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How does one move along the spiritual journey to the experience of the Father's loving presence?
Common sense tells humanity that the precondition for experiencing the lovableness of others is the presence of love in their hearts. In so far as love is in your hearts, you can experience, you might say, touch, taste, hear, and see love in others. People can be surrounded by love, but if love is not in their hearts, they remain blind, deaf, and insensitive to its presence in others. Only love in your heart awakens you to the lovableness in your surroundings. And only perfect love can awaken humankind to the perfect love of God.
God Is Love
God is love: perfect, eternal, infinite, pure love. The face-to-face encounter with God involves the experience of perfect love. The primary internal change that Christ must effect in humanity, therefore, is that which makes people capable of experiencing pure love.
To repeat, the love in one's heart allows him to recognize and experience – to hear, see, smell, touch, feel, and celebrate – the love he meets within others. Absent such love in your heart, you can be surrounded by wonderful, loving, and lovable persons, but you will remain deaf, blind, and insensitive to the presence of their love. What is true of the love you meet with in this world is equally valid of the experience of the company of God's love.
If people cannot recognize and respond to the lovableness of those they can see, hear, and touch, how can they recognize and respond to the invisible presence of divine love? Jesus puts it that If He has told you earthly things, yet you do not believe, how can you possibly believe if He tells you heavenly things? If you do not respond to the love you see around you, how can you respond to the love of God that you cannot see?
In Wendy Veronica Lisare's book on her Journey Into Perfect Love through spiritual growth, she shares the intimate details of her journals from an unhappy childhood, through a loveless marriage, a divorce, the loss of a granddaughter, and a battle with cancer to a rewarding nursing job and a second career as a minister of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The testimony of the author and the spiritual tools she learned along the journey will inspire all who read her book to move through their challenges to God's perfect love and the other side of fear.
The Way Of Love: 7 Practices For Jesus-Centered Life
Below are the seven (7) practices to achieve a Jesus-centered life. Read on.
Turn (pause, listen and choose to heed Jesus). Jesus calls humanity to follow the Way of Love like the disciples. With God's help, you can turn from the powers of sin, fear, hatred, injustice, and oppression toward the way of love, truth, hope, justice, and freedom. In turn, you reorient your life to Jesus Christ, falling in love again and again.
Learn (reflect on Scripture daily, especially Jesus' life and teachings). By reading and reflecting on the Scripture, especially the life and teachings of Jesus, you draw closer to God, and God's word dwells in you. When a person opens his mind and heart to Scripture, he learns to see God's story and activity in everyday life.
Pray (dwell intentionally with God daily). Jesus teaches humanity to come before God with humble hearts, offering their concerns and thanksgivings to God. Whether in word, thought, or deed, individually or corporately, when a person prays, he invites and dwells in God's loving presence.
Worship (gather in the community weekly to praise, thank, and dwell with God). When you worship, you gather with others before God. You hear the Good News of Jesus Christ, confess, give thanks, and offer the world's brokenness to God. As you break bread, your eyes are opened to the presence of Christ.
Bless (share faith and unselfishly give and serve). Jesus called His disciples to give, forgive, teach, and heal in His name. The Spirit empowers people to bless everyone they meet, practicing generosity and compassion and proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ with hopeful words and selfless actions. You can share your stories of blessing and invite others to the Way of Love.
Go (cross boundaries, listen deeply and live like Jesus). As Jesus went to the highways and byways, He sent people beyond their circles and comfort to witness God's love, justice, and truth with their lips and with their lives. You go to listen with humility and join God in healing a hurting world. You become a Beloved Community, a people reconciled in love with God and one another.
Rest (receive the gift of God's grace, peace, and restoration). From the beginning of creation, God has established the sacred pattern of going and returning, labor and rest. Especially today, God invites people to dedicate time for restoration and wholeness - within their bodies, minds, souls, communities, and institutions. By resting, you trust God, the primary Actor who brings all things to their fullness.
There is no specific order you need to follow. If you keep a Rule or spiritual discipline, you might reflect and discover how that path intersects with the above practices. By entering into reflection, discernment, and commitment around the practices of Turn - Learn - Pray - Worship - Bless - Go - Rest, humanity will grow as communities following the loving, liberating, life-giving way of Jesus. His path has the power to change each person's life and to change this world.