Tag Archives: relationship with God

Unafraid and Thankful

I doubt that very many of us will give thanks this Thanksgiving for our suffering. It is so counter-intuitive. And yet our willingness to suffer for God is such a gift. I suppose it is mostly because our arch-enemy said we would never do it. He loves to ask God to test us. I don’t think Satan thought we were capable of suffering and staying with God. By now he must know we are capable, but he knows as humans we fight against it and struggle with understanding it. It is foreign to our creation. We were made to run on love, and to live in beauty and goodness and peace.

Suffering is probably the one thing that really sets us apart for God. Because we would never naturally do it unless we were horrendously abused from childhood. Even then sometimes we will fight against it. But to choose suffering for a greater good, a huge cause, or the good of someone else is what God did; and I think that is what it means to “fill up the sufferings of Christ”–not because God wants us to suffer–but our willingness shows an attitude like His. He hates suffering more than we do! But Jesus chose to suffer to set the universe free–above suffering forever.

When God created freedom, the possibility of suffering was an option, and when it became a reality, They chose suffering rather than power as Their way of dealing with it. It wasn’t just Jesus who suffered–They all went through his suffering–it was probably worse for Abba and Ruach. They believed that They should experience the consequences of creating the possibility to suffer.  They could have picked up Their power and squashed any rebellion. But They knew the only right thing to do was taking responsibility for creating a world (a universe) where something could go wrong.

Suffering shows character, anybody can get angry and retaliate, that’s natural to broken beings. But suffering gracefully makes us stand out as definitely His–when we do it willingly, unafraid of anything as long as They are with us.

Last week I wrote about my friend who just learned he has brain cancer, and is facing death; his faith and attitude are amazing. Last Thursday I saw my friend,  who has suffered terribly with cancer–more than I can even imagine suffering. She was minutes away from death a year ago, and also last month, but rallied again. She has had a stroke, lost her sight, most of her hearing, and her ability to eat and taste, but her love and faith and strength of spirit is even stronger than it was before. And she was already full of them! Watching her family cope with it has been an education and a marvel as well. She told me every day she wakes up with excitement for what God will do that day because He hasn’t let Satan kill her. She said every day she is getting better!

What an idea! Unafraid of anything that comes because we know God and know They are with us! It makes us truly “Bulletproof” (I love the song by Citizen Way.) And it proves that relationship with God is not only possible, but the only thing that really matters! I don’t want to suffer (of course), but I want that intimacy with Them! And when I look back at my life, the suffering has been worth it. Worth what? Getting closer to Them. Knowing God. Experiencing Their incredibly sweet unlove and friendship.

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Your Resident Genius

We watched the President’s get together Thursday night. I liked it. He was open, relaxed, unbiased, direct, and inclusive. He was supportive of all groups represented, non-threatened, and non-threatening. He was honest about the problems, and yet encouraging and hopeful.

David Muir did a great job of setting it up and moderating. It was the first time I had seen a President do that–like a town hall meeting only better. Getting diverse people to sit together, share, ask and listen is huge. Kudos to David if it was his brain child, almost like group therapy, just a little more structured, and a little more wow factor. They were invited to be in a group with the President of the United States! They could even ask questions if they had made arrangements to. An experience they will always remember.

This week I read a description of the advantage we have as God’s children. We have a resident genius living with us–God’s Spirit. Why don’t we use Him? He is always with us, waiting for us to talk to Him. Why don’t we ask Him questions? Or ask His perspective on what we are going through? How does He view what we are struggling with? What are His plans for keeping us safe? You can have an audience with the King every day! Just by choosing it. Really. I do.

Some days it’s richer than others. And it will morph over time. I started by purposeful breathing. And then added talking and listening at the same time. Now I curl up next to a big pillow like I’m on His lap. Some days its all about me, and that’s it. But I always end up better. Other days, many of them, I get His thoughts, His perspective, on what I’m working on or wondering about. It’s great! Even better than having the honor of sitting in a group with the President!

As I said last week, Jesus warned us it was going to get ugly–it did again this week–in France, and my oldest sister finding out she has cancer. So many people grieving and in fear! We need our Resident Genius to get through this, to keep our hearts strong, warm, and well. Don’t let your heart get cold because of evil. God wins! It isn’t all good, but it will be.

 

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Experimental Freedom

I read the term “experimental religion” once and was intrigued. But it was years before I began to practice it. I had prioritized relationship to God–well, at least the discipline of it–a good habit, but fairly rigid. I’ve written about making God real–the practice has been interesting and rich. Recently, it’s gone to a new level.

I was challenged by Oswald Chambers idea of 1 in 60: that is, taking 60 seconds of every hour to celebrate who you are. More precisely, whose you are–God’s. It is very hard to train yourself to do that every hour, even asking for help. So I decided to use my smart phone for something smart. I set it to go off with these tinkling celestial-sounding chimes every hour to remind me.

It has been great! I love the interruption, and if I’m not in the middle of something with another person, I let it go for what seems like a whole minute while I am articulating thanks. Then I touch the screen to see if it has been a minute. All my alarms are set to go off at 59 past the hour, so it is very easy to see when the minute is up.

Even if you are talking to someone you can shoot up thanks. And even if I am on the phone, I can hear the faintest background chime and I know.

It was funny the first time it went off, I thought where is that chime coming from? My neighbor must have gotten new wind chimes. Then I discovered it was my phone’s alarm. I had already forgotten! Now it’s been a week and so far I love the interruption!

Yesterday my grandson and I were on the phone. He had just gotten his first phone for graduation to middle school and so called me. We talked 45 minutes and one thing was about his moving up to big church from kid’s class. He admitted he was kind of bored, and then said they had told him what he already knew–you need a relationship with God, but didn’t tell him how to do it.

I shared about setting my alarm and told him it’s hard for God or people to say do this or that because then it becomes the only thing, rigid, a formula, a legality.

Would we tell people how to have a relationship with a person? Some of us could use that instruction, but it isn’t the way it is. Usually, you meet someone, you are attracted to him or her, you share something in common, one of you pursues the other, you make time to be with them, and then more time to be with them with more sharing of yourself. The more fulfilling the relationship is the more time you make for the other.

So it would seem that a relationship with God would follow a similar path. He is always seeking us. Once we see Him and are attracted to His personality or character, we begin to give Him a little space in our heads-a little time. Then as we get to know Him, we are drawn to more time, and as we are fulfilled, we make more time–we may fall in love—hopefully that is where it goes. There is no one safer, or more fulfilling, or more exciting to be loved by and to love. But it does take time and effort–just as you make time for a friend.

But keep it real–make it experimental. If you don’t, and you say the same things every time you get together, its going to get boring. And seriously, that is disrespectful, at least once you know better. Give God time to be God, let Him talk and don’t monopolize the conversation! Let Him be real. Experiment.

 

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