Tag Archives: spiritual

Too Much Noise!

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One of the great challenges of living in today’s world is learning to deal with all of the noise.  When I say learning to deal with it, I am talking about learning to get past it, so that we might be able to hear what is really important and needed.  I really do think that most of us are living with information overload.  We get media input from so many different sources and ideas and opinions from so many competing directions, that we have gotten used to living in a continual spin.

Some days I wake up from my noisy dreams to an even more noisy world and I know that I am missing something, but just can’t seem to figure it out.  Then I realize that I am never going to figure it out with all of the noise, so I begin to try to filter some of the noise away.  This seems to work for a moment, but then, I realize that I still am not anywhere near to what I am really searching for, so I go in search of quietness.  It is not near as easy as it used to be to find solitude.

Solitude is the place where we step out of the noisy world and into the peaceful relationship that we were created for.  It is the best place to listen and learn from our Creator.  It is the place where we figure out what life is really all about.  The journey to solitude is not easy and it will cost you, but it is a trip worth taking.  In fact, once you take this trip, you will want to take it again and again, because you will discover that solitude is the place that enables you to live blessed!

Blessed From Desperation To Inspiration…

Michael Joe, a follower of Christ Jesus by the will of God and through the leading of His Spirit.  To the Saints who are living in the Upstate of South Carolina and who place, express and live out their faith in Christ Jesus.  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Oh how blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every possible spiritual blessing, blessings which we know are waiting for us in the heavenly places in Christ, just as we were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world, that you and I might be holy and blameless before Him.

In His unlimited love, He chose to adopt us as His sons and daughters though Jesus Christ to himself, according to the kind intention of His will and to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely gave to each of us in and through His beloved Son.

In Jesus we have redemption, restoration and relationship through his blood, the forgiveness of our sins and failures, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished on us, not because we have earned it or deserved it, but simply because He loves us.  

In all Heavenly wisdom and Supernatural insight, He made known to us the incredible mystery of His perfect will, according to the kind intention which finds it’s purpose in and through Jesus, with a view to an administration and application suitable to the fullness of the times, that is to the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.

Also in Jesus we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, for the purpose and to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.

In Him, we also after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of our salvation – having also believed, we were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given to us as a pledge and promise of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory as we move from desperation to inspiration.

-Scripture Adaptation From Ephesians 1:1-14

When Empty Living Is Not A Bad Thing!

When I am driving down the road and I hear that little bell go off to remind me that my gas tank is on empty, I know that I have to do something about it, and so I head to the gas station to put gas in, so that I can get rid of the “E”.   When I have not had a chance to eat, my stomach will begin to growl and remind me that it is empty, and I will look for something to eat, so that I might fill that void.

We have been taught that when something is empty, we need to fill it. We walk into a room that has nothing in it and almost immediately our mind goes to the place of filling it with this and that.  I think all of this focus on filling, causes us to miss the value of emptiness.  Lao Tzu in the Tao Te Ching gives us the idea that “The usefulness of what is, depends on what is not.”  In everything, there is an emptiness, a missing something, but that missing something is something, not nothing and this is the challenge of our thinking.

Our lives are full of work and living, but that is not what really makes our lives meaningful.  It is often the spaces of our life that we perceive as empty that actually give us meaning and purpose.  Since all of life around us seems to work by filling the empty void with whatever, we spend most of our energy trying to fill things back up and miss the joy of the emptiness.

We try to fill our lives up with work, activities, events, hobbies and almost anything we can think of and the result is still a gnawing emptiness, a void that we just can’t seem to fill, at least in a way that brings us satisfaction.  This hole, void, emptiness is not a bad thing. In fact it has a purpose and it’s purpose is to help us to discover who we are and what we are about.  It’s purpose it to teach us that rather than spending all of our effort and energy on trying, that we should invest ourselves instead on simply allowing.  When we learn to allow what will be to be, we begin to enjoy the flow of life.

When you allow yourself to breathe. The breath comes in and it goes out, quiet naturally, until you decide to start messing with it. This is the best way to live life.  Rather than trying to force and make things happen, just allow yourself in your living to breathe.

Most people cannot stand silence. Why? Because it is emptiness.  Emptiness that we feel needs to be filled.  As soon as we get in our cars, we power up the radio.  As soon as we walk in the door of our home, we turn on our televisions.  When we have a moment to sit and do nothing, we are on our smart phones trying to fill the void.  And the result of all of this, is that we miss the power and blessing that the emptiness is there to bring.

At some point today, take a few moments to practice silence.  I try to spend at least 10 minustes everyday in silent meditation.  I try during this time, to go into that empty space and enjoy what my Creator has given me.  I have discovered that it is from this place that some of my most amazing and beneficial thoughts begin, grow and flow.

It is in this place that I meet the essence of who I am and as I learn to allow that essence to flow, the real me begins to reveal itself to the rest of the world.  Philippians 2:5-9 teaches us that this is what Jesus did when it says: “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.”

Let go of everything – who you are, what you do, where you go, how you think, when you’ve got to be finished and learn to exist in the empty space of this moment.  Appreciate this moment and the space of what it is allowing you and let it to do what it desires. You will be glad you did, because you will live blessed.

In Between Living!

We are physical and spiritual, spiritual beings living in a human physique.  When you stop and think about it, this is the source of both blessing and challenge.  Blessing in that we are spiritual, made in the image of our Creator and eternal in nature.  Challenging in that we who are unlimited allow ourselves to be limited by our physical frames and it’s limitations that present themselves through agings aches and pains.

     A big part of our problem is we see our self as physical over the spiritual.  We separate the two, when they should remain as one.  Our origin cannot be split and while it is hard to understand, it is possible for us to be in this world, but not of it. 

     Every person that you see is a reflection of a little bit of you.  We tend to judge others and the reason is because we are seeing what is best about us or what is worst about us, when we are looking at someone else.  Rather than seeing others as different, we should start to view them as an extension of ourselves.  The sharing of this oneness allows us to see things that we ordinarily would not see and hear things that we would most likely miss.
 
     It has become a part of our instinct to judge others, often without even really thinking about it.  Everything in our society works to shape us into this kind of ego centered person.  When you are tempted to separate yourself, stop and put yourself in the other person’s shoes, walk a mile or two and try to see life from their perspective.  You will be amazed at how this will begin to change who you are, by allowing you to live in the midst the physical and the spiritual, instead of in one or the other.
 
     This is not easy, but will become more natural as you practice it.  And as you practice this discipline, you will discover that you are getting dialed into the things of the Spirit, which makes your physical life much more enjoyable.  This is just a small step in helping you to live the life that you were created for, so I hope you will take the time to give it a try and I hope that as you do – you will live blessed!

Just Like Dad!

I was talking with my oldest daughter Gracie on the way to school one day this past week and was amazed at how much she is just like me.  Her observations, horse sense, opinions and judgments.  There are some things that I see her do, or hear her say that rub me the wrong way, until I realize that those things are some of the same things that I continually find myself battling with.

I like to think that I am a good man, but the truth is that I am a sinner saved by grace.  My goodness is not from myself, but from my Creator, Savior and Friend.  Sometimes I find myself getting less tolerant of my family and friends, in what I perceive to be their challenges or weaknesses, but then the Spirit helps me to look within myself and I know that I have more than enough work to do on myself, so I am learning to let the other go.

I was created to love and be loved.  Judgment is above my pay grade and I am not really any good at it any way, so I will leave that to the Creator, Who sees all, knows all and is in control of all.

Father,  Thank You for reminding me that I am just a man, but I am not just any man, I am Your man.  Help me to grow into these big shoes that you have given me to fill and help me to walk on the path that you have marked out for me.  Along the way, as I encounter others, help me to love them as you have loved me – without condition.  Help me to help and bless others with no expectations.  Help me to remember that my service to others, is really my service to You.  Help me to love at all times, be patient in all situations and yielded to you in not just some things, but in everything.

I pray that one day, when You are looking at me as Your son, that You will see some of what makes You so great in me!

Living Is Giving!

“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.”  Mark 8:35

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That’s LIfe!

This is one of those powerful lessons in the Scriptures that we often fly over and miss.  “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it.”  Life is not something that we hang onto,  Life is something that we live and in the living of life, we experience life.  Life with all of it’s ups and downs is living and living is much more than just existing.

The key to really living is not trying to live life, but trying to give life, because when we give our life away to love others as we have been loved, then we really begin to live.  The good news is that God loves each of us and has an amazing plan for our lives.

Don’t miss life, because you have gotten distracted by trying to make a living.  Live life by giving your life to your Creator by serving and making life better for others.  You will find that life is a whole lot more fun, when you focus on more than just existing…

What Life Is Really About!

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Matthew 20:28

Jesus was speaking and this is what he had to say about himself.  He said that the reason he came to earth was not to be served, but to serve by giving his life as a ransom for many.

It is very easy to forget that our life here on earth is about something and the something is not ourselves.  The something is other people.  Take some time today to intentionally reach out to make life better for others and you will discover that it actually makes life better for you!

Live blessed, because it is what you were created for!