Curiosity

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 – Holy Week

It took David a long while to become curious about his own heart and ways. A lot of fighting and death, infidelity, lying and murder. Still he seemed darkly content to keep it all tucked away. Then along came a friend who knew the truth. With caution, he told David a story about a poor man with a cherished little lamb. One day, a rich neighbor had company, and rather than taking one from his own flock, he took the poor man’s treasured lamb and killed it. David was furious and judged that rich man worthy of death. Nathan then said David, “you are that man” (2 Samuel 12).

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!  Psalm 139:23-24

How much pain must we inflict and endure before we become curious about our own hearts? How much inner turmoil and relational tumult before we say – God, I’m curious about my heart? What’s going on in me? How am I hurting myself, others and you? Show me, change me, lead me to a better way – your way.  It took David, a man anointed by God as King and rich beyond measure by today’s standards, a long time before he saw how dark, hidden and selfish his heart had become.

I resonate with David. I spent 40 years with little curiosity of my own heart. I gathered knowledge and wealth and even came to Christ and worshipped Him – but my willingness to explore my own heart was anemic. In hindsight, I can see that I was fearful. Fearful of what I’d find.  Fearful of what I imagined I might lose. Fearful of knowing myself and being known to others. I was sure rejection would come if I explored my heart and let it be known. My fears blocked me from a deeper knowing of self and God. But a painful event demanded my curiosity; it moved me toward exploration and a deeper relationship with God. The love, acceptance, communion and joy I desperately wanted began flowing to me.

King David finally opened up through Nathan’s subtly piercing truth. He became curious and trusted God to search him and lead him in a way of everlasting life. That is a way of beauty, satisfaction, joy, love and deep, deep fellowship with God.

I am learning to engage in what I call compassionate curiosity – that is to see myself and others with love and a desire to know. It is as if you and I are works of art to be fondly appreciated. Not because we are perfect — We are broken. We are messy. We are fearful and sometimes hidden behind falseness. But we are also beautiful works in progress, works of art hidden behind years of dust and neglect. We become more beautiful, even glorious, the more we invite God’s gaze and risk Him drawing us out of hiding.

What if this Holy week you welcomed His gaze, invited His search and risked being compassionately curious about yourself and others? It may seem very risky, but as David experienced there is much to lose if we don’t and tremendous gain if we do.  Will you take the risk to pray David’s prayer, be curious and invite God to unveil His art?

Real Power

Thursday, April 4, 2019

What is powering you? Is it a desire for success or money? Is it a fear of failure? Is it living up to others expectations? Is it your reputation? Is it the joy of using your gifts? What is it?

So I ask you to make full use of the gift God gave you when I placed my hands on you. Use it well. God’s Spirit doesn’t fill us with fear and cowardice. The Spirit gives us power, love, and self-control. Don’t be ashamed to speak for our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, just because I am in jail for serving him. Use the power that comes from God and join with me in suffering for telling the good news. 2 Timothy 1:6-8 (CEV)

Sometimes we plug into false or inferior sources of power. Like disposable batteries, they work for a time and then are worn out. When we attach ourselves to inferior sources, worldly sources, we live in an illusion and stifle the power of God.

Paul tells young Timothy that God has gifted him with power and love. The power he speaks of is not intellect, athleticism, musical gifting or leadership capabilities. It is not a way with words or persuasive skills. So what is it?

Paul says it is the Spirit’s gift of love and power within him. Jesus said when I go, “I will send you the Spirit who comes from the Father” (John 15:26). Paul tells the Colossians, “the glorious riches of this mystery, is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27).

Our power, our sustaining and motivating power, the power to love, is anchored in the Spirit of God within us. The ALMIGHTY God, the One with all power and might, has taken up residence in our souls. His power is accessible, now. It is a power he delights to give us because his desire is for his children to thrive and impact our realm.

Today, will you trust in His power and love, and the gift of the Spirit within you? Will you risk believing He is with you and delights to work in and through you? Use the gifts he has given you, enjoy His power and love and His glory and let that alone power you.

 

Temptation

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Consider the last verse of the Lord’s Prayer:

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Matthew 6:13

Bob Hudson share’s these helpful thoughts on this verse.

Spiritual Warfare: “We acknowledge that there actually is a spiritual battle and it is not against people, but rather with forces dedicated to separating us from God, His presence and His love. That is the temptation – push away and separate.The consequence?  We are divided.  The enemy’s mission is to destroy by diverting us from God’s will – love and unity (John 17).  Here is a sobering thought. By yielding to division with one another – or anything contrary to God’s will – we are cooperating with evil.  Praying for God to deliver us from evil is central to our awareness of the spiritual battle that we all participate in consciously or unconsciously.”

Today, may we commit to love and unity. May we willingly receive the power of God to stand against the schemes of the enemy and pursue love and unity with all.

Relational Transformation and Healing

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Jesus’ incarnation and earthly ministry show us that transformation is relational. The brokenness or wounds we’ve experienced, and sin, are relational. And relational wounds are healed in relationship. Jesus chose to come to forgive and heal and reconcile a relationship, through a relationship, with you and me.

We, too, have a choice: hang onto the wound or seek reconciliation. Let it fester and become toxic and destructive or seek to embrace the healing journey. Healing is often a  journey entailing a lot of emotion – pain, denial, anger, sadness, grief. But we hope ultimately for forgiveness that leads to wholeness, reconciliation and joy.

I’m experiencing the choice now. I received a phone call earlier this week that opened up a 45 year-old wound that has had painful repercussions all my life. I am dealing with grief and deep sadness. It is calling me to healing and forgiveness on many levels. Two verses are hitting me:

Now Jesus began to go all over Galilee…healing every disease and sickness among the people.                                                                                                     Matthew 4:23

Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.      Luke 11:4

Today I chose to welcome Jesus, His love and forgiveness. I trust His loving power to meet me deeply and relationally in my wounded-ness and bring healing – though I know it is a process, a journey.

Is there a wound, a sin, a brokenness that you need to invite Jesus into today? If so, would you take a minute now and just breathe deeply. Welcome the breath of life – the healing love of the Spirit of the Living God – and welcome His healing and transformation.

 

Transforming Presence

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Lord’s Presence is the most transformative power in the world. In His presence is the fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). When he taught us to pray, he said in essence, ask for My Presence – daily.  Today we’ll look at another of the four theme’s Bob Hudson draws from a deeper dive into the Lord’s Prayer.

“Give us this day our daily bread…”                                                                             Matthew 6:11

“Trusting God as our Source: The simple request for God to give us our “daily bread” goes far beyond our need for physical nourishment.  Our “daily bread” is representative of everything that God intends to give us through His presence – all that He provided in the Garden.  Love. Safety, Strength. Worth. Value. Purpose.  This prayer can anchor us in the deep reality that He is our Source.  This is important because our human tendency is to look outside of ourselves – to others and to circumstances – to give us what we need.  Turning our focus to our heavenly Father and acknowledging that He is the Provider of our deepest longings will liberate us from the frustrations and disappointments of expecting situations and other people in our lives to meet our core needs.”

Today, will you welcome transformation? Will you ask for His Presence to fill you – to overflowing with everything you deeply desire – and trust Him to do it?

Saying, “Yes God”

Monday, March 25, 2019

You are a tapestry woven together by the hand of God. Every weave, every thread, every stitch, every color and even every snag is part of the beauty. Glory is woven, over time, into the work of art that is you. Beauty and glory are magnified as we welcome the Artist’s hand.

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.  (Hebrews 13:20-21)

It is His work for His glory – glory that He is pleased to invest in you and me. Our role is to welcome His equipping hand upon us. Yet we will only welcome it to the degree we are convinced “that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28). Do you believe this?

Below is the Welcoming Prayer for your contemplation. It is a challenging prayer that may offend your senses on first reading, but the invitation is to say “yes” to God – and welcome his artistic hand in every fold and facet of life.

Welcome, welcome, welcome.

I welcome everything that comes to me today 

because I know it’s for my healing.

I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions, persons, 

situations, and conditions.

I let go of my desire for power and control.

I let go of my desire for affection, esteem, approval and pleasure.

I let go of my desire for survival and security.

I let go of my desire to change any situation, condition, person 

or myself.

I open to the love and presence of God 

and God’s action within me. 

Amen.

 

Guilt: It’s History!

Friday, March 22, 2019

Are you guilty? Certainly you are guilty of something. If all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23), then yes, I am guilty and so are you. That is a historical fact. It’s history.

However, I experience a lot of Christians living in perpetual guilt – living defeated. Guilt over not praying enough, not reading their Bible enough, not giving enough, guilt over the imperfection of their humanity, guilt about this and that and the other. It seems many live on a perpetual self-defeating guilt trip.

BUT this happened, just as it was predicted:

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.                                                                                                 Isaiah 53:5

Yes, the spotless, innocent, Son of God was pierced for all our guilt. He died a cruel death, for you and me. Our sin crucified the Savior.

But, He was crucified, and with Him our guilt and sin and shame. He put our guilt to death once and for all. We are not called to live in perpetual guilt, shame and self-loathing – but to embrace His healing love. We are called to live in Christ. Live in the freedom the Son has purchased by His own precious blood.

Guilt is history.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.              Romans 8:1 

Christ calls us to freedom and abundant life.  Today, if you are in Him, shake off your guilty fears and dare to live boldly as a beloved child of the King.