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“Centering on Jesus”

My mother-in-law was an extremely bitter and unhappy person that seemed to make it her mission to make everyone close to her miserable too. She would have readily said that she “believed in God”, all the while keeping her “new-age” crystals handy.

Fortunately for her, she was the recipient of much love and many prayers from her daughter.

As a testimony to the power of God, eventually, as the result of decades of prayers, conversations, and numerous other efforts of her daughter, after 80+ years of existence on this earth, she submitted her life to Yeshua.

Her subsequent years were really something to see. A blind person could see the dramatic changes in her. The fruits of the spirit were truly ripening on the vine… I have absolutely no doubt that I will be seeing her again in eternity.

Dramatic Change

Clearly, it is God who is responsible for the dramatic change we saw in her. However, Holy Spirit often only responds to the prayers and ministry of the saints. There is no doubt in my mind that her daughter’s faithfulness is largely responsible for the miracle that we all witnessed.

During those later years, she always kept a devotional on her coffee table. That devotional was “Jesus Calling”. She spoke of it often.

I have several devotionals that I very much enjoy. I use most of them with some regularity. However, recently I was given a beautiful edition of that same devotional, “Jesus Calling”. So yesterday (February 20) I thought I would see what it had to say and I am glad I did.

Is Yeshua your “Center”?

It talked about making and keeping Yeshua as your “Center”. This devotional has been severely criticized for being “new age”. I haven’t used it long enough to speak to that but from what I read yesterday I can easily see why shallow-minded religious people would view yesterday’s writing as “new age”.

I am not a new age expert but I do have an idea of what it means to be “centered”. Nevertheless, I wanted to see what being “centered” meant from their perspective. Following is an excerpt that I found on one new-age web site.

“Being centered means having a reference point, a place to come back to when life and emotions and stress push you off balance. Being ‘centered’ … doesn’t mean we are always there, it means we always know where to go back to.”

Before I go on let me be clear, I am not, promoting or encouraging the new-age religion in any way, shape, or form. It is a false religion that leads to death. I strongly encourage you to stay away from it.

Jesus Calling Devotional

Now, back to “Jesus Calling”. Time will tell, but from my brief exposure to it, I wonder; is the reason this devotional receives so much criticism is because it utilizes language that new converts can understand? Is the fact that it seems to be absent the typical “Christianese” language a problem to the Christian Pharisees?

Would it be better if we asked people if they have been “washed in blood”? Is it wrong to speak to a culture in a language that they understand? Or should we just “lay hands” on the unsuspecting?

I for one agree wholeheartedly with what I read today: I DO want to “center” on Yeshua. I do want Him to reside in the “deepest depths of my being”.

Perhaps this devotional doesn’t reveal the deepest, hidden mysteries of God that I thoroughly love to pursue. “Something that few mainstream religion resources ever do:

However, as we come to God as little children, so far, I would certainly say it has its place.

After all, devotionals are not intended to reveal hidden secrets themselves: Their purpose is to help facilitate your relationship with God so that you can come to a place in your relationship in which He will reveal them to you directly as you pursue Him in a deeper way.

For me, yesterday its place was to help me meditate on Yeshua being at the most inner core of my being. Is that bad? If so then I have been living in sin, in that way, for many years now.

A devotional is after-all a devotional; a starting place intended to facilitate your relationship with God, not define it.

One of the lines in the devotional is “There is a gold mine of peace within you waiting to be tapped”. What a wonderful truth to embrace. The Hebrew word for peace is “shalom”: Nothing missing, nothing broken. That is what God promises for all who seek first the Kingdom of God.

I very much appreciate being reminded of the Shalom that God offers all of His children.

As far as “Centering” on Yeshua goes? I certainly want to keep Yeshua as the center of my life. I hope you do too. The world would be a whole lot better place if more people did so.

Blessings in Yeshua
Parson Rayphe
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