A Breath of Fresh Air

Glimpse the Living God.

Location: Virginia, United States

Thursday, March 24, 2011

God does not live in my Quiet Times - a Conversation

“Lord, I am so frustrated!”

“I’m here.”

“I have hardly any time to spend with you. The kids are up at all hours. Even when I try to steal a few moments in the middle of the night, someone wakes up. The house is a total disaster. I’m so tired that picking up the Bible is the last thing I think I can manage at the end of the day.”

“We can spend every minute of every day together. I love that you want to spend one on one time with me, but don’t lock me up in that idea. I also want to join you at the grocery store, hold you as you hold a sick or crying child, laugh with you as you enjoy your children’s antics.”

“Talk to me as you fold the laundry, do dishes, or cook a meal. Include me on the car ride, in the Doctor’s office, at the playground, or while you’re scrubbing toilets.”

“There will be a season where you can linger over that second cup of coffee with me while we study the Word and journal together, but that season is not now. My yoke is easy and my burden is light, but you have to take me with you. I never meant for you to do it on your own.”

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Contemplating Jesus - the Experiment Continues

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)

A caterpillar can not transform itself into a butterfly. It simply creates an environment that is conducive to change.  It took me all week just to get into this experiment. It was very interesting and I learned a lot of random things - like my spiritual radio was on scan. I am going to continue to create a God-focused environment because I want to be like Jesus and I can't transform myself. I want so much more for my life than this world has to offer and I know He wants that too.

The very most important thing that I learned this week was that this is a totally personal journey. There are no universal answers to some of my questions. I need to know what God is saying to me specifically and be obedient to Him no matter what.

Not only that, but the answers to my questions will be different for me right now in this season of life than they may have been years ago or than they will be in the future. I need to live in the moment, because the moment is all I have. There are no guarantees.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Questions and an Experiment

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)

The verse is "come to me" to find rest. Not, sit in front of the TV or do something mindless. On the contrary, taking up the yoke of Jesus will provide rest for my soul. A yoke goes around an animal when they are working. So, working will provide rest for my soul?

The Questions:
How do I live for Jesus in my current society?

Is it ever okay to watch TV? to play mindless games? to read "brain candy" type of books?

Does God want more for me than that?

Can I find my rest only in God? By reading the Bible?

Do I feel restful after a long binge in front of the TV?

Psalm 39 says, "
Each man’s life is but a breath." That's not long.
How should I be spending my short life?

What would please God? What would be just acceptable? Do I want to be just acceptable?

Should I be working toward something all the time?

I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:9-10 (NIV)

This full life that Jesus died to give me sounds like it's in heaven, not here. This is not my home, not all there is, not where I should be storing up treasures.

So, what does this life on earth look like?

He is the vine, I am the branches. If I remain in him, I will bear much fruit. Apart from Him I can do nothing. So, I need to be producing fruit? That sounds like work too.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Galatians 5:22-26

Am I exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit in it's fullness?

Do I need to crucify my passions and desires?

Am I living by the Spirit? Do I want to? What does that even look like?

How can I do this without becoming legalistic?

“Everything is permissible for me”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 1Corinthians 6:12

“Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive. 1Corinthians 10:23

If it's permissible, doesn't that mean that I can do it?

Does everything I do have to be beneficial? All the time?

Does it have to be constructive? All the time?

What does that look like?

Have I let too much that isn't beneficial creep into my life? What does that do to my character?

What is sinful vs just not the best choice?

How do I look at all of this through grace?

The Experiment:

If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Matthew 6:30-33 (The Message)

So, for one week, I am going to "steep my life in God-reality, God-initiative, and God-provisions". I wonder if He really will meet all my everyday human concerns, or will I be missing out?

I'm going to read the Bible instead of watching TV or indulging in some other escape type of entertainment. I'm going to fill my mind and my heart with praise music, Christian books (namely, my Beth Moore Bible study), and God centered blogs and pod-casts. I'm also going to limit my time online to posting on my blog, checking my e-mail, and managing my Ebay sales.

I want to walk in the Spirit, find rest, and be content. I want every aspect of the fruit of the Spirit to be evident in my life and I don't want to waste a moment of this precious time that I have.

I'm hoping to see and hear God clearly with no static. Maybe I'll find some answers to my questions, or just find a good balance in my life. At worst, this will not change my perspective at all and I will have wasted my time. In which case, at the end of the week, I'll just resume my regular life. Either way, I have to know.

God, I need You to be who You say You are. I need You to speak to me this week. My life isn't right and I don't know how to fix it. Help me to see through Your eyes no matter what my society wants me to believe. Show me Your truth, guide me in Your way, and teach me.