Coffee Stains…

March 18, 2011 § 2 Comments

So my attitude has been terrible lately….

Bad attitude about events I needed to attend

Bad attitude about potty training

Bad attitude about cleaning my house

Bad attitude about writing

Bad attitude….I prayed my attitude would not infect others. I believe mostly I kept it between God and I…There was that one morning…My bad attitude infected my kids…I am glad for grace…

And I have stained my clothes with coffee the last two days.

Here is what I realized…My bad attitude lasted as long as I kept to myself. My cave, my cocoon. Yes I need time to myself and I need quiet and I need to think, but God created us for community

My bad attitude feeds on my solitary self-centered meditations. It feeds on my thoughts, my concerns, my disappointments. I flounder in self-pity and continue to pet and primp my bad attitude. I deserve better. I don’t want to do that! Everyone else needs to get with the program.

Then it happens…A friend calls, I enter into her world. I listen to what God is doing in her life, her concerns, her frustrations, her fears. I stop looking only to myself, my frustrations and see there is more out there. I discover that the world does not revolve around me. I find perspective in the middle of my irritation. My frustrations do not dissipate. My attitude doesn’t magically get better. However taking my eyes off of me and placing them on the One who has plans for me changes my heart. Why does it take a friend’s difficulties to draw my eyes to Him? I don’t really know, but one thing I do know.

God created community for this…to draw us out of our self-centered little holes and bad attitudes.

What have you learned through community that you couldn’t learn any other way? I can’t wait to hear!

The Cloud…It Resides in even me!

March 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

So I am reading more about those Israelites and Moses.  There are times when I LONG for the physical manifestation of God’s Spirit that they had.  They were essentially nomads.  They were living in tents and following God every step of the way.  At first they had the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, that was God’s divine guidance for the Israelites.  Then later once the tent of meeting was completed they had this cloud that would hang out inside the holy place on the mercy seat of the ark of the testimony until it was time to move again and then it would hover over the tent of meeting so the Israelites would know it was time to move on.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a physical sign essentially flashing saying, “GO this way and NOW.”  I would certainly have more clarity or at least I think I would.  The bottom line is that even with this physical manifestation of God the Israelites whined, complained, and didn’t trust God.  They didn’t have the type of food they wanted, the land they were to conquer was filled with scary giants, when water was scarce they asked if Moses brought them out to the desert to die…I look at that and I think WHAT were these people doing?  However my reading in Numbers 11 last night finally illuminated it for me…

You see Moses was tired of the Israelites complaining.  He was fed up with their rebellious and stiff-necked ways.  He said to the Lord, “”Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their forefathers? 13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”  Numbers 11:11-15  I LOVE that Moses the man God chose to lead His people, the man who committed murder, the man who has been pouring out his life to lead God’s people, the man who speaks to God face to face could ask God this question.  Let’s think about this, Moses saw the miracles and was the vessel for the plagues to begin and end.  He knew God’s power, he knew God’s strength, he knew God’s sufficiency, and yet he was troubled.

Have you ever been in charge of a group of people?  Your children?  Student council?  A Bible study?  Children you are babysitting?  You may love and care for these people whomever they are, but they begin to moan or won’t listen or are disrespectful.  They begin to be a difficult burden to bear and here Moses tells God I can’t do it alone…Don’t you think God wanted Moses there?  If we could do it all by ourselves it wouldn’t be God in us and it wouldn’t be God through us corporately.  He wants us together doing His business.  Don’t you think this is the picture of Godly community in which God wants us to participate?  (ok the community thing is a side note, but true, we can’t do this Christian life alone.  we have to have a community of believers around us.  we can do more together anyway).

So God tells Moses to call seventy leaders from the people so that God’s spirit will reside in them as well as Moses.  Here is the rub for me.  The Israelites had the physical manifestation of God’s spirit to see, but they didn’t have God’s spirit within them.  Let me say it this way, they didn’t have the indwelling Holy Spirit guiding, directing, changing their hearts.  See the difference.  The Israelites had something they could see, but not abide in.  They had something physical, but not internal.  Once the Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost every person who puts their faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior becomes the mercy seat.  No, they don’t physically see God, but they have a deep abiding relationship with His Spirit.  They can quench the fire of the Spirit, but they can’t lose it.  It is like knowing who the President is as he guides our country.  Following him because he is our elected leader.  Maybe you don’t always like or understand his decisions and maybe you respectfully oppose his leadership, but he is still leader.  Or living in the White House with the president.  Eating breakfast with him chatting about the health care plan over lunch, following through his daily itinerary.  In the first scenario there is no true relationship other than you know who the president is and you know he is leading you.  The second scenario you have a deep abiding relationship.  You go with him wherever he takes you.  It is the same with God.  The cloud of His Spirit is in me!  His guidance and direction are in ME!  He has made his abode or home within me.  I have the opportunity to daily see that Cloud, hourly I can consult that Cloud, every minute He is available to me to rejoice or comfort or guide or direct.  I only have to take the time to do it.

Praise God that He didn’t just leave us with the physical manifestation of His Spirit.  He had better things in store for us.  He had a desire for this deep abiding relationship.  He desires that relationship with you, with me, with Barack Obama, with George Bush, with Sarah Palin,  with Howard Stern.  Isn’t it amazing?  What a God we serve!

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