#46 – Advent 3: Happiness to the World, the Good has Come


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It’s that time of year again, when suddenly the word “joy” becomes part of everyday language. After the 26th it will basically return to its 11-month hibernation for most people, but for Christians, it should not. 

One of the impacts of having a word that cycles through cultural seasons, is that it’s easy for its true meaning to be missed. Like ‘resolution’ at New Year’s, and “Giving Thanks” just a while ago, the ideas that are associated with “joy” around Christmas by most of our society are not helpful.

For most people: 
joy = happiness
Which is really too bad.

The Biblical idea of Joy is similar to the concept of contentment.
Whereas happiness is dependant on circumstances, contentment and joy are not.

You can have joy in the midst of pain, the same as contentment.
You can have joy when things look bleak, just like contentment.

Joy, like contentment, is so much bigger, so much more powerful, so much more impactful than mere happiness.
Emotions like happiness are fleeting. 
They are our responses to things that happen to us.

When something infuriating happens to us, we get angry.
When something disappointing happens, we get sad.
When something good happens to us we become happy.

But Joy – true joy – does not come and go like a mere emotional response. 
Joy is similar to happiness in some ways – but so different.
We can have joy in the midst of pain. We can have joy during sorrow. We can have joy despite sadness.

But only when we have Joy that originates outside of ourselves. 
Our happiness is what comes out from inside us, when something happens.
Joy is something that we are given. It’s not something we need to try harder to have, but something we merely accept.


DO THIS

Sit for a minute and think about all the ‘problems’ present that first Christmas. An unwed teenage girl giving birth in a town far from her family without a proper place to stay – for starters. 

Maybe read the story from the Gospel of Luke in a paraphrase, so it hits you differently. (like The Message

Yet there was Joy. Joy to the world, for the Lord has finally come. Come to save all people. So even though all problems didn’t dissapear that night, the final solution to them did come. 

Knowing that is what brings true, lasting, JOY.


PRAY THIS

Emmanuel,
God with us,
You came so that our Joy may be complete,
So that we may know true Joy.
You didn’t take away all the pain of this world,
you didn’t make all sin and sickness disappear.
yet you offered us joy.
Help us to believe thathelp us to receive that
Give us strength to live in that Joy
Give us courage to share it with others.
Amen

#45 – Advent 2 – PTSD, Advent, and family road trips

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Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

One thing we specifically find hard to wait for is when what we’re experiencing is not what we want.

It’s one thing to wait for your birthday to come as a kid, but in the meantime, you ride your bike with your friends, go to school, play, etc etc.

Normal day, normal day, normal day, normal day…….BIRTHDAY PARTY FOR ME DAY.

That’s not such a bad kind of waiting, because things are “normal”… then get better.

I’ve recently had what feels like a relapse in PTSD symptoms, but am told is actually a good sign that additional processing, healing, progress is being made. But I continue to live with the reality that I’m still not ‘back to normal’

This is not the same kind of waiting.

It’s more like:
Worse than normal, worse than normal, worse than normal ——> when does this end?

I sometimes just feel like that kid stuck in the back of the 1981 Ford Econoline van with his 4 siblings driving across the prairies to get to Grandma’s house for Christmas Eve. In that kind of pitch-black that only comes from living so far north that the sun sets mid-afternoon in late December. Hours, upon hours, upon hours it seems.

Are we there yet?
Are we there yet?
What about NOW?
How much longer?

Advent in some ways is the kid-waiting-for-his-birthday kind of waiting.
We continue with our normal lives and know that there will be a pleasant change at the end.

Normal day, normal day, normal day, normal day………. CHRISTMAS.
{Horray}

However, as creatures made in the image of God, we constantly long for something more than this fallen world has to offer.

Things around us are broken.
Life is hard.
Bad things happen to those we love.
Addictions are real.
Racism abounds.
People starve.
Friends betray.

The miracles we see Jesus performing in the Bible were in many ways Him pulling back the curtain to what originally was, and what will be when He comes again

He heals a man who can’t walk – as there will be no sickness.
He multiplies bread and fish – as there will be no hunger.
He calms the storm – as there will be no fear
He raises his friend Lazarus from the grave – as there will be no death.

THAT is what we long for, even when we don’t realize it.

We were not created to be trapped in the back of a van in the dark.

We were meant to be at our grandmother’s house, full of cousins, and relatives, and food, and drink, and presents, and singing, and laughing.

THAT is what our souls long for…and we will be restless in this waiting until we get there.

THAT is the other kind of Advent waiting. We know things aren’t right yet…but they won’t always be this way.

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Here is the most famous quotation from St Augustine’s confessions:

You are great, O Lord, and greatly to be praised. Great is your power, and of your wisdom, there is no measure. And yet we want to praise you—we who are some part of your creation.
We also carry our mortality about with us, carry the evidence of our sin and with it the proof that you thwart the proud. You arouse us so that praising you brings us joy.
For you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.

Augustine lived a life of influence, power, money, friends, in what is now Algeria. When he was a bit older, he realized his life was empty. It’s like he understood he wasn’t living a constant “every-day-IS-my-birthday” kind of reality – but more of a “are we there yet?” world troubled by sin.

What does this mean to you?
Where does your heart feel restless?
What do you think your heart SHOULD feel restless about?

PRAY THIS

A Prayer of Augstine:

My God,
let me know and love you,
so that I may find my happiness in you.
Since I cannot fully achieve this on earth,
help me to improve daily until I may do so to the full.
Enable me to know you ever more on earth,
so that I may know you perfectly in heaven.
Enable me to love you ever more on earth,
so that I may love you perfectly in heaven.
In that way my joy may be great on earth,
and perfect with you in heaven.
O God of truth, grant me the happiness of heaven
so that my joy may be full in accord with your promise.
In the meantime let my mind dwell on that happiness,
my tongue speak of it,
my heart pine for it,
my mouth pronounce it,
my soul hunger for it,
my flesh thirst for it,
and my entire being desire it
until I enter through death in the joy of my Lord forever.
Amen.

#44 – Advent 1 – I’m Afraid You’ll Have to Wait for This

Contentment for Advent

(seems like there must be a clever wordplay there…but I keep coming back to ConVent…and I’m not quite sure that captures what we’re talking about here)

Advent Week 1: I hate waiting


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Normally when I make a statement about something I like or dislike, I assume some people will agree, some will not. Waiting, however, is something so antithetical to a modern western worldview that it’s essentially impossible to imaging anyone disagreeing with my hatred of it.

Waiting is inefficient. Waiting means someone is not doing their job well, or well enough, or fast enough. Waiting means we don’t get to a few more things on our to-do list. Waiting means I reflexively pull out my phone because I HAVE to do SOMETHING.

Generally speaking we – as people – wait poorly.

We jockey for the quickest lane of traffic, the shortest line at the check-out, the fastest route home, the quickest path to get done.

Don’t get me wrong – I am just as much an ‘efficiency junky’ as anyone else – if no more so. And I still struggle with if/how/how much/ when that’s a good thing or completely not. Getting stuff done is great…right? But what about when our drive to get things done means we can’t stand any interruption into those plans.

What about when my push to not have to wait means I use the self-checkout (which I love) and online banking (which I honestly can’t live without) and shopping online (which I don’t know how I lived without)…..until suddenly I am so isolated from every other person that my day is spent optimizing human interaction right out of my life for the sake of not having to waste my time waiting ever, for anyone?

But advent really – at its core – is all about waiting.
Reflecting back to the people of God as they waited for hundreds of years for their Messiah to arrive.
Opening the doors of advent calendars, slowly counting down the days.
Consecutively lighting one more of the four candles every week as we anticipate celebrating the coming of the Chosen One.
As we look to the future for the coming back of that same Messiah.

For me, the hardest kind of waiting – for sure – is when the end is not known. Living in a culture that is drastically and fundamentally different from the one I grew up in means there are so many events that I just don’t understand. Things that I would have some sense of when they finish if I were in Canada, but I don’t here.

When is this road construction going to be finished?
OK, but WHEN is this new building going to be opened?
What do you mean by “SOON”
Why isn’t this task already done, I was told ‘almost’
How long will I stand in this line waiting to get my phone registered?
What do you mean the power is out, come back some other time?

These things put me on edge because I have no real sense of the ending. Which in some ways is the part I LOVE about advent.
Advent starts + Four Sundays ——> Christmas.
But at its heart, it’s of course so much more than that.
Christ first coming + WE HAVE NO IDEA ——> Christ Returns

That’s a hard kind of waiting. We live in what is so often called the ‘already, yet not yet’, the Saturday between Good Friday and Sunday. But we have no guess at all as to how much longer it lasts.

That’s probably good for us.

Forced to wait.



DO THIS

This is simple: go here. Every year for both Advent and Lent the Center for Christianity, Culture, and the Arts at Biola University puts together a daily series that includes: a piece of visual art, a poem, a piece of music, and a devotional thought all entered around a short biblical text. Every year they have a common theme that ties them all together. This Advent the theme is Canticles – those short songs found scattered throughout the Biblical narrative. I highly, highly, really, very much recommend it.



PRAY THIS

God outside of time,
you have created us finite in time and space.
We have been created with a sense of our own limited mortality,
and we have developed a sense of getting things done.
Give us rest,
Give us hope,
Give us peace…
In the waiting.
Help us to not just grit our teeth until it’s over,
But help us see what you are doing,
even in us,
during the waiting.
Amen.


#43 – God is in Control (?)

This is #6 in the mini-series:
Uh, I don’t think so.
Highlighting misunderstandings that have robbed me of contentment.


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Of all the misconceptions we’ve looked at: ‘Blind faith”, Prayer, the Holy Spirit, Sabbath, this idea of God being in control has the most potential for impact on contentment.

God’s sovereignty can get into really hard territory:

So God willingly allows evil?
If God knows what’s going to happen, why pray?
If God controls what’s going to happen, why bother with anything?

For one thing, ‘control’ is a narrow, and not complete concept when we talk about sovereignty. God’s sovereignty. If we lived under monarchs, I think this would be easier to understand. Kings and Queens are even called ‘/Sovereigns/’ and perhaps it’s easier to see their ‘control’ is also ‘authority’ and ‘right-to-rule’ and ‘knowledge’ and more. However, it’s the well meaning ‘/don’t worry, God is in control/’ kinds of phrases that can often sit so poorly.

What do we believe about God being in control?

Over my life, and I know I’m not alone here, my understanding of God’s sovereignty has gone something like this:

God is in control, and I’m not sure what that means.
God is in control….but evil would be a sign he doesn’t care!
God is in control – but lets some things slip by,(?)
God is in control, but allows evil for our own good – somehow
Not sure God is actually in control
“God is in control” somehow – but not really “controlling”
God is in control – and I’m not sure I fully understand what that means – but I’m quite sure I believe it.

Look – I’m no brilliant theologian – I’m not even a weak theologian. I’m not capable of clearly articulating the interplay of human agency / free will and God’s sovereignty. I’m not able some days to even understand it myself.

But here’s where I’ve landed:

God is in control.
God is good

Often those two feel like they can’t be true at the same time…but I believe with all my heart that they are.

So while the idea of ‘blind’ faith – where we just turn off our minds is not what God is calling us to ….

There is also a time when we have to accept things we don’t understand.

If we understood God, and could figure Him out – then He’d be no bigger than us, no grander, no more powerful, no more complex, no more intelligent…

So either we accept that there are aspects of this world, and its creator that we will not understand in this life – or we settle for a god made in our own image.


DO THIS

Do yourself a favor and listen to this song…..May your struggles keep you near the cross.
May your troubles show that you need God.
And May your battles end the way they should.
And May your bad days prove that GOD is good.
May your whole life prove that GOD is good​

Like I said, I’m no theologian, so here are just two links to some thoughts that may be helpful to understand:

10 Key Bible Verses on God’s Sovereignty

Plunge your mind into the ocean of God’s ​


PRAY THIS

God I believe you are in control,
help my unbelief.
God I believe you are good
help my unbelief.
Amen

#42 -God wants us to do _____

This is #5 in the mini-series:
Uh, I don’t think so.
Highlighting misunderstandings I’ve had that robbed me of contentment.

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We love the hero, the leader, the rise-to-the-top story. Movies that capture our collective imagination are seldom about individuals doing small things faithfully -but someone rising to the top. Leading a movement, a revolution, a rebellion. A leader, a president, a general. We have lists of the richest people in the world, fastest-growing companies, and the most expensive things.

This lust for big, bold, public acclimation has leaked into the church. There are actually lists of fastest-growing churches, pastors who live like celebrities, and ministry organizations doing huge things.

This seeped into my sense of what God was/is calling me to do. Surely it must be big! It must involve lots of impact. More is better.

I’ve come to believe that He asks us to be faithful, more than impactful.

To be doing something out of obedience rather than to be doing something big.

I don’t recall ever hearing of a movie about Mother Teresa – and I think that’s because the story doesn’t jive well with what we like to celebrate.

Lives of quiet, obedience tend to go unnoticed….at least by the masses.

I’m no longer sure God wants us (or at least me) to do BIG things, but rather whatever he is has for us to do.

Faithfulness to whatever we are called – no matter what that is.

DO THIS

When you think about what God has called you to….what comes to mind?
Is it some grander, larger, version of what you’re doing? Is it a drastic shift to something that seems more important? Is it something more public, or more strategic, or more …something?
I challenge you to wrestle with the possibility that he’s calling us all to lives of obedience. Perhaps small acts of kindness. Lives of quiet faithfulness.
Maybe.

PRAY THIS

God of Moses who lead a nation through the Red Sea,
who gave Samson super-human strength,
and Solomon wisdom, wealth, and influence.
You are also the God of the widow, the orphan,
the stay-at-home mom who leads by example,
the grandparent teaching about saints of old
the God of the student quietly standing for you.
Give us faith to do what you have called us to,
no matter how big or small it may seem in this life.
Amen

#41 – Talking to the Man Upstairs

his is the Fourth installment of a mini-series I’m calling:

“Uh – I don’t think so”

examining mis-held assumptions that cause discontentment.


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What an absolutely bizarre way to refer to communication with the creator and sustainer of the universe. Yet, it’s not uncommon to hear people refer to prayer as “talking to the man upstairs.” or something similar. Unfortunately, that’s not the only way we misunderstand prayer.

Prayer is something that I’ve held many unhelpful assumptions about – and I know I’m not the only one. Among the unhelpful ways I – and others I know- have understood prayer include:

  • Prayer as a last-ditch effort when you realize you are out of options
  • Prayer as a way to get what you want from God 
  • Prayer as a way to cover your own ideas with a veneer of religion 
  • Prayer as never anything more than rote recitation 
  • Prayer as a way to means to end all suffering, disappointments, and problems in your life

These and other mis-held assumptions really do affect our contentment because we are missing out on something that can bring contentment to our daily lives – intimate, personal, meaningful, communication with God.

I think one of the things that really clicked for me (much later than it should have) was reflecting on what do I really want out of prayer. Would I be happy to continue praying, spending time with God, if He never answers my prayers the way I want Him to? In other words, do I want the thing I’m praying for MORE than I want God? If so I’m using God to try to manufacture my own contentment. I want God to give me something (a job, a mended relationship, health) because I know that will bring contentment. A completely different posture is that I find contentment in God -and spending time in prayer is its own joy, its own reward.

(no – I”m not there yet – but I’m working on it)


DO THIS

The next time you pray – write out the things you most want from God. Then think about whether you are basing your contentment on receiving those things. What if God answered ZERO of those prayers the way you want – could you still be content? Could you still find joy in spending time in prayer?


PRAY THIS

God, 
the ability to even speak to you is beyond my comprehension. 
The fact that somehow you hear me, listen to me is often impossible to believe. it’s too good to believe. 
However – you asked us to pray to you. 
You told us to address you as Abba Father – Papa, Daddy 
while understanding that you are hallowed, holy, completely set apart from everything else in the universe. 
I want to believe you hear and answer my prayers, 
but more than that I want to believe you are with me as I pray. 
I want to feel the presence of your Spirit, 
receive the forgiveness of your Heart, 
and be part of the work of your people. 
Lord I believe…help my unbelief. 
Amen.

#40 – Father, Son & Holy ….

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This is the THIRD instalment in what I’m calling: “Uh – I don’t think so.” examining mis-held assumptions that cause discontentment.

One of the bad assumptions I picked up somewhere along the way that perhaps has been the most hurtful, most harmful, was my understanding of the Holy Spirit.

I grew up in a tradition that was not only very conservative in theology, but traditional in practice. This meant order, repetition, nothing unexpected. The frozen-chosen you could say.

God is a God of order after all.

However somehow along the line that shifted in my view that the Trinity was more likely to be: Father, Son, and the Holy Scriptures.

Those happy-clappy charismatic-types were highly suspect. HIGHLY suspect. Also, I often heard the phrase “Holy Ghost” which really did not help to any kind of understanding (and in our current form of the English language is a questionable translation of “Spiritus Sanctus”)

The Holy Spirit’s work was more abstract. It was probably very unusual, happened usually at some other time, or at least some other place. Miracles did/could happen – but I don’t think I saw The Spirit work them – they were something God the Father sent from heaven above like lightning.

Saying “The Spirit led me to ….” was not something that one just said…

I think the problem was that I compared one fairly extreme tradition towards the Holy Spirit, with the opposite. Never really just digging back through the bible to see what it actually said about the Spirit.

So please hear me out on this one. I would argue a Christian is someone who has received Jesus as Savior and Lord, is Adopted as a beloved child by the Father, and has received the gift of the Holy Spirit. If the Spirit gives us power and authority and all the things we need to live out our calling as followers of Christ, and children of God – how can we be content if we misunderstand him? IF we ignore Him? If we forget Him?

Contentment in this life will not come if we are trying to follow Jesus, yet refuse the power that He promised to give us to do so. We will never find deep, true contentment if we are children of the Father, but ignore the Spirit who came to encourage us.

This one is pretty big….and to be honest….I’m still working through it.


DO THIS:

Read Acts. It’s not that long. Or just read some parts. There was an absolutely fundamental shift in the way the disciples acted from Acts 1 to the rest of the book. The only change was their receiving of the Spirit. That HAS to mean something to us.

follow-up: read . Forgotten God by Francis Chan I’m reading it right now for probably the third time through. Still a TON there for me to learn


PRAY THIS

Holy Spirit
Triune God
I admit I don’t understand you
I either igrnore you, or obsess on you.
Help me to understand you.
Help me to see you for who you are.
the great counseller, encourager, healer, giver.
Ever present, and all powerful.
I pray in your holy and powerful name,
Amen

#39 – Workin’ for the Weekend

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This is the SECOND installment in what I’m calling: “Uh – I don’t think so.” examining mis-held assumptions that cause discontentment.

Sabbath

The first time we moved to France, one of the things that struck me was their calendar. The French view Sunday as the 7th day of the week, calendars are laid out as Monday through Sunday (OK – lundi through dimanche).

This made sense to my logical brain. Of course! We call Saturday & Sunday the ‘week-end’ so it should be the /end of the week/. We treat Sat-Sun like a set so why break them up visually on the calendar. We work five days to earn two days off. “Everybody’s working for the weekend” after all. {if I just put the 1981 hit song in your head where it is going to live rent-free for the rest of the day…you’re welcome }This timing issue was one of the most recent pieces to fall in my mis-understanding of sabbath. One of our team-mates in Burundi once pointed out how he loves the week starting on Sunday – starting with sabbath. We don’t earn it – we start with this gift.


Sabbath is not a reward for our hard work. Sabbath is a reminder that we don’t earn what we have. It’s a reminder to rest in God, in his care. It’s a chance to say: 
I don’t deserve what I have, 
so I don’t earn what I get, It’s all a gift 
I’m not in control,
so if I take ‘the day off’ it won’t all go sideways. 
If I stop from my labor, it won’t all fall apart. 


My work is not the indispensable piece holding my world together.So I switched my calendars back, Sunday is now the first day of the week. I try to see it as a gift, not a reward. 
It’s a reminder that if I stop working God doesn’t – which reminds me whose work is really more important.

DO THIS

This coming Sunday – try to conceive of the day as a gift to start the week – not a reward for the previous week. Imagine Sunday as a day of rest – that you can take because the world’s functioning does not depend on you, it depends on God.

Make it a true Sabbath rest (however you choose to do that) – but ensure you imagine it as given, not earned. 

PRAY THIS

Creator God who worked,
and then rested.
You have called us to work,
and you have called us to rest.
Give us true Sabbath rest. 
True, deep, contented rest.
Amen

#38 – Workin’ for the Weekend.

READ THIS

This is the SECOND installment in what I’m calling: “Uh – I don’t think so.” examining mis-held assumptions that cause discontentment.

Sabbath

The first time we moved to France, one of the things that struck me was their calendar. The French view Sunday as the 7th day of the week, calendars are laid out as Monday through Sunday (OK – lundi through dimanche).

This made sense to my logical brain. Of course! We call Saturday & Sunday the ‘week-end’ so it should be the /end of the week/. We treat Sat-Sun like a set so why break them up visually on the calendar. We work five days to earn two days off. “Everybody’s working for the weekend” after all. {if I just put the 1981 hit song in your head where it is going to live rent-free for the rest of the day…you’re welcome }

This timing issue was one of the most recent pieces to fall in my mis-understanding of sabbath. One of our team-mates in Burundi once pointed out how he loves the week starting on Sunday – starting with sabbath. We don’t earn it – we start with this gift.
Sabbath is not a reward for our hard work. Sabbath is a reminder that we don’t earn what we have. It’s a reminder to rest in God, in his care.

It’s a chance to say:
I don’t deserve what I have,
so I don’t earn what I get, It’s all a gift
I’m not in control,
so if I take ‘the day off’ it won’t all go sideways.
If I stop from my labor, it won’t all fall apart.
My work is not the indispensable piece holding my world together.

So I switched my calendars back, Sunday is now the first day of the week. I try to see it as a gift, not a reward.
It’s a reminder that if I stop working God doesn’t – which reminds me whose work is really more important.


DO THIS

This coming Sunday – try to conceive of the day as a gift to start the week – not a reward for the previous week.

Imagine Sunday as a day of rest – that you can take because the world’s functioning does not depend on you, it depends on God.

Make it a true Sabbath rest (however you choose to do that) – but ensure you imagine it as given, not earned.


PRAY THIS

Creator God who worked,
and then rested.
You have called us to work,
and you have called us to rest.
Give us true Sabbath rest.
True, deep, contented rest.
Amen

#37 – Don’t Think…just believe.

READ THIS

{This is the first instalment in what I’m calling: “Uh – I don’t think so” examining mis-held assumptions that cause discontentment}


When i was younger I somehow came to the conclusion that ‘blind faith’ was the most pure kind. Belief that stands in the face of what is right in front of you. I think it went something like this: Jesus rising from the dead seems impossible; therefore it IS impossible; therefore believing it is a ‘really strong faith.’This lead to discontentment as I have always been a very logical person (yet always coupled with childish child-like humour!) and so this often didn’t sit well deep within me. 


Later in life I was exposed to Christian Apologetics – where believers use real historical evidence, and logical thought to lend support to the claims of the Bible and the church. This sat much better with my mind that was always trying to find explanations. However these claims felt like they were in a separate category. They were some kind of ‘small proofs’ to support specific claims of the Bible (resurrection, creation, crossing the Red Sea etc) – but just made you felt a bit better about the whole ‘blind faith’ bit that got you into this in the first place. 


In my mind the ‘purest faith’ was one that stood in the face of the evidence – it wasn’t supported by it. /Blind faith/somehow seemed ‘stronger’ or better because it was standing all on its own. 
I’m 40-whatever now (no that’s not being cheeky – I honestly have to either calculate or ask my kids) but I realize there is still so much baggage I’ve carried with me about my faith that is just incorrect assumptions that I absorbed decades ago. 


This idea that we shut off our minds when we come to faith robbed me of a lot of contentment, for years of my life. 


DO THIS

If you’re struggling with this I suggest reflect on the following:

One day an expert in the law stood up to test Him. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
What is written in the Law?” Jesus replied. “How do you read it?”‘
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus said. “Do this and you will live.
Luke 10:25

Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. – 2 Tim 2:7

When you read this, you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ Eph 3:4

Jesus’ parable of the good soil: “the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields,…” Matt 13:23

At least Ten times in Acts that Paul is said to “reason” as a method of telling others – including Acts 17:2,4,17; 18:4,19; 19:8,9; 20:7; 24:25


PRAY THIS

God who created our minds,
Who gave us logic, intellect,and curiosity
Who gave us the ability to think as well as to love and believe
Guide us to a place where we truly love you with all our heart
all our soul
and all our mind.
Amen

READ THIS

{This is the first instalment in what I’m calling: “Uh – I don’t think so” examining mis-held assumptions that cause discontentment}


When i was younger I somehow came to the conclusion that ‘blind faith’ was the most pure kind. Belief that stands in the face of what is right in front of you. I think it went something like this: Jesus rising from the dead seems impossible; therefore it IS impossible; therefore believing it is a ‘really strong faith.’This lead to discontentment as I have always been a very logical person (yet always coupled with childish child-like humour!) and so this often didn’t sit well deep within me. 


Later in life I was exposed to Christian Apologetics – where believers use real historical evidence, and logical thought to lend support to the claims of the Bible and the church. This sat much better with my mind that was always trying to find explanations. However these claims felt like they were in a separate category. They were some kind of ‘small proofs’ to support specific claims of the Bible (resurrection, creation, crossing the Red Sea etc) – but just made you felt a bit better about the whole ‘blind faith’ bit that got you into this in the first place. 


In my mind the ‘purest faith’ was one that stood in the face of the evidence – it wasn’t supported by it. /Blind faith/somehow seemed ‘stronger’ or better because it was standing all on its own. 
I’m 40-whatever now (no that’s not being cheeky – I honestly have to either calculate or ask my kids) but I realize there is still so much baggage I’ve carried with me about my faith that is just incorrect assumptions that I absorbed decades ago. 


This idea that we shut off our minds when we come to faith robbed me of a lot of contentment, for years of my life. 


DO THIS

If you’re struggling with this I suggest reflect on the following:

One day an expert in the law stood up to test Him. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
What is written in the Law?” Jesus replied. “How do you read it?”‘
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus said. “Do this and you will live.
Luke 10:25

Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. – 2 Tim 2:7

When you read this, you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ Eph 3:4

Jesus’ parable of the good soil: “the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields,…” Matt 13:23

At least Ten times in Acts that Paul is said to “reason” as a method of telling others – including Acts 17:2,4,17; 18:4,19; 19:8,9; 20:7; 24:25


PRAY THIS

God who created our minds,
Who gave us logic, intellect,and curiosity
Who gave us the ability to think as well as to love and believe
Guide us to a place where we truly love you with all our heart
all our soul
and all our mind.
Amen