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“Ponderings of The Shack”

The Shack

Well I am sitting here “Just Thinking “ about the book/ movie called “The Shack”. It was probably my most favorite book of all time. It goes where no one else goes and that is where you get hurt and angry with God. We all know that He is God and that He is good all the time at least that is our confession. When great tragedy strikes you or someone you love our confession is tested and it our confession may be “ I Hate You God!”. I don’t think any of us ever plan this or even see the day coming that we would ever turn against God but yet for many of us it does.

The Shack takes you on a journey of a family that undergoes something horrific and the way it changes each person. It is not a book to create a new theology and to tear down anything though it gets accused of it but it is a book that leads you into the depths of your heart to discover what lies beneath the surface. We all need to really do that because you may be surprised at what you find.

Some real difficult things enter each of our lives at some point along our journey and how we react to them is what makes or breaks us. I have people in my own circle who have suffered things and their reaction to the things has ruined their lives, as they live in a pool of bitterness and unforgiveness. They meditate on the wrongs done to them by others. Well if you live on this planet people are going to do bad things to you that are not fair or just. The answer though is not “ getting them “ back but in forgiveness. Forgiveness is not what good little doobies do because they are just so nice, but is what wise people do so they can get past the wrong done to them and enjoy life again. If you don’t, you won’t. None of us ever feel like forgiving someone who hurt us directly or through a loved one but we want justice and we want them to suffer. We choose to forgive them for the sake of ourselves really. We do it because it is the road to freedom not because they deserve it or you just feel like doing it.37819432-depressed-young-businessman-sitting-wet-under-rain

I am a person who likes the truth whether it is a little painful or not. This book/ movie allows you into a person’s head as they process but ugly stuff and even how a person concludes things be they right or wrong. Today I visited a couple and had time to sit & listen to some of their stories of life. They had to watch their daughter die slowly by being rejected by others her own age. I love my children and would never want them to be rejected but it happens to most people. For this young girl it continued until she took her own life. Her mom had to find her in bed lying in pool of her own blood. I suspect that someone unknowingly murdered her that day with words designed to destroy her self worth. I’m not sure if the person who did that carries the burden of guilt today or if they forgave themselves and learned a huge lesson.

I’m not sure who the parents handled it at the time it happened but even to this day there still is pain. She told me that her peer group would sit at the back of the church and her daughter would join them. They would immediately move and leave her behind. One would assume that church would be a safe place but no rejection knows now bounds. The parents carry no bitterness toward anyone today but I can’t help but think if it was me how I would handle it. That situation would shame me on so many levels that I don’t know if I could recover or avoid killing someone or even a group. But wait I’m a good doobie so I’m sure I would just do all the right things. I am a person. I cannot predict how I would handle it until I am actually there. I would talk to God but how those conversations would go is anyone’s guess. When Christian passed away I had some pretty angry, accusing, screaming “conversations” with God and it shook my relationship with Him.

I suspect my story is not uncommon but I never left my pain all buried where it can’t get light to heal it. The Shack is all about helping people like you and me along their journey and helping us to discover God the person like we may never have known Him before. To all the religious people out there slandering the book/movie that they may have read or NOT I say stop it! This is a fiction that I believe is God inspired as it will bring many people into healing and restore relationships. “The Shack” is one of those gifts that get released by one ordinary man to help us ordinary people with seemingly extraordinary troubles and that is what I find myself “ Just Thinking”

THE GOSPEL OF JESUS

 

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What is that gospel message anyway, and just who is it for? Well I can start by telling you what it isn’t. It is not a message promoting a weekly gathering of people who try and separate themselves from the ungodly. It is not a list of do’s and do nots that we can measure ourselves and those around us. Church has an important role in the life of the believer but the good news that is known on the inside needs to be delivered to those on the outside. The reason the majority of us are on the inside is because someone shared the good news with us when we were knee deep in the mess of our own making.

Here are some great quotes from Jesus Himself that will reveal His character and what His purpose is.

  • For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
  • “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
  • John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

 

These are just a few I can think of but you can see even in these few quotes of His that the message He brought was not one of condemnation but is great news as it promises to take you from a lost and deathly ill state to one of life. If we are willing to trust Him with our lives then you will see that He is able to do what He says. It is not a self help program showing you how to be better behaved. The actions of sin are clearly spelled out in the bible so we can all see that we have that disease with no exceptions other then the son of God Himself.

He is still coming to people all over the earth today to receive them into the kingdom and show them a new and better way. You go from only being sort of loved by others that is very conditional, to being adopted into a family where you are wanted & loved. Jesus pays the ransom for you in blood and your name is added to the book of life.

The Spirit of God Himself now resides in you and will lead and teach you how to live this life as a son or daughter of the true king. It is a time to learn and unlearn. The laws of the kingdom of God are very much opposite to the laws we learn here. Since we are citizens of God’s kingdom we learn kingdom ways. If you want to prosper you become good at giving part of what you have away to help someone else. This world is full of lack but the kingdom of God is a kingdom of abundance and fullness. Want to climb the ladder of success now? Then forsake pride and it’s ways and walk in humility, seeing others as greater then yourself.

Although we are now new and different then we were before Jesus saved us, we are not without trials and suffering. These things can be tools to transform our characters into the very likeness of Christ. Seeing God’s faithfulness in these times will establish God as very relevant in your life and His reality in this world. I have a caution for you that I will illustrate with this picture.

Imagine yourself sailing in a land where pirates are plentiful, and there is a pirate ship bearing down on you. You know if you are caught by them that you will be one again made a slave and be tormented the rest of your days. Jesus is your captain and you are the 1st mate. Your blood is pumping fast and your ears are open to every command. You discover that your captain is very skilled and has no fear at all. You begin to realize that although there is danger all around you, that you are safer then you have ever been. His strategies seem odd and you think you know better but you submit to Him and discover that His ways lead to success. You grow in trust and wisdom in this environment and discover more about who you are and who you were created to be. The challenges of this voyage has made you more like your captain.

Now let’s suppose now that you are sailing in a sea that is calm. You are in a land much like the Caribbean that is warm and the scenery is beautiful. You see the palm trees on the islands you sail past and in these waters there are no pirates in sight. You are here with your captain Jesus. He teaches you about the ship and how to sail it. At first you are interested but as time goes on you become distracted and want to relax. You don’t feel that what He is sharing with you is really that important as you see no threats. So you recline in the sun and the voice of Jesus begins to fade away as you drift off to sleep. Drift is the operative word here. If we do not live our lives intentionally then our lives will drift. This strategy of the devil has proven successful against me personally. Once the devil discovers where you are weak he will try and exploit it.

When something wakes us from our sleep we will discover that we have drifted way off course and we are no longer going towards the kingdom. In fact you will be confused as to where you are and what your status really is. Your eyes will not see your captain nor will your ears hear His voice. The person whom you took for granted will be sorely missed. Now we find fear overtaking us and the beauty that was around us when we closed our eyes has gone and now we see pirate flags and ships bearing down on us. We try and get our sailboat to sail quickly away but we realize we never learned everything we needed to know to sail this vessel.

What happens after that is anyone’s guess. It is our reaction to things that will determine the course from this point forward. Some will be captured and taken back to where they began. Some will try and fight the enemy but will just get beat up worse. Some will fall to their knees and cry out for Jesus. Whatever we do we need to remember that our situations are very fluid. Even if we make bad choice after bad choice it is the desire of God that we are restored. He is never looking at you and thinking “ this will teach you to reject or ignore me. I hope you suffer!”. The liar may speak that in your ear but God will never say or think that. While you have breath in your lungs you have the choice to fall to your knees and get right with God. Turn your heart towards Him and you will start to hear and see Him in you life again. He is always within earshot and He has never really abandoned us but why we are in rebellion or going our own way our spiritual senses just fall asleep and remember that God is spirit.

You see God is good and His ways are higher then ours. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” John 16:11 Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

You see the gospel of Christ truly is good news for everyone who has an honest look at themselves and see their situation as it truly is. He is the hope of every man and woman alive. If you are a believer now then please don’t keep the good news to yourself like it is a secret. Tell someone for God’s sake! The gospel of Jesus is what I find myself….. Just Thinking

 

 

Norman C

THE FIREPLACE

fireplace

 

As I sat by the fireplace early this morning I seemed to have a million questions for God. I wondered why His power seemed to be absent from my life in these days. I wondered why the things outlined in the bible were not being carried out in my life. I know that I am not able to heal but I also know that He is. He is living within me yet I am seeing nothing. These and other questions flowed from me to Him.

I sat there with my eyes closed waiting for an answer. It seemed that only a few minutes had passed when suddenly the wood I put into the fireplace burst into flames. It gave me a start so my eyes opened and I stared into the flame. I felt that this is what He said to me.

“ Our relationship is much like this fireplace. First you must stir up the coals that are still in there from times past. Coals are the remains of the love that burned so bright between us. Next you add the fuel so there is something to burn. I feel like the fuel is time and interaction that is invested with Him. Without these it would seem odd to be still hoping for a fire.

The first thing you will notice is that smoke will begin to rise. This scent will be picked up by anyone within your surroundings. Not everyone will know what that smell is but it will be a sign. Next the fuel will ignite into a flame. The light that comes from this will be cast out from within. This will enable you to see the next step or two you will make on your path. It will also allow those who are close to you to see what they may not have been able to see in the dark. As the fire continues to burn, warmth will be released that will make a comfortable atmosphere around you. It will draw those who are cold and remember what it is like to be warm.

This is what you are longing for. It is this that you lack. It is here at the fireplace that all the questions you have in your heart will be answered. It is time to make a fire.”

 

Norman & God

December 12th 2016

AFRAID

 

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The life I used to know

has somehow disappeared

The control and order in life

Is now replaced with fear

 

My confidence has been taken away.

Yet I still go through the motions

A part of me is dying

So for comfort I look to potions

 

Where is the God who saved me

Tonight while I feel this doubt

Is He still here with me

Or now alone I walk this out

 

He promised me He’d never leave

I will not be left an orphan

Guess He knew what He was getting

When He made me His own son

 

So by faith, I’ll praise my Father

and I’ll praise the 1st born Son

And I’ll look to find my teacher

Beautiful Holy Spirit, You are the only one.

The Inner & Outer

The Inner & Outer.

OUR EXODUS

Our ExodusParting of the Red Sea
I was thinking this morning of how many similarities there is between a person today who has made a decision to follow Jesus, and the Exodus from Egypt by the Israelite’s. For the Israelite’s there was a great shaking as God demonstrated his power over the powers of Egypt. This shaking and revealing of God was enough to move the Israelite’s from their homes to a journey that led to a new place called the promised land. They didn’t know how to get there or even where there was. This journey was all about following God, coming to know God, learning to trust God, reverencing Him and loving Him. When they passed through the waters safely they were still afraid as their enemies were pursuing them. It was when God stopped holding back the waters and drowned their enemies that their fears were quieted. Their fear actually turned to celebration as is recorded in Exodus 15 where we hear Miriam’s song.
The celebration’s we have are soon forgotten as time passes and the journey continues. God wanted them to know Him and so He led them encounter various trials so that they would come to find Him faithful. He would give them instructions on how to deal with whatever it was that they were facing. If they followed them they would see victory over the circumstance and if they chose their own way they would fail. I think of the man who stole something that appeared of value from Jericho after God had instructed them to not take anything from there. The man hid the article under his tent and kept it secret. He would learn that there are no secrets that God does not see. The man’s disobedience affected all the Israelite s in a negative way. I know we think that our personal choices to do as we please will not affect others and therefore it is not anyone’s business but we see in this text from Joshua 7 that it does. Israel had lost it’s first battle and experienced loss f life from the sin of one man. The man Achan was exposed and he, his family and all he owned were killed for this disobedience.
What was Achan thinking you may wonder? Well personally I don’t steal but I do very much want to have a plan B. Achan would have see this stuff and knew it had value to the world system that they just left so whenever this crazy journey was over and they were in need he had something that would provide for himself. I could see myself doing that same thing. I could probably rationalize that taking this valuable object from dead people probably wasn’t stealing and who was it hurting anyway? I would have no idea that being part of a body of people meant that my stepping out of line so to speak would mean that some of my brothers were going to die in the next battle because of me. The forward progress of the whole body was now halted over what I had done. I could have never seen that coming.
God saves us just as he was saving the Israelite’s and just as they celebrated being set free from their enemies we also celebrate this becoming a new creation. It is something so awesome at the time and for some of us it remains the highlight. God had a plan to save us and we agreed and followed His plan and it led us into salvation through His son Jesus. Next God had a plan for our lives. That plan is laid out in a journey and just like them we are facing adversity and will have victory over whatever it is IF we follow His plan. Some of us have followed His direction for handling the circumstance and have seen God’s way as almost magic as we see victory but are not quite sure how it came to be. God’s ways often don’t make sense to us. God’s ways are higher then ours and but they are the way to victory over whatever we face. It is like His way is to be a cheerful giver and you will be blessed. How is it that I can gain by giving away? It sounds absurd but it works. It works because His word will ALWAYS accomplish what it was sent to do.
God delivers us from sin and gives us a new life in him and makes you a new creation, which is awesome, But we still carry our old ways and methods of operation into this new life we have been given. It is the adversity in the journey that enables us to see that our old ways will bring failure and defeat in our lives. Our minds really do have to be renewed or else when we really need victory we won’t get it. We will have our plan B’s and our little stashes just in case God fails to come through. We move in disobedience to Him and say a prayer which is basically our instructions for Him and when things don’t go right we are disappointed in God and not ourselves which is where the responsibility really lies.
Adversity can be the way to that Joy you having been longing for if we just take the time to hear God and follow His instructions. The great Joy moment should not be way back when God “saved us”. It should and could be just a battle knowing that victory is assured in Him if we follow the battle plan and then the celebration of the breakthrough. Yeah! I did what He said and as crazy as His plan looked it somehow worked again! The real renewing of our minds takes place when we take action in obedience to His word and see that it indeed works, or at least that is what I was ……… Just Thinking

God The Person

Something that I have often done in life is to forget that our God who holds the universe in His hands is a person. That means that He has a personality. He has preferences, and character traits that are unique to Him and no one else. We will never truly know the truth of this unless we are willing to take the time to get to know Him.
I think about the Israelite s

Sunset at Home
who left Egypt. The 1st night as they were caught between the Nile and the Egyptian army there was a pillar of fire that cast light to them and kept the Egyptians in deep darkness. They knew God by seeing His miraculous works and power. They had just seen Pharaoh brought to his knees by many signs and wonders. Oh yes they knew very well that God was real but they did not understand Him to be a person. At Mt. Sinai the opportunity came to meet Him but they chose to have Moses be their mediator and just find out what God’s instructions were and they would perform them. That was all they wanted.
I have often looked back on the people of the day and thought how foolish they were to make such a decision. They received an invitation to come and meet God in person and they chose not to. So now here we are a few thousand years later and where are we with relation to that same God? Well sadly it appears we are anywhere and everywhere. There are millions of people who don’t think He is even real at all but more of man’s imagination to help establish good values in society. Some think that we have a mother earth, not a Father God. Some think that we still need a middle man like a priest to speak to God on our behalf. Many send up prayers imagining them to be put in a lottery drum and hoping their prayer will be the lucky one to be drawn. And there are many other variations of twisted pictures of who He is but there are only a small number of people who take time to get to Him, Truth Himself.
Even as I write this my eyes fill with tears knowing I have not been faithful to do so either. I have had times of real pursuit and then have been distracted or deceived away and then lost my way. It is similar to times when you strike up a new friendship here in our world and you really come to love and appreciate a person. Then something comes up that challenge this new friendship. You have a choice to make. Maybe you discover that they have a different sense of right and wrong that you have and you hold on to your principals and let go of them. Maybe a job transfer comes up and they have to move. Perhaps they are struck with a prolonged illness and you feel the weight of the high maintenance it is to keep the relationship going. Perhaps it’s jealousy where they have other friends but you want them to be your exclusive friend.
If you value relationships in your life then you must make some wise choices in your life. Life is meant to live in relationship with others and is meant to live in a deep personal relationship with God. There are many things that come our way that we really don’t know what we should do. What if you had one friend who did know what you should do and that one friend could always be trusted to give you the truth. Well God is that friend. You will need to choose to trust Him when you think He’s wrong. If we could get it into our hearts firmly just who He is then we can make some really good choices with regards to our relationship with Him. We can choose to love Him, believe Him, trust him, run to Him, share your innermost thoughts with Him, and become like Him. Since the day that Jesus dealt with the separation issue we are all welcome to enter into that place of friendship with Him.
The bible will describe to you many character traits of our God and will reveal the things that He values deeply. You can trust these things but you must explore them alongside Him to have it really penetrate your heart and KNOW Him. Just like when you hang around someone here you discover the strange little quirks that your friends have that people not so close when never know. The quirks are there in sight but you must be interested in that person to notice them. The discovery comes because you are interested in knowing the person. What makes them tick? What brings a smile and what things break their heart?
As a person God is always all the person as we are always us the person. I have seen friends discover a part of God that they really like and they only choose that part of God. It becomes like a kitten looking for it’s mothers breast to feed from. That is all they want from mom at that point is her breast as it supplies the kittens need. There is no question that as people we are needy but to fixate on that one aspect of God is really about satisfying you and is selfish and not embracing the friendship. Like many of our prayers are really like sending our Christmas list to Santa and if Christmas comes ad those things aren’t there then I am quite disappointed as Santa let me down, or in our case God let me down.
God understands our weaknesses thankfully otherwise He would never want us as friends. By sticking with Him though we find that we begin to change into His likeness. We start to discover that there is wisdom in all His choices and that His ways are truly good…..always. What a comfort to know that our friend God is with us always and that He is for us. ( I am not trying to diminish who God is by calling Him our friend as He still is the Creator of all things but He is willing to reach down to us and be our friend ) The bible tells us that He will never leave us or forsake us. Wow I wish my character was like that. I had a strange encounter one time that revealed God’s heart in this very way.
I was in a home one night and heard of a man who I had known in years past who was quite sick with cancer and his days left on the earth were few. This man served faithfully in a church for many, many years. Now that he was in this place of illness he had been abandoned by his church friends for some reason. There are many of us fear being in the presence of someone who will be passing on from this world to the next. I was really upset about hearing that he was sick and now alone at a time when he could use some friendship. It seemed so unjust to me. The next day I felt something inside of me nudging for me to do something. My reasoning was that I was not in a place of relationship with him to have anything to say. I wasn’t thinking about “ my friend “ was and cared very much for this man. Well after supper came and I finally decided to call this man. He answered the phone and I told him who I was. I asked him if he remembered me and he said no. ( Just what I feared ) I then said “ remember years ago you were up on the roof of the church trying to remove the ice buildup and this guy showed up to help you?” He said “ yes I do remember that and know who you are now.”( Funny as I type this it just now is occurring to me that we are often remembered by on event in life that stands out to someone. Sometimes we encounter someone only a few times so those times with us tell them who we are. Scary . ) I told him I had heard he was sick and I asked him if I could come up for a visit. He said “ My sisters are here right now but maybe in an hour would be good.” So I got off the phone and wondered what I could bring? What does someone sick with cancer like to eat. I went off to the grocery store and picked up some fruit, and yogurt and ice cream.
I arrived to his modest mobile home and met his sons and wife. I thought this is going to be difficult to chat where we hardly know each other and he must be wondering why I would be coming. God has a way of making things work and we had a great chat and I chatted with his sons a bit. Harold explained to me his health situation which he described as more of a mystery. I was wondering if the news I heard was incorrect. He had no fear at all. He got us a bowl of ice cream and we continued to chat. I knew I had to say what needed to be said. I said “ Harold I am really sorry that everyone has seemingly disappeared on you because I know how you have served and you may wonder why now. I don’t know about anyone else but I wanted you to know that I noticed and you made a difference to me and my life.” He smiled and thanked me as I held back a flood of tears waiting to pour out. I believe God wanted Harold to know his life counted and that God noticed, loved and appreciated him. I have discovered that God is like that. He cares for us infamous people and He really doesn’t abandon us. He may use people like me and you to speak on his behalf but He will come. Two weeks later Harold was dead and I was at the funeral home. The turnout there was good. I felt awkward there as I knew very few of the people or even his family so I just wanted to say goodbye and leave. One of his sons spotted me and come rushing over. He said “ Hi , I want you to know how I appreciate you coming over that night and seeing us. “My dad spoke of your visit every day until he died. ‘ I smiled shook his hand and escaped. Why had this meant so much I wondered? I look back and think how glad I am that I responded to His urging. You and I will never know what He has in store unless we respond and just trust that He is doing something good and you as His friend get to be included in something special that He is doing.
You don’t have to have your life together or be sin free to be His friend. He took me as I was and even as I am today, still with issues, still flawed and can be a real pain sometimes but He really is the best friend you could ever want. He is willing to walk life with you regardless of how broken. Find out just what kind of person He is for yourself.

Norman Crowell
Oct. 31st/ 2012

Believer’s

Believers
While raking the dead grass covering my never ending lawn my mind began to wonder to a familiar topic and that being the relationship we have with Jesus Christ. As you all know there are almost as many opinions out there is there is dead grass waiting to get raked. If you took a poll on whether or not Jesus existed, walked the earth and was in fact the son of God you would get a large percentage of the population pretty much anywhere in Canada saying they believe that. Now if I was to take a poll on whether or not that there were alien beings out there that have visited the earth before and will come back I would get (I’m guessing) 30% that say they believe. Now bear with me as I share with you the thoughts coming together to make a short story with a very good point. ( My opinion )
Let’s picture a modern day Sci-Fi movie unfolding before our eyes. Our skies are filled with alien vessels and they are here on a mission of conquest. They are far superior in technology and the earths forces of resistance are squashed in the first day. Now they begin to round up the locals of the planet to share how the future is now going to look. They will allow people to live as long as they follow the new rules of the planet. Now try and picture in your mind the people of the above poll going up to their new alien government and saying to them. “ You know we have always believed in you and we even thought you would one day come!” With the alien leadership now aware of this new revelation they immediately build a palace for the 30% that were believers in them because they should be rewarded for guessing right. Right? My imagination says the alien guards would tell them to rejoin the group or be destroyed. I mean the fact that these strangers happened to believe they existed and even the stories about them still didn’t make them friends or cause the aliens to see them as any different than the rest.
Let’s try another scenario with the alien invasion. Same thing happens as our ability to resist the aliens is futile. They again gather up the humans into large groups etc. The difference this time is that the leader of the aliens is none other than E.T. I hope all who read this remember the movie ET. ET had been stranded here for a time and in that time had met some young humans who befriended him and even helped him to eventually make contact with home and be rescued. Now suppose that the friends he had made from a previous visit spoke to the guard and said that they were personal friends of their leader ET. They get escorted to ET’s quarters and they get to meet their friend from the past. ET has history with these friends of his and he values them and because of that, the situation will be so much different than some stranger telling you he believes in you. Away with this man, I never knew him.
Now as I carry these thoughts over to our relationship with Christ the question arises. Does simply believing that the Christ was here 2000+ years ago and that He will return again someday really count for anything? What if you went to church regularly and hung around other people that went to church too? Would that make a difference to Him when He returns? How about when you were somewhere between 15 and 20 and you said the “ sinners prayer” ( you know the one you can’t find in scripture )
I was married to a pretty young lady in July of 1982. I told her over and over how beautiful she was, how much I loved her, and I made a marriage covenant with her. We enjoyed the rights and privileges of our union and we were welcome in each others arms. It was a time of bliss and then the honeymoon period disappeared. Well with some poor choices we made along the way the marriage ended. That happened a little more than 10 years after it began. That was 18 years ago. So even though I was legally married to her years ago and she had sworn her love for me and I to her things between us have changed completely. I am no longer welcome in her arms, her home or her life because the relationship we once had in now null and void.
Now getting back to my/ our present relationship with Jesus. Is the fact that I had sworn to always love Him years ago carry allot of weight when today I seldom give Him a thought or the time of day. Is the fact that at one time I swore to follow Him but got distracted with other things over time and actually quit following Him mean that He is technically bound somehow? Now Jesus I sang “ Jesus loves me” several times when I was little so that should count for something. My goal is not to be rude but to give this subject some real thought. What do you believe? Does believing cause you to do something to build your friendship? God gave us so many of our feelings and emotions so He is a person and feels things too. I know when I walk into a place full of people and I spot a person who means something special to me I just smile and can’t wait to give them a hug or something and start to have a gab. When it comes to Jesus religion seems to pervert what should be natural in relationship. It changes things into a list of requirements that must be achieved in order to qualify for salvation. Could it be that knowing Him through spending time and following Him where He goes is the most important thing? Being known as one of His friends? Letting Him set the standards that I want to emulate instead of wanting to wear what Tom Cruise is wearing?
Well they are things to think about so I hope you do. That is what is going on in my mind while I rake the grass, more grass…..ahh…… LOL Well until I write again. Have a great day. 

Surrendering One Piece At A Time

 

I find myself again being drawn to the topic of surrender. I know that when there is a fight that the loser surrenders to the victor but I`m looking at truly surrendering a life, mine in particular to God for His purpose. I find that many times as a Christian I am looking for something out there that I can`t seem to find nor even know what it is I`m looking for. I know I want more of God and more relationship and more or a real sense of trust of Him in the now days of my life. That being said there will be many people who know exactly what I should be doing and the instructions will be vastly different. God has many children but He handles each one of us on a personal level. I know I have been one of those people who want to tell you just what the steps are to be fixed but most of us don`t really want to be fixed but really want to be heard until we get it all out of our system and then we are more ready to receive. It makes me think of poor Job and in his time of need his friends are speaking great wisdom to him and they were wrong and they were accusing. I guess that is the trouble when we think we now know something. It tends to erode our humility and the fact that we are all but mere men. When we speak as an authority on God and often on His behalf without His permission we really are living in a reckless manner. I`m not really speaking to “those guys” but to this guy as I will be the one answering for what I do and I really instead, want to be one who lifts up and encourages and not one who judges and tears down.

Now back to the topic of surrendering to God. So God has a plan for my life just as He has one for all of you. Now I, like most of you would say I would embrace the life that God would have for me as He is good. Now when it comes to actually doing the surrendering I fall far short. This is where the problems come to the surface for me. He ( God )seems to be a details person where I am not. My life seems to made up of many, many thought process’s and personal truth’s that I live by and the people I want around me should also have similar ones. So now The Holy Spirit is within me hovering over those places that need to conform to the will of God as opposed to the will of Norm. The funny thing is when I say yes to what He wants to do I often begin to fight Him on it as I don’t like His methods. You see I have a picture going on in my mind of just how things should go and often God has a very different picture than I do. In fact it is so different that I am sure it isn’t Him, isn’t good and sure isn’t right. I’m sure I’m the only one who’s ever done this which is why the Holy Spirit is so confounded on how to proceed. I’m joking. J.

I am seeing how trust goes hand and hand with my ability to surrender. Even though in theory I absolutely trust Him, love Him, honor Him when it comes to practise it reveals something far less. As I am here on vacation with my grandchildren I notice that they do many things in ignorance that their parents need to train them in. If we see one of the little ones holding something sharp we take it from them but often not without them first putting up a fight. We are protecting them and giving good instruction but they don’t see it that way but that we are just being mean by taking something away from them. I can’t help but think I am acting in a similar way when He sees ( and He sees all ) that it’s time to remove something that is causing harm to me or someone around me I fuss and put up a fight to hold on to it as well. Why does my brain not send the message that this is a gift, birthed out of love and that I am being transformed into the image of Christ. I guess this is where Paul would be right when he says “ Be transformed by the renewing of your mind”

I am starting to see things like this. God brings me into various situations that the present method I use to deal with the situation fails. Not many of us really like failure. Failure is often the vehicle that opens our mind up to new ideas, ideas that He is willing to pass on to us. Ideas that have a proven track record. I find if I am in a process that He has orchestrated I am teachable and more obedient to His direction because I am not battling with the ideas of my own that I am sure are right. Like a wonderful woman of God said ( Heidi Baker ) “ God reached in and removed all of her NO’s and she only can say YES to God now.” Her desire is now for Him now instead of the self creature that lives in us. It’s the self creature within that is saying NO GOD I WILL DO IT MY WAY.

Back in the day there were people who were forced into being a servant because of debt. After they had worked off the debt some would actually choose to be a bond servant because they found that their life was better in their master’s care. That happened by spending lots of time in the presence of the master and a respect for him developed and even more…. TRUST.  I can’t even imagine surrendering myself to another human but it happened. How much more should we be able to develop that love trust and respect for our heavenly Dad by simple spending our time in His presence? Paying attention to Him working in my life and the lives of those around me. Perhaps this is the key for me. Like Brother Lawrence simply “Practice The Presence Of The Lord”  I believe this is the best course of action for me. I know doing this I can’t go wrong.

So what so I see this looking like in my mind. I see it similarly as a country surrendering itself over to its adversary. No longer will their flag be flying signifying their independence but the flag of the one surrendered to will be flying instead. They will no longer be known as an independent nation but will lose it’s former identity to the identity of it’s conqueror. There will be a new government, laws, and a new mindset altogether. There will be a steady diet of change until the old way of thinking passes and the new has taken hold. In a good situation the new will be embraced as a better way and the desire to be independent would go.

This independence from God that began to infiltrate us at the fall and now just is rampant in the human race is a sickness that needs to be cured. Right now I am desiring that independence be cured in me. Cured in every aspect of my life and the many relationships I have with friends, family, children and even my spouse. How can the two become one with a spirit of independence in my heart? It’s that very thing that creates such division in our world today. Divorce, family division, church splits, and many other battles lost as a result of not submitting one to another or loving each other but choosing to stay within the walls of their own design. Anyway that is another topic for another day.

 

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