Thursday, February 17, 2011

Devotional reading 170211

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. This is a wet day for nature. Hopefully it is a cleansing day for us from inside out. Nature regenerates itself from season to season. Wet winter is for roots to deepen and absorb as much moisture as possible for budding in spring. Wet weather slows down our activities so that we can spend more time to meditate and deepen our relationship with God. I will run out of my battery if I don’t charge my phone at night. We do not have any significant contribution like love, to offer this world, if we do not have “charging” time in Christ daily.

The most basic premise for giving love is knowing the person one loves. Before there can be any real love, one must find out what the other person is like. One has to become aware, conscious of that person’s true being, in order to love that very person and not some image of one’s own that one projects upon the other. It is altogether too easy to believe that I really love someone when all I am doing is enjoying my own ideal of what I would like that person to be. And probably the surest way of finding out the difference is by listening to the other person, allowing oneself to be open and sensitive to that person s real reactions.

Listening to others is an art that can be learned. Leaning to listen to God helps, but it also works both ways. We listen better to God and the beings of the spiritual world when we allow ourselves to be open to human beings and their deeper reactions. At the depth of every human being is a shy, timid spirit like a beautiful bird. As long as one judges or throws out personal opinions, that depth, that spirit remains hidden and afraid. To discover what it is there, one must learn to be quiet and wait with openness, expecting a response. This is the first step in Christian living with one another. Christian fellowship and community do not begin until we have learned to listen to other people just as they are. Only then can most of us begin to discover this essence of our souls.

Takes real security within oneself to be open to the t totality of another human being. In this listening we give neither approval nor disapproval. We accept the other’s ground of being and the other’s system of values just as they are…Listening with this kind of openness means allowing one’s whole e being to become involved without worrying about whether it is accepted or not. One reason most people are unable to do this is that they are unable to love themselves. In listening to people, one finds that below the surface very few of them can really abide themselves. It is because of this that solitary confinement is so painful; when one is shut off from the outside world, one comes face to face with oneself. Yet how can we pass love on to others, as Jesus asked of us, unless we can accept that love and understanding for ourselves?

If one can realize that there is need for love close at home, growth can begin right there, with the healthiest kind of groundwork to build on. We do not have to worry too much about our own feelings at the time; what matters is doing something that makes the other person feel loved. The test is not just whether we feel loving; it is more whether or not the other person feels loved by us. Christian love is not complete until the other person feels loved through contact with us… Any of us can develop this means of expressing love if we will take the trouble to think about the needs of others and to commune deeply with the source of love. In all kinds of less intimate situations—at work, or at play, and particularly in the classroom—one can bring love to the people one encounters by giving them room or space in which to live and grow. Or at times we may find that love requires us to support another person when events are forcing growth or change on that person. Some individuals need stability in order to grow, and sometimes they simply need the confidence to stay put when change does not mean growth.

There is one difficulty we usually escape when it comes to loving our enemies. Generally we have no trouble noticing either the people who cannot stand us or the unpleasant ones we cannot stand, particularly if we have never tried to forgive them or relate to them. If we avoid those who seem to be enemies, however, and do not try to accept them into our lives, we become stunted both in personal growth and in finding reality in our devotional live. Love implies forgiveness. It is hard for us to realize, but actually the only requirement the loving Father places on us, once we come to know Him in meditation, is that we forgive as we have been forgiven. Our first task is not so much to make contact with these people, but simply to stop our unkind actions toward them. Most often this means simply to stop our chatter about them, laying aside our almost unconscious backbiting reaction to them…Then, when we are making a real effort not to hurt people no matter h much we dislike them, we can begin to pray honestly for them, and we can expect some surprising results, especially in ourselves…By looking for the creative or positive in another person, and seeking other elements in that individual to which I can reach out, new capacities to love and to respond are born in both of us.

The warmth that is provided by our capacity to love is as necessary for the soul’s growth as any other part of the meditational way. It radiates from our efforts to express love to those both at home and farther away…Steadily the warmth that is given by this kind of action draws the soul toward the reality of the loving God. Step by step the soul’s reach grows, so that it becomes easier to find the One who is love through meditation and to carry more of His love out actively to others. P65-69

I appreciate Kelsey’s sharing about this subject of love and meditation. I found it to be true in my own growth. The more we draw close to God the more we develop His love within us. It takes encourage and security to love others, especially your “enemies.” Only when you find the reality of love in God and learn about yourselves in the light of His love, we can reach out to others with love. Love is not an easy action that involves acceptance, forgiveness, sacrificial giving and making other people feel loved (not that you have expressed love). These activities begin from the intimate walk with God through meditation and prayer on a daily basis. We love because He first loves us. People cannot give love if they have never experienced the genuine love from above. It is easy to preach a sermon on love and run some religious activities in the name of the gospel – god’s forgiving love; it is hard to truly love God and others. We are low on this kind of love. We love in expecting to receive something in return. We love in order to make us feel great. There is nothing wrong to love with the above expectation. But love does not remain on that level. We love because when we draw close to the Lover of our soul, we just cannot stop expressing His love to others as our act of worship (Romans 12:1).

With love to you in Christ,

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