Sunday, May 29, 2011

Standing Attentively in the Presence of God

 Kavanah, a Jewish term for attentiveness to God -- an act or appreciation of being able to stand in the presence of God.

I learned this from a friend's post, We Are One. My friend, Ellen, blogs at Nana Knits and Jams and her posts are some of my favorites to read in the blogosphere. So often she says things that I read and think, wish I'd written that. This is one of those, it resonates Truth. Simple truth. Essential truth. Please do me the favor of clicking over to Nana Knits and Jams to read We Are One. And may you be blessed (as I was) for it!

While you're there enjoy some of her other posts.

In a few weeks I'm heading off to an annual women's retreat. I hope I'll find this kind of refreshing and renewal of mind and spirit.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I Used to think that I could not go

I Believe I Can Fly If you have 5 minutes, click this link and enjoy a few minutes of flying, soaring, losing yourself in R, Kelly's music video..

I borrowed this from WORDS-N-EXPRESSIONS a blog worth checking out.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Your God is Too Safe

Your God is Too Safe is a book by Mark Buchanan which we're currently reading in our Sunday morning study group at church as well as in our Friday night small group Bible study. Friday nights we're a few chapters ahead of Sunday mornings, and I'll tell you what, sometimes on the re-read I can't believe I ever heard this stuff before. On Friday I'm a listener, not a reader. Apparently I'm not a good listener, so I'm grateful for the Sunday morning study.

You may recall that in The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, the children ask if the God figure, Aslan the Lion, is safe. The answer is "No, he's not safe -- but he is good." 

In the introduction to Your God is Too Safe, Mark Buchanan explains: "God is safe. He is the one in whom we find refuge, our hiding place, a shield about us. He is the God of all comfort. He is the God of peace.

But that's not what I mean when I say we've made God too safe. I mean that we want Him to be comfortable rather than comforting...We want him to be peaceable, to keep His peace, to be docile, rather than to be peacemaking and peace giving. And instead of being our hiding place, we would prefer that God be our ace in the hole."

Here's a quote from Chapter 19, The Honeysuckle Bible, page 203. "...the God we meet in the Bible is often strange, enigmatic, fearsome, unsafe. All these messy stories and earthy details and clay-footed saints." In the next paragraph, Buchanan says that a friend of his was asked in a prayer group if he wanted to confess having read anything in the past month that in some way undermined his faith. "Yes," he said, "The Bible."

I hear ya, brother! I recently had a conversation with a long-time friend. She was ruminating on where she is in her Christian life and beliefs at this point, feeling that her faith was more firm, more certain in her younger days. I knew her then and know her now. We grew up in our faith on a very similar track. I concluded that, yes, we were more certain about what we believed and why, but sadly we were narrow and immature. Life experience makes our faith deeper and broader. We finally know enough to know we don't know much at all. God's ways and thoughts are higher than we can fathom. Just as his love for us is wider and longer and higher and deeper than we can understand. God is not made in our image. And He is not necessarily safe. But He is good -- all the time, in all ways -- He is good.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

In the Last Days...

I'm not a Harold Camping fan or follower, but if he's right and the world is about to end, I'm okay with that.

Actually that's a ridiculous understatement. I'm okay with beginning life in a place where there are no more tears, no sickness, no pain? I'm okay with meeting God face to face? I'm okay with seeing His glory and falling at his feet sooner rather than later? Yeah? No.

Not okay -- Thrilled! Delighted! Ecstatic at the thought! Those are the words that come closer to describing how I'll feel if I wake up on Sunday, May 22 and find out I've died and gone to heaven.

However, I doubt that's how it's going to be. So I continue happily making my way through Francis Chan's Forgotten God, preparing to write some middle school/high school age devotionals on All Things from God the Father, Through God the Son, by God the Holy Spirit.  I'm feeling spurred on, my spirit is buoyed by His Spirit. And honestly, I wonder, could it be that these are the days spoken of in Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:17? "In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people."

And although I'm not a supporter of those who think they've figured out the time and date of the very last day, I'm looking forward to it just the same. Meanwhile, there's work to be done. I hope with every last ounce of my being that everyone will fall in love with God before their own last day on earth.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Writing Devotionals

I love to write devotional materials. My upcoming assignment includes writing about what may well be the most neglected person of the Trinity -- the Holy Spirit. These devos are for a local summer camp. Inspiration for the theme of this year's camp came from the book of John, chapter 14, verses 16 and 17. The theme is All Things from God the Father, Through God the Son, by God the Holy Spirit.

Francis Chan's book Forgotten God is recommended reading for all of the teachers and leaders of camp. It's recommended reading for the writer of devotionals as well. Me.

Excellent book so far.

Last year I jumped on board and wrote the devotional material a week prior to camp. I'm re-reading last year's devotionals to get in writing-for-teens mode. While I'm at it I'll share.Click the "Devotionals" page tab above, just under the heading of this blog, and you'll find my 4 day series on Spiritual Warfare. Feel free to borrow if you like, tweak and personalize as necessary.. -- I'll be delighted if you give me a byline

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Why Write the Vision?

Why write at all?
...Because I want to. Because I like to. Because I can.

Do I have a skill? Do I have a talent? Do I have a gift? I don't know, but I do know this...I can't not write.

Why write the vision? Because the day of His coming may be near. And if not that, the day of my going, or your going for that matter, could be near. So, I'd like to write so that many will hear and seek the Lord and call on Him? God's Word says, "Let him who has ears, hear." I say, "Let him or her who has eyes, read."

Also, when I'm called home I want to hear God say, "Good job. You used up everything I gave you."

And so, I write.

Habakkuk 2:2 (New American Standard Bible)

    2Then the LORD answered me and said,
         "Record the vision
         And inscribe it on tablets,
         That the one who reads it may run."

Habakkuk 2:2 (New Living Translation)

  2 Then the Lord said to me,   “Write my answer plainly on tablets,
      so that a runner can carry the correct message to others.

Habakkuk 2:2 (The Message)

  2And then God answered: "Write this.
   Write what you see.
Write it out in big block letters
   so that it can be read on the run.