Dusting off the Stories of what God has Done

God is always the same and what he did once he would do again.  God is not a respecter of persons and what he would do for one he would do for any.  These two statement encourage the hope and possibility of what God did once for someone else, he would do for me.  In saying that, something he did twenty years ago for me, he can do for you now.  So I’m walking down the memory lane of life as it is always the front page of who God still is today.  Take anything as hope of what can do for you.

  1.  I trusted God with my love life and he brought me the most amazing husband any woman could ever dream of.  As I’m writing this he is charging my cell phone for me and asking if I have water because he was going to refill it for me as I’m sitting in bed on a Saturday typing this about him.
  2.  I’ve never made over $10,000 a year in my entire adult life yet God has financed sending me to 23 different countries over the course of my life. For whatever reason, the way my heart is wired is that I feel most romanced by God when he sends me to travel somewhere. I know I couldn’t, and wouldn’t want to do anything without him sending me.
  3.   I’ve screwed up, meaning I’ve failed at something he’s asked me to do, and yet he’s never fired me, punished me, abandoned me or quit being kind to me.  Because of this I really realized the grace of God is truly a gift.  It is not earned.
  4.   God redeemed the ending of my family when we were younger.  My parents separated and both happily remarried.  My siblings are all risking love in some measure in their life.  This sometimes requires the greatest courage.  I am proud for the measure they continue to risk being known and loved despite how we’ve seen it can possibly end up.
  5.   God has given me peace.  In different seasons of life due to different things I have different measures of peace but in all of life I have a strong underlying trust in God that always imparts to me a steadfastness that I feel all the time.  Like I’m being held, or embraced, or hugged and I feel safe and sturdy.  I love God for imparting this feeling to me on an ongoing basis.
  6.   I realized through frequency to get over myself, my understanding, my ways, control, anything I would hold on to for fear or security.  From plans to stuff, he really does take care of everything and often, when I let him, way better than I could ever put things together.  Like I really am blind and dumb compared to all he sees and knows.  It is wisdom to trust him, let him lead, and put everything in his hands.
  7.   Unity, relationships, connection, obedience, service, humility, love, faith, truth, these things really are the majors in life and everything else is truly unimportant and meaningless in comparison.
  8.   I really feel like my death is in God’s hands as much as my birth was. I didn’t control my birth, God did.  In the same way, I don’t think anything is random and he knows all of the days of my life and will work out the plans and dreams he has for sending me here in the first place.
  9.   I don’t fear death in any way.  Almost daily I feel the fragility of this realm of life and time.  It is such a thin veil and my true self is timeless and in an always state.  I do not want to miss what he wants to show me and teach me and also truly enjoy the day with him as this is me loving to be alive with him.  This is living.
  10.   I feel humbled by God’s goodness and love.  I definitely don’t deserve any of it, but he shows me that I’m worthy because he says I am.  Who am I to disagree?!   😉
  11.   I thought I was going to go into tangible stories about specifics God had done for me–
  12.   Oh-my father’s transplant was an answer to prayer-he met my husband and is still alive!
  13.   And also my grandfather’s life was spared in a time where he was being killed by being given the wrong medication in the hospital but the error was found out and he became himself again to pass in peace at a later time.
  14.   Also I was filled with the holy spirit, a tangible experience in my body that overcame me that I still feel today and a way I interact with God directly spirit to spirit rather than just mind to mind, early morning alone in a gymnasium in a Lutheran church!
  15.   I received God’s forgiveness and being made right with God through what Jesus Christ suffered on my behalf on the cross, making a way for me to stand blameless and confident before God because he has made me his family and his friend.
  16.   I thought I was going to write more specific stories like the ones above, but it appears God is an active living miracle in my life.  I am so grateful to have the ability to see and breathe and feel and taste and express myself and sit in peace and have freedom.  I am so thankful to share life with my husband and spend the passing of time in his company.

These are a few thoughts that come to mind when thinking about what God has done for me in my life.  May it be an encouragement and blessing to you.  Oh yeah – don’t waste your time overly concerning yourself with what other people think of you.  It is not your responsibility nor does it matter beyond your upright heart before the father.  Acceptance or praise of man is not the bread that that gives life but rather the word of God.  Blessings!

Character

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Introduction

God’s kingdom is not found in historical places, modern business enterprises, vast cathedrals, or monuments of education. God’s kingdom is simply and solely made up (in the life we can touch and see around us) of you, of people.  We are the living kingdom of God on earth.  It is not in stuff, or places, but us!  If right now earthquakes shook down all buildings, mountains, and trees, but killed no one, nothing of God’s kingdom would have been shaken. Not one thing would have been lost!

God advances and establishes his eternal kingdom on earth in people. Is he a power hungry egotist? No, he invites us to live in heaven! Our choice! You don’t have to live in peace, joy, love, freedom, or justice! It’s your choice, he just offers complete and total access to all of his goodness free of charge.  Getting back to character.

When you believe God is good, loves you, and delights in you. Things change.  You believe in yourself, you see others greatness, you have value and belonging. This changes our demeanor and reactions and choices to life as it comes our way.

So often the idea of character has died in modern media culture.  But ahh the power of its value continues to live on. So many people have a hard time wrapping their minds around character or really defining it.

What is Character?

Boiled down to our lives, character is how we treat ourselves and one another.  From my personal perspective character is the embodiment of the entire old testament law: “Love your neighbor as yourself” = Your character.

The cool part about experiencing heaven on earth is our daily experience of God’s character. This is what impacts our hearts and minds and changes us.  Who is he, is he really this kind, thoughtful, nice, involved, and actively caring? Yes, he is. Humans experiencing God’s character is what advances his kingdom on earth because it causes us to reflect his lightness.

So often our minds and attentions are called to our external as estimations of our success or value. Our cars, our houses, our jobs, our location, our accomplishments. But to be honest, all of this without possessing good character is empty and pointless. Stuff is stuff! It is not eternal and it does not nor can it give us value.

But your character! Oh, your character! When given the opportunity, God will bring attention to how you are treating yourself or other people, rather than what someone else has done or how things are another fault. We have so much power in how we choose to treat one another. How are you treating people? He values them so much and we get to participate with his love for each individual as much as we choose to allow!

When God says let your light shine it’s your character he wants to shine through! You’re kindness, you’re service, you’re honesty, you’re empathy, your friendliness, your peace-ability.

Not a Performance Scratch Card

Character is not a measuring stick that God wants to hold over you to reveal all your shortcomings. We all have them!  No really!  We all do! But it’s not about stressing out about it or trying harder and harder to love people.  It’s not meant to give you an aneurysm! Spending time with God – living with him actually – causes us to be reminded of how he’s already designed us and who he’s created us to be. We don’t have to work hard at it!  His kingdom in us was given to us fully and completely as a free gift! He loves to give us his kingdom, all aspects of it.

As we live life with him and experience his goodness we are discovering the character of our spirit. We are joy, we are kindness, we are gentleness and patience.  It’s who we are.  Part of the glorious goodness of living in God’s kingdom here on earth is being reminded of our goodness! You are good, through and through. There are no dark spots in you.

Your journey of learning and living is beautiful in its own unique way.  God’s character is revealed in you and through you to others in a way they will never experience it through anyone else in their entire lifetime.  You reveal aspects of God’s nature and character that cannot be replicated by another.  Our character is a gift to others that happens naturally and freely when we come to know and experience God’s!

How Does Character Affect Our World?

Character is actually the strength, or lack of it the weakness, of any nation. Seriously. When the citizens of a town, school, or country have good character, the strength of that body is insurmountable. When character is lacking or weak, any force of destruction will rule the day. There are areas of the world rich in resources but lacking God’s character in its people and poverty permeates the population. A business or government will only stand to the length at which the people who compose it walk in character. Corruption, scandal, selfishness, greed, violence (which are all examples of treating others poorly) will cause any entity to rot from the inside out.

If you want to improve the strength of a business or government you will focus on, teach, and reward positive interaction between the people involved. The most talented artist or celebrity in the world can produce something beautiful but their life will have strife and unhappiness behind it if that talent is not first given a good foundation of character to withstand the temptations of treating themselves or others poorly or with little regard.

Conclusion

Again, this is an entirely unseen area of society. You can look at a photograph of a roomful of people and see what they are wearing, or how they’ve done themselves up, but when the photo is over, how do they treat the other people in the room, or the people they pass when they walk home that night or their family or their spouse when no ones looking?  It matters.  Its important.

Give great regard for your character my friend. More time energy or effort that anything external anyone will ever see. It is the only thing eternal, the only thing God looks at, the only thing he sees. He sees Christ alive in you, living through you, loving yourself and others in a beautiful expansion of his kingdom here on earth. It starts with me.  It starts with you.  It starts with Him.

Character     Covenant     Creativity

Family     Freedom    Gift Giver

Joy    Judgement    Kindness    Trust

Love     Praise      Prayer     Self-love

 

A Word of Encouragement to Refugees

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          As I sit here on the second day of the week long festival of shelters I can’t sit here and recount God’s instruction without recognizing the parallel that so many of you are living in today. When God delivered the children of Jacob out from under the slavery of Pharaoh, he led them to a desert. He didn’t take them to the Mediterranean, or the Red Sea. They didn’t camp on tropical waters reclining with their feet up with God. He meant business with their hearts, he wanted relationship.
          And in their new year with him, there’s this festival he wants them to celebrate before they’ve really ever had the experience of the next forty years; originally they were only going to be in the desert for something like eight days until their journey brought them to the promised land. During this time, in this place, God was interested in one thing: worship. He wanted not their riches, or their children, or their wives, or their land; he was after their hearts.
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          We all know how the story plays out. God sent these new displaced people, that had suffered great persecution and oppression, and God’s next plan for them was to stare new, unknown enemies in the face–and with God on their side–overcome them. He wanted to give them so much more than they had ever hoped for in Egypt.
          During slavery their only hope was freedom, but when they were given that, what was next for them? God wanted to show them his ways, introduce himself to a nation, speak with them, be their strong tower, be their king, and show himself near on their behalf. Ultimately God wanted to show them through his love, that he was worthy of theirs.
          They didn’t believe he was that good and they feared this new unknown land, and these new unknown enemies. They couldn’t see the goodness awaiting them past all the fears that stood in their way. And so they continued in tents. A new generation grew up as a people who were tied to God more than land, a people who didn’t find their strength in the size of their homes and estates, a people who were transient, a people who God was raising up to be tied to Him more than anything else.
          Right now I look into faces of children refugees who have lost their toys, their bedrooms, their transportation, their towns, everything that was familiar to them. They are encountering unfamiliar languages, unfamiliar people, and enduring unanswered questions. Where are we going to live? Where is home? Who are we without money? Without jobs? These are all very scary prospects; especially for well-meaning adults and loving parents.
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          But inside, despite all the ciaos I see around me in the lives I people, I carry hope. As we celebrate the second day of a week of God commanding people to live in tents, he is saying, “Remember.” “Remember this road I walked with you, remember this place of your complete dependency upon me. Remember when I led you apart from you knowing where you were going. Remember when I fed you supernaturally everyday by my own hand. Remember when you weren’t tied to a land. Remember when you were mine, and I was yours.”
          Some of you, thousands of you, not by choice know all too well the feeling of when God led his people, by his wisdom and foresight, into a desolate place, into a land where they could depend on nothing by their own hands for survival. There is a reality to God and a vastness to him that many never see or experience because they never venture further than the control of their own two hands, but it is here you have been forced, and it is here you will find him. This week as God has called people to remember when he dwelt among his people in tents; I will remember him now as He is dwelling among you.