His words are enough!

A friend recently read a book about Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  I have had the documentary, Bonhoeffer, in my Netflix queue for quite some time and our discussion gave me the incentive to finally watch it. I really liked it and am very interested in reading more about Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

A student of his spoke in the documentary and discussed how his teaching was so drastically different than anything she had ever experienced up to that point in her life. He taught her to read The Bible as if God was speaking directly to her.  I love this!

This is just another reminder to me that I need to read The Bible.  I can and should critically listen to others, their thoughts and interpretations, but in the end I need to read The Bible.  I need to give God the opportunity to speak directly to me.

God, thank you so much for Your Word, for blessing me with a Bible of my own and giving me the ability to read.  Please motivate me everyday to read, study, and reflect on Your Holy Words.

When words aren’t enough…

I am not very good at defending what I believe or giving convincing reasons for my faith. A while ago I was in a discussion with someone and I became totally tongue-tied and could give no better reason for believing in Jesus than to just say, “Because… I do”.  For some reason I was thinking about this earlier today and for one moment thought, maybe I am crazy, but then I remembered sweet, consistent, reliable Puddleglum from The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis.

Puddleglum said to the witch:

“One word, Ma’am” he said coming back from the fire; limping because of the pain. “One word. All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things – trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play-world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.

Even if I can’t explain why, I would rather spend the rest of my life following Jesus and trying to live like Him, real or not, than follow anyone else!

Jesus help us to remember that most of the time we don’t need any words;  when words fail us, we only need to believe in You, love You and follow You.  We need to have faith so You can shine through!

Do we really need to hate our family?

“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”

– Luke 14:26

I have been thinking about this passage for the last few weeks.  After I wrote the blog Was it really just about the apple?, someone emailed me with the above passage and a comment. Their comment was, “Does this say that if Adam disobeyed God to save Eve, he loved Eve more than God?”

Obviously I was just speculating a “What if… ” situation in my post and this isn’t what actually happened in the Bible, but if it had we still would not have known what was in Adam’s heart as he willingly or unwillingly took the fall with Eve.

  • What if Adam stood by as Eve fell and watched with relief that it was not him? Would God have been pleased to see this?
  • What if he stood by as Eve fell and watched with great sorrow, but could not bring himself to fall with her out of fear of being separated from God?  Would God have been pleased to see this?

Even with Luke 14:26 in mind, I still think God would have been most pleased with Adam if he willingly chose to take the fall with Eve, with great sorrow in his heart knowing he would be separated from God, but still took the fall as a declaration of love for Eve and an unwillingness to let her fall alone and an unwillingness to be separated from his partner, the bone of his bone, the flesh of his flesh.  Wouldn’t this have shown true faith in God’s goodness as well as courage to risk separation from God out of love and protection for another child of God?

I don’t think that Luke 14:26 is stating that Jesus wants us to hate our father, mother, wife/husband, children, brothers, sisters and even ourselves to be His disciple.

I think what is being stated here is that as our love for Jesus grows, our interests change and we begin to see the bigger picture.  We begin to be filled by Jesus alone and understand that being filled with Jesus allows us to love not only our family more, but allows us to love the entire world.  We begin to desire nothing more than constant contemplation of Jesus as a way to keep loving everyone through Jesus.

Who is it then that would interrupt this constant contemplation?  Our families, they are the ones that require the most attention from us and need the most time.  As imperfect humans we are always like demanding little children regardless of our ages and we still want what we want and dislike our peace and our thoughts being interrupted. Therefore I think these constant interruptions of peace and contemplation of Jesus are the frustrations that could bring about the hate Jesus talks about in Luke 14:26.

Jesus please help us see another way to constantly join in the worship and contemplation of You as well as meet the needs and demands of our families, the ones who You have blessed us with to love, serve and care for during our time here.

It is Our Best Life… the path is there even if we can’t see it!

A new friend!

I haven’t always been a runner, but I have started running lately since I really haven’t felt like joining a gym and I live in a place with beautiful weather.

I am not really an outgoing person and some of my favorite days and nights are just sitting home with my family playing, working on my projects, listening to some music, or watching a good movie.  However I do need people and I have noticed that when I run if someone waves at me or smiles I get a jolt for a few min and forget that I was tired or out of breath and run with renewed strength.

After noticing this I have started waving at everyone I run by (drivers, runners, walkers) and for the runners and walkers I take the extra step of taking off my headphones to say good morning as I run by.  This morning one of the walkers I said good morning to, waved back and said, “Good morning my friend!”.   He is living Our Best Life even if he doesn’t call it this and I was overjoyed to meet him if only for a moment!

Jesus thank you for my new friend!  Please help me be a friend to everyone I encounter just as you are a friend to all of us!

My friends, It is Our Best life… someday we will all be friends!

I Believe!

I just heard the song I Believe by Chris August!  This is the first time I have heard it and I love it and wanted to share it with you!

At one point in the song he sings…

If you had some heartache that made you cry a thousand tears
Then let me tell you now I know just how you feel

When I heard this I thought, I have never experienced this heartache and would not be able to tell someone that I know how they feel, but I then thought of a dear friend who has experienced this heartache.  I had this image for a moment of how treasured, loved and special she is and that we are so blessed that Jesus has been carrying her through these difficult times.

I believe and carry a hope in my heart that she is nearing the end of these trials.  Every now and then I think I see Jesus put her down for a day or two so that she can begin taking her baby steps while still holding His hand.

Thank you Jesus for loving my dear, sweet friend so much and carrying her through so many difficult times!

I believe it is Our Best Life!

Was it really just about the apple?

Have you ever wondered what would have happened if

– Eve had tasted the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but had refused to let Adam taste the fruit as a declaration of love for Adam and an unwillingness to let harm come to him and had been willing to take on the full punishment herself?

– What if then Adam with full knowledge of what he was doing tasted the fruit himself as a declaration of love for Eve and an unwillingness to let her fall alone and an unwillingness to be separated from his partner, the bone of his bone, the flesh of his flesh?

This would be a true keeper of thy brother, of thy partner, a willingness to fall in order to protect another.

Isn’t this what Jesus did for us?  He fell to protect us, to declare his love for us and to teach us to do the same for each other.

Thank you Jesus for falling for us!  Help us to fearlessly fall for others, and help us to know through faith, in the end you will extend your hand to catch us as we fall!

Peace

I am reading The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis.  Today I read chapter 3, The Man Who Loves Peace, and I want to share a bit of it with you and a few thoughts I had while reading.

Thomas a Kempis wrote
The good and peace-loving man turns everything into good.  The man who dwells in perfect peace suspects evil of no one.

The man of blind passion even turns good into evil and is quick to believe evil of others. The man who is discontented and disgruntled has a heart filled with suspicion.

I want peace!  How do we teach/learn peace?  Is it being taught?  I am honestly asking and would love your thoughts.

Does finding peace lead one to believe that everything is good?

Or

Are peace and believing everything is good equivalent, meaning that once you believe everything is good then you have also found peace and vice versa once you have found peace then you believe everything is good?

If the latter is correct, then seeing/finding the good in everything should lead us to peace. This seems like a great place to start if you are looking for peace!

I know I am not the first to say this, but I think

  • Believing the glass is half full could help lead us to PEACE
  • Finding the sliver lining in the clouds could help lead us to PEACE
  • Looking for the rainbow through the rain could help lead us to PEACE
  • Finally whoever came up with the slang expression, S’all good, hit the nail on the head and wanted to help lead us to PEACE

Jesus said in John 14:27

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Let us reclaim the PEACE Jesus has left with us, the PEACE He has given to us.  Let us live with untroubled hearts and let us live fearlessly!

My friends, I wish you peace from the bottom of my heart!  Let us live Our Best Life in Peace!

Rainbows

My girls love rainbows!  They talk about them a lot and love to color rainbows.  I have always loved rainbows too, and have always loved to stop and look around for a rainbow at the end of a storm.

My girls love to look for rainbows too, but they don’t just look for them at the end of a storm.  They are always looking for rainbows on sunny days, overcast days, rainy days, snowy days and the amazing thing is that they almost always find one regardless of the weather!  They found the rainbow on the back of a CD/DVD, they found the rainbow on the blank TV screen caused by the sun reflecting off of it at a certain angle, and today we were on a boat and they found the rainbow caused by the sun reflecting through the water spray along the sides of the boat as it sped through the lake.

The more rainbows they have shown to me, the more I have begun to wonder if my girls really see what I see when we look at the world?  At the park when I hold their hands and tell them to step over a log, do they see the brown log that I see or do they see something else?  I am starting to think that we see things very differently and I want to see their world, I want to jump over a rainbow, see magic caterpillars, and see the Care Bears peeking down from the clouds.

I think children truly see with the eyes of love!  I want to take off my dark and dingy glasses and see with the eyes of love too and I think listening to what my girls see rather than telling them what I see is a good place to start!

Look for a rainbow in an unexpected place and I bet you will find it because it is Our Best Life!!!  My friend, I wish you true joy in your heart when you find your hidden rainbow today!

Betrayer and Beloved?

I just finished reading all four gospels for the first time.  Even though I grew up attending mass weekly, this is the first time (at least in my flawed memory) that I have heard of the disciple whom Jesus loved or the beloved disciple.

Who is this disciple?  I didn’t realize until I did a few internet searches last night that the question of the identity of this disciple has been under discussion for quite some time, but I always love a good mystery so I have decided to join the scholars in their discussion despite my lack of in depth knowledge.  Below are my initial thoughts.

Jesus gives the most love where the most love is needed.  Jesus will leave 99 sheep grazing in order to search for 1 lost sheep.

Jesus chose his disciples and he knew all of their fates.  He knew they would be hated, despised, persecuted for following Him.  He knew most of them would be killed for spreading His message.  Jesus loved them all, but of the twelve who needed the most love?

Matthew 26:24 – “The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man!  It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

I think Judas Iscariot needed the most love from Jesus in order to survive the self hatred that he would inflict on himself following the betrayal and to survive the centuries of hatred and persecution aimed at him from people all over the world.

Jesus thank you for loving Judas Iscariot so much.  I have a feeling that he may be Your beloved disciple.  Please help us to remember that we do not know the whole story and that we do not need to know the whole story, but we must love as You love.

Please help me to love Judas Iscariot as you love him.

The only thing good in me is Jesus!

I heard the song, The Only Thing, by Ronnie Freeman for the first time tonight while listening to Pandora.

I loved hearing this song, and it was yet another reminder for the importance of humility. I know my heart and I know that I have proudly accepted many undeserved compliments (from others and from myself) throughout my life.  No matter what my life looks like to myself or others, I have to remember that I am still the least of thieves and yet Jesus still loves me and is in me. The more I superficially build myself up from these good deeds and compliments, the further I push Jesus away, but once I remember or realize that everything thing good in me is because of Jesus I pull closer to Him.

Ephesians (2:8-9) “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”

Jesus please keep reminding me to be humble so that I can pass Your glory on to You!

It is Our Best Life… let’s pass it on!