Divine taproom

there was no place for them in the inn. ~Luke 2:7

Looking for a place for the Son of God to be birthed. Would you believe there were no rooms available? They don’t yell at anyone, or force their way in. They simply move on to wherever there was room for them.

And this is still how it is for Jesus today. It’s been said that we can have as much of His Spirit as we want or will allow. It depends on how much space we make available. Jesus typically doesn’t barge in and start moving your stuff out of the way. He politely asks and waits. Do we make space for Him? A mind filled with worry or what’s next or what people think leaves no room for the Son of God to come in, let alone have a place to sit and actually stay a while. He doesn’t yell, or force His way in. He simply lodges where He’s welcomed, where there is a vacancy.

The room we allow for the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to tap into the spiritual power and energy of Jesus, thus the “Divine Taproom”. Without divine power, this world will crush you. Do you have any vacancies? Or are all your rooms booked up with human ideas and influences? It is imperative, and extremely challenging today, to make space for Jesus to fill us with His mind, with Himself. To do this, we must have times of evacuation. Some people call this a “brain dump”. The only way I have found to do this is to be still and silent, to let all thoughts settle and drift away, then simply listen to what the Lord may want to say to me or show me. This can be done with Scripture of course (lectio divina), a prayer word (centering prayer), while taking a walk, staring at a tree, or just sitting in a silent room. It’s difficult to overstate the peace, refreshment, guidance, an energy I gain from this oh so simple practice that anyone can do. To clear out a space for Jesus to come in and sit and talk–there’s nothing better, for there is no better house guest.

God is easy to please

My yoke is easy to wear; my load is easy to bear.” ~Jesus

God is easier to please than humans.

You ever think of that?

For some, that may be difficult to grasp depending on one’s view of God, but I have come to realize that people expect more from us than God does–in a certain sense. And included in “people” is me. Sometimes I expect more of myself than God does. I tend to think I should do more than I’m capable of, but God knows intimately my limits and is like, “Slow down there, little camper.”

By “in a certain sense” I mean that though God desires to have all of me, which sounds daunting, He simply wants my heart–my trust, my sharing of experiences, my love, and yes, my obedience–but not a bunch of accomplishments or, thankfully, perfection. And when I think of how good, loving, powerful, wise, and sacrificial God is, as Jesus showed us, it’s a pleasure to give myself.

One day it hit me that doing my part, even in a worldly sense, is still only one seven billinonth of the total. Doesn’t sound so overwhelming when put like that. Heck, even if I’m really killing it for a whole week, I’m still probably only doing five seven billionths of the load. Problems seem to arise from the toxicity of comparison, and thinking we should do other people’s portions. We’re only called to do our own unique part, and that with God’s energy and assistance. Now for you ten-talent folks you’ve got a bit more responsibility than us two-talent friendos, but you’ve also been blessed with the ability to carry it out, so you don’t actually have more to do, per se, simply more to draw from that’s been gifted to you for Kingdom purposes.

Dallas Willard often said that God is more concerned about the person we’re becoming than in our accomplishments. That the gift God gets from our life is who we become. I couldn’t agree more. Now God can accomplish any task on His own (but apparently likes to work with us, which is cool). But you can almost say that God cannot make us become a certain kind of person, because then we would just be like a programmed device. Becoming a God loving person, more and more Spirit-filled, taking on the mind of Christ requires our choice and effort. I think this is done mostly by sitting at Jesus feet like Mary did, while her sister Martha was concerned about many things. Notice Jesus did not harshly reprimand Martha, for she was doing good things. I always envisioned Jesus smiling while he playfully told Martha, “You’re troubled about so many things. Just get over here and be with me already.” I believe all that we need to do and accomplish will, and indeed must, peacefully flow out of this feet-sitting.

The one thing

“…you are troubled and concerned about many things.” ~Luke 10:41

One of the very basic lies of the world is this:

You should really care about, and give lots of energy to, all these things that don’t have much, if any, relevance with your actual day to day life.

Now of course the lie isn’t packaged like that–all telegraphed and easy to sidestep, but that is the core of what’s going on.

We live in an age and culture of readily available information overload to a degree which we probably cannot even fathom. With this sensory assault tends to come a nonsensical pressure to care about more than we could ever have the capacity for in twenty lifetimes, let alone this one that we’re living now.

There’s only a relatively small amount of causes I can genuinely care about, indeed only a few I should care for, yea perhaps just one–according to Jesus–that I need to tend to, for it will take care of all the others.

When someone tells me, “Hey, three people were shot in Chicago!”, you know what the first thought I have is?

I need to go to Kroger today.

Because that’s my life and where I actually live. It’s not that I don’t care about the people up in Illinois, it’s just that I have quite a limited capacity, and most all of it, relationally speaking , is taken up already.

Funny, I was thinking through all of this at the laundromat about a week ago (story for another day), and I glance down at the newspaper beside me to see this headline: INDIANA BATS NEED SUMMER SAFE SPOT with the subheading of: GROWTH AROUND AIRPORT REDUCES ROOSTING SITES. Now, again, it’s not that I don’t care at all about the bats God made, but it just made me chuckle and wonder where I could possibly find the space to devote care to Indiana bats’ roosting sites.

For me, the priority every day is time with God, sitting at Jesus’s feet, listening to His Spirit. Then, I needs must work to be a decent husband, then a present father while our daughters are still in our home. After that, there’s a couple people we help who can’t help themselves. Also, a good practice I have found, is to pray for five or six of my closest people everyday, as well as a rotation of a few others. And of course there’s those many necessities like going to Kroger and doing laundry…All that to say, there’s not really quality space left over to devote to the plethora of things the world would have me devote myself to. My neurological reall estate is way too valuable to allow the world to manage it for me.

My encouragement to you today is to not allow the world to dictate what you devote your energy, especially your precious thought life, to. Always give God that wonderful privilege. If you listen, our Lord will direct your path, and it will always be in the way of righteousness.