Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Reflector of His Bountifulness

Give thanks unto the Lord for he has dealt bountifully with me.  

 It was our first visit to Nemacolin and we had won a 2 night stay in this beautiful hotel and spa. 

In Nemacolin's grand foyer, filled with marble, pillars and chandeliers, sat the emblem of Nemacolin -  a huge brass song bird.  The bird has his beak raised and seems to be singing his heart out.  He is fat, showing the abundance and provision of his surroundings.  As I stood in this foyer in wonder at the splendor of my surroundings and pondering why this bird stirred something inside of my heart the verse from Psalms 13:6 jumped into my heart and seared itself on my mind. 

This bird looked like he was singing to his maker and at that instant I knew how he felt.  I could never look at this likeness without thinking of this verse.  As I pondered the whole thing, I realized that the word "bountiful" was how God had revealed himself, personally, to me.

Marshall bought me a silver necklace to wear that I am rarely without and a small replica of the actual brass statue that sits on my hearth reminding me to "sing" to my Father at every instance I recognize His bounty. Some days it is really easy, other dreary, cold sad days it has been a bit harder to do but just one look at that bird and I am instantly transported back to a time where God showed me something of Himself and spoke to my heart and my heart only.

As I have talked to people I find that often I can see how God has chosen to reveal something of Himself to them. It can be all sorts of various ways - forgiveness, coming to their rescue,  joy, comfort, being a teacher, friend, giver of peace and so on and so on.  It is as if he has facets of Himself that he gives each of us a picture to show us who He is and more importantly, who He is to us individually.

Then, just this past Friday, I was minding my own business, simply going about my morning and making my mid-morning second cup of coffee.  I was not thinking about God, Scripture or anything "spiritual."  I was simply making coffee getting ready for the next part of my morning. 

I heard this in my mind/spirit..."I showed you Myself in bountifulness because I want you to BE bountiful towards others."

I almost jumped as the thought was so strong and from out of nowhere.  And then my mind began to race. 

I had seen, just the other day on Facebook someone ask about the big "D" word.  You see destiny was a big buzz word in my past Christian life.  You were to Find your Destiny, Walk out your Destiny, and Fulfill your Destiny in Christ. 

The thought went like this.  We were created by God with a plan that he had in mind for us.  Therefore this plan was of extreme importance and it was EVERYTHING to try to find it and not screw it up.  It involved living as sinless as possible (sin could keep you from your Destiny), living in the "right" place, going to the "right" church, being aligned with the "right" people and of course marrying the "right" person.  How many of us worried that we would mess one or all of these up and never find our "DESTINY?!?"  OMG!  The pressure was immense. 

But Friday as I stood there with this thought on my heart - that in how the Father had revealed Himself to me was one of the ways he wanted me to reflect him to others - I realized that I may, just maybe, have a piece of this Destiny puzzle.  Maybe it is far easier than we have ever imagined.  Maybe it is far easier to find your "Destiny" than we have often taught or believed.  Maybe we are just to simply reflect the Father's glory as He shows us Himself.
Can you see how every piece of the 'church' could then show the world just how wonderful our God truly is.  We would have reflectors of peace, of forgiveness, of truth, of grace.  And guess what!?!  It is not hard to just show people what you have been shown.  It is easy.  It is simple. 

Then to wrap this whole thought up let me add one last piece of this ongoing story.  I was in our shed today getting it tidied up for Christian and Bethy to store some stuff in it while they are in State College.  I was sorting out some of Mom and Dad's stuff that we still have lingering.  I pulled out a framed picture of a verse written out with her name "Doris" at the top.  I had never seen this picture before.  It said,
~ bountiful ~
Give thanks unto the Lord,
because he hath dealt
bountifully with me."
Psalm 13:6

That's when I knew this was really important that I get what God was saying to me.  This verse was generational!!  My parents had always given thanks for what God had given them and taught us to never fear that he would not provide.  They had taught us girls to do the same.  And, if you stood still long enough in their home they gave of their "bounty" and weren't satisfied until you took it.  They were not rich by today's standards but even at the end of Mom's life I stood in her room and marveled with Ruthie at how blessed she was even in the last days of her life.

So, why do I write this out?  First of all because I want to put it down so I remember it.  Secondly, I want my kids and their kids to know something.  I want them to understand that your Destiny will be fulfilled as you reflect how the Father has revealed himself to you.  It is not hard.  It is not complicated.  It does not require you to be perfect or sinless or always 'right.'  Some days it might require sacrifice or pain.  I'm not saying it will always be fun.  But I think the whole thing will not be complicated.  Remember the idea of the "yoke being easy?"  Maybe this is the answer!

I can't wait for the rest of the story. 

A Bountiful Reflector

Friday, March 29, 2013

Facebook Friends Awareness Week

If your Facebook page shows none of the above signs in place of your friend's pictures, you might want to rethink that whole "reaching the lost" strategy of yours.

We say we want to be out in the world but sadly many of us only have friends and acquaintances that are just like us.  We surround ourselves with ourselves.

By the way, I'm not saying if you have the picture above advocating marriage equality that you are not a believer.  I'm just saying that it is probable that we are insulating ourselves a bit too much inside what is comfortable if no one on our list of friends is throwing this up this week.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Teaching Through a Glass Darkly

Today on Facebook, Stephen Crosby said this:
One of the problems in "ministry" as one gets older, is that you have to come to grips with the fact that, unfortunately, people actually believe the stuff you taught them when you were crazy!! You can't be upset for people for still hanging on to garbage you taught them, after you have "moved on!" Someone once said: "I used to "kill" people over things I don't even believe in any more!" Ah . . . God, you truly put your treasure in "clay pots" . . . crazy clay pots at that.  

It not only drives me crazy for what I have taught in the past, it drives me crazy when I broach any spiritual subject (to even comment on it) in the present. 

Even Paul said that we see through a glass darkly - that now he knows in part but then (life after?) he shall know fully as he is known.

The Message says this:  "We don't yet see things clearly.  We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist.  But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright?  We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!  But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.  And the best of the three is love.

How do teachers do it?  How do we teach through this dark glass, this fog, this mist?  How do you know that what you believe and impart to your students, family and friends is true?

If Paul himself admitted that he didn't see everything clearly and clung to Faith, Hope and Love...I think that is a good example for me.  

If my life centers on NOT what I know, but on my behavior that exemplifies Faith, Hope and Love, and if I encourage anyone who happens to be following me to center on these things too, then there may be a place for me as a teacher.  If it is dependent on what I KNOW about God, or Scripture...then I'm sunk.  All I can do is tell you what I THINK I CAN SEE.

It is also what I look for in a teacher.  I want someone who tells me that he "thinks it might mean ...."  I don't want a teacher that makes it seem like he has figured it all out.  And if I don't see faith, hope and love as a central part of his behavior, you won't find me listening at all.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Who are you reading?

My blog roll is not as large as it used to be. (I need to go though those at the side of my page and clean up my old blog roll)   Many of you who wrote then, quit like me.  Life happened to some and they quit.  I grew tired of the tone of some and stopped reading.  Some took off into other directions and I am so glad for them.

But others sprang up and took their place.  I love the voices that I read.  I seem to be able to feel connected with people as I read what they write.  I love the inner thoughts spilled out onto this interweb thingy.

One of those authors is Addie Zierman.  For most of her posts she takes a phrase most often used in evangelical Christianity and writes about it in the most open and usually profound way.   Her post today (God-Shaped Hole)  was brilliant and makes me wonder if I should just stand aside and let those of us with a real ability say it better.

 But really, if you don't already have her in your reader  then please put her there and go back to read her old stuff too.   Like this amazing piece - An Open Letter to the Church - How to love the Cynics or this one from a few days ago - you worship people might like this - Audience of One.

Other authors I am appreciating:
For a true take on the Grace Message:  Escape to Reality
For brutal honesty:  Jamie the Very Worst Missionary
And a true Elder of the Church:  Sword of the Kingdom

What/who are you reading now?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Why Don't You Write Anymore?

A close friend asked me (again) the other day if I was going to write on my blog ever again.  I dodged the question and did not respond with anything of value to his question.  But I have thought on it a lot in the past few days.

Just this morning I read a post from a dear girl who is at a training camp on the other side of the world.  I think it is a YWAM training.  She was eloquently describing what she was learning and a bit about the teaching that she is participating in.

She described that she is in her 7th week at this camp.  Last week was on the Father's heart.  This week is on Lordship.  I found myself wondering how those teachers had the nerve and confidence to stand up in front of these young adults and help to shape their view of the Father.

And it finally struck me what my problem is with blogging my heart and thoughts now days.

I'm afraid I will be wrong.

See, for so long I was wrong about so much.  I was wrong about church life and practice.  I was wrong about not only my view of God but what I taught others.  I was wrong in part with how I raised my children.  I was wrong in how I manipulated each and every relationship I touched.

Previously, much of this blog was about deconstruction.  It was about pointing out where I and others were wrong.  It was about putting a stop to the abuse that I had participated in.  But very little of what I remember writing was about what I believe now.

See here is the problem.  For everything I believe there is someone to say that I am not seeing the whole picture.  For everything I think there is another way to think about it.  For every way to look at something there is another way to see it.  For every way that I look at scripture there is another theologian who disagrees.

Heck, I am afraid to say that broccoli is good for you because of the studies that I'm sure are out there that say it will kill you in some horrible way.  How then can I say that God is like this, or Jesus meant that or here is what I think Scripture says on this or I think you should raise your kids like this.

I find myself wondering how can I speak into a world that is so filled with everyone who knows for sure that they are right. (And they just might be)

And so my fear silences me.

But here is one thing about me that I know.  I HATE fear.  I loath it.  Whenever I see it I want it dead.  Whenever I sense fear in me I want to  conquer it.   It will not rule me.

Therefore I am going to write a bit here again.  Maybe I'll write about something I am learning.  Maybe I'll pass along something I'm reading.  But I'm not going to let myself be silenced out of fear that I am not completely, 100 percent right.

You are welcome to follow along again.  Or not.  I'm going to write for me.

 Conversations, as always are welcome.