Reflections on Bible verses

1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Being Free to Love

Jesus came to us to help us overcome our fear of God.
As long as we are afraid of God, we cannot love God.
Love means intimacy, closeness, mutual vulnerability,
and a deep sense of safety.
But all of those are impossible as long as there is fear.
Fear creates suspicion, distance, defensiveness,
and insecurity.

The greatest block in the spiritual life is fear.
Prayer, meditation, and education cannot come forth out of fear.
God is perfect love, and as John the Evangelist writes,
"Perfect love drives out fear" (1 John 4:18).
Jesus' central message is that God loves us with an unconditional love and
desires our love, free from all fear, in return.
Henri Nouwen

Psalm 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.

A Still Place in the Market

"Be still and know (acknowledge) that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).
These are words to take with us in our busy lives.
We may think about stillness in contrast to our noisy world.
But perhaps we can go further and keep an inner stillness even while we carry on business,
teach, work in construction, make music, or organise meetings.

It is important to keep a still place in the "marketplace."
This still place is where God can dwell and speak to us.
It also is the place from where we can speak in a healing way to all the people we meet
in our busy days. Without that still space we start spinning.
We become driven people, running all over the place without much direction.
But with that stillness God can be our gentle guide in everything we think, say, or do.
Henri Nouwen

Luke 6:19
... and the people all tried to touch him,
because power was coming from him and healing them all.

The Healing Touch

Touch, yes, touch, speaks the wordless words of love. 
We receive so much touch when we are babies and so little when we are adults. 
Still, in friendship touch often gives more life than words. 
A friend's hand stroking our back, a friend's arms resting on our shoulder,
a friend's fingers wiping our tears away, a friend's lips kissing our forehead ---
these are true consolation. 
These moments of touch are truly sacred. 
They restore, they reconcile, they reassure, they forgive, they  heal.

Everyone who touched Jesus and everyone whom Jesus touched were healed. 
God's love and power went out from him (see Luke 6:19).  
When a friend touches us with free, nonpossessive love,
it is God's incarnate love that touches us and God's power that heals us.
Henri Nouwen

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

What do you use for your life's compass?
No matter how insightful, wise, experienced, or knowledgeable we may be,
only God can guide our steps properly.
God asks us to trust him and his wisdom even
when we can't immediately see the rationale behind it.
He wants us to recognize his presence, guidance, and grace in all we do.
As we trust and as we acknowledge his presence,
we suddenly realize that our paths are a lot straighter and
our destinations are a lot a closer.