He Came to Me and Gave Me Himself


GodReflection: Does God Care Specifically About Me?

 But God demonstrated his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, [He] died for us (Romans 5:8).

gary portraitConfession Time:

I have never approached another human being with the proposal, “I see you are weighed down with a huge burden called life. If you will give it all to me I will carry it for you. You need not worry yourself any longer.”

Flash Back:

I was already several years into cross-cultural church plants prior to enrollment into a World Religions course.

The big eye opener was to see that every religion known to humankind—with one exception—are all “to do” religions that require sacrifices and offerings IN EXCHANGE FOR hopeful salvation.

The Exception:

He16In Holy Scripture God came to me free of charge. He did not bring a list to fulfill for salvation.

He came to communicate from His heart, “I see you are weighed down with a huge burden called life. If you will give it all to me I will carry it for you. You need not worry yourself any longer.”

This is a Holy-Reality thought. It should stop me dead in my tracks about every fifth step. Its truth is so grand that it verges on the too good to be true.

The idea that God comes to me goes against lifetime bombardments of “to does to be save.”

“Hey God, I’m over here. Just a minute and I will read from my Bible, make a promise to do better, attend a church activity, or send some money to a good cause.”

I cringe when I find myself chasing God to get His attention.

He14In stark contrast Scripture shows me a God who ran to receive a lost son (Luke 15:20).

He is a God whose highest priority is to seek and to save any individual—including me—who is lost (Luke 19:10).

The same Jesus who declared Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father (John 14:9), demonstrates a Holy God who sought out and dined with abused women, dishonest business people, lepers, and those with every imaginable sin.

He came to them with outstretched hands just as He came to me and to you.

He is the God who pursues, who hunts, who seeks, who invites, who looks. He is the one who comes. He is the Holy Aggressor.

I worship a God who did the unthinkable.

From His Holy vantage point in the Throne room—after His creation lived in chronic unfaithfulness throughout thousands of years—He determined the time had come to act.

He12He would come to earth, seek out, and walk with any human being who would join their heart to His. He came to me.

He would come to give Himself—through Jesus His Son—who:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind (John 1:1-4) who became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).

Ok, I’ll readily admit this next thought is beyond my pay scale.

He15He not only came to me but, he took every sin, misstep, and mistake I will ever make, and died in my place so that I would not have to pass through eternal death.

He came to me so that I can be raised like Jesus to live eternally in the presence of the Holy.

As I seek God’s reassurance that He care specifically about me, I now add a third brickGod came to me—and brick four—He gave me Himself.  

So, here is my third and fourth of twelve steps to help me become less of an “earthoholic” and more addicted to the Holy.

Will you believe that you are in God’s direct line of sight? He comes to you because He gave Himself for you.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: He Came to Me and Gave Himself for Me.

Gary@Godreflection.org 

www.GodReflection.org

www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

 

I Am His Prized Possession


GodReflection: Does God Care Specifically About Me?

gary portraitMy baseball card collection from the 1950’s Topp’s Chewing Gum Company of New York had them all.

The rookie cards of the New York Yankees’ Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra, the St. Louis Cardinals’ Stan Musial, the Giants’ Willie Mays, the prized1Cubs’ Ernie Banks and the Braves’ Hank Aaron.

It was my prized collection. The picture cards of the very best baseball players during the 1950’s decade composed my treasure.

In hindsight, I was posed to experience riches.

Collected from five cent packs of bubblegum with the prize insert of a half-dozen heroes, my prized possession was securely guarded in a cigar box carefully selected from the discards at our corner grocer.

prized3My mistake was to leave my treasure stored in the home garage when I departed for college and later discover it didn’t accompany the family move.

I lost my prized possession. I would never be rich.

Unlike me God never abandons His prize possession. God moves across the face of His globe and His glowing galaxies while He always keeps me—His prized possession—within His loving embrace.

It’s rather audacious to claim to be a prized possession of God, isn’t it?

Care1The neat thing is that Creator God who created an endless universe has a heart equally endless in its capacity to contain every child who gives a heart to Him. Each becomes a distinct prize possession of the Holy.

As I write this it’s the time of the year when I find myself in the Psalms. I am impressed again with the freedom the writers feel to praise, complain and lament. They do so out of deep felt relationship to Holy God. They know Whose they are. They are prized by Creator God.

New Testament writers live on this side of cross. They fully understand what God has done through Jesus, the cross, the resurrection, and the ascension.

prized5The tenor of their message to each individual is simple. Anyone who has placed their heart, their trust, and their hand into the hand of Jesus, receives individual prize possession coverage summarized by Peter the apostle:

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9).

prized6.jpgAs I seek God’s reassurance that He cares specifically about me, I add to the first brick—God placed me on earth for this time and this place—this one: I am His prized possession.

So it is my second of twelve steps to become less of an “earthoholic” and more addicted to the Holy.

That not too hard of a buy-in, is it?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: I Am His Prized Possession

Gary@Godreflection.org
http://www.GodReflection.org
http://www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

 

Did God Put Me on Earth for This Time and Place?


GodReflection: Does God Care Specifically About Me?

gary portraitWhy I am a resident on planet earth is not a question that is high on my list at this point in my walk.

Although, I don’t know that I am absolutely right in my conclusion, I resolved it—at least to my satisfaction—earlier on in my earth journey. When I looked at my Bible I found that God selected rather ordinary people for His assignments.

He always knew them by name and was quite aware of each person’s strengths and weakness. But for each He had an assignment during a time and place in history.

earth10I like to think that I’ve lived with a sense of purpose. I read about God’s assignment for the prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart . . .” (Jeremiah 1:5).

I have a suspicion that God sees each of us in the same light. When we complete His design, and fulfil His expectation He must smile. How He must hurt with disappointment when we determine to go in our own direction and create our own agenda.

When Paul the apostle wrote to the Asian gateway church in the Ephesus, surely, he remembered the Jeremiah scroll as he penned:

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves . . .

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will . . . (Ephesians 1:4-6 & 11).

earth3The best I can tell, the same God who cares specifically for each sparrow and knows the exact number of hairs on my head (Luke12:6-7) placed me where He did at a specific time in history.

That I was born into a certain family and church tribe in the New Mexico desert didn’t catch Him by surprise.

I suspect God set it within my heart to fulfil His purposes in certain locations during the dash that will someday be on my tombstone. It goes without saying that at any point where I’ve been found to aligned with His design; those tasks were carried out in less than stellar fashion.

Paul was familiar with the prophet Isaiah’s description of God as potter and we human types as clay. I like the apostle’s use of the imagery as he describes our feeble attempt to be light over the course of our short walk:

earth4We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Andy Lee, a North Carolina writing friend, on her daily blog, Words by Andy Lee, sums up God’s love for each of us, His awareness and presence with each of us over our time and place walk:

“God hasn’t called us to be a BIG somebody . . . He’s called us to follow Him. Whatever that looks like. He’s called us to make a difference in our part of the world. He’s called us to live with eternal perspective.”

earth7When I take my eyes off of me and look across even my limited horizon of the church, I stand in awe at the variety of people and the powerful way God uses them specifically to touch unlimited corners of our world.

Is this not our God’s specificity at work through each individual at specific times and places across our globe?

Have you considered the possibility that you were placed by God on this earth for this time and this place?. I would love to hear your perspective. What conclusions have you reached?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Did God Put Me on Earth for This Time and Place?

Gary@Godreflection.org
http://www.GodReflection.org
http://www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

Does God Care Specifically About Me?


GodReflection: Does God Care Specifically About Me?

gary portrait4Belief in God accompanied my infancy, childhood, teenage and college years. That belief has grown over my walk like the line on an up and down graph.

It has always been pretty much a given to believe in big picture Creator God.

But, does God the creator care specifically about me–a microscopic spec–in relation to His created earth, oceans and its solar system with an endless canopy of stars and galaxies.

Care1I’ve experienced enough life bumps along my road that sometimes made it seemed more like He was watching stars and galaxies rather than my obstacle course.

Because of my background it wasn’t all that difficult to believe that God cared about mankind in general and more specifically about the body of people who gave Him allegiance.

I can’t prove it, but most likely the very first verse I memorized from my Bible was “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

care6As far back as I can remember, belief in God’s love for all humanity has accompanied me. I would have to admit there seemed certainly to be some exceptions like Booger Red the neighborhood bully.

In my mind, I’ve sometimes thought that the headline villains who accompanied each decade may have acted in ways to project themselves beyond God’s love. However, basically I bought into the pulpit affirmation that God loves all people. Red and yellow, black and white they are precious in His sight.

Ok, God wants salvation for all people but does that camp of millions of saved people receive God’s individual attention?

care11Am I just one of a number or does He care specifically about me and my day to day progress or the lack there of?

Does God know I wear white socks every day and that I part my hair on the right?

Does Father God know how I am dressed this morning? Can He pick me out of earth’s over-crowed billions?

And, within that crowd can I have the confidence that the arms of the Holy embrace me daily to empower my earth walk?

Within His care for the billions does He specifically care about me?

I am an “earthoholic.”

As a descendent of fallen humankind, I have far too much earth soil on my feet and far too little garden perfection in my walk.

care18Over the next series of posts, I want to suggest twelve steps that can raise my confidence level to the point of ardent belief that God does in fact care specifically about me.

I want to become less of an “earthoholic” and more addicted to the Holy.

I hope you will join me and invite others to read over my shoulder in hopes that together we can build our trust in the specificity of God’s care and helpfulness as we each walk along the path of our years on planet earth.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Does God Care Specifically About Me?
Gary@Godreflection.org
http://www.GodReflection.org
http://www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

Inherited Faith, My Bible, The Future


GodReflection: My Bible Doesn’t Read Like Yours

gary portraitAs I close this series of posts I must revisit my childhood faith.

In reflection, just as assuredly as I inherited the color of my skin, my eye color and the rest of my physicals features, I inherited my faith.

Ok, I’ll admit my faith didn’t arrive through DNA but from parents, grandparents, extended family and my tribal church. It was acculturated into my soul.

inherit2My inherited faith came gift wrapped with rich blessings as well as barnacles that tightly grasped the ribbons and bow. In a fallen world that is how acquired faith is passed on.

In addition to their love and accurate teaching, my family and my tribal church held some misguided views they perceived as non-negotiable. Those views came from reading their Bible. As today, the influence of fellow interpreters wrongly shaped how they understood some rather important themes within Holy Scripture.

However, from my inherited faith, I received two huge gifts for which I will always be grateful. I was taught that my Bible was inspired by God and that I should read it as the guide for my walk. Second, I was taught to trust Father God.

inherit5Rooted in those two gifts my current faith grows in the soil of my soul. Inherited faith massaged over a lifetime was foundational to my adult faith. It is a faith I own and a faith the Holy wants to continue to grow in my soul.

It is the very two gifts received from my inherited faith that sustain my current walk. So today I read my Bible with concern for my own understanding and to grow my relationship to the Holy. I no longer read to prove others wrong or to boost my ego by declaration that I am right while others have it wrong.

It is from a consistent encounter with my Bible and the effort—as feeble as it may be—to apply its principles and teaching to my daily walk that I grow step by step in greater trust of God, Jesus and Spirit.

inherit14What about the future?

I find that the way I read my Bible has everything to do with my future.

As I move forward I think of at least seven guidelines I want printed on the lens of my glasses as I read:

1. I want to read my Bible with greater confidence. Confident that little by little the words of Holy Scripture will transform my life in small increments to reflect more Jesus in my walk.

2. I want to read with the realization that my Bible is a conversation between God and me. Our conversation is personal. I read to grow trust and to allow Him to form me and my heart for the next reality.

3. I want to read for service. My faith walk on earth will affect how I treat everyone who crosses my path. So, I want to read my Bible for insight into how I can be used by the Spirit for more effective witness.

inherit004. I want to read my Bible with full awareness that I still have an enormous need for growth. I find that I yet need major Spirit-filled help to see my patience fruit turn from tree-green to a ripe fruit of the Spirit. The over expectation of this baby boomer in an ill-trained public sector is a constant reminder of how far I have to grow.

5. I want to read my Bible with full consciousness of my Adamic-nature. I interpret that to mean I want to read to cultivate humility and more of a non-judgement spirit toward others. Even on my best days I am far from faultless performance. Which moves me to my next point.

6. I want to read my Bible with increased acceptance and expectation of the Holy’s cleansing grace on my behalf. Even after a lifetime, it is still hard to grasp fully that my salvation and daily forgiveness stands on the reality of what Jesus has done. It is a free gift given to me that thrilled heaven when I accepted it.

7. I want to read my Bible with anticipation of the final resurrection. It has never been closer. One of two thing will happen. The finish line of my earth-walk is not too distant. Either, I will cross and wait in timelessness the return of Jesus or He will break into our currently reality and culminate earth into Eternal Holy Presence.

inherit8Has any portion of your faith come by way of inheritance? If so, how does that color the way you read your Bible? Does your present Bible reading challenge both your inherited and your current faith?

What seven themes would you identify to shape how you will read your own Bible from this point forward? I would love to hear your insights.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Inherited Faith, My Bible, The Future

Gary@GodReflection.org        http://www.GodReflection.org    http://www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com

Does My Gender Effect My Bible?


GodReflection: My Bible Doesn’t Read Like Yours

Gary 2015It didn’t take too many steps on God’s planet earth to discover that I didn’t understand the opposite sex.

Apparently, I am not the only one without a clue.

In 1992, John Gray’s book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus went viral with eventual sales of over 50 million copies. It’s easy to see that the book struck a nerve.

gender1Over the 286 pages Gray explores differences between males and females in the way they deal with emotions and ways they interpret the world and each other.

Here is what I think. (Excuse my generalities.)

We impose this same contrast of gender viewpoint when we read our Bible.

I don’t understand all of the “whys and wherefores” but I suggest women are more warm and sensitive than men. They just seem equipped for the mission of care and nurture—given they weren’t robbed of their compassion by evil-others.

gender4Their hearts must understand in greater depth the abundance of Bible accounts of women who placed their trust in the Holy.

I suspect my female counterparts read the Bible accounts of barren women of faith with an increased empathy that we males cannot generate.

As residents of a male dominated world and as members of a male dominated church, Christian women read Paul’s words from Ephesians three:

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

My guess is many women see in Paul’s summation greater freedom in Christ than their Christian brothers find comfortable.

grnder7Now for us males.

My observation is that men are more dominant and arrogant than their female counterparts.

Against opponents, males are “sock it to them” and “grind them into the ground” warriors. When men speak everyone must listen.

And so, we open our Bible.

If we are not careful, we guys tend to read our Bible with a spirit of dominance. From far too many of our pulpits and lecterns flow the male proclamations of “see it my way”.

Our Bible sets out to tell the story of God. That alone should call me to respect its incalculable depths. It would surprise every one of us if we could see the myriad of nuanced interpretations taken from our Bible due to gender viewpoints.

Could it be that we forget the Genesis 1:27 account where BOTH male and female were created in the image of God? Perhaps I need to remind myself that men and women are equal and designed by God to complement each other as The Holy’s Creation.

gender2What if I make it a point to listen more closely to the texture brought by feminine voices to enhance my own Biblical interpretation? I suspect my male-gender only viewpoint of my Bible results in less than a complete reading.

Rather than create division over what might at first seem to be a conflict of viewpoints, could it be that we need both gender viewpoints to gain a fuller insight into our Bible?

I would love to hear your own insights into the subject matter of this post—especially from the feminine voice.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Does My Gender Effect My Bible?

Gary@GodReflection.org     http://www.GodReflection.org    http://www.MakeYourVisionGoVital.com

Do My Feelings Cause Me to Read My Bible Differently?


GodReflection: My Bible Doesn’t Read Like Yours

gary portrait4When it comes to self-deception we humans are at the top of our game. The “way I feel” fuels the ease with which I can deceive myself.

Unfortunately, there are times when I approach my Bible—fueled by preconceived feelings—in search of what I want to hear.

There are also occasions when I am faced with one of life’s intense challenges and my feelings color everything I do and read—even my Bible.

In some cases, my feelings generate questionable to wrong interpretations of anything I read—Bible included—while in other instances intense feelings may cause me to see more clearly.

feel3Why the difference?

We human types were wired perfectly by the Creator to feel at a Holy level. Humankind experienced perfection with the emotion of feeling. All was good.

Enters Satan.

He messed with God’s electrical work and here I am in Century 21 as I confront each day with multiple attempts to deal with Satan’s consequences.

So, I find my feelings flavored with my biases and the baggage I’ve accumulated over my life-walk and by my current season in life.

Since we are all scorched by the Satanic short-circuit, life’s circumstances cause each of us to approach our Bible with different feelings and with varied degrees of feel24intensity.

Those who encounter trauma, illness and loss often find comfort and insights that fail to appear in the same Bible of those who seem to walk in green meadows and sunshine. 

When my life faces intense stress, the burden of healthcare for a family member or encounters with the valley of death, my feelings associated with each experience shades what I discover in Holy Scripture.

What does all of this have to do with the way I read my Bible?

feel11There is a sense that my Bible was written just for me. Therefore, I should never be afraid to bring any and every emotion I have to the Holy Scripture.

 

Since God understands me better than I understand myself His love for me stands firm no matter how my feelings influence what I take away from my open Bible.

Regardless of the diverse feelings I bring to my Bible, my responsibility remains the same–to seek the heart of the Holy and to demonstrate that very same heart to every person I deal with throughout my day. 

feel8At the same time, I hope to learn to become more tolerant with what others discover in their own Bible as they bring their own ever-changing feelings to its pages. 

Any chance we might all be more tolerant of each other as together we worship and serve the God who lovingly embraces us even with all of our weakness that we express through our feelings? 

 

Stay tuned. 

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Do My Feelings Cause Me to Read my Bible Differently?

 

Gary@GodReflection.org   

www.GodReflection.org   www.MakeYourVisionGoVital.com