Psalm 139:4-12 and17 ESV
Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV
Matthew 10:29-31 NKJV
Psalm 95:7 GNT
Philippians 2:3-8 ESV
Luke 23:34 NKJV
It’s one thing to give love or truth to someone, but being thoughtful to someone or thinking (contemplating) about God takes time and energy.
When I first started learning how to engage in contemplative prayer I wasn’t sure I was patient enough. It’s not easy. It’s not instant. But it was SO worth it.
We know from Psalm 139:4-12, “there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” even the night shall be light about me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You.”
We need to take note of the tone of David’s words. We know from verse 4-6 that David is not afraid that God knows everything about him. Instead David is comforted. He knows it’s wonderful.
David gives us a vivid picture of being in heaven, or being in hell, being there with the rising of the sun, or in the depths of the sea. David says wherever he is, he knows God will lead him.
Then we read in Psalm 139:17, “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!”
We know from Psalm 139 that God is personal. God knows us. God cares.
We know that God promises love, support, and that He has thoughts about us.
Have you considered that God thinks about you all the time? God has thoughts about you and wants the best for you. God never stops thinking about you and how much He loves you.
We learn in Jeremiah 29:11 what God thinks about us, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
God wants to best for us!
Matthew 10:29-31 tells us, “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
Yet because God thinks about us and loves us, God wants us to think of others. Psalm 95:7 tells us, “He is our God; we are the people he cares for, the flock for which he provides.”
We TOGETHER are part of God’s flock.
Because we are a flock, Paul wrote in Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Looking back, I remember days, months, and years when it was difficult to get four people to agree and care about the interests of another (my four children).
That didn’t include our neighbors, friends, or people in the community.
The truth is…it’s not easy.
Through the years I had to learn that I cannot do it by myself. I learned to rely on God. I asked God to help me to love others, to be kind, and to give grace.
I also seriously started practicing something my Mom always said when I was growing up. When I had a problem with someone, she’d remind me, “well, just don’t judge another person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.”
That’s not from scripture, but remembering that has served me well.
As a matter of fact, I said the very same words to my children.
It’s a saying that makes you stop and think about what other people might have going on in their lives.
It makes me realize you NEVER know what someone else is going through and why.
When we couple that with, Luke 23:34. When the Roman soldiers led Jesus up the hill in order to crucify Him, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know do not know what they do.”
Basically, as Jesus was about to suffer and die He chose to love and forgive the Roman soldiers.
I figure, if Jesus can forgive the Roman soldiers for nailing Him to the cross, I can forgive someone who stole my parking place that I’d been waiting for.
At that point I remind myself to stop and think. Then, I ask God to help me to love them anyway.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Love them Anyway
Consider what Jesus went through on the cross. Remember that He loved and forgave them. Ask God to help you to ‘love anyway’ despite what happens to you.
In God, Deborah