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Propositional Reality May 19, 2006

Posted by amybeth in God, Old Blog.
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Okay…lets get philosophical. When we think about things, objects, we are able to distinguish between what is real and what is not…at least most of the time. Take an apple for example. No matter how many sentences we use to describe the apple, they are only sentences. The real apple is the physical entity itself. We can say that apples are blue and that statement’s lack of truth does not change the reality of what an apple is. However, for some reason, this separation between description and reality isn’t so easy to apply to God. In fact, I think our propositions about God are more real to us than God himself is. Denominational fights are often over a proposition. Losing faith often occurs when a proposition about God no longer fits well with the rest of our understanding of the world. We don’t hold to the truth deep down that God is real. There is a being named God who exists and does not change regardless of how feeble or even false our efforts are to describe him. Coming to an understanding that God is real…period….is the only thing that will give us security to stand in confidence when our understanding of everything else seems shaky.  

I know many things about God. But they are all propositions. I’m seeking an encounter with the living God, an experience of his power yes, but even more so an inner awareness of the creation making awesomeness of his still small voice that will awaken in me such a conviction of his existence. If I could grasp, truly grasp his reality…then my questions become mere exercises…important for relationship yes, but unable to excuse me from the necessity of bowing in humility before the God of the universe, the high king of heaven, to whom all honor and glory is due.

Word Curses May 18, 2006

Posted by amybeth in Christianity.
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Can we break word curses? We act so flippantly towards the words we say and yet I firmly believe our words have power. When we speak negatively about someone, we are cursing them. I’ve read ‘spiritual warfare’ kind of books that talk about breaking word curses. Can we do that? I know that Christ became the curse for us. Does this mean his blood can break such curses? Does that mean we can be careless with our words, speaking curses and breaking them afterwards? Isn’t that just like sinning just cuz we can be forgiven? And if its not so easy to break word curses, what’s a person to do? Perhaps there is a strategic way to employ blessing that it undermines the power of the curse to begin with? Hmmm…just some thoughts.

Mistakes May 18, 2006

Posted by amybeth in Deep, Old Blog.
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I was reading a story about Jacob. He did a bad thing when he stole the birthright and blessing from his brother Esau. And yet, had said the older was to serve the younger. Does that mean Jacob should have waited and things would have worked out okay anyways, or were his mistakes part of God’s plan, or was God’s statement merely made from a knowledge of the future and how events would unfold?

Sometimes I feel like I’ve made a mistake as far as a direction I’ve chosen to go. Perhaps I’ve acted too hastily and haven’t really sought God’s will and his seal of peace. Perhaps my motivations led me in a direction that wasn’t the best. And yet I know that God has promised to lead me and guide me. And even these ‘mistakes’ seem to turn out good with me learning more about myself and about God and growing in character and strength. So…are they mistakes or are they part of God’s plan. Perhaps they start out as mistakes but God’s promises to turn everything to good for those who love him integrate them into his plan in an indistinguishable way. I know for sure that mistakes or not, I spend too much time living in regret and not enough time just enjoying and making the best of the present.  So whats the answer…I really don’t know.

Jesus of Joy May 18, 2006

Posted by amybeth in God, Old Blog.
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The other night I watched Godspell for the first time. I can just imagine what people said when it first came out long, long ago. The sheer joy and silliness that characterizes Jesus and his playful followers must have seemed like sheer heresy to some. Yet, I loved it. I want the Jesus I know and follow to be like that – one who loves to have fun, use imagination, play, skip and leap, joke and yet through it all has a serious message of reality to share. Thats the kind of Jesus I could love. And my guess is Jesus is more like that than we think. Not so much the stiff, somber, always thinking about sacrifice and doom and sin and repentance person that we portray Jesus to be. How can we know? God would you show me the real Jesus. I don’t want to dismiss the serious aspects of following you and the deep spiritual messages that Jesus taught, but I think they come packaged in a lot more joy than we imagine.

Fun May 14, 2006

Posted by amybeth in God, Life, Old Blog.
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Two weeks ago I started a new job. Its very different from any job I’ve held before. There’s a lot more self-direction, finding both the questions and the answers. Being used to work that was very structured and measured, my first couple of days were culture shock and very frustrating. But then I had a conversation with my employer who told me to relax, I was doing fine, and the main priority was to have fun while learning. Fun? I began to think about my relationship with God and how I so often drive myself to achieve some kind of self-determined level of progress when in actual fact, he’s longing for me to relax a bit and enjoy the journey. To have fun. In my employer’s words there was a vote of confidence, a recognition that I was a good worker and would use my time valuably – she trusted me. I believe God also trusts us. True, he knows our weaknesses and yet he’s placed a new heart within us – a heart that desires him. As long as we are walking in relationship with him, we don’t have to prove ourselves, prove that we are good Christians. We can just be – and have fun along the way. Fancy that!

Weapons Without Bullets May 14, 2006

Posted by amybeth in Christianity, Old Blog.
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A speaker I was listening to earlier was commenting on how everyone lately gets so excited about newly discovered methods for spiritual warfare or intercession. They all rush to learn and participate. But he said that without the knowledge of God, without taking time to develop that, its like people are getting excited about weapons that have no bullets. It doesn’t matter what the ‘method’ is – any method is only as effective as the depth of knowledge of God that its practicioners carry. And that knowledge is only developed through searching and time spent in cultivating intimacy.

Conviction May 14, 2006

Posted by amybeth in Deep, Old Blog.
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Related to the last post about value, for the last several weeks I’ve been asking God to increase conviction in me – conviction that God and his principles are totally real, not just some mental theological excercise I go through. Too often it feels that life is a dichotomy with God and all that goes with him operating slightly outside reality. And yet, if anything, the spiritual life is more real than what we know as natural, everyday life. But I don’t live like that.

For example, do I really believe that its critical to feed my spirit, to seek intimate times with God – if so, why do I often put it off as a nice thing if I have time rather than the highest priority on my agenda? Do I really believe that in God lies all wisdom – then why do I feel I’m not being productive when I slow down to pray and simply wait in God’s presence? Do I really believe God will direct me – then why do I agonize over options and come up with multiple back up plans? Do I really believe God is at work in the church, the nation, the world, and that there is a prophetic flow of times and seasons in which God is calling us to participate – then why do I feel life is sometimes mundane, why do I allow days and weeks to pass without seeking God’s revelation and interceding as he directs, why do I not view that as my primary and exciting purpose but instead work so hard to do things that are considered successful in the world’s eyes? Do I really believe I am in God’s will, in his care – then why do I spend so much time fretting over events in life big and small that seem contrary to how I would plan things? Do I really believe that God is the answer, that following his principles are the best way to conduct our lives and find blessing – then why am I so hesitant to speak of them to others, why do I give empty platitudes that sound nice rather than speaking truth? Do I really believe God answers prayer and can change things – then why is prayer often the last thing I turn to, or simply a relatively insincere formulaic statement I make thinking it might add to the efforts I’m making in my own strength?

I am so fickle. God, forgive me for my unbelief. Teach me to walk in belief.

Tonight I was listening to a teaching by Mike Bickle. He said that if we knew for sure a million dollars was hidden behind a brick in our home, we’d take time off work and tear the place down searching for it. We DO know for sure that the knowledge of God is available if we seek for wisdom and yet we don’t give our all to that search. We act as if its only a maybe, so we might look in a few places that don’t disturb the status quo to much, that don’t require too much of an investment just in case there’s no return. Is God’s word true or isnt it!

Worship=Value May 14, 2006

Posted by amybeth in Deep, Old Blog.
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My dad made a comment the other day that has stuck with me. He was talking about how the word ‘worship’ does not hold any particularly significant meaning today. Other than a vague idea that it involves singing songs, few know what it means to worship God. He then said that worship is synonymous with value. When we act in such a way that demonstrates the value that we give to something, that is worship.

That really struck me. Can people see from my life – can I see from my life – and most importantly, can God see from my life, that he is the most valuable thing to me. Unfortunately, I don’t think so. I ‘value’ my sleep more than spending time with God. I ‘value’ the rejuvination of reading a book more than the rejuvination of soaking in God’s presence. I ‘value’ other people’s advice about decisions I’m making more than I do God’s. I work more on and therefore ‘value’ my relationships with my friends more than I do my relationship with God.

Father, forgive me. I want to value you more than anything else. Reveal to me the value I’m placing on things and other people in comparison to the value I place on my relationship with you.

Asking for Help May 14, 2006

Posted by amybeth in God, Old Blog.
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 have a habit of not really asking God for help particularly in making decisions. Oh, I’ll throw up token prayers asking him to guide me, but they can often make me feel more guilty than assured. I think I’ve been lost in no-man’s land between two principles.1. Always desire God’s will more than any alternative. (and I do!)

2. Seek God’s face not just his hand. (in other words, don’t relate to God purely on the basis of what he can do for you)

But I’ve recently realised that by keeping God out of my every day life, I’m actually saying I don’t value his input. If a husband and wife kept each other at a distance, never including their spouse in the everyday events that made up their life, there would be no basis for trust and relationship – they would feel unloved. Yes, if I just sought God for answers as if he were a vending machine of good advice, I’d be wrong. But its absolutely critical for intimacy that I make space for him in every aspect of my life, big and small, giving him room to speak, to relate, to participate.

The meeting place for the two principles I stated earlier is in the fact that God’s will does not consist of textbook answers but of interacting in relationship. As such, seeking his will and seeking his face become the same thing.

Tend My Garden May 1, 2006

Posted by amybeth in Deep, Old Blog.
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God spoke this to me during a worship service at a ladies retreat.

“In every heart there is a cry for freedom. It is because you are created in my image – deep calls unto deep. Whether or not the strategy a person chooses is helpful or harmful, every heart is long for the freedom only I can bring. Will you hear the cry? Will you speak to set my people free, celebrating every step taken towards the breaking of their chains. Hear the undercurrent, the rumbling of my Spirit as I stir the waters and call to my people to jump in. Build up their courage. Pick away at the stronghold – the fear of freedom that keeps so many from even beginning thier journey with me. Be sensitive to my Spirit, to where the breath of my Spirit is softly releasing the fragrance of life into wilted flowers of hope. Tend my garden gently. Don’t avoid the stems with thorns for they may be stalks of extravagant blooms as yet unopened.