Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Chasing the dragon

I am reading a truly profound book written by and about Jackie Pullinger called “Chasing the Dragon.”

My pastor Lynne gave the book to me, out of the God blue, and it gave me goose bumps because the name of my War College year is Dragon Slayers!

I deeply identify with Jackie, which confused me at first, because we come from different countries (her England and me Canada) we are being called in two different decades (her the 1960s me the 2010s), two different religious backgrounds (her Catholic, and mine Dutch Christian Reformed), we have very different life experiences (she being a bit of a goody two-shoes and me not so much) also I have lived in different cities, countries, done YWAM and other mission work, my understanding of God, Jesus and the Spirit is different, and she is called to Hong Kong and I feel that I am called to urban Canada, Victoria to be specific. Despite all these differences as I started to read her story, I felt a deep spirit and soul connection with this woman. As I was describing this to Lynne she said something along the lines that you both have the same heart, you want to be used by God. This hit the nail on the head!

As I read Jackie’s story I see my heart in her, this is a great honour as she is an incredible lover of Jesus and people and I pray that I will some day be able to live the life of love that she has. As I read the truly miraculous ways God works in and through her life, I can feel my spirit crying “I want to be a part of that, I want what she has, and I want to be used by God.” My hunger for God is increasing; my deep longing for His love and power to flow into and out of me is increasing. I read how God provides for her every need in incredible ways, how He heals people from addictions and all kinds of diseases, how He loves people through this women, how He draw the most unlikely people to Himself, and how He teacher and shapes her and I think “there is no reason He can’t do that in and through my life!” Jackie’s story is encouraging and challenging me to ask for, reach for, and live for all that God has promised us, which is an ABUNDANT life, I do not want to settle for anything less then EVERYTHING! I will live life to the FULLEST, because anything else would be a waste, and disregarding the sacrifice Jesus made to give us the full and abundant life!

I am finding this book to be incredibly edifying, I encourage you all to read it, but more than that I encourage you all to find books about real people who are living their lives in love with Jesus, because they will encourage you and challenge you in your own walk of faith.

What are some book about people that you have read that have encouraged and challenged you?

Monday, 16 May 2011

I don't want to be a hypocrite, because they arn't hip with it!

After listening to sermon on Sunday I have been meditating on my “posture” as Christian. I have not been mediating on if I am or am not sitting up straight in the pew! I do have one or two better things to think about. Ok so getting that silliness out of the, what does “posture” mean?
Looking in the dictionary you will read:
 pos·ture  (pschr) n.
1.  a. A position of the body or of body parts: a sitting posture. b. An attitude; a pose: assumed a posture of angry defiance.
2. A characteristic way of bearing one's body; carriage: stood with good posture.
3. Relative placement or arrangement: the posture of the buildings on the land.
4. A stance or disposition with regard to something: "Those bases are essential to our military posture in the Middle East" (Gerard Smith).
5. A frame of mind affecting one's thoughts or behavior; an overall attitude.
Not terribly helpful. Number 5 is the only one that gives us any insight. One of the definitions that the speaker gave on Sunday was “posture is what we believe and how we behave and act.”
As a Christian I believe certain things, such as all human life is valuable because we are all created by God and made in His image. That is my “thinking” or “belief” part of my Christian posture. The part I have been mediating on is the behaviour or action part. It is one thing for me to believe something but it is quite another thing for me to act out that belief.
The other part of this mediation has been on my words, which are essentially my thoughts spoken out (not all of them as that would be both overwhelming and at times disturbing). I can say and think many things, such as that I need to love my neighbour as love myself. I both think and say that this is truth; I believe that as follower of Jesus I should actively love people around me. Do I behave or act this out? Sometimes, but to be honest not even half the time. I more often than not get angry rather than be patient, I am rude rather than kind, I am rough rather than gentle, and the list goes on and on! Oh gosh!
I need to be putting my actions where my mouth is! I can talk the talk but do I walk I walk the walk? The honest answer is no. I enjoy talking about loving people, debating the ins and outs and pointing fingers. But to be honest I do not always enjoy loving people. This reflection has humbled me.
One of the conclusions I have come to is that I need to shut my mouth more often. Instead of talking about loving people I need to start loving people! This can only be done by the grace of God. I have been praying, and I would really appreciate your prayers. My desire is that I would be like Jesus. I want to love people with more than my words; I want to love them with my actions. I need this transformation to happen because I am not ok with being a hypocrite. Thank Jesus that He is faithful to complete the good works He has begun in me.  Amen!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Mother God?

It is Mothers Day today. In honor of all mothers and women out there I am going to spend a little time reflecting on God as a mother/female.

I know that this topic can be very controversial. This is not going to be an extensive argument; I am only throwing out a few verses and thoughts for you to chew on. Note: that I did not come up with this list on my own, I googled references to God as a mother in the bible, and this is some of what I found.

Please read, and ask God to speak to you, if there is any truth in this may it sink into your hearts and minds and impact your relationship with God in a deeply intimate way.

Female Images of God in the Bible
Genesis Women and Men created in God’s image

“Humankind was created as God's reflection: in the divine image God created them; female and male, God made them." 

Hosea 11:3-4 God described as a mother

God: “Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I who took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them.”

Hosea 13:8 God described as a mother bear

"Like a bear robbed of her cubs, I will attack them and tear them asunder...”

Deuteronomy 32:11-12 God described as a mother eagle

“Like the eagle that stirs up its nest, and hovers over its young, God spreads wings to catch you, and carries you on pinions.”

Deuteronomy 32:18 God who gives birth

“You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.”

Isaiah 66:13 God as a comforting mother

God: “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”

Isaiah 49:15 God compared to a nursing mother

God: “Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”

Isaiah 42:14 God as a woman in labor

God: “For a long time I have held my peace, I have kept myself still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labor, I will gasp and pant.”

Jeremiah 44:25 Queen of Heaven

“Thus says…the God of Israel: You and your wives have accomplished in deeds what you declared in words, ‘We are determined to …make offerings to the queen of heaven and to pour out libations to her.’ By all means, keep your vows and make your libations!”

Psalm131:2 God as a Mother

“But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.”

Psalm 123:2-3 God compared to a woman

“As the eyes of a servant looks to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to you, YHWH, until you show us your mercy!”

Matthew and Luke God as a Mother Hen

Jesus: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!”

Luke 15:8-10 God as woman looking for her lost coin

Jesus: “Or what woman having ten silver coins, is she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Compiled by the Women’s Ordination Conference: http://www.womensordination.org/ - (202) 675-1006 - woc@womensordination.org

When I pray to God I never say Mother God, it is only ever Father God. God has decided to relate to us as a Father and of course Jesus was a male. There are all kinds of practical and cultural reasons for this and ultimately God knows best and has a reason for choosing to relate to us as a male and I am going to accept His decision, because He is GOD!
This being said, God is Spirit (see John ) and therefore God is neither male nor female. I think it is profoundly important to experience God as a Mother, because to only ever experience God as a Father is to miss out on experiencing Him fully. I have not entirely formulated this thought, but I do know that I need to experience God’s love, and since God is love, I need to experience God. I have had glimmers, but I want and need more! Maybe reflecting on God as my Mother will open my heart and mind to aspects of God that I have been missing out on.

What do you think? Is God not only our Heavenly Father but also are Heavenly Mother? If so, then are we missing out on parts of Gods character by limiting God to a male?