Tag Archives: Word

Jonah Chronicles

21 Feb

So the last time I revisited Jonah Bar-Amittai, he was running away from God in fear. If you missed that, here it is

Get this: Not fear that he was inadequate and wouldn’t match up, that he would not be able to do what God had called him to do. No. Fear, instead, that he would. That God would do exactly as He had promised and it would be too hard for him to confront. He also feared that God would be who He is.

He knew God and he knew himself too – pretty darn well, I’d say, seeing how the story turned out! Check out this part in particular. Isn’t that an amazing story?

I know what Jonah’s about, you know… I am the queen of non-confrontational. I hate the conversations where I have to talk about something that’s not right. I especially hate it when I’m not actually doing the wrong thing. Not because I haven’t messed up – I always have, and, eeerrrrmmm, I don’t care to elaborate on that point just right now :-o! But sometimes I do believe God uses you from the periphery of a situation to speak into it, to intervene.

Imagine this. If you’re in a research team, and you know that one of your colleagues is manipulating data specifically recorded by another of your colleagues, what would you do? That’s not so bad. Let’s step it up a bit. Two friends of yours in a teetering relationship and you know that they are hurting each other. And you know it isn’t of God.

Let’s up the ante a bit more, shall we? Your accountability partner with whom you share a totally equal relationship is on the brink of something actually unbiblical. Usually, with my friend, my contributions are along the lines of ‘Do you think that you are acting in accordance with what you believe the Bible to be saying?’ – ‘Well, then, good on ya!’ *cringes* I guess you pick the people you are accountable to… Mine is amazing, beautiful and tells me what’s wrong without me even feeling the tiniest twinge of smallness or pain. Ha – let’s see who tops that 😉 *I jest.* And I would never feel the need to say that to her – I am certain. Yet, what if I did? I do know there was one friend I did feel I had to say something to, when she was asking advice and expecting a certain response from me – one I couldn’t give if I was to truly reflect my feelings on honouring God in the situation.

I know what I wanted to say was the cop-out line.

Then there was that other time when I had to – just had to – tell a good friend and housemate I really felt from God for her. We’d been discussing a relationship she was struggling with for a long time. We knew from the start that there things that did not honour God in it. And still, she and I were both tempted to sigh and wonder how beautifully romantic it would be if certain things were straightened out. Yet in prayer, I knew that ignoring things that had happened already would not be putting God first. It would be compromising on what she was waiting on God to prove Himself faithful about.

So… I did tell her. After feeling heavy and compelled one morning, I did. I huddled in my cold Oxford room with only glass doors and curtains to keep it insulated. And I waited for her to put the kettle on for her breakfast. I could hear the kitchen perfectly, from the adjacent room. And I wondered what to say to her.

I padded out in the huge, fluffy kermit flip-flops I’d adopted and fumbled through what I’d been feeling. I had respect for both of them but I had to get this out. I was pretty scared. But God made another of his miracles that morning. I think coincidences are designed.

But that is a story for another Jonah day.

For today, in what ways are you running away from God’s will for your life?

I ask this because I have been running too.

See… Jeremiah said ‘but‘, Moses said ‘but‘, Jonah definitely said ‘but’.

If you know you have said ‘but’ more times than you care to remember hurting him, then I think you want to experience this.

Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth”. Jer 1:9

What an incredibly intimate, evocative picture… The Father looking into His child’s troubled face, full of her awareness of her inadequacy and worthlessness. And God’s first impulse is to reach out and gently stop those words that belittle His beloved. And give you His precious, infinite words instead.

I know that God has a specific purpose for you. A calling that only you can fulfill. A place for you to speak into. Words that only you can say. And they aren’t your words – they are His. He can fill those lips that are trembling with tears with the song He wrote.

And then if you but let Him, He’ll hold you and sing softly over you, hold those broken pieces back together.

The LORD your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing. Zeph 3:17

Whatever you’re afraid to confront, let Him hold you. Like Jonah, we have a God who cares passionately enough to be persistent.

I know that God has a purpose for you. It may not be comfortable at all.

But

it will

be

God.

Book Talk

13 Feb

I found this interesting article http://harvardmagazine.com/breaking-news/orhan-pamuk-norton-lectures-report

The writer concludes by saying a book can become a part of one’s soul. I agree.

But I have another proposition. Academics, like me on Sundays 😉 , are taught to read and re-read, to write and revise – and revise and revise and revise. To deconstruct, to compare, to contrast, to parallel, to liken. Still, I think – yes, even with the sentimentalisch side of me – that it is possible to ‘recognise’ a book. That even before a book becomes a part of one’s soul, one recognises a part of one’s soul in the book.

The first time I read an excellent work, it is to me just as if I gained a new friend; and when I read over a book I have perused before, it resembles the meeting of an old one…

That’s Oliver Goldsmith on books. When I was in school, I decided to write about reading as my favourite thing to do, for a composition. I remember writing then of what I still enjoy experiencing now in my reading rambles, of the joy in

… recognising the germ of your idea, having taken root and grown in someone else’s mind.

And there is that almost kinesthetic subsumption of the reading material. Like you have done that before, and you know the perceptions, the senses, the feelings that correspond to that thing you encounter in the book. More present than déjà vu.

Most often, for me, this is an idea, a worldview, a framework of analysis of a certain action, emotion, interaction – and I instinctively recognise where the author is coming from. I am tempted to say it is a comfortable feeling – but it isn’t, always. Sometimes it is distinctly uncomfortable. C.S. Lewis, for instance, can have that effect on me. An old, familiar ideal that I have forgotten to uphold. Or a new, yet-strangely-familiar ideal that I wonder why I have not thus far espoused. So I cannot relinquish this feeling to familiarity merely.

Bible study, Bible, the word of God, soul-searching, conversation, friendship, books, literary criticism, book, books, reading, read, favourite books, favorite books, God, Bible reading,

But in fact, C.S. Lewis acknowledged this hankering in us for books ‘on our side’. This kindred spirit process in our reading choice. He wrote that

We read to know we are not alone.

For in this ‘inside’ interaction that some books manage to have with you, there is that essence of true conversation. It is almost hard to pretend that the book with which you are having the conversation in your head is not present in the room. Some novels do this to me. I found this fantastic – and telling – quote that Anne Frank scribbled, in her diary:

If I read a book that impresses me, I have to take myself firmly in hand before I mix with other people; otherwise they would think my mind rather queer.

It makes me laugh :D. It is so true… But then again, there are some books you do not want to ‘take yourself in hand’ about. You know the product of your conversation is not only a better you, but a more real you… a you that is more yourself, than any other. In that light, as books go, the Bible is my biggest source of ‘conversation’. I want it to be, and I wouldn’t change that. That is the best conversation I’ve had and it isn’t over yet. But hey, I think that book was designed to be.

Bible, quiet time, Bible reading, Bible study, conversation with God, conversation, God, hearing, faith, the word of God, the Word, Rhema, logos, Word, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, Spirit, listening to God, taking time off,

I love this moment

Now – before you begin to think my mind is rather queer 😀 – go ahead! Go have some fantastic ‘conversations’ yourself 😉 – and I would be honoured if, some day, you tell me about them.

Words behind you

6 Feb

God knows the desires of your heart before you know them. The most worthy goals, the best ideas come from listening to God’s heart accentuate the beat of your own.

I’m asking God to guide me today. To hear him, to be heard for him. That every word I write in my applications, every word I speak in my interactions, every thought and every intention and the carrying out of them would breathe him.

Join with me and ask God to guide you too. That you will hear his whisper in every word that comes your way too.

A word behind you saying: This is the way, walk in it. Isaiah 30:21

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