Christian Mindfulness: Reflecting God’s Love

When that happens, I know it’s time for me to sit up and listen. It’s usually the Lord speaking.

This week I’ve had synchronicity around the idea of growing so close to the Lord that I can reflect His love to others. As Mother Teresa always said, we start with the people in front of us. Yes, pray for others. But also become aware that God may ask you to be the answer to their prayers.

A devotional I got from Renovare by Jonathan R. Bailey said it best:

Spiritual formation begins and ends with love. … The way of Christ is not about earning righteousness or self-development. It’s the total transformation of the human personality into the likeness of Jesus Christ: body, mind, heart and soul.

When the Spirit awakens us with his love, we come to see ourselves utterly known and loved by God. There’s nothing we can do to make him love us more, and there’s nothing we can do to make him love us less.

Jonathan R. Bailey, “The Eternal Journey”

God’s Answer to Arrogance

Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm and said: “Where were you when I founded the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its size? Surely you know? Who stretched out the measuring line for it? Who shut within doors the sea, when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling bands? When I set limits for it and fastened the bar of its door, and said: Thus far shall you come but no farther, and here shall your proud waves stop?

Job 38: 1, 4-5, 8-11

Living in Mindfulness of God’s Magnificence

First of all, my child, think magnificently of God. Magnify His providence. Adore His power. Pray to Him frequently and incessantly. Bear Him always in your mind. Teach your thoughts to reverence Him in every place for there is no place where He is not. Therefore, my child, fear and worship and love God. First and last, think magnificently of Him.

Paternus, “Advice to a Son”

Trust God One Crisis at a Time

Just as we must learn to obey God one choice at a time, we also must learn to trust God one circumstance at a time.

Trusting God is not a matter of my feelings, but of my will. The truth we must believe is that God is sovereign. He carries out His own good purposes without ever being thwarted.

Our first priority in times of adversity is to honor and glorify God by trusting Him.

We tend to make our first priority the gaining of relief from our feelings of heartache, disappointment and frustration. This is a natural desire, and God has promised to give us grace sufficient for our trials and peace for our anxieties.

We honor God by choosing to trust Him when we don’t understand what He is doing or why He has allowed some circumstance.

Jerry Bridges, “Trusting God”

Compassion: More than Sympathy

What does it mean to live in the world with a truly compassionate heart, a heart that remains open to all people at all times? It is very important to realize the compassion is more than sympathy or empathy.

When we are asked to listen to the pains of people, and empathize with their suffering, we soon reach our emotional limits. We can listen only for a short time and only to a few people.

In our society we are bombarded with so much “news” about human misery that our hearts easily get numbed simply because of the overload. But God’s compassionate heart does not have limits. God’s heart is greater, infinitely greater, than the human heart.

It is that divine heart that God wants to give to us so that we can love all people without burning out or becoming numb.

Henri J.M. Nouwen, “Here and Now”

A Psalm for the Fed-Up

Do not fret because of the wicked;
do not envy those who do evil:
for they wither quickly like grass
and fade like the green of the fields.

If you trust in the Lord and do good,
then you will live in the land and be secure.
If you find your delight in the Lord,
he will grant your heart's desire.

Commit your life to the Lord,
trust in him and he will act,
so that your justice breaks forth like the light,
your cause like the noon-day sun.

Be still before the Lord and wait in patience;
do not fret at the man who prospers;
a man who makes evil plots
to bring down the needy and the poor.

Calm your anger and forget your rage;
do not fret, it only leads to evil.
For those who do evil shall perish;
the patient shall inherit the land.

A little longer -- and the wicked shall have gone.
Look at his place, he is not there.
But the humble shall own the land
and enjoy the fullness of peace. 

Psalm 37: 1-11

Peace in the COVID-19 Storm

We are not the only ones who benefit when we practice Christian mindfulness day after day. Experiencing the presence of Jesus comforts and changes us, so we become better co-workers, neighbors, family members and friends. We become lamps on the table in a very dark place.

The world is out of control. People face uncertainty and fear. In the midst of a long-term, ongoing crisis, people notice when someone else is at peace. It is a significant witness in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. Our attitudes show our trust in God.

In 2 Corinthians 1:5-7, Paul writes that those of us who experience God’s comfort are not just storehouses. We don’t just enjoy the experience. We are conduits that share that comfort with others … sometimes through purposeful ministry, sometime just in daily interactions with others.

Practicing the presence of Jesus brings peace to more than just us. It can show the world a safe path in a challenging time.

Christian Mindfulness on Mother’s Day

The Proverbs 31 woman was not controlled by her circumstances and the demands of her family, her household or her home business. She was ruler of her attitudes, her time and her schedule. Her relationship with God was central. All that she became was the result of her yielding to His sovereign control.

Linda Dillow, “Calm My Anxious Heart”

Focus on the Presence of God in the Pandemic

No matter how isolated we all feel, God is with us in quarantine. This unique time in history creates an opportunity. We can choose to practice Christian mindfulness. We can feel the presence of God moment by moment during these days of pandemic.

Romans 8: 38-39 famously reminds us:

I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, no anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love go God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

That’s true for a pandemic, too. God calls to us at this and every moment by our names. The quiet of quarantine gives us more of a chance to listen. As Sarah Young writes in Jesus Today:

“When world events are swirling around you and your personal world feels unsteady, don’t let your mind linger on those stressors. Tell yourself the truth: Yes this world is full of trouble, but Jesus is with me and He is in control.”

We need to move our focus from the pandemic to the presence of Jesus over and over again. “But Jesus is with me” is a good breath prayer. I use “Come Holy Spirit” repeatedly to move my mind from the present to the presence. Let’s all do this.