No Crisis of Faith
I would give anything to have had a job/career/work that I was sincerely passionate about early in my life to fill my days. By passionate I mean something that would give me every opportunity to glorify God through service to other people. Because of that I am not defined by the work that I have done through the years. From a very young age, deep within I have longed to understand God and his presence in my life. I have longed to share that presence with others. I tried many things and spent a lot of money in education and studies. I placed my heart and trust in the people around me, all of which amounted to more struggle than I could have ever imagined when I first started this journey. Although I started a blog ministry of meditation and reflection in 2011, only recently (the end of 2013) have I made the decision to let go of this “work” I’d been seeking and just focus on the relationship that I have always had with the Spirit that God placed in my heart as a child. Since I am not currently working, financially I struggle but I’m not homeless and I eat everyday. How much worse would I be if I did not have the Spirit of God within me?
That Spirit is the one hope that I hold to as I begin to start a new ministry, because aside from my immediate family I have nothing else. Though there are times when I question and challenge that Spirit, I am grateful for the consciousness, knowing and trusting that God has not forgotten my journey in which he has salted my life and he will continue to lead me to the place he has already prepared. I won’t always know what the next step or move will be but I will thank God every day for the salt. As for crisis of faith, when things went from bad to worse, perhaps I should have had one sometime ago, but as a child I was told that I could always talk to God and I believed it. To this day my own personal communication with God wouldn’t allow that crisis to happen. So for as long as that salt is adding flavor to my life I will taste and see that God is good and I am not defined by my work (physical) but by my relationship (spiritual) with God first and foremost. I will remember that the gift of the Spirit is the first gift given to God’s people. It is this spiritual relationship that I have finally learned needs to lead the way in this journey.
“If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him… Luke 7:36-50 When Jesus said “I know my own and my own no me” It was people like this woman with her alabaster jar, to which he was referring. Jesus didn’t need to be a prophet to know who she was, what kind of woman she was, from where she’d come, or what she’d done or had done to her, which caused her to seek him out that day! And by her actions a prophet certainly wasn’t what she needed. What she needed was healing. What she needed was freedom from the bondage of the Law. What she needed was access, protection, salvation and ultimately what she needed was forgiveness. Jesus, knowing her, isn’t concerned with who she was before she pours out her story with that alabaster jar. That’s the good news about Christ! Before we get to the place of the woman with the alabaster jar, Jesus already knows who we are and receives us anyway. Under ordinary human circumstance what we know about others causes us to turn away from one another and we end relationships before they have a chance to begin. God’s knowledge of us is only the beginning, the foundation and the core of our relationship with him. Every time we find ourselves sizing up one another we do well to remember that only God knows the plans he has for each of us none of which is based on the mistakes or even successes of the past. Because, just like the woman and the alabaster jar, it’s what we do today in the name of Christ that really matters. What”s in your alabaster jar. Maybe today it’s time to pour out your testimony. God is waiting to receive you too.
Featured image; Painting by benedict edet©
…forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead… Philippians 3:13-21 Perhaps, at the time, nobody had more to forget than Paul. Still God used Paul’s passion for the law to glorify His name. Paul’s testimony is one to which we can all cling and be assured that God can and will use us if we just open our hearts to God’s commandments. Press on towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. Know that as we journey on in our relationships, people can be quite complicated, but God’s love, even in its simplicity is greater than the complications.
But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7-11
After having lunch with a friend today I realized my own selfishness. While catching up with our lives, not once had I given glory to God. As I continued to reflect, I had to ask myself where was my faith? Our physical life is not a test but rather a testimony – and our spiritual disciplines really are important. If in Christ we have hope, the expectation that things yet unseen or experienced will manifest in our lives. Then to live according to this hope, is to live with a testimony that the presence of Christ lives within us. Our living is our testimony. Sometimes however in the chaos of living we forget to speak the Word, to proclaim God’s glory with our mouths. For the believer, regardless of our situations, failures and successes, every new day is hope and every day we live is a testimony. Remember daily to Speak the Word.
2 Corinthians 4:7-11 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh.
When Christ wanted us to heed what he had to say he told a story. Jesus called it a parable. Although all parables have meaning, they don’t always have benefit to the hearer. One must be able to understand its meaning. Jesus said, (Mark 4:26-29) “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.” The harder we try in this journey to take the fate of our own lives into our own hands, when fall, the greater the redemption in our own eyes seems to be. (But) our redemption, becomes our testimony; our own story about the seed that was planted and the growth through our experiences in the world that needed to take place. God’s presence of that seed, allows us to see that our fate has always been in God’s hands and that our fate is destined for something larger and more valuable than even we could imagine. It is then that the parables of the Kingdom are no longer riddled with metaphors to be deciphered. When we realize that the parables have taken on different meanings for us at various times in our lives, no longer are we prodigal but instead reconciled in our understanding of who God is and has always been. As we examine our selves in this journey and our own “perfect” imperfectness with the world, sometimes it is difficult to see what God sees in us. But when we consider the earthly relationship and its ultimate cycle of realization, which brings us back to the knowledge that indeed our Father can do anything, the Kingdom becomes clearer as we are able to see our selves in the parables for the benefit our own learning and ultimate growth.
Most assuredly, if blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe, faith then is confidence in God. True confidence nurtures expectation. Expectation shapes our hope in Christ and hope does not disappoint us because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us (Romans 5). Pentecost, the gift of the Holy Spirit, is given to all those who have faith in the Son sent by the Father. As his disciples today, we fulfill the scripture when we witness and testify to his love, faithfulness and truth, and the ministry of Christ continues to make available to every one who believes, the reconciliation of our lives to the Father and the Son. And through the Holy Spirit our 1 day recognition of this gift becomes a 366 day celebration of life redeemed in the spirit of truth, giving all glory to God. Amen.
“When the Day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.” Acts 2:1-21
When God calls us into his service, he already knows exactly what he is getting; the good, the bad, and the ugly! It won’t stop God from using us. Only we can hinder our anointing by not using both our mind and our body to glorify God. Should we accept his call, all that’s left is for us to go forth with our own testimony of the word made flesh in us and spread the Epiphany.
God Knows Us; Hindering God; Glorify God;