Influencers

How can we improve? Surely the first step is to recognize that we simply are not capable in ourselves of being so brilliant – so perfect – that we can make the proper decision. This is the point where we are willing to call “Help!”.

Meditation Thought: “He who influences the thought of his time influences the thought of all the times that follow.” (A quote from a book, An Apple a Day)

Why do we forget that every thought engenders an action (or a rejection of action)?

We are focused on ourselves, our physical or mental feelings at the moment, our mood, our preoccupation with thinking what we will do later – and we may miss the turn off of the road that we should follow.

How can we improve? Surely the first step is to recognize that we simply are not capable in ourselves of being so brilliant – so perfect – that we can make the proper decision. This is the point where we are willing to call “Help!”. And we know from where that help can come – Lord, you are the helper, the enabler, the guide, the protector, the lover. We cannot see you; we cannot feel you; we cannot hear your audible voice.

So, how do we meet together? Oh – to seek You in prayer, to listen to that soft, but real “voice” of thought in our minds, to be alert and aware of what situations surround us – and then to cope with them – through prayer, through the advice of the scriptures, through the knowledge that our loving Guide is competent, willing and available. You, of whom there is evidence through the ages.

Big Brother

…my big brother Jesus would know what to do in this situation. Let me check with Him and I know then I’ll be taking the right action.

Meditation Thought: “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother, and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:50)

“I’m a relative of Jesus” – what a statement to be able to make! Of all the name-dropping, that has to be the ultimate statement. And, yet it is true – as we, through faith in Jesus as Savior, accept our Father as our guide, our Creator, our loving, indulgent parent, and we obey Him as such, we are born into His Kingdom and His family just as surely as we are physically born into this world. And His Son is surely part of His family!

Maybe we should think more in terms of making decisions, going through a process such as saying to ourselves: “Well, now, my big brother Jesus would know what to do in this situation. Let me check with Him and I know then I’ll be taking the right action.”

The heavens rejoice at the expansion and maturing of the family of God. It is enough to know that this is so; we do not need to know why it is so. We rejoice because our Father rejoices as He delights in our obedience. Our delight and joy become contagious to one another; we want to continue this happy time, this happy relationship. There is only one way to do  it – we must do as our Father requests – in a manner of trust, pleasure, reliance and eagerness, as well as performing as competently as we are able.

The Work of an Artist

…there is strength where there was no strength before…

Meditation Thought: “And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20)

“I – perfect love, perfect power – am with you – broken vessel – always.” What happens when a skilled artist takes a broken vessel to repair? He restores its beauty, he restores its use and so blesses those who use it, when it had been unable to be of use before.

God created the perfect vessel – which was broken by sin. But God sent his repairman-artist to mend and renew. There is strength to be used – there is strength where there was no strength before. And there will be no weakening as long as the vessel is kept safely in the care of the Artist, where He can keep it in good repair, using His strength to keep it strong and useful.

 

 

The Beauty of Grace

…they will be attracted to an unusual beauty, a sweetness of spirit, someone who is effective and willing in helping them.

Meditation Thought: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

“I put on you the mantle of my grace for all to see. The beauty of my grace is to shine immediately to all those who look at you. My power is beneath that grace, working through you – but if you are not cloaked in my mantle of grace, and appear powerful in your own right, people see your human power, which will blind them to my power working through you.

The mantle of my grace protects you. If your own pride and thirst for power and recognition grow to the point that they burst open the fasteners of the mantle and it falls away, then what is visible is only your arrogance. If you stay meek under your mantle, keeping yourself healthy and fit and the proper size by feeding on My Word and My Guidance, and not indulging in the food of the world – false pride, selfishness, greed – so that you get too fat for my mantle of grace which I have thrown over you, the ones to whom I would have you witness of Me will not see a common, gross, unattractive creature, unappealing to them; they will be attracted to an unusual beauty, a sweetness of spirit, someone who is effective and willing in helping them.

In the first attraction they may not perceive that your power to help them, and their attraction to you, is not of your own doing, but is due to your dependence on Me. In deeper communication with you they will understand that your effectiveness is based on My power released in you: This is the purpose of each of my believers – to bring my beloved children to recognize Me as their Father and to delight in Me as their Guide and Protector, and the One who created them in love.”

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.

Peace in all Circumstances

All who work with you are to be your beloved. They are my beloved – and therefore they are your family: Your beloved also.

Meditation Thought: “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?” (Matthew 20:15)

In this passage is a lesson: it is the times when you judge actions which are not directly your concerns that cause you separation from the relationship which we should have. At times you reap what you sow – and at times, I bestow by grace a more generous harvest than could be expected from your actions. It is not for you to judge the times when you observe this reaping what they did not sow: you, too, have your times of knowing that you are undeservedly blessed by receiving reward which is more generous than you have earned.

I seek to refine attitudes, and it is a gracious, tolerant, isn’t-that-great-this-good-thing-happened-to-my-brother attitude which I seek to have you develop: not “why should he reap such reward when I worked harder for the same reward”. This attitude restricts your knowledge of truth and the workings of the kingdom. If you realize that the one who receives so generously is your beloved, then you are not resentful, but grateful for his good fortune. This is the lesson: All who work with you are to be your beloved. They are my beloved – and therefore they are your family: Your beloved also.

If you think about this revelation; if you seek to accept it totally with your mind, your emotions and your actions, your life will be transformed – everywhere you observe generosity, whether to you, or to another, you will rejoice and not resent.

You move from a mind-set of what you have received in relation to what another receives, to the mind-set of being content with what you receive, and being content with what another receives.

This is “being content in all circumstances”: it moves beyond being content in a vacuum to being content in the confusion of the world; it moves beyond the ability to think of the good for self to think of the good for another. It moves beyond the animal-instinct of self-preservation to the higher calling of sacrificial love.

The whole of Jesus’ life is the witness to the truth. It is the revelation of the joy of moving from self-love to total love of all of creation: to desiring good for another, no matter what is happening to you at that moment.

This is the highest expression of love. It is laying down your life for another – the releasing of your ego-centered focus to another-centered focus. This is being true to your inheritance as being made in the image of the Father – and choosing to live in such a way that no one can doubt you are of the Father: the Father perceives, the Son perceives, the Spirit perceives, you perceive, and your fellow creatures perceive – yes, all heaven and earth perceives that you are your Father’s child, not merely in fact, but in reflection of His Character, in reflection of His code of conduct, in reflection of His works and most of all, in reflection of His love.

Could anything in heaven or in earth bring more joy than this – to the Father, to the Son, to the Spirit, to you, or your fellow creatures?

Response: No, Lord – nothing could bring more joy than my reflecting You in every area. I desire to do this. Please enable me to do this.

I have faith – which You gave to me.

I have intelligence – which You gave to me.

I have energy – which You gave to me.

I have emotions – which You gave to me.

I have a body – which You gave to me.

I have a spirit – which You gave to me.

I have a world in which to use what You have given me.

I have a kingdom in which you teach me.

But, with all of these still I cannot reflect you in every area: only by your generosity of spirit, of your generosity of power, of your generosity of wisdom and knowledge of your generosity of circumstances fortuitous will I be able to reflect You in every area.

I seek Your generosity – and in acknowledging that I need more from You than I have earned, I acknowledge that it is Your right and privilege and good pleasure to give generously to any, and I have no right to judge You or judge another or to judge circumstances.

You have offered me salvation and the kingdom on earth in return for my commitment to love you and work for you. I accept this arrangement, and I quarrel not with whatever You arrange with others. In this is my peace in all circumstances.

Hallelujah!

Rescued and Restored

What are stumbling blocks but stepping stones when one is transformed by the nurturing Light?

Meditation Thought: “There are those who rebel against the light, who are not acquainted with its ways, and do not stay in its paths.” (Job 24:13) “I am the light of the world: whoever follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

All who stumble in the dark, and who rebel against the dark, thus seeking the light, despite all obstacles, despite all errors in the direction of movement, shall find the light.

The light is difficult to be found only for a little while – only for the time necessary to: soften a hardened heart, tame a rebellious will, open up a closed mind, teach a foolish one wisdom, cleanse a sin-stained past, and to make real the promise within the conception of the one who seeks light. That is, to make the vision of light so intense that there is no doubt that the light exists and that the one who seeks it will find it.

And when the light dawns, when it is seen in reality, just as it was seen in the vision, then is a totally new life possible.

Consider the contrast of living in a totally dark prison – and of living on the mountaintop, where vistas are seen in every direction: where light enables abundant growth, and nourishes all living things – where light reveals the truth of all which is under it.

This contrast is the comparison of life in the flesh without the Light of the Spirit within and living with the Spirit within.

The one living in the dark confines of prison may, by the description of the vistas coming from the mountaintop, be able to conceive somewhat of the life lived on a mountaintop – but cannot truly understand nor feel the reality of that life.

Only as the prisoner is brave enough to grope for the key offered, and to grope for the lock, and to make effort to fit the key in the lock, to turn it, and to walk out of that confining place to blink in the light, and to adjust to it, can he begin to know experientially the total ‘new creature’ life in a ‘new’ environment (the mountaintop kingdom). The joy of realization of what he has left and what he is experiencing is almost unbearably sweet, almost unbelievably exciting, almost impossible to comprehend.

But the ‘almost’ is not the same as ‘definitely’. This is our cause for leaping in the ecstasy of thanksgiving! This is our power to live a new mountaintop life! This is the knowledge that the words which described the mountaintop life, and thus led us to find the key to release us to this life, were not exaggerated words, but even those words were not adequate to describe the truth, to describe the quality of the light, or the quality of life lived within that revealing light.

When we allow our minds, our emotions, our bodies, our spirits, to flow freely, to go freely over all this wonderful new terrain, we dance with delight of constant new discoveries of beauty, wisdom, truth – of love encountered along the way! Of Love accompanying us along the way.

What are stumbling blocks but stepping stones when the tiny emaciated prisoner is transformed by the nurturing Light into the grand, ‘filled-out’ figure: a strong, wise, willing, and eager new creature which is the reflection of the Creator of all he surveys and encounters, which is the container of the inherited wealth of the Creator, and which is the authority of the Creator expressed into the world covered by Light.

This ‘new creature’ did not evolve by chance, or by self – but by being transferred from prison to freedom.

One came to offer release – and the prisoner chose to seek a new place when the opportunity “knocked at the prison door”.

The ‘Rescuer’ comes in many forms – at many times – trying, always trying, to convince the prisoner that the escape from prison will lead to a better place.

There is no law which is broken when the prisoner ‘escapes’, no punishment for his leaving prison: the ‘law’ that sentenced him to prison was the confining of his spirit in a body which gives expression to his freedom of choice.

But the ‘law’ is his law: the ‘law’ is subject to his interpretation of that law: thus it cannot be ‘broken’ by him, thus causing him harm. It can only be perceived by him, and acted upon by him.

The moment he realizes that he has authority over the law, and he tells the Rescuer of the moment to give him the key to the prison door, and he takes authority over all who would try to tell him that their interpretation of the law is more authoritative than his, thus keeping him in prison – then not only is the prisoner rescued, he is restored to his rightful prominence as being one in authority.

He is not the highest authority on the mountaintop nor over the prison, but he is privileged, he is endowed with wisdom, he is endowed with authority, he is endowed with power, he is given knowledge. The key words are ‘endowed with ‘ and ‘given’: so long as he recognizes to whom he owes allegiance and all that is given to him, he is in a great position and leads a fulfilled, exciting and abundant life.