Today is Palm Sunday. It is interesting to think how such a day might play out in this social media age. Tweets with hash tags of #hosanna, #messiahishere, and #downwithRome might be the trending topics. This was a day that was ripe with expectation that soon crashed. People were excited as the felt a great change would soon come. Well, a great change did soon come, just not what was expected. They expected Jesus to come and make a world to their liking, away from the tyranny of the Roman Empire, a world where folks could be content and everything would go swell. God’s way and plan was not what people expected or wanted. This is still true today. There are a lot of post and focus on the varied elements of the kingdom of this world. There is writhing of the hands and gnashing of teeth over decisions of the government that invade the comfort of how we want the world to be. The focus is too much on what we would like rather than touching the hurting, the lost, the dying in this world. We fail to reach out to others with love and offer freedom as we go about finding comfort in our own lives. We praise God for what He can or does do for us. Sometimes, we get angry over things God does not do to make things go our own way. We want what we want and God is good when he complies and when he doesn’t well that is harder to grasp. So, take time today to reflect on your expectations of God. Do you simply shout Hosanna over how you think He might do you good, or are you praising God for His love and making a way for you that may be different then your own expectations. Are you truly willing to submit to the King of Kings or only willing to do so when things line up nicely?
Well it has been nearly a year since I have posted on the blog and prior to not posting there have been many stops and starts. The complete lack of posting was in part sorting out if posting here was more about me or about following God. There was a particularly sharp comment posted somewhere that suggested that the posting and blog was about my ego. This in turn led to silene as I had recognized plenty of comparisons going on in my mind. However, there have been many thoughst and comments that posting thoughts and such would be appropriate. At the beginning of the year I did feel God was telling me to return to blogging and posting thoughts, however, I did not immediately do so. Part of the reason for the disengagement comes from a struggling with balancing sharing my thoughts and views with my profession. As a mental health professional there needs to be some restraint and refinement in focus. For the purpose of this blog is to give voice about the things God puts on my heart and mind and to share it so that some may touched. The words are sewing seeds and using what God has given me versus sitting back in my own world and doing whatever feels best to me. I think the problem is that I did get caught up in my world and the concerns there in and got distracted from writing the things God was stirring otherwise. So, now the goal is to get back to writing and with the intent and focus to reflect back to God. It is time to speak forth what God spurs in submission and fellowship. It is time for this blog to be renewaled and hopefully people find a place of peace, depth, and reflection that is challenging of growth.
Today is Mother’s Day. It is the day in this culture that is set aside to Honor Mothers. It is a day where we are encouraged to express value to mothers. In general the concept is to honor those who you are a child of and those who you have children with. The day is one in which Proverbs 31:28 (ESV) “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her” is practiced. The verse covers both those who you are a child of and those who you have children with. In context that verse is referring to what occurs in the life of a virtuous woman as described in Proverbs 31. Honestly, most mothers fall short of the standard described in Proverbs 31. There are things done that hurt and cause pain and miss the standard of virtue. Yet, even so, there is the need to honor. There is the need to attend to that which is of virtue. The actions described in Proverbs 31 are really about proclaiming the virtue and giving witness to the good things, the virtuous actions. It is really giving acknowledgement to the good that has been done.
Personally, this writer does not yet have children. There are hopes, plans, and dreams of the same. Yet, on this day, with no children yet, there are words to say to life up the woman who will one day share the joy of bringing children into the world. There is honor in the steps she takes while awaiting the time of bringing children into this world. Admittedly each day the time gets shorter, but the time taken is of worth and value so that we both may be of virtue in raising children. So, this writer is proclaiming that his wife is a woman to be praised and valued. I honor her.
Now, as to this writer’s mother; there has been no one who has more impact on the man I’ve become then her. She engaged in much care and nurture. There were many actions taken that shaped my life course and development. She is even the one who identified and encouraged my life call and profession. She sacrificed on many levels to ensure that me and my brother had what we needed. It is certain, that my awareness of what she poured into my life is only partial for many things actions taken that were well beyond the awareness of a child (and yes, even beyond awareness of an adult child.) My mother did so much to love and build me up that it is need of honor and this writer greatly appreciates what she is done. My mother is one to be honored and blessed for the value of what she put into my life is beyond measure.
Now, for the readers of this post, please take time to consider the mother’s in your life. Praise them and rise up and call them blessed. Do so today, and do so beyond such days of cultural expectation. Find the things of virtue and honor that shaped you, and make it know, for as you bless, you in turn are blessed.
Filed under: culture, Gifts from God, Growth, Holiday relections, life | Tagged: blessing, elevation, encouragement, growth, Honor, impact of love, love, mom, mother, Mother's day, motherhood, nurture, Praise, virtuous woman, viture | 1 Comment »
Today 4/13/2013 news that Brennan Manning left this life on 4/12/2013. He was a man of God, a disciple who now has moved on. Yet, he was a teacher of much controversy. The top of the controversy was that he taught “contemplative prayer” with use of things like emptying thoughts and repeating words. This controversy exists and is out there, yet, I have no question that in He was a true follower of Jesus the Messiah. His teaching and from what I understand even his life was fractured and flawed. He knew fully what it was to experience God’s grace. Yet, he is really know different than any other disciple of Jesus. He tought things wrong, he did things wrong, he was flawed. Yet, he knew what it was to be loved by God. He was a teacher and preacher of God’s love. His messages focused on deepening the understanding of God and His love. This is true for me.
I heard Brennan Manning speak at Church of the Open Door in Minnesota two or maybe three times. When he spoke his words and presence displayed and shown the love of God. His words touched to the very core. I do not remember his words or his teaching at that time. I do know what he taught and spoke of on those days changed me. He gave words that brought closer awareness to the love of God. He taught in such a way that got beyond the fractured images I had of God the Father and God used to touch hurt and pain and let God’s love in. God used this man. And for that I am grateful. He served and was used by God and he touch my life and many others. There are a great many quotes out there that demonstrate the truth he taught. It is important to note in God’s economy the words of Love and truth have far greater impact than the things we speak that are flawed, dangerous, or destructive. Truth and love always have greater effect. In closing this article I am posting some Brennan Manning quotes that demonstrate the Truth and Love that he taught that impacted so many.
“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.”
“In every encounter we either give life or we drain it; there is no neutral exchange.”
“God is love. In human beings, love is a quality, a high-prized virtue; in God, love is His identity.“
“God loves you unconditionally, as you are and not as you should be, because nobody is as they should be.”
“My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ, & I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.”
“Christianity was not some moral code; it was a love affair, & I experienced it first hand.”
“If we conceal our wounds out of fear & shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others.”
Filed under: Amo Dei, Christianity, Faith, Growth, Intimacy with God, Joy in Lord, life, Musing on meanings, Obedience, Relational Holiness, Testimonial Stories, The Church | Tagged: Amo Dei, Brennan Manning, Brennan Manning quotes, faith, God as Father, grace, growth, healing, Identity, intimacy with God, kingdom of God, love, love and truth, Love of God, peace, Relational Growth, Surrender to God, True Peace | Leave a comment »
Jesus was a dangerous. Think about it. See he came to change things. His mission was to make things different. He posed risk to those that were in charge. He posed such risk that Herod the Great killed many infant males to try and kill one. He was so dangerous that the crowd tried to kill him on more the one occasion. Most had hoped that his dangerousness would mean the end of Rome and re-establishment of Israel as a country and kingdom. However, that was not what yes was about. He did not meet those expectations. This also made him dangerous. It was his dangerousness that led to his death. He lived God’s way. He was concerned for each individual. He loved and demonstrated concern for others over appearances of righteousness. He was so dangerous that they decided that He needed to die for the good of all. They considered Him so dangerous that the tried him at night, examining ultimately if He was one who is leading Israel astray and worthy of death. They decided He was and assured his death. Jesus was dangerous.
Jesus is a dangerous. Think about it. He changes things. Following him involves loss of control and submission. There is great risk in following Jesus. If you truly follow Jesus your life is will be the same. There is no one in history who unsettles people like even the name of Jesus does. Mention of the name can bring unease and unsettle others. See following Jesus involves trust and faith. It involves a belief without absolute certainty. It involves following a different way and going against the ways of the world. Jesus is dangerous.
Jesus will be dangerous. Think about it. There is a time coming when Jesus returns. It will be a time for those that do not follow him to fear for there will be wrath untold. The twisting on creation due to the impacts of life outside of dependence on God will be undone. All of creation will not go untouched. There will be wrath. There will be judgment. There will be making things right. Never before will there be any greater danger and no greater power unleashed. Jesus will be dangerous
Now that you have done some thinking. Realize that to some the danger of Jesus is the making of a villan because there is great danger. He does not meet expectation. If you follow Him you are good, if not, an enemy. Either he is Lord and King or not. See, there are many who want to live their own way. Many who think that they are good enough for they care about and try to look out for others and do other nice deeds. How dare the creator of the universe be told to show self and come in such a manner? How dare He require complete surrender? Yet, Jesus brings forth life. He sets things right and in all that danger He alone brings true peace. For all the danger that is there, the danger only exists if you reject and turn away. And there are those who have thought about it, recognize it and follow Jesus, this ever so dangerous one. The letting go brings far more than any risk and true life and peace are gained. So, yes, Jesus is dangerous, but in the end He alone brings about true health and wholeness. So accept the dangerousness and surrender. Once you do you will never be the same and it will be good.
Filed under: Christianity, Easter, Faith, Holiday relections, Obedience | Tagged: Christianity, dangerousness, death, death jesus, Easter, establishment of israel, fear, God, Good Friday, Gospel, Herod, Human Rights, Israel, Jesu, Jesus, Lord, peace, reconiliation, religion, renewal, risk, Rome, theology, villan, world jesus, Yeshua | Leave a comment »
Last week this writer was involved in an accident where suddenly a semi-truck hit the rear end of his car on a highway sending the car spinning out of control. No other vehicle was hit. A couple days after the accident this writer had a conversation was had with a friend and the thought was expressed that it felt like there was a target on my back. Now granted the thought was a little dramatic but rooted in having been involved in a prior scary accident about five years earlier. There are also things that have happened in life while engaged in helping others grow and receive freedom. The thought came to my mind that there is a concerted effort to do me harm. Now before the reader begins to think this writer is developing paranoia or grandiosity or becoming too concerned with own scope in the grand scheme understand that there is a wider picture here. Sure, this writer may be targeted from harm by spiritual forces. It is a certain possibility. However, it is not isolated to this writer and it is not even isolated to believers in Jesus as Messiah and who surrender to Him as Lord. The fact is everyone has a target on their backs. Scripture tells us in 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV) “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Granted, the verse there is directed at believers. But it is just not believers that “the enemy” is seeking to destroy. It is all of humanity. “The enemy” wants many harmed. In John 10:10 it states “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy” which indicates that all of us have a target on our backs. And in other words, there is really nothing “special” about any of us and what we go through. It is part and parcel of living life and we are all targets for destruction.
Now that being said, yes, there are times when things happen in our lives where things go beyond coincidence. And certainly engaging in the work of loving others and helping others overcome the pain, destruction, chains, and traps of the battle of life brings on difficulties the evidence an attack. But the attack has nothing to do with that person but more about who we serve, that we are servants of the most high God. Now, given that the enemy seeks to destroy all God has given us directions. We are to take every thought captive. He are to put on the “full amour of God.” We are to be sober minded and alert. We are to be involved in tearing down strongholds by spiritual means. We are to cast down imaginations. We are to stand firm and endure. Our job is not to “defeat” an enemy but to bring people into God’s kingdom and save them from destruction. Bad stuff happens. Periods of time where we catch the attention of the enemy where we have the attention of the enemy, in other words stuff does happen. In all that we are to engage and endure and rescue others. So, yes I have a target on my back, so do you, and so does everyone else. Be about the business of loving and caring for others and point them to God’s kingdom.
Filed under: Christianity, life, Suffering | Tagged: adversity, destruction, evil, Freedom, God's Kingdom, good, imaginations, life, light, peace, roaring lion, spiritual armor, spiritual battle, spiritual warfare, spirutal attack, strongholds, targetted, theif, tryanny of suffering | Leave a comment »