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Not Yet

“Loved ones, now we are God’s children; and it has not yet been revealed what we will be. But we do know that when it’s revealed, we shall be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” I Jn 3:2

not yet

I went to a class on healing last week. I believe in healing mostly because I’ve actually seen people get healed. I’ve experienced it myself as well. I know God heals! Hopefully you do to. Either way, I went to the class about healing expecting to learn more about it. How it works, why God does or doesn’t do it, maybe the right words to say. We didn’t really talk about any of that – it wasn’t really a class about learning how to heal people as much as it was about what tends to happen in an atmosphere where God is present. And Because God was present, I experienced some healing myself.
I didn’t go there to be healed of anything. I didn’t expect anything to happen except my knowledge of a topic might increase. I am a curious little cuss… For instance, I have so many books. And I’ve read them all. And I know all the stuff in them. It’s like there’s and avalanche about to happen in my head sometimes. Or maybe an aneurysm. Sometimes it seems like all the crap I know doesn’t matter but it’s jammed up between my ears and its clogging up my head.
Anyway, I didn’t expect to get healed I expected to learn something. But I got both things really.
The speaker asked if we could ask God anything and know we’d get an answer what would we ask. So I asked. I asked God why he’d make me good at something AND give me the desire to do that thing AND give me no opportunity to do that thing. And he answered. He said I’m not ready to do the thing.
Um. Excuse me. I did the thing for 17 years! Brilliantly I might add. There’s tons of people I’ve led that I interact with on social media every day that thank me for what I did for them, who share memories and pictures and tell me how awesome things were back then. Every. Single. Day.
How is it then that I’m all of a sudden “not ready?” I really don’t get it.
Then he showed me something I didn’t understand one bit. I can’t even describe it to be honest. But it felt like something that’s right and whole and good and complete. And it felt like it was for me. A me without fear. A me without hindrances. A me unleashed.
I’m not that me. Not yet.
And those are the words God said to me. “Not yet.” I saw it in my head like a big, red neon sign. “Not yet” it said. “Not yet.”
Dude. I’m like too old already. I’ve gone too far and done too much. Too much. Too much good and bad really. Too much questioning. Too much worry. Too much doubt. Too much wallowing. And still God has a perfect plan for me? Yes. One that I’m not ready for, apparently.
I wish I didn’t want it. I wish I didn’t know about it. I wish I could take an ice pick and jab those parts of my brain and make the thoughts go away. And I told God all that. And he laughed. Not a cruel laugh. An amused laugh. Like he’d heard that before maybe. And then he healed me.
I don’t actually care anymore about any of that. Not in the bad way. I care. Obviously. But I care more about learning to be content in being his son than anything – and in an order of magnitude that dwarfs anything else I’ve ever felt. I just don’t care about that other stuff anymore. I don’t care if I ever have that dream because I’M HIS AND HE IS MINE. And nothing else matters.
I prayed months and months ago for God to remove the desires I had. To lead, to teach, to be a pastor again. And in my heart I had such longing for those things. And they are not bad things! But I was hurt and angry and bitter and I was saying “forget it – whatever you want for me I don’t want it because I can’t have it anyway,” and no matter what I did I couldn’t forget and I couldn’t get over it. But I’ve been healed in my soul! I’m free now! I haven’t given up on anything. But I’ve been given everything. I have hope. I have a promise. I have peace. I have God!
I understand that I’m not the only one who has been through what I’ve been through. Many of my good friends have been through it. Some have quit ministry for good, others are doing something different for a while, a few are back on staff in churches again.
That’s what I still want for me – that last thing I mean. I didn’t leave by my choice. And I guess I won’t get back to it by my choice either. For now all that matters for me is that God is building me up. He is making me whole, he is making me new. He’s making a place for me and when it’s time, I’ll be ready to step into it.
So for once “not yet” is ok. I gladly accept God’s not yet. It doesn’t mean never it means not yet. As in something’s coming! I have no clear idea of what it is but I know it will be awesome! Because he is awesome and he loves me!

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Humans Being

We become humans by being…

human being

Not all that long ago, when things were new, there lived two people in a little garden which was exactly like heaven on earth. It was called Eden, and it was a paradise. The people there, Adam and Eve, were created to be stewards over this little piece of heaven. They were given a few tasks by their creator – take dominion, be fruitful, eat anything you want – but stay away from that one tree.

They were all in one accord – man and woman, God and creation – and it was very good! Nobody really knows how long they lived in this blissful state, and we don’t really have any way to know what it was really like. Imagine your best day ever, times infinity – probably doesn’t even scratch the surface.

They were fully alive! Fully human! Firing on all cylinders, cooking with gas – call it what you want, they were everything they were created to be. They were everything we are not.

I have spent time imagining what it must have been like. Perfect bodies – not these rags we wear that get stained and wear out. Walking with God – nothing to separate us from his presence. Unity – all of creation on the same page, headed toward the same destiny.

I imagine that as they fulfilled their calling and filled up the garden with more people, that it’s boundaries would expand until all the earth became nothing but paradise, nothing but an exact representation of everything God had in mind when he dreamed up heaven.

But that’s not what happened – that’s not what happened at all. Something else happened. People say we were tricked, we were led astray, that the tempter took our inheritance from us. But the truth is, the first man and the first woman made a choice all on their own – they chose to know over choosing to live. We all, when faced with the exact same choice, make the exact same choice.

How could God, who knows everything, not see this coming? And if he did see it coming, why didn’t he stop it from happening? The short answer is, if he prevented us from choosing between himself and ourselves, how could we truly ever be able to love him? That’s the choice before all of us, and the choice we make determines how human we will become.

So, choices were made, and now we live in a fallen world. A world full of sickness, death, evil. It’s not the heaven that God had in mind. Not even close. But even still, all is not lost.

You may hear people talk about “plan B” from time to time. “Well, I was too short and colorblind, so I couldn’t be an astronaut – so my plan B was becoming a lumberjack.” Or something. Most of us are living in plan B. Or C, D, or even Q.

God, though – he only has plan A. His goal, from the beginning, was to present to his son a worthy bride, to have a family. To have children to care for who love him as a father. Is it too late for all that? I say no!

The son emptied himself, came to earth as a man – as Adam once was – full of the father and living as if he were in heaven. He came to show us what it would be like to be fully human – to be firing on all cylinders and cooking with gas. And what did he do? Well, he changed the world. He broke history out of it’s rut. He made a way for us to be humans – the humans God created us to be.

And he did so much more! He solved the greatest problem of all – the problem of how fallen humanity could be reunited with it’s father, it’s creator. He did it by being fully human, and when presented with the choice he chose differently that the rest of us – he chose God instead of himself.

And he did even more than that – because he chose wisely, he was able to be everything a human was meant to be – the blind received sight, the lame walked, those with leprosy were cleansed, the deaf could hear, the dead were raised, and the good news was proclaimed!

And even greater things than these will we do, because Jesus has gone to the Father!

And yet – how many people have you healed? How many have you raised from the dead? How many greater things have you done? Don’t feel bad – I pray for the sick and they get worse. I pray for the blind and the deaf and they walk away not seeing and hearing. I have never prayed that a dead person would come back to life. Because…dead – that’s just not how things work in this world.

But that’s how they worked in Jesus’ world. The second Adam, the most human human being ever. Because he and his father were one, because when he said the kingdom is at hand, it wasn’t just a philosophical way of living or thinking – it was a spirit empowered way of being human. And we all have access to that. We have access to the father, and all the resources of heaven. But we’re too busy being something other than what we were created to be to know it.

I don’t know how this ends. For me I mean. I want everything God has for me, but still it seems I labor in vain. I can’t heal anyone – even when I am praying fervently and sincerely and crying and pleading. Even when I mean it with all my heart. Even when I say, “in Jesus name.”

Why? Well, I don’t know. All I know is, I am saved, and the same spirit that lives in me, that lived in Jesus, can live in you! Choose – choose life over struggling to do good so that you won’t be a bad person. You have a free will – and the only good use of it is freely choosing to lay it down, to empty yourself of yourself and be filled with his spirit – so choose now. Be what God always dreamed you would be – a human, a human who is being everything they are capable of being.
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