Not through our effort,
But through His Grace.