wrestling thoughts

I’ve never been one to watch wrestling – even in my teenage tv watching years i couldn’t get into it.  Be that as it may, one of my fav Bible stories is with Jacob & him wrestling with God in Gen 32:22-31.  I totally love this story because its very confrontational & has so many good life lessons.  Here are a few things that stand out to me:

  • Jacob wrestled alone:  no one helped him, came to his rescue or even cheered for him.  This wrestling match was between God & Jacob.  There will be times when God will (or has) invite(d) you to wrestle through a problem with Him, by yourself.  Don’t try to get other people to join your cause – wrestling is a one-on-one sport.
  • Jacob wrestled in the dark:  he couldn’t see well, possibly lost his bearings from time to time & couldn’t really tell what was going on around him.  Sometimes when we wrestle w God, we can’t really see what’s going on – uncertain future, obscure present, unclear direction, etc. 
  • Jacob left this experience w a limp.  Whenever you wrestle w God, expect to be changed.  Infinite will always overcome finite. 
  • Jacob didn’t let go, even when his hip was wrenched.  There are times when we want to quit on God, walk away, drop out of church, unplug & disconnect from Him – especially when we’re in a wrestling season w God.  But these are the exact times when we need to hold onto Him the most. 

There are lots of thoughts & insights about Jacob’s wrestling match w God – care to share any of your insights?  🙂

wrestling / struggling w God

Ever struggled with God?  What are some things that you’ve struggled w God about?  I’m asking because tomorrow night i’m speaking about wrestling w God from Jacob’s experience in Gen 32.  Truthfully, I LOVE this story of the interchange between God & Jacob.  Its very gripping to me. 

Personally, I’ve wrestled w God about a few things that include: uncertainty in my future, frustrations w various situations, relationships, not trusting God because things didn’t always turn out like i wanted, . . . .  These are just a few things & I’m inviting you to share some of the things you’ve wrestled w God about – this would help me w my message & others to see that they’re not alone with this kind of experience.  🙂

strategies to avoid drowning

I really like to swim – when i was in uni, i took a swimming conditioning class & totally loved getting into a rhythm in a pool w just me the water & black line at the bottom.  There’s something about that groove that is very soothing to me, even though i may not be in uber swim fit condition.  I wasn’t always such a whippy swimmer, but i’ve always liked swimming. 

My husband, on the other hand, isn’t such a whippy swimmer.  When we were 1st married, i freaked out one time when i watched him swim from a boat to the shore in a small lake.  He kind of looked like he was drowning

When i took my swimming conditioning class at uni, they taught us a few water safety basics – one of which is to never directly approach a drowning person to help them.  Despite being a great person, someone who is drowning will grab at anything or anyone to avoid drowning – self preservation instinct. 

Can i invite you to make this parallel in our daily living?  There are alot of times when we may feel like we’re drowning in problems, debt, relationship problems, emotional issues, fear, uncertainty, pain . . . . .  and any combination or variety of issues.  In order not to drown or be overcome with these things, in an attempt to survive, we grab at lots of different things with intense desperation:  achievements, money, addictions, people, . . . .  Truth be known, there’s nothing in our lives that can keep us floating, that can truly sustain us, except Jesus & His Word.  When you feel like you’re drowning, get a death grip on Jesus so He can be who He authentically is in your life – your Savior.

some random thoughts

my daughter has finally grown into the skirt & jacket my brother bought her 2 years ago – she’s really beautiful & very confident! 

my son, Benji & i did a butt black yesterday.  translation:  we got on an expert ski run by accident & slid down on our butts

David & I had a “walking home together” date.  We discussed his friends, different books he’s read & kicking rocks

Reece & i took Benji skiing yesterday – he let me sleep in the car on the way home.  very peaceful!

Some spiritual thoughts / considerations floating through my mind of late:

  • when i feel cold-blooded, i look for the Son to get warm
  • contentment is internal & not external – so they say
  • God has life for me underneath the frustrations, worries & cares that will change tomorrow
  • doing is a consequence of being
  • I’m made to be w God

I’ve also been thinking about Jesus’ parable related to living a productive life, so i’ll be blogging on that over the next few days.  keep your eyes peeled!

God is always cooking :)

I like to cook, mostly for the humor of the experience & sometimes for the social element.  Recently, RT Kendall came & spoke at our church.  The preceding day, he came to our house & we made chili – his special recipe & my green chili.  Now all of the chilis turned out great & taste wonderful.  The truly great thing, however, was the amount that we made so i could freeze it & use it on a busy day.  Lately, i’ve been doing alot of my cooking for the week on Saturdays – mousaka (greek lamb casserole), stuffed peppers, chicken tikka masala (indian), cinnamon rolls, lasagna, marinated flank steak, etc.  Doing this on Saturdays helps a whole bunch because then during the busy-ness of the week, i’ve already got dinner made.

Here’s the God component:  i think that sometimes we treat God like the weekend meal deal.  We go to church, get a meal & think that this “banquet” will last for the week.  In reality, God is always cooking something for you – everyday.  When i was growing up, we used to sing this song, “Come & Dine for the Master Calleth”.  God always has a rich table spread & available for us to feast on His presence & Word.  Don’t be spiritually anorexic – come & dine w God everyday.  He’s got something good cookin for you!!

enemies of intimacy #4

I read this quote yesterday, “if things seem under control, you are just not going fast enough” – mario andretti (racecar driver).  In the past (maybe not so distant past), i’ve had some challenges with driving too quickly.  We could go into some humorous descriptions, but suffice it to say that when i was dating my husband, he complimented my driving, saying that, “you drive like you’re going somewhere.”  He’s a diplomatic man 😉

Seems like everything in our world is fast & getting faster:  iphones w 3G speed, wireless as opposed to high speed internet, faxes have become moribund & facebook lets us see what our friends are up to in almost real time.  i’m a BIG FAN of this speed evolution, but its not beneficial in all contexts (i.e. speeding tix & that’s all i’m gonna say about that right now).  Let me say to you that intimacy doesn’t grow & isn’t fostered at mach speed.  My husband & i have been married for more than 15 yrs & our relationship has grown & deepened over time.  We have a more indepth relationship now than we did when we were 5yrs married or 10yrs married, etc.  I anticipate that our relationship will be even deeper when we’re 25yrs married.

clockTake this premise & consider God.  I want a depth & intimacy w God that is indescribable.  But i can honestly say that my intimacy w God has definately increased the most over the past 5 years, i believe largely due to the increased quantity of time that i’ve spent w Him.  Time w God is an essential ingredient to intimacy w God.  Time w God can come in lots of different contexts & formats, but being intentional about spending time w God expresses w your actions that God is important to you & that you desire to be with Him.  Without such intentionality, intimacy w God can easily become an elusive & frothy expression lacking substance & grounding.

enemies of intimacy #3

We had the SUPER priviliege of hosting RT Kendall this weekend & he is one of God’s gifts to me.  God uses him to speak into my life at interesting times in my life.  One of the things God has really spoken w me about is in relation to forgiveness.  Now the best book i ever read about forgiveness is by RT, “Total Forgiveness”.  Its a classic & you should read & possibly re-read it.

Truthfully, i think that unforgiveness could possibly be the biggest enemy to intimacy, full stop.  Unforgiveness is brutal – it causes us to separate, isolate & detach.  Don’t think for a minute that you can have unforgiveness w a person & still have a snuggly, cuddly God relationship.  At the end of Matt 6, Jesus makes it really clear that the forgiveness we rec’v from God is dependent on the forgiveness we extend to others.  Forgiveness is one of the key themes you read from Jesus throughout the Gospels & its my suspicion that He does this because we need to get really good at it because we have HEAPS of opprotunities to practice it (from small & microscopic to massive & galactic monstrosities). 

If you struggle w forgiving someone, welcome to humanity.  Thankfully, we can look to God, His Word & some great resources (like RT’s book) to help us get better.  But forgiveness starts w a decision – to be a forgiving person, maybe even to become an expert.  😉

enemies of intimacy #2

I’ve been considering this topic for quite some time now & as I’ve thought about it, in the context of having intimacy w God, i’ve noticed some things about myself (better to say that the Holy Spirit has shown me many areas that need adjustment to improve our intimacy together).  God has really shown me that when i isolate myself or get independent, these behaviors don’t cultivate an environment conducive to intimacy. Because of some of my mindsets, upbringing & poor decisions, along w other things, i notice myself withdraw & get very independent at various times & stages in my life.  Thanks to God, He’s shown me some of these things & i’ve repented of these behaviors.  With His help & insights, i’m not isolating & being as independent as i used to be in the past.

On a deeper level, God is dealing w me now, on why i’ve behaved in these ways.  I love that God addresses our surface behaviors first to get our attention & then digs in deeper because ultimately, our relationship w God isn’t just about surface actions but about our hearts interfacing in authenticity & vulnerability.

Do you see any surface behaviors that have been enemies to your intimacy w God?

enemies of intimacy

Since we’ve just celebrated Easter, i’ve been thinking of the purpose of Jesus’ incarnation, death & resurrection.  I believe that God’s ultimate purpose in sending Jesus to earth was to redeem humanity to Himself – so we can connect to Him (with His help, direction, etc) in a deep, meaningful & purposeful relationship.  Ultimately, that we can have an intimate relationship with the Triune God.  Now please don’t spin out on the word, “intimate”.  Unfortunately, our society has tainted this word & it can potentially have some overtones that can be a little tricky to manuever around.  For me, intimate means very close, but not always having a sexual connotation.  When I’m talking about an intimate relationship w God, obviously I’m not including the sexual overtones that our society can associate w this word. 

Given the objective of having an intimate relationship w God, i think its important for us to consider what could be enemies to that intimacy.  As such, over the next few days or so, I’m planning to blog on what I’ve found to be various enemies to intimacy.  I’d totally love / welcome your input not only w comments, but I’d also be happy to receive your insights on the various enemies you may have experienced to intimacy.  I’m really excited to dialogue w you to see what God wants to share w us!! 🙂

knowing God

knotI’ve been thinking alot about knowing God.  Some of my favorite verses on this objective are: Philip 3:6-10 & Jer 29:11.  I particularly like Jer 29:11 because it simplifies what’s important to achieve in life to one thing – knowing God.  In this journey of knowing God (actually, I honestly think that He pursues us more ardently than we could ever imagine), there are a few things that I’ve realized to be helpful while travelling:

*God is Triune:  God expresses Himself differently as God our Father, God the Son & God the Holy Spirit.  Knowing God is more than knowing information about Him.  Its relationship development in the fullest sense of the words.  I also believe that knowing God takes Him opening our eyes to His work & Him opening our ears to His voice & lastly Him sensitizing our heart to His presence.  Knowing God exceeds a mere cerebral exercise.

*Platforms / Contexts:  there are alot of platforms / contexts in our lives through which God expresses Himself, if we cooperate w His efforts. Some of these platforms / contexts include:  family, work, kids, friends, mate, etc.  What I’ve sensed God saying of late about these platforms is that they can be used by Him in my life to help me know Him better if I keep the right perspective.  More than that, He said that He will help me with that perspective thing because He wants me to know Him even more than I want to know Him.  How completely enchanting!!!