Sunday, November 30, 2008


Philippians 4:11-13: "I'm not saying this because I'm in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things who gives me strength."

Philippians 4:19: "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."

One of the many things God has been teaching me lately in my quiet times with him is this principle of being content. He's taught me and I've learned from his example how to be thankful in all things, good or bad, but it is an entirely different matter being content in those same situations, good or bad, in plenty or in want. For those of you who don't know me very well, I'm an all or nothing kind of guy. There's not really any shades of gray with me. But I'm also a "bigger and better" guy as well. My mind races all the time with new ideas and new things I want to do and accomplish so I'm always accomplishing one thing while planning another at the same time. At the men's retreat with Gateway Church that I went to 3 weeks ago or so, I don't know if I shared this, but God gave me a picture while I was praying and reading his word and journaling. He said (and I could see this as clear as day): "You're living your life like a shopping spree. You're rushing down every isle, pulling as many things off of the shelf as you can before they blow the whistle, trying to get to the finish-line with more things in your basket than the others." Then he said to me: "I don't want you to do that anymore. I want you to slow down and only pull the things off of the shelf that I tell you to. What's the point in having this basket full of stuff if it wasn't what I wanted for you?" Pretty heavy huh?!? See, he was showing me how I was constantly not content with where I was, or what I had, or what I was doing and I was having to do the next thing to satisfy me. But that's not what he wants for me. He wants me to accomplish more with less by only doing the things he asks me to and only going for the things he tells me to!

I think we get caught up in the monetary side of contentment: money. But this verse isn't only talking about money. Being content with the gifts given you means monetary and material gifts, sure, but it also is talking about spiritual gifts and talents as well. In the States we are always caught in this rat race to try to be like someone else. Young girls are taught they need to look like a model and be popular like the movie stars. Young boys are taught they have to be the star athlete. Moms think they have to be the everything to everyone (just like so and so's wife). And men are constantly trying to accumulate more for them and their family or are duped into thinking the more toys they have the more successful they look. It's all just a lie from the enemy!! God says that in any situation, be content and be happy with what God has blessed you with because he won't bless you with anymore until you've proved faithful with that. Satan knows that if he can get you focused on stuff and on the things you can have, you'll take your eyes off of Jesus. You start to trust in the things of this world and the possessions you have instead of the love and direction and provision of the living God. It sounds really silly when you write or read it like that but it's so true. I do it all the time and it is always a constant struggle with the flesh to not put any stock in your bank account or savings account or investments because none of it is yours anyway!!

I think it's a matter of perspective really. If we always remember that we are merely stewards of all that we have and that we don't own any of it, it's not as hard to keep from being attached to the things of life. I'm still working on this one alot and am learning daily, but when I get frustrated or feel my contentment drifting away, I remember: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!"


Thursday, November 27, 2008


Psalm 28:7 "The LORD is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trust in him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving."

Cindy and I have alot of things to be thankful for. Yesterday morning during my quiet time I was praying and asking God his purpose for some of the difficulties we've encountered lately and have worked through and was His will is in those and one of the things He said to me was "I want to know that you'll praise me and be joyful in the hard times, as well as the good or easy times." I think it is really easy to be really thankful as long as everything is going the way we want it to or the way we've planned it out, but as soon as things start getting hard or things start to fall apart, the last thing we think to do is to be thankful or to praise Him for it. I'm just as guilty.

In Job, God allows Satan to test Job to show that his servant will continue to praise Him no matter what happens to him. After the first trial and losing all of his family, all of his servants, and most of his flocks, Job's response was: Job 1:20-21 "Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said: Naked I came from my mother's womb and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!" In all of the calamity and heartache he was going through, the very first thing Job did when the winds and the waves came was to fall on his knees and worship and bless God!! That passage totally convicted me when I was studying it because God showed me time after time that I was going through trials that as soon as it got tough, I started complaining, instead of praising!! I'm still learning and I'm still working on it, but the bible also says that "The joy of the Lord is our strength." so when I'm feeling down about a situation, it's because I haven't laid it at His feet and then left it and turned my eyes back on Him.

Today I'm going to be thankful. And when it is going really good, I'm going to be thankful, and when it's going really bad, I'm going to be thankful.

"Count your many blessings, name them one by one. Count your many blessings, see what God has done. Count you blessings! Name them one by one! Count your many blessings, see what God has done!"

A fitting old hymn for today I think. Count your blessings, see everything God has accomplished and is continuing to accomplish in your life and in your family. You'll be surprised, for every one thing to complain about, there are 2 or 3 to praise him for.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fresh Start: New Lessons for a New Family

You know, one of the things I was scared about when we were pregnant with Harper was the daunting task of teaching him all the things he needs to know as he grows up and the huge responsibility that teaching another person is. His entire world view and his experiences depend (at first) in large part based on how we expose him to and teach him new ideas. But I've changed my mind about that. Now, the teaching part of being a parent is the part that excites me the most.

Proverbs 22:6 says: "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it."

Our biggest charge as parents, but also our biggest opportunity is to be able to teach our kids. We have the opportunity to teach them God's love in a real and tangible way, teach them how to learn, teach them to listen (to others, but ultimately to the Holy Spirit), teach them humility, teach them honesty, and on and on and on. And the ultimate opportunity is to be able to teach them better than we were taught as kids. I mean, that is the point isn't it?? For each generation to learn from the previous one and not to repeat their mistakes or the let their ignorance remain??

I have a great family history. I was adopted as an infant and grew up in a christian home. Every time the doors of the church were open we were there as kids all growing up. I love the chances we had as kids to see God in action and to hear the word. Yeah, no matter what happened to us, we heard the word of God on a daily basis and that (since the Word of God is living and breathing) was the most important thing. But as good as it was, our parents were just doing a little bit better than their parents before them. No one is perfect, but there are things I want to teach Harper that I wish I had been taught.

The first thing I want Harper to experience and to learn, by my words and seeing it backed up by my actions is unconditional love. I want him to learn that my love is not contingent on him being an all-american at anything, or winning the state championships 3 years in a row, or making it to the regional or state competition in literary events, or making the game-winning free-throw. My love for him is based on the fact that he is my son, that is it, and that is enough. And because he is my son, my flesh and blood (remember the blood covenant feltsdia??) that binds me to him forever and nothing could get in the way of my love and pride for him.

The second thing I want him to learn from Cindy and I is unconditional love for others. I want him to understand that just because someone else is any different than he is: different color of their skin, drive a different car, go to a different church, dress in different clothes, speak a different language, have a different opinion than him, that that doesn't make him better or worse than them....just different, and that is perfectly fine!! I want him to love people because Christ loved every person he ever met, Satan included! When Jesus was asked by the Sadducees which of the commandments was the greatest he said: "The most important one is this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:29-31) Isn't it interesting that God's two favorite commandments have to do with love for Him, and then love for others?!? Where in that verse does it say to "Love others as yourself, as long as they look like you.", or "Love others as yourself, as long as they have money.", or "Love others as yourself as long as they think like you." IT DOESN'T!!! I want Harper to show God's love to other people freely, no matter who they are!!

The last thing (for this post anyway) I'm excited to teach him is proper stewardship and respect for money. I want him to know that his identity is in Jesus, NOT in how much money is in his bank account, or how expensive his clothes are, or what car he drives. I want to teach him that money never fixes money problems, and what's the point of having money if you can't share it with people who need it??? I want him to understand that the role of money is to allow you the opportunity to spread the gospel to those who are less fortunate. All money is the Lord's and is a blessing, but is also a huge responsibility to take care of it correctly. I want him to learn how to do that early. It took me well into college doing my own studying to really understand how God felt about money and I've made plenty of mistakes along that road that I want to keep him from.

This post is kind of lengthy, I know, but God started showing me areas I was going to be able to fill in the gaps for Harper that I had to fill in myself so I wanted to share. I've got other lessons in my head He's lining up for me to teach Harper, but I'll share those later.

Everyone makes mistakes, and there are no perfect parents....but our children are too important to not give them our best.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Choose to Encourage!

I was so humbled yesterday in the office and it was by (of course, of all people) one of my little kids who comes in to the office. I swear I learn more from the kids in the office about life and treating others than I ever have doing anything else. This little girl isn't even one of my official patients. Her mom is pregnant and comes to me for prenatal care and is using one of the midwives next door and her daughter just happens to come with her each time she gets adjusted. I make it a point to talk to her on every visit and have worked on getting to know the little girl even though I'm not seeing her. I love the kids more than anybody (no offense to the rest of you!) because they are so uninhibited!! They say what they think, they get well super fast because they don't realize they aren't supposed to do that ;), and they're just real. Cindy says I get along with them so well because I'm on their brain wavelength!! They just think I'm a really big version of them!
Yesterday was a rough day for me. I had to deal with alot of issues coming up in business (we'll just leave it at that) and work through some bookkeeping housecleaning things I needed to tackle and was in a thoroughly depressed mood before I got to the office yesterday afternoon to see patients (owning your own business means you have to do the things you love AND the things you hate/I love patients, but hate to deal with business). I was ready to throw in the towel and go get a teaching job at the college and see a handful of patients out of our house and just be done with it!! I just felt like I was about to crack. So I prayed my heart out before I started so that I wouldn't bleed all over patients as I began my afternoon and felt a little relief but was just down overall. A couple hours into my day, still acting happy, and feeling beat down, this little girl walked up to Mae (our secretary) at the front desk and said, "Is Mr. Doctor Jim Bob here??". Mae told her I was with a patient so she thought about that for a minute and said, "Ok, well, could you give him this for me?" and proceeded to pass Mae a note to give me. This little girl is about 8-9 years old and we have had some great (and hilarious) conversations during her mom's visits. Mae catches me as soon as I walk out of the room with one of my new patients and smiling, gives me the note from this little girl (we'll call her "Susie"). "Susie" had made me a fold out card that she had written my name is big bubble letters in the middle of the page and all around it had written words to describe me. She put all these incredibly nice things all over the page about how nice I am, funny, a good doctor, patient, and all these words covering the page. She even drew a little picture of me explaining how a spine works to her just like I did in the office for her during one of their visits. In that moment God said, "See...this is why I have you doing this. Stay focused, trust in me, and never give up." It totally turned my day around and I zipped around the office like I was high on caffeine or something (my usual self!).
My whole day (and the day for dozens of patients after that) totally changed because this little girl chose to be an encourager. And to think, encouragement is one of my gifts that I'm called to use, and this girl blessed me more than anything by using my own gift back on me! It made me think about all the times I think great things about the people around me and then let the moment pass and don't actually tell them. People need to hear those things. They need to hear that you think the world of them, or that they are a great friend, a good listener, an excellent mother, a worthy father, a loyal son, a beautiful daughter, a wise brother, and all the other things that you feel about them. Why hold that back and miss blessing them or yourself?? So for the rest of that day I encouraged everyone else I had on my schedule and determined to tell each of them something positive about themselves while they were there so that they would feel better about themselves when they left than when they came. And you know what?? When I do that, I benefit more than they do! God heaps blessings on you when you dole them out to other people. In 2 Tim 1:3, Paul is writing to Timothy and he says, "Timothy, I thank God for you--the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers." He made a point to write to encourage Timothy to help him on path that God had him on that Paul had helped establish. One of the enemy's biggest tools to get us to sit on the bench and get out of the game is discouragement. The weapon that God has given us to use liberally and freely is the opposite of that: ENCOURAGEMENT!!!. So find someone who needs encouragement and throw some their way, you'll be amazed how much better you feel when you tell someone else how much you think of them.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Keeping it Simple

I don't know why as humans this is so hard for us (especially me). Everything we do we try to make so difficult and hard to accomplish that we set ourselves up for failure every time. If you really think about it, we do it with almost everything. Take our health for example. I have patients almost daily who come in looking for this grand scheme I'm going to cook up for them to re-claim their health and bring them back from the black hole they've dug themselves in and help to get them back on the right track. What they normally find is that the things I recommend are very very simple like "Drink more water!". And alot of the time they act like, "That's it?!? I spend all this time here and pay money for you to tell me I need more water?!?" And they act annoyed that what I'm suggesting is so easy. But in our quest to search out and conquer the "impossible" tasks daily when it comes to our health, we forget the basics. We forget that we need at least half our body weight in ounces of water a day (as a minimum!) just to stay properly hydrated (that increases with exercise). We don't even notice that as we're hectically rushing around, we're not breathing at all and our oxygen levels are dangerously low, causing headaches, muscle pain, and heart irregularities. We get so busy that we eat anything that is convenient for the day and forget that our bodies were created perfectly to require certain foods to sustain good health and without these foods, we will begin to get sick and have symptoms we don't normally have.
Isn't this the same thing we do with our relationship with God?? I know I do.. We act like, and are taught alot of times, that the Christian life and a life lived for God is very complex and so hard to figure out that we feel like we need a seminar degree to understand our calling. We get so busy in our normal lives that we forget the most important thing every day is to constantly be in prayer. We get frustrated because we can't hear God, but then we never actually pray and then allow time to listen! When we do pray and ask God what we need to do with a particular struggle we have, sometimes the answer seems too simple. Recently I was trying to discern if I needed to change a couple procedures in the office and if I needed to get more in depth on a couple of our protocols or not. So as I was praying about it and really seeking God over what I needed to do, He answered me and said, "Just love the people I send you." And I said the same thing I hear people say to me everyday, "That's it?!?" And He said, "Yes, that's it, and it is more than enough." So that's what I've set out to do every day, and you know....people are getting better and I'm happier. Amazing how that works when you say "Yes" to Him and allow His will to be at the forefront of your mind constantly.
So I'm trying to go back to the basics with my walk with the Lord. I'm praying, I'm reading, I'm journaling, and I'm listening for the next thing He has for me to do. Sometimes I hear specific things when the patient comes in, something specific for them. When I don't....I just love them, and let God take care of the rest.


Monday, November 17, 2008


Finally!! I've been pleading with God, asking Him for the past few weeks/months what this constant heaviness has been on my heart and why I couldn't jump to the next step in my relationship with Him. Don't get me wrong, the past few weeks have been incredible, and He's been showing me so many things, but I just felt like I was right on the bubble and couldn't figure out how to "pop" through to the next level. I just got back from the "Alpha Excursion", a men's retreat through Gateway Church where we attend. I, along with 270 other men from the church drove out to Tanglewood Resort on Lake Texoma Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for some insanely incredible worship, annointed preaching & teaching, and some much needed quiet time with my awesome God. God had been begging me to "be still" and spend actual quiet time with Him and that's exactly what I did this weekend.

I had been really stressed out lately and just not satisfied or happy with the way things were going. Not happy with my prayer life, the office, my roles here at the house, any of it. Harper wasn't sleeping good all week so I was exhausted, my poor wife was wiped out and frustrated and I just just genuinely wore out. It's amazing how God will take you to the breaking point to get you on your knees to really have you rely completely on Him to be able to receive the word He has for you. Brady Boyd, pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO. was there and preached 2 of the 4 sessions. The first night Brady talked about the fact that as christians we have to be alert (1 Peter 5:8) and be ready to deal with whatever comes our way. To be alert we have to know how to pray, and to continue to pray in all occasions (Ephesians 6:18). That verse in Ephesians talks about praying in the Spirit on all occasions, and until recently I really didn't know what that meant. I've been praying for God to teach me and to open my heart and mind to all He has for me, and I'm seeing new things He's designed for us to be able to experience Him in a more personal and deeper way.

In his second session, Pastor Brady talked about the Lord as our Shephard and what that means. He talked about all of us being on a path and the Lord being our shephard and guiding us down that path and that even when we venture off the path, He doesn't get angry with us, He's excited when He finds us and restores us unto Himself. He constantly looks and searches for the "one lost sheep". We dug into the 23rd Psalm and looked at the depth of what "The Lord is my Shephard" means. For alot of us, and especially me, our worst enemy is ourselves. Satan doesn't have to work very hard to knock us off course because we're so unfocused in the first place. Self-reliance is the hall-mark of our culture and our generation and it can be a good thing, but when it comes to our relationship with God it is what keeps us from total dependancy and trust in Him and His leading. We talked about how we're all on a path, and even though we think we've got it figured out and thing we know where we're going, God is who directs our steps and determines our course, no matter what we originally thought (Proverbs 16:9).

Pastor Tom Lane (Executive Pastor of Gateway Church) continued on Saturday night talking about emotions and how we should express them, and how we can express them in a healthy way. Then Sunday morning (after the most intense worship session I thing I've ever experienced), Pastor Bobby Bogard (pastor at Gateway Church) hit us hard with a message on condemnation and how as men we are the best at beating ourselves up. But God is not a God of condemnation, but of forgiveness and unconditional love (Romans 8:1-2). And it hit me!! God totally let the scales fall off of my eyes to see what He'd been seeing all along: Most of my life I've been so concerned with trying to prove myself to everyone around me with the accomplishments of my hands and the conquests I've had and have carried around so much guilt that I wasn't ever doing enough. I grew up always thinking that no matter what I did, no matter how many medals I won, or how many championships I won, or how many honors I received, that it was never good enough and that the bar was always a little higher than I could reach. Satan used the talents God gave me to imprison me into thinking that it mattered to God how much I did and it mattered to God how much I accomplished. But in that moment God reached down and cradled my face in that service and said, "Son, I'm proud of you and I love you no matter what you've ever done, or no matter what you ever do again. You could never do anything to make me not love you or to make me love you more. You are a trophy on my mantle and you are special to me." The dam built up in my heart broke and the rivers of His love rushed through me and flooded the borders of my soul. Freedom from guilt, and freedom from the bondage of accolades is one of the most fulfilling and joyful things I've ever felt. That morning I started the process of letting go of all the guilt and all the unforgiveness in my heart that I had stored up against other people and against myself for the past 20+ years. I know it will be a process, but I feel so free now that it will continue to get better.

God is a God of love, unconditional up your arms and open up your heart and receive it!

Friday, November 7, 2008

"Oh, be careful little mouth what you say..."

"For the Father up above is looking down in love, oh be careful little mouth what you say..." How many of us sang this song as kids or have taught it to their children, but don't think about the meaning behind the words and practice this themselves. The power of the spoken word goes way beyond what people understand.
Let's look at just the neurology (brain chemistry) behind speech and what you say and how it effects you. The things that you say to or about other people and the speech you use with yourself trains your brain on a daily basis on how you want it to think about any and every topic you deal with. When you think about something (like a particular person) your brain is like a filing cabinet, it opens the drawer related to this person, pulls out the file with their name on it, reads it and says.."Ohhh yes, we don't like this person for this or that", it closes the file and sends a signal back down to the front of your brain and then you have a reaction or a response to seeing or hearing this person. This reaction happens with every single thought about every single thing every single second of every single day. Every second you have 3 trillion bits of information coursing through your brain, 3 TRILLION!!! The brain is processing everything you do and everything you and those around you are saying and is storing a memory to that. Here in lies the problem. The amazing and scary thing about your brain is that it is moldable. You can alter what you think about a certain topic or person, for good or for bad. And the body doesn't know the difference between you saying something to yourself and hearing someone else talk about themselves or something else around you. So grandma's old addage "You are who you hang around.." is neurologically correct. You will implant nerve synapsis based on the ways people are talking around you. So if you're around someone who says that they themselves are ugly, and dumb, and no good at anything, and talks negative about pretty much everything, your brain doesn't know the difference between them talking about them, and them talking about it assumes that's how you feel about you. When I used to travel and shoot professionally, my mental coach (ex-olympic gold medalist in rifle shooting) used to tell me that for every negative thought you had, you had to tell yourself 5 postive thoughts to reverse it. Negativity is POWERFUL!! Satan likes nothing better than for God's people to do nothing. And the quickest way to do that is to have them feeling so down about themselves and about each other and to talk to each other about it and to feel more and more depressed that they don't feel like witnessing or ministering to anyone!!
In James it talks about the power of the tongue and how it is like the rudder on a ship, a "small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire." James 3:5-6. The smallest things we say without thinking can really wreck a person's life....
With a new son I was laughing with Cindy the other day, but everyone always freaks out about someone smoking around their kids, or cussing, or something blatant, but then they'll let someone sit there and speak negative, discouraging things over them or someone else and we don't do a thing about it. The body can detox the cigarette smoke, but it takes alot of work to get over what someone says to you.
So be deliberate in what you say or what you allow others to say to you or about you. Because what you say is a "small spark that can set a great forest ablaze...".


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Harper's Newborn Photo Session

We went to see Marquette at Simple Treasures Photography on Halloween morning for Harper's newborn photo shoot. Unfortunately, he was not a happy baby like he is most mornings. Of course because mommy really needed him to be happy! I'm sure my stress level was not helping his. But, Marquette is amazing, and she managed to get some incredible pics despite my little boy's attitude. Please contact her for your family's photography needs, you won't be disappointed. Love you, Marquette!! Here is what she blogged about our session:

And my newest Baby Plan member...Baby 'H'...he is gorgeous...just like his mommy!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"Godly Leadership"

As I was reading back through one of my journals tonight, I came across a comparison study I did between the leadership style of David vs the leadership style of Saul. What really interested me alot was that Saul was chosen by God to be Israel's first King. Up to this point they had not had a King at the head of their people...they had the prophets and the judges. But after complaining enough God gave them what they wanted, a king to rule them. He hand-picked Saul to be the first king, but somewhere in the middle something happened and he took his hand off of Saul and brought David to the front where he was called , "A man after God's own heart." So what happened to Saul?? And made him that much different from David?

Saul was doing great as King for awhile because he was following God's lead and Samuel's advising. But in 1 Sam 13, it talks about Saul becoming impatient and offering a burnt offering after a battle without waiting on Samuel to arrive and offer the burnt offering himself. Because he broke God's law and did not follow Samuel's instruction, God took his blessing and his hand off of Saul and put it onto David. The way Saul reacted to Samuel's rebuke is interesting too. Instead of humbly accepting the rebuke and asking for God's forgiveness and repenting, he tries to justify what he did and tries to explain himself (1 Sam 13: 11-13). That one act of disobedience took Saul out of the running for God to establish Saul's kingdom forever. Instead he was replaced. Saul again tries to justify his sin in 1 Sam 15:20-24. When Samuel confronts him, he offers us excuses instead of pleas for forgiveness.

So what made his reactions so different from David, claimed to be a "man after God's own heart"?

Take a look at just the reaction to sin: For Saul there was always justification and excuses. But reading about David and Bathsheba in 2 Sam 11, when the prophet Nathan came and confronted David about his sin, David IMMEDIATELY confessed his sin (2 Sam 12:13). He didn't try to justify his actions or make excuses or pass the blame on someone else, he was responsible for his own mess. Saul tried to make himself look better while he sinned by covering it up under the guise of doing something "good". He was offering a sacrifice, a good thing right?? Well, not when it is performed against the law of God and without his consent. How many times do we disobey God, but do it under the banner of "doing good" to justify ourselves and help us feel better about disobeying in the first place.

David continually focused on God's will, and God's plans, where as Saul focused more on his own plans and desires before God's. At one point in scripture in 1 Sam 15:11, God actually says "I am sorry I ever made Saul King, for he has not been loyal to me and has refused to obey my command."

David was a man of forgiveness, Saul was full of bitterness and resentment. Saul became so jealous of David and God's blessings on him, that he tried to intentionally hurt him, kill him even. Even though David was his son's best friend! David on the other hand, never returned Saul's jealousy or hatred. David had two chances in the scriptures to actually kill Saul and he refused (2 Sam 24, and 2 Sam 26). Both of these passages show David as full of mercy, and full of love for a man who is trying to kill him!

It's really sad to read, but Saul had the potential to be one of, if not the greatest of God's chosen kings in all of the bible, but he threw it all away for his own wants and desires. It sounds so ridiculous when you hear it said like that, you think, "I would never do that!". But how many times do we?! How many times do we give us the blessings of God because we feel like we know what is best for us so instead of praying and waiting on God to answer us, we push forward in our own strength to do what WE feel like WE need to? Both Saul and David made mistakes, both of them sinned....but only one truly repented and truly begged for God to forgive him and immediately turned back to the Lord.....David. What a beautiful picture of potential and what happens when we allow God to have all of us and even when we mess it up, going back to him and letting him help us become better and wiser in him, vs potential totally wasted on ourselves. One of the ways the enemy likes to get to me is with my schedule. God has blessed me with alot of talents, but they are all "filthy rags" without him and when my schedule gets so crazy that I don't know which way is up, it's easy for me to forget who gave me that potential or that talent and I try to do it by myself. "Pray and then plan"....that's what he's trying to teach me....and that even when I fall: "Jesus loves me this I know..." he'll always be there to catch me.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

"Jesus Loves me, this I know..."

My heart is filled to overflowing and my mind is racing....."Jesus loves me this I know"....such a simple song and yet probably one of the most profound. This morning I finished my first journey through a book that for no other way to describe it yet (my mind is still reeling) has rocked my world. I just finished reading "The Shack" and if you've been on the fence about reading it and have heard people talking about it (which you probably have) then do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of it today.
I had been recommended to the book by a couple of my closest friends and mentors and also a whole slew of patients who kept coming in with it and reading it while waiting in our office to be seen. I started it this week and finished it up this morning with my breakfast.
This book is a "Paradigm Destroyer" so I wouldn't recommend reading it if you're not ready to re-think what you've been conditioned to think about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and who they are and the relationship they have with each other and with us. I love in the forward the writer says, "A couple of final disclaimers: Mack would like you to know that if you happen upon this story and hate it, he says, "Sorry....but it wasn't written primarily for you." Then again, maybe it was." Because if you read this story and refuse to really read it and look into yourself at your own story to see where you need healing, then yeah, you may hate it...because it is vvveeerrryyy convicting!
I think the thing (currently at least) that I loved the most about the book is the depiction of the relationship God desires to have with us. I've always had this weird view of God as this lofty heavenly being who sat more like a supreme court judge passing out judgements that a tender loving father who wants his children to climb into his lap and take in his mercy, love, and grace. I love the relationship it paints between God, Jesus his son, and the Holy Spirit. Being a very relational person, this part of the book made me cry because that's the exact type of God the Father that I would want, but had never thought of it that way. I had always been taught that you had to come to him in reverence and awe, and total protocol & respect when he just wants us to call him "Papa" and let him hold us and rejoice with us through the good, and help us through the bad.
The book is a wonderful depiction of forgiveness and rebirth...not of the person, but of the soul. The great thing about the forgiveness it talks about is when it says that "Forgiveness is not about forgetting, it's about remembering." It talks about how God doesn't ask us to forgive others and then forget all about what they did to us, rather he teaches us to forgive them in spite of remembering the offense clearly for what it was and choosing to forgive them anyway.
But one of the most beautiful parts of the book and one of the most meaningful to me because it is just where I'm at in my walk with the Lord right now is the illustration of the Holy Spirit ("Sarayu" in the book) and how he talks to us constantly and the ongoing dialogue we can have with him if we just listen. In the book Sarayu (Holy Spirit) promises to never leave Mack and to continually talking to him...if only he'll just keep listening. I always wondered why so many times, the things I hear the Spirit saying to me are so quiet. This weekend we had a guest speaker at Gateway, Rick Bezet, and he spoke about Forgiveness (and I swear he just finished The Shack too!!) and he said that the reason God whispers all the time is because in order to hear him you have to be still, lean in, and focus on him to hear clearly. It is an act of intimacy with us why he whispers because he desires that closeness so much from us. And to think that the God that made the entire universe and hung every star in the sky wants an intimate relationship with ME.....blows my mind. I'd never thought of it that specifically before. I've grown up in church and sang the songs, and answered the Sunday school questions, and can talk "Christian" with anyone....but have missed out until recently on owning the information. On really understanding this love...this relationship that I have with him. I may have to blog on this again because I'm still processing all of this but....I don't know...."Jesus loves me this I know..." I don't think I really knew before....but now I do....and it is blowing me away!