Almost twenty years ago, during a challenging and dark time in my life, I moved to a city where I knew no one. During this time, I visited a downtown Church which I found very unfriendly. In looking back, during the year I visited I sat at the back and left immediately following the benediction. Several years passed before returning to this Church due to a move which was nearby and it made sense for me to go there. This time I became involved with different committees and stayed after Church each service to say “Hello” and be greeted as well.
Without a doubt, this Church became so important in my Life and I made lifetime friends there. Several years ago, I moved again and have a new Church but continue with relationships formed there and also, attend when we are in the area. How on earth could I have ever thought this Church unfriendly? I know how. I was so closed-minded and scared of being hurt, that I couldn’t see or feel the Love surrounding me.
Psalm 13:5 states “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.” My heart fills with humility and gratitude as I realize that I have never been separated from God and never will.
This morning as I was working with the term “self-immolation”, the thought came to me of all self-pity, justification, righteousness, absorption and on and on. To self-immolate means to kill off pity, self-righteousness, absorption, etc. Then as I researched more about the word “immolate”, I saw it also means sacrifice and/or blessing. This was so interesting to me because when I truly listen to God, I remove all sense of “self” and the blessing appears.
Philippians 4:4-6 states “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.” I can only hear God when I am mentally on bended knee with no sense of self and this occurs by putting God first.
This morning I was thinking of advertisements regarding the perfect weight and size; then the perfect clothes and hair-style and cosmetic. This goes on and on and on. With all of the media focusing on comparisons of what beauty is. Even compliments like “she looks like she did in school” which could have been years earlier. Is there really a surprise that so many people are unhappy with the way they look? This time of the year one would certainly not want to turn down food at loved ones homes for fear of hurting someone’s feelings. Then they consider the weight they may put on. Matthew 6:28,29 reads “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
The more one frets over his looks and size, the worse he looks physically. True beauty is from within and includes love of oneself and others, gratefulness, generosity, kindness and humility. This will be my thoughts today to put into practice. Joy has nothing to do with how one looks.
This morning I am working and praying with Leviticus 19:2 which reads, “Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am Holy.” To my thinking, that says we are complete. There is nothing to do to become complete or Holy but rather a realization and gratitude for this. Also, there is nothing we have done to deserve this, but by our very being, it is so. Humility is also key to this since this was not done by manipulation but by the grace of God.
It is often very tempting to harden one’s heart when in trouble. That is the exact time, that hardening should be replaced with humility. We should never rejoice in the fall of an enemy. Luke 23:34 reads “Then said Jesus, ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.'” This was at the Crucifixion! Shouldn’t we do likewise?
“Be still and know that I am God.” is from Genesis 46:10 and is how I begin each morning. With that verse, outside thoughts can be quietened as I listen for God. The first thing that is overcome is fear and doubt, which is mesmerizing and hypnotizing. Sometimes, it takes longer than others, but my thinking needs to be receptive and humble and can only reach that stage when fear is gone.
When I realize that God is always here, not just when I need Him to clean up a mess that I have made but He also preserves Good, which is ongoing. There are times, when it is less obvious, but when I trust Him completely, He reveals what I need to know and always has. My heart is filled with humility and gratitude as I see proof of Him everywhere.
Gratitude and humility are keys to the Kingdom of Heaven and dissolve any and all anxiety. We need to always rejoice because we cannot see the entire picture yet that God has in store for us and it is always Good! Philippians 4: 4-6 reads, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Pride and fear will never enter in and are dissolved by Love and Truth.