A Hospitable House

It’s a bit scary to think that we are housing the Creator of the universe! If we ponder that for a while we will certainly need to keep our house clean and pure and hospitable!

Meditation Thought: “But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house…” (Hebrews 3:6a)

If we are “God’s house” then God resides in us! It’s a bit scary to think that we are housing the Creator of the universe! If we ponder that for a while we will certainly need to keep our house clean and pure and hospitable!

How can we make a house that welcomes God and pleases Him? Surely we must seek His Word and His counsel through prayer.

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.”

Gift Giving

no gifts are given for the purpose of provoking

Meditation Thought: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights,..” (James 1:17)

What kinds of gifts do fathers give children? Gifts that: please the children, help the children, teach the children; no gifts are given for the purpose of provoking the children, or bringing harm to them. Therefore, when we receive good gifts, they are from our Father.

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.

A New Name

So a vital relationship with Christ can transform anyone

Meditation Thought: “To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,  so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12)

In these few words, Paul describes the interchange and the reliability upon one another that constitute the relationship of God with His faithful people.

God does call upon us to do His work – and when we respond by faith, resolve and our efforts, He releases His power to aid us. What is difficult is the initiating of our own movement once we recognize we should make it.

Prayer is a great help in this, as is the trust that God will work good for us when we serve Him faithfully. Despite the troubles that have come to Christians, and do come to Christians, the joy of the Lord penetrates and uplifts – and is encouragement to the participants and to those who observe.

Paul also makes a point that as we glorify Christ, He glorifies us: that must be the key factor that gives strength and courage beyond the ordinary. I hadn’t thought about my being glorified in Christ – but to know of the changes that took place in the people who knew Christ, and believed Him, and the ones who have come to know Him through faith after His death and resurrection, does verify this statement. To know Christ and to follow Him is to change the personality – to enhance the God-reflective qualities of each facet, and to eliminate, or at least subdue the qualities that are selfish, unloving, uncaring, and cruel.

Several men were so changed that even the names were changed: Simon became Peter and Saul became Paul. Certainly if one met Simon when he was denying Christ, and fearful for his life, it would be difficult to recognize him as Peter the Rock, the brave, enthusiastic supporter of Christ after Christ’s death. And to know Saul the determined persecutor of those who followed Christ’s teachings, would make it difficult to reconcile Paul, – who went through all kinds of trials to preach Christ as Savior and to teach His Way, with the former Saul.

So a vital relationship with Christ can transform anyone: this is Christ “glorifying” us. We are made more recognizable as God’s children – and more important to others, we are ministers of Christ – healers, helpers, encouragers, strengtheners. We do not do these works for our own glory. Yet the power is a satisfaction to us as we perceive the good changes taking place. And we do experience joy as the love of Christ penetrates our hearts; it is in this way that He glorifies us. As we serve Him, He serves us, Christ ministers to the world – through us. And Christ ministers to us through the world (by the power of the Holy Spirit working in circumstances), as well as through others in whom His love and power flow – and overflow.

To realize this fact is to serve as the basis for a Simon becoming a Peter and a Saul becoming a Paul: to the glory of Jesus, to the glory of Peter and Paul and to the betterment of the world.

The Power of a Resurrected Life

Yes – I appear much the same, and circumstances appear much the same: nevertheless, transformation has taken place

Meditation Thought: “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so? …But all this has taken place, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” (Matthew 26:53-54, 56)

The Father has given me freedom. Yes He does put certain propositions before me – and he express His preference as to my response to them.

My response is determined by my trust of, love of, dedication to and knowledge of my Father.

I often choose to ignore His propositions, for it is obvious that they will require effort, and probably produce pain. At times, however, I have the courage to say “Yes” despite this foreboding appearance… and when I do, what happens? I do suffer the effort and humiliation of carrying my own cross to where I will be crucified. And I do suffer agony of being nailed on that cross.

But then – then, when I wonder if I can stand the pain and shock and horror – it ends! And what takes place then is as miraculous to me as Christ’s resurrection. I am resurrected – born anew, into a new person, into new circumstances. Yes – I appear much the same, and circumstances appear much the same: nevertheless, transformation has taken place. I have obeyed my Father and in doing so, I have enabled Him to release previously unperceived power: power of a resurrected life. That is, the sure knowledge that my Father is loving, does create good, and that not one indignity, unto death itself, shall defeat me when I trust Him and obey Him.

In all things He works good for those who love Him , who are called according to His purpose, and who respond positively to the call.

May God be praised!

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!