11 October 2011

The journey continues, it's just not being journaled here . . .

Check out what's happening in regular updates on Conversations@Intersections, a Jill Shaw blog about conversations, interactions, relationships, with a bit of humour, philosophy, technology and other stuff thrown in for now extra charge.

Find Cheryl Belding at her own blog In the Life of a Busy Woman
and Shanda Oakley at her blog A Pause on the Path

Follow, Friend or link in with these women for regular input as they journal real life faith in real life families and contexts. From Louisville to LA, incarnational, intentional and integral faith defines these women.

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29 October 2010

My Rock


Yesterday my sister and I went on an incredible beautiful gorilla hike up a mountain with an inactive volcano. It was lush, scenic, covered in large ferns and bamboo forests. Half way up the mountain we came up on a gorilla family and were able to spend one hour watching these incredible, almost instinct animals. A day spent just in nature, experiencing the ache of memories of the past; the quietness and beauty of the bush.
I’m in Rwanda, the “country of 1000 hills”. The country is small with one hill/mountain after another popping up into view. They are steep and have gardens and houses on almost every square foot of land. To the naked eye, the ground appears so unstable that a good rain would wash every house and plant into the valley.
Memories of Costa Rica come to mind. When the earthquakes would violently shake the ground, pictures would fall of the walls and dishes crash to the ground. Even so, my house was built to withstand these quakes and the house remained intact.
Sometimes I feel life is like an earthquake. The ground underneath me is shaking, and constantly changing. I move. I make friends. I move again. I leave behind those friends. My children are growing up and moving on. I have to find my place in life all over again. I am not longer a stranger living in a foreign land, but a stranger living in my own country. At times the ground beneath me is shaking so suddenly that I almost lose my balance and fall.
But I don’t, because I have built my life on the solid Rock. And there is no rock like my God. Sometimes I think I am falling but when the ground stops shaking, I am always left standing.
If someone were to ask me to define God I would say He is my sure foundation, the ground that never moves. Life changes. I lose my security. My friends, family and even my church may fail me. But Jesus never fails. He never changes. That is all I have to cling to.
We moved to Changuinola, Panama just after the earthquake of April 22, 1991. I heard the story of a mother and her two children. When the earthquake occurred, the ground opened up beneath the feet of her children and they fell in. She managed to pull one child to safety. But as she was reaching for the hand of her second child, the ground shifted again and the earth swallowed up her child.
I won’t be swallowed up! I am building my house on the solid rock. God will have victory through my fragility and my weakness, through my insecurities and search to find myself.
I love 1 Cor. 15:54 “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where O death is your victory? Where O death is your sting? But thanks be to God. He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord. Because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Even though one day the earth will cover my earthly body, I have victory. There is no Rock like my God!

21 May 2008

Search Me, O God

The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord,
searching all the inward parts of the belly.

---Proverbs 20:27

My sixteen year old daughter hasn't felt her best the past few days. One of her eyes was unusually sensitive and tender. The following morning there was swelling and a painful lump on the edge of her eyelid. After self-diagnosing her with a sty, I made a call to our family doctor.

Form a picture of God walking through your body, your personality, your heart. Imagine Him using the Spirit as his candle of light shining it in the dark, sensitive, and painful areas of your heart.
"It is not frightening that God desires to straighten, inform and correct for our good because it's also to comfort and encourage us. As we believe that he really does love us, then we can begin to pray heartily..." ---Dallas Willard
My goal is to cooperate with God and respond, "Lord, bring Your light on any area of my life. Examine me, please, and see if there is anything I need to correct. Guide me, Lord, to find out what is wrong and amend my heart."

Dr. Chad, our family doctor, is a trusted friend. When he examines my daughter's physical condition this afternoon, I have no doubt he'll have her best intentions in his care and diagnosis. How much more can we invite our Heavenly Father's diagnosis to straighten and inform us for our good. Psalm 139 says has this to say about His watchful care over us...

"...you have searched me and you know me....you
hem me in—behind and before...you have laid your hand upon me..."

and with my heart I cry...

"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know
my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting."
verses 1, 5, 23, 24

"Bring the light of the candle of the Lord to bear upon my life, please."

15 May 2008

Ponder. Choose. Live.

This is not naval gazing so much as it is an approach to living intentionally, the life God created you, as an individual, to live.
Ponder. Choose. Live.

What do I want to be remembered for?

What do I want to be doing 10 years from now?

Am I living a balanced life? Should I be?

What elements of my life deserve more time?

Is my life/heart most comparable to good, rocky, cluttered or hard soil?

What can I begin to do today to cultivate a heart God can use?

My areas of special interest are...

My areas of passion are...

My gifts & abilities...

What are my primary motives for serving God?

Which of my ministry experiences have been most fruitful/fulfilling?

If I could do anything -no limiting factors - I would...

IMAGE: Julia Lucich www.landingpartygallery.com

13 May 2008

Religious or Intimate?

We can be a religious people and not be a spiritual people.
I daresay, many Christians are acquiring greater proficiency, but not deeper intimacy.

07 May 2008

Cheryl writes a Diagnosis

....A lot of us are doing Christianity at a putt-putt level.

We want to be forgiven without following Jesus.

We're afraid to follow Jesus, because then we'd have to die and rise with him. We'd have to mortify our old self with its "fondest lusts," as Jonathan Edwards described them. Then we'd have to vivify Jesus' excellent virtues in their place. The truth is, we're mildly attracted to his virtues, but we're strongly attracted to our vices. We wouldn't like to lose them because they please us, and the prospect of a significant life with Jesus doesn't so much. Do we expect a new Christian life will just happen without our having to make inconvenient changes in how we live Monday to Sunday? If so, we are like people who want to be solvent and who also max out their credit cards. Or people who want to be sexually pure and who also bookmark porn sites. Or people who want to speak Japanese without all the tiresome study that's normally required.

Here's Willard's devastating summary:

The general human failing is to want what is right and important, but at the same time not to commit to the kind of life that will produce the action we know to be right and the condition we want to enjoy. This is the feature of human character that explains why the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

See Cheryl's In the Life of a Busy Woman