Monday, August 22, 2011

There's Gotta be a Better Way: The Other 3:16

Most of us are familiar with John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

But there is another 3:16 that is all too important to miss.

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." II Timothy 3:16-17

As a Bible scholar, I know first hand the challenges of understanding what the Word of God is saying. Still, after years of practice, I struggle from time to time to understand what certain passages are saying in their original context and for present day application. Like many things in life, we get frustrated but believe in our hearts "THERE'S GOTTA BE A BETTER WAY!"

Therefore, I often remind myself of what the scripture is for and that eases my approach. This reminds me it strengthens my life. To all who attempt to read it, meditate on it, and apply it will get wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

So, are you ready to be equipped for every good work? Let's get started. I want to know from you, what have you always longed to understand in terms of the Bible- The Word of God? For the past two years this blog has attempted to demonstrate how the scripture helps us through everyday life. Now, it's time to go deeper in the scripture. Your comments will help me determine the direction to take the blog for your quiet time and personal edification in Christ.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Build Baby Build! Haggai 1 &2

The Tea Party insists that the nation drill for oil in the various vats of our country. They use the mantra "DRILL BABY DRILL!" to rally up supporters for their political gain. The prophet Haggai was sent out to campaign in biblical antiquity to rally up supporters for the cause of the LORD. He gathered with the sons of the high priest and governor and told them simply "BUILD BABY BUILD!" Judah, like the United States had over time misused their resources and was now commanded to do something that would increase not just their oil supply, but every supply in the land. God used the prophet Haggai to share with the high officials and the people the reasons why food was gathered but never enough. Workers of the land earned wages, but placed them in bags with holes. Why? Because God's house was in ruins and these are signs to turn to God. It was time to build His house. How much do they have to lose before they focus on what matters, knowing no matter how hard they work, they will never be full of peace without the hand of God. God knows they would be disappointed because they can't imagine the temple looking as majestic as it once did, and would they even have the grace to try after turning from God for so long?

So He tells them "'Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,' says the LORD; and be strong, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land.' says the LORD, 'and work; for I am with you,' says the LORD of hosts. 'According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!'" Haggai 1:4&5

It doesn't matter what our political agendas are or how much we drill home or abroad. In the end, it is listening to what God is commanding of us that replenishes the land, increases the oil, decreases the unemployment rate and ultimately heals the land. Most of all in chapter 1 verse 9 God's peace is among us when His agenda is foremost important. His Spirit with us eliminates fear and establishes His will.

We all have our various opinions of Washington, the government, and the parties by which candidates are elected. My encouragement to you is not abandon these establishments but make priority the Establishment that stands when ours fails. For reminds of in chapter 1 verse 8 "'the silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,' says the LORD of hosts." So, build baby build! Build the kingdom of God in the homeland and beyond! Watch your economy skyrocket and your triple AAA rating remain in tact!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Salsa With God: Who Is Leading?

"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want."
Psalm 23:1NKJV

Okay, I'd like to start out by saying one thing: I LOVE SALSA! It has been a dream of mine to learn partner dancing, and after becoming a faithful watcher of Dancing With the Stars, I decided to take a leap of faith and sign up salsa lessons. I just couldn't live vicariously through the series any more, I had to get on my feet and channel my inner dancer! Of course, this meant automatic recruitment of my dutiful husband. And so it is, we are in our fourth week of salsa lessons.

The great thing about this style of partner dance is you can actually go out and practice the dance for fun. So, we have to practice- a lot! Don't want to get on the floor and shame our teachers. Now I, being the in-charge lady I am, just knew I would take the ballroom by storm and take right to it. And embarrassingly, I did without realizing one little caveat to this dualistic deal- I am not in charge. Every move I make is dictated by none other than my very capable partner on life's dance floor, John White.

Week after week, instead of salsa being my lesson of choice, I have received a good dose of "follow your leader", for my one job on the dance floor is to follow my mate. There are several lessons as it relates to this humbling experience we can all use to strengthen how we see God and our own desires:

#1 Relinquish Control: There is Only One Head

The sooner we accept this, the better. We cannot lead God, He must lead us. Even the desires we take before God in prayer are a regurgitation of what he has already placed in us. I Timothy 2:5 states "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus." The majority of our time on the floor has been spent with him taking control and me giving it up. I no longer see it as robbery to let go, but am learning to respect the "let go" process. For the dance to be as fluid and graceful as possible, knowing my role has been key. If John pushes forward, I will go back. If he decides to raise my arm slightly, I turn and fall into step. Now that I'm learning to let go, I move on to my next feat.

#2 Remember the Steps but Wait: We Can Only Move When He Moves Us

As I stated before, in whatever direction he moves us in, that is the direction I must go. However, I have to remember my steps. In trying to recall each position the teacher gives, I had to fight the urge to move when I got ready. Learning is invigorating. A learner is the essence of what God created us to be. Although this is true, we must not use what we know to step before God will. Isaiah 40:31 states "But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint." As long as I waited on my partner to move me, I never got out of step. My foot memory was solid, but my real confidence came when I waited for my cue. When I was asked to shift, transition, and balance, it was second nature. This brought me to the biggest challenge of all.

#3 Revel in His Guidance: He Always Gets Us Where We Both Want to Go

There is a specific place God would like to take us. In this place He longs to dwell with us, and when we relinquish control and remember our steps, we want to be there too. Psalm 91:1 states "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." As I danced with John, submitting to his will for our dance experience, I felt as if my youth was being renewed. I recalled treasured, protected embraces by the elders in my family. I felt covered and graced with each turn. There were moments I remember closing my eyes and thinking, "Yes, this is where I want to be. I am accomplishing my goal". I thought of all the lovely ways God creates hiding places for us in the midst of a crowded life. I began to marvel in the understanding that although there were many couples surrounding us, this security assured me no one would enter our shared space; for we both had decided we were in this together. He as head and I as helper.

No one gave us a mirror ball award for our ballroom accomplishments, but I received a greater compensation. By accepting who my shepherd was, I wanted for nothing. In Christ, we want for nothing. In the end, I could not rely on my skill, but was forced to remember my calling. It was my calling to dance that eventually one me over. It is our calling to Christ that wins, above our will.

Know who is in charge of your life, it will make all the difference!