Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Be Still and Know That He is God

I remember reading somewhere that you can tell if a man is a Christian by his reactions. Ouch.

Psalm 46:10 puts it this way; “Be still, and know that I am God.” Another version puts it, Our God says, calm down. Thomas Merton phrased it, “Be empty and know that I am God.” The idea of being empty makes sense to me. When I react poorly I am usually full of myself, full of the flesh. I tend to excuse it by labeling it a natural human reaction, saying I had no time to think, but I am beginning to believe that this is a copout. God expects more of me than natural humanness. I am now His child and a citizen of His Kingdom. If I can get to the place where I live my life empty of self I won’t need or want to lash out because self will not matter. The bad news is that in order to do this I must be willing to empty myself of everything that could be labeled self. Give up the fear that I will lose my place and importance. Give up the anger that so quickly builds when my rights are stepped on or when I take up an offense that is not my own. Give up the bitterness of past hurts. Give up the hiding; the worry that others will see who I really am instead of the mask I put on. Give up the rage that is behind every un-forgiven memory, every shattered dream, every unfair deal we have felt forced to accept. Give up the idols that we have made for ourselves. This is only done as I give my life daily and intentionally to God. It is only done when I take the time to draw near to God on a daily and sometimes moment by moment basis. The truth is that in the moment I react badly life is all about me. In those moments I can feel God trying to rein me in and pull me back. But self and the flesh are stern task masters and in the matter of our reactions they are denied only with great difficulty. When we are still; calm down, and are emptied of self we stand a chance. Be still, empty yourself, calm down, and know that He is God.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I Put my Trust in You

Sometimes I am afraid...

...I put my trust in You.

Some days I feel overwhelmed by life...

...I put my trust in You.

There are days the future seems like a scary dark tunnel with no light...

...I put my trust in You.

Many days I feel like a failure...

...I put my trust in You.

Some days I wonder "why" ...

...I put my trust in You.

There are days I feel like I am losing it...

...I put my trust in You.

Some days I REALLY DO lose it...

...I put my trust in You.

Every day I am in need of Your grace so...

...I put my trust in You.

Friday, March 18, 2011


I have been studying the topic of hell this week and it has been a good reminder of its reality. Hell is a very real place where way too many of those we love, family, aquaintences, and the faceless of sea of those we don't will end up without Christ. Mostly I don't think about it. Mostly I live my life out without concerning myself with this ugly reality. Mostly I am selfish with my faith. It has been sobering to say the least. It has lit a fire under me to pray and do whatever I can to reach people for God. It has woken me up. Lately I have been complacent, doing my job, dealing with life at home and huge changes in my personal life. But really, I don't have time for too much of that. In Japan this past week, thousands went to eternity in an instant, most without God, most without hope. I know from experience that life can change in an instant. Our eternal destiny can change in an instant as well. When we invite others to church we give opportunity for lives to change in an instant. When we share with others the reason for the hope that is in us we give opportunity for lives to change in an instant. I am asking God to help me focus on His mission this year, apart from all other focuses and really give my life to Him, not just in part, but all of it. It has been good to be reminded. Life is fragile, but also eternal. We have work to do.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Life Trek, Forgiveness, and Rob Bell

Great night at Life Trek talking about anger and forgiveness, watching a Rob Bell Nooma DVD. He has such a way of putting things in perspective for me. While he talked about how forgiveness is about letting go and allowing God to deal with people, and about not letting what others do to you effect who God made you to be he took it a step farther. He shared that true forgiveness happens when you are wishing that person well. I think sometimes we think we've forgiven people when in truth we are just sitting back and waiting for God to get them or at least for them to have to suffer the consequenses of what they've done. But God doesn't do that. God forgives us and gives us life. God forgives us and tosses our. sins into the depths of the ocean and remembers them no more. God forgives us and provides for our sin while we are still deep in it. I am afraid that too often, especially in my recent past, I have not lived in that kind of forgiveness. I am guilty of allowing the sins of others to affect my today. There have been days that I have wanted justice more than mercy but I thank God that God didn't want that for me. I am thankful that mercy always triumphs over judgment and the goodness of God is shown in His boundless forgiveness and grace. So grateful to walk through Life Trek together with a great group of kids. Praying that each of them find the God of forgiveness that I am so privileged to serve.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Long Winter

It can be hard to write from a low place. I know my mom will worry if I struggle and I don't really want people to know it. I like saying that I am fine and revel in its acronym, Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional; fine. Not thinking I'm neurotic (overanxious) but the rest of them seem to fit. It is in this place I struggle to connect with God each day. It is both harder and easier. It is easier as I run to Him so often nowadays. I tell Him everything; all those things that you can't say to anyone else. Harder in that it feels like I am missing something; that I must have done something wrong because it feels like life is a bit of a trainwreck. I know and believe the Love of God but also struggle with the concept. It makes little sense but it is what it is. I am overcome with emotion on a daily basis right now which I hate. It is so often a lonely walk even when I am surrounded by people. I try to give myself permission to feel what I feel and to not be "fine" but am impatient with the process and frustrated. I am grateful for the prayers of so many of you. In some ways this past month has been one of the hardest. I know I need to let it be what it is but I do so long for spring. It has been a very long winter.