Chapter VI THE SPIRITUAL LIFE

“Come to me, you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light” (Matthew 11:28–30). Can I trust that voice and follow it?

Nouwen, Henri J. M.. Here and Now: Living in the Spirit (p. 87). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.

I was traveling down the highway listening to the radio on a country station. “I’m a Saturday night sinner and a Sunday morning saint…” and the song played out. Unfortunately, music marketers have found if you can get Jesus, beer, pick up trucks, objectification of women, apply a driving repetitive rock beat, play it with a six string banjo and electric guitar, a hit is made that people spend money on. The Sunday morning saint refers to the person who just gets Spiritual on Sunday while returning to “regular life” on Monday morning. That wasn’t God’s plan. God loves us every day with perfect, satisfying and holy love. I was talking to a Vet who commented that you don’t want to be in a fox hole, under enemy fire, with an atheist. Then he said that “under those conditions, no-one is an atheist”. When people feel out of their comfort zone and vulnerable, they often reach to higher power as their last hope.  Thankfully, God’s grace abounds. Even though God could have a thousand reasons not to be present, our Lord awaits with open arms. L.O.V.E. God’s offer of Spirituality is present in the midst of our lives. Our tragedy’s, our high times, our loneliness… God wants it all, every moment of every day. This love is not for sale. God’s love is experienced and shared.

Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father help us to feel comfortable exposing our most tender, vulnerable and intimate selves with You. Amen.

Is there any one idea in the chapter that really reached me?

What is God revealing about Himself in this reading?

What is God revealing about me in this reading?

Where was the “bottle neck” in my past that kept me from realizing God to His fullest?

Was it a person, or maybe an event? Could it have even been me?

Upon realization, ask God for healing and an example of His perfect love.

Where am I “bottle necked” now in my relationship with God?

What can I recognize, or handle differently to increase “flow” in my Spiritual life?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

At a group discussion in Seminary, we were discussing God speaking in a small still voice. One person at the table said… “or sometimes God hits us in the head with a 2×4”!!!

When do you feel like God has touched your life?

Are there times He spoke in a small still voice?

Are there times it’s felt like a “2×4” awakening?

Try to picture a young, innocent lovable child. The child asks… “Do you love me?”

I think we all have that same small child within, no matter how old we are asking… “Do you love me?”

Can you feel this feeling within?

Has your love always been met with gentleness and acceptance?

Henri Nouwen shares this thought: “Much of our pain comes from our experience of not having been loved well.”

Have there been times in your life when you have not been loved well?

Why does it hurt more when someone close “steps on our toes” emotionally than when a stranger is inconsiderate?

Does the term “Once bitten, twice shy” resonate with you?

Do our damaged feelings of pure love affect our ability to love and receive love from God our creator?

Eeyore, the donkey, was quite a character on the story of Winnie the Pooh! He was a Debbie Downer or Negative Nancy. He always had the tone of a complaint when he spoke. He is generally characterized as pessimistic, gloomy, and depressed. Typically, Eeyore has a low impression of others. Despite his depression, friends seem to hang on.

Do we know any examples of a real life “Eeyore”?

Are they much fun to be around?

While we may not be like Eeyore all the time, are there moments we can relate to him?

I have a theory that people who feel everything will constantly go wrong will be correct part of the time.

How would it feel if we felt that way every moment of every day?

Would this create blinders to the positive opportunities that God provides every day?

Gratitude is a verb, and action word or something we do. Appreciation of our blessings builds stepping stones to the goodness of God!

Everyone has positive and negative moments, but that being said…

What are you grateful for in your life?

Better yet… WHO are you grateful for in your life?

God is good and all good comes from God… what do you thank God for?

One of the special blessings of being a Pastor is that people confide in you in the most dire of times. This may be when people are pouring their heart out to you or when you are holding their hands while they are passing from this world to the next. It takes a total trust to be completely free at these important times. I’ve witnessed the amazing strength of soul during the most vulnerable of times. While this is clearly an inspiration to me…

When have you witnessed someone going through hard times that has been an inspiration to you?

It seems we are born with a natural yearning for the love, approval and confirmation for others. Whether we receive this or not, it’s a hole in our soul that needs filled. God is the only one who can fill it perfectly.

How do we receive the positive affirmations of others whole heartedly while trying to deal with the taste of imperfect love or inflicted pain from people we love?

It’s important to feel confident in the unconditional perfect love of God to rise above the short comings or pain we may incur daily.

I’ve noticed that while many may be shy to “comment” that over 87 people are following and reading this study and experience weekly. Of course, “comment’s” share and help. Please take a moment to pray for each of us sharing these special thoughts (who may not comment) as we intimately dance our souls harmonizing our relationship with our Father, God.

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