Monday, November 18, 2013

Remembering Jesus

Yesterday offered me a few different opportunities to remember Jesus. 
1) Blake Shipp continued the series "A Million Tiny Pieces," and encouraged us to situate our present moments around Jesus, trusting Him for our future. 
2) I helped out with a class on adversity, which is training people with tools and perspectives to help them acknowledge the presence and work of Jesus in the midst of their difficult times. 
3) I had a great time getting to baptize 8 people, as they celebrated the new life they have begun to find in Jesus. 

I am so thankful for these encouragements to remember Jesus.  Often, I find myself absorbed and even lost in the responsibilities and tasks that weigh on my heart and mind.  It seems as if I go through those moments feeling like I am alone.  I have this routine in which I go about much of my life on my own, without the acknowledgment that Jesus is present and wanting to help me experience life.  Not surprisingly, I experience anxiety during these moments.  My heart is not able to experience peace as I go about my life ignoring the presence, help, and life that Jesus is offering me during these times.

Yet, I get glimpses of what it might be like to live my life constantly remembering Jesus is present with me.  In moments, I acknowledge Jesus is present.  I remember and continue to trust that I am valued, loved, and considered His friend. I might even listen or interact with Him.  I find that I'm far from the constant realization of this, but, I am taking baby steps to remember Jesus.  As I am taking steps I am going to celebrate those more consistent moments that I have with Him.

How might your life look different like if you consistently remembered Jesus was present and loving you at all times?  How might Jesus be inviting you to take a baby step with Him?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Opening to God in weakness

"The Lord is my Shepherd, I lack nothing..." Psalm 23:1

Last week, our staff team at Union Center was considering the entire Psalm 23 during our midday retreats with God.  On different days, as I conversed with Jesus about this Psalm, He engaged me in different ways.  During a couple days He used this passage to bring great comfort, and to remind me of his presence and love with me.  However, on another day He seemed to use the phrase "I lack nothing", in verse 1, to point out parts of my heart that resisted accepting this phrase as truth.  It almost seemed like my heart was tasting something bitter as I heard the words.  (This was very connected with the areas of my heart being exposed by the bumps along the way that day.)

Maybe you have experienced something similar.  The meaning of a passage doesn't change, but the Holy Spirit used it to expose different parts of our heart on different days.  In these moments, we have the opportunity to partner with God in the reality of our heart that is exposed.  I can present my response and say "Here I am."  I can respond like this whether my reaction is hope or despair, faith or doubt, joy or sadness.  I can converse with Jesus about this and allow His love and presence to be given to me in my weakness.  In this way I can truly find God present with me in my pain, sin, and limitations.

Or, we can have other responses.  An unhealthy response I have often used is to push an experience of my weakness from the view of my mind's eye.  I have often done this because I didn't think that I "ought" to have had an experience of doubt, resistance, or anger to a passage in the Bible...and as such, must hide that experience from God.  However, this response causes me to avoid Jesus, and to miss an experience of His presence in my neediest places.

Well, how about you?  How do you respond to yourself and God when you have a less than favorable reaction to a passage of Scripture?