A conversation with a friend left me in a place of rechecking my commitments. He shared how at the beginning of this trying season, he could number those who confessed to be in the journey with him at about a hundred. Today he put that number at two; myself to be one of the two.
My heart felt a convicting jolt at that information. In my confession, I knew I had wanted to falter when the burden seemed heavy and wearisome. My own pressures and troubles have tested me to want to back away and say, “dude, I get it but I have my own problems”.
Slamming up against that struggle creates in me tension to do something against my soul’s desire. My soul keeps saying, “hold onto what you have and take care of yourself” but my spirit says, “give yourself away to help another”. The words of my teacher ring in my ears…”Are you all in? Do you want to be among those counted?”
I can’t hedge on my bet so I have to say, “I’m all in, regardless!” It’s time to be counted as living for Christ.
Act 4:32 The whole congregation of believers was united as one–one heart, one mind! They didn’t even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, “That’s mine; you can’t have it.” They shared everything.
Looking out the window I can see the first clouds come in to indicate the season is changing again. A chill is in the air so I close my window and watch the tree limbs move to and fro in the cold air. The words I’d been reading move through my thoughts. It was about parables. How teaching can be shared through allegory stories or even word pictures.
Jesus taught this way virtually everywhere he went. His disciples finally asked him about the reasons he did this and his answer isn’t one I set aside easily. He told them, “You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom-you know how it works. But to those who can’t see it yet, everything comes in stories, creating readiness, nudging them toward receptive insight.” A Beatles tune drifts in and out of my head, “listen, do you want to know a secret”, and I think to myself I really do.
I wonder at all the stories I’ve ever read in my life, especially when I wasn’t a woman walking in faith. The great stories that filled me with hope, movies that brought me joy. The one’s with a positive message were the one’s I’d come to own so I could enjoy that sensation over and over.
I realize a secret. In each of these positive stories was a message of hope, nudging me toward receptive insight. With each hopeful meaning I sought for the truth of that hope, and I found it.
I lay on my couch and the world around me was quiet for a change. Peace had found me in a restful state and my mind was silent. I could hear the sounds of worship music softly playing. Closing my eyes I knew I had found rest for my soul.
I began to hear a song but it wasn’t playing on any stereo, it was coming out of my own catalog of memories. Only two lines played over and over, “I want you to want me, I’d love you to love me”. Opening my eyes I smiled knowingly. Although this was my heart song to my Father, today it was my Father singing it back to me.
My heart felt overfilled and I asked the question of Him, “how can I want or love you more?” His answer was simple…..
(Message) John 14:15 If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you
In my hunt for a new journal, a woman began talking to me, sharing her love for good pens. Further discussion led her to share her name and her interests with me. She was an artist and invited me to come see the art studio sometime.
The more we talked the more I could hear of her heart. Her passion was art but underneath she had doubts for how good she really was. I was surprised to hear her wisely express that although she didn’t feel she was the best, her need to keep using her talent seemed important to her. Her words faltered as she tried to explain why this was a key in her life.
I asked if she had ever heard the parable of the talents from the bible. She hadn’t but wanted to know about it. I shared the parable in plain speak and just before I could finish someone interrupted us. She waited for the distraction to pass and anxiously asked me, “So what happened?” at which point I finished.
Sensing she wanted something more, I asked her for her hands. She looked at me curiously but handed them to me. Holding them in mine I shared with her the hope for her future while looking her in the eyes. Asking her a specific question about her art, I was honest to let her know the Lord was showing it to me. She took a step back and her eyes looked surprised. Her answer was yes to my question, so I continued to share what I was to speak to her.
When I was done she had a huge grin on her face. “That’s some good magic!” she said a couple times. I laughed knowing it wasn’t me that needed to explain the power of Jesus. He’d do that Himself for her.
There is a book few read for the truth it speaks, yet everyone is looking to read the “walking book” you supposedly represent because of it. Eyes search everywhere for anyone semi-looking like they believe in something!
Virtually any god-like or religion base will do. You become fair game for the microscopic judgment opinion poll. Of course those who are weighing in on the matter may have an uncalibrated barometer for what they are judging. Without the full knowledge of what’s written in this book of truth, they are always loaded with buckshot (weak weapon with wide spread).
For those being written by the Master Craftsman of the ultimate book, you must have faith for spiritual boundary tape speaking loudly for your own walking chapters to say…”NOT YET FINISHED”. Pray it’s brightly lit in neon and blinks often so the tourists see it well!
The biggest question we have isn’t really about whether or not God is real; it’s the question of why doesn’t He love us like we thought He should. Disappointments shape our perception of God. We watch television to see time and again how the good guy comes at the hour of greatest need to save the day. This sets our expectation for instant delivery, but it’s not truth. How we see our hour of greatest need is not necessarily how the Lord sees our hour.
We forget how the Word tells us about trials and tribulations. About glory to glory. About perseverance. Without these foundations we begin to crumble with questions of “where were you when I needed you?” This is when we open the door to the liar and start to dance with the devil of deception. We begin to give thought that perhaps it’s something we ourselves can fix…..
what do I do to make you love me
what do I gotta do to make you care
what do I do to make you want me
what do I do to be heard
what’ve I got to do
what’ve I got to do *
Truth is that nothing we can do will make Him love us more than He does. His word shares “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” We all know the story from there. Jesus was put to death so we could have eternal life. What greater love can there ever be as proof, than to give all for love?
* Lyrics from Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word by Elton John
Indoctrination is something all of us are exposed to in every aspect of life. What it means is literally the process of forming our ideas, attitudes and cognitive strategies. Nowadays we are indoctrinated from the time we are babies by media and culture. The military uses it as a tool to teach soldiers to come into alignment for training and obedience. Basically it’s all about repetitive exposure.
Our generations are bombarded with so much indoctrination it can be difficult to figure out what we are training for or what we need to be obedient to, if anything. Chaos seems to reign free in media. A prime example is the song lyrics, “carry on my wayward son, there’ll be peace when you are done”. Wayward means to have no direction, wandering aimlessly. How can one find peace if you don’t even know what you are looking for or where you are going? Yet this song has been sung over and over by generations without a single notion for what we are singing into our lives.
Songs are fun but it only becomes scary when we remember how much they influence our thinking. They start indoctrinating us with ideas and influence, they become our ideals. Our minds begin to accept what they speak to us and we endorse them when we sing them over and over into our lives as though they matter.
In times of old, the records of history were carried by oral communicators in the form of song. Today, we repeat ourselves to communicate our history in song, but what are we communicating when we sing of ourselves? Are we regurgitating indoctrination of our culture or are we sharing the truth of life?
“That’s great, it starts with an earthquake….it’s the end of the world as we know it”…..my son knew something before I did…the truth! It was s song echoing out of his room years ago that didn’t capture my thoughts but it did his.
Looking around us now, everything that can be shaken is. Every security we ever thought was ours by right is being rattled by the quantum of unknown happenings.
A Roman philosopher known as Seneca the Younger from the time of Nero, wrote an interesting observation…“as often as I have been among men I returned home less a man than I was before”.
Almost two thousand years later this thought does not die away with the many useless words spoken over the centuries by names forgotten. The thought is alive and kicking in me. I wonder if Seneca was seeking things in men he could only be satisfied to find in the Lord?
“What do you see?” He asked.
Looking into the distance, she wondered why He asked. Concentrating, she squinted her eyes in thoughtful pose. The silence made her speculate curiously. He was only quiet when giving her time to contemplate something of importance.
The place she stood felt good but not familiar. She kept scanning the horizon more and her heart grew in hope with every new landscape she could make out. A realization began to creep into her understanding. These places seen were new places. These were places not explored. Excitedly she looked down at her feet. Looking forward and looking back she realized she wasn’t walking the same ground anymore. She was making new tracks into new territory.