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Posts Tagged ‘believing’

“Believe” is one of those words that take me out at the knees. Believe is a word that I will always wrestle with and want to know the deeper meaning of for the rest of my life.

Believing….well it changes everything.

Believing is a word I struggle the most in life with. This self-sufficient, independent wanderer has a hard time just believing. Believing requires my everything.

Believing requires my faith and trust. I have learned that believing is a choice. 

Believing is a choice. Faith is choosing to believe in a God who is illogical, beyond my understanding, and sometimes unrecognizable. My response to believing should look like following God with my whole life.

There is a dangerous question presented in the gospel ….

I have the great privilege of being a guest on my friend Leigh Gray’s blog today! I would LOVE your thoughts on this hard question….

Come join the conversation!

 

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When I was in college, I went on this weekend excursion with an organization called Outward Bound. I was part of a leadership program, and this was one of our training weekends.

There was not much that was easy or fun about anything we did that weekend. Twenty of us split into two medium size row boats, and that’s where we spent the next three days. We learned teamwork, sailing, and sweating out the hard.

There was an anchor watch scheduled for every night. We would split up in to pairs and take a shift. An anchor watch is just as exciting as it sounds. We sat and watched to make sure we didn’t drift from where we were anchored.

These were long hours. It was hard to stay patient. The waiting seemed like forever. The boredom only got worse as the night progressed. The minutes seemed to creep by until our shift was up.

On one of my shifts I experienced something different. The shift was hard and seemed to creep by. It was hard to stay awake and push through, but then the sun started to rise and light fill up the sky. It was breath taking. I stared as this bright orange ball rose above the horizon and wake up the waters. It was amazing.

Our lives experience these night watches as well. There are times in life where the night seems so long, and every minute seems like an hour; emotions keep tossing our thoughts around on the waves of our own anchor watch.

One of the first things I tell my clients in counseling is that during the process of our sessions, life will feel like it’s getting worse before it gets better. The process can feel like forever, but there is an exhale to come at the end. Honestly, only half the people I have walked through counseling with get to the light at the end of the tunnel part.

It is hard to feel worse before we feel better. I know I have some patterns and false beliefs in me that need unlearning. That takes time. Transformation takes time, especially to stick. We are not a people who commit to choosing the hard all that often. We are also not a people who like to wait. Both of my hands are raised for these two things. \o/.

I have found truth new truth in the words of Psalm 30:5 – “weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

God cares about our deepest parts. He cares about anything and everything that keeps us from being close to him. My tree needs some fruit adjustment to get to the rejoicing.

He just asks me to wait, keeping believing, and I promise the sun will rise.

Anyone experiencing a long night?

 

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Read this blessing in a book that my roommate, Stephanie Dole is reading, and it has been rocking my world.

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, hard hearts, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live from deep within your heart where God’s spirit dwells.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world and in your neighborhood, so that you will courageously try what you don’t think you can do, but in Jesus Christ you will have the strength necessary to do.

May God bless you that you remember we are called to continue God’s redemptive work of love and healing in God’s place, in and through God’s name, in God’s spirit continually creating and breathing new life in grace into everything and everyone we touch.

Dang! now that is praying!

 

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Sitting on a rock, he could smell the stench of rotting flesh around him. The man would like to have blamed his oder on another guy, but he couldn’t. Looking down at his arms, he saw sores and open wounds full of infection. He reached up to touch his face, but could feel nothing. By this time, the man’s fingers and toes were beginning to wilt.

Oh how I wish I could feel something, anything.”

The man had become numb, and pain was felt few and far between in his days. Each painless day filled his heart with agony; this was his life and fate.

Ten men took up residence outside the village gate. The man could not remember last time someone talked to him other than one of “his kind.”

He spend days fantasizing by the life he had, as well as, the life he could’ve had. This man had dreams and goals. They were all shattered when he received the news of his death sentence called Leprosy. His life had been transformed from shared meals with family and friends to loneliness and heartache. He no longer heard the sounds of laughter, but only that of name calling and shrieks.

News had spread around country side about a man named Jesus. Jesus had been healing people, unlikely people, every where.

The man toyed with the idea that healing could happen to him. He even had a speech rehearsed in his mind should Jesus pass by.

But who was he kidding? No one passed by close enough to a leper to be heard. No one even acknowledged their existence.

I am unclean. I can’t remember the last time I felt another human being.

Loud whispers broke out among the other lepers. There was a debate on whether or not the man walking towards their village was Jesus. There were shouts of nominations of who should be the one to yell out his name.

It was time for his speech.

The man stood up from his rock and yelled out above others, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” Not quite what he had rehearsed, but there it was.

The man in the distance stopped and looked over at the ten stunned men huddled together.

Go, show yourselves to the priests.

The lepers stood in confusion for a moment and repeated Jesus’ words out loud. What did his answer even mean?

They took the man in the distance at his word and set out to find the priests. Still confused, the leper looked down to see healthy skin covering over his wounds. Tingling pins and needles rushed his body as blood started to flow back through is dead places.

The wide eyed leper didn’t even make it to the priests before turning back and sprinting towards Jesus. The man fell at Jesus’ feet with sobs of joy at just being able to approach another human being, and this moment left him with just, “thank you.”

This leper found life again. For this man, the joy of pain was no longer filled with sorrow. He was human again. He was healed.

Jesus took a few shouted rehearsed words of leper and made him whole. I can safely say that this man was so thankful Jesus was born.

Are you the one leper returning in praise or going through the motions?

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I am a but-head. (I can hear the whisper’s under your breath now… “umm..did she just say butt-head?”)

As I read some of the stories of Jesus, I find myself interjecting the same “but…” statements that most of the other characters say. Jesus was a man who did and said amazingly illogical things.

Sometimes I wish I could have been a witness to the responses of the people around Jesus. I wonder how many times Jesus heard crickets after he asked the crowd a question, or even just his disciples. I also wonder how many times he heard, “but Jesus…” in response to his illogical ways.

I heard my own hesitating responses to Jesus as I read the story of Lazarus.

Lazarus, and his two sisters, Mary and Martha, were some of Jesus’ BFF’s. Lazarus had fallen ill and passed away. Jesus, hearing the news of his friend’s illness, stayed where he was. Now if I were one of is disciples, I would have started packing up camp hearing the news of Lazarus. I would’ve assumped that Jesus wanted to  go and heal his friend. But Jesus stayed.

This is where my first “but Jesus” would’ve surfaced. I would have said, “but Jesus, don’t you want to go and be with your friend?

I saw this response in Martha who went out to Jesus and said, “but Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Mary had the same statement when she ran to meet Jesus as well.

After meeting with his two friends, Jesus goes on to see where Lazarus had been buried. Jesus then instructed the people to roll away the stone. Immediately, Martha chimed in with, “but Jesus…” Her logic kicked in and the questions came out.

While I read this story, I caught a glimpse of my own heart. Right now there is a stone that has been rolled in front of it. I have protected wounds and tight knit trust held close to me. Behind that stone are my fears and insecurities that keep me in grave clothes. God is asking me to roll away the stone.

Everything in me immediately responds with, “but God….I have all of this stuff, and you…you don’t really know what you’re asking!

Martha worried about the smell, but I worry about the conditions.

Even now, I hear his response of gentleness as he says, “but Traceedid I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?

In the end of the story with Lazarus, they took away the stone. I have the same choice to make. I have the choice to believe God is who he says he is. I have the choice to believe and see the glory of God come to life in me.

What might your but’s be for God?

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“Believe” is one of those words that  takes me out at the knees. Believe is a word that I will always wrestle with and want to know the deep meaning of for the rest of my life.

Believing….well it changes everything.

Believing is a word I struggle the most in life with. This self-sufficient, independent wanderer has a hard time just believing. Believing requires everything.

There is a dangerous question to be answered in Jesus’ “who do you say that I am?” Our answer should be reflected in our lives.

I have been captivated by the challenge to believe that Jesus is who he says he is. Believe never gets old for me. It is permanently written on my body. I wrestle with it every day.

I have been reading a new bible, which has felt like fresh eyes on his word. I still stop dead in my tracks when it comes to the challenge of believing.

Jesus asks some questions that require a life answer out of me. He asks two questions in the gospel of John:

1)      Is Jesus the Christ?

2)      If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me?

Have you  ever experienced times where actions and words have not matched up? It makes a difference. This applies to believing as well. If we say we believe in who Jesus says he is, how can our lives not say the same thing?

If I believe, and claim  Jesus as the truth, how can my life not say the same thing? It can’t. If our answer is “yes,” then our lives should say yes as well.

If it does, I have some questions for you, if you believe that Jesus is who he claims to be then:

–          What does waiting on him look like?

–          What does believing in our identity look like?

–          How does the perception and value of character change?

–          What does loving no matter what look like?

–          How does believing in Christ change our fears and insecurities?

–          What does faithfulness and commitment look like?

–          How do you dream big enough that it takes illogical faith?

–          What does faith lived out look like?

If we claim that Jesus is the Christ, our whole lives should look like that answer. The thread of Christ’s redemption runs throughout every level of our lives. Every level of believing takes consideration. We will look and sound different when faith enters the picture.

Jesus is asking a life changing question to all of us, “if I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me?”

I pose the same question(s) to you… if he is telling the truth, why don’t you belive him? Does your life reflect your answer?

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I would consider myself to be a big picture person. I can get lost all day in big vision. I love me some day dreaming. I think about what is next all the time. I think about life as it could be and not much about what life is presently.

I have been wondering if the great cloud of witnesses I read about in the Bible struggled with restlessness as much as I seem to be.

I think about Abraham and the big things God had for him. Moses led the captive Israelites free. David entered the scene the exact time he was supposed too. Peter was wired to start the church. John the Baptist had dream to prepare the way for the Messiah. Paul brought the message of salvation to those considered to be outside “God’s people.”

God had specific things in mind for specific people.

Sometimes I can focus on the big things of God. He made the earth and everything in it. He holds the world in the palm of his hand. God is the beginning and the end! That is big!

God is also specific. He paints every stroke in every sunset. No sunset is the same. God knows all the hairs on my head. He promises not to let a sparrow fall the ground without knowing. God has specifically knit each person together in the womb. He is specific.

I can forget that he is specific for me. I can so easily get caught up in looking around and comparing myself to what God has specific things for others. I miss what he has specific for me.

There is a reason why I am not a song leader for a church. I cannot sing. I can’t play a note of anything, let alone combining both. Leading other people in song is not my specific.

It is when I see other people exceeding at the dream I am so eager to know. What is hard is when I see glimpses of my dream being played out in other people. It is then that I lose sight of a big God who is also very specific. He has something just for me. If he had a number of hairs in mind for my head, he has something specific for my life.

I can’t tell you the exhale that comes from remembering that God has not forgotten about me. He has something just for me. With that exhale comes freedom. I am still working on the hope part, but there is a release of pressure.

Remembering God enables God to be God in me. I want his specific. I want to be who God knit me in the womb to be.

My hope is that you can remember, and believe, that he has specifics just for you.

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