streams

streams

Friday, August 18, 2017

Refocus

“When my soul is in the dumps, I rehearse everything I know of you.” (Psalm 42:6 MSG)

When I feel agitated or despondent, it is a sign that I am  disconnected from God. My mind is fixated on my circumstances and my inability, not on God’s power and grace. I have developed a coping mechanism to refocus my attention. I have made up and memorized a list of characteristics and attributes of God from A to Z. As I recite these, silently, I feel a sense of peace and strength wash over me.

Available
Burden-Bearer
Comforter
Defender
Everlasting
Faithful
Good Shepherd
Helper
Indwelling
Jesus
Keeper
Light
Mediator
Near
Omniscient and Omnipotent
Protector
Quieter of the Storm
Reviving One
Spirit of Truth
Trustworthy
Understanding
Vindicator
Worthy
Xavier (Savior)
Yahweh
Zealous

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Awareness

Continued from last post...

“I was totally ignorant, a dumb ox in your very presence. I'm still in your presence, but you've taken my hand. You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then you bless me...Look! Those who left you are falling apart!” (Psalm 73:22-27 MSG)

Last Tuesday, our entire neighborhood lost landline phone and internet connection for the whole day. Since many of us rely mostly on our cell phones for calls and internet, we didn’t even realize that there was a problem. The first neighbors who noticed were the ones who relied solely on the connection for all their internet needs.

How can we know when we are disconnected from God, if we rarely use our opportunities to connect with Him?

Do we communicate with God intimately, authentically, and constantly? Is He our primary mode of connection to everything else, or do we merely use Him as a back-up plan? Have we developed an awareness to His presence and providence?

Jesus has gifted us with the ability to recognize the Spirit of Truth. There was a time when we were disconnected, falling apart with every crisis. We are no longer unaware of the Lord’s presence. We don’t pull away when He takes our hand. Now we follow willingly as He leads us tenderly into a sense of wholeness, wellness, and peace.  


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Empty Lives

“Apart from me, you can do nothing.” (John 15:5 NLT)

My car has a remote key fob with a microchip that controls all the doors and the ignition. Last week I went walking with a friend on a trail. Since I didn’t have any pockets, I just held the remote in my hands as I walked. We walked several miles before we got back to our cars. I pressed the buttons to open my car, but nothing happened. I opened up the case to see what was wrong, and I noticed that the microchip was gone. It must have dropped out of the case sometime during my walk. Who knows how long I had been walking around with an empty shell of a remote?

Many of us go through our days with hollow souls. Just because so many others are doing the same thing, doesn’t make it any less futile. We hold on tightly to empty cases, imagining they are worthy. We walk around looking like we are still productive and useful, but we are just going through the motions, wasting time and energy. Disconnected from the Spirit of God, we can do nothing meaningful.


Continued in the next post...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Making Space

“There is more than enough room in my Father's home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2 NLT)

The Lord makes space for me. However, I often have difficulty finding room for God in my day. I used to devote the first hour of every morning to ‘quiet time’ with God. These days, my mornings seem very chaotic. I allow myself to be distracted. I let other things take precedence over my appointment with God.

What if God occupied all space, and our lives were little bubbles inside His vastness? When we know what we want and we feel competent in our ability to make things happen on our own, we don’t see any reason to bother with God. We float around in the delusion of self-sufficiency, until something happens to burst our bubble. Thus adversity, uncertainty, instability, insecurity, disappointment, fear, anxiety--all can make us open to the Spirit.

“Open up before God, keep nothing back; he’ll do whatever needs to be done: He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon. Quiet down before God,  be prayerful before him.” (Psalm 37:6-7 MSG)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Aging

“Gray hair is a crown of glory.” (Proverbs 16:31 NLT)

I’m well on my way to a crown of glory. My hair is graying, and the rest of me is aging as well. Aches and pains are becoming more common. I need reading glasses to read fine print. I have difficulty hearing things, but I also complain about music being too loud. I can’t understand the lyrics to most of the current songs. I have trouble relating to younger characters in movies. I prefer to go out during the day and stay home after dark.


However, I have discovered many positive things about aging, too. My life is more authentic now that I no longer operate by other people’s standards. I recognize and avoid toxicity. I am more intentional about how I use my time and energy. I’m less inclined to get involved in other people’s drama. Experience has made me more resilient. I accept that change is inevitable and adaptation is imperative. I know how little I know. I am at peace with this. I am more grateful and less ambitious. I am aware of my powerlessness and God’s power. I am cognizant of my dependence on Him. I have learned to trust God more and more.

Friday, August 11, 2017

All-Knowing

“This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need.” (Matthew 6:8 MSG)

The omniscience of God brings up more questions than answers. If God knows what we need before we even ask, why pray? If He already knows everything that will happen, is there free will, or are all our choices predestined?  

"God will not hold us responsible to understand the mysteries of election, predestination, and the divine sovereignty. The best and safest way to deal with these truths is to raise our eyes to God and in deepest reverence say, ‘O Lord, Thou knowest.’ Those things belong to the deep and mysterious Profound of God's omniscience. Prying into them may make theologians, but it will never make saints." (A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God)

God is All-knowing. We are not. This means that certain things will always be incomprehensible to the human mind. When we pray, we can forego the list of petitions and nagging reminders. Instead, slip into a state of  reverential intimacy. Acknowledge God’s omniscience. He is deeper and vaster than we can fathom.

"LORD, you know what's happening to me. Please step in and help me.” (Jeremiah 15:15 NLT)


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Detachment

“Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. This world as you see it is on its way out. I want you to live as free of complications as possible.” (1 Corinthians 7:31-32 MSG)

Detachment involves letting go of our attachments. It is natural to want to hold on to our relationships, identities, wealth, comforts, privileges,  viewpoints, passions, etc. However, there are times when it becomes necessary to loosen our grip.

Oftentimes detachment is involuntary. We let go because we are powerless in the situation. We hang on to the ledge until our strength gives out, and then we are forced to release our grip. We have no choice.

Other times, we relinquish control even when have influence over the situation. This form of detachment is even more difficult. It involves trust. We may not be completely powerless, but we are willing to hand things over to a power higher than our own.  

Lord, show me how to detach from worldly cares and pursuits. Teach me to hand everything over to You in trust.