In the USA, this weekend we celebrate Memorial Day. In addition to devoting some thought to all those people who sacrificed their lives for our country, how about if we devote some thought to the one person who sacrificed His life for humanity. Memorial Day … let’s make it more than a US holiday this weekend. And for me, I want to make remembering Jesus’ sacrifice more than a holiday thing; I want to make it a way of life.
You don’t see it much these days – the One True Church of Jesus Christ. Yet even if you glimpsed it, you might not recognize it. What does the One True Church look like?
The true church is those people who believe and who let the Spirit of Jesus into their lives. It’s those whom Jesus has taught humility, and by that humility, they have recognized and accepted their utter feebleness. And in their feebleness, they also accept their utter inability to obey and follow God in their own strength, by their own effort. And in their utter helplessness, they realize their only hope in this life is to surrender themselves to the Spirit of Jesus.
The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:6) The mind controlled by the Spirit IS the One True Church of Jesus Christ… the dwelling in which His Holy Spirit lives.
You don’t see it much these days. So how can the One True Church grow and become more visible? Through encouragement. To encourage those who believe in Jesus to give up their religious efforts by their own strength, to give up seeking any religious fulfillment by their own work; to instead, humbly yield themselves to the Holy Spirit. Surrender is the path to the One True Church.
Woke up last night, middle of the night, and my mind immediately started chewing on a problem at work. What brought that on? Why did my mind go there? The stress monster of work had followed me home. And it crawled into bed with me, waiting for a weakened moment to strike.
Oh God, save me from myself!
And then freedom. Wearily I crawled out of bed this morning, but now I feel joy and peace… and freedom from my inner demon, the stress monster.
Each morning is the same. I go in search of the Spirit of Jesus, who lives within me. My mind sometimes resists – for some reason it likes hanging out in that cluttered room of random thoughts. But coffee helps, or at least it wakes me up enough to steer my mind towards Jesus. And then He starts to replace the clutter with His presence. And then freedom, and peace.
There is only one true peace – living with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus. He’s here.
The apostle Paul once said, “The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6) That’s what I want, that’s what I crave. I want to surrender control of my mind to the Spirit of Jesus living within me. And He’ll keep my stubborn mind from diving into that stress-pit every day.
I’ve been on this journey to escape stress and find peace for over a month now. Is this going to end up being some biblical 40-day thing? I don’t think so. Actually, I don’t think it will end, until this body of mine gives out – that’s when the never-ending peace will begin.
But I do believe there is a way to peace on earth, and that is found in a daily surrender to Jesus. I also believe that I’m not able to completely surrender on my own, since my self-centered ego will always fight against it. My ego wants to keep control. But Jesus can overcome my ego. Jesus can take control, and He will, if I sincerely want Him to. What’s impossible for me is possible for God.
Have you been following me on this journey? Are you on a journey of your own? What have you discovered? If you like, please share with the rest of us in the comments below… and thanks.
A grudge is a heavy thing. You can sometimes recognize people who have been carrying a grudge for a long time – they look weary. But our natural human pride resists efforts to forgive. Pride likes to show off its bulging muscles by carrying heavy grudges all day.
Yet forgiveness comes from humility, the enemy of pride. And humility, not being a natural human trait, comes from outside ourselves. True humility is the humility of the Spirit of Jesus, shinning out from within you. It’s not your humility people would see, but His. And maybe Jesus’ humility can spill out of you and shine on those around you – those who carry heavy grudges. Maybe His humility can lighten their load.
Is there someone in your life who cannot forgive you for something you did or said? I wonder how heavy their grudge is. Do they look weary to you? For anyone who cannot forgive you, consider for a moment the weight of the un-forgiveness they carry.
And if you like, please share you thoughts on this in the comments below. Thanks
Apparently it’s a big problem within our society – addiction to porn. And I learned from a good friend who has done some research, that the Christian community is not immune. Addictions lead to pain and suffering, and this porn plague is no different.
So I found myself wondering how people could kick this addiction, or any addiction. Well, I don’t think focusing on the addiction would help. All that does is keep what you want to avoid in the forefront of your mind, which would only draw you deeper into it. You naturally gravitate to what you think about. As some old philosopher type person once said, “We become what we think about” (wish I could remember who said that).
Anyway, I believe the cure for all such things as porn addictions is to rip your mind away from the addiction and focus instead on the Spirit of Jesus within you. The more you think of Jesus and the more you surrender your mind to Him, the more He will draw you closer – you become what you think about.
And with Jesus, there is no painful addiction; instead there’s freedom, and peace, and love.
There’s a portal to another dimension,
an escape hatch out of our stress-filled world.
What’s it like on the other side?
No war, no terrorism, no pain, no hunger, no fear, no hate, no suffering, no pride.
But there’s peace, and joy, humility, and love; lots of love.
Where’s this portal to that other dimension?
The doorway to heaven is inside you.
Look inside to the Spirit of Jesus within you.
He’s the doorway to that other dimension.
Through Him is peace, and joy, humility, and love; lots of love.
Praying my way into another day. Another day at work… meh. Yet in my mind (and hopefully my heart and soul), I hand my self to the Spirit of Jesus within me. He’ll take it from here. Jesus will take this person CJ and carry him through today. Whatever happens today is in His hands, under His control. I can relax and watch. Cool.
And then it hit me: whatever we actually do today doesn’t matter. What matters is that by Him making my feeble and partial surrender complete, Jesus is in control.
Going to work, or staying home, or going to the beach, or going on a hike and taking a nap under an oak tree (okay, that’s what I’d like to do)… anyway, it makes no difference what we do. Anything would be joyful, even work, because Jesus would be in control. This tastes like true surrender. This tastes like peace.
Believe in the truth of absolute surrender to God. He can make it real. And that’s where true peace lives.
This morning God opened my eyes to a truth I’ve long known, but it had faded within the cloud of the noise in my mind.
God created earth. He created light. He created the entire universe. And He created you and me. And this God who created all that exists seems to humble Himself enough to have His Spirit live within wretched little me! Why me? I’m such a messy place for Him to live. Look at all the crap He has to put up with, living within my clogged up and noisy mind, and with my broken and whinny soul. But He’s here!
This morning, the reality of the presence of God within me crashed over me as a wave of pure love. The actual infinite power of God is within me! Oh, I always know this (with my mind), but this morning I felt really aware of it – it is more than a thought, but an intense feeling.
Then my mind flashed upon this journey I’m on – to escape the stress of work and life, and to find true peace. And I thought about going to work today, WITH God who created all that exists!!! The wave of love and gratitude crashed over me again.
And the morning dread that usually churns within my belly as I get ready for work has been replaced with excited anticipation. What will God do today, through me, at work? Maybe He’ll keep me from throwing myself into the stress-pit. Or something bigger?
What might God do through you today? His Spirit lives within you too, if you believe Him and accept Him.
Trying to escape stress, stress of life, mainly stress at work.
I run, but I stumble, and stress tackles me.
So I run to God, to Jesus’ Spirit within me.
Surrender to Jesus and His peace; that’s my soul’s desire.
Yet surrender requires humility, so now I’m running to that.
Then this morning, dark MONDAY morning… something new.
My mind fell into that old stress-pit of brooding over Monday.
Oh how I dread Monday’s.
But then God gave me that “something new,” a new thought.
And I started praying for people at work.
Everyone, especially those who push my buttons and set me ablaze in the stress-inferno.
There’s peace in prayer.
There’s compassion in prayer, even for the button-pushers.
Monday doesn’t feel so bad now.
Monday can be exciting, and maybe fun.
For this Monday I go to work with God.
And we will pray for my co-workers.
While in the midst of that stress-pit of work, I’ll pray for the button-pushers.
Dear Jesus, thank you.
Let’s go pray Your grace upon everyone we meet.
And please help me show them Your love and humility.
Chasing peace? I’m now wondering if I have it backwards. Maybe peace is chasing me. And some days I’m in such a hurry that peace doesn’t have a chance to catch up.
What is peace? Well, if you’ve been checking in on my journey, you know what I’ve found – that for me, peace is absolute surrender to the Spirit of Jesus living within me. He’s right here all the time. But now I’m thinking that I sometimes run from Him.
At work I chase after achievement and praise; often a step ahead of Jesus, and His peace. When I step out of Jesus’ reach, I fall back into the stress-pit. Oh, it happens almost every day.
Wait a minute! I think I know what’s going on. It’s my natural human pride that has me running ahead of Jesus, chasing achievement. It’s my pride that thinks I can successfully survive without surrendering to Jesus. It’s my pride that pushes me over the edge and back down into that stress-pit.
I’ve known for a long time that pride is like a plague that infects humanity. And I’ve known that humility is what I need in order to surrender to God. So on this journey to escape stress and find peace, I think it’s time to change my focus again. Now I’m going to chase humility.
Wish me luck, please.
This blogging thing is weird.
Friends made, not seen.
I notice you when you visit,
when you “like” one of my posts for some reason.
Your familiar postage-stamp image brings me a smile.
Comments help me know you better.
And sometimes I visit your blog home,
and hang out with you for a bit.
I feel we could be friends.
In a way, we are.
But it’s not the same.
It feels hollow; reality is missing.
A friend made, yet not seen.
This blogging thing is weird.
My heart wants more than this.
I think I need a hug.
I wish I had more patience. I want to be at the end of this journey… NOW. I want true and un-interrupted peace… now. The past several days have been filled with sporadic peace and intense stress. I’m running, but I can’t always stay ahead the stress.
For example, take that tension-filled meeting at work yesterday…
I was doing just fine, with my mind focused on the Spirit of Jesus within me, sitting there with me in the midst of that chaos. I felt like I was holding up a shield to protect myself from the tension, a shield held in place by my surrender to Jesus. I figured as long as I kept my mind focused on my being surrendered to Him, I would be protected from the stress that filled the room. I was right of course. But I think my restless mind was feeling feisty.
Someone in the meeting said something that my “self” just couldn’t ignore, and I dived right into the middle of that stress-pit with everyone else. I just had to open my mouth, didn’t I?
You know, this surrender stuff really takes a lot of humility. I’ve got to stop thinking of my self and my precious opinion. I’m beginning to like the idea of keeping my mouth shut. What was it I read in the Bible… “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” (James 1:26)
Keeping a rope on my tongue – now that’s a good way to escape stress and find peace. Humility; that’s what I need. Humility will keep my tongue tied up. I just wish pride wasn’t such a basic part of my nature. Surrender… with surrender to the Spirit of Jesus, I believe He will fill me with His humility. Now that’s what I need.
You know, one thing that’s changed in me over these past 22 days is that whenever I feel stress invading my senses, my mind runs to Jesus. Sometimes I don’t run fast enough. But I like that I’m running in the right direction.
That’s not what I expected.
I wanted to escape stress. Specifically, the stress-pit I tend to fall into everyday at work. And then God showed me a new way to look at this; to escape stress by chasing after peace. And then God showed me that I will catch true peace when I surrender my self to the Spirit of Jesus within me. I’ve been on this journey for 18 days now.
And now that I’m feeling a taste of surrender, Jesus is starting to fill me with Himself, and His Love! My selfish ways seem to be fading. And His Love is consuming and filling me with a compassion for everyone who does not feel His love themselves.
The Church. His Church. It’s hurting. It’s wounded. It’s aching to be filled with His love. But much of the church has wandered from the path of surrender. Much of the church has surrendered to manmade rules, and traditions, and concerns, and agendas – rather than surrendering to the Spirit of Jesus.
Oh, the church worships Jesus, but have they become Jesus? The true church, as Jesus designed it, is the collection of believers in whom His Spirit lives – we are His Temple, His Church.
Where will this go? Where is Jesus taking me? My journey to find peace is shaking up my life.
Dear Jesus, your Love is greater than life. My life is yours. Thank you. Now let’s go heal wounds… with Your Love.
There’s always something to feel guilty about. Sucks. Yesterday, day 17 of my journey to find peace, I was haunted by a memory that filled me with guilt. I hate that feeling. But part of the misery of guilt is my feeling that I deserve to feel miserable. I’m so messed up.
But then I remembered this new path I’m on in this journey, my path to absolute surrender to Jesus. And as soon as I focused my mind on my surrender to Jesus, the misery of guilt disappeared. Now this was weird, because Jesus was one of the people I had hurt in my memory of guilt. But then it hit me…
Surrender to Jesus is freedom from guilt. Guilt is surrender to memories of the past. Instead of surrendering to the past, surrender to the Spirit of Jesus, within you. With Him there is no guilt; only love, and peace.
Surrender is so freeing.
Chasing peace? I now think the truth is that peace is chasing me; always has been. Yesterday, day 16 of my journey to find peace, and peace found me. As I mentioned in my entry for Day 14, I just started re-reading Absolute Surrender, by Andrew Murray. And my eyes, and heart, are opening.
I now see that all along I may have been running away from peace. For my selfish and independent nature always led me away from the idea of surrender, even though my mind has told me for years that I want to surrender. Yet I now believe, with certainty, that true peace only comes from absolute surrender of my life and self to the Spirit of Jesus.
How am I so certain? Well, I surrendered yesterday, for a little while anyway. And I felt absolute peace in the midst of my chaotic world. Oh, my journey hasn’t ended – I don’t think it ever will. For surrender is not just something I can turn on, like a light switch. As I said, I’ve wanted to surrender for years, but I didn’t know how. I’m still not sure. But I think it has to do with love. So my journey continues.
But now that I’ve had a taste of my goal, I’m hungrier than ever.
Dear Jesus, today I surrender all that I am to you, and your love. For it’s your love that conquers my selfish and independent nature. I love you. CJ
What was the essence of humanity in the beginning? I mean way back, right after the creation, but before sin polluted our spirit.
Well, God created humanity in His image, and God is love. Therefore in the beginning, humanity was love. Love was the complete meaning of what it was to be human. The only emotion Adam and Eve felt was love… until selfishness took over, and the sin that spawns from it.
When you see two people truly in love – humble love – you are seeing back in time, to the beginning. In this way, love is a portal to the past, to the time before selfishness and sin, and to a time when humanity lived in the very presence of God. So maybe when you see true love, you are also seeing through that portal all the way to God. When you see love, you are seeing God.
The past two days I felt more like I was chasing stress, than peace. And stress was easily caught.
I’ve been feeling dry, worn out, and helpless. It’s desolate in the bottom of this stress-pit. In my efforts to escape stress, I seem to be drawn back into it. Like there’s a slimy arm with tentacles clutching my leg and pulling me back into the pit whenever I climb out. I’m tired of surrendering to the monster in the stress-pit.
And then last night I remembered a book I’ve read several times. But it was many years ago. Absolute Surrender, by Andrew Murray. So this morning I read chapter 1. No more surrendering to the stress-pit. I choose to surrender to God and His Spirit within me… and the peace He promises me.
All that is me and everything I have is God’s. With that thought in my mind and hope in my heart, here I step into a new day of chasing peace.
When you fall in love with someone, you think about them ALL the time. I remember when I fell in love with the young woman who eventually agreed to marry me – I don’t think she ever left my conscious thought. And her constant presence in my mind filled me with joy and excitement. I smiled a lot.
Day 12 on my journey to find peace – I’m a slow and stubborn learner. The truth of lasting peace has been right in front of me. Though it doesn’t feel real and complete to me yet, I feel I’ve known it all along. Peace comes from constantly thinking of Jesus. And the ability to keeping Jesus in my thoughts, and feeling the presence of His Spirit, comes from my love for Him. As my growing love for my wife filled me with joy, my growing love for Jesus fills me with peace.
Yet yesterday, day 12, was just okay. I did feel a few moments of deep peace. And the truth is becoming clearer to my stubborn mind. But now I’m about to step into another Monday. I dread Monday’s.
Why does it feel like knowing the true path to peace doesn’t help me get there? I sometimes feel like there’s a battle going on inside me, especially on Monday’s. Something wants to keep my soul in chaos and my stomach in knots. Why? Maybe that’s where I need to go next on my journey. What do you think?
Jesus… He in me, and I in Him. (John 14:20) What’s it mean? The He in me part I can visualize. I can see in my minds eye the Spirit of Jesus actually here within my body, sharing space with my soul, keeping constant company with my spirit.
Yet I’ve tended to ignore the I in Him part, maybe because I don’t understand it. But for some reason, I thought about it yesterday morning as I was getting ready to continue my journey chasing peace.
Maybe I in Him means that I’m a part of Jesus’ life, like He is a part of my life. I’m surrounded by Jesus – He’s everywhere, inside and out. I like this. It feels good to me, and right. And hey, Jesus is in you, and you are in Jesus – what does this mean to you?
Well, with Jesus in me, and I in Him, I stepped back onto the path of my journey to peace. Day 11 was a good day.