been a long time since i have posted anything…but not because i haven’t been churning within and looking for an outlet. its been more like a sabbatical from expression or maybe i’ve been in pressure cooker of reflection. am i the only one that feels the presence of God always but at different intensities? i believe the strength of my relationship with Him is based solely on where i am, not where He is. (come near to Him and He will come near to you. John 4:8) it’s not as if he hangs out for a while with me and then says ” I gotta go, someone needs me on the other side of town”, like some sort of super hero. He is everywhere, not bound by geography, transportation constraints or even the laws of physics as we are. its up to us to turn it all around, slow it down, turn down the volume and open our eyes at the moments when we feel His presence diminished. it’s the old phrase, “it’s not you, its me” thing. He is there but the fog of worry clouds Him. the sparkle and glamour of temptation blinds us. we need to simplify our faith by just showing up to it, slow down and spend time seeking the peace and glory we all really want in this life. what good is all the other if you don’t have that?
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
just going to say it…there is nothing more important than our relationship with God and building faith through practice. but there have been days that almost feel like the very life we live has contracted one of those pesky computer viruses and compromised our system. we were walking along minding our own peaceful biz, staying out of other folks way, staying the course of our day, talking with Him in the midst of every situation, thanking Him continuously and then it’s almost as if we drop out of cellular coverage, lose the wi-fi signal. and what is worse, it may be sometime before we realize it! the schedule, the deadline, the “to do” list commandeers our connection with Him. we then find ourselves scrambling in apologies for the loss of focus on the very One that sustains us. praying for a stronger signal to put us back online with what we have know be the information highway that guides our journey. and then..like all prayers are answered in His way, in His time, it happens. a moment of silence, a slowing of the earth’s rotation, we hear Him. we see Him. we feel His presence. we reconnect the signal. we are back “on”. just remember, He provides online support 24/7/365 and it is all of us that need to stay dialed in and connected.
“The Lord replied “The times when you have seen only one set of footprints is when I carried you.” – Mary Stevenson
things these days are a bit unsettled to say the least …the economy, the job market, and the cost of waking up everyday is going up. the wars and upcoming anniversary of september 11th always reminds us of how fragile our world is and how quickly it can all turn to dust. many of us are feeling helpless. in fact, many of us are re-thinking the way we think. if all this “doom and gloom” has done anything it has allowed so many if us to ask ourselves if we are where we want to be and if we are doing all we can do…looking for a sign for His plan for us. and again, it’s so simple. it’s right in front of us. when we are driving out of our neighborhoods we see it on top of buildings, when we check out at the register on the cashier’s jewelry, it’s even on the waiter’s tattoo at the corner restaurants. it’s a cross…it’s a sign…it’s the answer.
“and calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34
when we have been treated unjustly we all have the natural instinct to react, to protect ourselves. God must have given us this built-in feature as a defense mechanism, right? so that we would not fall prey to fools, thieves and criminals. He might even have armed us all with this quality in order to protect each other, to look out for the weak or less fortunate. we may even swing back literally or figuratively in haste, not with malice but with self-preservation. we could issue our judgments to explain away the behavior, not to belittle but to seek understanding and compassion. and we may react with anger, not to settle a score but to insert our passion for what is right and just. in our actions we might seek resolution for the wrongs that have been committed in some circumstance privately with God, in others out in front for all to see. and there in lies the quandary, which is it? are we to forgive and forget, work it out from within and let God take it from here? or should we to act to protect the very goodness He stands for? He says “vengeance in mine” (Roman 12:19) and so do we walk away from the perpetrator and allow Him to do his work? or do we act on His behalf in an effort to “seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless” (Isaiah 1:17). that’s a tough one but here’s a thought…maybe there is more than one answer. maybe “it depends”. but we do know this, we are called to live our lives by the Son’s example and yet we have witnessed his forgiveness as well the selfless actions he took so that there would be justice for others. we also know where He went for all His answers…His Father. He prayed.
“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” John 5:30
building our faith is the ultimate goal but remember “building” is the key word. the concept indicates action is taking place. that there is planning, there are tools and there are hands on. think about the things we have built in varying stages of our lives from sand castles and lego cars, from friendships to reputations, from a house of cards to a happy home, each one of us has building experience. we can all agree that the investment in the time of construction was necessary to accomplish the structure, good or bad. we have been built up and been torn down by ourselves and others throughout our lives but each person along our path has provided the architecture of who we are. we have been told that a strong foundation is where we begin, however we continue our quest for the solid construction of our souls. remember “building’ is an action item so in order to assemble our unshakable faith and the storm proof soul, prepare your foundation with a planned dedicated time, bring the proper equipment for the heavy load and get your hands dirty. do the work necessary to build the greatest design yet, God’s house in yourself.
“but you, dear friends, build yourself up in your most holy faith and pray in the holy spirit.’ – Jude 1:20
when many of us cook we use a recipe. sometimes these recipes call for a ‘dash of salt”. why a dash? because it matters. that small amount of flavor makes a difference. this minuscule amount is missed if not included. if it were to be omitted, one might taste the dish, pull away the fork and say…needs a bit of salt. this small effort and small detail can complete the dish and not leave folks wanting for more or searching for the shaker! so what we may consider an insignificant ingredient, a puny addition, a miniature effort could make the chefs concoction a memorable experience. and so are our lives…these small efforts and simple decisions do make all the difference in whether we are left wanting for more or satisfied with what we have been served. there are a lot of days for a lot of us that we feel in order to be better or give more it is just too overwhelming and so we do not begin. my challenge is to start with just a smidgen. a bit more than nothing and see what you can accomplish in your life or the life of someone who needs you.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32
think of it this way, when you look through a telescope you can see in great detail the craters on the moon. from the cheep seats you can see the sweat on the players with binoculars. with a magnifying glass, the amazing designs of a small insect. over our existence, humans have developed ways to see what we cannot see. through our desire to learn, understand and enjoy our world more fully we have found ways to get a closer look. and as close as we can get to outer space we have only barely scratched the surface of what is there. our relationship with God can be seen or unseen in the same way…although we don’t have physical tools to help us see our faith clearer, we do have the ability to glow closer and see Him more clearly. most of us have had the experience of seeing Him up close in the birth of a child, a death, in tough times and miraculous blessings. and if we focus in on day to day prayers, devotional reading and worship we can allow ourselves to blow of the dust, wipe the foggy glass, and zoom in on a clear vision of our faith and creator. only then can we can see.
for now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. now i know in part; then i shall know fully, even as i am fully known. 1Corinthians 13:12