Heathers' superb sermon yesterday at Church and the morning service has really helped me understand some things about myself as I try to walk this Christian path.
Throughout my life I have 'worked' at being a Christian. I have had what I consider a number of 'conversion experiences'. Each time sure that this time I would have it 'together', whatever that means. Much to my dismay I seem to need to go back to basics and change directions time after time.
These past few months I have been trying out a new approach to meditation, prayer and how I approach the Christian life. I have been swimming 2 hours a day for 6 days a week. (even God rested one day!) I spend about an hour listening to hymns, reading scripture and devotionals and journaling. (including a dialogue with Jesus). I invite the Holy Spirit to come into my life and be with me throughout the day. I have been taking with me to the pool a different scripture each week to meditate on while I swim.
I start with the Lords prayer as I swim, then to the 23rd psalm, 1 cor 13 and Gal 5. I meditate on these turning them over in my mind. Then I go through my prayer list, which is fairly extensive. I am adding new scriptures to the above from time to time,like Romans 8, Phil 4, Ps 121 and meditate on these as well. These scriptures are really becoming alive for me and some of this carries over into my day. Then as much as I can I pray the Jesus prayer throughout the day or for people and situations that are on my heart and mind. The Jesus prayer is "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me a sinner".
God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit seem to be speaking to me more now that I am in a receptive mood of listening.
I was really concerned about some situations a couple of weeks ago and confused about how to pray for help with them when it seemed that God spoke directly to me. God said "You just pray and I will take it from there". Now when I pray I can really let it go because I feel that God will do the rest. This is only the 2nd time in my life that I feel that God has spoken directly to me.
The other morning I was feeling pretty good about what was happening in my life when I heard "Charlie, you are not in relationship with several people------you really need to forgive them, you are letting them hold you back from me. That was quite a shock but I knew it was true. I have been working on forgiveness since then and with Heathers sermon yesterday I have been helped to see that the bottom line was that I wanted to control the situation with these people. I wasn't 'just praying' and leaving the rest to God. I wanted control and to have them do what I wanted.
This is all a work in process. No, I am not there yet, but I feel that as I nourish my relationship with Jesus that I am closer to working through forgiving people than I was before. I now feel I have a way to work out forgiveness that is more real and not from a set of rules or demands. It is coming from inside of myself and is really like Heather said, a fruit that is produced from nourishing my relationship with Jesus. Nan also said at Church that to be in realtionship with someone means you want to spend time with them, to call them, to talk to them and to support them.
Yes, even at 75 I can learn and grow and change------with help from you all and from God! It really is about relationship. Charlie Powell