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In John 14, in The Message, Jesus said, “because a loveless world is a sightless world. If anyone loves me, he will carefully keep my word and my Father will love him–we’ll move right into the neighborhood! The message you are hearing isn’t mine. It’s the message of the Father who sent me.”

In chapter 15 he said, “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves AT HOME (my emphasis) with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is–when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.”

What does it mean to be AT HOME IN HIS LOVE? Security, confident, hopefulness, trust, intimacy, oneness, companionship, growth. Living in my neighborhood, in my home… I’m in community with Him and with others who are also in an intimate relationship with Him and with me.

How thoroughly do I love my father God? is it possible to love him as thoroughly as the Lord Jesus loved his Father? How did he demonstrate his love for his father? by carrying out the Father’s instruction, down to the last detail.

I desire a moment by moment, organic, intimate relationship with the Spirit.

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this morning i entered His neighborhood in the labyrinth;
i entered with my hands and heart open to the Spirit.
at the first turn, my right foot was drawn
toward the little round circle in the “inbetween” area…
my toe touched and then I moved on.

i continued around the curves, down the long stretches,
turning, hesitating, my spirit reaching on.
moving toward and then away from the center, again–
that little enclosed circle drew me.
my left foot entered it,
and i stood, one foot there, the other still on the path.
something moved in my spirit.

with hope I moved on.
upon arriving at the center, the need to lie on my face that
i have been feeling all week overpowered me.

lying down on my face, feet still on the path, face and body in the center,
i felt my spirit open once again to his Spirit… asking once again
for that incredible filling, for that anointing… and all at once,
in the quiet of his love i realized i was, in a soft breath whisper,
praying in the spirit… prayers rose and fell, ebbed and flowed,
intense, soft, with a touch of tears.
after a long time, i finally sat…
eyes at first closed… hands open, receiving his love.

the journey back began with joy, but then i arrived once again at an
intersection with the little circle… i contemplated it.
did i want to enter it?
why was i so drawn to it, and yet repelled?

i put one foot in, drew it back and then continued on… soon to arrive
once again at the circle. this time i had to enter.

i put both feet close together and stood there…
and the Spirit said,
here i am… with you in the tightest, most circumscribed places and times
of your life… in that long, intense dark winter night you experienced for
so many years…

he took me back there… crying, shaking,
realizing at a new deep level that he was always there…
and looking back at the large center circle, i realized that there i had relived
the day at age 15 when i first encountered filling of the Spirit;
i relived the day when after years of ministry
i once again experienced and encountered
the Spirit when anointed with oil i found myself on my face on the floor with God…

as the deep moment lifted, the memory images receding
i found my feet back on the path,
walking slowly, but with lightness,
until it was time to leave.

may i continue to live and walk in your neighborhood, oh Lord…
in the twists and turns, in the long walks
and in the tiny circles.

Have you ever wondered what God wants you to do? Have you ever wondered if God will give you any gifts or abilities so that you can serve Him? Paul wrote about spiritual gifts in his first letter to the Corinthians. If you have ever read or studied that book, you know that the people of the church in Corinth were a mess. There were so many problems in that church; Paul began the letter addressing all of the divisions and contentions, the lack of moral judgment and the immaturity of the believers. But after trying to straighten them out, he returns to the fact that, as God’s children, each person in the congregation had received some spiritual gift(s) so that they could be involved in ministry. If you wonder what gift you might have been given,  you can learn more about your spiritual gifts by going to this link and taking the spiritual gifts assessment:

http://tinyurl.com/2jn9pj

Read what Paul says in I Corinthians 12:

God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful:

wise counsel

clear understanding

simple trust

healing the sick

miraculous acts

proclamation

distinguishing between spirits

tongues

interpretation of tongues.

All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when.

The Message… I Corinthians 12:4-10

Where the mist rises from the sea
Where the waves creep upon the shore
Where the wrack lifts upon the strand
I have seen the Lord.

Where the sun awakens the day
Where the road winds on its way
Where the fields are sweet with hay
I have seen the Lord.

Where the stars shine in the sky
Where the streets so peaceful lie
Where the darkness is so nigh
I have seen the Lord.

The Lord is here
The Lord is there
The Lord is everywhere.
The Lord is high
The Lord is low
The Lord is on the path I go.

Landscapes of Light: An illustrated Anthology of Prayers; David Adam

Psalm 84; The Message.

What a beautiful home, God of the Angel Armies!
I’ve always longed to live in a place like this,
Always dreamed of a room in your house,
where I could sing for joy to God-alive!

Birds find nooks and crannies in your house,
sparrows and swallows make nests there.
They lay their eggs and raise their young,
singing their songs in the place where we worship.
God of Angel Armies! King! God!
How blessed they are to live and sing there!

And how blessed all those in whom you live,
whose lives becomes roads you travel;
They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks,
discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain!
God-traveled, these roads curve up the mountain, and
at the last turn–Zion! God in full view!

God of the Angel Armies, listen:
O God of Jacob, open your ears–I’m praying!
Look at our shields, glistening in the sun,
our faces, shining with your gracious anointing.

One day spent in your house, this beautiful place of worship,
beats thousands spent on Greek island beaches.
I’d rather scrub floors in the house of my God,
than be honored as a guest in the palace of sin.
All sunshine and sovereign is God,
generous in gifts and glory.
He doesn’t scrimp with his traveling companions.
It’s smooth sailing all the way with God of the Angel Armies.

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