Thursday, January 31, 2013

Faith is a noun, not a verb.

1. Confidence or Trust in a Person or Thing
2. Belief that is not based on proof
3. Belief in God or in the doctrines or teaching of religion
4. Belief of anything as a code of ethics, a standard of merit
5. A system of religious belief

Webster adds: complete trust

As I walk into this year of the Good and Beautiful God I realize that without faith all is for naught.

"When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, 'Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.' Simon answered, 'Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.' When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break."    Luke 5:4-6

"Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart." Psalm 91: 1, 4

I am venturing into waters unknown for me. I am ordering my days specifically, for specific purposes and asking God to keep my from becoming rigid in these plans. I desire to be lead by Him moment by moment and not so confined to 'MY' idea of how the day should go.

Right now, the mornings are filled with 5:00 risings and still time with Him. Then home preps, and then dog duty. Ready for the day between 8:30 and 9:00 and we are off to new horizons.

I am watching as God is filling my days with order, peace, and ministry. This brings so much joy. One of the new things that I have implemented is 5 minutes of quiet in the middle of the day. I have chosen to do this at 11:00 am. I have set my reminder on my phone, so no matter where I am it reminds me. This is early enough not to catch me of guard in case I am out mentoring over lunch with a woman, and late enough to not get tangled in with the daily work that needs to be done before lunch: i.e. German study, Bible study attendance or teaching, Bible study preparation, mission work...Yes that is usually my morning fare. And oh the joy that I find in this 5 minute stop.

Over 20 years ago I implemented 30 minutes on, 5 minutes off, work technique. That has kept this very active mind productive. Before I implemented that little technique I would spin and spin and never get anything accomplished. Now, I set the timer for 30 minutes and then again for 5. Work 30, reminder and then 5 minutes of taking a breath of fresh air with a walk to the mailbox for example, get a tea, or if out-and-about just observe life, lifting my head from the page...  This has been such a help for me.

But, this new implementation of 5 minutes of total break in the middle of the day is different. In this 5 minutes I totally stop, close my eyes, and meditate on Him. It is rejuvenating my days! I wait with excitement for the ll:00 timer - why? Because I get to snuggle with Him, no matter where I am, no matter what I am doing. I just close my eyes and I am simply in the 'BE' place.  You know that place... that place where you 'Just BE'. Now, I am not saying that I am praying for others the entire time, honestly - I must admit the majority of the time is just listening, just stopping, just being!

Remember Faith is NOT a VERB... it is a noun. No action is necessary. It is a place from which you come. It is a grounding to set yourself on. It is core.

So for now, this is what I desire to share in this little journey of seeking the Good and Beautiful Life with God 2013.

How is your search going?

your mutating missionary
and ebenezer

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Walking into 2013 with the Good and Beautiful God who IS (and list of 'ponder' books from 2012)

Walking with the Good and Beautiful God who IS.

For almost 26  years I have sought to find God in the most intimate ways possible. This search has lead into reading spiritual classics, weeks of silent retreats, fasting, prayer, community, simplicity, solitude, service, and of course bible reading and study. Falling on my face in my late 20's and crying out in all honesty to the God Most High: "I just want to know YOU. I want to see Your face and touch Your hand. I don't care what it takes," entered me into a Journey.

The Journey lead me down both potholed roads and gardened paths.

At present, the Journey finds me in Germany as a missionary to women. Sharing the Gospel, sharing the joy of reading the Word, sharing life. All of life. The ups and downs, ins and outs, the growth that we call sanctification, spiritual formation, maturity in Christ.

Therefore, after reading a few books either for the first time or again this last year, I began questioning myself.
  • How do I seek the Good and Beautiful God? 
  • Do I love the God Jesus knows - nothing held back love? 
  • Have I become more numbers/results oriented than Christ follower/Christ seeker oriented? 
  • Have I begun to let the German Text Books for learning the language weigh me down into forgetting that God breathed words into being... He spoke the world into being... He and He alone changes the heart of man.
  • Is He really my Everything?
  • Do I seek time alone with Him as a lover seeks?
  • Do I listen?
 I know that many of these questions have the DO in them. And I am not at all implying that we can DO anything more than accept Jesus. But just as a healthy relationship requires 'doing', so a healthy spiritual relationship requires our giving up of ourselves and listening for our next steps. Seeking Him is an action. How we seek is as unique as our fingerprints.

I am not one to make 'New Year's Resolutions'. I always fail in them. The last fifteen or so years I have instead asked God to give me a word and the verse to live into for the coming year. The word that He gave me for this year, "Abundance". The verse... well, that is private.

I desire to share this walk into Abundance with the Good and Beautiful God. I desire to chronicle it. For His Glory to be shown. I want to answer the above questions for this new year with positive answers. I want to grow deeper into the Lord.

Does that mean I expect no heartache? Hardly! I know that His Abundance doesn't look like our idea of Abundance. I desire to see what HIS looks like. I hope to be more like Jesus. I desire to know Jesus more intimately.

 Learn a new song.

Grow into someone that loves more like Jesus loves.

Look with child wonder into the world before me held in complete protection by the Good & Beautiful God who IS.
Anyone up for joining me?

your mutating missionary
and ebenezer

Ponder Books I Read or Re-read this year:
"The Good and Beautiful God - Falling in Love with the God Jesus Knows" by James Bryan Smith
"Everything - What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus" by Mary DeMuth
"One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp
"The Divine Embrace" by Ken Gire*
"Crazy Love - Overwhelmed by a Relentless God" by Francis Chan
"Dangerous Wonder - The Adventure of Childlike Faith" by Michael Yaconelli*
"Abandonment to Divine Providence" by Jean-Pierre de Caussade*
"Pia Desideria" by Philip Jacob Spener (translated by Theodore G. Tappert)
"Sacred Companions" by David G. Benner
"Spiritual Direction" by Henri Nouwen*
"The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius" translated by Anthony Mottola*
"The Explicit Gospel" by Matt Chandler
"Surrender to Love" David G. Benner
"The Gospel of Ruth" by Carolyn Custis James*
"The Rest of God" by Mark Buchanan
"Life with God" by Richard Foster
"Celebration of Discipline" by Richard Foster*
"A Long Obedience in the Same Direction - Discipleship in an Instant Society" by Eugene Peterson*
"Ordering Your Private World" by Gordon MacDonald*

I won't add the Historical Classics/Today's Novels/or GERMAN textbooks.  But I can recommend more if anyone is interested.

Here is a link I have discovered and enjoyed in the last few days.

Check out this link