Glimpse of God for the week of February 5, 2023
Oh boy is it windy outside today? I can’t remember when it has been so windy out. Everything in our yard, the inflatable snowmen and penguins, the statues and other yard decor are all being blown around and finding new places to land and call home.
Yet, although I believe that we who live in this region are very blessed because we do not have the severe effects of the weather disrupting our lives and causing havoc as it is in many parts of our country. But more importantly in our spiritual life, If we are not prepared and if we take things for granted and stop paying attention to what is important, we too can be blown away, uprooted, and displaced by the heavy winds and storms of life. There are the heavy winds of injury, bitterness, gossip, and anger, and the storms of sin, revenge, despair, weakness, and guilt that carry us off to a place that we don’t want to go, that of feeling unloved by God or abandoned by God and do things that we really don’t want to do, like give into despair, discouragement, and hopelessness. Yet the devil convinces us that we are in the best place and that he will protect us from the winds harm. The storms of life, the heavy winds and rain can discourage us and make us feel helpless and, in many cases, hopeless, yet in all this, Christ assures us that we are not alone and that He is with us. Only He can calm the storms of life, all we need to do is ask for His help.
Heavy winds or rain, extreme heat or cold, or extreme humidity can take our breath away, affect it in a negative way or diminish it to a point that it can be life threatening. This can be the same with our spiritual life. We possess the breath of life, God’s Holy Spirit, yet if we allow the various life storms to affect our breathing, our spiritual health and wellbeing can also be threatened. But that is not what God wants or desires for you. He has a message and as you breathe it in know that His Holy Spirit is flowing through, in, and from you. His message is this…..
You are a breath of life: God’s life to others. God called you by name and loves you unconditionally as His beloved son or daughter. Your very breath is God's gift to you given out of complete, selfless, and unconditional love. No one person, no sin, no action, or thought can change or lessen God's great love for you. You are the breath of God's life to others. So, this week, don't hold your breath, try not to get short of breath, don't breathe too quickly, but let the awesome presence of God, in others, in creation, in yourself, take your breath away. Take a deep breath and reverence it because your breath is God's Holy Spirit.
Continue to remind yourself that you are the breath of life to others, that you possess that life-giving breath within yourself, and that you received that breath from God and remember to say thank you.
As you begin a new week; start by taking a moment, just 60 seconds, to stop and focus on your breathing. As you do that, become aware of what is going on in your life at that moment. With whatever is going on, positive or negative, calm yourself so that you can see with the eyes of God, His presence in that moment. Be it in that person, that circumstance, that choice, that situation, that joy, that sorrow, that regret, and see Him embracing you, calming you, celebrating you, forgiving you, and loving you. Then as you inhale and exhale your next breath, think of it as spiritual CPR; Christ's Power being Renewed in you.
SUNDAY – “B” – Believe that you are the breath of God
Do you believe in the love that God has for you, that this love is unconditional and that there is nothing you can do to earn or lose that love? God gives it freely. As God’s beloved child, do you see yourself as lovable, beloved, and loved?
Today in your prayer, as you take your next breath, think about the love of God: that which you have for God, and the love that He has for you. Breathe in God’s gift of peace and exhale your sense of gratitude.
If you find yourself short of breath, pray that whatever is causing your breathing struggles: stress, cold, worries, weariness, ill health…., and ask God to make your breath a breath of peace, a breath that speaks words of love, life, joy, hope and desire. If you find that you lose a breath, pray in gratitude for that which is taking your breath away: the love of your life, your children, your pets, your grandchildren, God’s awesome creation, the recognition of God’s great love for you.
God’s gift to you of His Holy Spirit, a spirit that not only permeates your very being and dwells within you, is making His way out by the words of mercy, compassion, peace, reconciliation, and joy that you speak and enters in through a gentle whisper, a smile, or a deep abiding presence of peace.
MONDAY – “R” – Rejoice in the memories
Memories, some may be painful, some may be pleasant. When you were growing up, do you remember what you were taught about God? What do you remember from your early days about God? Was He a God of vengeance, punishment, fire, and brimstone, or was He a God of love, mercy, compassion and gentleness? What aspect or picture of God do you hold on to and cherish, and what part have you learned to let go of because it is not the God that you have experienced or are in relationship with?
Rejoice in the memories that have brought you to where you are today. The memory of the God of love and compassion that you turned to as you were deeply wounded and felt alone, the memory of the God of mercy as you reflected on, and was sorry for, the sins that damaged your relationship with others and with God, the memory of the God of peace as you felt inconsolable at the loss of your parent, child, sibling, or best friend, the memory of the God of joy as you celebrated the gift of your marriage, the birth of your child, your grandchildren, your accomplishments, your profession as a consecrated religious, or your jubilee as a religious.
Today in your prayer, reflect on the relationship with the God that you have come to desire, and the person that you have become. God rejoices in you, loves you and is happy that you have chosen to follow Him.
TUESDAY – “E” – Enjoy the moment
Try not to look so far ahead that you miss the present moment. As a society we are always looking toward the future. In retail, they bring out the Christmas decorations by late summer, in December they bring our Valentine’s day decorations. On tv, they begin to show end of year car deals in the fall, we see and hear by engaged couples that they can’t wait till the wedding day is over. Now there is nothing wrong with looking ahead, but when we fail to see the present moment, when we are so focused on the future, that we neglect our present, then we can miss out on a lot of God’s Glimpses and surprises that He is waiting to show us. When we wait or anticipate some event, like a wedding or a birth, we are excited about the end result and most likely stressed out about the journey getting there. Every day is a gift that can be filled with many stresses, yet it can be in those stresses that we find God. If we always seek to go to the next thing, we can truly miss out on a lot. Couples planning a wedding hate the many details, yet in those details they have an opportunity to become closer and get to know each other better. As a woman is preparing to give birth, she might be sick and uncomfortable, but during those nine months, she can experience the greatest mystery of knowing that a child is growing within her very body and is being nurtured and sustained by her. We might hate winter and want the spring to come now, but then we can miss the beauty of the trees as they wait to display their spring greatness through their winter barrenness, or the beauty of the snow blankets that God uses to cover His upcoming spring garden, or the hours of light that God hides so that we can seek Him in the darkness and walk strongly in the light.
Today in your prayer, seek to enjoy the present moment and the people, pets, and encounters that fill it.
WEDNESDAY – “A”- Adore the adorable
Adorable. Do you believe that God thinks that you are adorable? How can God not adore you. HE respects you, loves you unconditionally, created you in His likeness and image, has called you by name. and even knit you in your mother’s womb (psalm 139)
There is no other person like you, nor will there be another you. You are one of a kind. There is no heart like yours, no soul like yours, no mind that works like yours. God created you individually and uniquely out of complete love. God creates only good and only in and out of love. God has great respect for you and for the choices that you make. He will never go against your free will but will also never abandon you when your will and His don’t necessarily meet. It is in all of this that He is devoted to you and finds you most adorable or able to be adored.
Today in your prayer, imagine God adoring you and listen to Him as He speaks His words of adoration for you. You are adorable……. He sees His very self in and through you and He wants you to know that He adores you for that.
THURSDAY – “T” – Trust in God to heal and make whole
Trust is difficult especially when you have been hurt or betrayed. Imagine how hard it must have been for Jesus to trust anyone, except Mary His Mother, after he had been betrayed, denied, condemned, and executed by those who were his friends, those He healed, and those who didn’t even know him. As weak and sinful human begins, when we are hurt, we want to get back at, or seek revenge on the person or persons who hurt us. Our very breath of life can become the breath of darkness because it speaks words of anger, revenge, insult, and even death. We feel as though we cannot trust the person or anyone because we don’t want to get hurt again. As followers of Christ, we are called not only to forgive, but to begin anew, and not hold onto a grudge. With God’s grace and an open heart, we can and will trust another again.
Today in your prayer, although this might be painful, trust me in that God will be with you. Take a moment to recall an instance where you were betrayed and hurt deeply. Don’t dwell on the hurt, but seek God’s grace to forgive, again, seek healing so that you can become whole, again, and pray for the person or persons that hurt you, again. You will not be disappointed because God’s knows your heart and wants to heal you, just ask Him to.
FRIDAY – “H” – Honor your Creator and His creation
God not only loves you unconditionally, but He respects you deeply and has blessed you abundantly. Are you able to recognize this? We often think that only God deserves to be hallowed or revered, and we, out of love and respect, should revere our God. The question I pose is this: If we believe that God created us in His likeness and image, shouldn’t we show great respect and reverence to our self and others? As temples of God’s Holy Spirit and the Body of Christ, shouldn’t we honor each other as if we were honoring God Himself? As followers of Christ, we are called to see the face of Christ in those we encounter: those in our family, our neighbor, the stranger, the homeless, the estranged and even our enemy.
Today in your prayer, see the face of God in those you pray for, those who have asked for your prayers, those you promised to pray for and those who are in need.
SATURDAY – “E” – Enliven others’ lives by your love
Our every breath is God’s gift to us and how we use it, is our gift to God. We can choose to be the breath of life and speak words of healing, compassion, mercy, humor, or peace. Or we can choose to be the breath of darkness and speak words of gossip, anger, hatred, insult, or judgment. How we choose to be the breath of life and speak God’s words and spread His good news will influence others so they may want to desire and know God better. When we choose to follow Christ, we are choosing life. As we choose life, we are setting an example for others. Today in your prayer, take a moment to reflect on the words: “They will know we are Christians by our love”, and ask to see how you are the one who shows the Christian example by your love: love for God, others, and self. Your love for God will enliven others, it will clarify what it means to be true authentic follower, and not a hypocrite who talks a good talk, but doesn’t walk the walk.