Saturday, January 22, 2011

Change of Mind

I was thinking and planning on writing on a different topic this week. I had it all written out and ready to go, but conversation at the dinner table last night invoked other ideas.
Sitting at the dinner table with my family last night, I listened and observed the actions and responses from each of the children. There were constant remarks about each other, usually negative and sometimes just mean.
The topic somehow turned to the idea of what ifs and the different scenarios of the imaginative life. Their speech and thoughts were totally self centered ideas. Everything was about what they wanted.
I processed as long as I could and threw in a hypothetical; and I asked a very serious question to each of them. "If we were going to move, why do you think your opinion would even matter? If we stay and decide to live with the poor and minister what right do you have to say no?" "Who are you anyway? What right do have in this house to put any demands on me or your mother?" I waited for responses from each of them. I explained to each of them that their mother and I put a roof over their head, supply food, clothing and all the necessities they need and more. Then I asked them what their contribution was in this house as to put forth a valid opinion on what we should or could do. No response.
Rather harsh sounding I know, but then I led them to reasoning which I was actually working through in myself at the time. I explained the best I could that this life that we have is not about them, it is not about me. This life is not about what we want. I gave an illustration of the planets and how they revolve around the sun. The sun I said does not go around the earth, but we act like life, people and even G-d should revolve around us. We are not created for G-d to serve us, rather we are made to worship G-d, serve each other and love the way Jesus Messiah loves us.
I was angry not only with my children s attitudes, but also with my own. I would say out loud that I seek G-d and his will, but really I would like for his will to be my own. How stinking selfish is that?
We went back to the story of Cain and Able, and how Cain rose up in jealousy against his own brother and committed the first murder. The question was asked by G-d to Cain,"where is your Brother?" The response from Cains resounds so clear today in each one of us;"Am I my brothers keeper?"
Our response in this life is not a matter of our opinion, which we might think, because we are who we are, might carry some weight, matters for nothing. Who are we to think that we can mistreat each other, slander, abuse and hurt one another?
This life that we have is given by an all powerful G-d who alone holds the opinion that matters. Let us be willing to be conformed to this truth, to understand that this life consists of loving G-d and loving people. If we love G-d, we will love people like G-d loves us. This life is about G-d, knowing the one who made each of us and expending our energies loving our neighbor as ourselves. G-d matters and this life is a gift and it is to be given away freely.
I don't know what is going on in my children s hearts this morning about what was spoken last night, but my own heart is convicted and I am saddened at my own attitudes and opinions. I am once again brought to the light of truth, and this that I am dust and clay, and that I must repent and follow the footsteps of the Master and His instruction and not my own ways.
I'll end here, because I must cook pancakes for my kids, but this thought of keeping my heart right comes from my reading this morning. I just finished The letter to the Hebrew and this passage in Chapter 12 is very fresh in my thinking."..Let us also lay aside every weight and sin which cling so closely and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame and is seated at the right hand of the throne of G-d."
Somehow that statement holds a lot of opinion with authority. Let's keep looking to and following His steps, because that matters most.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Always an adventure

My eyes opened at 4:37 this morning, this is the usual wake up time for my biological makeup. I am pursued by two cats that act like they have not been fed for a week, a dog that if he could, would cross his legs and do the potty dance. I am in demand.
My coffee is brewing, I am walking my dog in the 20 degree frigidness and my praise begins.
This is the start once again of Noels big adventure. Thank G-d! As I am walking I am talking and praising His Holy name. I do not start off with request or petitions, but just praise and thanksgiving. What a beautiful beginning to a day that is full of surprises.
You would think however, that how in the world could you get ready for "surprises"; it already sounds repetitive and mundane, the same routine. Where is the adventure, the mystery? How could this be exciting?
Let me just start off with what I know; I know that there is a god, The G-d! I also know that this G-d has breathed everything into existence and anything that is is only because of G-d. I know that this G-d is still ever present in this world and is active. I know that there is a verifiable Savior, Jesus Messiah, who once walked this earth, was crucified and buried and rose again. I know that this Jesus took this man who has been alive now for almost 42 years and made me alive through a wonderful faith in his work.
You see, just that in itself is an adventure. To know that G-d is active in this world and to be able to wake for one more day, which could be my last, and praise Him for all His work is FANTASTIC!!
With what I know of this revelation, I enter my routine with expectations of my work schedule and regular life, but I know that there are encounters along the way. I do not know what encounters, I don't know with whom the encounters will be with. My thinking in all this is not searching for G-ds purpose for my life, but rather that I am G-ds child and I will do whatever is before me with purpose.
This is the adventure! To have my eyes opened, a heart directed towards Jesus, and hands and feet to be used for the reasons of heavens mandate. My adventure begins each day with the still loud command of Jesus to his disciples, of which I am also, to "come, follow me". How awesome is this?!! As a matter of fact, I am going to clean all eight of the bathrooms at my church this morning. Who knows what could happen along the way, or who I'll meet or be able to talk to. I will come home and be entertained by four completely different individual children who call me dad. I will also be able to hug the woman who is carrying our fifth child; AWESOME!
I used to think that my life should be full of craziness, stunts and whatever might be full of energy and creating an adrenaline rush, but the truth is, that there is no greater rush than to serve and be used in revealed ways of the masters footsteps in whom I follow.
If we just seek to do whatever it is that G-d has said to do,and by the way this is not hard, G-d already tells us what to do;" justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your G-d.", we just have to step forward and be willing and G-d will open the door to the adventure of a life time.
May we all journey together in the grace and mercy of an adventurous G-d. Amen!