Sabbath

The Sabbath was for man. Not for God. Maybe we rest our physical bodies every once and awhile, but do we rest inside our hearts, minds, and souls as a way of always being? Or do we refuse to rest? No condemnation. That’s the whole point.

A little doodling tonight as I listened to the message below:

From the “Judgment in Managerial Decision Making” textbook I’m currently reading: “Under the pseudocertainty effect, we are more likely to favor options that assure us certainty than those that only reduce uncertainty.”

Work

Giving up. No, not like that. More like falling IN. Living loved, actually. Done with the hustle. Done with the grind. Done with the harder, better, stronger, faster. If anything is going to get done, it’s going to have to be God.

I put on some music this morning. Was wanting to listen to some old jams. Surprised right away. Song after song. All about, “I’ll try harder, God.” Or, “Look how hard I’m trying, God.” Or, “Everyone else should try as hard as I’m trying.”

In the spirit of exactly what I mean right now, “Forget that!” Only took me how many years?

I need a BIG GOD. Much bigger than me. Much bigger than us. I don’t want to think I am speaking for Him anymore. I want to hear. I need to listen.

I need some new music. Actually, I have a lot. Maybe the better way to put it is I need to remember that there is no division between the secular and the holy huddle, per se. Maybe the most demonic satanic junk is self-deprecating self-improvement anthems masquerading as “spiritual” worship music. Worship of who, exactly? Our effort or GOD’s love and goodness?

I find the heart of God more in the worldwide effort to rescue lost boys in a swollen cave. I find the heart of God more in the child mixing house beats in some dry dusty African community. I find the heart of God more in a group of men scrambling with whatever they can find to free an animal. I find the heart of God in the passion chefs bring to their culinary creations.

I am not angry at the corporate church. My heart breaks. My passion is furious. As much as I long for community, I cannot go back to the lies. I pray. I sing. I dance. I trust this is way bigger than me. That GOD is way bigger than us.

Brighter Day

I had this horrible dream where a girl who was anorexic was in a public restroom and she fell on the ground because she was so sick. I tried to go get her help. She grabbed my leg and basically told me she’d let me go if I promised her I wouldn’t go call help for her. I lied to her and pulled away and lost one of my shoes in her grasp in the process. I knew I had to get out of there and away from her.

I woke up feeling a lot of negativity. Almost an evil feeling about the dream. I used to get those dreams before and they made me feel so scared and powerless. I would be awake for hours. But I learned from someone years ago to play my gospel music as an offensive move if I feel that kind of darkness around me.

So I started singing first. Then I went and played some songs as they came to mind. Some oldies that I used to jam all the time. Hadn’t listened to them in awhile. Lyrics maybe more applicable now than then. Always our good God providing comfort whenever we need Him. It only took a little while for the peace and joy to wipe out the darkness. Some thoughts in the process:

I think the anorexic girl in the dream represents the old me that is dying. The old me that was spiritually starved. Subsisting on a scarcity mentality in regards to God and life. And the new me is not going to sit down and die. The new me is getting stronger than the old me. The new me isn’t striving to prove herself. The new me is confident in God’s love. And the new me was able to do whatever it took to get up and run away from that old way that was trying to keep me down and away from freedom and victory.

Which brings me to the second picture. I was reminded of the man at the pool of Bethesda. My same age. Been sitting in his sickness for all these years. Waiting for deliverance. And Jesus comes by and tells him to get up and walk. I felt like the message for me was: get up and walk. What are you doing here? You are already healed. The healing is already in you because you are in Him and He is in you.

I feel like this man is a picture of all the people waiting for God to do something and He is like, “It’s already done.” Before the cross. Before the cross? Maybe again the cross was just the sign some needed when all along they were free?

Maybe that’s why Jesus tells him to go and sin no more? In other words, if you don’t accept the freedom you have then you are going to find yourself back down on the ground rolling around with the sickness of others like in times past. If you want that life. If you really want to go back there.

If we want to keep going around the desert outside of the Promised Land, then we are welcome to do that. He’ll find us down that road also. Always inviting us back.

The man said he was healed. Maybe the miracle in a sense is that Jesus didn’t do anything to the man. He just told him to get up. Do we need to hear Jesus telling us it’s ok and that we can get up? There isn’t a rule list to keep to make Him happy. He always has and always will love us just the same. He’ll keep inviting us to the party. Will we get up and join Him?

You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

Right On Time

I think of Moses. Poor guy. Must have been so confused. God tells him to go tell the leader of Egypt to let the Israelites go. And what happens? The leader of Egypt makes life worse for the Israelites. And then they all turn their anger towards Moses.

What gives, God? I did exactly what you told me to do and then things got worse.

This was to happen a few more times. I think of specifically as the Israelites were backed into a corner against the Red Sea where the Egyptians were hot on their tail. Ready to punish or slaughter them all. And yet God led them to that exact spot. Moses was following directions perfectly.

We don’t normally hear that sermon: do exactly what God tells you and things are going to get worse. Not exactly something your friends and associates are going to believe most often. Sounds like an excuse.

I’m sure it was the logical ones in the bunch that maybe were the most vocal: “Whose idea was it to stir up the wrath of our Egyptian boss and then saunter out into the desert following this former murderer and thinking we would just walk away with no plan?”

But God told me to. Yeah, a tough sell.

Maybe another reason for the plagues beforehand. The Bible says they didn’t really know their God. They had been living in this other culture for so long that they forgot Him. He showed them over and over way before the Red Sea as He brought so many miraculous things on the Egyptians. But the Israelites were still freaking out.

It says God went behind them as the Egyptians approached. I imagine the ones in front were a little scared. Maybe seeing the cloud by day and the fire by night was a comfort. But all of a sudden even that was out of view. Not gone. Just out of view. But being such slaves to our senses, I imagine that could have been scary.

How many times in life have we felt like God led us to a certain place and then all of a sudden we can’t see Him anymore? We feel abandoned. But maybe He is just protecting us from the rear. Maybe He has already prepared the way forward and is asking us to continue and step out based on what He’s already done. Saying, “I got you.”

The Israelites were safe all along. Will we believe?

How do we know whether we came to this place on our own or were just following where we felt we were led? Even that knowing must be surrendered. For peace. Place it all in His hands. As one of my favorite songs says, “Empty pockets, open hands.” As a child. Scared, sad, angry. But loved through all. In all.

Someday you can choose to believe it. Right now ask Him for help. For comfort. For encouragement. For hope. To see how He sees. Remember what He has already done. Remember His ways are higher than our ways. Remember He sent His Son. For God so LOVED the whole world. Including you. Surrender the need to know, the need to understand. Ask for His peace. Run to Him. Resist accusing. Risk vulnerability.

Here I am, Father. Your child. I depend on You and Your love. Please part our Red Seas. Please help us see You in the midst of our confusion and fear.

“And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.'”

“So the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Thus Israel saw the great work which the Lord had done in Egypt; so the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord and His servant Moses.”

Turnaround

I was thinking today about how the Israelites went through so many trials as they prepared to leave Egypt and then again as they were approaching The Promised Land. They saw God act on their behalf over and over and over. And yet right as they reached the finished line, in that last mile, they gave up on Him and never were able to enjoy the gift prepared in advance for them.

As easy as it is to talk down on them from a distance, I’m sure we’ve all been there at some point.

My heart goes out to them. Born in captivity. Only knowing captivity. They probably couldn’t imagine a Promised Land. Less suffering, yes. But not full freedom, the all you can eat buffet God prepared for them.

How many of us have sold ourselves short like that? Have so greatly underestimated God and His love for us? Will we run so hard the entire race just to give up on God right before the finish line? Will we forget all He has done for us? All He has carried us through? After everything we’ve seen and experienced of Him, will we decide that He can’t really be that good?

He doesn’t bring us out into the desert to die. Maybe the desert was more of a hard reset that they needed to get the Egypt out of them. To be prepared for their new life. Sometimes an end is just a setup for a new beginning. Sometimes we need things removed from us that we don’t feel like we can let go of. Will we trust God when He asks us to put it all in His hands? Will we trust He wants only the best for all?

Morning follows the darkest nights.

I give up on my own strength, my own understanding, my own faith and belief, my own resources. But I don’t want to give up on Him. Whether and how He will work things out, I don’t know. But I know He can.

Even if there is still more rain. Even if the only other relief is on the other side of this great adventure, His great love for us remains! I’ll understand everything later. But in the meantime, I say choose hope.

Home

To borrow a word picture from a Trinity Happy Hour program: you’re studying the invitation like your life depends on it, like the most meticulous scientist. But are you ever going to join the party?

Freedom, my friend. The prodigal was never kicked out. He left.

Come back home. There’s a party waiting for you. You are and always have been loved.

You don’t know your Father’s love. It’s ok to be His child. More than ok.