Sunday, December 31, 2006

THINGS AREN'T ALWAYS AS THEY MIGHT APPEAR








I wanted to use these pictures to encourage who ever is out there and might find themselves in a place where things don't make any sense. Or even maybe has caused you to think things are actually much different than they really are.

If we are in Christ, we have been made new, whether we feel like it or not. He is here with us always, whether we feel it or not. Sometimes we interpret things one way because of how we feel or even by what we see and we might be dead wrong.
I am learning to trust God and what he has said even when things don't make sense and my feeling or even the visual(what is right in from of me in that moment of life) doesn't add up.

He is always here. Where can we go that he doesn't go with us. Even when we don't seem to be able to reach out and grab hold of him we can trust that he will never leave us or forsake us. Life is messy and hard and painful at times and some times it might seem it is most of the time. It doesn't change the reality of what life in him means.

I'm learning that trust isn't something we choose to do. It is the outcome of KNOWING him and KNOWING I am loved. I also think it works like this, the more I am confident in his love for me the more my eyes are opened to see and know more of him. It opens up into somethings so much better than the rigid confines of the religious mind can ever teach us. I'm finding myself just trusting him more. Whether I see him at that moment or not.
I took these two picture from the same spot across Trillium Lake towards Mt. Hood. One on one day and the other on the next. I was so amazed and stunned that something so big could just be gone from view when I had seen it so clearly before. Mt. Hood was still there behind the fog.
HE IS ALWAYS THERE EVEN WHEN THE FOG OF LIFE'S TRIALS SEEM SO OVERWHELMING.

Monday, December 11, 2006

SOME QUOTES ON THE SUBJECT OF NOT KNOWING WHEN TO SAY ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

Wendell Berry on Satisfaction:
[W]e have many commodities but little satisfaction, little sense of the sufficiency of anything. The scarcity of satisfaction makes of our many commodities an infinite series of commodities, the new commodities invariably promising greater satisfaction than the older ones. In fact, the industrial economy's most marketed commodity is satisfaction, and this commodity, which is repeatedly promised, bought, and paid for, is never delivered.
(Quoted by Shannon Jung in Food For Life, Augsburg Fortress, 2004, p. 3.)






Walter Brueggemann on scarcity and abundance
We who are now the richest nation are today's main coveters. We never feel that we have enough; we have to have more and more, and this insatiable desire destroys us. Whether we are liberal or conservative Christians, we must confess that the central problem of our lives is that we are torn apart by the conflict between our attraction to the good news of God's abundance and the power of our belief in scarcity — a belief that makes us greedy, mean and unneighborly. We spend our lives trying to sort out that ambiguity.
(From "The Liturgy of Abundance, the Myth of Scarcity", Christian Century, March 24, 1999)






More from Walter Brueggemann:
We live in a world where the gap between scarcity and abundance grows wider every day. Whether at the level of nations or neighborhoods, this widening gap is polarizing people, making each camp more and more suspicious and antagonistic toward the other. But the peculiar thing, at least from a biblical perspective, is that the rich — the ones with the abundance--rely on an ideology of scarcity, while the poor — the ones suffering from scarcity — rely on an ideology of abundance. How can that be? The issue involves whether there is enough to go around — enough food, water, shelter, space. An ideology of scarcity says no, there's not enough, so hold onto what you have. In fact, don't just hold onto it, hoard it. Put aside more than you need, so that if you do need it, it will be there, even if others must do without. An affirmation of abundance says just the opposite: Appearances notwithstanding, there is enough to go around, so long as each of us takes only what we need. In fact, if we are willing to have but not hoard, there will even be more than enough left over. The Bible is about abundance.
(From "Enough Is Enough" - The Other Side , November-December 2001

Monday, December 04, 2006

A POST FROM A FEW MONTHS AGO MOVED UP, ON THE SUBJECT OF JUSTICE

I'm moving this up in light of a conversation I had with some new friends in Springfield this weekend. The conversation just made these thoughts so fresh in my mind and heart again. I read this post when I returned home and wanted to revisit it.

How would you guys, if you can, describe in as few of words, what was Jesus's message to us, as to how to live in this new Kingdom of Heaven that He spoke of as being present with His arrival?

I know we can't possibly with the limitations of our little minds answer that in full. But try to tell me what it looks like to you.

Here is a paradigm shift for me. I read this the other day and it just blew me away. It brought some clarity to me. One of the things I feel Father has brought front and center to me is this idea of JUSTICE. The meaning I have lived with most of my life and with the twist society and even RELIGION puts on it has just confused me. When I heard this a lot of the confusion was cleared up. Justice seems to be about something other than punishment.

This quote is taken from: http://timneufeld.blogs.com/occasio/

"Martens did a masterful job of defining the Hebrew word for justice, mishpat. In western society we have come to understand justice as something we receive (I am a victim, I demand justice) or we dispense (he was convicted and justice was served). But mishpat could best be defined as "honorable relations." Justice is something that we do in relationship with others. It is active not passive. The goal is shalom -- not merely the absence of conflict, but the presence of harmony in relationships. What might a country look like if it practiced this kind of justice?"

That sounds more like what I see Jesus showing us through His life and message. The message of reconciliation and peace make sense in light of this.

Since I first posted this here back in the summer, this whole idea of living justly as God would want me to, has just captivated me. When I started actively thinking about this, it touched every area of my life. It is changing the way I live with everyone around me.

If we desire to live this life in the kingdom of Heaven that is here at hand, I believe living justly is of utmost importance. If justice means "Honorable Relations" the goal is that we learn to live with everyone around us this way. Issues of control and manipulation must go. It should effect the way I live with my wife, my children, co-workers, those that my path crosses everyday, my friends and yes, even those that might want to do me harm. Isn't this the message of Jesus?

I am so grateful this transforming work had begun in me with what this past year has brought. It has helped show me how to live, especially with my children. They are not mine to control and manipulate to get what I want out of them or for them, no matter how good it might look. I'm learning to trust Father with them. He knows how to mold them into what He desires.

I JUST GET TO LOVE THEM, COVER THEM WITH GRACE, AND GUIDE THEM and at the same time, LEARN TO LIVE IN HONORABLE RELATIONS WITH THEM. I believe this is the way of internal transformation, not only for my children but for you and I also. This change is real. Conformity to authority can fool us.