Category Archives: About God

Overweight Because Of A Sword

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Traveling can be a stressful undertaking. I don’t fly that often, so I definitely am not accustomed to all of the stresses and mild inconveniences that go along with it. And there are so many. Add that to the normal anxiety I have commuting anywhere in a desire to not be late, which means 15 minutes early.  

 

First there is just getting there. “They” suggest you get there a minimum of an hour before your flight, which means living in Southern California I need to leave my house about 3 hours before my flight.

 

Next is checking in my bag and checking in. This is only a concern for me because I have that panic as the computer is processing my request wondering to myself, “Am I sure I purchased the ticket? Did I write the time and/or day wrong? Am I at the right airport? Did I forget anything? What if it’s cold? What if it’s too hot? What if my ID is expired and I didn’t realize it? Did I lock the front door? Did I lock the back door? Is the turtle going to be ok? Did I forget…ok I’m checked in.”

 

Yes, just about all that goes through my head in the 15-25 seconds it takes the computer to locate my reservation.

 

Third is going through security. Having your boarding pass and ID in one hand, backpack over the shoulder, put the wallet back, put the ID back, take off my shoes, take out my phone, take out my laptop if I have one. And now being a dad I need to help my kids with all their stuff too as well as make sure no one is trying to kidnap them. Walk them through, good, shoes back on, backpacks back on, don’t drop my boarding pass, and now find my gate.

 

Didn’t even leave my home state yet, but time for lunch and I can breathe for a second. Unless I’m flying Southwest and the cattle call starts.

 

Well, this trip was manageable and the minor stress happened at the check in of our bags. The luggage for my wife and I was three pounds overweight, but our kids’ luggage was under weight by about five pounds. I asked if I could move some stuff over to our kids’ luggage, and the attendant said I could try.

 

So I opened up our luggage, took a quick survey, and my wife’s Bible-for-leaders looked to be of significant weight. Switched it to the other suitcase and both were under weight with room to spare. Checked in, told my wife, and had a little laugh.

 

Gosh, where to start on the symbolism of that? So many places to go: the weight of God’s word is heavy; the sword to battle your spiritual enemies is heavy; the blessings of God are so abundant you are going to be overweight.

 

But only if you carry the sword, only if you know and believe what God’s word says and use it to build a relationship with Him, only if you seek to draw close to Him. Just like a sword or any other weapon, it is only useful if you know all the parts, and know how to use it.

 

I have carried my Bible a lot of places. I didn’t always let it affect me. I would read it because that was what I was supposed to do because I called myself a Christian. I still don’t know it as well as I should or as well as I would like.

 

I went to church because I was a Christian.

 

I went to Bible study during the week because I was a Christian.

 

I prayed for forgiveness of my sins and that God heal my sick friends or family because I was a Christian.

 

But the weight of God’s word only slightly became part of my life. There were times in my life God played a significant role even when I was not close to Him. That’s how much God loves me, and you (“but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8).

 

I didn’t have to clean up before He decided to save me. He did that anyway AND still gave me the choice to follow Him. And choice is also a key word here. I know there is the idea among some non-Christians that they don’t want to become Christians because it means they won’t get to do what they want, or God is trying to control them. Just so not true. God wants the best for you and every day you have the choice to choose to follow Him or not.

 

End of story

 

The last few years I have drawn closer to Him, tried to understand His will and plan more, surrendered control of my life over to Him more, and have tried to listen to Him more in prayer instead of listing off my demands to give Him my love. I have been learning and trying to let His love be what fills me and controls me more than the love for myself and what I want to do with my life. He has a plan for good things in my life, so why would I try and get in the way of that?

 

It is hard to surrender and let a book thousands of years old full of crazy stories be what guides my decisions on huge issues like where to go to college, who to marry, what job I take, or how I spend my money. But it is a book full of meaning behind the simplest of words, and some of those stories are people acting in great faith at the direction of a mysterious God, who they could only call Yaweh.

 

But that name was enough.

 

God is enough.

 

I love reading my Bible and recently got a journal-Bible that has room to write in the margins, but I am silly because I feel like if I write something in it the idea has to be profound. It has to be worth writing down to sully the beautiful, clean lines of my journal-Bible.

 

I purposefully didn’t carry my Bible for this trip, but I have my Bible app. I didn’t want to have to carry it either in my carry on or my luggage. I anticipated the weight of God’s word to be too much for me to handle.

 

And it is. God’s love and grace is too heavy for me to manage all at once.

 

The weight of God’s word can withstand if I make mistakes writing out what God says to me. God’s word can withstand you and I wrestling and working out of our faith in flesh and blood. The weight of God’s word can carry you through the circumstances of life you find yourself in. Maybe not right away or the way you want Him to, but He will carry you.

 

I hope the weight of the word, the weight of the sword of Jesus finds you. I hope it strikes your soul and impacts your heart. Not only because you need it, but because I want you to know what blessings from God feel like. The weight of His word can free you from whatever chains you feel are weighing you down. I pray His word impacts your life.

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Glancing At God Through A Peephole

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I am a huge hockey fan, and I have played a little bit in a couple of beer-leagues, I mean, adult recreational leagues where only water or sports drinks are consumed, the last couple of years.  When my wife and I were dating she made me learn how to play for my own good. Why wouldn’t I? I love the sport, and have followed the NHL for a long time, learn to play it. She’s the doer; if left alone I would just dream about it forever.  So I got skates, pads, sticks, and signed up for a clinic. I wasn’t too bad, but I still can’t skate backwards and have “tripped” over the blue line on a breakaway, or two. I stopped playing in part because of kids, but it gave me a glimpse of what it was like to play the game I love so much, which is enough at this point in my life.

 

But it was only a glimpse, an impression.  I have no idea what it’s like to be a pro, ride the bus or charter plane, have a team trainer take care of all of my stuff, get slammed into the boards, or take a 90 mile per hour slap shot to the foot, ankle, or face.

 

That’s how some people experience God.  Maybe they went to church once. It may have been a good experience, but it didn’t change them, but they’re not rushing to go back anytime soon.  Maybe they even went to a Christian or Catholic school as a kid, but it was only because their parents made them. There are the unfortunate examples where they had a bad experience with someone who claimed to be a Christian, took advantage of the situation or their position, and it left them with scars of how God is.

 

Whatever the case may be, the picture they have of God may not be clear, and it is not because they have looked into it.  They just have that one glimpse or view and have decided that they understand God and He’s not for them. Unfortunately, you can only convey an idea so much before someone has to experience it for themselves.  They have to choose to investigate and look into the situation on their own, and they have to want to do it.

 

You may have heard of Jesus, but you don’t know Jesus until you experience Jesus, which is just like any relationship with anyone else you know.  You don’t know Jesus until you talk to Him, and you stop and actually try to listen to Him (it wouldn’t be much of a relationship if you were the only one talking).  You may have heard of how He works from other people, but you don’t know Him until He has moved in your life, until you have experienced His hand working out for the good in your life.

 

It is interesting, to say the least, when you hear a false claim about a topic you personally know about.  Maybe you don’t know a great deal about it, but you know enough that what you just heard was wrong. You can refute it the best you can, but the people spreading false information have to decide, willingly, that they are going to be open to a different point of view other than their own.

 

That’s not always easy, and the change doesn’t happen immediately.  Nor do people, typically, want to hear another point of view, because that would mean that they are wrong, or just that what they thought was the truth wasn’t.  And that always goes over well, right??

 

The easiest thing I can do is point to my life as evidence of what God is like.  I am certainly not perfect, which is why I am a good example. God’s work is progressive.  I am a work in progress and far from a masterpiece.

 

For a long time, I thought God was a vengeful God, just wanting to catch me in the wrong.  So I would sin, as we all do, and then ask for forgiveness, and try to repent. Then sin, ask for forgiveness, try to repent, and repeat.  Over and over again.

 

And get tired.  Because I was trying to do it on my own.  I was not resting in His power to take away my temptation to sin.

 

That would always make me pray and ask for salvation over and over again to make sure I could actually call myself a Christian.  I was worried I could lose my salvation.

 

But God isn’t keeping score.  He isn’t counting up all the wrongs I have done to use against me later.  Because of salvation, I am forgiven, my sins are forgotten, and I am made clean.  I will need to stand before God and account for my sins, but the blood of Jesus has washed away the consequence I would have faced.

 

The true picture of God is that He wants me to be free.  He wants the weight, the guilt, the shame, and the pain of sin to be taken away from me.  This way I am able to be free, free to do His work of serving others and sharing His word, free to share the story of the freedom I have been given.

 

To define God’s plan as salvation and forgiveness so that we can have eternal life with Him, “fire insurance”, is just so narrow of a view of God and His plan.  It is like looking at God through a peephole.

 

Now, I don’t love God because of what I get from God.  I love God for what He has already given me. And He wants to give me so much more.  He wants to give you so much more. He wants to give you life abundantly and eternally.

 

I cannot even give you a full view of God.  I am still learning about what He is like every day.  What I do know of God is His grace, peace, love, mercy, and abundant life.

 

I don’t know your circumstances, but there is abundant life waiting for you.  I know the world may not look like it is possible for you to have abundant life, but it is with God.  The promise of salvation and forgiveness of your sins is just the beginning.

 

There are days I still wrestle with my human self.  I see what is going on in the world, and I cannot understand how or why what is happening is allowed to happen.  So I pray. I had to stop working the other day and fall to my knees and pray. I had to surrender my anger to God and be reminded that He has a greater plan.  Then I felt His calm.

 

I still get angry, but I pray and ask for His peace.  Because I know there is a bigger view. There is a wider lens to see God through, and I know the lens I am using is not wide enough still.  It is getting wider, though, as I spend time reading about His power, His goodness, His purpose, and His plan for my life.

 

I just look forward, though, to when I can see Him face to face, without a filter.

 

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