Tag Archives: What is God like?

Amazing Robe–how sweet the Grace

 

I wrote this 5 years ago. Thought of it the other day, and found it. Love it.

Imagine a church as a storefront with a huge window that boasts the most beautiful, amazing piece of clothing that was ever seen.

It’s flowing like a robe, but advertised as the one piece of clothing you will ever need. It fits every one who puts it on perfectly from head to toe. It moves with you, never impedes movement, never in your way, breathes, is always perfect for the climate you’re in–cool in summer, warm in winter, and more cozy and comfortable than your old faded cotton pajamas.

And the look of it–no one can describe it. But no one ever gets tired of looking at it. It looks soft and inviting, yet regal and stately. It shimmers and sparkles but is never gaudy or obtrusive, never shouts look at me! It always looks appropriate, never dowdy, and never embarrassing.

When you’re wearing it, people look at you; you see in their eyes You look terrific! They smile and say, “Love that outfit, you look so good in it.” as though you’ve never worn it before. EVERY time! In fact they look at you again and again as though they just can’t look at you enough. When they invite you anywhere, they say “Wear that robe thing.” They never get tired of seeing it.

People ask, “Where did you get that?”

And you always answer, “A friend gave it to me.”

“Really?” They ask. “How could I get one?”

“You just have to ask,” you say. “Just have to be his friend.”

“But can I buy one?”

“No,” you say.”He doesn’t sell them.”

“But surely for the right price…” they counter.

“They aren’t for sale.”

“Not even for a million dollars for one robe?”

“Not even a billion for one robe.”

They look at you like you’re crazy. So you say, “They are priceless. There isn’t enough money in the world to buy one.”

“But they’re a gift?” they are almost sarcastic now.

“Right” you respond.

“And I can get one? Is this guy like impossible to like or something, that he bribes people with these clothes?”

“No, he is actually the nicest, most caring, most helpful, most respectful, most encouraging friend I’ve ever had.”

“Ok, then what’s the catch? Nobody gives something of value for nothing.”

“I already told you, you have to let him be your friend, let him love you.”

“Ah, so that’s it. He wants to control you. Buy you with that robe, so he can own you and do whatever he wants with you or to you. Your his love slave.”

“No, it’s not like that. He really just wants you to be your best self. As I said, he wants to be your best friend. He wants to love you into your truest self. That’s why he gives you the robe. It makes you look your best, feel your best, do your best. It covers all the things you don’t like about you, all the scars you have. It makes you beautiful because he wants you beautiful and happy and free, strong and able to love.”

“Wow!” they say, heads shaking. “Wow! Tell me more about your friend.”

Is this overstating the graciousness of God? I don’t think so. This is how I see it–how I see Him and His gift of identity.

I haven’t fully experienced it yet, but I “get” more and more of Him.

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The First Shall be Last and the Last First

I learned something in church. “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.” It’s in the gospel of Mark and my pastor nailed it!

Jesus was the first human to succeed living in contact with God. Eve believed Satan in the serpent and failed. Adam tried but failed when Satan tested him through losing Eve. And every human since. But God became human, our do-over, our servant, or the last; and yet he was first to succeed passing every test Satan devised by trusting and depending on God. 

He was God–first in the universe, but died as a criminal, the lowest or last. And now he has been raised to the position of first in the whole universe. “All power and authority has been given to me.” He is now first in honor and authority because he laid power down and became last.

I’ve heard it many times, said it many times, but never truly understood it, not like that.

I just always thought it related to everything here is backwards. I’ve thought that for years. It is true because we were made to run on love and we don’t now, but have you ever wondered why everything is backwards?

Kids wonder. “Why do we have to go to bed when we aren’t tired and get up when we are?” Especially teenagers want to know this one!

And even little children wonder why they have to eat green food they don’t like instead of ice cream they do like. “Why do we have to learn to like vegetables? If candy and ice cream isn’t good for us, why did God make it? And if vegetables taste bad why did He make them?”

Good questions! And many more need answers, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” “Why do bad people make money and have everything they want?” “Why are evil adults allowed to hurt children?” Many of them never recover. Some of them act out their pain and shoot a bunch of innocent people.  Trying to make things fair?

Why does a loving God allow evil and suffering? The two don’t seem to fit together. Why don’t They destroy evil? Why didn’t they long ago? If you read the Bible you can read a long time before you come up with answers. Well not really. It’s there in the third chapter of Genesis, but it isn’t on the surface and it isn’t explained. Even when you get to the New Testament it isn’t explained. It’s being demonstrated.

Why?

God didn’t want it to be My word against his. They (three persons in one God) needed us to understand the war between good and evil that we are in the middle of. Tonight I just saw pictures from HUBBLE, our space camera, on TV. They were phenomenal. I knew it was a big place–100,000,000,000 galaxies! But seeing it is so cool! I’m pretty sure we were not the first world of beings created but the last. We were the grand finale, because we were a new order, given the gift of procreation! And yes we blew it.

We are some tiny speck of a planet in a small peripheral galaxy and yet we are the focus of interest because God came here and  became one of us! Wow! Our war story is a love story also, all the way through, and is better than any out there. You can read my version of the story in episode 1 of Love’s Playbook. But back to my question. Everything is backwards here because we don’t know how to live love. We were made to run on it, it is how we do best, but we aren’t so good at it.

I’m not talking romance, just love, the kind of perfectly balanced pure energy that gives to everything else. If we try to give to everyone it is usually from deficit called pleasing, or worse, because we don’t really understand love. And because we have dual natures.

This is probably all getting too heavy so let me just say that God is demonstrating the difference between love and evil so we can choose. In fact we must choose. God created us free to choose and that is why things don’t make sense here. That’s why evil is allowed with the suffering it brings. Because our failure requires that each individual chooses. And that is why freedom is so important. Love is only real if it is freely chosen.

Next week, I’ll share a love story that I’ve just finished writing for Love’s Playbook book 7. It is a metaphor of our story and answers the most important questions beautifully.

 

 

 

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God as a Parent

I was raised with shame, were you? It was a pervasive style of parenting. I doubt if my parents even knew it. It was a way to control behavior–how they had been raised–change behavior by making you feel bad about what you did.

The emotional punch was “not good enough,” that’s how it felt. And it left a residue that covered you like slime or sticky dirt. You felt like you couldn’t get rid of it, would never be good enough, would never make it, never measure up. I very much doubt they could have changed it if they had seen it. It was how you raised children then–slime them with your feelings of anger,  disappointment, discontent, disapproval.

I do think it changed behavior, but the high cost was self-doubt and self-loathing that caused paralysis and second-guessing; or anger and acting-out. And it seems the internal conflict of brokenness gave us all that as a starting point. The first effect of being separated from God in Eden was recorded as shame. It is a natural bent. A propensity, a tendency we all have now.

It explains why God has had such a hard time parenting us. It’s our default setting. And God doesn’t deal in shame. He is extremely direct, modeling honesty for us, dealing with facts and consequences–telling us what they will be so we can turn around and make a course correction. Always trying to help us minimize shame by accepting our guilt and dealing with it redemptively.

Interesting that shame and guilt don’t go together with God. He simply says, “Admit what you’ve done, and I’ll help you find a way out of it.” He doesn’t criticize, doesn’t condemn, doesn’t shame us. He deals with facts and treats us with respect, leaving us free to choose how to handle our indiscretions and missteps. No, He doesn’t come personally to us the way He did with Cain; wouldn’t that be neat! But it didn’t help Cain. He already had an attitude set in place that prevented good choices.

But look at how God dealt with him. First, he comes to him. Understanding that Cain doesn’t know death. The whole universe has only seen death of animals and plants at this point. He was jealous, he was angry, and now he is a murderer. He should have been horrified, and maybe he was inside, but he doesn’t go to God, he doesn’t even respond to God who comes to him and says, “Where is your brother?” giving him a chance to own what he has done. And Cain gives him attitude: “How should I know? Am I his babysitter?”

God ignores that and goes on with facts, “What have you done?” Imagine God’s pain. The first murder in this broken world that started out so perfect. He loves Cain. And He knows he doesn’t know what to do, can’t think straight after realizing what he’s done. But maybe there is an opportunity to reconnect with him now. He’s been blaming God and growing hard feelings.

No answer.

“Your brother’s blood cries to me from the ground.” (I know what you did. You can admit it.) God had made man from ground, given him life and blessed the design; now Cain in killing Abel has returned him to the ground, bringing the curse of death to himself personally. So God describes the effects, “The ground is ruined for you, and your guilt will drive you away. You will have no peace.” (Can’t you just feel God longing for repentance. Just ask me what you should do! Please turn to me for help! Together we can fix this.)

But Cain blames God for the curse that isn’t from God. It is from Satan, God’s adversary who activated the law of sin and death. Cain knows this–he’s heard the story a hundred times. But it made him angry with God.

And here is his chance for change. His opportunity to make another choice. To turn around and go towards God.

But instead he says, “My punishment is more than I can bear.” (He may have been the first narcissist. It’s all about him, and he blames God.) “You have driven me out. And I will be hidden from your presence, and be a restless vagabond. And whoever finds me will kill me.”

Uh, who said anything about punishment? And weren’t you listening? The curse of sin and death has driven you out–your own guilt. God doesn’t want you to go but to fix it with His help.

So, God says, “OK then, I will put a mark on you, and anyone who kills you will have seven times the retribution” (life for life).

Why didn’t God let him be killed? He could have stopped a whole bunch of evil people from being born.  One, He loves him, two, its important for him and the universe to see the development of the curse of sin–maybe pain and suffering will bring him back, three, Cain asks God to intervene for him–and He does! He touches God’s father-heart that wants to give us good things more than we do to our children.

What could God have done for Cain? With Cain’s request He could have changed his heart, forgiven him and reinstated him in his family, taking his shame and guilt so he wouldn’t have had to leave.

Jesus favorite topic was Abba’s father-heart of love for broken humans. He showed us how God parents. He promotes and protects freedom and dignity. He won’t force us to make the right choices, but He would so like to be invited to help us sort them out. He doesn’t protect His kids from everything bad, but He goes through everything with us. He is always with us if we want Him to be. That is the ultimate parenting. Always available, always caring, never intrusive or taking over. He deals honestly, but not harshly.

After writing seven books of the Bible trying to understand and tell the story of God as a good parent, dealing with dysfunction in His family, one thing I see is we don’t understand God or His goodness because of preconditioning and language, and because of the brevity of the stories in scripture.

I invite you to read the series and fall in love with a new picture of God. He’s not a pushover, anything-goes grandparent, but He is a good, good father.

 

 

 

 

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A New View of God’s Wrath

 

Don’t you love Psalm 16:11? “In your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Wouldn’t you love to live in the joy and pleasure of God’s presence continually?

That is my goal. Most of my adult life I’ve been undoing the effects of growing up in  church, or so I thought.

I was afraid of God, and thought it was what I learned at church and church school. Recently I’ve begun to question that perception. I think it was because I read the Bible too young. The Old Testament and some of the New is not for young, superficial readers. I got scared. I knew God loved me, but I was afraid of Him.

I wanted to be perfect, and my mother wanted me to be also. She wanted that for all her children, and she modeled a real and loving relationship with God. She’d known Him personally ever since her baptism at 12, when she had a personal experience with Him.

My personal experiences with God started when I was six on a perfect late summer morning when I was alone outside imagining God. In my early twenties I had an amazing experience of understanding salvation by faith when I experienced God’s joy, and in my mid twenties I was alone over a holiday and made an experiment of being with God. It was beautiful.

I had a faith venture in my late twenties that was amazing, and having my daughter just before 30 showed me God’s love in an incredible way. I don’t think I had ever really loved before.

But still the fear of God continually haunted me–stalked me.

Through the death of my little brother God carried me. All through my divorce He was right beside me holding my hand. At the beginning of graduate school, God shared a new perspective on Luke 9:23-25 that opened up scripture, and it was about then that I decided I had to address my concept of God. I had to deal with the fear. My masters project was looking at the parenting of God in all 66 books of the Bible. That helped.

But what really caused a revolution was studying the wrath of God and discovering what it was. You wouldn’t think understanding God’s wrath would take away fear. Romans 1 launched it, and Isaiah and Jeremiah clinched it. There I found that the wrath of God was nothing more than God letting us have our own way! Letting us leave Him.

If you understand our context–living in a war zone with broken human natures and freedom, and an enemy that loves to destroy us–that is scary. But it begin to relieve my fear of God.

In a Bible study about ten years ago, I was thrilled to read 1John 1:4 and put it together with Genesis 3:15, and discover there is no evil in God. God is not capable of evil. Since then, I have found three other scriptures that say the same thing. And according to James, God doesn’t even test or tempt us. He doesn’t do bad to get good.

You may have known that your whole life, but for me it was huge. I’m embarrassed to admit it now. But the things I read in scripture always made me wonder. You can even understand the cross as God killing Jesus, if you look at it wrong. It’s all perspective and our perspective is often skewed, tweaked or filtered especially by people who claim to know Him but don’t.

This one thing has made all the difference. I’ll explain more next time.

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Wanting to Understand

My friend Barb shared this quote with me because it reminded her of my first book.

“We find ourselves in the middle of a story that is sometimes wonderful, sometimes awful, often a confusing mixture of both, and we haven’t a clue how to make sense of it all. It’s like we are holding in our hands some pages torn out of a book. These pages are the days of our lives. Fragments of a story. They seem important, or at least we long to know they are, but what does it all mean? If only we could find the book that contains the rest of the story.”

That is exactly why I wrote Love’s Playbook: The Real Story of Cosmic Love and War. And today it was Barb’s turn to teach the book study. We are in the second book, but she said, “I have to go back to the first book because none of the rest makes any sense without understanding this,”  as she waved the first book in front of us, continuing, “In fact, none of the  rest (the Bible) makes sense unless you understand the war in the universe.” (So neat to have someone understand and feel as passionate about this as I do!)

But though it makes me a little giddy, and thrilled, I’m awkward. I haven’t had enough practice responding. It doesn’t happen very often, but more since we started the book study. ( I should ask, if any of you agree on their merit, I would love to have you leave a good review on Amazon. It’s very easy. Just click on the book to review, and on the new page click on review. And then leave a sentence or two on what you like about it. Amazon is review driven so it’s a big deal.  I’ll give you the link: http://amazon.com/author/arla caraboolad And thanks a bunch!

Just imagine if I feel like that, how God must feel trying to reach us with real reality, and how delighted He (They) are when someone gets it. (One of the gals said, “I can’t even think of God as one person anymore. It doesn’t make sense that He would be one being.” I loved that because I have said for years, “If God is anything, He is relational. One God, yes; but not one being.”)

I came to understand this writing the first book. How do you have God having conversations with Himself? So I begin to understand the Trinity as three beings filling one position as God: same values, same passions, same abilities, but yet different personalities and functions. God is family and made us family in His image.

And I think it is safe to assume based on Genesis 2:1-4 that we were the end, not the beginning, of God’s creation. It says there four times in four verses that all of God’s creating was ended. Moses used repetition for emphasis, if something was important he said it twice in a different way. This is four times and not too differently stated! Yet I doubt he even understood why. He seemed to only have a slight grasp of the war–at least he didn’t talk much about it. Sometimes I have gotten upset that he said things the way he did! And I have asked God, “Why did you let him say it like that?”

Truth is, God preserved those “hooks for doubt” for the sake of freedom. If They blatantly overwhelmed us with truth, we would have no choice but to believe. Then where would be freedom? Another truth is the antediluvians had Adam around for almost 1000 years to talk to and chose not to trust his word or God’s for whatever reason–anger? doubt? self-absorption?

So of course my books aren’t for everyone, just for those who love good and are wanting to understand all the things about life, suffering and God that don’t make sense to them now. Thanks for helping me get the word out.

 

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Epiphanies Everywhere

Just this morning another lie surfaced. I was sitting with God and somehow it came up. I blurted, “But I always thought You wanted me to feel bad about myself!”

As soon as I said it I felt foolish, knowing it to be total and utter foolishness. But there it was–my truth. And it was ok, I could feel His understanding smile.

I know better. How amazing it is, right there and then, to ask Him to tell me the truth and heal it. And even though I know it, it always almost takes my breath away. “I want you to enjoy life, to love being you, and love others.” Wow! The truth is amazing, but the best part is getting rid of that ball and chain I’ve been dragging around. And it came from religion, no doubt. Sad! We weren’t taught about the true self and the false self. They didn’t know it–even though it was always there. Self was bad period.

So how happy it was to attend “The Epiphany” last weekend. A friend of mine said, “He thinks just like you do,” when he told me about it and Graham Cooke. I was pulled in. And I was captivated by the description. But it was tough getting there–a lot of obstacles and opposition. (Of course.)

I’ll summarize it for you. We need to “unlearn” all the negatives we’ve been taught, or taught ourselves, and began to see that the gospel (religion at its best) really is good news! Everything about it! And when we can see it from a new perspective (my thing, if you know me) we can live in awe and wonder, having new epiphanies (ah-ha moments) daily.

Graham started with (in my words) if your false-self was crucified with Christ why do you keep feeding it as though trying to keep it alive? We need to see differently, think differently, act differently. We don’t have to live in anxiety and fear. We give power to what we focus on.

Relearning can be fun because God is always giving us another chance to learn. We need to see our mistakes as I could have learned… give me another chance! And, of course, He will. Anger and fear allow someone else to have power over you–you have other choices (the nine fruits of the Spirit).

You don’t like what they are doing? But do you like what you are doing? Then change it by choosing. We could die to our false selves and have a wonderful time doing it–learning how to live in the presence of God. There are always four of you fighting your enemies, and Three of Them are omnipotent!

We have been given everything–a credit card from God–all we have to do is activate it. We can give gifts of blessing to everyone. Jesus taught that  everyone can be loved and accepted, no one is safe from blessing. All we have to do is “practice Jesus” asking, “What do I do with this situation?” “What do You want me to ask for?” “What does this mean?”

Too many of us believe the lies that God is angry, that we get blessings for performance, when the truth is Christ in you attracts favor, looks for favor, expects favor.

When you have to unlearn something God is putting His finger on the site of your next miracle–grace is the empowering presence of God that creates the true you! God doesn’t do shame or judgment–Jesus bought your inadequacy–revival is a lifestyle.

After Jesus left, we read, “The Christians are coming! Those people who turn the world upside down,” as if it was a bad thing, but truly many couldn’t wait for them to show up! These are the people who can heal us! Who have gifts of healing and righteousness to give us! They are extraordinary at loving! That’s how people should feel about us. ( This was the best part–as he emphasized how people would feel if we were like that and he  jumped up and down shouting, “The Christians are coming! The Christians are coming!” It was great!)

Move from a sin-conscious culture, like Paul did, to one that gives gifts of righteousness. Why can’t unlearning be joyful? What helps Ruach (Holy Spirit) the most is loving the learning. Being open.

You are completely and utterly adored by God now! If He is wonderful, we are one of His wonders. There is nothing to be afraid of. If identity in Christ dominates the way you walk in life you will practice faith in his constant presence by continually asking, “What do you want from me right now?” or “How do I handle this?”

These are some of his “brilliant perspectives.” Just had to share it.

 

 

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Experiencing God

I’m hesitant to post this because it is so personal. And then I had the thought I’ve posted plenty of negative personal things in he said/she said detail, so why not something positive? You’ll understand after you’ve read it.

So I was on the plane, in the middle seat, flying back from a great sisters’ trip, and decided to journal for my time with God which I’d missed. Our pastor has encouraged us to journal on scripture–especially the ones he is preaching on. We write what God is saying, and then what He is saying to us specifically.  He’s just started a new series on Mark. This is Mark 1:8 “I immerse you in water, but He will immerse you in Holy Spirit.”

“I love the thought of being completely immersed in You, Ruach! (Hebrew for Holy Spirit, pronounced Roo ak.) The closest I have come to realizing it is sitting in Your lap, leaning against Your chest in the morning–I’m just waking up, still sleepy, and snuggled up as I have often seen my daughter’s children do after a nap. I love that loved, relaxed feeling. I want to feel that relaxed, that loved, all the time. I want the love to ooze out of me as Val described her friend.

“I know I’m not that comfortable with people or myself yet, but I’m better. Thank You that at least I can see a bit of improvement. I know You don’t usually let us see our improvement because it doesn’t bode well with us–over time we get careless, thinking we don’t need You. I want to always know I need You, but I want more just to want You, and that precious time with You–want to let You flow through me.

“Make me not have to need people’s feedback and approval. At least this trip I don’t think I gave offense to anyone! Thank you for that. And thank You that the meeting with my nephew and nieces was so special.”

And He answered!

“I am so proud of you, and so grateful for your heart. You wanted to share your love–My love–with others in getting them all together. I know that. And I did let you see that I understood your motive by inspiring the writing of that text to C.”

Thank You.

“You are so welcome My Love.”

You see why I was hesitant to share it. But if it helps just one person open up to God in experimental, experiential relationship, then it is worth it. He will be just as affirming, sweet and gentle with you too.

The only religion worth anything is a relationship with God that is real to you experientially.

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A Perspective Excerpt from Love’s Playbook 5

I’ve decided to share a couple of pages from the book I’m working on. It’s book five in the series: Exodus and the plagues. This is a break in the story for a new perspective.

“Whether or not Satan can create brings up an interesting question. Does God create destructive elements—in this case flies? Egypt has historically had the dog fly. It is large and venomous with a painful bite. And this one God instructed Moses to tell Pharaoh would not come on the Hebrews because God would make a distinction between Egypt and His special people.

It’s possible the first three hadn’t affected them either, but this is the first time God specifically tells Pharaoh it won’t, to make sure he is aware of it. Does God protect his own people from God? Or from enemies?

Back to the original question. It is true Satan doesn’t have ability to create life from nothing. But we have all seen how he can twist God’s gifts to create aberrations. Look at the suffering and disease he has created from sex. Or just the diseases he creates in us from ignorance and from taste, let alone viruses he creates. Remember in this series how Lucifer was given the chance to study the laws of nature and see what he could create. No doubt, he learned a lot about nature and its laws.

At that time he was still under God’s influence, and getting to fulfil his dream. He had not yet defected and activated the law of sin and death. But imagine what he must have done in the lab after he had activated entropy. He is called “the destroyer” in Exodus 12:23 and also in the book of Hebrews (2:14). He would destroy all of us (or have us destroy each other) if God allowed. It’s who he has become.

This is the first plague where it says the land was corrupted—literally the Hebrew is “the land was destroyed.” Would God have done this? Or would he have allowed the dark side to do their thing? I think it is the latter. I don’t believe God is the creator of evil. I think it is the absence of good as death is the absence of life.

Yes, They allow it to exist for choices, but They are winning the “right” now to banish evil, keeping it only as a personal choice forever, because it brings death. God has allowed Satan to have the power of death as long as he is kept alive. When God stops shielding him, he and all of his will cease to exist. Evil can’t exist in God’s presence. Revelation 20 says death and hell will be thrown into the lake of fire which is simply a metaphor for the dark side rushing into God’s unbridled energy to take his new city. (See Rev. 20:7-10.)

So why haven’t we questioned this before? We didn’t have the perspective. Our collective consciousness thought God does what He wants to because He is God, and thought the fear of God was literal along with other metaphors. Most people served God from fear—not what God wants! Now we know that another translation is more accurate: fear is best translated reverence or respect.

So why did God allow this? Because to protect our freedom there has to be hooks to hang doubt on. God can’t make everything completely plain until someone asks. Some things had to be shrouded in mystery until we started questioning and searching for a better understanding.

I don’t suppose I am the first one to question or understand this, just one who dares to interpret scripture this way, write it down and publish it.”

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What God is Like

I’m on vacation at home. It has been a wonderful week with two of our grandchildren! I haven’t worked like I usually do, and have focused on just relaxing and enjoying them. It’s been a great experience. God helped me realize one morning that most of my life I have been focused on making people right rather than knowing and enjoying them. It’s the way I viewed Him for many years.

Now I see Them(One God–three persons) as wanting us to know Them and walk with Them in relationship through the process of every day, no matter what others do or what happens. To experience Them every day–Their love, Their kindness, Their goodness, Their laughter, Their joy, just Their presence, in all of everyday life, no matter what others do or what happens. And it is beginning to make me see and treat others differently. It’s about time! Safety and control were always so huge.

Our influence for good in the world comes from drawing not pushing (God told me that), from making God look good because we are so good to be around and we are clear and comfortable about identifying ourselves as Theirs. I really can’t even comprehend that yet!

Could it really be that powerful? Do I know–see–encounter–experience enough people that it would really make a difference if I was just full of God’s goodness? If I just lived with Them and soaked in Their love? If I just focused on the good in everything and everyone?

I’m not put together that way, but God seems intent on me getting this. Right now I’m thinking of people who raised their kids erring on the side of love, people I thought should provide some discipline. I’m not talking about giving-in or neglect, but truly focused love, and in adulthood the kids turned out well.

I think of Jesus who drew people to him, inviting. He never told us to go make Christians, he said go make followers (disciples). The only way you can do that is by drawing, making them want to follow. It seems to work for the dark side. Isis plays on the desire for power and revenge, expressing discontent, anger, and hate AND in the name of God! They draw many malcontents from our society.

And what does it take to experience God’s goodness that way? The only thing I know for sure, at this point, is choice. The second thing I suspect is some time alone with God, getting to know Them. Ruach (Holy Spirit) is closest, and Jesus is the easiest place to get to know God. That’s why this year I’ve added to the titles of God-in-a-Box, “Know God in a Year #…” because this may be the most important choice you will ever make.

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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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