GEMS OF TRUTH NUMBER 9 Mar 21, 2012 23:06:50 GMT -5
Post by tomdurst on Mar 21, 2012 23:06:50 GMT -5
GEMS OF TRUTH NUMBER 9 March 23, 2012
FROM THE EDITOR
We are indeed living in a world full of turmoil and this is especially obvious in political, religious, and economic matters. Wars and rumors of wars abound. We often hear of shootings in places that none of us would ever have thought of before. In addition we have an epidemic of so-called natural disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, and earthquakes that are worldwide. I know that some will disagree with me but I believe that there is a direct link between the ego based consciousness that dominates humanity and these disasters and that is why I use the term “so-called natural disasters.” I don’t spend much time dwelling on all of this as it can be very depressing but I see the need to stay on track in my spiritual life more than ever and not allow myself to be distracted by all of these troubling things. Unless my spiritual roots are grounded firmly in God I’ll succumb to the darkness which is pressing upon the world from so many directions. In everything that I write my desire is to encourage others to be committed to a personal walk with God that will be reality and not just a matter of having beliefs about certain religious concepts. May the articles that follow encourage you to be deeply rooted in God and may you have His guidance and wisdom in every part of your life.
Psalm 40:1 New King James Version (NKJV)
40 I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
All of us have issues everyday that challenge us greatly--most frequently in the realm of relationships, job situations, finances, and health matters. We want to see change right now and often we become irritated when it takes so long. The best thing is to wait patiently without doing a lot of fretting and worrying and simply trust God for His perfect will to be done. Along with patience we need to avoid judging and trying to control the outcome for most of the time we really don't know what is the best solution even when we think we do. We often think we know what is best for the other person based upon our understanding but there are always a lot of factors that we don’t understand. We don’t know what lessons that person may yet need to learn and so it is best to avoid meddling. In the practice of patient waiting we open the door for the best possible results.
All things come round to him who will but wait.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Deuteronomy 2:3 Common English Bible (CEB)
3 You’ve been traveling around this mountain long enough. Head north.
The children of Israel had been going around and around in circles in the wilderness for forty years and now it was time for them to move on to the promised land. God had better things in store for them beyond what they were able to understand at this point in their journey.
As we travel through life we are faced with times when we need to move on. Perhaps we may need to let go of relationships or friends, places where we've enjoyed living for a very long time, jobs, cherished possessions, long held beliefs, and just about everything else that we could think of in this ever constantly changing world. Just being committed to grow instead of to remain stagnant usually involves a lot of change. Despite what most of us would prefer nothing ever remains the same. Sometimes we need to simply say, "It's time to head north!" This can be extremely painful and disconcerting.
On the other hand there are also times when after a great deal of turmoil and heart searching we may be led to hold on instead of moving on. As we seek God's guidance with an open mind we shall receive needed wisdom to know what is best to do (see James 1:5). We don't always get our signals just exactly right but we do the best we can and when we make mistakes we shouldn't be too hard on ourselves and remember that God is with us when we "get it right" and when we don't. The children of Israel chose to wander in the wilderness for forty years on a journey that would have needed only eleven days to complete (see Deuteronomy 1:1-3). God was with them during their wilderness wanderings and we truly should give thanks for His mercy and patience. The wise learn from their mistakes but the foolish keep going over the same ground again and again. Being foolish means that we are choosing to prolong our suffering but for many that is the only way they will ever learn. Whether we do it the hard way or find an easier way we must learn certain things and there is no escape!
All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.--Henry Ellis
SO MUCH WE DON’T KNOW
1 Samuel 16:7 English Standard Version (ESV)
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
The story surrounding Samuel’s anointing of David as king is worthy of study and reflection. I encourage you to read the entire context of the verse quoted above (see 1 Samuel 16:1-13). Samuel indeed had to learn that God’s plan exceeded his human reasoning and perceptions. What he was seeing outwardly in David’s brothers was an obstacle and he had to give this up in order to be in God’s will.
Recently my thoughts have been directed increasingly to the whole matter of judging and control. These seem to be huge issues for all of us. Our human ego would indicate that we simply must make a judgment about people and events or try to control them in some way and that failure to do this means that we are not thinking or are functioning in weakness. The more I reflect about the fact that there are so many things that I never will be able to understand even about myself, let alone others, the less inclined I am to judge or want to control. I've found out times without number that my judgments have been totally wrong when I learn more about the person or the event. There is so much that I'll never know and most of the time the more I find out the less "black and white" I tend to be in my thinking. The more that I really think the more mystery I see and this humbles me greatly. So I choose to watch more rather than allow myself to judge or control and more than anything else to deal with my own issues as they come to my attention. I need to carefully watch my words and actions constantly and be sure that I'm moving forward in love instead of being driven by my ego.
Wisdom tends to grow in proportion to one’s awareness of one’s ignorance. Anthony de Mello
WISDOM IN RELATIONSHIPS
James 1:5 Amplified Bible (AMP)
5 If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.
We often see in people we love and want to be close to things that we wish were different, perhaps things that seem to be very destructive. There may be times when we may need to peacefully let that person go but this needs to be done without thoughts of condemnation and judgment for this will not bring healing and healing should always be our primary concern. Perhaps it may be appropriate to share something or do something about the issue if the way is clearly open to do so. Other times the best way is to continue to be by that person's side, love unconditionally, and not entertain even any thoughts that we must correct what we perceive to be wrong or change the person to meet our preferences or expectations. We need to always remember that only God can change lives and when we try to do it we usually mess things up badly. God is able to give us the wisdom to know what is best and it is our privilege to ask for such and it will be given (see James 1:5). If we are entertaining thoughts that we must correct or want to control, the other person will sense it and this will create a barrier. Relationships are a daily challenge for all of us. Truly we need the wisdom from above.
THE HOLY SPIRIT AND OUR PRAYERS
Romans 8:26 Common English Bible (CEB)
26 In the same way, the Spirit comes to help our weakness. We don’t know what we should pray, but the Spirit himself pleads our case with unexpressed groans.
All those who have a committed spiritual life long to be able to pray effectively so as to bless others and experience fulfillment individually. We’ll never be able to fully understand all of God’s ways of working and we need to acknowledge this and completely surrender to His wisdom (see Job 9:10; Job 11:7; Romans 11:33). Some folks feel that there is a certain way that we should pray and that prayers that don't fall within this methodology have little value. My conclusion based upon many years of prayer and reflection is that there is not a set method or set words that make the difference but it is God's Love, His holy Presence, being mediated through us that brings whatever help is needed. As human beings we are weak and "we don't know what we should pray" but our very sense of weakness is what opens the way for the Spirit to come in and bring wholeness. "The Spirit himself pleads our case." It is not I but Christ (God's Presence or indwelling Spirit) in every area of our life that we need above all else (see Galatians 2:20). Perhaps the most essential thing to remember is that at every stage of our spiritual journey we must have the leading of the Spirit of God and this would surely include our prayer life (see Romans 8:14).
THE NEW CREATION
2 Corinthians 5:17 New International Version (NIV)
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
Revelation 21:5 New Living Translation (NLT)
5 And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.”
In the Presence of the Lord our old self is done away with and all things become new in Christ. We enter a new mansion with a new consciousness which our Lord has provided for us.
NOT BY MIGHT NOR BY POWER
Zechariah 4:6-7 Amplified Bible (AMP)
6 Then he said to me, This [addition of the bowl to the candlestick, causing it to yield a ceaseless supply of oil from the olive trees] is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit [of Whom the oil is a symbol], says the Lord of hosts.
7 For who are you, O great mountain [of human obstacles]? Before Zerubbabel [who with Joshua had led the return of the exiles from Babylon and was undertaking the rebuilding of the temple, before him] you shall become a plain . And he shall bring forth the finishing gable stone [of the new temple] with loud shoutings of the people, crying, Grace, grace to it!
"Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord of hosts." These simple words contain the secret of overcoming in all of the challenges that we face daily. It isn't by human might or human power that healing comes but only by the power of God. We may try human will power and use human reasoning and persuasion and at times these may seem to help but true healing isn't happening, only an appearance of it at best. When we rely solely upon the power of God obstacles are surmounted and God's temple, the beauty of His true creation, comes forth and the glory goes to the Creator of all that is good. We shall be given wisdom as to just what we may need to do in any particular situation.
Recently I received prayer requests from two people with very serious issues. In another case a friend was going through some very great problems and needed my support. I felt overwhelmed and spent some quality time waiting upon God in Silence just to receive His wisdom and love more fully. In my times of Silence I embrace not only those who turn to me specifically but also all of those around the world who are reaching out for help. In this situation I felt a real sense of peace in my heart and left my place of prayer with assurance that all would be well. I also received specific guidance as to what I needed to do in one case and in acting upon this found the results were very encouraging, much better than if I had done what my human impulses had indicated at the beginning. It really does make a difference for me to have set apart times for prayer and waiting upon God. These words really spoke to me when I awakened early in the morning: "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord of hosts."
In whatever challenges you are facing right now or whatever needs your loved ones have take heart for God's power is always available but to receive it we must take time for communion with Him.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
Genesis 1:1-3 New King James Version (NKJV)
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
The beginning of the story of God's spiritual creation begins with metaphors that are used throughout the Bible--darkness and light. Before the Spirit of God began to hover or breathe over the face of the waters there was no form, only a void, and darkness was everywhere. Then God spoke and the darkness vanished in the presence of light. With the physical sense of sight we may see darkness, an aching void in our life or that of others. Shall we magnify and talk about the darkness? Will that change anything? Does that darkness have some reality of its own or is it a lack of something? Well, when light comes, even in a small way, the darkness begins to dissipate and the greater the light the quicker the darkness vanishes.
We all face these appearances of darkness in some form everyday. We long to help and bring healing. The only way to bring help is to bring light in some way be it ever so small in the beginning. Perhaps just a small act of kindness is the best we can do. We may feel inadequate to resolve the problem but that very feeling opens the way for us to receive help from God. We must be the light of God in the world to bring needed healing. For myself I feel the need to spend quality time in Silence in which I'm willing to let go of words and thoughts and become filled with the light of God. Only in this way can I bring more light to a needy world.
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