Steep & Deep

  

Sometimes life feels steep & deep. When I snowboard sometimes I feel like this – the run is too steep & the snow is too deep so I get intimidated & I want to change my mind. But more often than not, I’m already committed & I have to make the best way I can. And truth be known, I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

This is also true for me with God. I want my relationship to be supremely deep & steep:

  • Deep in that I want to know God’s presence in depths & contexts that exceed any human relationship
  • Steep in the sense of vertical awareness – God’s presence spanning any level of my thinking & attention. 

Who’s with me in the adventure of having a deep & steep relationship with God? Let’s commit such that there’s no turning back!!!

Changing Everything

I read this morning about how Jesus helped a man who was demon possessed. Because of the demons who tormented him, this man:

  • lived isolated among the tombs
  • couldn’t be chained or contained
  • lived naked

He was clearly deranged & without hope. 

After meeting Jesus & receiving His freedom from the demons, the man was dramatically changed – so much that when the townspeople came out to see what was happening, they found the former tormented lunatic:

  • interacting with Jesus & His disciples
  • seated & serene
  • clothed

It never ceases to astound me that the townspeople ran off Jesus because they were afraid of His power to change everything. They seemed to have become more comfortable with demons than Jesus who brought freedom from all things demonic.  

Let’s fully welcome Jesus into every area of our lives to restore order, serenity, salvation & the ability to engage & connect with others in healthy ways!

Jesus changes everything!

Consumer Grade Christianity

We do alot of our shopping at Walmart because it’s cheap, close and convenient.  The quality, however, can sometimes be a little questionable.  For example, when I buy socks for my boys, I’ve learned that if I buy them from Walmart, I’ll usually have to buy 2-3 times the number of socks (holes, rips, etc) as if I buy a higher quality & little costlier brand from a different store.  Consumer grade socks for my boys from Walmart usually have a pretty short lifespan in the world of boy socks 🙂

Unfortuanately, I think we sometimes treat Christianity with the same level of function.  We want cheap, close and convenient:  Jesus in the manger, candle light service in less than an hour, the cross, tomb, July 4th and the next thing.  With this kind of thinking, it’s not a surprise that someone could easily be disillusioned, misled and / disappointed with the consumer grade version of Christianity, if such a thing really exists.

So here are some thoughts to consider:

  • does your faith facilitate more function from or attachment with Jesus?
  • is your faith in Jesus based on consumption, sacrifice and / or transformation?
  • is Jesus an accessory or a necessity in your life?
  • maybe consumer grade Christianity is only a Satan contrived deception to the authentic, daily and life-changing relationship with Jesus that will most certainly include sacrifice, fertilizer and resurrection 🙂

Rustle Bustle

Seems like we all juggle lots of things: kids schedules with sports, practices, dr appointments, work responsibilities, relationship stuff, . . . the hustle, bustle & rustle of everyday living.
In all of these things, let’s be mindful to nurture in our hearts our relationship with Jesus. Lots of things want your attention so we must daily chose to fellowship with Jesus beyond the quickie “help!!!” requests. While these are important & good, our hearts are designed for deep fellowship with Jesus so lets yield to our design & align our values, focus & time to nurture the deeps with Jesus!

Rustle Bustle

Seems like we all juggle lots of things: kids schedules with sports, practices, dr appointments, work responsibilities, relationship stuff, . . . the hustle, bustle & rustle of everyday living.
In all of these things, let’s be mindful to nurture in our hearts our relationship with Jesus. Lots of things want your attention so we must daily chose to fellowship with Jesus beyond the quickie “help!!!” requests. While these are important & good, our hearts are designed for deep fellowship with Jesus so lets yield to our design & align our values, focus & time to nurture the deeps with Jesus!

hot topic: flirting

flirt

Flirting is an interesting concept.  It can be a playful and teasing way to interact with people, but from personal experience (back in the day), it became tiring really fast.  Flirting felt like a game to me, a relational game that had very high stakes.  When I look up “flirt”, it means to act amorously without serious intentions.  Sometimes, I think we flirt with God:  we go to church, sing love songs to God, dress up and act like we love God, but we don’t have any serious intentions of making a long term commitment (except when there’s some appealing benefit or carrot that keeps us engaged).  Flirting means that we get to pretend without any promises, chat without any change and be shallow without any sacrifice.  Let’s be serious about our relationship with God, keep our promises, change and make sacrifices all with God’s Help working throughout out daily living 🙂

Obstacle Course

When I was growing up, I thought obstacle courses were really cool & if the truth be known, I still think they’re cool. I like how they make you use different ways to overcome obstacles – whether it’s climbing a wall, crawling though a pipe, hoping into small platforms, etc, I like all of that stuff (and the TV shows that do the spoofs on obstacle courses are nothing less than hilarious, but I’ll save that for another day). But here’s something to consider: everyday we face various obstacles (big, little, emotional, relational, financial, wisdom, etc). We can perceive these things are obstacles & hardships or we can see them for what they really are: helpful exercises to enable us to be closer & more intimate a God. So let’s celebrate the various obstacle courses in our lives because we are letting them work into our hearts a deeper relationship & trust in God! 🙂

Love me some tech! ,)

I’m a big tech fan – I like being able to do things with greater efficiency & sometimes effectiveness, with the use of technology. Its also interesting to chat w my kids about life before the cell phone, personal computers, wifi & all of these wonderful inventions.
With that being said, lets be mindful that technology is a tool & not always the solution. For example, even though we can text, Facebook, FaceTime, tweet, etc, there’s nothing that will ever replace the experience of a real face to face conversation. The same holds true in our chats with God – lets not rely on methods, systems or anything that would substitute for the real face to face presence & fellowship that we can have with God! 🙂

be prepared :)

I’m laughing as I write this blog because I might possibly be the least prepared person you’ll ever meet.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found some definite disadvantages to the “leap before you look” approach, having gotten myself into all sorts of challenging situations, especially when you consider all of the variables that can go with any kind of international travel.  With all that being said, I’m becoming an ever increasing advocate of being prepared & this also applies to the area of my connection with God.

In my experience, I know that God is altogether gracious with me & far exceeds any of my best efforts & I’m crazy grateful for God’s grace to me everyday!  While I totally appreciate God’s grace, I’ve also come to the conclusion that my relationship with God seems to have more depth, gravity and fullness when I maintain a few preparation things:

  • go to bed early so I can get up early & spend time with God
  • talk with God throughout the day – more inclusion & less exclusion / isolation
  • understand that God’s connection with me spans the entire spectrum of uber shallow to depths of which I have yet to explore
  • fresh forgiveness – super important to keep a clean heart
  • unified prioritites:  seeing all of the various responsibilities that I have within the context of God using them to improve & enhance my relationship with God 🙂
  • have a prepared mindset that God can do any thing at any time 🙂

Zacheus was a wee little man

This morning I read about Zacheus, the wee little man who climbed up in a syacmore tree, so that he could get a better glimpse of Jesus.  In this very brief story, we see that Zacheus was a tax collector & not popular with the general public (maybe like our IRS – smile).  Nevertheless, his interest in Jesus compelled him to do something that was out of the ordinary – maybe he was used to doing these kinds of things since he was a wee little man ,)

Whatever was his normal behavior, he caught Jesus’ attention and Jesus was happy to visit Zacheus’ house – the beginning of Zacheus’ transformation.  When we genuinely look for & accept Jesus for Who He really is, then our lives change.  Our relationship with Jesus is about living a transformational life more than being a religious follower of Jesus 🙂

an important thought for friendship

 I was reading earlier this week about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He was under tremendous pressure knowing that He would be betrayed, brutally beaten and crucified in less than 24 hours.  In the Garden, He was in an extremely weak place emotionally and He asked 3 of His closest friends to “keep watch with Me.”  It seems to me that Jesus wanted some company during this REALLY TOUGH time – unfortunately, His friends fell asleep and weren’t very good company.

But here’s my point, if you want to be close to someone and really connect and know them, you can’t just hang around when everything is smoothy groovy.  Deep, genuine and constructive intimacy requires us to be present when the other person is in their most vulnerable and even weakest state.  Let’s learn from the failure of Jesus’ friends and do our level best to be present for others when they are in difficult times.

getting the right match

 Before I met my husband, I had a few boyfriends who were nice guys.  Some of them were really smart, some of them were very funny, some of them were very philosophical and some had some great business skills.  They were all unique and great in their own ways.  When I met Reece, it was really obvious that we were both very different people, but in a really good way.  Of course we had some very essential commonalities, but to this day after more than 18 years of marriage, we are still very distinct and unique individuals.  One of the beauties of our relationship is how well we complement each other. 

So I’ve been thinking about this idea of complementary natures as it relates to God and us as individuals.  It seems to me that we are God’s complement – broken, weak, frail, dysfunctional, insecure, etc and God is our complement.  Sometimes I’ve tried to find my complement in various human relationships only to be disappointed and hurt.  The only true complement to our true self is the Truine God.  They have designed us to be Their complement 🙂

Want a deeper relationship w God?

I was reading this morning about how Moses was up on Sinai & how he went into the cloud with God’s presence. I thought this was interesting because I remember how when I was on my honeymoon how we visited a semi-mountain in Seattle that was all fogged in. I remember really well how bizarre it felt to be thoroughly inundated by this cloud. I couldn’t tell if anyone was around me on this mountain & then i heard voices through the cloud that seemed to be just inches away. It was an amazing experience.
Here’s my point: sometimes I think we can miss out on some really amazing experiences w God because we are afraid of the unknown. Moses walked into the cloud & what an incredible relationship was developed between God & him. Maybe Moses was scared of the unknown or maybe not. Whatever the case, Moses had a relationship w God that was nothing short of fantastic & part of that relationship came because he walked into the unknown 🙂

daily fellowship

I always want my fellowship with Jesus to be getting deeper & more vibrant.  Some days my fellowship with Him seems to be deeper & more vibrant than others.  But I’m reminded about my relationships in my husband.  We most certainly have a good marriage, but there are lots of days where we just live together doing the daily routines and maintainence of family life.  We talk about the daily schedule for our family, our responsibilities, etc.  Just because every day in our marriage doesn’t have indescribable bliss and euphoria doesn’t mean that we’re not close or that we don’t have a good marriage.  Quite the contrary.

I think this is also true w our relationship with Jesus.  I think that some of the greatest fellowship & intimacy can come through including Him throughout the entirety of each day.  Jesus loves to be an integral part of our daily living – hence, daily fellowship 🙂

Minimizing Distance

I had an interesting discussion w God during my prayer time today about what creates distance or gaps in my relationship w God. I started thinking about the whole Garden of Eden debacle & it seems like that’s a great place to look at the distance dilemma. The conversation Eve had with the snake suggests a few distance “insights”:
*believing lies & distortions about God’s Word creates distance
*talking about God rather than with God can be a distance indicator
*passivity can create distance w God (it looks like Adam was listening to the conversation between Eve & the serpent in Gen 3)
*desiring anything more than God can create distance (Eve looked at the fruit & it looked good to her)
Now my point in sharing these things is that I don’t want to have any gaps or distance in my relationship w God. So if you’re like me, maybe these could be helpful red flags. Do you have more insights or suggestions (not just the normal “sin” answer, please)? Thanks muchos!! 🙂

ever been mad or disappointed w God???

Now that’s a loaded question with all kinds of implications.  I think that some people won’t allow themselves to be mad or disappointed with God for fear of being disrespectful.  Other folk go so far as to totally alienate any contribution or participation from God in their lives because of their anger, hurt or disappointment with God.  Is there a healthy middle point?  Can a person be angry, frustrated, hurt, disappointed with God but still keep their relationship withHim?

If you’re in this difficult spot, it can be helpful to read Job to see how he dealt with his anger, hurt & disappointment with God.  Here are a few things I’ve learned from Job when it relates to being angry or disappointed with God:

  • being honest with God is a necessary ingredient for intimacy with God
  • stay engaged – withdrawing or pulling away from God hurts you and is a dead end
  • give God plenty of space & time to respond to you
  • be willing to adjust, repent & change
  • arrogance undercuts any constructive dialogue with God

investment strategies

This is a crazy time for investments, of particular interest is the stock market over the last 6-9 months! Yowzer!!  The stock market can be very unsettling if you’ve invested in it over the years & were relying on it to provide finances for you now!  OUCH!

heaven1Investment is deciding to not consume something now but rather to set it aside, so that it will be available to be useful in the future (hopefully, to have grown).  Investment kind of flies in the thinking of modern conventional thinking – to our own demise.  From a macro-scopic viewpoint, I think that we rarely consider investments from an eternal point of view, even though Jesus encouraged us to do this in Matt 6:1-21.  In these verses, Jesus basically identifies 3 resources all of us have at least a little bit of – money, relationships & appetites / desires (energy).  Some personal questions He asks us to consider:

  • what are we doing with these resources?
  • have we considered these resources from the viewpoint of eternity?
  • will we have any resources / investments set aside & ready for us when we cross over into eternity? 

In Matt 6:21, Jesus says that where our treasure is, you’ll find our heart there.  Something interesting to consider in connection with not only our finances, but our relationship w God & our appetites & energy.

Can you pls leave a comment w some ideas on how you can use your money, relationship w God & energy (appetites) for investments in eternity?