Thursday, June 30, 2011

Unlikely Disciple

I have a new study Bible. It is called the NKJV Study Bible. Formerly known as the Nelson Study Bible. And it is full of gems. Many annotations, articles, maps, charts and cultural notes. I am liking it moreso than my McArthur Study Bible which has fallen to pieces in the 2 years I have been using it. A tattered worn out Bible can be a testament in its own right. That a falling apart book might indicate a life being put back in order.  It does not feel that way to me so I will just have to take others word for it.

Religion, spirituality, politics, economics, social issues and the like are very complicated complex subjects that frankly confuse me and overwhelm me.  I don't have the answers and my brain goes a little into the overloaded mode when I try to "figure" things out. Basically, it is like how I feel after spending several minutes attempting the New York Times crossword puzzle.  I have to put it down and just walk away.

When I study Scripture, it too can appear to be complicated and complex, threatening to put my mind into overload mode. So I work consciously to keep it simple.  I have been meditating on this passage for the past hour or so:

     The Gospel of John 6:28,29

     28 "Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?"
     29 "Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."

What? That's it? Just "believe in Him whom He sent?"  No no no it can't be that simple.  Can it?

It is.  The simplicity is so beautiful and poignant.  The people Jesus was talking to were simple people who had just witnessed His power to feed them the day prior but they wanted to know what they had to do and they wanted more proof. 

Do I need more proof?  Or do I just want God to do it for me.  Didn't God do it all for me already?

So just believe.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Unlikely Disciple

It has been over 90 days since I wrote anything here. It has been a bit dry spiritually for me. I know that anytime I feel like I am distanced from God it is I who moved; not God.
Although I hate to admit it I am a bit of a whiner and complainer. Most people do not see me that way though. I am very adept at portraying my dissatisfactions in a convincingly righteously indignant manner.
I have been in my life a drug addict, a drug dealer, a liar, a manipulator, a thief, a bully, a braggart, a gossiper, a user, a cheat. I have also been giving and generous, kind, thoughtful, selfless and self-sacrificing. I have been quick to help others and have a quick smile. I think I have helped a great number of people.
I received a message the other day from a man I have known since he worked for me in Seattle around 1998:

[13 years ago, you took a chance on a kid you didn't know from california, who had no local family, no connections, not even a home. He worked for you, and really admired and respected who you were.

You were right, about a lot of things back then. I was naive, and desperate, and a bit of a fool. I think the worst thing about being fired was not so much losing the job, but losing your respect, which I valued, but didn't know how to communicate.

I just wanted to say, you were right, about a lot of stuff... and I was pretty wrong and stupid.

Thank you, for taking a chance on me back then.
13 years later, and I haven't forgotten it, or you.

Well wishes to you and your family.]

Needless to say I was touched greatly by this short note. It reminded me at a moment when I needed reminding that I am not my shortcomings. I am not my failures. I am not my fears or misgivings. I am not my feelings and I am not your feelings. I am not my wants or desires.

I am God's. I have given my life to Jesus Christ. I, on my own am those things that defeat me and discourage me. Without Jesus I am without hope. What a desolate and dry place to be; alone, without God.

But with Him; my hope is like a fountain pouring from my heart. What can I not do when God is with me? One step toward Him is all it takes. One step that at times seems so impossible to take. But when I do I feel those loving hands surrounding me and strengthening me. And it makes me wonder why I wander like I do.
Thank you LORD for always taking me back. Thank you Jesus!