Here and Now

For my birthday, my dad gave me a book. It is called "Here and Now" by Henri J.M. Nouwen. It is about experiencing joy everyday and living in the holy spirit. Let me just say, I am not even half way through this book, and it is amazing! Everything is so simply put and laid out. Good pick dad!

Two passages so far have stuck out to me.

The first one is about choosing joy every day. It is a choice and joy does not rely on circumstances.

"We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day. It is a choice based on the knowledge that we belong to God and have found in God our refuge and our safety and that nothing, not even death, can take God away from us."

The reason I enjoy this passage so much is because it seems like there is always a trial to overcome. There is always something holding us down or an old scar that keeps resurfacing. None of these things should effect our ability to experience joy. Joy comes from a deeper place. A deeper place than where those lies and wounds are.

Another passage that I really liked was this one:

"One of the discoveries we make in prayer is that the closer we come to God, the closer we come to all our brothers and sisters in the human family. God is not a private God. The God who dwells in our inner sanctuary is also the God who dwells in the inner sanctuary of each human being. As we recognize God's presence in our own hearts, we can also recognize that presence in the hearts of others, because the God who has chosen us as a dwelling-place gives us the eyes to see the God who dwells in others. When we see only demons within ourselves, we can see only demons in others, but when we see God within ourselves, we can see God also in others."

This is such a simple statement that I have never pieced together, but is so true. Prayer does a lot of things for me in my life. It calms me, comforts me, grounds me, reassures me, and ultimately brings me closer to God. When I become closer to God, it allows me also to become closer to others. This is especially true in my marriage with Brenton. I think he would testify for himself as well that when we are both in the Word and praying daily, our relationship is better. When I am not holding up my end of my relationship with Jesus, my thoughts change to more negative things. This then makes it easier for me to see negative things in others. I love the sentence about how we can see the presence of God in the hearts of others when we recognize it in our own hearts. We are all children of the same God and share a particular bond.

I hope this is an encouragement to you, wherever and whoever you may be!

Today, choose joy.

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