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Posts Tagged ‘christianity’


Shopping. Some of us love it. Some of us hate it. And, some of us really don’t think about it at all, we just do it.

The shopping experience is an interesting one, especially if you’re on a budget, and you’re trying to stretch every dollar to the Nth degree. Take clothes shopping, sometimes you just need a shirt, it doesn’t matter what color it is or what style it is, you just need it. So, you go looking through the racks and find one, then another, and another and all of them will fit the bill.

But, sometimes you’re looking for something in particular, aren’t you? You need a black shirt to go with whatever, and it has to be in a certain style because otherwise it won’t match. It’s that kind of shopping that is draining because no matter how hard you look, if you can’t find that particular shirt, then the whole thing has been a wash.

Then there are times when the opposite is true. You think you have a lot of shopping options. But, no matter how hard you look, you always come back to the same item, over and over, and, over and over again, until at last you just give up and buy it.

Sometimes I do a little shopping when I pray, and I would imagine that you do too. We keep going back to God with a question, problem or issue, hoping He’s going to give us a different answer from the one He’s already given us, then are surprised when it’s the same.

I don’t really like leadership positions. I try to avoid them as much as possible, preferring to stay in the Shadowlands, and help out behind the scenes. So, when I was first asked to lead a Bible study group, I wasn’t too keen on the idea.

So, I went to God in prayer and got a resounding ‘yes.’ But, I didn’t like that answer, so I let it lay quietly for a couple of days and went back again half hoping He would give me a different answer. He didn’t. It was still a firm ‘yes.’ So, I left it alone for another couple of days, all the while knowing that soon I would be trying to dodge phone calls from the teaching director who needed to know what I was going to do. Again, I went to Him, prayed about it, and again got the same answer. ‘Yes.”

My shopping did me no good, which isn’t surprising at all. After all, God is God, and He doesn’t change His mind. But we would still like Him to wouldn’t we? We all want a god who is going to behave himself, a god who is going to see we don’t want to do something and allow us to dictate what we will or will not do. We want a god who will let us off the hook.

But, He’s not like that. He loves us too much to allow us free rein, and He wants a relationship with us too much to allow us to go shopping for an answer that will please us, instead of one that’s good for us. In short, there are times when we just have to accept that He is God and He knows what He is doing, and no amount of shopping is going to change that.

“But You are the same and Your years will never end.”

Psalm 102:27

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Do you ever think about the words used by different generations? Sometimes I do.

Blocks

What words roll around your mind when you think about God?
(Photo by Inga Munster Cotton)

Words, words, words, words

There are times when my mind takes flight over the undulating terrain of words throughout time. This is usually when I probably should be writing something for work. And, although the argument can be made that sitting and thinking about words is part of my creative process, in reality it probably has nothing to do with it, but should have a lot to do with it.

Either way, whether those words end up in my stories or not, my mind flies over to them,  before wandering over them slowly. What they sound like. What they look like. What they mean. Who says them. And a whole lot more.

I turn them over in my mind, and they’re  like those little wooden blocks that children make towers to tomorrow out of before they all come crashing down around them, causing squeals of laughter, or tears of frustration and remorse. I guess you can say that I love words, and none so much as the common.

What is fierce?

Today the word ‘fierce’ came to mind. As I turned it over and over, looking for its equivalent in today’s world, ‘sick’ came to mind, along with its predecessors, ‘cool’ and ‘awesome’, along with the almost unforgettable qualifier ‘totally’.

‘Totally fierce’ tumbled around my mind for a while, and with its implications of total abandon, protection and uninhibited passion behind it, I found I really liked the sound of it.

Is fierce bad, or good?

Fierce is an interesting word because it can be either positive or negative, depending on what side of the fence you are standing. I would think most people would look at it in its most basic definition of  being, “Extremely severe or violent; terrible” which sounds pretty bad, but it is also defined as, “Extremely intense or ardent” ( both definitions come from the free dictionary.

No gray area with God

So, I got to thinking that this is exactly how God is. Depending on where you stand with Him, He is either the first or second definition. He’s definitely not anywhere in between. There is no gray area with God. He either seems fierce or extremely severe and terrible if you aren’t in relationship with Him through Jesus/Yeshua, or He is fierce about how He feels for you as someone who knows Him through Jesus/Yeshua.

The fierce I AM

It is very clear throughout scripture that the great I Am is fierce. He isn’t some wishy-washy god who changes on a dime to accommodate some vision of what some man thinks He should be. He is who He is and He cannot be anything else. He is fiercely who He is, which can be a little frightening at times because we don’t ever encounter that with anyone but Him.

The intensity with which He feels, and the lengths He is willing to go to get through to us can be frightening. Then when we are in relationship with Him through His efforts, not our own, the ardent and passionate way He loves us can be frightening in its ferocity.

God is fiercely in love with you

At the end of the day, no matter how you slice it, when you really realize that you are in relationship with the fierce One who created it all, including you, and that He is fiercely in love with you. There is no way to respond with anything but amazement, awe, and yes, sometimes even a little bit of fierceness ourselves.

“neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:39

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Our memories are strange things. We get so caught up in our daily living, and our future lives, that a lot of us tend to either bury the past as if it never happened or just conveniently overlook it, treating it as if it didn’t exist because in the present it doesn’t.

Polski: Kamienie pamiątkowe przy grodzisku Bró...

We remember what the Lord has done when we make a memorial.

Although for some people I think this trying to escape the past by forgetting it is just that, escape, for others it’s because we’re just really bad at remembering. It’s like our brains can only hold so much information at one time and everything else past, present and future just falls out if it doesn’t fit with what’s going on right now.

Memories

The other day my son and I had a disagreement over a long past trip to Disneyland. He was only about 3½ years old when he first went and about 4½ years old the second time he went. Even though he has an amazing memory ( he actually remembers things from when  he was 1 and 2) he argued with me that the first time we went was when he was 4. I had to pull out the old photograph albums to show him that yes he had actually gone earlier than he thought.

When he saw the photographs he did remember some parts of that trip. And, it occurred to me that the photographs were a little like small memorials to the trip and every time we saw them we would remember.

Memorials to God

Every once in a while I hear of a book or a teaching about building memorials to God, which is entirely biblical and is a really cool thing, because it does help us to remember what He has done. After all, how many times does He say,  ‘don’t forget’ to His people in the Word? The short answer? A lot. This is because He knows how short our attention spans are, and how we need to remember what He has done or else we just forget about it and start walking around with the delusion that He hasn’t hardly done anything at all.

One of the issues I’ve always had with these memorials is that the people who are advocating them always seem to say they should be outside and usually made of rocks like the ones in scripture. But, I’m just not an outdoor person. The whole point of building a memorial is to remember, but what’s the point if you don’t even notice it? I mean, if I can drive over a blue can and eventually not see it, you can bet money that I’ll walk right past an outdoor memorial to something He’s done and eventually not see it either.

Being a writer, I write things down, but even that necessitates digging through notebooks to find something to remember and doesn’t have that instant impact that takes place when you see a simple thing and are reminded of what He’s done. So, my writing doesn’t actually add up to any sort of memorial either.

God remembers

Because I thought I was someone who didn’t make any sort of memorials, I settled back into the camp of when God wants me to remember something He’ll let me know. This seems to be working, but what I didn’t realize is that He had me building memorials to Himself so I would remember what He’s been doing without my even realizing that He was building them.

I mark my Bible, but not in a way that I’ve ever seen anyone else do it. I’ve tried highlighting scripture only to find that the colors irritated me and I’ve tried underlying scripture that I thought was meaningful but it got too messy for me. But, about 2 years ago I started drawing lines in the margin of my bible next to scripture that caught my eye. After that, I found myself, writing the date next to my line in the margin, but only if God had given me the verse either by making it go 3-D on me, speaking into my spirit or giving it to me through someone else.

This resulted in a combination of those little lines, some just plain and some with dates next to them. What I didn’t realize when I started doing this was that those with the dates are my memorials to the Lord, and just because they aren’t a pile of rocks or outside doesn’t make than any less than what they are, remembrances of Him and what He’s given me and in just the right way for me to remember what He has done.

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”

Deuteronomy 4:9

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Collection of small Bungee Cords

Image via Wikipedia

Typically I’m not someone who likes to get anywhere early. I like to get to places exactly on time, which in some instances means I’m a little earlier than those others who like to be fashionably late, but there are times when I’m the one who’s late – like arriving at church every Sunday just a few minutes late -, but more often than not, I tend to be a little too early in my quest to be on time.

 Because I’m generally a background person – which I prefer – when I get places a little early even though people know that I’m there, because I fade into the background, it doesn’t bother them. I’ve found that this often gives me a bird’s eye view of what happens before the crowd shows up.

 Every Friday, I attend the chapel service at my son’s school. I’m always a little early because there’s lag time between the time I drop him off and the time chapel starts. During this time, I plant myself at the back of the sanctuary and very often listen to the praise team run through the songs they’re planning on singing during chapel.

 Typically, they’re all on board when they get there. So, it’s just a matter of running through that they already know and warming up a bit, but one Friday it was totally different.

 We have a great music teacher who also leads the praise and worship group, which is made up of three girls with wonderful voices. Although their ranges are all different with one high soprano, a lower soprano and an alto, they typically sing within the same melody, and don’t have to truly harmonize with one another.

 But, like I said, this Friday was different. Their teacher decided that they had enough time to truly harmonize and blend their voices one to the other. So, it was like pulling three disparate threads together to form one whole cord.

 When they first began to sing, they didn’t harmonize at all. In fact, even though they were all singing the same words they all sounded like they were singing with their own accompanist. From the back, I could hear each of their individual voices instead of a seamless whole. I could almost see the three different threads of sound weaving their way to the back of the room. But, as they practiced that began to change.

 With their teacher giving them a hint here and an encouragement there, the three began to blend beautifully until you couldn’t distinguish one voice from the other because the three harmonized perfectly into a seamless whole.

 As I sat and watched them, it reminded me of the body of Christ and how all of us are so different from one another. We definitely march to the beat of our own drummer when we become a part of it. On top of that, we all have such different functions in it, one is a healer, one is a teacher, one is a seer, one is a motivator, and so on and so on. Yet, under the instruction of Christ, with a hint from Him here, an encouragement from Him there, He turns us into a fully functioning, seamless whole.

 His bringing us into the body, causing us to pull together with each of our individual gifts and talents, then making a body that actually functions seamlessly is a miracle of huge proportions. He is patiently working with us making the impossibility of us truly coming together in Him not only a possibility, but a reality.

“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.”

Romans 12: 4 – 6b

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ancient tomb in cemetery grounds

Image by Daves Portfolio via Flickr

Sometimes it’s worth thinking about the LORD and the fact the He is the giver of life in its totality whether we recognize that or not. He gives life even from something that not only seems dead, but is in actuality dead. Think of the line of the House of David, Lazarus, and Jesus Himself.

True life from total death, it’s something only He can do and all because of His extreme love and faithfulness.

“Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.”

Isaiah 11:1

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Sharing Is Caring - Fotosöndag

Image by Niklas Wikström via Flickr

Have you ever seen a really good movie that you just had to share with your friends? Or, a book that you couldn’t stop talking about? Or, just about anything that was really good and you just had to share?

A friend of mine is totally like this. Whenever she sees a good movie, reads a great book or goes to a really good restaurant, she tells you all about it with no hesitation whatsoever.

This sharing of hers goes all over the internet too. She makes comments on blog posts she likes, news stories she thinks are worth commenting on and just about anywhere else where she can provide encouragement for the one who has posted the work.

We were talking about this propensity of hers recently, and, she said she and her brother and sister were always sharing all the good things they liked with each other and others from an early age. It was just a part of their family dynamic to share. But then she said an interesting thing, she said that what all of them have found as they’ve gotten older and seen how people are, is that most people don’t share.

I asked her what she meant. She said that she’s found that most people don’t share if they’ve seen a good movie, read a good book, gone to a good restaurant, they just stay quiet and don’t say anything about it at all, which is really foreign to her because there’s no risk in sharing those sort of things.

She said she and her brother ands sister have often discussed this and they just don’t understand it at all, as she put it ‘Why wouldn’t you want to share good news?’

I don’t have an answer for that, because when you’re excited about something and it’s good, you naturally want to share it with someone, whether it’s a really good friend or just an acquaintance. But, for many of us the reality is even if we have the inclination to share something stops us, and, I’m sure for each of us that something is a little different.

Sharing good news should be as natural to us as breathing because it’s an exciting thing to share something good that we’re excited about with someone else, which includes sharing the good news of reconciliation with God through Christ. I mean, it just doesn’t get better than having a way to be in a relationship with the person who created everything, and the LORD is just so amazing that sometimes it’s hard not to talk about Him.

Yet, the reality is that we don’t talk about Him, or, for most of us, very much that we we’re really excited about and think is good, which makes you really think about the question, why don’t we share?

“This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. It began just as the prophet Isaiah had written: “Look, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, and he will prepare your way. He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! Clear the road for him!’”

Mark 1:1-3

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Sencillez / Simplicity

Image by victor_nuno via Flickr

Just the other day I was reading a Twitter post and the first part of the post really caught my eye. It read, “God isn’t like us.”

Think about that for a moment. God isn’t like us.

The whole post actually reads, “God isn’t like us. God forgives and forgets, we remember and punish each other.”

On reading the whole post, I immediately thought about the verse that says He casts our sins as far away as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:11-12). A thought that most of can’t really conceive of if we really took the time to think about it. I mean where is the East from the West? It just doesn’t exist in our little world, but it does in God’s.

I mean how many times do we go back to the LORD and ask for forgiveness for the same thing? And, I don’t mean when we do the same thing over and over and have to ask Him for forgiveness and help with it, I’m talking about when we go and drag up the same instance.

Yet, when we go to Him there’s silence in response to our heartfelt request for forgiveness and we can’t quite figure out why. The answer is simple, when He says He tosses them away as far as the east is from the west it means it’s gone, no need to revisit it, no need to bring it up again because it’s gone.

This little tidbit itself should give us a clue that He is nothing like us, yet we continue to try and remake Him in our image. Instead of stepping into what He is doing and in the process being remade into a reflection of Him, we insist that He conform to what we want Him to be, whatever that may be.

Angry? Check. Vengeful? Check. Retaliatory? Check. And, this is the short, short list of things we believe He is because they are who we are. It’s kind of strange because the list of positive and wonderful things that we attribute to Him, like being loving, kind, gentle, caring, etc. we have a terrible time actually absorbing as true and real, maybe because they aren’t really like us and, even on a good day, we don’t have a very firm grip on them.

Plus, the way He expresses them are so foreign to us that they make us uncomfortable or nervous, or a little bit of both. I mean what god in his right mind would actually come down and sacrifice himself so that the innocent could have a chance at life, let alone the guilty? That’s a god that it’s hard for us to get behind and none of us in our right minds would make a god like that up for ourselves.

God isn’t like us. He is who He is, not who we are. Words we all need to remember on so many levels every day that we follow Him.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” Isaiah 55:8

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