Sunday, March 19, 2017

I am not a hermit, but...

There are too many ways to "connect."

Cell phones have almost fully switched over to smartphones, which have internet capabilities that connect us to Facebook, instagram, pinterest, snapchat, and a myriad of distractions.

Computers have gotten to a point where they often have pop-up notifications that someone has done something of apparent significance on social media.

iPods are no longer tools of blissful musical solitude, but keep us updated on everything -- from news, to weather, to youtube, to social media.

Apple even makes watches with these same capabilities (which is old news, but I'm trying to make a point).

Tablets of varying kinds have the same tendency, and Kindles are no longer simply digital libraries.

We have become addicted to remaining connected to the rest of humanity, to our detriment.

What does this mean?

A loss of humanity -- which seems a contradiction, but we lose ourselves in a virtual world and forget the real world around us. We forget how to interact with people face to face. Oh, there is FaceTime and Google Hangouts and such, but it pales in comparison to actually being in the same room as someone.

A loss of solitude -- We become too reachable. Our connectivity makes us a slave to an equally enslaved audience, making vitally important moments of thoughtful silence a rarity in our culture.

A loss of appreciation of nature and events -- Yes, there is photo taking of flowers and scenery, which is happily shared, etc., but there are some things that are too sacred to share, and things which a camera cannot adequately capture. Can one truly enjoy fireworks in their fullness from behind the lens of a camera? There was a brilliant moment in the remake of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," in which Walter meets up with the man he's crossed the globe to reach and finds him looking through a camera lens at a snow leopard. Even though this creature is what he has been seeking to capture on film, he chooses not to take the picture. He had learned to appreciate a private moment without feeling the need to share it with the world.

Don't get me wrong -- I have no desire to declare social media and smart technology a thing of the devil. It has its merits (and I don't like giving the devil credit). However, it is very easy to become addicted to such things or turn them into an escape, and that is not healthy. If I cannot detach myself from it and enjoy those who are with me, focus on other things, and enjoy my day, then I have a serious problem.

Why do I say this now, after all these years of the internet's existence and all of that? Because I need to remind myself. This is why I disappear from Facebook for weeks at a time. This is why I don't always respond right away to messages, emails, texts, etc. This is why I don't always answer my phone. It's not because I don't care or don't like people. It's because, in that moment, I am either in the middle of something, or I need solitude. I'm not a hermit, but... There you have it.

Enjoy your week. Shut off your mobile devices for a couple of hours and listen to the wind in the trees. Gaze into someone's eyes over a cup of coffee, tea, or cocoa. Watch the squirrels playing in the trees. Sit in silence and feel the warmth of the sun. That's what life is.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Giving vs. Receiving

I was pondering two things on my walk today-

1. As a leader, if you don’t trust those you lead to do their “job,” your job becomes harder, and the whole thing is liable to fall apart. I have experienced this (on both sides of the issue) and seen it happen.

2. Yes, it is better to give than to receive, but you cannot give what you have not received. I say this because I’ve realized how slow I can be to receive from the Lord at times. I’m also slow to receive the compliments of others. Now, I know we shouldn’t live by the praises of man, but one also should not live in the mentality that “I am a lowly worm, undeserving of praise” –– especially if you are a child of God. He didn’t die on the cross and come back from the grave for us to become doormats. There is the place to die to soulish desires and lay down one’s life, but I must never lose sight of how God sees me and gives me favour. Before you say that God doesn’t love you or think about you, let me remind you that He looks at what we will become, not what we are –– He looks past the failures and the dark places of our hearts. Do we need to deal with those things? Absolutely, but we cannot keep our focus on them –– you become what you behold. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather see myself from His perspective than from my own… and I don’t want to miss out on what He thinks of me.
    So how does this apply in the daily mix of things? First of all, I want to hear His whispered words in my ear of who I am and how He feels about me. I want to always be aware of it, no matter what is going on around me or what others think about me. Any words spoken by others that reflect His thoughts are an added bonus. Second, I want that to spill out into my life. I want to speak the same life into others that my heavenly Father has spoken to me. Words of affirmation, encouragement, and an attitude of grace. I want to learn to see others the way Father does.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sometimes

Sometimes I like to quote passages from books and write comments on them, as you all well know. However, on rare occasions, I pick up a book, and the entire book is noteworthy. This is the case with Don Nori's "Secrets of the Most Holy Place: Discovering the Wonders of Christ Within." There was an entire chapter I was sorely tempted to quote, but a paragraph or two will suffice:

"Why is it that when doctors study a specified medical area they are called specialists, but when Christians give themselves to a specialized area they are called unbalanced? Doctors must rely on their relationships with other doctors whose specializations are different from their own, thereby having experts in areas they know little or nothing about. Specialists in the medical profession build relationships with other doctors whose opinions they not only trust, but rely upon. This is normal and expected practice. A doctor who tries to be individually thorough in his understanding of the intricate workings of the entire human body is ironically considered ineffective. He dismisses himself from the treasure of information and technique available to those who accept their own personal and professional limitations. The day of the general practitioner is quickly coming to an end.
The day of the church system's one-man-show is too." (pg. 115-116)


Definitely a thought worth chewing on...

Friday, June 08, 2012

Christ in Me

These two pieces go together:

Christ in me, the hope of glory.
The One who designed, formed, and owns every inch of the universe -
Creator dwells inside of me.
His heart pumps blood through my veins.
He sees what I see, feels what I feel, tastes what I taste.
His power is not diminished by the vessel in which He chooses to reside.
His breath - the same that brought life into Adam and Eve,
The same that whispers across the land, bringing life from nothingness -
This breath is His breath - That which comes from my lungs
Is heavenly breath.
Anything is possible with Him inside of me.
I look forward to the day when setting foot on desolate places
Introduces life - roses in the desert, rivers in the dry places.
Let me never be unaware of this Being inside of me.


6/2/12

What thought do I cling to during times that seem hopeless?
Christ within, the hope of glory…
Hell will tremble at the sound of my battlecry.
I move with the Lamb who is the Lion ––
He who set the boundaries of the waters.
He who shaped the celestial spheres.
He is within me.
Everything that I touch, He touches.
Every move that I make, He makes with me.
And though the waves come crashing into me,
The flame that is within me never goes out.


6/5/12

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tithing and other related things

It's never good to forget to tithe.

It can be very easy to lose track of when the last check was written for tithe. I know, because I did forget for at least 2 or 3 months (I never said I was perfect). God honors a faithful giver, and when there is a committment left unfulfilled, it has an effect on the giver's finances. How do I know this? I've experienced it. I was having a dry season, financially. Part of it was a result of unwise decisions, but that's another topic. The moment I made up my mind to make up for lost time and begin tithing again, I started getting more cash flowing into my hands- and I hadn't even written the check yet. I don't think that's a coincidence.

Most pastors shy away from talking about money. Some push it too much. Really, there should be Biblically sound teaching on it, so that people can understand what it's really about. It's not necessarily giving to a ministry - although that is a part of it, and it's not about how much you give. It's about giving God the firstfruits of your efforts - honoring Him with a sacrifice. In turn, He blesses us with further provision, among other things.

Also, let's not forget about Ananias and Saphira in Acts 5 (for better context, throw in the last few verses of Acts 4 as well). Their sin was not just that they withheld money, but that they lied about how much they were giving. God takes these things very seriously.

On top of this, I have one more piece to add to this (and I've wanted to bring it up for a long time). Tipping. Yes, giving tips. I don't bring it up merely because I work in an industry where tipping is a portion of the money I make, although that could be a factor. See, waitresses get a very small wage, and they depend on tips to make money. Be generous. Housekeepers have a better wage, but it is still a blessing to get a decent tip during a hard day's work. My God is not poor, and He always provides for me. Should I not share that blessing with others, as a witness? In my humble opinion, Christians should not be stingy with tips... and they certainly should not be rude to the service- what if the waitress is having a bad day, or just started her job? Have grace with people and be generous, and you will find that they will be much more willing to go the extra mile.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Yoga and Christianity- Compatible?

This is a very good article (see link below). I differ from the author on one point. Being slain in the Spirit is a real experience, as we can see from the Bible. How many times in the Bible does someone "fall as though slain" when confronted with a spiritual experience? The Hindu equivalent is a counterfeit of the real deal. There is such a thing as being so overwhelmed with the goodness, holiness, love, and grace of God, that the physical body cannot handle it. It has been said that the best lies are the ones that contort the truth.





There is one point that the author does not explore, which is necessary to Christians. While Hindus are searching for the god within, calling themselves gods, Christians have Holy Spirit inside of them- Christ within, the hope of glory. The difference is that Christians are not worshipping themselves, nor anything of themselves. Christians are worshipping the God who formed and created everything, including the making of man in His own image. This drives home the fact that we need to always "test the spirits."
 

Thoughts?

 http://www.inplainsite.org/html/yoga_and_christianity.html

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Heaven Sees


Though the battle is hard,
My resolve remains steadfast.
Though winds try to knock me down,
Still I stand on the Rock that does not move.
Waters may crash, and fires may blaze,
But this one will not be shifted.
Filled with the Light that does not fade,
Whispering oaths of eternal love,
Drawing on the strength of Him who cannot be defeated ––
The One who stretched out His arms as far as He could.
Let the Light of Redemption shine forth,
Piercing every place of darkness.
Let shadows be consumed
By the fire of His passion.
Heaven sees a heart set ablaze.
Heaven sees one standing her ground.
Let the Ancient of Days fill my heart anew.