To My Two Earthly Loves


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Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. – Ephesians 6:18 /NLT

I couldn’t be who I am without the husband God gave me, nor my daughter, and so many others. But will focus on my precious two.

John made me smile the first time I saw him. One of my intuitions was that he was loved well by his parents.

He was.

He passed that love on to me with attention and humor.

Twice he has blindfolded me and taken me on surprise trips!

One of those times he drove around a rotary many times so that I would not know the direction we were going on for our vacation.

The other time, he drove around the city in many directions. It was a crazy ride, then he headed out west.

We ended up in Ruidoso, NM.

He said, “Do you want to spend the night here”?

“Sure,” I replied, Ruidoso being one of my favorite childhood vacation memories.

Ok, it’s actually Taos, New Mexico. Surprise!”

I was thrilled anyway!

Then he responded, “Surprise again! We’re here”!

That’s so John!

There’s so much more I could say about him; the support I’ve received in my life, for my parents, for my siblings, and then in exchange, his accepting my love and his family’s accepting my love as well.

I am also thankful for our daughter.

She’s spunky, asks great questions, is satisfied if we can’t answer them all, a good daughter – but yes, a human daughter and stretches us, as well as a good friend to many and is one of the most loving people I know.

One of my favorite scenes is watching John and MJ interact.

They joke, she accepts his wisdom about life, especially boys – a girl’s best defense – they cook well together, play soccer almost identically and both love God.

It’s a wife and mother’s dream.

Are we perfect? Only by God’s grace, for He has covered much in each of us. Is all 100%? Only because God is merciful, for His mercy has provided so much.

Do we get scared? Have lows? Treated unfairly? Yes, but as my “cousin” Tom Norton has painted so beautiful a picture, in the span of eternity, life is a dot.

God is the great equalizer, and we are trusting Him more deeply as a family and learning how to support each other and our loved ones better everyday on this dot of an experience. For it is all we have now, while looking into a hopeful future.

Nearly every night is filled with the tradition of mentioning the three blessings of the day for each of us. We then end our days with petitions and thanksgivings to God.

I thank God for my husband and the family God’s created by our coming together. It keeps me on my knees always, and I am so thankful that God listens.

Amazing!

Quantum healing through Reconciliation


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The LORD is compassionate and merciful,

slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.

He will not constantly accuse us,

nor remain angry forever.

He does not punish us for all our sins;

he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.

For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is

as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.

He has removed our sins

as far from us as the east is from the west

– Psalm 103:8-12

Jesus is our bond, the glue, the comforter and peace. His aim is to tighten our souls more to our Creator that we might do His bidding. And His bidding is that every human become more like their Spiritual Big Brother, Jesus, loving and forgiving. Patient as we live and tell our stories as well as hearing the stories of others.

This is the day for forgiveness and reconciliation that Christ may reign more in this world. Who do I need to reach out to more to tell them I love them or get right with? I may be the offender, or the hurt one, but in either case, Christ calls me to reconcile and let the Holy Spirit be the third party closer. When this happens, oh happy day! Two can worship more unhindered, live and sleep better and love more freely.

Jesus is the reconciler of all things past, present and things to come, bringing quantum healing through reconciliation. May we, His people be known for swift forgiveness, forget-ness, good humor and wisdom that all may want to spend eternity with Christ.

 

For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more. – Hebrews 8:12

Amazing!

Abba Father’s Love


20161004_150844 (2)Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” – Galatians 4:6

I met a six-year-old recently who let me play doubles on his ping pong team. He was a confident young lad.

At one point, I asked someone who knew him who his parents were. She let me know his parent’s names. They little boy came up about that time and protested!

“My Mom and Dad’s name is Mom & Dad!” He said with confidence.

The Holy Spirit within us cries out Abba Father; Dad! That’s my Father’s name!

There’s a lot I don’t understand about the evolution of languages, yet it is fascinating how language holds in its DNA the history of nations.

After a head-spinning yet exciting reading into where the word “Abba” comes from, it boils down to this. It is used three times in the New Testament as a Greek word (Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6), followed by the term “Father,” a term of endearment for God Himself.

The first use of the word is Jesus only use of “Abba” in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The next time it is used is in the book of Galatians, dated sometime around A.D 40 – A.D. 55. I imagine the Holy Spirit conversing with my spirit, which is Christ my lawyer at work on my behalf speaking to God Himself not only reverently, but as a child reaching out for Father God’s affections and absolution when needed.

Father is protection, love, direction, wisdom, comfort, provision and so much more.

The final use of the word is in Romans, dated later than Galatians, yet trekking along the same path. As Christians, we are under God’s parenthood by adoption (interpretation mine) where we can call him Abba Father anytime.

I don’t know of another god that claims the same. The gods of this world all have one goal; to grab and proselytize their next convert through fear.

But the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 1:7), and when I need wisdom, I call out to my Heavenly Father anytime, and He gives more wisdom (James 1:5). In fact, James say that God gives wisdom to “all liberally and without reproach,” and that excludes no one, believer and non-believer alike.

What joy to know that the brotherhood of man is a real deal. That all humanity can consider themselves God’s.

I personally believe I should not draw lines where God has not. He rewards His own with His name, so that more may want to come into the Family of Light, afterall, He is the Father of Lights, who never changes and desires all humanity to come to Him.

I love being in His Family, am grateful for His acceptance and love, and stand with Him as Father as He enlarges the circle of spiritual family, teaching me to love all without partiality.

Amazing!

My Bible Is True—But JESUS IS TRUTH


GodReflection: My Bible Doesn’t Read Like Yours

gary portraitNext week I plan to bring this fourteen-post series to a close.

Thanks for reading along with me as I’ve attempted a preliminary look at factors that can cause me to see one of God’s children as an imposter; rather than as one who is in fact my holy sister or brother loved by our Father. We could just be reading our Bible from different perspectives.

When I look at my own church tribe—not to mention when I consider others that claim God as Father and Jesus as Lord—I see a wide variety of views, beliefs and definitions of doctrine.

Within my church heritage we gather to worship with different understandings of discipleship, roles of men and women in worship, heaven, hell, sacrifice and money, local church function and communion. Certainly not a complete list. How about a common view of John’s Revelation among us?

truth6If we were to place a random fifty of us in a room we could fill multiple whiteboards with lists of our own counter views drawn from our Bible. I dare say some of our differences would center on what we define as doctrine.

Yet, we hold in common the belief that our Bible is true. We believe that our Bible was designed, preserved and inspired by God.

What is it that could help us extend a greater portion of grace to each other?

I have come to believe that perhaps our search in scripture is for the wrong truth. Maybe we should first look for JESUS THE TRUTH.

truth7Is my truth search for procedure and for the purpose of building my own body of doctrine? Rather, shouldn’t I place at the forefront of my reading the one who assumed the very definition of truth?

Jesus declared—as a matter of fact—“I am the way and the Truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

The entirety of the Old Testaments moves toward the introduction of Jesus Messiah. The Gospels record his life, death and resurrection, and the remainder of the New Testament his presence as THE TRUTH empowering the church.

With Christ at center stage of Holy Scripture shouldn’t He be the Truth lens through which I read my Bible?

I can trust Jesus to be true.

Now back to our differences in viewpoint drawn from our Bible.

truth14Were we to look first at Jesus, how can we then deal with such disagreements as the roles of men and women, worship, heaven, hell, sacrifice and giving, local church function and communion?

What if I explored Jesus’ example and instruction found in the Gospels? What is Jesus intent. What happens at each encounter? Is his attempt to teach something significant beyond the literal encounter that is a mere illustration of his point?

Is his concern really how I calendar communion or is his concern that I recognize the cleansing power of his body and blood on my behalf through the symbols of bread and wine? And from that recognition, I am to observe his symbols with consistency and humility.

Is it important to Jesus that I speculate on the specifics of heaven and hell? Isn’t his concern and intent that I set my focus on him and by so doing I will live with him eternally?

Isn’t the reality of eternal separation from the Holy the real deterrent of hell rather than how I might envision its hellish features?

truth1Last evening in a re-read of the late Henri Nowen’s book, In the Name of Jesus, I came across this passage that clearly expresses the core consideration of this post:

But when we are securely rooted in personal intimacy with the source of life, it will be possible to remain flexible without being relativistic, convinced without being rigid, willing to confront without being offensive, gentle and forgiving without being soft, and true witnesses without being manipulative (page 32).

If we will only listen to Jesus speak and grow more familiar with his life, priorities and the way he treated people, don’t you think JESUS THE TRUTH will give us more common ground as we read our Bible?

And, as we make the effort to grow in love with Jesus, I suspect our Bible will sound more and more alike. What do you think? I would love to hear from you.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: My Bible Is True—But JESUS IS TRUTH

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

The Great Interpreter Is God—Not Me


GodReflection: My Bible Doesn’t Read Like Yours

gary portraitI live in a big city. Hidden in the city I miss the reminder of God’s grandeur. We city dwellers may find that concrete and bricks limit our daily visuals of All Powerful Creator God.

Day and night, I am either inside a house covered by ceiling or in the streets staring at pavement in an attempt to stay out of the pathway of a gazillion cars flying above speed limits and moving in my direction.

At this point in my walk I find much of my effort is spent on my deteriorating body. almighty7From my pavement focus while driving, to my downward gaze when I walk, my actions are careful to NOT speed up my demise. I try not to skin my knees and my nose by a fall nor end my time on earth in a wrecked automobile.

Often, I find when I read my Bible I am focused on a specific thought or a limited arena of concern. Far too often I read without a consideration of big picture God.

As I hunt and peck at the keys of my keyboard I think back to earlier years. Like a Power Point presentation, I see frames of sleeping bag nights in wait of sleep as I took in the vastness of God’s grand sky. The moon shown bright and stars filled the heavens in numbers too great to be counted.

almighty19Pictures flash before my mind of past views of high mountain ice-cold lakes in the Mountain Ranges of New Mexico, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and the Andes of Argentina.

I see beloved images of the rugged vastness of New Mexico’s Chihuahuan Desert and the beauty of the tall pines in the Sacramento Mountains.

My Power Point continues to run through moments of awe at the enormity of Brazil’s Amazon, the power of her rivers, the beauty of the Pantanal and her exquisitely sculptured beaches.

almighty12Surely, God’s magnificence needs to also penetrate my Bible reading.

Ok, what’s my point?

When I look back over my Bible reading walk, I recognize that in earlier years my reading was anemic. My focus was upon how close I followed what I had learned from others. To be fair, I probably read more with brain than heart. I was more concern with my rightness than I was with relationship to the power source.

Yes, I did need to know God’s written word. Yes, I did want to honor it. But, with my eyes lock on city concrete I failed to see the larger grandeur of Jesus the Word. Perhaps I sought truth without awareness that Truth is Jesus since Jesus is Truth.

I was saved but I still believed Pluto was a real planet.

almighty13I learned and believed over my life that Pluto was a planet. It wasn’t until eleven years ago in 2006 that I learned I had believed wrong.

All because a bigger picture came into view and scientist reclassified Pluto. Still a heavenly wonder but little Pluto was removed from the planet list.

I must always read my Bible with an attitude of humility. I will arrive at some wrong interpretations because of my humanity. I suspect that is ok with the ONE who sees across all of the light years of the universe. He knows that my brain is limited in understanding.

almighty6What applies to me applies to others. It’s ok that we don’t read our Bibles alike. The same God that interprets the universe also sees my human ceiling, pavement and sidewalks.

He knows that far too often you and I read our Bible concerned with our present circumstances forgetting to trust the one who see the entire picture and is its perfect interpreter.

If God who is the final and Great Interpreter still accepts me when my limitations that cause me to understand many aspects of my Bible different from others; shouldn’t I allow Him to grant you the same grace when your understanding is different from my own?

And, shouldn’t I too open my heart valve and let some grace flow in your direction?

After all is said and done, all knowing and all-powerful God, who was before the beginning of time, is still the Great Interpreter—not me.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: The Great Interpreter Is God—Not Me.

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

 

 

My Bible Isn’t About Religion


GodReflection: My Bible Doesn’t Read Like Yours

gary portraitReligion drains me. I am tired of religion. I wish it would go away.

We humans tend to create religion. We build systems of belief and interpretation based on our own opinions or acceptance of views from a previous generation.

Before I know what has happened I codify my beliefs and assume they are precisely what Jesus thinks.

religion8Then I begin to judge others relationship validity with the Holy based on whether or not they observe my belief system.

Religion tends to serve the movement rather than the Master. When I’m concerned with my religion I seek laws instead of Jesus’ heart. I can be committed to religion yet find myself far from the heart of Jesus. After a time, my religion can actually oppose Jesus’ values.

Pardon me for my momentary audacity, but may I say what I think Jesus would say should He address our churches?

religion15“Come on people, please wake up and stop the time and effort spent to build and protect your religion.”

I suspect the furthest thought from Jesus mind as he set out on his mission was to start a religion. He came to restore relationship between God and humanity.

As I read my Bible I see Jesus ready to challenge the builders of religion. His confrontation was always provoked by their allegiance to self-imposed rules rather than alignment with the heart of God.

Far more times than I like to admit I find myself among the crowd of the religious builders.

religion10One of the most obvious ways is when I find myself reading my Bible to find support for an idea that I have predetermined to be true or so want to be true.

Such behavior on my part lays another brick in the structure of religion.
To steer clear of participation as a religion builder I think of a few guidelines I want to follow:

1. I want to learn to read my Bible with one eye centered on religion19the page and my other eye focused on Jesus. At the heart of my Bible is the story of what Creator God has done and is doing through Jesus. Jesus is my link to the Holy. Everything in my Bible is to be interpreted through Jesus who mirrored Father God.

2. To avoid transformation into a religion builder I want to remember that my Bible is written for my own transformation and growth. Its purpose is not to support political policies or religious darts hurled at others.

3. I draw myself into the practice of religion when I start to seek Biblical support for a valued tradition or for something that I would like to see changed. The way I read my Bible can transform my traditions into my gospel, rather than the gospel of good news brought by Jesus.

religion174. I want to take care not to read my Bible to take proof texts and change them from their given context to justify my tribal practice.

5. When I read my Bible with the sole intent to make my views right and your interpretations wrong I act as a contractor of Religion.

What if I attempt to consistently read my Bible with the humility of a listener and the anticipation of a learner? Wouldn’t that act alone keep me from religious construction? Wouldn’t that act alone take the focus from me and place it on the Master Builder where it belongs?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: My Bible Is Not About Religion

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

My Bible and Tribal Warfare


gary portraitGodReflection: My Bible Doesn’t Read Like Yours

It is the fault of the German inventor Johannes Gutenberg.

In 1440, he invented the printing press with movable metal type. The fundamentals of his invention served until the late 20th century in making the printed page common as sand.

war14Once he finished the printing press and the movable type to go with it he immersed himself into the project that became his namesake—a printed Bible. Over the years of 1454 and 1455 Gutenberg printed 180 copies of what in now known as the Gutenberg Bible.

He could never have dreamed of the millions upon millions to be impacted—both by his invention and by his Bible.

war3Without a doubt, my favorite class in both my junior and senior years of high school was printing.

From a large type case, we learned to use movable metal type—much like Gutenberg. As the course progressed we move to the next step—the offset printing press.

Yes, this printing thing caught on.

Just three years ago Bible Societies distributed 34 million Bibles to nations of our globe. There are now more bibles than people in our 21st century world. This statement is somewhat misleading as multi-millions across the globe still lack some or all of the Bible in their own language.

Prior to Johannes Gutenberg the church determined doctrine and its priests read portions of the Bible to congregants. In a sense the priests held the Bible as private property confined within the walls of the church.

worldview9However, the printing press moved the Bible from the clergy to the people.

What was unheard of for thousands of years is today’s reality.

As a common citizen I own a complete copy of God’s Holy Word. I don’t have to depend on the clergy to tell me what their Bible says. I have my own copy.

I would argue that the new printing press sparked the growth of literacy. Add to that the internet phenomena of the 21st century and the Bible is set loose in the streets.

war17Just over sixty years after the Gutenberg Bible came off the press the young Martin Luther was teaching at the University of Wittenberg. As Luther read his Bible he identified 95 theses of misalignment between his Bible and his church.

Luther’s 95 theses nailed to the chapel doors on October 31, 1517 spread throughout Germany within two weeks and across Europe within two months.

war19The Protestant Reformation had begun.

Since Luther’s time millions of men and women have read their Bibles and drawn their own conclusions. From that reading we humans wired with conviction, pride and persuasion have created thousands upon thousands of church tribes.

Even those within the same tribe find their Bible reads differently from other adherents of the same group. Pew and pulpit fail to reach one hundred percent agreement.

war7At our worst tribes shoot at other tribes or we are at war with our own subtribes.

At our best, far too many of us practice “cold shoulder” recognition of other Christ followers who read their Bible differently and worship Father, Son and Spirit under a dissimilar church sign.

Perhaps a divided body isn’t all the fault of the German inventor Johannes Gutenberg. We fail to realize that none of us are perfect readers and under every church sign is found imperfect interpretations.

Probably, from time to time I should raise a prayer of thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father for gifting Gutenberg with an inquisitive mind and the tenacity to create an open door for me to have my own Bible that I can read anytime day or night.

And maybe—just maybe—I should be less judgmental and allow others the grace to read their Bible different from me.

war20Possibly, I should treat those who worship under other church signs (who too are disciples of Jesus) as brothers and sisters since we claim the same Lord and Father.

Is it conceivable that God was behind a plan that would involve Gutenberg the German inventor, Luther, the German disciple, and the printing industry to open doors for millions to give their hearts to Father, Son and Spirit?

Perhaps we should lay down our offensive weapons and praise God for all who discover salvation in Jesus through the diverse ways they read their Bible.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: My Bible and Tribal Warfare

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

http://www.MakeYourVisionGoViral.com