Many Christian couples do not pray together. They often don’t realize the power and grace of simply sitting down together, regularly, holding hands, and praying from their hearts about the issues of life. They will pray by themselves, they will occasionally say traditional prayers. Facing each other, praying from their hearts, makes them feel uncomfortable. So they make excuses. Research indicates that couples Read more →
Love, trust and listen is our focus. It’s all about the love of God and our response. It’s an invitation to trust, and listen to our Lord through the guidance of the Holy Spirit given to us. In that dynamic teamwork he wants our active involvement in the process of working things through in our lives. Teamwork is a key theme in this message.
Rom 5:5 “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us.”
Acts 15:28 (in instructions to the apostles, It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us…)
Focus on teamwork: the Holy Spirit and you
Let’s pray: Lord Jesus we thank you for the grace of this time. We give these thoughts to you and invite you to expand our understanding of this dynamic process of teamwork. We ask the intercession of the communion of saints: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, St. Joseph, Peter and Paul, our Blessed Mother, and all those gone before us who understand the dynamic teamwork of God in them, and them in God.
In an encounter some years ago the Blessed Mother said to me “I’m changing your nature.”
I responded, “I thought this was the work of the Holy Spirit.” She showed me the Holy Spirit flowing through her nature – teamwork. In my spirit I was hearing, “We are involved with you. Our hand is upon you.” The Lord invites us to an amazing adventure of teamwork with him. The Blessed Mother said ‘yes’ to him. We say ‘yes’ to him. This is active participation.
“We know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love…” 1Jn 4:16. Love is who he is; love is what he does.
Love, trust, listen.
Some years ago when I was in Budapest, Hungary, on a speaking tour, I had a conversation with my driver, Atilla. When I asked him his heart’s desire in prayer, he said fervently, “I want God to wake up my heart.” I sensed that his very yearning was a prayer. I have shared this with many people around the world and they echoed his heart’s desire. Do you want God to wake up your heart? Oh, say yes! Let that be a prayer of your heart.
The Lord is as close as your next heartbeat. Our Lord is ready, willing and able to guide you through the challenges of your life. A dynamic teamwork, our awesome God and you. Like the reference in Acts, “It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and us…” What an awesome word for us. Awesome teamwork. Awesome God.
Tell the Lord now: Lord, you have loved me from the beginning and will love me forever. Come Holy Spirit and touch me now. Teach me about this teamwork. Speak to me. Wake up my heart. Help me to recognize and receive the awesome love you have for me. Touch me deep inside. Let your loving kindness fill every corner. Let your compassion touch every need. As I awaken to your presence in a new way, give me breakthrough. Touch any shadowy places that have blocked your love. Remove every barrier. Take down every wall, that every part of me will come alive in your incredible love. Thank you Lord. Amen.
In 1977 I encountered this love in a tangible way through Baptism in the Holy Spirit. I was strengthened and empowered. Eph 3:16-19 says, “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you being rooted and established in love may have power together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
Mother Mary surrendered to the love of God. Her act of surrender was teamwork too.
Her response to this love was one of humble trust and obedience. She surrendered totally. Not passive, but active surrender. We are called to do the same. Mary is a model of love. A model is a pattern of something to be made; an example for imitation or emulation. Someone set before us for guidance. Her visible position in the church shows Gods’ respect and love for women and treasure of motherhood. This is good for women to be aware of; how God esteems them. Her vast influence today reminds us that all are called and encouraged to turn to Jesus, to open ourselves to the sanctifying power of God’s love in total trust.
For many years, my mother cried out, “Lord teach me to love. I don’t know how to love. Teach me.” He guided her through challenges with her marriage to an atheist, with having her domineering mother living with the family, and with her often stubborn daughters. When the Lord was teaching my mother lessons in loving he encouraged her to meditate on 1 Cor 13, the well known love chapter.
Love is who he is and what he does in us. Our ‘yes’ is teamwork as we say
“Yes, do it Jesus!”
Love is patient-God’s love in me is patient.
Love is kind – God’s love in me is kind.
Love does not envy – God’s love in me is happy for the success of others.
Love does not boast – God’s love in me never seeks to call attention to my accomplishments.
Love is not proud – God’s love in me seeks the path of humility, Mary’s path.
Love is not rude – God’s love in me seeks the interest of others.
Love is not easily angered – God’s love in me is peace-making.
Love keeps no record of wrongs – God’s love in me erases in forgiveness the hurts of others.
Love does not delight in evil – God’s love in me delights in good.
Love rejoices with the truth – God’s love in me is glad when truth prevails.
God’s love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. It even loves in the face of unreturned love. Love never ever fails. God’s love in me never fails.
He might show us that we can have the right answer but be wrong inside because there is no love. We can speak the truth but not in love, and end up doing more harm than good.
But we can change – ask, “Lord, change me!” Say, “I can change!” The Holy spirit will teach us how to change. He might show us how unforgiveness can be a barrier to loving, while forgiveness enlarges our capacity to love. Or remind us if we don’t forgive we lose part of our capacity to love. The Holy Spirit will teach us all of these things. So by choice of our will, firm resolve with the help of God’s grace, we forgive and are set free to experience the love that heals, liberates, empowers.
Love and obedience are two sides of a coin. Jn 14:23 says, “anyone who loves me will be true to my word.” How precious if we can have a loving and loyal readiness to be taught by the shepherd. He asks, “Do you love me? Do you love me? Do you love me? Feed my sheep.
Love them as I have loved you.” Love is who he is and what he does.
And his nature is in us. We let the graces flow naturally from his nature within and stay in grace through daily love discipline in the Holy Spirit.
Trust and obey, God is love. That message is on a little wall plaque I’ve had for years. When we trust we can entrust our lives and everything of value to him, living every day actively dependent on him to do his work in us. When we trust we view circumstances through eyes of faith, not our senses.
Romans 8 reminds us that nothing can separate us from his love. When we obey there is an anointing, a flow of grace, a peace that passes understanding. Trust and obey, God is love.
When mother Mary said LET it be done, she consented after expressing concern. God is not asking of us a passive acceptance, but a dynamic relationship of trust.
The reality and the power of His love is apprehended or exercised under the influence of the Holy Spirit. It is all grace. God’s work is accomplished by God’s power, the Holy Spirit, with our active cooperation.
Jesus loves you very much. He cares about what you care about. When you walk through the waters, the storms, he is with you. When your heart is broken/torn/bruised, he holds it inside his perfect heart. When you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death he is with you. When you struggle with forgiving someone he will be your forgiveness. He is with you. He is for you/beside you/in you/around you. He is your peace in the storm, your light in the darkness, your hope in dark places, your strength for battle, your life, your very breath. He is as close as your next heartbeat.
When we know we are unconditionally loved and cared for, when we know it in the core of our being, then we relax inside, and let love grow.
This love is not based on worthiness but on goodness and love of God. It is a humbling experience as we realize God loves us despite the fact that we feel unlovable. It is awesome to know that he forgives us though we have done bad things; that he believes in us in spite of our negative expectations. He touches us though we have made ourselves isolated and untouchable. He reaches us though we hide in pain and shame. Awesome God.
Fear and insecurity dominated my life for years. Throughout scripture there are many references to ‘fear not’.
Is 41:10 fear not, for I am with you
Is 43:1 fear not, for I have redeemed you
Mt 10 do not be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows
And then we remember, ‘there is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out all fear’.
Oh Jesus, I trust in you! When I was in Poland some years ago on a speaking tour, our team spent a day at Auschwitz, the death camp. At the end of the day we rushed to Krakow, to the Divine Mercy Center, and fell on our faces on the floor in tears. Jesus I trust in you. The more of ourselves we entrust to Jesus, the more we are open to receive from Him.
Jn 17:10 says all I have is yours/all you have is mine
One time I asked the Lord, “How have I offended you?” He responded clearly, “You still don’t trust me.” “How?” I asked. “With your health and finances.” I searched the scriptures on the theme of trust, Old and New Testament. Trusting God is an ongoing issue with people around the world. Hundreds have confessed to me a similar struggle with trust. We choose to trust, and depend on the Holy Spirit to help us do it. Teamwork.
Pr 3:5-6 trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.
Another time I asked, “Lord Jesus, what would you like to teach me about trust?” These words flowed, maybe partly from heaven:
“If you really knew me, you would never fear again. You would always turn to me to show you what to do. In every tight spot I would show you the way through. In your sorrow I would lift you beyond the pain. In your challenges I would guide you to victory. Even in angry moments I would hold you stable. In your temptation I would activate virtue. In your confusion I would bring order. If you would trust me and entrust to me all your thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions, I could revitalize your life. I am here to be for you what you need me to be. I am for you and not against you. I love you so very much. When you place your trust in people they will let you down. Love them but put your trust in me. When your foundational trust is in me,
even when people betray you, you can restabilize and not be crushed. Even if it causes great pain, even if it is by those closest to you, you won’t fall. It is all about relationship with me.
It is all about knowing and trusting in my love for you.
Throughout my almost 76 years, dealing with breast cancer, death of parents, mental illness with stepson and husband, stepdaughter paraplegic, and all the stressful situations in international travel, I still hold onto the little wall plaque: Trust and obey, God is love.
In my latest, three year battle with cancer, now in remission, I have had many challenges. But
my newest struggle with trust is with my sister, recently diagnosed with ALS, the terrible disease often called Lou Gehrig’s disease. With our parents now with the Lord, there is just the two of us. I recently sat with her in her Oregon home, held her and cried for her life. She can’t talk clearly, her words are jumbled. She can barely swallow, she has wasted away to less than 100 lbs. A retired hospice nurse, who has seen the worst, she is now facing it herself. And I have to say again, and ask the Holy Spirit to help me mean it, Jesus, I trust in you. And then God reminds me quietly, that he is Lord.
Trust is one of the most precious gifts we can give to our Heavenly Father. He wants us to be certain of his love, certain of his care in every circumstance.
Will you trust him with YESTERDAY: with guilt, hurts, mistakes, disappointments, failures, sin, shame. Will you make the active choice to go forward and lay yesterday on the cross and leave it there? Will you say, “Lord, I entrust yesterday to you.”
Will you trust Jesus with TODAY, moment by moment saying, “Lord, I entrust today to you.”
Will you trust Jesus with TOMORROW; will you let your whole life be led by him, taking your hands off , so tomorrow is free for his use? Say, “Lord, I entrust tomorrow to you.”
How do we grow in trust? Tell him, “Jesus I trust in you, I want to trust you, in all circumstances.” We say the words and ask the Holy Spirit to build up the trust. Let’s ask the Lord to release into our hearts the truth about trusting him. The name of Jesus has power.
The world tries to make us afraid, but he designed us for trusting in him. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit he enables us to trust. So let’s tell him, “I desire to trust you, Lord. I repent of offending you by lack of trust. I repent of self sufficiency; for choosing my own way. I repent of trusting in the world, bank accounts, my own abilities. I know that whatever my circumstances, whatever tomorrow brings, you have a loving purpose. I am safe and secure in you. Even when I don’t receive the answers I would like, I will trust in you. I will trust you and entrust to you, from the depths of my soul, all I have and all I am and ever hope to be. Holy Spirit thank you, for creating an environment where trust can grow and be nourished in my heart. Thank you, Father, for the grace to honor you with my trust. In this time of poured out grace, I say from the depths of my soul, Jesus I trust in you.
Rom 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Now about listening. In prayer we come into deeper relationship with Jesus and learn of his love. Then more and more we drop our defenses, yield our hearts, and say “Lord, I just want to please you. What do you want me to do?” Then listen!
Is 30:21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, this is the way walk in it.
Jn 10:27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.
Heb 3:7 Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts
Some years ago at a Day of Renewal in London, where I was a regular guest speaker in the Friends Meeting Hall, with about 1000 people, I was struck by message of a priest in his homily before my talk. He was talking about the journeys of St. Paul, and about how the Holy Spirit said no to Paul going one place, and yes to Paul going to another place. More than once.
This brings to mind how the Holy Spirit guides each of us in profound ways, and simple ways.
I was in Kerala, India, some years ago, speaking to groups at the Divine Retreat Center. On the eve of our departure they asked me to speak to one more group before I left the next morning. It turned out to be about 7,000 people, with an interpreter, from 7 to 8 a.m. My only preparation was a time praying in tongues. But when I stepped up to the microphone, the Holy Spirit took over. He said, “Now say this Linda, now say this.” Throughout the hour he guided me. Awesome God.
My first memory of hearing the strong clear voice of God was in1977 shortly after I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. I had been asking for him to guide my life in a way that was meaningful and self supporting. It happened as I walked to mass one morning, crossing a gas station parking lot. He said, “I will give this to you if you will use the freedom it gives you to honor me.” A powerful, conditional promise.
Over the years since then I have heard his voice in a variety of ways. Mostly inner promptings, an urge in the Spirit, a voice deep inside. When I was in the hospital following a mastectomy for breast cancer, when he asked me to pray for the man in the next room who had been blinded by a gunshot. Or when he told me he was bringing my schizophrenic stepson home. Or a quiet impression that I was to go to Guadalajara, Mexico on a ministry assignment. The effect of each communication was for encouragement, preparation, strengthening.
When I wrote the Miracle Hour, central to my prayers was this: Lord please put a grace within the pages of this book that as people pray it, they will hear from you. He has answered that prayer countless times.
God has a plan for our lives, and he wants us to fulfill that plan and complete the work of our lives. The Holy Spirit will instruct us in how to fulfill his plan. He wants us to hear from him.
There is nothing more important than to hear and obey. And he gives us his Holy Spirit to speak and lead and guide us in our inner being. It’s not good enough to just pray a brief prayer morning and night. We need to stay tuned in all day long, learning to cooperate and flow with him throughout the day. Coming to him with things like this: “Lord how should I feel about this situation? What should I do about that?” Then stay in his presence, focused
Some thoughts about learning to recognize the inner promptings:
-be willing to hear
-time in scripture
-quiet time before blessed sacrament
-pray in the spirit
-ask for more of the Holy Spirit
-take a stand against the enemy
-seek to learn the ways of God
-don’t harden your heart
-choose to obey
The inner voice of God will be in line with God’s character and ways. It will be in harmony with the Bible and church tradition. A good exercise of hearing: “Lord is there something you asked me to do that I haven’t done?” Then listen!
We need to hear from God. Deeply, we need to hear from God. It’s one of the cries of the heart I have heard most often in my travels.
My prayer for you: May you open your ears, eyes, heart, mind, soul, spirit to all the Lord wants to say to you. May you hear him speak words of great love, choice wisdom, clear guidance, fresh hope, deep peace. May you respond to his voice with an open heart and speak to him from the depths of your soul, your hopes and fears, joys and sorrows. May you always know you are loved. God has a wonderful plan for your life. May you enter into it fully and completely.
So now, feel encouraged to practice. Move into a quiet place and say, “Lord Jesus, thank you for pouring out your love. What are you saying to me right now?”
With love from Linda Schubert