Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How do I follow?

This morning my heart was pierced anew as I read God's word. These specific words of Jesus that are recorded in the gospel always get to me:

"Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?"

Mark 8:34B-37 (The Message)

These words get to me because I so miserably fail. I have this push inside of me to be in charge, I tend to follow my culture and want to get into all kinds of self-help ventures and think I can control my world. But the truth is that I have no real control; it's God who is in control of the universe. If I take the time and examine my life and my motives I spend entirely too much time pursuing things and lifestyles that bring me comfort and ease; that easier and softer way. I most definitely run from suffering or at least go out of my way to avoid it. I fill up my time with activities to help me avoid that natural anguish of the human condition.

But God shows me a different way. To be candid, when I read these words a part of me feel so lost - how can I do this? I guess the point is that I can't do it. I'm encouraged as I re read the passage and see that Jesus is coaxing me to follow Him and He'll show me how. So how do I follow Him? This is the question I bring to God in prayer this morning.

I'm so grateful that it's not my ability that I have to depend on, but it's God and His character. So I can have faith that He will show me how to follow Him and live my life His way.

What are some ways that God's shown you to follow Him?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Eat this book

I'm reading "Eat This Book: A Conversation in the Art of Spiritual Reading" by Eugene Peterson.

I can't say enough how much I adore Peterson's paraphrase of the bible entitled "The Message". For me it's like a breath of fresh air and helps me see scripture in a whole new light.

As for this book, I really enjoyed the introduction & first chapter. Peterson has a quote in the first chapter by Kafka that I love:

"If the book we are reading does not wake us, as with a fist hammering on our skull, why then do we read it?...A book must be like an ice axe to break the frozen sea within us"

The bible is like that! I never cease to be pierced as I open my heart and read God's word; sometimes it's joy that radiates my soul, sometimes it's despair as I recognize anew the depths my own depravity...but it's definitely not just an instruction manual that I'm reading. I appreciate Peterson's call to relish, luxuriate and experience the Word of God.

However, to me it seems that once I read the introduction and first chapter the rest of the book is just a restating of that premise.
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