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I thought I would share something a little different here today, and that is how I have been doing my personal Bible study each week. I have been studying The Story of the King…reading and contemplating the life of David…along with other believers at Rio Vista Community Church.

I hope you, too, have found the delight of having a personal time of looking into God’s Word so you can know Him more and more and not just about Him.

If you are reading or want to start reading his Word seeking to know Him [and who you are in light of Him] and what He has done for you but need more direction to gather your thoughts, choose a passage and read that same passage everyday for five days and consider the thoughts below that can be downloaded as a PDF  here from the Rio website and used as you study His word. If you don’t know where to begin reading, you can look under the Personal Worship Plan label on the right-hand side of their website where the weekly passage they are studying is listed.

“The Liturgy of the Kingdom: You may think of “liturgy” as something that is strictly religious—an established order of elements in a church service that can become meaningless repetition.

But the truth is, we all have a “liturgy!” You have habits and rituals you practice that define, form and reinforce who you are and who you are becoming.

The liturgy you live can cultivate flourishing or decay, life or death. Inherent in God’s Kingdom is a liturgy that leads to life.

Worship, both personal (daily) and corporate (Sunday mornings), follows this “Liturgy of the Kingdom.” Daily and weekly, remember God (glorify the King). Be honest with God about yourself (seeing imperfections in light of the King’s glory). Rest in His grace (have peace and security in His mercies and protections). Receive His instruction (absorb His wisdom and integrate it into your life). Finally, do what He says (practices, habits, training, and work). Thoughtfully practiced, this liturgy of the Kingdom will inform all of your thoughts and actions in every area of life.

With that in mind, here is your daily Liturgy of the Kingdom.

Day One: Remember God. What does this passage tell you about God? What is praiseworthy about Him?

Day Two: Be honest with God about yourself. What does this passage tell you about yourself? Take a fearless moral inventory of your sins, weaknesses and imperfections in light of God’s perfect holiness.

Day Three: Rest in His grace. Where is the peace and security in this passage, or if you don’t see it in this passage, then in your knowledge of God’s larger plan of redemption and Christ’s work?

Day Four: Receive His instruction. What is God teaching you in this passage? What would He have you think or do differently as a result?

Day Five: Do what He says. Read the passage one last time, and then devote this day to reflecting on and praying over your devotional meditations throughout the week. Praise God in prayer. Confess your sins. Celebrate Christ’s redemptive work. Pray through your action steps from day four. Ask the Holy Spirit to transform you and bless your efforts to live out what you’ve learned.”

If anyone does this, I would love to hear from you. I hope to be sharing some of the things I have learned as I’ve read and studied and answered the 4 questions.

 

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I’m a sucker for the Clinique gift-with-purchase promotions. I usually like the little make-up bag designs and the “freebies” inside as well. This time I bought so much product that I received two bags…same design in different colors…one warm…one cool.

I thought I would try both, but, truthfully, the colors inside one flatter me more than the colors inside the other. They just work for me, because I was made to wear those colors. I can wear the other, but they really don’t look good on me—they clash with who I was designed to be.

Try as I might…they just aren’t gonna work.

Have you ever been discontent with the way God made you….or the unique plan He has for your life?

I have.

In my discontent, I tried all sorts of ways to make my life and myself the way I wanted it/myself to look.

It all started with someone telling me that there was something wrong with me—actually wrong with the life I had been given…the hand I had been dealt.

At a very young age someone told me I was ugly.

And since then, the enemy, sometimes using people, has told me all kinds of things, either by innuendo or blatant remark, about how I should be discontent with myself—my life…

Perhaps because it doesn’t look like their own [better] life?

I’m not talking about being content to live a life of sin or lacking character…we should never be content to live there.

I am talking about getting rid of those very things that God may be using to lead us, and even others, to Himself to reveal more of His truth—Himself— to give us a heart that longs to be His own.

I am talking about being different than, not better than…because, ultimately, who does not have anything that has not been given him?

I have a friend who once got kicked out of a dance class because she kept looking at everyone else’s feet!

I’ve blogged about the mocking bird who sings everyone else’s song but his own.

This week I am being challenged with the temptation to look at other people’s feet… of fearing to sing my own song…of opening the bag with the wrong colors for me in it…. in order to fit in…to belong.

Deep within I know it is a trap.

And I am determined to believe that My God has a PERFECT plan for MY life…and it is GOOD!

I will dance the dance and sing the song and wear the colors He has uniquely chosen for me because, in the end, it’s not about you or me, is it?

Here I am, Lord; use me just as I am, for your glory!


For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.” Jeremiah 29:11, Amp.

 

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“…I am so grateful that thorns have roses” —Alphonse Karr

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So tempted to bite into forbidden fruit [thinking I know the difference between what is good and evil for my life] while I wait for Him to show up this morning…I’ve left some teeth marks, but I am choosing not to swallow the lie. He will come, because He has promised to!

 call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.—The message found in Psalm 50:15

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In light of Robin Williams taking his life this month and David Wong’s thoughts about Why Funny People Kill Themselves that I have placed at the bottom of this post, I am reminded that it is not only funny people who build a straw man in order to garner attention and acceptance from others— with the outcome ultimately leading to death…

It is, at one time or another, all of us!

Anytime my time and energy—my life—consists of propping up my significance with anything other than Christ, I am inadvertently committing spiritual suicide. 

It takes courage and trust to be willing to be stripped of all that I have placed my identity and value in: status, wealth, beauty, success, charisma, my good deeds, giftedness, industry, intelligence, influential friends [sometimes having any friends at all], preferred earthly heritage, popularity—the admiration and affirmation and respect of the world or the church, or sometimes even family—in order to find the truly satisfying Life that every human soul longs for.

As A.W. Tozer says, “I may have those things, but I do not possess them.” I don’t possess them, and they don’t possess me. I live unaffected by whether I have them or not because I realize that, if I do have any of those things, it is only because God gave them to me, and they are to be used by Him for His glory.

Because they are arbitrary and not eternal, they do not ultimately define me, so having them or not having them should be of no concern to me.

When I live this way: stripped, naked, bare—I have nothing to lose except, perhaps, peoples’ approval, which Proverbs 29:25 tells me, if sought after, “will prove to be a snare.” 

God loves me, and it doesn’t matter what man thinks of me; it’s what God knows about me that really matters.

I am not saying it is easy to live this way; it is atypical of human nature. It takes “a different Spirit than this world has to offer” [Willam Gurnall] to see you though.

It takes taking stock of what you have placed your trust in and a willingness to have everything you have depended upon apart from Christ to be revealed and either totally stripped away from you or at least put in it’s proper place.

It is not an overnight success story; it is a process.

It comes not by introspection but by revelation with an invitation.

It is not a trying; it is a surrendering—a dying—to self and self’s agenda.

It is not without pain; it is having to look the shame and embarrassment the world tries to brand you with squarely in the face and reminding yourself to just say “no.”

But it is all your soul and my soul and Robin Williams’ soul ever really wanted!

Because when you do manage to lay it all down and say “yes” to your all-wise creator Who gives and takes away…..and wait…He shows up at just the right time to fill the void …and you receive and experience His LIFE!

The one you were created for…

You embody the Person that, deep in your soul, you have always longed for.

You have begun to learn to live in Christ alone…and

He is enough!

And although those of us who have said “yes” to being enrolled in this School of Christ under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit are in different stages of our education, we are all learning to taste and see that He [His Life] is good…much much much better than the straw man we are leaving behind!

It seems that Robin Williams’ final message to us was that he wanted a different life than the one he had, and I am so sad to think that perhaps no one ever told him that he could have a different life both here and in eternity—the abundant life that is to be found, not in the final act of ultimate control—the taking of one’s own life—but in the letting go—the surrendering of one’s life to Christ, Who is … the Life!


“I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”  —The Message found in John 10:10

“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.  The Message found in John 12:24-25 

“For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”  —The Message found in Philippians 3:8

“Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” —The Message found in Galatians 2:20


—  From David Wong’s “Robin Williams and Why Funny People Kill Themselves,” on Cracked.

“1. At an early age, you start hating yourself. Often it’s because you were abused, or just grew up in a broken home, or were rejected socially, or maybe you were just weird or fat or … whatever. You’re not like the other kids, the other kids don’t seem to like you, and you can usually detect that by age 5 or so.

2. At some point, usually at a very young age, you did something that got a laugh from the room. You made a joke or fell down or farted, and you realized for the first time that you could get a positive reaction that way. Not genuine love or affection, mind you, just a reaction — one that is a step up from hatred and a thousand steps up from invisibility. One you could control.

3. You soon learned that being funny builds a perfect, impenetrable wall around you — a buffer that keeps anyone from getting too close and realizing how much you suck. The more you hate yourself, the stronger you need to make the barrier and the further you have to push people away. In other words, the better you have to be at comedy.

4. In your formative years, you wind up creating a second, false you — a clown that can go out and represent you, outside the barrier. The clown is always joking, always “on,” always drawing all of the attention in order to prevent anyone from poking away at the barrier and finding the real person behind it. The clown is the life of the party, the classroom joker, the guy up on stage — as different from the “real” you as possible. Again, the goal is to create distance.You do it because if people hate the clown, who cares? That’s not the real you. So you’re protected.

But the side effect is that if people love the clown … well, you know the truth. You know how different it’d be if they met the real you.”