Live In The Presence of God

How do I engage with God as my storyteller?  1.) Live in the presence of God.  When you live with someone, you know them inside out.  You see, firsthand, their reactions to things as they happen.  You notice their body language when someone comes to visit.  You feel their joy over good news, their heavy heart over bad.  You discern their displeasure over certain things and pleasure over others. You might even predict their responses ahead of time.

Living in the presence of God through meditation and prayer offers the same personal insight.  I am near Him as I live out my story so that His ‘take’ on my life is perceptible.  I  sense His reactions to my thoughts, feelings, and events so that I have an accurate barometer for my own.

The concepts of meditation and prayer are so much a part of our everyday Christian language that they risk becoming cliches.  It’s hard to feel their great significance.  We say, ‘Read the bible and pray’ like we might say, ‘Don’t forget to say please and thank you.’  The impact is lost unless we spend our lives practicing them.

Living in the scriptures while being prayerful means that I am immersed and enlightened by His Word.  As I meditate on a couple of verses at a time, I will take  them in slowly. The Hebrew word for meditate is ‘hagah’ which means to savor.  I let them sit on my tongue.  I engage with the taste in every way possible before swallowing. The Spirit of God will unveil more and more as I chew on them throughout the day.  I will be able to discern His thoughts and feelings about life as it happens.  “Did you hear that, Jesus? “You see what I’ve been asked to do, right?  How should I approach this?”  With scriptures running as a backdrop, and with the posture of prayer ensuring my connection, I learn to live near the lap of God.  God’s voice is a rudder, revealing His version of events and correcting the other narratives I’ve always believed were true.  Scripture and prayer re-wire the ways I think.  They also align my feelings and slowly change me into someone who thinks, feels, and then acts like Jesus.

This is the lifestyle of one who sets God in a place to be their storyteller.  The Holy Spirit of the Rabbi has much to reveal.  His version of my story never ends in tragedy.  Senseless pain is never the last chapter.  While pain is a thread in the plot line, it is not the predominant theme.  Glory and redemption are what dazzles.  If I can’t see any trace of a redemptive plot, I know that I’m not yet seeing my life through God’s eyes.

I’m willing to believe differently.  Jesus, I’m willing to let go of the long standing family narrative.  Amen

The Hidden world of an Iceberg

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.  Proverbs 20:5

Perhaps the iceberg that fatally wounded the Titanic in the Spring of 1912 looked much like this one. By the time Murdoch spotted it, there wasn’t enough time to turn sharply enough to avoid it. When they hit, a jagged piece of iceberg, under the water, ripped part of the hull.

The part of any iceberg that’s shows above the waterline is not what’s most dangerous. It’s what lies beneath surface. The part visible to sea captains is usually minuscule in comparison to what is hidden below.  The size of what they can see is far less threatening than the massive piece of ice not visible.  Many have been fooled to their peril.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this picture.  Really, the part above the waterline has no freedom to do its own thing. It’s connected to what’s underneath, the part that catches the currents of the sea and takes the whole thing along for the ride.   Is this not a metaphor for our inner life? Beneath the surface of our exterior lies a massive underworld of beliefs, lies, disappointments, joys ~ which are embedded in our life’s story. These create a personal mindset that serves as the current that takes us on the ride of our lives.  What others see and experience on the outside (above the waterline) is a shallow, and often fake, representation of what is going on inside.

It is this extensive underworld that God wants to us to continually examine in the mirror of the Word.   Many who sit under Christian teaching are told that what is in their past is irrelevant.  They are new creatures in Christ.  While we are new creations, the flesh still plagues us.  Memories haunt.  Childhood labels direct our steps.  It is our past that defines us and it is the process of sanctification that requires we take each part captive, examine it, and deal with it under the direction of our wonderful Counselor.

Jesus, You are not surprised by anything I’ve pushed into the deep.  You are Lord over all of it and more powerful than any of it.  I want a beautiful next-chapter.  Amen

Who Are My Storytellers?

Each of our lives is a story.  Some parts are happy, some are sad.  Consider the many people who have spoken into our lives. Parents, grandparents, teachers, a pastor, childhood friends, even foster parents.  The ones who have told us the stories of our lives wield great power.  They interpreted life’s events for us as things happened and, as children, we believed them.  That’s what children do.

Think about the many things each of us have heard.  “This happened to you because you asked for it.“  Or, “This is how life works, trust no one!”   Or, “If you were more like your brother, this wouldn’t have happened to you.”   Or, “You’re stupid, lazy, and doomed to fail.” These comments, made by our storytellers, shape our lives until we cease believing what isn’t true and start believing the narrative told by the grand Storyteller, God the Father.

Whose version of your story do you believe?  There are so many from which to choose.  1.) People are quick to tell us about ourselves whether we ask them to or not.  2.) We have our own version of life’s events.  3.) Satan has a version and is all too eager to interpret life’s events for us.  “This happened to you because God didn’t take care of you.”  But most importantly, 4.)  God has a version.

You might be asking by now, “How do I know which version I believe?  How will I know if it’s God’s version or not?”  That is the critical question and is the topic of the series we’re starting today.  We’ll be encouraged and equipped to identify the lies, and the truths, that have made up our view of ourselves.  Most importantly, we’ll be unwrapping the spiritual skills that enable us to hear God’s version of our story.  His is the only one that is entirely true.  HIs is the only one that counts.  And, His is the only one that is redemptive and has the perfect ending.

I can’t count how many times my parents would read The Three Bears to me, also Hansel and Gretel.  They were among my favorites and I would never tire of hearing them.  But, today, there is a more beautiful story to be heard and I need to hear it over and over.  Too many voices in this world attempt to nullify it.   So, climb up on God’s lap with me.  Hear the pages rustle.  The air is electric with the good news to come.

I will be challenged by Your story and will need courage to believe You.  Make me a child again…impressionable and teachable.  Amen