Friday, March 6, 2015

God, Teach me how to walk barefoot!

Tom Crow just sent me a little devotional thought by David Jeremiah on weakness, using:
He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. 
Isaiah 40:29 
 There is no doubt that when I am weak and helpless, I depend on God more and His Strength is always there for me. I like  David's secondary scripture even more, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10:

The Thorn in the Flesh

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me,“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
From day to day in my new life in Costa Rica, I feel weak, unable to communicate, unable to get even some basic things accomplished, then I breathe deeply, say "What? Me worry?" and then turn it over to God and live by faith.

All my life I have tried to be organized, plan ahead, and accomplish many lofty goals. Most of my plans have never been completed, but God has blessed me with serendipities that I would never have thought of! As I responded back to Tom:
The American culture seems to teach us to not admit weaknesses or faults but rather lift ourselves by our own boot straps while God wants to teach us how to walk barefoot. :-) No scripture reference for that Charlieism. But I do enjoy walking in sandals!   :-)

"When I am weak, then I am strong."
2 Cor. 12:10
  

Sunday, December 21, 2014

TRUSTING GOD

As I am two days away from the move to Costa Rica, I am trusting God more and expecting Him to give me more purpose in life than I have felt in my simple volunteering in church and other places here in Nashville. And the fact that I don't know everything that will happen is part of the adventure and excitement of the move. I am abandoning a lot of supposed security here in the states, though financially I know it will just get more difficult here. In the process of this thinking I was reminded of the poem/prayer by Thomas Merton which I may have shared here earlier. I discovered it in 2012:

Prayer of Abandonment
Thomas Merton

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain
where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and that I think I am following your will
does not mean I am actually doing so.
But I believe
the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire
in all I am doing.
I hope
I will never do anything
apart from that desire.
And I know if I do this
you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.
I will trust you always
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear,
for you will never leave me
to face my perils alone.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Avoid Stress? I'm choosing to Simplify Life!

Today's "Message of the Week" in The Tennessean by Ray Waddle uses the lives and focuses of the various Saints honored today on All Saints Day and sums it up by saying they all depend on confidence in something bigger and more enduring than our ever-demanding inbox! For me stress is avoided mostly by putting my dependence on God, my higher power; and also by trying to keep life simple.

My move to Costa Rica is partly for this reason and I pray I will keep it simple there (one can overload/overstress anywhere). Today's post in my Moving to Costa Rica Blog talks about this briefly as I mention re-discovering Richard Foster's book Freedom of Simplicity which I just loaded on my Kindle Fire. The current act of getting rid of all the many years of accumulated stuff is freeing and adding simplicity before I even move! Then when I get there, I am not going to get a car, choosing rather to walk, ride a bike, and use public transportation. I can hardly wait! I feel stress leaving my body already. Life will turn to relating to a new community and focusing on nature with my cameras, which is summed up in "loving God and loving people" all around me. That is life! Pura Vida!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Give Away Your Life

Two mornings ago in my breakfast readings, I read Luke 6:24-42 in The Message, my favorite translation now and what I read from each morning. It impacted me so much, that I re-read it this morning and decided I wanted to share it with others as another powerful description of "The Kingdom of God."

Luke 6:24-42The Message (MSG)

Give Away Your Life

24 But it’s trouble ahead if you think you have it made.
    What you have is all you’ll ever get.
25 And it’s trouble ahead if you’re satisfied with yourself.
    Your self will not satisfy you for long.
And it’s trouble ahead if you think life’s all fun and games.
    There’s suffering to be met, and you’re going to meet it.
26 “There’s trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests—look how many scoundrel preachers were approved by your ancestors! Your task is to be true, not popular.
27-30 “To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.
31-34 “Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.
35-36 “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.
37-38 “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.”
39-40 He quoted a proverb: “‘Can a blind man guide a blind man?’ Wouldn’t they both end up in the ditch? An apprentice doesn’t lecture the master. The point is to be careful who you follow as your teacher.
41-42 “It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this I-know-better-than-you mentality again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your own part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

On Being Cheerful

"The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up." (Mark Twain)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

"Good News for Bad Times"

Junior Hill was the guest preacher this morning with an old-time traditional sermon of three points out of Psalm 37:1-4 he titled "Good News for Bad Times" and are instructions for living the Christian life: 
  1. Refrain from Fretting: Fretting and worry corrupts your spirit making life miserable for yourself and all around you. Our spirit is contagious to saints and confusing to sinners (non-believers). 
  2. Rely on His Provision: He supplies what we need, sustains what we already have, and satisfies what we don't have.
  3. Rejoice in His Fellowship: "If you ever get your desire before your delight, then there won't be any delight in your desire." Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart! 

Do not be agitated by evildoers;
do not envy those who do wrong.
For they wither quickly like grass
and wilt like tender green plants.
Trust in the Lord and do what is good;
dwell in the land and live securely.
Take delight in the Lord,
and He will give you your heart’s desires.

Psalm 37:1-4, HCSB

Thy Will Be Done

Last Monday I mentioned last Sunday's sermon installment on The Lord's Prayer about Matthew 6:10
Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done
Monday I wrote more about His Kingdom and then today it registered that last night's post was influenced by the "Thy Will Be Done" portion of the prayer. The God's Will portion of that sermon listed these descriptions:

  1. It is for all people everywhere
  2. It is to be obeyed (or done by us)
  3. When we do it, it is His Kingdom in action
  4. It is to be done constantly, consistently, pursued as if all depends on it
  5. Done cheerfully. If we do not willingly do His Will, His Kingdom and thus His Will will not come. 
So me "doing God's will" is not as much about "a call" as I used to think but more about obedience, following Jesus, being Christ-like.

Then in Sunday school today I was reminded that throughout the Bible God/Jesus tells me how to behave, relate to others, live my life wherever I am and whatever I'm doing. I need to be doing God's will (obey Him) in the particular life I live today in Nashville, Tennessee and then when I move to Costa Rica I am to continue to do God's will (obey Him), though related to different people, different culture, and different activities. I see new and exciting possibilities for an incarnational ministry in Cost Rica as I had in The Gambia, while continuing my love of nature and conservation education as part of His Will. Neighbors, friends and acquaintances will know I am a Christian by my love while becoming part of some local Christian fellowship will help me follow Christ and hopefully I will eventually contribute to their relationship to God as I found with Glory Baptist in The Gambia. The unknown there is an exciting part of the spiritual adventure and again where I trust God to lead the way and provide those providential encounters He always has in my life. Wow! I can hardly wait to get there and see what He has waiting for me!