Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘Daily Guideposts’

Heaven is Here


I sometimes drift into negative thinking, remembering my shortcomings of the past, projecting them into my present. You don’t ever do that, do you? I engaged in that kind of harmful reminiscing this morning when God hit me upside the head and scolded me: “Knock it off! Open up your devotional for today and see what I have to say!”

OK, OK, I don’t know why I was dredging up that old stuff. Sorry, God! Totally unproductive, I know. OK, what does “Mornings with Jesus” have to say today?

The scripture for today is Philippians 3:13-14, “I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it…” I paused. Taken hold of what? Paul is being pretty vague here, Lord. What should he have taken hold of? Read on, Jan! OK, OK…  “But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal…”  Just a minute, Lord. What goal? I can understand the bit about forgetting what is behind. I can see the wisdom in understanding that we can’t change one single thing about the past and so it is pointless to dwell on it. But, how do I strain toward the goal if I am not sure what the goal is?

“Beeeee paaaayshunt!!” God urged. Read on!

“… the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

There! Now, let me read that again. “I do not consider myself YET to have taken hold of IT. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:13-14 (emphasis mine)

Now I get it! “It” is the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward. Heaven is the prize. And, the best news of all… Heaven is right here! Right here where I live. Right there where you live! Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Here – on earth – where His Will is done, – here is Heaven on Earth!

Lord, as I love in gratitude for this place where I live and for its people, help me strive (yes, even strain) to make “IT” a more heavenly place. Let the peace of Christ rule in my heart – and let thankfulness for today and bright hope for tomorrow radiate from my life through YOU. In Christ’s Name I pray, Amen!

Beautiful Listening


My devotional time this morning focused on Psalm 16:8 “I will keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him on my right hand, I will not be shaken.” It was an appropriate scripture for the day after I kept my eyes closed for what was actually only a little more than a half an hour, but in some ways seemed like triple that time. I was squished inside an MRI machine. Have you ever had to go inside one of those tubes and bear the clings and clangs and knocks and noises of whistles and whines? No fun! Some MRI machines come with a musical experience… headphones and your favorite CD or radio station. This one didn’t, so I provided my own! With my eyes closed (who needs to see the inside of a claustrophobic tube?), I kept my eyes on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I was not shaken. I sang my favorite hymns, cowboy songs, old R & B favorites. I hummed and smiled, and the tiny space I occupied didn’t seem confining at all.

Where do you focus your attention when you are in a difficult situation? When you’re in a tight spot, do you pay attention to the walls that are closing in on you, or can you tune in to your inner music and allow what is important in your life to be your focus? Widen the walls of worry and woe. Call on the Lord and be a beautiful listener. Be attentive to God at your right hand, and (as the Psalmist reminds us) you will not be shaken.

Practice that same kind of focused, attentive listening when you are in the company of friends and loved ones, too. Instead of listening to your inner music, and tuning them out, take your clue from the One at your right hand, and tune in fully to the conversation with your companion. That’s what Jesus did. He looked directly into the eyes, into the soul of His companions. He heard with His heart. God does that when we pray to Him. As if you were in an MRI tube, with no visual images to distract you, focus on what is before you. Let your mind center on the moment. Be attentive! Be a beautiful listener.

Beautiful listening is
Empathetic listening. It’s an
Acquired skill – It
Takes practice;  It
Takes caring; it
Especially takes knowing that
Nothing is more important
Than the one speaking
In this moment. Listen
Vividly. Be fully present.
Enjoy the moment.

As Ashley Kappel prayed in this morning’s Daily Guidepost 2013, let us pray also, “Lord, remind me today who is important in my life and allow me to focus wholly on them, if only for a moment.”

Love One Another. Amen?

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