Inspiration for the future

One of my favorite Bible verses is Jeremiah 29:11.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (NIV)

What I love about this passage is in the original Hebrew language it uses the word “shalom” to describe God’s plan. Shalom is one of those words that is packed full of meaning. It means peace, welfare, goodness, prosperity, total and complete wellbeing all in a single word. Imagine that! God’s will for you is goodness, welfare, peace, prosperity, complete and entire wellbeing. “God’s will” is a verb — it’s an action word. So, God is enforcing goodness, health, and wellbeing in your life.

When Jeremiah, the prophet, spoke this message to the people of Judah who were exiled in Babylon, it was a much needed message of hope. After the tumultuous events of 587 BCE including the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and the Babylonian conquest of Judah, God’s promise was that God would restore the land and abundance, God would return the people to their home and out of exile, and there would be joy and celebration. It didn’t look like there was peace, but this message assured them that that was indeed God’s plan and so it came true.

This message is true for you, too! One time when I was feeling anxious about the future, I remembered this passage and God’s promise. This reminded me that God is in charge and God’s will is only good. God didn’t cause me to feel anxiety or doubt about my future, and I could overcome these thoughts by trusting God’s presence and power. I felt such a sense of peace and an assurance that God, good, was with me.

So the next time you are tempted to doubt or despair, know that God is not out to get you. Instead trust and remember that God’s plan for you is shalom — goodness, joy, peace, health, prosperity, and wellbeing, and God is willing this in your life!

Living Love

“True prayer is not asking God for love; it is learning to love, and to include all mankind in one affection. Prayer is the utilization of the love wherewith He loves us.”

– Mary Baker Eddy

I listened to an inspiring podcast today about learning to love and utilizing the love that God has given us.  Even the fact that this Q&A chat was taking place was heartwarming to me. Sincere questions were asked and responses were given about the general question “how can we love more?”

In the face of disease, limitation, violence and fear, love is the great healer of all. The New Testament refers to this “love” in Greek as agape love. Agape love is the unconditional, divine love with which God loves us.

Does this mean that God sees us a frail, limited humans with many faults, but loves and pities us anyway? I don’t think so. I feel that God sees us as His image and likeness, totally spiritual, living completely above and beyond the frailty of matter. God sees our true, spiritual identity before any human history, limitation, or mistakes have been assigned to us.

And the more we align our view with God’s, through humility and quiet confidence, we can see ourselves as innocent; as unfallen; as the pure, spiritual creation of an all-loving, infinite, creative Deity.

It is actually our original spirituality – you could say our spiritual perfection – that enables us to love – to express the tender, heartfelt compassion of God – towards others. This love is powerful and healing because it is the “utilization of the love wherewith He loves us.”

So, if you are feeling down today or a friend is sick or any other circumstance is going on, consider expressing and feeling the love of God surrounding you, embracing you, healing you – and your friends, neighbors and family.