Tuesday, May 29, 2012

When Silence is Deafening

A friend of mine noted that the quiet of the early morning hours made her wonder if she could enjoy life when it was no longer so hectic which prompted me to think about rest, quiet and soul health.

Sometimes silence is deafening. When we choose to be silent, we meet ourselves and our past there (thank you for that thought, Gay Hubbard). We may also meet God in the silence. Depending on the truths we know or perceptions we have of God (from the Bible, experiences with authority and our parents) we will either enjoy that meeting or run from it.

I used to keep busy to keep busy. I used a full schedule to avoid facing the pain in my heart. Healing took quite a process of education, revamping what I believe about God and myself and making tough choices that I had to work to live out. Now that I have lived in that place of health, I find myself enjoying silence more. I still enjoy activity and being with people. I still enjoy handcrafts, but the drive to do them is not as strong now. They are no longer a necessity, rather a joy.

Permission to be silent and to rest comes from a healthy understanding of God as our good Father and good Shepherd. When we believe the truth about God, meeting Him in the silence to speak truth to us is not intimidating and full of hope.

Read through the New Testament asking God to show you who He really is, not who you think He is. Take notes and learn. He will surprise you!  Brad Jersak has written a good book on having healthy conversations with God in quiet moments and his wife, Eden, has written a lovely book of ideas to start those conversations.

What do you do with silence? Are you at peace or in fear? Can you choose to face what you might find there?

For peace in solitude,

Friday, May 25, 2012

Between Authority and Presence

A friend of mine, who happens to be a pastor, shared something I've been pondering of late. He said we need to live between God's authority and God's presence and when we do we're walking the "narrow way" that Jesus described to his followers in Matthew 7:13-14

There is so much between those "places".

All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Jesus and He's living in me (and you if you have allowed him in). [Matthew 28:18] Stop and ponder that thought a minute or two! Wow!  That means we have the opportunity and authority to do ANYTHING He directs us to do for His kingdom and His purposes - including loving well, giving generously, obeying His directions for us, trusting Him and on and on. Think about times when you've had authority - even on the playground as a kid - and ask God how you were different on the inside. What would you be able to do today if you felt that same power that is good and godly because if flows from God Himself in you?

God's presence is such a peaceful refreshing place. That is where I go to refresh my soul. It is the ONLY place to truly "get centered". I connect with God in constant conversation (both LISTENING and talking with Him) throughout the day. I engage God because He is with me all the time. He's always there, I'm the one that needs to remember that fact! [Hebrews 13:5, Psalm 139 especially v.7]

There is also tension living between the two. Authority implies direction and action. Presence implies simply being. Living well with God in this world will require both.

(Thanks, Ken Wilson!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Living in a foreign land

I recently visited my sister in Germany and a friend living in Denmark. Both of them face interesting daily challenges with culture and languages that are different to them. As I entered into their worlds, God reminded me that I am a stranger and alien in this world.
Jesus told his followers, including those of us who follow him now, that we would face hatred because our spiritual nature in Christ is different than the world - foreign to those who don't yet know God personally.
John 15:19
"If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world [no longer one with it], but I have chosen (selected) you out of the world, the world hates (detests) you.")

If you've lived in another country or even moved from one part of the country to another, you have some insights into culture shock and how to cope with the differences that just might inform your spiritual journey on earth this side of heaven.

I want God to be proud of the way I've conducted myself here. I want to look like His kid, not like the rest of the people around me and I want to love people so well that they'd consider a relationship with Him over what they are accustomed to in the evil world around us.

2 Corinthians 1:12
"For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you."