open the blinds

Living on a lake, we have these seven, long, beautiful windows facing south. In the summertime, we often have the cloth shades drawn to try and keep the house cooler, but there are three which are mostly shadowed by trees to the side of the yard that are usually kept open. Reading this morning, I looked up for a moment to appreciate the small sliver of view between the trees. Looking through the shades on the other side, I glimpse a muddied image of the morning sun shimmering across the water.

Somehow, the smallest peek of the outside seems satisfactory.

I began to think about those who have seen a similar view of God in their personal lives; a small happenstance dimply reflecting a miracle, the racing of a heart in worship, an inspirational message from the pulpit or view from a mountaintop, the deep comfort that seems to wrap us up tight in our grief…

In such moments, it’s enough.

What if there were more? What if our tiny, happy-making moments aren’t the promised blessings, but rather the teaser designed to draw us in to something more complete, enriching…fulfilling?? Perhaps the shimmering shards of faith and revelation that momentarily inspire, are but mere shadows in the divine plan of God for our daily lives.

Possibly, there is more.

A sustaining and life-giving faith is not a one-time moment of revelation, but must consist of a commitment to daily seeking the works, signs and wonders of an omnipresent God. To believe that there is nothing more for you or I than to merely exist with the occasional connection to our creator, is to maintain that the appetizer is complete without the main course. 

This, my friends, is unsatisfactory – for us, and for Him.

I wonder what would be required to move from a life of mediocrity to a complete panoramic view of a life of passionate faith poured out in front of us daily – a life which brings with it enjoyment, adventure and beauty. 

In John 10:10, Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Are you walking in fulness of faith today? Could perhaps just a slight shift in perspective, a raising of the blinds, a movement of your position, be all that stands between you and all God has for you today… 

 

 

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losing your edge

Many moons ago, a blog post that I wrote ended a friendship…

Reading the news reports this past week about the boys in Thailand, trapped deep in cave well beyond reach of conventional rescue efforts, I began to weep and pray. Once again, I found myself blessed with the reminder that most of my prayer requests, tedious whining sessions and moments of sadness over loss pale in the face of true tragedy. A few years ago I found myself feeling similarly convicted – as a person of faith who attends church and dialogues with other Christians on a weekly basis, I certainly have accumulated a considerable list of things I wish were done differently, think I have the answers to, would love to see changed or adjusted…You know, lodge versus speck stuff. 

Truly, at the end of the day, my brain is more cluttered with the obsolete than with those things which breaks the Father’s heart. 

I don’t about you, but there are days when I feel my heart and mind can simply not process any more tragedy – I turn off Facebook, stay in my little bubble, and effectively close my ears to the very things that God would want to have me open up my soul to…

Today’s cultural and political climate is a pivotal and vital part of the growth and strengthening of us as spiritual, and human, beings. Every season of great turmoil brings with it opportunities to decide if we are casual Christians who love our Sunday coffee and pep talks, marginal Christian peeps who pray once a day and dabble in a weekly bible study, or crazy Christ followers who are sold out to fasting, prayer, dying to self and eradicating personal agendas and comfort for the sake of what God would call each of us to do as individuals. Sure, there is a corporate calling, but that destiny hinges on our desire and commitment to walk out what each of is designed to bring to the table. 

Daily.

I think the reason that sometimes we become offended is that the truth brings with it a sometimes uncomfortable accountability. We see glimpses of ourselves in others, and while some choose to embrace confession and transparency as an opportunity for growth; others feel judged. I get it – I have been on both sides. But in the end, my greatest hope is that in the moments in which I realize my own thoughts and ideas are being elevated above the needs of others, I would embrace such revelation as an opportunity to turn my heart back towards those who need someone, anyone, to join them in their strife. 

When/if you find yourself feeling agitated or even condemned, be certain to evaluate if that input is truly coming from others, or if there is a stirring in your own spirit to grow, move or change. One of the greatest opportunities we have in community is the opportunity to become better. Don’t allow pride or fear rob you of a deeper capacity. 

Proverbs 27:17 – As iron sharpens iron,
    so one person sharpens another.

keep it simple…

I was reminded this morning of a time years ago when some assumptions were made which deeply affected an important relationship in my life.

My two older children, close in age and in birth month, had a joint birthday party one summer. Having many of the same friends and interests, the kids and I decided to nestle their party between their birthdates and rent out our youth facility at church, for one big summer bash. Shortly after, a family member contacted me letting me know that my decision was unacceptable, selfish; that my children should have had individual parties, and that I should have been willing to spend more of my resources on them, rather than on a new pair of shoes for myself. (Shoes, by the way, that were nearly 3 years old at the time.)

I often marvel at the conclusions people are willing to jump to without pause to consider any possibilities other than the negative. 

Not only were the assumptions incorrect, but they assigned untrue character flaws/attributes which were used as a foundation for future interactions and perceptions of my choices/words/actions. Such a foundation, once set, is nearly impossible to adjust without a complete tear down and renovation.

Such is the end, or damaging, of so many relationships. 

I don’t share this story as a means to disrespect anyone, but rather to stir; to bring about the opportunity for us to be truly authentic in facing how we choose to assume, assign and denigrate the decisions or words of others, often without fully understanding the position of another’s heart. It is easy to neglect the responsibility of asking clarifying questions, to refuse the honor of allowing for differences without denouncing character. But to what end?

Neglecting intentionality, we swiftly become accusers. Judgmental. 

Jesus spent most of his ministry around broken people – thieves, liars, prostitutes – but he merely met people where they were at. I have never read where he made presumptions or categorized people by one or two similarities. As Christ followers, we are also called to love, grace one another (including ourselves!) where we’re at, and pursue what God has for us.

Who can you grace today? Who can you personally release from your talons of ideology or assignment? Which individual, or groups of humans, could you choose to find common ground with? Who do you need to pray to release you….?

Keep it simple, my friends.