Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lives Interrupted

You know those times when you are moving along life's path, reaching towards the goals you believe that God has placed in your life when suddenly, BAMM! something unexpected happens? You sought the Lord and pursued the direction which you felt led to follow; however, along the way financial sources dry up, a child is born with special needs, a job is lost, a marriage is shaken and your plans,those plans that you felt originated with God, are derailed... interrupted. I am reading a study on Jonah, by Priscilla Shirer where she says, "Interruptions have a way of revealing whether we really mean it when we say, 'Lord, not my will but Yours be done.' " How do we respond when this happens? How do we know when an interruption is an attempt to lead us off course and when God has sent it to direct us towards a new course? When is it interruption and when is it intervention? What are your thoughts?

On another subject: some of you have asked why you don't appear on the bottom of the blog page as a "follower." You can become a follower by clicking on the "follow" button OR you can subscribe to the blog by entering your email address in the subscribe box. Only those who are "followers" have there names posted at the bottom of the blog page; however either way you should be automatically notified when there is a post on the blog. Hope this info helps.
Looking forward to hearing from you.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Posture of Christ

So I have been noticing Jesus' posture lately as I read my Bible. Yes, I know that out of all of the theological concepts that I could focus on, this seems an odd one, but it all started when I was looking at Mark chapter 5. In this passage, Jesus is touched by the woman with the flow of blood and she receives healing and "he turns to face her." Did He need to turn to her? Did He need to acknowledge her? No, in fact, socially speaking, it was completely the wrong thing to do; but, He chose to do so. He chose to place upon her the dignity that, one made in God's image deserved, by acknowledging her when the rest of the world had refused to do so. When Jesus ends an evening meal with his friends, he takes the posture of a servant, and on his knees, washes their feet. Is this posture required of Him? Of course not, but in assuming this posture He teaches us about humility, service and love. When Jesus speaks to the Pharisees who have caught a woman in the act of adultery, He bends down and begins writing in the sand a message that we are not privy to. What does His posture demonstrate to us? To me it reminds me to not look so closely at the sins of another when I have plenty of my own. It reminds me of Jesus' compassion as He takes the focus off of the offender and on to something else, and in so doing, alleviates her humiliation for the moment. And what about his posture in the temple when He discovered it occupied by thieves and money changers? He was no shrinking violet when faced with the blasphemous acts of those in attendance. He was fiercely protective of His father's house and His posture shows this as He gathered whip in hand, to intimidate offenders into fleeing and turned tables of those selling sacrifices.
The posture that Christ took throughout His earthly ministry was revealing, but none as much as the one He took last. At the cross Christ opened His arms wide and both surrendered and embraced at the same time. He surrendered Himself to the plan of His father. After His very human prayer to have "this cup pass," Christ chose to not only pick up His cross and carry it, but to be nailed upon it with a viciousness that we will never know. What his enemies didn't realize is that they pinned Him into the perfect posture for receiving--His arms wide open. This was God's plan all along. With His arms wide open, he surrendered himself and embraced our sin, and in so doing, made it possible for us to enter into eternal relationship with Him.
As you may have noticed, the name of my speaking/counseling/coaching/writing ministry is Arms Wide Open Ministry. I hadn't thought about this final posture of Christ when I picked the name, but I do love what the posture reminds me: To live my life in such a way that I am in constant surrender to God's plans for me and to therefore receive all that he decides to lavishly pour into my life. When the time comes that I fulfill my purposes on this earth and Jesus invites me to join him in heaven, I imagine the heavenly gates opening and the obligatory clouds parting to reveal my Heavenly Father greeting me.... with arms wide open.

What are your thoughts? Press the "comments" tab and share your thoughts.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Thoughts on the New Year

Annie Dillard writes, "How you spend your days, is how your spend your life." I've been thinking about this for the last few days as a new year looms ahead. Some spend their days angry over circumstances and end up at the end of their days with an angry life. Some spend their days waiting for others to fix their problems and end up with a life lived as a victim. The thing that I fear, is having a life filled with regrets. Regrets at things undone; words unspoken or unwritten; relationships not experienced, purposes unfulfilled. I wonder how this will effect my moments and therefore my days and in turn, my life. Often I am so distracted by yearning to fulfill my life, that life itself is sneaking by. Can I reset my internal self to find joy in the "now" instead of longing for the "when?" When this project is finished then..... when we have the property then.....when I loose the weight then.....what about the now? I wonder how much of life we yearn away? Some slogan, somewhere stated, "Live the possibility!" Yet do we miss this present reality by doing so? How often do we sit in the moment in which we find outrselves and notice the surroundings? The voices of our loved ones? The chair under our body? The smells in the air? Even the fears in our hearts?
I plan to be more alive to each day this new year and more thakful for each moment I have. I hope to experience days that will be filled with contentment so that in the end I may have lived a life of contentment. I suspect that I will still find moments to dream without losing the reality of the dream that I am living...this amazing life that God has given me for this moment. Happy New Year.