Serendipity


Defined as having good luck or discovering something unexpectedly good by chance, this word is a fun starting place for my blog today.

I don’t believe in luck.  But I like the sound of the word serendipity…don’t you?  What I do believe is that we are never left by Jesus to walk this road alone.  And experience convinces me that, while I may not know what my life needs, He guides my path to find it. That’s what I think about when I see the word serendipity; and, it just sounds like a happy word!

In the Old Testament, Joshua 1:9, we are encouraged to be strong, courageous, and not terrified because the Lord is with us wherever we go.  This is not a matter for debate.  Rather,  the revelation comes through personal experience.  When we seek we will find him… if we seek with our heart.

So often we lose confidence in God, feeling lost because of the weaknesses we see in others.  We all fall short. We all are having a human experience and learning as we go.  We can come to God with our anxieties and cast our cares upon him. It’s a choice for each of us – our greatest gift and responsibility.

Following someone’s leadership when they are making good choices is often a great comfort, until their own feet of clay melt into the burning coals of testing and trial.  However, when we put our hope in Jesus, rather than mankind, we become empowered to love people no matter what choices they make.  With humility comes compassion, and with compassion mercy, and with mercy forgiveness.   And that is how healing enters the picture…for us, for the ones we see stumble,  and for the world.

Serendipity makes me want to skip and smell flowers!  It’s a hopeful word.  My hope in Christ does not disappoint me.  I’ll take that over luck any day!

Be Blessed 😉

My Thoughts on Christians Proclaiming “Truth”


In recent days I have been enjoying a new social site based on the Christian faith.  I am a Christian, which is why I categorize certain ideas under the heading The Jesus Journals…no brainer, right?   The label of “Christian” was one I wrestled with for awhile.  There has been so much damage done through hypocrisy and just plain harsh critical conversation.  I want people to experience my heart and not be put off by my label.   At this stage of the journey the burden of trying to stay unlabeled is just as great as being labeled so…as the doctor in the television series  Becker remarks (something to the effect of),” it is alright for you to choose not to like me.  Just do it for the right reasons” —not predisposed because of a label.

That ranting behind me, I’ll get to the core of my thought process.  I’ve read a few things about various  “New Age” stuff put out on instructional forums, and while the historical information given can sometimes even be admirably respectful  and unbiased….when it comes time to present the answer of whether something is permissible for the follower of Christ things start to get dicey because judgment and divisive bias enter stage right.

Since this is a very personal thing, I’m not always sure that we can give people the limits of our understanding of truth…becoming judgmental towards those who don’t live inside the box.  We’re really not supposed to squabble over doctrines.  We are to encourage one another with love by the fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self control) and live according to the love chapter of 1 Corinthians 12.

Even without these instructions…we are to love our neighbors (those we like and those we don’t) as we love ourselves and do unto others as we’d have them do unto us (not as they actually do unto us).   That along with loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, strength, etc. fulfills the intent of the law.  All the do’s and don’ts of law are summed up and remedied by these concise exhortations.  Yet I, like every human being, fall short of this goal frequently.  That’s why it’s important to be humble and repent.

So why do those who preach the good news and try to share this love keep ranting about how everyone besides their flavor of Christian system is doing it wrong?  I think it’s pretty straight forward…are we following the example of Jesus…all other documents filtered through His life’s example and teaching, or are we adding our own control mechanisms and agendas to the mix?  Of course we want to bring the healing and heart rebirth that results from giving our lives to Jesus in an act of faith.  That’s like delicate surgery though.  It’s open heart surgery.  Yet we treat it as though it’s a deconstruction and reconstruction process.

In everything it is important to find our common ground and work toward understanding one another, and then to begin the dialogue.  Laying out criticism and schism produces negative results.  Even those who may follow out of fear often wind up following after other things eventually because they’ve been hurt so badly when they expected to be loved.

We can’t throw out the baby with the bath water.  (The bath water being those habits that harm ourselves and others) When it comes to this New Age title that I hear tossed about like it was a hot potato that no one wants to be stuck with in the Christian conversation,  lets remember that God is communicating through every way possible, especially in these times.  Quantum science is discovering things about God’s creation that was boundless mystery before.  We share things in common with people, whether they believe as we do to the letter or not.   Hello Christians…we share with every religious system the reality of being loved by our Creator.   Experience (and please avoid jumping to the phrase “relativity”) is part of the relationship process.  Everyone’s journey is relative to their proximity to whatever intimacy (or lack thereof)  they have in relationship with God.   Being in meaningful relationship with Jesus (he’s not dead)is possible relative to the heart’s disposition.  Let’s use language to help us make progress rather than slaughter that which we might not understand or have had narrowly focused training in.  The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is already in us.  I think that may be one reason the Bible encourages us to come and reason together rather than come and condemn others together.  We’re saved to share love by the power of the blood of Christ…blood shed as a sacrifice for our sin.  We are saved to share mercy, compassion, respect and genuine love with everyone, that we might be a light in darkeness which envelopes the human condition.

BTW, a note on living in the light…I was reading yesterday in Ephesians about the Armour of God and found passages exhorting me to turn from works of darkness and be in the light.  Having heard that used in sermons as an ax to slaughter the “pagans”, I went to the original Greek for better understanding, listening for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  I found, quite notably, that it is speaking of us living with integrity…personal integrity…being the love of Christ inwardly and in relation to the world and people around us without displaying  hypocrisy.  (Obviously that’s my own way of wording it).  So before we preach to remove the splinter from the other guy’s eye, we need to make sure that the log in our own is gone…that we see and believe and respond with integrity…after the example of Jesus.

Many men very connected to this world’s system have had their hands all over the translations and distributions of the scriptures.  That’s one good reason to weigh and consider as we read scripture.  It’s also important to remember, as we read our translations, that Jesus didn’t speak English and languages translate strangely at times.  Sometimes it’s man’s best guess as to what the ancient bits and pieces of recovered documents were written to mean.  Even the red letter version of the gospels (although I like that style) can’t convince me that we can, without doubt, know that Jesus said every word verbatim in English.  Let’s reason together.  Let’s let the Holy Spirit do what the Holy Spirit does best…guide us into all truth.

Recovery


Not only am I recovering quite well from having two teeth pulled (ref. yesterday’s blog “Second Opinion”), but I also recovered my courage as the events of yesterday unfolded..thanks be to Jesus.

I’ve always been bothered by the notion that when people are saved from harm or spared pain, etc. that it’s an example of God’s faithfulness, which implies that when one must endure pain and hardship something is askew in the God/Human relationship.  I know the Old Testament seems to read that way, but when one examines the subtext a different story unfolds.

As it happened to me in this situation, I was spared pain and given courage for anxiety.  That was indeed a blessing.  But had I endured pain and continued to wrestle with anxiety through the experience, I would still have found God faithful to me because I trust that all things work together for good when one’s heart is devoted to the Lord. (I have had more experience with the latter)

Sometimes praises arise from our hearts because we are elated by  personal victory or just a good mood.  Other times, like David so frequently writes in the Psalms, we bring the sacrifice of praise. This time, I am happy to say that I get to celebrate being delivered from something.  Yea!

The Lord is my light…


You Are Valuable and Precious


Loving Actions

are therapy for the depressed or discouraged soul.

When we share the burdens of others the load becomes lighter

and the meaning of life comes into focus

The choice is ours.  Let’s be the love we seek.

The Preacher’s Kid


The Preaching Biz always seemed like the family biz to me.  My father and uncle are both preachers.  I am too, in an unofficial capacity…ask any member of my household!

I actually have had the delight of delivering a sermon or two.  Honestly I’m more comfortable sometimes talking to a crowd than an individual.  Individuals want specific answers.  I offer more thought provoking reflections or ideas.  I guess that works for individuals as well.  It just feels more awkward when I don’t know what to say and extemporaneous speech  does not, for me, always equal wise counsel.

I suppose this category will include thoughts which may, at times, sound like sermons.  Good ones, with humor…not those other kind.  Prayerfully.

I’m an outside the box thinker, a radical believer in the love and divinity of Jesus as well as his humanity.  My goodness!  Has One Considered the amazing idea that God became man to get to know us better!  That thought right there is so cool!  And he treated women really decent, too.  I love that guy!

When I Prayed For Help


Many things are going on in my life right now on a variety of levels. Life, right? We all have this stuff happening. Some of us turn to God in prayer to find comfort and strength. I do.

Of late, it has come to my attention that my attitude…in spite of all that prayer…had become pretty smelly. I knew that, but was not connecting with the solution. During my prayer time this morning though, the answer came through. Jesus is waiting at the end of our rope, you know!

I realized that, while I’d asked for help, expressed tons of thankfulness, made myself available in spirit and body to be of service…I had not praised him. How long had it been since I had just opened my mouth and let songs of praise fill the air around me? Too long.

So, this morning, that’s what I did. And guess what? Attitude change! The Lord does inhabit the praises of his people. Greater is he in me than anything I encounter in the world. Our God is an awesome God!