Mudslides – Part Two

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
    and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
    out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
    and steadied me as I walked along.
Psalm 40:1-2

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid rock, I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand.
“The Solid Ground”

 


 

 

MUDSLIDESWe’re exploring mudslides of a personal nature.

Here are five testimonies.

Moses said to God, ‘Why are you treating me this way? Why dump the responsibility of this people on me?  I can’t do this by myself—it’s too much, all these people. If this is how you intend to treat me, do me a favor and kill me. I’ve seen enough; I’ve had enough. Let me out of here’.”

When Queen Jezebel heard what Elijah had done, she sent this message to Elijah: ‘You killed my prophets, and now I swear by the gods that I am going to kill you by this time tomorrow night.’ So Elijah fled for his life. He went into the wilderness, traveling all day, and sat down under a broom bush and prayed that he might die. ‘I’ve had enough,’ he told the Lord. ‘Take away my life. I’ve got to die sometime, and it might as well be now,’ Then he lay down and slept beneath the broom bush.”

This is Job. “If my misery could be weighed, if you could pile the whole bitter load on the scales, It would be heavier than all the sand of the sea! Is it any wonder that I’m screaming like a caged cat? Let God step on me—squash me like a bug, and be done with me for good.
Where’s the strength to keep my hopes up? What future do I have to keep me going? Do you think I have nerves of steel? Do you think I’m made of iron? Do you think I can pull myself up by my bootstraps?

Here’s Jeremiah. “Let the day my mother bore me be cursed. Let my birth notice be blacked out, deleted from the records, Why did I ever leave that womb? Life’s been nothing but trouble and tears, and what’s coming is more of the same.”

Lastly, consider David. “I’ve had my fill of trouble; I’m camped on the edge of hell. I’m written off as a lost cause, one more statistic, a hopeless case. Abandoned as already dead, one more body in a stack of corpses, And not so much as a gravestone—I’m a black hole in oblivion.

 

A cancer victim joins a group of survivors. She hears the stories of those who have also experienced the mudslide of cancer. Gradually, she is both comforted, encouraged and motivated. She is not alone!

 So it is with us. We’re not alone!

More about that next time.

Mudslides – Part One

 

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
    and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
    out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
    and steadied me as I walked along.
Psalm 40:1-2

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name

On Christ, the solid rock, I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand.
“The Solid Ground


 

 

 

CARPINTERIA, Calif. — First came the fires. Now come the floods.

Heavy rains lashed the hillsides of Santa Barbara County on Tuesday, sending one boy hurtling hundreds of yards in a torrent of mud before he was rescued from under a freeway overpass. His father, though, was still missing. A 14-year-old girl was buried under a mountain of mud and debris from a collapsed home before being pulled to safety by rescuers as helicopters circulated overhead, searching for more victims. Still, those children could count themselves among the lucky. At least 13 people — and possibly more, the authorities warned — were killed on Tuesday and more than two dozen were injured as a vast area northwest of Los Angeles, recently scorched in the state’s largest wildfire on record, became the scene of another disaster, as a driving rainstorm, the heaviest in nearly a year, triggered floods and mudslides. The wreckage of the downpour, coming so soon after the wildfires, was not a coincidence but a direct result of the charred lands, left vulnerable to quickly forming mudslides.

MUDSLIDES come in various forms! The geographical is most obvious. There are, however, numerous others that are less conspicuous. Of this both David and the hymn writer testified. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire.” “All other ground is sinking sand.”  Perhaps you have experienced some of these: emotional, physical, relational, spiritual, and financial mudslides. There are common ingredients in all. It feels like you’ve lost your footing. Reality is is nothing but “sinking sand.” It feels like you’re being inundated, swept away by forces that are beyond your control. It feels like your at the bottom of a pit – perhaps of depression and despair – where your circumstance appears hopeless. It appears as if everything is broken, on the brink of destruction. Perhaps your situation appears so bleak that you just want to die. 

You may think I’m exaggerating; so, hang on for the next post. I’m going to introduce persons who’ve been through mudslides just like you and me.

 

The Maintenance of Life – Intimacy With Jesus

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A branch must stay connected to the vine to bear fruit. It is the same with you.  John 15:4

Food, water and sleep! These are the basics for maintaining physical life. What’s required to maintain connection to Jesus? Step Eleven of Alcoholics Anonymous provides a clue:  “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God …” (The Twelve Steps)

Remember the Mentor of Life? His purpose, using the Life Guidance System, is “to improve our conscious contact with God via prayer and meditation.

Listening to the radio requires TUNING. The receiver is tuned to the specific frequency of the desired source. If one likes The Grand Ole Opry, one would tune to WSM 650 AM. To maintain connection to Jesus requires tuning of the heart and mind. This is accomplished primarily through prayer and meditation.

In the Bible “meditate” is a rather humorous picture word. Literally it means: a cow chewing its cud. So, meditation is the act of chewing a portion of the Bible over and over until it becomes a part of us. “Let the word of Jesus dwell in you, enriching your life and making you wise.” (Colossians 3:16)

Prayer is conversation. The radio above works via wireless transmission. Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of wireless transmission, said: “In prayer the human spirit can send invisible waves to eternity.” 

Jesus taught us how to begin: “Our Father …” (Matthew 6:9)

Praying is both speaking and listening to our Father. He knows us better than we know ourselves. “You shaped me inside and out.” (Psalms 139:13-14) So, no subject is “off limits”! If it concerns you, it concerns Him! Furthermore, prayer can take place anytime and anywhere. And yes, questions are encouraged!

Combining prayer with meditation is the preferred method. For example, the Manual talks about the use of money. So, it’s best to chew on its financial instruction while having a conversation with Father about your own finances.

 

Remember, A branch must stay connected to the vine to bear fruit.”

EASTER IMPACT – Part 7c

You have put off the old self with its habits and have put on the new self.
This is the new being which God, the Creator, is constantly renewing in his own image,
in order to bring you to a full expression of himself.

Colossians 3:
9-11


EASTER
means RE-NEW-AL

So how do you know if you are discovering one’s true self in Christ?

The litmus test is always deep love. (It may be helpful to reflect on (1 Corinthians 13

  • Am I becoming more generous relationally and otherwise?
  • Are my motives becoming less inspired by selfishness?
  • Am I becoming less concerned with how others see me?
  • Ask yourself Is my life progression towards the things that are bigger (transcendent) than I am?
  • Are they leading me closer to God, to others in a genuine way?
  • Am I discovering deeper life peace and meaning?

Consider the beliefs that keep you hiding from God and others. Consider what things keep you running away from God. Is it:

  • Fear that God will reject you?
  • Fear that God will punish you?
  • Fear that God may be angry at you?
  • Fear that God can’t be trusted?

Ask God about these things. Remember that Jesus, the fullness of God in human flesh, demonstrated just the opposite. Jesus came to heal our relationship with the Father. When Jesus judges, it is with mercy, forgiveness and healing. 

For many, the prospect of discovering and beginning to live more authentically is genuinely scary. The fear of being rejected, being seen as a loser because we no longer have an interest in playing the game can be paralyzing. For many of us this fear keeps us hiding and pretending to be something we are not. The consequences of continuing to live a lie, to craft and fortify our false self will leave us frustrated, anxious and consume our life with a profound sense of futility.

Many of us already sense that things within us are amuck. It’s time to exchange the ill-fitting coat of false self for the freedom of authenticity and with it a greater sense of peace, meaning, relationships and love. Regardless of where you are on your journey, consider being a little more open to being found by God and step stumble and fall into His perfect love for you.

 

Hiding your hurt only intensifies it.
                                                                   You are only as sick as your secrets.

                                                                              So take off your mask,
                                                                              stop pretending you’re perfect 
walk into freedom.
                                                            Rick Warren

EASTER IMPACT – Part 7b

You have put off the old self with its habits and have put on the new self.
This is the new being which God, the Creator, is constantly renewing in his own image,
in order to bring you to a full expression of himself.

Colossians 3:
9-11

 

EASTER means RE-NEW-AL

 

 

So, if there is a true self, there must be a false self. In a few words, the false self is our idea of who we are and this image is formed by our families, friends, and culture. It is forged around cultural ideas of success, sex appeal, wealth, our occupation, the things we own, the things we wear and the amount of influence we wield. These kinds of external things form the false self and they are external identities that we put on like a coat – whether it fits well or not. Often when living out of our false identity we feel awkward, we are chronically stressed and lonely. Sometimes it seems like we are always striving to look good, to pretend that we are indeed worthy of the coat and not some imposter. It produces a tyrannical slavery and detachment from real life all the while screaming its false promises of the good life.

 

 

Discovering one’s true self in God is the shedding of the ill-fitting garments. It is moving away from these identities that don’t bring real life. As we learn to experience and accept the love of God we find our place in the world. We begin to realize that our belonging is not based on our ability to live up to the expectations of an often-fickle culture or even our well-meaning families. As we move closer to God, as divine love draws us we learn that we can shed our selfishness, our self-centeredness, fear of being rejected and realize we no longer have to pretend. We can begin to cast off the baggage that has obscured who we truly are and as this begins to fall away it reveals more and more of the good creation we were created to be. The life we seek, the life that really satisfies, is found in God in us, not outside of us.  Jesus taught that the issues of life flow from inside us (our heart) not what eat or drink.

 

Article – Excavating Your True Self