Holy Rumination: The One Whom Jesus Loves

Recently, God did something for me!! He took a sermon from our dear pastor and revealed something truly beautiful! Pastor Billy was speaking on the rich man and the leper regarding the chasm between the two. Then he mentioned that the leper was sitting in the seat of honor, to the right hand of the host. I closed my eyes to let it sink in, then all the sudden I saw the image of “The Final Supper” become so realistic in my mind. There in the seat of honor was…JOHN, the disciple whom Jesus loves. While I could not say with any certainty how he came to that seat, I do want to share what this meant to me. This little phrase is another declaration for your holy rumination.

A few little things to set context to my tiny revelation: 1st, the Book of John is often referred to as the “love chapter”. It is the gospel that reveals so much about love and life. 2nd, it is the gospel that tells us how much God loves us! 3rd, in this book, John tell us a little more about certain stories with intimate details. But 4th and finally, because I don’t want you to miss this little golden nugget….HE REFERS TO HIMSELF AS THE ONE WHOM JESUS LOVES!!! He loved himself the way which God loves him! He reminded himself often that he was loved by Jesus. So much so, that others would say the same about him…”You know the one, the one whom Jesus loves. Yeah, that’s him.” I can hear it now!

You might be thinking oh that’s nice and really sweet. But how does that apply to my ruminating thoughts on how I see others and especially myself? Here it is….

I am going to look in the mirror and at least once a day remind myself that Jesus loves me. I am going to say it aloud, “I am the one whom Jesus loves!” When someone else says something negative or untrue about me, I will respond with, “I am the one whom Jesus loves.” This will certainly help my self-talk all while giving me a Holy Rumination! I will continue to use Philippians 4:8 as it applies in situations, only now I will include it in my self-talk.

How will this help how I will see others? You have heard the quote that hurt people, hurt people, right? They do!! People who have a poor self image also seem to do the same. They often treat others with distain or harshness. It is difficult to love others if you don’t love yourself. And it is even harder to receive love from others if you don’t love yourself. You have convinced yourself for too long that you are not good enough and that you don’t deserve the good that comes to you. When you love others, you deserved to be loved back, right?! Yes, indeed you do! If you love yourself, it helps others feel free to express their love to you! Learning to love yourself is likely the most vulnerable you could ever be alone. But if you can’t be vulnerable to yourself while alone, how will you ever be vulnerable with others?

I believe that John understood just how much Jesus loved him that he made sure everyone knew it too. I don’t believe it came from a warped sense of self, but instead it fueled how he viewed himself! If you know that God loved you so much that He sent His one and only son so that you would have everlasting life, then you will feel the impact of that love! That is the kind of love that transforms someone, cleanses, purifies, and reveals the true nature of our God! The Bible tells us that people will know we are Christians by our love. I also think that people will see us as loveable when we love ourselves.

The first two greatest commands sum it up perfectly and far better than I ever could!

 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:36-40

Resurrection Moments

I have been really struggling with where to begin on this blog. Once upon a time, I had a few which I managed to keep updated. There is no lack of ideas, which is exactly the issue…too many ideas are hitting me at once. Not knowing where to begin, I decided to wait. I felt taunted by the blank screen because my longing to write returned with a gusto I have not known before now. So, I waited. It is true that Jesus will meet you in the ‘waiting’.

(I am posting this with no other eyes to edit but mine. Please know it has been a long time and it might be a little rough and written as if I am speaking to you instead. I pray my story (stories) speak to someone and point them to our Father.)

Yesterday was the first Easter spent with my fiancé. It was a glorious day!! We attended a different church than the one we had been visiting. We both felt the connection! It felt so good to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in such a deep way again.

I have been prone to wander my entire life and the last ten years have perfected it. During this time, I kept praying that the Lord would bring a man into my life that loves HIM first, then me. A man that would lead and live in a way that I would not be able to help but follow. Most importantly, I wanted a man who would help lead me back from my wandering ways. Then God sent me Shane….I digress. This post is about an “Easter Moment” a “Resurrection Power Moment” the ones that happen often in our lives after our initial salvation experience. The moment when Christ reminds you that you are HIS, HE calls you HIS own! Once that happens, you feel new life and momentum again through confidence of identity in HIM.

Every single one of us has experienced times of struggle in any given area including our walk of faith. HE has called each of us by name and given us a purpose. I lost mine somewhere in my wanderings. Things would often occur which would remind me of my calling and purpose, but my path was filled with too many distractions. Skipping down my happily down my own Avoidance Lane was fun for a while, but I have grown weary. I was almost too weak to step back onto HIS path. Weaknesses which were drilled deep from sin and shame, hurt and blame, habits and hang-ups kept me from doing what I knew to do. You get the picture…I had become the prodigal daughter. How could I make it back home?

“Oh, Purpose, Purpose! Where for art thou purpose? If I would give it any other name, I would have to deny my Father.”

My friends had begun sharing personal journeys with me and how they felt the desire to open their Bibles, pray, study, and go to church. Still happily skipping along Avoidance Lane, I would faintly hear His voice calling me back. He called me to begin with prayer, pure one on one fellowship. As prayer began to be a priority, I started getting reminders of my purpose. This was all well and good, but I still felt all the above and now extra guilt because like Paul, “I know the things I SHOULD do, yet I don’t; I know the things I SHOULD NOT do; yet I do!” This is my confession relating to Paul’s as written in Romans 7:13-25. I really do know what I am supposed to be doing! Yesterday, I was convicted of allowing my stumbles to keep me from my calling. I quickly realized that pride was keeping me in the continual loop of failure. (PRIDE! such a nasty word) It was a perpetual cycle of self castigation instead of allowing the resurrection power to restore me. I suppose I would rather beat myself up instead of allowing HIM to heal me!

Sometimes I still feel like He could not possibly use me (again) for the purpose He called me to. As my Father would often do, He keeps pulling me to Him. Through friends and my fiancé, He was able to get me to assemble with other believers. We tried one church and we both love the pastor and the people but just did not feel it as our church home. As Shane worked through leaving a church he attended for years so that we could find one together, he mentioned going to a friends church. Shane played some online sermons and stories for me. Not only did I like this pastor’s style, he was saying what I really needed to hear. Yesterday was the first day we attended that church. The Holy Spirit was speaking to me and over me the entire service. It was refreshing and moving which filled the longing within me.

The pastor shared a very personal message about a time in his life where a church had turned on him. The details are his but the story was similar. Fear has kept me from finding a church home until now. His testimony spoke all over me as if the Holy Spirit had delivered it Himself. No doubts about it, the message was for me yesterday. It is all I can think about! To see this man lead a church again where they love on his vulnerabilities and humanness is pure encouragement. He called this an Easter Moment, where God reminded him of WHO HE is in Christ! A resurrection moment where He called him by name and reminded him of his purpose.

My Easter (Resurrection) Moment is this: HE keeps reminding me that HE can indeed still use me. HE is the one who called me. It is fear, not faith, keeping me from this purpose. If the pastor can have another church, then I can serve again too. He equips the called instead of calling the equipped. It is by HIS power alone can my call to women’s ministry ever happen. It never was and certainly never will be by my power alone.

YES! Lord, YES. I will serve YOU!

Abiding Still,