Beliefnet
Safe Place with Ruth Graham

What a glorious day we have today! Perfect Spring day with the sunshine, fresh mown lawns, crystal clean air, warm with a cool breeze. What I need is a hammock. and a few hours to enjoy… But regardless, everything is better when the weather is perfect. (No. My mood does not depend on weather – but I find it easier to enjoy life when it is a pretty  day.)

Romans 5: 2b-3a  says, ” Let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God. Moreover, let us also be full of joy now!” (Amplified) Don’t you love that?!

Suppose you had an invitation to have a private audience with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace. (Or whoever you think is awesome.) Wouldn’t you look forward with a sense of anticipation and excitement? I wouldn’t be able to sleep for weeks! Or remember when you set the date for your wedding – how eager and excited you were… You had to wait for it and the closer the day drew the more excited you got.

That is the kind of anticipation Paul is talking about! But Paul is not talking about something we have to wait for – it isn’t a future event.  We don’t have to wait for the fulfillment – we can experience the joy God’s glory now!

The preceding verse says, “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” (NIV)  So…our ticket in is Jesus Christ. It’s like knowing Prince William who takes us into the Palace and we are allowed to stand, walk around, sit, play, eat in the Queen’s very presence! No restrictions. We have a relationship with her and can enjoy the access freely. As we enjoy the access and glory of royalty we are full of joy and happiness. (Please understand these comparisons are pale, at best, but I hope they get the point across.)

In the same way we have access to a relationship with the glory of God though Jesus. We can stand, sit, walk, play, dance, eat – live –  in His presence, freely. No restrictions of guilt, shame, sin, condemnation, unworthiness…only acceptance, unconditional love, joy and peace. That is a mind-blowing thought. And it is not some future event when we die – we do it now – today! That’s something to shout about!

 

 

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We have had a more than a week to worship the risen Savior! We were attuned to the sorrow of the Savior during Lent and more so during Holy Week. We celebrated the Resurrection with joy in our hearts. We had Easter egg hunts, feasts, family get-togethers…now it’s over.

We are back to the everyday grind. Our calendars keep us focused forward rather than inward. Our schedules keep us too busy to spend much time in  contemplation. We rush from thing to thing. At least I do!

God would have us “Be still and know I am God.” We have talked about this before. It  is  battle to be still. But this morning as I was feeling a bit frantic due to an over-filled schedule this week, I realized that I cannot really know God while rushing through life. His place is a place of stillness.

What does “still” mean? “remaining in place; free from noise; hushed; calm…

I have so little of that in my life. But I am trying to practice it more and more through “centering payer” or “prayer of Examen”. It’s just really a way to be more mindful of God throughout the day…

First I quiet myself by breathing deeply several times and remember I am in God’s presence.  2.) I ask the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts and imagination and begin to imagine Him being with me where I am.  3.) I think though my day – the good things, His grace and care.  Be thankful. 4.) Anything troubling me, I ask Him to hold it, keep it. 5.) Then I ask myself some questions: Where did I experience God the most today?, Where did I experience Him the least?, What am I most thankful for? 6.) Thank God for being with me and bless Him.

It is in practicing this that I am able to be still – I am a work in progress with a long way to go. But as I go back to the well to draw from Him, I am refreshed for the day ahead.

 

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“Rise. O Church, and lift your voices, Christ has conquered death and hell.

Sing as all the earth rejoices; 

Resurrection anthems swell.

Come and worship, Come and worship, 

Worship Christ the Risen King!”

Hallelujah! He is risen!

He is risen for those grieving the loss of their children who were on the S. Korean ferry boat. He is risen for those who lost loved ones were on the  flight 370 lost at sea. He  is risen for Oscar Pist0ris so full of regret. He is risen for those in the Ukraine. He is risen for President Obama and President Putin. He is risen for those suffering in North Kora, the Sudan and countless other places. He is risen for the Democrats and for the Republicans. He is Risen.! Hallelujah.

Let us rejoice as those who have hope!

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“A cross of all things – a guillotine, a gallows – but the cross at the same time as the  crossroad of eternity and time. as the place where such a mighty heart was broken that the healing power of God himself could flow through it into a sick and broken world. It was for this reason that of all the possible words they could have used to describe the day of his death, the word they settled on was “good.” Good Friday.” Frederick Buechner

Indeed it is good!

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