This morning as I was reading an article about “universal love”, the author quoted his friend as saying “Every time we stop an angry thought, we stop a bullet somewhere in the world.” Isn’t that thought-provoking? Each day I pray about the violence in the world and when I think on those words, I certainly see how I can help! My prayer today is to become more aware of my thoughts and actions and more responsible, as well. Will watch for any negativity and immediately refute it and replace it with thoughts of love and gratitude. ! Timothy 2:8 states “I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.”
My first call of the day was of someone telling me that he didn’t have a restful night and I thought of mine, which was very restful and peaceful and became grateful rather than take it for granted. There is always so much for which to be grateful and that very state of mind leaves no room for anger. Thank you, Father.
This morning I watched a video someone posted about a large high school choir on the balconies of a huge hotel singing “Down to the River to Pray” Acappella and it was simply beautiful. Listening to this, I was thinking of the many unselfish hours given to practicing for the joy of others. Watching the students and seeing their focus on the one Choir Director and the harmony they produced and realizing this was only possible with that one focal point and the blending came from joined efforts; not one being louder or better than another.
Then I thought of a spinning ballerina having to maintain her balance by one focal point who would otherwise become confused and dizzy. My point is by keeping my focus on God and not human circumstances, I can remain in balance. Hebrews 12:2 reads “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
As I greet the day with thanksgiving, briefly I think about memorable times in my life and I find it is not necessarily the large raises I may have received nor the awards or large material gifts. What comes to mind instead, is a beautiful sunrise over the mountains, something good happening to a loved one or standing in as a grandparent at school for a child that didn’t have one here. The feelings I had with human accomplishments or gifts were fleeting but the genuine ones I can call up in my memory bank and recall the actual feeling.
When I remove self as in self-righteousness, self-absorption, self-pity, self-condemnation I can get in touch with my real self; the one God knows and sees. This is when I can relate to verses like Jeremiah 31:3 which states “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.'”
This morning as I sit at my desk, I think about beginning this day with a clean slate. We can’t undo yesterday nor predict the future but we can turn humbly to God asking Him to direct our path today. Exodus 33:14 reads “The Lord replied, ‘My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.'” How reassuring is that? I was reminded of picture that I painted several years ago and was tempted to toss it when finally turning to my teacher, I asked for help. She gave me two simple suggestions and this picture is now one of my favorite pieces I have painted. It was effortless as I removed my human ego.
By staying in the presence of Love/God, I can expect blessings to unfold. I can release any and all anxiousness, judgment and negativity just by staying aware that I am totally dependent upon God and know He is right here always.
Recently, while at my desk reading the Bible, my young cleaning lady who speaks limited English asked what I was reading. As I began attempting to explain the story of the tares and the wheat, she had a puzzled look on her face. Realizing I was trying to intellectualize the parable, immediately I turned to God and thought of Proverbs 3:5 where it states “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
There is no recollection of what I said but her smile was huge as I realized Truth and Love was what she understood. It made no difference the words but it is clear that Love and Truth represent the Universal Language. Maybe it was just putting the Bible down and giving her time. Maybe she knew I really cared about her. There is no doubt that we both felt the presence of God as we embraced and said out “Good-byes”.
This morning I am thinking about Heaven being a state of mind and I am reminded of something I heard many years ago. “We cannot get to Heaven until everyone does.” To me that means if I am seeing ungodlike traits in anyone, that can keep me from experiencing joy and peace. We need to see others as God sees them; not the rough and sometimes nasty exterior. So often, they are coming from fear. Just like at Halloween, we don’t believe the scary costumes at our door, when the children come to “trick or treat”, but know the purity and innocence beneath that apparel.
Luke 6:37 states “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Only then, can we experience Heaven.
The above was on my mind this morning as I awoke and I was immediately reminded of the words “under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all”. Indivisible meaning undivided and “for all” is self-explanatory. While praying for our country I was led to a verse in a hymn that is sung in our Church.
“Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish,
Here health and peace are found, Life, Truth, and Love;
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;
Earth has no sorrow but Love can remove.”
“Perfect Love casteth out fear.” Fear is always at the base of any discomfort followed by hatred and resentment. Recognizing this, I know I have to begin my prayer work with God/Love and see how He is seeing things. I know it is not from eyes that are filled with hatred, resentment, bitterness, etc. Today, I will look through God’s eyes and listen carefully; rather than with judgment and self-righteousness.!