Here's Where I Say Some Weird Stuff and Show My Debbie Downer Side

It is an absolutely gorgeous day here today, so we took advantage of it by spending most of the morning outside. After I played a few rounds of Memory with Christopher, he was happy to go searching under rocks for bugs. That gave me a few minutes to just lay down in the grass and enjoy the warmth of the sunshine - a very welcome thing after months of cold and clouds.

Over the last few years, more often than not, when I have moments like that, I begin to feel that what I am enjoying is almost a false reality. I know that might sound strange, and I don't know if I really have words to express what I feel, but I feel that somehow it won't last, as if it isn't real at all. Like one day the ability to experience peaceful moments like that will be a rare opportunity.

In a sense it already is, I guess. For most of us peaceful moments don't come around often enough. For some, they never come around. This morning, because of some conversations I've had with Dave and Caeley, I found myself wondering if people in concentration camps ever found/find themselves able to enjoy a few minutes of sunshine, undisturbed, and imagine themselves in a better place and time, only to be snatched back to reality.

I know these sound like strange thoughts, and I have no explanation for it other than God must have made my mind to think this way. I couldn't begin to say why, but I am well aware that while I lay in the back yard, there is a war going on in the world around us. We see it on different levels, but it's real. It feels like quiet moments are glimpses of heaven and the pain and suffering and wickedness are reality in this world we live in.

For the most part trouble has remained an offshore problem as it relates to Americans. I dont believe that will always be the case. Isn't that encouraging? The good news is that God never leaves or forsakes His people. So, all I know to do is maintain my relationship with Him and keep myself in a position to hear His voice. He is trustworthy.

In the meantime I'm going to enjoy every ray of sunshine and every glimpse of heaven I get.


Exodus 33:18,19

Creative title, huh?

I've been thinking about Exodus 33, where God showed Moses His glory, which was His goodness. Glory, in many cases, refers to the true essence of God. It's the revelation of who He is...His character. 

In Exodus, God showed Moses His goodness, which is the essence of who He is. Everything He does is good. All His judgments are good and all His works are good. Over the last year or so I have found myself trying to take that truth and make it mean that everything that happens in our lives must also be good, if it was allowed to happen. Maybe it came out of a desire not to question God's goodness.

I certainly don't understand the ins and outs of the sovereignty of God, but I do not believe that is necessarily true. I think things happen in our lives, in our world, that simply aren't good. Tragic things happen. Sad things happen. We live in a fallen world and I don't think God calls all things good. I might be wrong. Those wiser than me may correct me on that.

What I do know and believe is that while bad things happen, He promises to turn them for good. Or, maybe it is better said that He promises to bring good out of tragic circumstances, in the lives of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). 

He "works" things together for good. In my mind I envision it as the wringing out of a wet washcloth. Twisting, squeezing, wringing, every last drop of water out. Nothing wasted. I don't know if that makes sense. It's just what I see. I don't know if we are the ones being wrung out or if it's the circumstance. I know it can feel like we are the ones being twisted and squeezed.

It can be so hard to trust Him when it hurts. But I believe that if we don't give up, and we keep pushing and reaching to touch even the hem of his garment, that He will be faithful and we will be able again to see clearly the goodness of the Lord.

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on his faithful followers.  For he knows what we are made of; he realizes we are made of clay. (Psalms 103:13, 14 NET)


The First Commandment

You know, I think if our hearts are turned toward God, toward righteousness, toward humility, then He smiles at our weakness much more than we realize. I am constantly aware of the ways I fall short, and no doubt He is, too, but I believe when He looks at me He doesn't see that first. Since He looks at the heart, He first sees the direction and intention of my heart, despite the way it plays out in my life.

At church this past weekend, Mike Bickle reminded us that the first and primary commandment is to love God with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. That's our purpose and highest calling. Not ministry, not work, not marriage, not parenting or anything else. If you wonder about your purpose start there. All else flows out from that place. This is a new way of thinking for me. I've known it but not known it, know what I mean?

The Lord has been teaching me, reminding me, often over the last several months that He is my audience. His opinion is the one that matters most. And His opinion of us is not nearly as negative as ours often is of ourselves. That is a freeing truth, friends.

As a father has compassion on his children, so the  Lord  has compassion on his faithful followers.  For he knows what we are made of; he realizes we are made of clay - Psalm 103:13, 14 NET