Monday, November 26, 2012

Still seeking!

"Life verses" ... sometimes that phrase can be heard within the Christian family. I've used it. For me, a life verse is a passage from the Bible that has registered in a profound way within my soul. It is a verse I read when I knew... that I knew... that I knew... I could claim it as my own. Some have been promises and some have been instructions.

The very first time I experienced this kind of connection was when I read Jeremiah 29:13, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." These words seemed to have a life of their own. It was if they jumped off the page and filled my soul with an amazing joy. In that moment, I knew that if I looked for God, I could find Him. It was just that simple!

One time I lost my car keys. (OK, I've lost my keys several times but I had this revelation only once!) As I diligently searched for them, realizing that I needed them if I wanted to get to my next destination, this verse popped into my mind. That's what "seeking God" resembles - diligently keeping my eyes open, searching for His presence, knowing that He is there!

I once thought that God was hiding from me. Maybe He does sometimes. Maybe He wants to observe how much I desire Him. Will I faithfully seek or will I grow weary? Maybe He wants for me to experience the delight of "finding" Him once again. Maybe ... but more often that not, I think I am the barrier to finding God and walking with Him. I am the one who takes my eyes off of Him and when I do, it seems as though the world, with all of its false glitz and glamour, begins to allure. I begin to focus on the gifts instead of the Giver, the creation instead of the Creator.

But I have this promise ... When I seek Him with all my heart, He promises that I will find Him. It was Israel's promise and it is my promise ... and it can belong to others! If they want it.

I have a few more "life verses"... maybe I will share more in future posts.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Who do we thank?

A young friend serving in a former communist country in Europe told a story ...

One Thanksgiving she shared the American tradition with a group of friends. She asked them, "For what are you thankful?"

One very astute friend replied, "To be thankful implies there is a God to thank and we don't believe in God. So I'm not thankful for anything."

Sad ... on so many levels.

This bright young woman is totally correct. If we are thankful, we must understand there is "someone" to thank and the original source of our gifts and our pleasure is God.

On another level, thanksgiving also implies joy and contentment. It requires that we look at all we have with fresh eyes of wonder. Thankfulness pulls us into a "happy place".

So to deny a day of thanksgiving in order to deny God is a travesty. A denial of personal happiness and contentment.

Thank you God for the gift of Jesus. Thank You for your living presence in my life. Thank You for surrounding me with loving family and friends. Thank You for the gift of the church. Thank You for the "feast" you have given me. May my heart always be inclined to share it all - including You. May may heart be forever thankful. Amen

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;  come before Him with joyful songs.
Know the Lord is God.
It is He who made us, and we are His, we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name.
For the Lord is good and His love endures forever,
His faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 100

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Tree House

Leslie, Travis and my niece, Alex (all adults, I might add) just moved into a new, stunning home. It's a dream home with everything a growing family will ever need or desire. And their bedrooms have the most gorgeous views.

Last night the three of them grabbed sleeping bags, climbed into the tree house and camped for the evening. Why I ask? Why? One hundred yards from their comfortable home yet they chose the hard floor and the damp, cold air!

To be honest, I just don't get the whole camping thing. And it's not because I don't love the outdoors. Nobody, and I mean nobody, loves the outside more than I do. You will find me outdoors almost every single day - reading, walking down to the creek, gardening. Yes, I would rather weed any day than work inside. But I still don't get the camping! Why choose sleeping outside at night with critters moving around that you can't see? Why choose sleeping on the hard ground when you have a soft, comfortable bed? And need I mention the accessibility to indoor plumbing? There are people living on the street who would trade sleeping spots any night of the week.

Possible answers: adventure ... because I can ... for the experience ... to say I did it ... it's fun...the adrenaline rush ... the taste of freedom! How may things have we chosen to do for these reasons when realistically, they did not make sense? Entire industries have been created for these reasons. Bungee jumping, leaping out of planes, skiing down a mountain as fast as you can (which has been a favorite sport of mine!)... Really, do you see any logic in risk?

Why do we crave adventure? Why do we have this desire to do the unexpected? Why do we want to go where no man has ever ventured? Why do we often feel as though our lives need more excitement? Why does the beauty, creativity and majesty that surround us become mundane and boring?

As usual, lots of questions, no perfect answers. Perhaps we were created to live our lives with "oohs" and "aahs" and we just forget to look around us with fresh, open eyes. Perhaps we have this built-in desire because our eternal life with Christ is meant to be filled with adventure and excitement. Or could there sometimes be something ugly within us - a portion of us that is never content, that wants more, that wants attention, that finds our worth in what others think of us. Actually I prefer to think that we were created for adventure.  And as in all things good, humans can distort with wrong motives.

Back to this idea of sleeping in a tree house... it could be a fun adventure for an evening but I think I will pass. You will find me under my down comforter!