The Profundity of God

I’m smiling at the absurdity, perfection and beauty of it all…
I returned home from church this morning with a headache and decided to lay down. The week has had it’s ups and downs, and still how the simplest things can bring forth wonder, joy and reverence. I show up at church looking forward to the message. Our Pastor is preaching and teaching on John Chapter 4 and the woman at the well, who is no stranger to me. I’ve heard messages and teaching on this passage so many times, and guess what? I never tire of it. There are some passages that just resonate, yes? There are some messages that can be preached and re-preached and studied, meditated on, swallowed and still they continue to bring forth fruit, growth, conviction, truth, beauty.

 “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Romans 11:33)
Our church is on the second of a three week sermon which will end next week. I never tire of the Jesus that is revealed in this precious section of scripture. Never. That’s MY Jesus. I am amazed daily at this God who never tires of meeting us in out of the way places. In dry, parched places and seasons of drought, even when these seasons are caused by our own foolishness. What is it about THIS God? Who seeks after the one, disobedient, strong willed and defiant lamb, leaving the satisfied flock to fend for themselves. Until He brings back that which is lost. This God whose love and faithfulness never waver. Oh friends, He does satisfy his flock with good things. And He never, ever leaves His troubled sheep. Yet for the self-satisfied, He waits until they are so sick with the filler of this world that they finally desire the true nourishment of His grace, mercy and love. He is patient. His embrace is never more than one turn away…we take the smallest step toward Him, and doesn’t He take three giant steps toward us? 

I don’t get this God, and I can’t get enough of Him and Elisabeth Elliot was so right when she proclaimed “If God is small enough to be understood then He is not big enough to be God” and I concur with awe. I don’t get this God, but I so get His grace. I’m reliant on His mercy and love. I lay in bed a few minutes ago and it suddenly dawned on me, the profundity of this God. My Pastor asked if I would share something I wrote about this woman at the well. A post I wrote awhile back on this here blog. Like, out loud. You, know, actually read the words in front of people
Isn’t it funny that I have so much to say, but the thought of actually saying those words in front of people reminds me of what a failure I really am? I know that when I speak in front of groups I get all tongue tied, and the words choke up in my throat and refuse to come out and I will see *people* who I fear don’t really like me anyway, who surely will be judging and criticising me. Who don’t like Samaritan women like me.
Is this why I write?
 So, I hesitated to say yes OR no, because I suspected God was in it and who am I to argue with God. Um, even though I do- but that is another post, altogether. But, our Pastor spoke to my hubby and I today to make sure I did not feel pressured and discuss if I felt comfortable sharing and if not that it was OK as well. (Have I mentioned how much I love my Pastor and His wife?) So as I lay on my bed contemplating the conversation, I was reminded of the few times my writing had been described as “profound”.
 That word has been used a few times very recently with regard to my writing. I confess sometimes I go back and re-read my writing to try and “see” the profound. Because here is the great big wonderful truth. That anyone would say my writing is in fact profound is a complete, beautiful testimony to this One True Living God.. .who lives in me! It’s a bit absurd in the most beautiful way. I’m not profound at all but it gives me great pleasure knowing there is a profound God living in me. And He shines through in the words He gives. I have proof!  
 I dropped out of school in 10th grade (long story – wait for the book), although I later returned to continue on, getting my GED and also onto complete college and continued studies. While in college as a returning adult student and new Christian one of my professors had us keep journals which we had to turn in, full of self reflections and observations concerning this particular class. At one point he took me aside and said my writing was “profound”. He proceeded to read a passage in the class. I almost did not recognize my own writing. It was as if another had written from within me. I considered this compliment one of the greatest I ever received and a clung to it – and let it be grace to my exposed soul. I did not often, if ever share my writing. And many of these words were of the soul baring kind. The kind that leave one feeling naked. Exposed. Yet not only did he give me a gift, he affirmed the gift within me, even my very nakedness in a beautiful way. It would be many years before I would actually be brave (or crazy) enough to share my writing publicly. 
Guess what?
If I ever write anything profound, if that profundity is evident in any words I write (or speak), it is because God IS profound.
 It is because He lives in me.
A mystery and beautiful absurdity, indeed! 
God lives in me and He is a profound God!

If that Profound God lives in me, chooses to dwell within this temporary tent, then the profound is possible! Isn’t that profound?
The same is true for you!
God is profound in each of us in different ways.
Let’s not let the enemy keep us from sharing the profundity of God!
Would you consider praying for God’s good and perfect will with regard to sharing next Sunday as part of the last message on John Chapter 4? 
If you want to read what I will read out loud here it is: I Am That Woman
Dear Lord, thank you for your mercy, grace and profundity! You are a God who loves us faithfully. 
I ask that you would allow my voice to resonate with your heart next Sunday and that I would be  completely Christ conscious and not self-conscious while sharing the words you have given me.  May the true joy of knowing you be evident to all, and may the words I read be water and encouragement to those who need your Living Water. Mostly allow me to remember that your grace is sufficient for me, your power is made perfect in weakness. PS. Remind me also that you are profound IN me. Thank you for your Holy Spirit, who guides us into all truth. 
Amen.
**Please note, I LOVE OUR CHURCH! This is not about members of our church but enemy warfare that takes place in the minds of all believers. So Spiritual Armour on, and join me in casting down the lofty thoughts that raise themselves above our Awesome God.
Thanks for listening, I know this was a lengthy Sunday post, but hey- who can predict profundity.
Loving that word, today! 
Smiles! 

TheBetterMom.com

Confessions of a Reluctant Sunday School Teacher

I never thought of myself as a Sunday School Teacher. Actually although I enjoy working with kids, and can fully dive right into their joy and frustration, I never would have ever asked to be that. One. Title. Youth volunteer, chaperon, Children’s Church Teacher/Helper, VBS teacher and  helper all are options and I have been…just not that one thing: Sunday School Teacher. But then one day, someone asked. I had already told God that, I am not Sunday School Teacher material. Awana Leader, YES! That was the first of my recruitment into children’s ministry and I adored the combination of games and scripture memorization. Plus, it wasn’t “Sunday School Teacher”. For some reason, actually many, I felt that role would be better left to the…um, er….holier than I, people.  
See,  when I thought of a Sunday School teacher, in my head up pops Laura Ingalls or someone who looks like her at least. You know? I can actually think of a lot of better qualified and “better” candidates. 
Sigh. But it’s really hard to argue with God. 
I mean- to argue and win. 
Actually, I successfully avoided this avenue for many years and I happily joined in many other areas of service as I felt God’s leading. Also a number of ventures that were not His leading but that’s another post. Let’s just say I have learned the hard way, it’s better to go where He leads.
Which is why, since I had already explained to Him why I was happy NOT to be a Sunday School Teacher that I concurred when it came time. 
I find He really is not impressed with my arguments. Although I feel I hold a darn good debate. 
Joining me for this venture was a special boy who I have come to adore, named Evan. Who just happens to be moving up to the next group after three years of partnering with me along this journey. Who for the last two years has joined with me for the New Year plunge into frigid cold water in January. Who has also taught me more than I probably have taught him…who I am going to miss. Next year will be my first year teaching Sunday School without Evan. I know that I will still love and pray for the students God gives. And enjoy each one of them. I know I will stay a Sunday School Teacher as long as God says, STAY. But this Sunday, Evan came in and handed my an envelope, with a note in it. I asked if he would like to read it to me. And He did. Before our little class. Whence I learn but again, the blessing of trusting God, instead of winning the argument with Him. And I learn that life is all a letting go. Again. A trusting of God, and all He gives. A receiving, and letting go continuum. And I wonder that He doesn’t make the student a teacher to keep them a student of His grace and truth, wholly reliant on Him. Knowing that any good to come of this venture- will be because of His wildly amazing grace and mercy. Because, for all sake and purpose I would be a lousy pick for a Sunday School Teacher after all. Except that God and Evan don’t seem to agree. 
Evan and I at our first PLUNGE. 

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TheBetterMom.com

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Crickets In The Loft {Guest Post by Lee Boardway}

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Throughout our lives, we make an effort to keep our minds focused on the job-at-hand; whether it’s the serious issues in our work-a-day lives, or simply our desire for some quiet time. Occasionally, little distractions creep in, causing our thoughts to become “derailed” and disturbed. These events – like the crickets in the loft that keep us from our sleep at night – are seen as troublesome and unwanted interruptions. However, if we take the time to “listen” to them, we may find that the “crickets” are trying to tell us something important. Perhaps these pesky little critters are even sent by God, to teach us a needed lesson. But how often do we treat these harmless little events as if they were a plague of locusts that we simply want to escape from?
Wisdom can be a subtle, elusive thing. We humans tend to be very determined in our ways and yet we can fail to see that, sometimes, we are heading into on-coming traffic. You would think it would be obvious that we are in error, but our tendency is to think: “Why are those idiots driving in the wrong direction?!” This is an excellent time to apply humility (not to mention the brakes)!
If we are so busy with the requirements of daily life that we have no time to “escape to the wilderness” and find time to ponder things, then we cheat ourselves and we lose out on learning things that could supply us with the resources we need; resources that could help our lives become more efficient.
I don’t mean to imply we are machines in need of an oil change, or tune-up; I am saying that we are much more than the physical matter that occupies the space we are standing in.
We have a nature within us (our spirit) that is like a flower: it needs the rain of hope, in order to survive in this difficult world. The question is: where does the rain come from and, when it comes, do we revel in its refreshing, or do we complain that now our clothes are wet, and we are cold and miserable? If we look around us, we can see how many people treat these “crickets” like vermin to be stamped out – their faces show it.
We are all too often “Martha”, when we should be “Mary”. 
This is a Biblical reference that was used as a lesson to teach us that, 
when wisdom is near, we need to listen to it and not be waylaid but the rote duties of life.
So take heed – have “ears to hear” – and you may find that your 
“crickets” are actually trying to help you.
Lee Boardway

Lee on Lee: I was born in 1958 in a town near the Maine coast and have lived my life in a little “outpost” community on the edge of the great Northeast wilderness. From the start, I struggled with shyness – even retaining much of it, until recent years. Yet, in looking back, I can see the Lord’s hand at work in all my trials and in all my paths. In January of 2010, God began to “work overtime” to bring the results of years of prayer and “faith-walking”: He brought to me the perfect wife, and the two of us are continually amazed and humbled at what He has done. Although I cannot perceive His plan for us, I know He will be using us for His glory, as we yield ourselves to His will.

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Disentangling From The Octopus-Part 1 {Faith Life Preservers Day 26}

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I have been considering the things that have held me back or caused me to stumble in my own Christian walk. Ironically, I recognize as perhaps you do that some of my biggest mistakes and falls have also been times of growth and deep dependence on God.
But, there are things that continue to cause us to stumble in our walk as we go on and although He does bring beauty from ashes, I figured I would share a little of what came to my mind as I sought God about the topic.
My mind envisioned an Octopus whose tentacles, each one, 
represented something that holds back the living 
swimmingly and victoriously in His grace and truth. 
 Why do we always imagine that this Christian life is supposed to resemble Disneyland? Maybe that is just me. I came into my Christianity and quite honestly, in retrospect, I believed God was like my own personal vending machine to the good life. You know, I thought my stars had lined up: I had the God, the guy, the life- what next, Lord? Give me more.
 My expectations were so naive. So superficial. In a word: infantile. 
I got more. 
In the shape of extrication. 
Exit the guy, the life and the more. 
What?
Life with God was going to start with less, it seemed.
 I remember the birthing of the new life brought painful loss.
And learning the words, “Not my will, but yours.”
This can’t be said at all until we lay our own lives at the foot of the 
Cross and ask to be taught.
I wondered, “How does this crazy Kingdom work, Lord?”
 It made no sense to me!
We are misguided to assume that knowing a God who is a Consuming Fire is something that is small.
He is a God who consumes us with His love and burns away that which is not useful to our eternal person-hood. He is a God to be reckoned with and to be feared. He is also the giver of limitless grace for those who are willing to trust Him in the flames and  for those who trust their lives to the flames of adversity as they come…and those fires do come, friends. 
But all of the flames of testing and fire of adversity are in the hands of the One who is ultimately in control.
He is the Consuming Fire and Only True Living God.
Back to the Octopus. 
The Octopus has tentacles reaching long and strong from your past to the present.
Some of the tentacles are things you did, or didn’t do, could or could have done, failures, circumstances, strongholds and fears. 
The Octopus wants to consume you but your Life Preserver is found in the fact that each of these tentacles can be dealt with by grace through faith in the One God whose love consumes you.
He lives to disentangle you from the present danger and deliver 
you into a place of safety, truth and peace.
Here are the tentacles I believe hold back
 and cause stumbling in believers.
The Octopus has 8 tentacles so I considered these 8 in my own life:

1. Negative Thinking and Self Talk
2. Self-Sufficiency 
3. Past Mistakes
4. Fear of Rejection/Failure
5. Discouragement/Depression
6. Critical/Abusive People
7. Self-Defeating Behaviors and Choices
8. Places That Bring You Down
Tomorrow, I will share a few thoughts on each of these
and a verse to consider for disentangling from that appendage.

See you then?



31 Days of Faith Life Preservers 
October 1-31, 2012
See all other Faith Life Preserver Posts HERE.

Check out all of the other 
31 Day Topics and Bloggers HERE!

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God Within {Faith Life Preservers Day 21}

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Just pondering the word today.
Letting it seep in and fill me.
Because some days
 less words make more sense.
Have a Blessed Sunday.
This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: 
He has given us of his Spirit. 

 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son 
to be the Savior of the world. 

If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, 
God lives in them and they in God. 

 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. 

Whoever lives in love lives in God, 
and God in them.

This is how love is made complete among us so that 
we will have confidence on the day of judgment: 
In this world we are like Jesus.
1 John 4:13-17


31 Days of Faith Life Preservers 
October 1-31, 2012

See all other Faith Life Preserver Posts HERE.
Check out all of the other 
31 Day Topics and Bloggers HERE!




Linking with some of these sweet communities
 I have been missing since the 31 Day series started!

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