Monday, September 19, 2011

The Mystery of God

Have you ever wondered why God doesn’t give us all the answers to all our questions? I can’t really think of one story in the Bible where God called someone to do something and told them every little detail of what was going to happen before they stepped out in faith. I can, however, think of a lot of stories where God asks someone to brave the unknown and it led to surprise and adventure. 
One example is the story of Peter in Acts 10. Peter has an open vision that he doesn’t understand in the slightest. The bible says he was “inwardly perplexed” by what he saw (vs.17). Next thing you know, three men show up and take Peter to some Italian guys house, Cornelius, where Peter discovers the mystery that “through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel” (Eph 3:6).  
Wow! Did you know that when the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, the apostles didn’t even realize that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was for the Gentiles as well as the Jews? They thought it was just for them! Peter didn’t discover this was for the Gentiles until the Holy Spirit fell upon Gentiles at Cornelius’s house. Then he understood what his vision meant in which he was “perplexed”, and had to explain it to the rest of the apostles (Acts 11:18). 
What’s really amazing to me, is that when Jesus appeared to the disciples after the crucifixion and taught them over a forty day period “about the Kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3), He didn’t feel it was necessary to tell them that the promised coming of the Holy Spirit wasn’t just for the Jews! You would think something of this importance would have at least been a brief mention! However, it seems as though God thought, “Well, they’ll figure it out eventually.” 
I believe that God is mysterious for our sake. If you knew the ending to every movie you ever watched, it would take the fun right out of it. We were created for discovery! God designed the human heart to long for adventure! This is why some people can possess everything this world has to offer, accomplish every goal they set out for, and still feel unfulfilled. It’s not necessarily the destination that we’re after. It’s the journey and the discovery! 
Another reason the Lord is mysterious is because He doesn’t see things the same way that we see them. He doesn’t evaluate the way that humans evaluate. Humans wait for a finished product, the answer to the question or the fulfillment of the promise as means of evaluation. However, God places a period in what we think to be mid-sentence...
When God gives us a promise, it may not be the promise fulfilled that He’s actually looking for. What shapes us in character, faithfulness and maturity is the process of trusting, leaning and depending on God in between the starting point and finish line.  
Whenever we completely put all of our trust, all of our hope, and our complete dependency in the Lord, He places a period there and calls it a complete sentence.  Our trust and faith in Him is what He’s after. He’s faithful to every promise that He makes, but He’s also interested in the developmental stages in between. 
If you want to follow God without being offended, you have to learn to embrace the mystery of God. You must come to terms with the fact that He knows everything and He’s clearly not telling everything! Don’t call it quits because you don’t currently understand what He’s up to. Following God is the escape from the cycle of the mundane! It’s the adventure that the human heart longs for. If your embark on a voyage with God, get ready for the journey of your life and be ready for lots of surprises! One thing is certain... it will be worth it.  
“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings to search it out a matter” - Proverbs 25:2

- David Olinger

Friday, September 16, 2011

Take Two

Take two people who dislike each other and stick them in the backseat of a cab. What happens?

In case you’re wondering, that's prompt #80 on a creative writing website I check out from time to time. It lists hundreds of ideas to inspire the imagination and help writers create stories, poems, songs, blog entries, etc.

It got me thinking... Wouldn't it be fantastic to have hundreds (bazillions) of creative ideas about spending time with God? We all love to spend time with him, but as in any relationship, sometimes we get in a routine.  And we both know that after a while routines can get a bit boring and somehow take away from the joy we once knew and experienced.  What would happen if we added a little something different in our routine? If we encountered the Lord in a different way? Would we see a different side of him?  Would we learn something new about him? Could we offer a fresh expression that would touch his heart like nothing ever has before? Maybe he would lean in and reveal a mystery to us…

What are your favorite ways to spend time with him?   Drawing his name in a heart in the sand at the beach with your toes? Writing him a love letter? Jumping on your bed with worship music blasting through the walls? Cheering for him at the top of your lungs while driving your car down Interstate 40 with the sunroof open and the windows down? Praying through the promises in his word?

By all means let me know- I'd love to find out and maybe even give it a try myself.
In the meantime, here's one already on my list...

Exercise # 11
Read a passage of scripture. Think it over and read the passage again. Then write it out as if it was your story to tell because more than likely, it is in some way...

The Lord is my shepherd. I do not and will not lack anything. He brings me to beautiful places to stop, enjoy, & rest. He leads me to quiet refreshment in the secret place. There he restores the brokenness deep inside that no one else can see.

To bring honor to his name, he guides me and helps me make right choices.

Even through the darkness of circumstances, there's no need to feel afraid or fear evil - because you are with me. Your discipline and guidance bring me comfort.

You prepare a choice feast for me to enjoy while my enemies stand in awe and watch me eat.

You pour out your Spirit on me to overflowing. I literally cannot contain the goodness you've poured out- it spills out- I can't help it.

Goodness, joy, peace, love spill over and remain in the path behind me everyday of my life. My home with the Lord is secure and his home is my dwelling forever. He lives in me and I am fully alive in him.

- Wendy Horvath