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how does one really love God?

March 30, 2022 4 comments

Ordinary Christianity has emphasized that we should love God. This makes sense, but do we really know how to do that? What I find in the mystics is an overwhelming experience of how God has loved us! That’s what comes through all of their writings, and I do mean ALL—that God is forever the aggressive lover, God is the protagonist, God is the one who seduces me out of my unworthiness. It’s all about God’s initiative! Then the mystics try desperately to pay back, to offer their lives back to the world, to the poor and rejected, and, thus, back to God. Love is repaid by love alone.

Mystics are not trying to earn God’s love by doing good things or going to church services. That question is already and profoundly resolved. The mystic’s overwhelming experience is the full body blow of divine embrace, a radical acceptance by God even in a state of fragmentation and poverty. That’s what makes it amazing and grace (see Romans 11:6).

+Adapted from “Following the Mystics through the Narrow Gate… Seeing God in All Things” by Richard Rohr

The title of this article is “How Does One Really Love God?” I don’t know how often you and I consider such a question, but what the author offers here is profound. These strong reminders can really focus us AND release us from performance pressures at the same time. “God is forever the aggressive lover.” Amazing! Read it again. It’s really good. —MDP

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“be” prayer

March 16, 2022 Leave a comment

Most of us grew up saying prayers, reading prayers, or listening to others praying. Few of us were challenged to “be” prayer. There is a difference between a person who says prayers and a prayerful person. It is the difference between something we do and something we are.

Do you know someone who “is” a prayer? He or she is probably someone who views life in a different way than most—someone who seems to have found a way to be aware of God’s presence in an ongoing way.

We are called as Christ followers to be present in each moment in order to experience that God’s time and our time have intersected. We are called to practice the presence of God. It is this for which our hearts. yearn.

—Ron DelBene, “A Simple Way to Pray,” Weavings

DelBene is offering something here that few seldom consider. I would never discount anyone’s prayers.  In fact, how you pray is a personal privilege. Yet, I often wonder, how far do our prayers reach? Rhythms of systematic prayer can be very helpful in giving us a guideline on how to loosen the confines of restrictive time. But what Delbene is saying here is that our words in prayer are not more important than hearing God’s words in prayer. God has something to say to us despite our deepest and most dramatic longing to “inform” God with our prayers. There is another perspective, another way, another track that we might need to ponder in laying out our joys, concerns, and grievances. If we listen closely, we might find out that the splinters in our neighbors’ or our enemy’s eyes (the ones we want to make sure that God truly sees and understands) only look that way because of the planks and rods in our own eyes. Are we certain that we really understand all the intricacies of complex politics and human nature? Prayer that “hears” more than it “says” should often be challenging and changing our worldviews, our compassion levels, and building our thirst for relational unity and peace. Getting still in the presence of God should be sanding us down and rounding our edges. Yes, tell God your problems. But, wait around long enough to hear if you are part of those problems. —MDP

P.S. The ministry of intercession is a different animal altogether, and most true intercessors have been trained that hearing is paramount to speaking. Serious intercessors work hard to pray prayers that they sense are in alignment with the moving flow and will of the Spirit of God. Literally, it’s like praying the words of the Holy Spirit.

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bcr

March 1, 2022 10 comments

Sometimes you must go on record.  Sometimes… if not all the time… one needs to say what is real about the blessings and/or curses in your life.  This today is me being real about one of the great blessings in my life. God’s blessing can come like the fickle summer breeze, or it can be the deepest of bedrock for an entire lifetime. This blessing has been a constant since I was aware. Bobby Charles Reese, Jr, has always been that guy who has been more of a brother than a friend. Don’t get me wrong though, BCR has been my friend since we were toddlers. He and his family lived across the street from my family until we moved in 1965. But the bond was already forged and never let go.

BCR was the balance of equilibrium and the standard of who and what you could trust in almost every growth section of my life. Until Patti came along, we were pretty much inseparable. I can barely remember anything in my life before the age of 20 that didn’t include BCR. We were that close… that connected. Soul mates.  A friend who I loved… and still very much do.

Yesterday, I got the text that I knew was coming. BCR will now finish the rest of his days on this earth in a memory care facility in Central Texas (a couple of miles from where his Karon and he have their home). He’s 65 years young, and can no longer care for himself, for his family, or call my name if I walk into the room. He might or might not recognize me, but regardless, he’d hug my neck, smile, and act as if I’d made his day by dropping in to see him. When the dementia showed itself, it forced his early retirement from the Santa Fe railroad. BCR went to work for the railroad with just a few hours remaining to complete his degree from the University of Texas. Working for the railroad was the dream… so he quit school and went to work.

I’ve seen BCR multiple times since that retirement. He lives in Texas. I live in Colorado. Time together is easy anymore. The mental decline has been slow and brutal. Yet, BCR’s Karon has worn the cape and garments of care that lovers often do for their mates. As I said, I knew the time was close. As expected, BCR made the transition to his new residence without an ounce of pushback or agitation. Karon said, “he just rolled with it.”

I would tell you stories, but there’s too many. BCR was the best man at my wedding. I was the best man at his. He loved my kids. I love his. He loves my wife. I love his. He loves me. I love him. Those parts have not changed. Not in the least.

So here… now… today, I declare it again: Bobby Charles Reese, Jr., I love you. I have always loved you. Thank you for the role you’ve played in my life. Thank you for being my forever… faithful… loyal… friend. One of the greatest blessings of my life.

Mike

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