Friday, October 28, 2011

Faithful Friday Faves: Colossians

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

I've changed my mind on my Colossians selection a couple of times, and thought I had finally picked one and pulled up the New Post screen to elaborate.

And happened to turn the page, and my eyes lit on different verse, and it has become today's choice:

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form - Col. 2:9 NIV

That kinda settles it, doesn't it?  'All the fullness of the Deity' --- God Himself, in all His fullness, walking around as a human.

We can accept that or reject that, but it isn't a statement subject to relative interpretation.  It's not something that can be partly, sortakinda true.  He's fully God...or not.

But it's a basic thing to be settled; a foundation of faith.  For someone to claim to follow Christ and disagree with Colossians 2:9 doesn't make sense.

Just sayin'.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Paradigm shift

Tuesdays are staff prayer days.  Being a part time employee, I tended to come in after that hour that begins the work day, but The Actor, who is in the internship program at church, must be there to attend, so I've been profiting from the disciplinary nudge to not let Tuesday morning slip away.  It's usually half an hour of personal prayer/reflection/quiet time, followed by about a half an hour of joint prayer with an exhortation from one of the pastors.

Now, there have been a number of things over the past month or so that has stirred up my unusual take on the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Bridesmaids ;one message/study after another has discussed it.  So it has all been raked over and I've been pondering it and pondering it and I felt like I was on the edge of something profound, but I didn't really have the time to sit down and pursue it.

But I knew that when I got to the sanctuary for prayer I'd have some time to chase down the revelation that I was glimpsing around the corners.

And as I was heading down the hall, Bible and journal in hand, I suddenly thought of another parable on that I'd almost linked up in my listening to the Parable of the Bridesmaids before, but somehow just missed the connection.  That would be the story of Elisha and the Widow's Oil , found in 2 Kings 4.  I posted about that in one of my early Friday Flashback posts , and actually slightly referenced that post in the discussion of the Bridesmaid's parable, but I didn't really put them together until I sat down this morning and began to write.

In 2 Kings, the widow's oil (blessing/anointing) was miraculously multiplied to fill all the capacity she'd built up when no oil was flowing....the preparation she'd made when nothing was happening.

In Matthew 25, the foolish bridesmaids left their post so that their lack of preparation would not be obvious to everyone, and consequently missed the bridegroom's arrival and were shut out of the celebration.

I suddenly saw that true preparation happens when there's nothing going on; no indication that the preparation will be necessary or even beneficial.  I also saw that the amount of preparation determines the blessing...and that lack of preparation will create the situation in which we must choose to admit our unpreparedness and suffer the accompanied humiliation OR try to cover up the error and make hasty preparations at the last minute that won't work.

So I asked God what constitutes my preparation...increasing my capacity and filling it full to be ready.

And the response I got was that I must learn to hear, recognize and act upon His voice.

Now, none of this was truly new revelation.  I have pondered all of it at various times and ways, but not all in the same context.  But, for whatever reason, something in me shifted.

More than anything, I want to be the person who hears and responds to the Spirit.  All the time.

And that's not new, either, but I got a teeny glimpse of what it would be like to truly live that way.  And it took my breath away...because I saw it.  And maybe for the first time, I truly grasped that it is what God wants for me, too.

All year I have talked about sensing a deep transformation.  If /when this works its way though, it will be transforming...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Faithful Friday Faves - Philippians

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

How funny is it that I posted a verse from Philippians yesterday?? I totally spaced that Philippians was this week's FFF book.

Good thing Philippians is chock-full of noteworthy nuggets, eh?

I actually memorized Phil. 2: 1- 11 a number of years ago just because it's one of my most favorite (as opposed to simply favorite, you know) scriptures.  What a challenge to have the same attitude as Jesus.

But I'm picking a different verse this morning...and, once more, the closest Bible happens to be a New King James, so that's the version I'm using:

for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure - Phil 2:13

I *love* this verse!  It was years and years ago that it first hit me and I went back and re-read it to see if it said what I thought.

It did and it does.

See, we, as fallen humans, don't necessarily WANT to do what is good and right and in line with God's plan.  But this verse encourages me so much, because it says that as I work out my salvation (that's from the previous verse, which I probably should've included in the quote but didn't), God works in me so that my WANT TO changes.  He changes my self-centered WANT TO so that I start to WANT TO do the things that please Him, and then He also works in my life to enable me to do those very things.

God does not throw down a list of  Do's and Don'ts and then stand over us to see if we'll live up to that; He is constantly and consistently working in us so that we not only do His pleasure, but find it satisfying as well...because it becomes the very thing we wanted all along.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I *Can*

I was folding laundry this morning, not thinking of anything in particular, when suddenly this thought popped into my head:

If you say you can't, you won't.
Wow, I thought, that's pretty profound.

So I posted it to Facebook and went back to folding laundry.

But it has been percolating in the back of my head, and now I'm wondering why that particular phrase came so clearly right at this moment.

Could it be that God is about to ask me to do something to which my first gut reaction is going to be a solid, 'I can't do that!'

When really, what I'll mean is, I don't WANT to do that.

Because it's too hard, it's too scary, it's not my gifting...whatever.

And maybe, just maybe, that little thought dropped into my head so that I could be ready with the Right Answer:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me  (Phil 4:13 NKJV)

Or maybe it was just a nice Thought for the Day.

We'll see.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Faithful Friday Faves - Ephesians

I had a hard time making a selection this time!  I read through Ephesians in my New King James, and saw several things that were worth discussing, but nothing that stood out exceptionally from the rest.

So I decided I'd go out of the box and read through Ephesians in the Message.  Wow.  Nothin' like the Message to make you see things just a little differently....but, still, I didn't find Today's Passage.

So I got my teaching Bible, the good ol' NIV.  Maybe because I wasn't reading the whole book through at that moment, the first passage my eyes lit upon when I flipped to Ephesians gripped my spirit;  this has been a recurring theme in my life this year and I still don't think I've made the proper adjustments:

Be very careful, then, how you live -- not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.  -- Eph. 5:15 - 17

If no one else out there in bloggy-land needed that nudge, I did...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Faithful Friday Faves: Galatians

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Ah, Galatians. The futility of human effort and the balm of grace.  Several years ago, I did a small living-room women's Bible study.  The first book we looked at was James, and when we decided to do another study, I chose Galatians.  A balance, if you will, between doing and receiving.

There are a number of passages that are worth discussing, but the one I chose today is one that has been highlighted to me literally ever since I did that Galatians study so long ago. It *always* jumps off the page at me, regardless of what translation I'm reading.

I've got New King James in front of me this morning, and the verse is Galatians 5:16:

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Short and simple, but what a punch it packs.

There are two things that this verse always brings to consideration to me.  The first is that the 'lust of the flesh' isn't always what you think.

The word 'lust' brings connotations of drunkenness, immorality, debauchery...but the truth is, it just means 'consuming desire.'  We tend to forget that our 'flesh'...the selfish, sin-prone human nature...lusts for many things besides physical pleasure.  Sometimes that lust takes the form of  self-promotion (guilty), passing judgement on other folks (also guilty),  repeating a juicy bit of gossip (um, yeah, that one too); getting fed up with perceived injustices and telling someone off (who, me?)... I can pretty much sum it up as just a choice to do what I choose to do instead of what I know God desires for me to do in a given situation.

The other thing that hits me is walking in the spirit WILL offend my flesh.

This verse doesn't tell us that walking in the Spirit will REMOVE the lust of the flesh, it promises that walking in the Spirit will NOT fulfill those cravings that the flesh experiences.  In other words, there's going to be a continual battle between the two.  And you'd better believe that my flesh screams like a tantrumming two year old when its desires are denied.

But I cling to the promise that as I seek to walk more and more in the Spirit, I will be more and more able to ignore those tantrums and tell my flesh to speak to the hand, 'cause I ain't listening...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Thinking the Unthinkable

At the start of the year, I put everything on the table and told God He could remake me however I needed to be remade.  I didn't want to keep anything that is not promoting the kingdom.  I didn't want to get hung up on a good thing so much that I missed the great thing, the God thing.

It has taken me this long to get around to the issue of blogging. 

I've been doing it for a while now; nearly 6 years on Sew Random and three and  half or so here.

I'm a blog advocate.  I think it's a great way to have conversations with folks who don't happen to be close by.  It's a wonderful way to exchange ideas.  For the sewing blog, it's a wonderful resource. 

Blogs can also offer accountability.  My over indulgence in fabric purchases this year is right out on my sidebar on the sewing blog for everyone to see.  The weekly 'Friday Faves' series is keeping me progressing through the a high altitude and with great speed, true, but progressing nonetheless.

But I am finding less and less time for blogging.  With the sewing blog, I have a source for material...every time I make something or do anything related to garment construction, I have a blog post.

With the faith blog, it's different.  It requires a much higher level of self-introspection and a much higher level of transparency and vulnerability.  It also has a greater potential for offending other folks.

Tread deep but tread lightly...

And, I'll be honest.  This is not to whine or complain, it's just the truth.  I don't have a big readership.  I'm not sure how many folks are subscribed and so don't show up on the bloglines counts, but judging by the comments left, there aren't many.

Or maybe I just don't write the kind of posts that inspire comments.

Whatever.  I'm in a place now where I'm trying to evaluate my it really something I need to keep doing?  Or has it run its course?  Do I need to focus on something else?

I'd miss blogging terribly if I quit.  If no one else gets anything from my posting, sometimes I go back and re-read the old posts and get something that I needed.   I'm not really feeling 'discouraged and ready to quit'...but I am wondering if the lack of feedback/participation/audience is just an  indication that this isn't the time or place I'm supposed to be.

I'm not going to make a hasty decision on this, but the truth is, if I put everything on the table...well, everything means everything. 

So, while I'm not making plans to quit...I am beginning to consider the possibility that it could be Time.