Monday, August 31, 2009

Seeking God

My daughter recently got a new and bigger ipod which was pretty cool for me because I got her old one. Minus the music that is. I was very excited and for a few days put lots of songs (38) on my new device. I am sure that 38 songs is actually a pretty lame number but it is a strange mix of songs that speak to me. One of my favorites at the moment is "What do I know of Holy." For me it speaks volumes about my life as a disciple. The older I get and the longer I walk the more I see in myself that I know so little. I am beginning to see that our lives are not about this earth at all which is a bit unsettling. My life is about putting on Christ, being his ambassador, and bringing His Good News to all those around me. I mean, I would have always said that, I think we all say that. But I don't live like I believe that. I have forgotten how lost I once was and how lost those around me are. My life is cluttered with to-do lists and multiple distractions too numerous to name. What do I know of Holy? It is a good question. I have challenged myself to spend the next 40 days seeking God. I'm not sure exactly how I'm going to do it or what it will look like but I am going to do it. I need more of Him because life is hard. I need more of Him because many around me are lost, I need more of Him because He is life and He is the ultimate answer to every question. I need to learn to fast because the Bridegroom is not here yet. I need to pray for the needs all around me. I need to know Him who gave me life and is the keeper of my days.

Monday, August 24, 2009

"If God were Real"

We were born to serve a real and living Savior. "He who comes to God must believe that He is." There it is, a far from simple concept put into simple words. Most live as though they question this concept. They lives that are far from the adventure God wants them to have. I know a little of this as I so often fail to live the adventure of a life abandoned to God. I have been reading in Hebrews, a book that is rich and one that scares me when I come to it. This time was no exception. I approached it unwillingly and even thought about skipping ahead and coming back to it later. I did not allow that and so entered this book that is rich with the meaning of what it is to be a believer. It tells of our history and of entering into the rest of God. It speaks of being a living sacrifice and throwing off the weight of sin that keeps us from joining the throng of "those the world is not worthy of" in Chapter 11. I loved it as I remembered that I am but a pilgrim here, without roots, planted in God and meant for His glory and service. How grateful I was for those words that make sense of my chaotic messed up life. I am His and He has a purpose and adventure for me. In his book, "If God Were Real," John Avant challenges us to live the adventure of belief. He states truthfully that Christians often make the mistake of believing that going deeper with God means learning more about the Bible, going to church more, or studying with other believers. He believes that all of these exercises actually make us more sleepy in our Christianity and leave still "unconscious of what God wants." The truth is, you and I were born for more than Bible studies and church services. We were called to action. God compares us to soldiers in a battle. He urges us not to get entangled in the cares and affairs of this life and to lift our eyes to an eternal perspective. He urges us to realize the end of those who do not believe and live with passion. It is not easy to go against the prevailing culture and tide of religion but we must. Avant says that we must become "disillusioned" if we are determined to live a life that is genuine and embraces the reality of God. We must throw off the shackles of religion and ask for more. The true and real God of this universe will give us life, adventure, and the joy of doing His work for Him. Because we are soldiers it will not be easy and there will be casualties among us, but we can walk confidently knowing that He has already obtained our victory and we are destined for eternity. God is real. It is time that we embraced Him for all He is and all He desires for us.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Psalm 137:1-6
(1)By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept when we remembered Zion.(2) We hung our harpsUpon the willows in the midst of it.(3) For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song,And those who plundered us requested mirth, Saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!" (4) How shall we sing the LORD's songIn a foreign land?(5) If I forget you, O Jerusalem,Let my right hand forget its skill!(6) If I do not remember you,Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth? If I do not exalt Jerusalem Above my chief joy.

Sometimes I feel a bit captive and I will be painfully honest. I sometimes feel trapped in a life I would desperately like to have control of and feel is spinning out of control. Normally I am not much of a control freak; I'm pretty laid back and take things as they come but this past year has taken away much of my love of spontaneity and I find myself longing for a much more "normal" existence. I would at least like a clue of what is coming around the next bend but alas I am asked to walk blindly, trusting that the Lord knows what He is doing. Knowing God knows what He is doing is not too difficult actually but trusting myself to cooperate the way He wants me to is scary. Every day it seems I disappoint myself and I'm sure disappoint Him. The answer for me lies in remembering that He is the God who knows the end from the beginning. My slips and stumbles are no great surprise to Him and I trust that my God has built them into the equation of my life. I so long to get it right and to please Him. I struggle with envy at those who seem to have an easier journey, failing to remember that most struggle and pain is kept privately and unseen. I also feel deeply the pain of others going through trials and at times fail to "sing the Lord's song" in this foreign land we journey through. Sometimes these posts of mine seem so dark but I am posting the journey where I am at. I pray that joy will manifest itself also in my journey and have been praying that God will so fill me with His peace and joy that I will more reflect Him instead of reflecting myself. After all, I am His ambassador in the good as well as the hard times. As always He is good and His mercy upholds all of us daily as we walk with Him.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

He Knows

Today I was struck with the reality of how corrupt the world we live in is. I felt the hopelessness that must be the reality of so many today. I also saw my nearly total preoccupation with my own existence and feelings and how little I care for those I do not see. It is also true that I am careful not to let myself not to see too much. There is a wonderful young lady in our church who knows what it is to have much and how it feels to have it taken from you. She knows how life can turn brutal and what it feels to be alone. She struggles with fear, anxiety, and in living her newfound faith in Christ. We share a deep desire to have a mission each day of our lives and we each feel that sense of unease when that mission is difficult to find. She is a joy and teaches me much. I want to be better after being with her. I worry that she will succumb to the struggles she lives.
These past months have been a struggle for me and I also fear that I will let the struggle have me and not live in Christ through it. It is way too easy for me to live in my feelings and to sink a little into the darkness. Most days are good but there are still too many days that are about me. I ran to my refuge today and thank God for the prayer room. It saddens me that so few are using it. I pray that when you are struggling you will find a sanctuary of prayer. Those of you who go to my church I pray that you will avail yourself of this wonderful room. It is a quiet place away from all of the distractions that so easily take us away from God. I prayed until I found that peaceful spot. I realized that this is the answer. When I struggle, when I fear, when I feel that I am useless, when I feel that there is no hope for the despair I see all around me, when I fear that my loved ones will never come to Christ, I can come and pray until I rest in the God who alone is the answer. I am in Hebrews right now and this verse is perfect. "Therefore he had "to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews 2:17-18. He knows every feeling we feel and every temptation we go through. He "learned obedience through the things he suffered," so understands the sufferings of this life. He is here and he will answer our cries.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Day with my Family

Today was our families annual gathering at my sister's in Ellensburg. Melody was able to make the trek over with me which was fun and we had a great time on our road trip! It is always a wonderful time with too much food and way too much hilarity! We are a crazy bunch but I love it. I was asking God yesterday what He wanted me to do at the reunion, how I could be of service to Him. I don't know why I always think this way but I do. It seems like I always need to see purpose in every day and event instead of just being able to let things happen. Anyway, I felt God tell me to listen. You see, I can sometimes hear without listening. I often just hear words without being able to decipher what is behind them. I would love to tell you that something wonderful and divine happened because I was paying attention today. The day was wonderful and full of great stories and what was different was that I found myself concentrating on each of my dear family members as they spoke. It made me feel closer to them and helped me to talk less (always a good thing!). I found myself praying for each of them on the way home and looking forward to the next time we will be together. I am blessed. God has given me a wonderful family to love and I need to pay attention and listen when I am around them. Too often I make life about me, either worrying about what others will think of me or thinking about what I will say. Today it was nice to not worry about any of that and just be together with them.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Heat Reflections

Yesterday, while driving my daughter to work in Monroe, I had the strangest feeling come over me. Suddenly I was cold! Just the day before I had questioned whether or not the air conditioner actually worked. Turns out it works just fine as long as the temp stays below 90 degrees. It seems that after 90 the poor little air conditioner is not able to keep up. It is the same story in my house with our little room air conditioner. It seemed like the unit had quit functioning since the house still seemed unbearably hot, yet this morning as I write this, the room seems almost too cool. It too, seems to function best when the temp stays under 90. I function best at 73 degrees myself and wilt with each increasing degree. For me it still seems unbearably hot but this is summer, my least favorite season of the year! The heat in my life functions about the same way as the heat in my home and the car. When my life overheats from the difficulties and crisis in my life it can seem like the air conditioner, God, is not working. It just seems hot and difficult and unbearable. It can feel like nothing is changing and that nothing ever will. It is a hot, dry, and painful place to be. Like heat, lifes difficulties can make us shut down. It is hard to keep going in the desert. It takes every effort we have to stay focused on God and believe that He is working in our lives and in our situation. But if we endure, when we don't give up, we come to a cooler place, we see that God is working. Like todays weather, it is still hot, the kind of hot that a wimpy western Washingtonian like me does not like, but in the heat we can feel the cooling presence of God. He is there, in the midst of our deepest crisis. There may be a few days when we don't see what He is doing. There are days when we may doubt that He is paying attention to our pain, but hang in there. He is there, the cooling breezes will come. He is in control. He does love His children. Struggles are lonely places. It does not matter whether you have told anyone what you are going through or whether you keep it quiet, they are a lonely place. Others can encourage us, pray for us, love us, and even help us, but they cannot fix or bear the troubles that each of us go through. We walk with God through life, its joys and its sorrows. We bear them together with Him. In your desert spot it may seem that God has forgotten you, but He has not. You may feel utterly alone, but you are not. You may wonder why life is the way it is. It is in that moment that we must believe without seeing, hope without knowing the outcome, trust that the quilt God is creating is beautiful and that my pain is allowed to perfect His design.