Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Palm Sunday, 2012 - Finding Jesus

Among the personal items that occupied my former work space was a devotional book entitled, Jesus Calling: Devotions for Every Day of the Year. Authored by Sarah Young, with an additional subtitle, “Enjoying Peace in His Presence,” the book was recommended by one of the company’s traveling national catastrophe representatives.

Everything I brought home wound up on my living room floor. I had to search through several bags and piles before I finally found Jesus this morning, just in time for Palm Sunday.

The catastrophe representative was from the Midwest and as New Jersey isn’t exactly the Bible Belt, she didn’t find many employees in our office comfortable with and willing to talk about the Bible or Jesus. Another employee brought her to me because she knew I had no problem with it, and that I would at least be polite.

I saw that she had this book and used it as a reference in our discussions about God and Jesus, during which we received strange looks from other people in the lunch room. Like I said, we’re definitely not in the Bible belt. I asked if I could see the book.

“Jesus Calling” is an inspirational book, with brief, one-page essays by the author inspired by her readings of the Bible. The representative allowed me to borrow it, which was very kind of her. However, to her surprise, I went online immediately to order my own copy.

From then until my last day, I kept the book by my office telephone - Jesus calling. On bad days, I found a good deal of peace in the readings. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a Bible at my desk, so I took the author’s word for the scriptural inspirations. She writes as though Jesus is talking to her (and the reader) in the first person.

My favorites, the ones I bookmarked, happened to be back-to-back, for May 2 and May 3.

May 2

“Living in Dependence on Me is the way to enjoy abundant life. You are learning to appreciate tough times, because they amplify your awareness of My Presence. Tasks that you used to dread are becoming rich opportunities to enjoy My closeness. When you feel tired, you remember that I am your Strength; you take pleasure in leaning on Me. I am pleased by your tendency to turn to Me more and more frequently, especially when you are alone.

“When you are with other people, you often lose sight of My Presence. Your fear of displeasing other people puts you in bondage to them, and they become your primary focus. When you realize this has happened, whisper My Name; this tiny act of trust brings Me to the forefront of your consciousness, where I belong. As you bask in the blessing of My nearness, My life can flow through you to others. This is abundant life!”

Proverbs 29:25; John 10:10

May 3

“You cannot serve two masters. If I am truly your Master, you will desire to please Me above all others. If pleasing other people is your goal, you will be enslaved to them. People can be harsh taskmasters when you give them this power over you.

“If I am the Master of your life, I will also be your first love. Your serving Me is rooted and grounded in My vast, unconditional Love for you. The Lower you bow down before Me, the higher I lift you up into intimate relationship with Me. The joy of living in My Presence outshines all other pleasures. I want you to reflect My joyous Light by living in increasing intimacy with me.”

Matthew 6:24; Revelation 2:4; Ephesians 3:16-17; Psalm 16:11

The book really worked. I’d be having a tough time with a story or I’d be in one of those inevitable clashes with one of my departmental co-workers. Frustrated or depressed, I’d pick up the book and I’d find some passage that had the answer. I could feel my blood pressure and heart rate go down and I’d be much more relaxed. Jesus took all of whatever it was on His shoulders, relieving me of the anxiety and stress.

Today’s message, as I sort out the clutter from my previous work experience, is this (in brief):

April 1

“I am calling you to a life of constant communion with Me. Basic training includes learning to live above your circumstances, even while interacting on that cluttered plane of your life. You yearn for a simplified lifestyle. But I challenge you to relinquish the fantasy of an uncluttered world. Accept each day just as it comes, and find Me in the midst of it all.

“Talk with Me about every aspect of your day, including your feelings. Remember that your ultimate goal is not to control or fix everything around you. A successful day is one in which you have stayed in touch with Me, even if many things remain undone at the end of the day. Do not let your to-do list (written or mental) become an idol directing your life. Instead, ask My Spirit to guide you moment by moment.”

Still, I do need to get my laundry done and take some things down to the basement. Jesus may have been able to walk on water, but I can’t walk on clutter.

But Jesus may come along if He likes as I straighten up; I’ll be glad for His company.

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