Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Love your God with your Soul

Passage for tonight…Deut 6:1-7

“Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the LORD your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, 2 so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. 3 O Israel, you should listen and [a]be careful to do it, that it may be well with you and that you may multiply greatly, just as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
 4 “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! 5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

So how do we love God with our souls?
There are five distinct ways...

1.      1. Rejoice. This isn’t being happy. This is having joy in our hope.   
           2.Grief-in a physical manifestation, not just “feeling” grief over the lost, the suffering, the hurt, the deep overwhelming and propelling  desire to see God’s redemption in the spiritual and physical world.  Being propelled by your grief to reach out and use our souls to love.
           3.Self control with our bodies. Sex. Eating. Drinking. Exercise. Sunshine. Sleep. Sabbath. Music, friendship, conversation, drama, movies, avoiding pornography and trashy love novels, Internet, coffee, relationships, family.
           4. Worship-physical, emotional, involving not only mind, not only emotions, but our very beings. Not just singing, or dancing, or raising of hands. Service, hospitality, giving, driving someone home after a long day, visiting the sick, the poor, etc, etc, etc.
5.     5.  Losing our lives…I'm not talking always about  being a martyr in our strict definitions, but by dying to our selves by giving away our lives to him. We think of martyrs as the ones killed violently for their faith, but martyrs are all Christians who slowly give their lives away to God by doing all the aforementioned so that others may hear His story, not just living to live, breathing to breathe.

Its not just having a prayer life and doing devos. Its not just fasting and going to church. Its not just praying before lunch and dinner. Its not just coming to English worship and bible study. It’s the bread and wine of heaven. It’s the water that never lets you thirst again. It's worshipping God with your whole soul.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I feel like the summertime for me is always a return to creativity. Often, during the school year, my energies are poured into my students, my relationships with people that are only here for a short time, and more importantly, my marriage and family.

After that energy is spent, I'm spent. And all I can bring myself to do is write a bit, poke around on Facebook, and maybe take a few pictures that are fun and entertaining (sometimes only to myself!).

So, today, I've cracked out the paint, the crayons and the pastels, and determined to do something, anything, to engage my creative self, even if it just means taking a piece of art off my own wall and copying it into "my version".

Halfway through, it barely looks like the original, but its mine. I really don't do well at drawing or painting, but I do it for me. I do it to process, to think about something else besides work, and to find a few moments of getting my fingers dirty to see what my heart tells me.

Today, I am sad. I am sad, missing people who are forever gone from this life, like Penny, like my grandfather, my grandmother. People who put their indelible drawings on my own life. Like whenever my keys dangle outta my pocket, the image of my Granddad comes to mind. Like when I drink a cold coke on a hot day, I remember sitting in the summer hut with Penny in Africa. Like when I feel angry over sin, I remember my Gramma Soen's righteous wrath.

I feel sad to say goodbye. Goodbye to the Erasmus students that have been here almost a year and wormed their way into our hearts. Sad to say goodbye to our pastors and family who are movning to Valencia to take another pastorate. Sad even to say goodbye to friends who will return in two months. Sad.

Unfortunately, we as protestant evangelical modern Christians don't permit ourselves a sad day. I should end this blog post today saying, But we have hope, faith, happiness....even though its true, there are some days we lack all three, and we pray and search the scriptures and end up with the depressing but powerful verses..

"2 Remember what happened to Lot’s wife!33 If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it." Luke 17:32-33

May we not cling to our faith, or what we believe we believe in. May we not turn back to the past longing for what might have been. Instead, as we color in the lines God keeps giving us, may we look forward to Him, latch onto him, and let our lives go, so we might be saved.