Have you thought about your thermostat lately? I heard a talk by Charles Capps recently that has had me thinking about thermostats ever since. Capps’s focus is often on the concept of “calling those things that are not as though they were” [Romans 4:17]. If you consider your thermostat, every time you press the button to increase heat, you are calling “that which is not” into being. Your thermometer may still read “65” but if you reset the thermostat to 68, you have the assurance that 68 is coming.
It’s a short leap from your furnace’s thermostat to faith, which might be thought of as the thermostat of your spiritual life. When you decide upon an intention for your life and steadily hold faith that whatever it is will come to pass in your reality, you are setting a faith thermostat to rise from where you are to where you want to be.
Then, it is a matter of not wavering — in the same way that you do not stand in front of your thermostat debating with yourself about whether the heat will rise or not. Jesus is quoted in Matthew 21:21 saying, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt … you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.”
Have you set any intentions for your life lately that you feel strongly enough about to set your faith thermostat?
One of the keys to remaining mindful of your spirituality and the blessings it offers you “on demand” is to surround yourself with items that lend themselves to that purpose.
Three calendars grace my home – grace because all three were carefully chosen for a year’s worth of positive benefit in terms of the mood each evokes. The calendar over my desk was purchased for its theme of “mindful living” and this month’s message reads: “Nothing is worth more than this day,” a quote from Goethe. The calendar by the door was chosen because of its theme, “the gift of Zen,” and this month’s message is “When your mind grows quiet, your heart begins to hear.” (No attribution given.)
Every month these calendars generously provide me with reminders to live peacefully, mindfully, and as much in quiet as possible, and every time I read their messages, I have another opportunity to pause and live in my spirituality. Even a few seconds of pausing to do that benefits my overall day.
And the third calendar – well, that’s full of pictures of happy, playful puppies. What more needs to be said!
What sort of image of God are you holding? You might not be truly aware of what your image of God is without some effort to think about it, to look at what feelings arise in you at the thought of God. Many of us continue to carry images of God left over from childhood that might even be detrimental, but certainly could stand to be updated.
If you’re thinking that now might be a good time to update your image of God, I have something to toss into your consideration. It’s from a talk by the Reverend Dr. Kathianne Lewis, senior minister at the Center for Spiritual LIving in Seattle. Kathianne was speaking about what it means to operate in partnership with God, but her entire description depicts an image of God that you might appreciate (and that I find delightful!). She said:
“You’re moving into a partnership with God. This is God’s job: everything. God’s job is to bless you, heal you, empower you, enlighten you, lift you, guide you, nurture you, love you, live through you, make you vital, make you intelligent, make you wise. It’s a partnership; what’s your job? Your job is to let the universe flow through you, to be part of the flow of the universe – that’s your job.”
Isn’t that a refreshing perspective? How you do feel inside when you contemplate that image of God? It’s one to spend some time contemplating or at least to use as a basis for comparison.
Various places in the Bible make it clear that God wants to be in relationship with us. It isn’t only we who reach for God and try to come closer to God. In fact, the common thinking is that we would not have the idea in the first place of getting close to God if God had not first reached out to us.
A short passage that has a lot to say about our relationship with God is Jeremiah 29:11-13. Most people are familiar with verse 29:11, which reads (NIV): “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.” But if you carry on to the following verses, you find that God has more to say: “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” The context is God speaking to the people who were in exile in Babylon and reaffirming the promise to take them back home. Because elsewhere in the text the Bible claims that God is not a “respecter of persons,” the promises to one group are understood to be available to all.
Promises inherent in a relationship with God, according to this passage, include: 1) assurance that there is a Divine plan for your life and God isn’t forgetting about it, 2) the plan includes a way for you to succeed and be strong and healthy, 3) not only is there a future ahead of you, but it is a positive one in which you can feel hope, 4) your side of the relationship includes calling upon God and praying; God’s side includes listening to you, and 5) your side of the relationship includes seeking God with all your heart; God’s side includes being available for you to find Him.
The promise of relationship continues from there into verse 14: “I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”
You may not be in Babylon, but you might, even so, be in one form of captivity or another. These promises are for you.