The enemy is coming against you to bring you down. He wants you to live in fear. He wants you to be depressed. He wants you to be full of anxiety. He wants you to stay up all through the night crying, and worrying. He wants you feel insecure. He wants you to focus on the person who rejected you. He wants you to stay stuck on what happened yesterday, a year ago, and even 5 years ago. He wants you to care more about what people think about you, than what GOD thinks about you. He wants you to focus on yourself and have an, "It's all about me" mentality. He wants all of us to stay in the cycle of dysfunction, and to never move on to what God has called us to do!
He may be fighting you, but it’s not just about you, it's about your territory, and your influence in other peoples lives. The enemy tried to destroy me with abuse, and I almost did give up because of fear, hurt, and insecurity. Then later on, after I had moved on emotionally from that horrific experience, he came after me again, and tried to take me down with other situations that came into my life. But today, I am vigilant like 1 Peter 5:8 tells us to be.....I am armed with prayer, fasting and the Word. I don't play his games, I just plead the blood over my life, and over my husband's life and the calling on my life, etc. Women of God! Stand up to the enemy! Put the whole armor on! Ephesians 6:11 "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."You think the attack is about you, but its so much bigger. It’s about the people you will touch and influence.
It’s about your commitment to Christ. Its about your God-given purpose that you are passionate about. Its about where God is taking you. Its about the doors that are getting ready to open for you. Its about your faith. He is after your confidence in God. He is after your sanity, he wants to confuse you. He is after your birthright, he wants to take it away, and exchange it for something shallow.
Don't run and hide when the going gets tough, but get out there in the battlefield, and remember that Jesus is bigger than the attacks that are coming from the enemy.”Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” —Deuteronomy 31:6
Sometimes it is tempting to think of vocation as a one-off calling, but a recent article by a Christian minister who had decided it was time to retire from his official role as minister made me reflect on how perhaps our lives are made up of seasons and stages. The minister was regarding 'retirement' as the start and opening up of new ways of living with God, and living out the love of God. Rather than looking at the end of an active position as a 'step down' and diminution, he was facing his later years with sense of excitement and prospect - not least, the prospect of being able to afford more time to family members who had maybe borne the cost of his immersed ministry, and to whom he could now repay something of what his ministry had cost them.
I think that God never stops calling us. It's not just one-off. I believe God is calling us, again and again, day by day: calling us into more and more of who we are, uniquely made by God... calling us on along our journey of being and becoming, of loving, of opening up to grace, and trusting in God.
And we should never forget, that God dwells within us, at the centremost place of our souls... and too often, it is we who are outside ourselves - in the image we create for ourselves, in the self-centredness of our own ways... as Augustine wrote: "You were within me, but I was without"... and yet, all the while, our patient and loving God is longing and waiting for us to recall once more that quiet place of meeting, there at the centre of our soul, with God.
All our lives, really, God tries to show, through signs of grace, how much we are loved, how much we are invited to receive and share. And God longs for us to open more rooms of our souls to the flood and flow of love and grace. And to share that love with others.
In a sense, God is always calling us home... in that vocation of love... to find the whole and best of who we are in Jesus Christ: to know in God's givenness to us, the fullness of faithfulness, the tenderness and compassion of love. And in God we find our wholeness.
I believe that vocation is God calling to us, to trust, to listen, to wait, to endure, to journey on when we stumble... and to open our hearts to the flow of God's love, and the compassion, and the kindness, and the devotion of love that does not turn back. May the grace of God be with you. May you know the call of God, and how God longs to journey more fully with you... step by step... in the way that is uniquely you because God made you that way, but the you who is truly found when you are given to God, as God is given to you in Jesus Christ.
I have deleted a recent post and banned the user. My apologies to anybody who's still around and who might have had the chance to see the post before I got to it. Hate-speech results in an insta-ban. It is not who we are, and it will NOT be tolerated in this community. That should go without saying, but obviously not.
I know that dreams use symbols to provide a perspective. I'm not sure — or, rather — I can't say that I believe ALL the symbols have specific meanings. What if some dreams provide an answer, or a question about one's spiritual life? Could it be that God speaks to us in our dreams?
Shortly after Divine Mercy Sunday, I had a dream that I was standing in a glass house — a greenhouse, so to speak. It was no larger than 10 feet wide by 12 feet long. I was looking up through the glass ceiling, at a tall rectangular copper-colored glass building, probably about 40 stories high, when I heard a warning call, "lookout below." It didn't register that the warning was for me, and within seconds, the copper-colored building began to fall. I quickly turned away from it and bent down on my knees. I covered my face with my hands. When the building had fallen, I stood up only to discover that there were large glass shards embedded in the back of my head and body.
A woman came over and began pulling the shards out of my head, though I was bleeding profusely. Then, I saw a man pushing a large bathtub full of water over to where we were standing, and I thought to myself, "Oh, my God. I'm going to die."
I should like to commend this book to anyone who practices contemplative prayer. As a Christian in the Carmelite tradition, I have found much encouragement and guidance from the life and writing of Teresa de Avila, but early in her journey it was this book by Osuna which had a huge impact on her. Picking up on Augustine's earlier teaching, he believes that God lives even deeper inside us than we live ourselves. God knows us, loves us, waits for us. Like the father of the prodigal son, God looks out for our coming, and comes to meet us as we come home... to God, to ourselves, and to God's eternal household. As the Bible says, "In God we live and move and have our being." God is within us, but all too often we are 'without'... scattered and fragmented, and exiled from who we really are. Even after you come to Christian faith, it is easy to get distracted, but Osuna encourages determination to turn to God again and again, and in doing so, to come home to who God made us to be. The book is long, and best read like a 'lectio' slowly, in small sections and several times, for reflection. However, personally I find Osuna really positive, practical and sensitive to the grace of God.
I have been looking back at the archives of all the people who came and engaged in dialogue in this once busy and bustling forum. And I wonder where you all are now. And how you are doing. And I wish you well and I wish you the strong peace of God this Nativity, wherever you are.
And so we come again to Christmas (and in a few days' time in some parts of the Christian world) and maybe we are reminded again of this extraordinary mystery of God's coming to dwell with us and share in our humanity, calling us as well to share in the presence of divinity, to share with each other, with our poor neighbour, with the lonely person on the street, and with the household of the holy Trinity.
'Come' said Jesus again and again. Jesus who was born in the back streets, who invites us to come to him in the back streets of our cities and the back streets of our own hearts. Jesus who longs for us to open the doors and let him in to our lives.
Jesus who was born for sacrifice and blood... to the point of no turning back... for giving... as the gift of God to us... and born in blood and tears in the sidelines of an empire, in the obscurity, in the dirt, in the givenness of a young woman, and the undisclosed decency of a young man.
The God who longs to share even consciousness and awareness with us... to share the flow of love... to open and grow in the mystery of our becoming, and the mystery of God's becoming in back street humanity, and the meeting and tenderness and alongside-ness of a life among us.
Sharing. The whole point really. The God who came and shared with us. A backstreet God of the marginalised. A God without airs and graces. A God who is presence when words alone can't reach and comfort the tears. Lord have mercy.
Remarkable mystery... not the mystery of plaster saints... perhaps as Yeats said, something of what the Magi spent a lifetime trying to find and experience again:
"The uncontrollable mystery on the bestial floor..."
The humble-hearted and obscure coming of God... among us... always calling to us... always loving us... always seeking out the people on the sidelines and the lonely corners of our world.
May the blessings of peace be with you this Nativity, and peace of God to each and every person who visits or has visited these pages.
Sometimes it's just lovely to reflect upon the loving kindness of Jesus. How good and decent he was (and is, of course). The way he connected to people, the way people were attracted, and moved by his presence and grace. His engagement with women as well as men. His intelligence, but cleverness mingled with gentle goodness. His healing instinct, and the way he could touch people's hearts and change them. His strong and still centre, rooted in daily prayer. His courage. His willingness to go out on a limb. His tenderness. His compassion and tears.
It makes me glad: that God, creator of the heavens and earth, was not so high and mighty and detached, but was willing to come and dwell with us in human form, with a humble, servant heart. To share the dust, the hunger, the thirst, the sorrows, the joys.
And our Jesus: had the amazing courage to go the whole way, out of love for us. Was willing to face mockery, physical injury, loneliness, scorn, and a horrible death... the pouring out of his dear life blood, to the point of no turning back. Loved us that much.
It's lovely to reflect on how Jesus was not only carrying out a tremendous action in history, but was also a friend. A friend who lived alongside people, laughed with them, shared with them, wept with them, ate with them, relaxed with them, in I am sure a sweet and humble-hearted way. A patient way. He could see the way we as people frequently messed up, he could see the failings, and yet he also valued us, believed in us where we could not believe in ourselves. I am amazed about the person of Jesus. And love him for his friendship, courage and kindness.