“And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children,
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus knew we had become hardened to the mystery and delights of life. He told us we had to change. He told us that we needed to be childlike, full of curiosity and wonder. Children are receptive. They don’t have anything to prove. They haven’t built up walls to keep love out. They unabashedly plow headlong into their feelings and explore their boundaries. And, they play.
Adults, on the other hand, are often closed off. We think we know all we need to know. We have trust and intimacy issues. How much better our lives would be if we allowed the walls we’ve built to come down. How much better our lives would be if we became more curious, more open to exploring how we feel and how others feel. Imagine too, how good life could be if we stopped being in charge and allowed God to take the wheel. Think how freeing that could be! We could play more, instead of worrying.
Why don’t you knock on God’s door and ask Jesus to come out and play? See what good fun the two of you can get into. Enjoy!
“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…”
We can’t fully understand God. How could we? Our brains aren’t equipped for that. But we can know His amazing creation! We step outside and we feel the warmth of the sun, which is 92,955,807 miles away. We hear the sounds of songbirds—they’ve learned to sing the same way we’ve learned to speak—through imitation. We greet our friends and neighbors, who are made up of the very same stardust that we are made of. Invisible neutrinos, about 100 trillion of them, pass through our bodies every second. And inside our skulls, our brain is quivering, adding and pruning connections, all on its own. So many complex systems and things working together! Yes, God’s creation is incredible.
God gave us a wonderful world in which to live. However, He didn’t make everything for us, He made everything for Himself. We are to mirror back to God, His creation. We do that best by waking up every morning and handing our lives over to Him. We don’t rely on our understanding throughout the day, we rely on God’s wisdom (Proverbs 3:5). We go about our lives with Christ’s important commandment at the heart of all we think, say and do: love one another (John 13:34). We live with gratitude in and for all circumstances in our lives (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
We humble ourselves before God. We bow down to our Creator. We give thanks for our lives. We go about our day, appreciating the complexity of life, yet the simplicity of it all. Our God is an awesome God!
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
I was just about to turn off the lights and settle down for the night when a nagging thought popped into my mind. I did my best to push it aside, but it insisted on staying. I pulled the covers up and snuggled down into the soft warmth of the blankets, determined not to let the thought ruin my bedtime. I tossed and turned, trying my best to fall asleep. No matter what I did, the thought kept me awake.
“God, I’m stuck in my head tonight and I need some help,” I prayed.
“Count your blessings and give thanks,” God whispered.
One by one, I said them out loud, filling my dark room with the higher vibration of gratitude and love. My nagging thought that was so insistent faded away. In its place were thoughts of all the I love and the things I love the most. I pressed them to my heart, turned over, and fell into a deep and peaceful sleep.
What we focus our thoughts on determines the quality of our lives (and apparently, our sleep!). Think good thoughts.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should
be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
“They aren’t listening to one another,” God told me this morning. “Tell them that I want them to open their hearts and minds and to close their mouths and listen. Not with the intention to change of fix anyone. Not with the intention to give advice, or to make someone wrong. Listen with the intention to hold the space for another person to share their truth, no matter how painful, messy, or different that truth may be,” God explained.
“I’ll pass it on, God,” I promised.
So I am telling you. God wants us all to learn to listen better. Listening is love in action. When we listen the way we God wants us to listen, people feel safe enough to tell us who they really are. What a gift it is to be trusted to deeply!
“Keep your eyes on Jesus…”
It’s cold for Northen California. We aren’t used to the mercury dipping into the thirties. When I went out for my morning walk, I pulled up the hood on my jacket. Every step I took made the fabric rub my head: “scratch,” “scratch,” “scratch.” It sounded like sandpaper. It was so distracting, that I stopped paying attention to the beautiful morning God had created for me. I stopped feeling the sun on my skin. I didn’t hear the birds calling out their tribute to the new day. I didn’t even appreciate the lingering wood smoke from last night’s cozy fires. All I could think about was that “scratch,” “scratch,” “scratch.”
I pushed off the hood of my coat so that I could focus on the little wonders of the morning. As I took in the beauty of God’s creation, the cold didn’t seem so daunting. When I keep my eyes on God, I can handle anything, because I know that my life is headed toward God. But it’s not just a hoodie that distracts me. (Life isn’t that simple.)
So many other things pull my eyes away from God. I have to continually be aware and work at bringing my attention back to where it is supposed to be. I have to continually study how Jesus kept His focus and do my best to emulate His actions, otherwise, the distractions win out.
Push away whatever is distracting you and “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God” (Hebrews 12:2).