Seasons of Jobs


20161004_150844 (2)What do you do when you are in a Job-like season, and it seems your loved ones are also.

I am not sure, except to study this book of wisdom more deeply and with fresh eyes. Recently our church studied Job in concert through a series of devotionals every morning.

After considering Job and the devotionals, I had a few takeaways, though only touching the hem of what God may want to teach.

Listen.

…to God’s still [immovable], small but perfectly powerful voice, trust, get counsel where needed.

…to God’s still [continued] small but perfectly powerful voice, trust, get counsel where needed.

…to God’s still [small] but perfectly powerful voice, trust, get counsel where needed.

“Then Job replied to the LORD:

‘I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you.

‘You asked, “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?” It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me.

‘You said, “Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.”

‘I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.

‘I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.'”

-Job 42:1-6/NLT

What I am learning…

1 – Be humble.

2 – Refuse to be a Job’s friend.

Or door #3, an option yet to be revealed.

Whether one is a Job or a Job’s friend, God wins, as do God’s image-bearers.

Job was blessed with a double portion of everything in the second half of his life. His new daughters were the fairest in the land. He also included them in his will along with his sons.

Humanity is God’s most prized Creation. God’s enemy is here to destroy God’s success and take over.

But GOD IS, GOD HAS WON, GOD WINS and GOD WILL WIN!

Job’s win is God’s win. Job’s friend’s obedience is God’s win, and in the end even Job’s friends are blessed due to God’s mercy and Job’s prayer.

Amazing!

Coffee with Christ


20161004_150844 (2)You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. -John 1

Coffee and Christ are a constant theme in my life.

In a day of 24/7 media saturated bad news, I chose to have a positive imagination. When God captures it, it’s allthemore wonderful.

I woke up one morning with an image of Christ sitting with His Father over a cup of coffee talking about their Kingdom and the subjects who live there.

“Father, there is a sister who has lost some precious things, could you help her find whatever she needs to continue her journey”?

“Yes, son. Because you asked, I will do it.”

After another cup, I can hear Christ say, “Father, did you see the humor in that brother’s misstep? He humbly sought to do good. It backfired and he laughed it off. I can so relate. Remember the time on the mountain, it was just the two of us. I was walking as I spoke to you and was transfixed by the sunrise. Then I was sideswiped by that branch. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard at how strange and wonderful it is to be human.”

“Yes, son. Without your perspective and wounds, I would never know what my own creation is feeling or suffering. I am glad to give the gift of comfort, humor and anything else to those who ask.”

I don’t know a thing about what God and Christ really talk about, but I do know Christ speaks up for His own. The most beautiful union is between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. By His grace alone I know He is speaking up for me. He also looks out for everyone in the world; those bearing His image.

I imagine the Holy Trinity caught up in laughter in their perfect Heaven, the place where pure happiness resides and is awaiting the gathering of all of God’s family home one day. I also see God wiping away our tears in this realm and forever in the life to come, empathizing with our sorrows.

Won’t it be marvelous to enjoy the Heavenly delights with our Father and big brother Jesus in the Spirit in which life was created from the beginning to be…

Good!

And it’s still all good!

Amazing!

Tri-God


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Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. -1 Corinthians 9:24/ESV

John, Monika and I recently went to the Ironman Triathlon Finish Line in our home town. It was a joy-filled chilling moment when one would run across the finish line, and the announcer would speak the person’s name and say, “…You are an Ironman”! It was the earthly equivalent of “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

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Some ran across the tape with extra energy, some barely made it, but all were joy-filled a millisecond on the other side of that finish line tape.

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It was a priceless experience, especially when our daughter captured their joy and chatted up a storm asking great questions and cheering loudly for the runners. Her excitement was as contagious to John and I as much as watching the runners.

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I attempted to run a triathlon once. Well, it was a women’s mini-triathlon a few years ago, but it was a challenge. It was transformative both during my training and in the actual race itself.

A girlfriend had asked if I wanted to participate with her and her daughter. Unbenownst to my friend’s family, they were some of our inspiration to continue on toward parenthood. So I dreamed and imagined being able to do a race with our own child one day, for this was before we learned Monika’s story.

It was a quarter mile swim, a 10-mile bike ride and a 5K run. Granted, the swim was in a lazy river at the Marriott. The river’s current was turned off, but the momentum of the women swimming and walking created its own wake. I am not a great swimmer, but chose to swim anyway, propelled by the rolling waters. I decided not only to give my best, but to also have fun. It was both encouraging, challenging and satisfying.

marathon-1082244__340I confess my thoughts weren’t always right on. Was I going to make it? Maybe I should have trained more [because I knew my family gene pool and past experience designed me to take the challenge]…maybe I should have trained less [and done more for others]and on it went.

When I realized I was being a bit hard on myself, I found Christ’s Spirit whispering We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Each time I allowed the Holy Spirit to capture those thoughts, I was blessed and given energy and joy in my training.

Back to my training time, I prayed, meditated and got lost in God’s creation, which also helped turn my thoughts around. I thought on excellent things. I dedicated this race to the memory of my brother as it was close to his birthday. I imagined him cheering me on. I know he would have done as much had he been alive.

runners-1814479__340The training made me strong, grew me and made me more compassionate towards others. It also allowed me to share my light and receive Christ’s light from other Christian siblings who were doing the race, as well as watching the best of human behavior in action. Women cheering each other on. Loved ones on the sidelines lifting up the participants! There was no respecting of persons, just encouragement to help those on the field of play finish what they had started.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. –Hebrews 12:1

I thought about Triune God. The Father who is my perfect parent, the One who trained my own father and his fathers, yet filled in the places where my human fathers could not. It made me love God and my own fathers more. I felt Christ’s love, lean into me more, giving me confidence to finish strong, along with the surrounding cheerleaders applauding loudly. I thought of my own brother, brother-in-law, father-in-law, and so many more who were now with Jesus, cheering me on!

stock-photo-woman-praying-and-free-bird-enjoying-nature-on-sunset-background-hope-concept-734732989I then began having thoughts like this: It’s not just a race Denise, its part of your destiny. Do it with class, great sportsmanship and all the kindness you have, for God in all His forms is magnified in this moment. Enjoy…En-joy…Be filled with joy as you participate…it’s contagious.

I know it is, for I too was infected with the joy of others and couldn’t help but smile and offer smiles despite sometimes feeling the tug of my humanity wanting me to give less than I should. And yet, I didn’t push, for that sort of pushing can hurt in a way that can sideline one for far too long and keep one from participating again.

Once in church we heard a wise man mention that his rest goes hand in hand with his work. I enjoy my rest when I get it, but resting in my work allows me to enjoy what God has given my hand to do.

This kind of rest keeps God present all the time. It keeps the Love flowing.

stock-photo-close-up-couple-hand-trying-to-reach-together-at-nature-park-background-for-spiritual-power-of-life-688621945I never imagined how much a triathlon training could connect me with a Triune God; my Father, Brother and Spirit-Lover. If we are missing something along the way and know God is the answer, the answer is to always Try God! Or better, Try God at the beginning of everything! He will never fail throughout the process!

Amazing!

The Miracle of Forgiveness


20161004_150844 (2)How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! –Luke 23:34/AMP

We seek to know a love that holds no record of wrong.

We seek a love that knows no fear.

There is no fear in love.

-Ted Dekker / The Forgotten Way (@theforgottenway)

Raising a teen has been full of wonder and humility. We still laugh at mispronunciations. Monika got in the car and gave some bad news which I won’t go into. But she said “A lady in hair curlers…”

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I said, “Hair curlers?”

She laughed, “No.” And tried once more, “Head curlers.”

“Head curlers”? I repeat.

She laughed again and came out with something different.

“Headquarters!” I said.

“Yes!” and we both laughed for a long time.

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Mistakes happen in all shapes and sizes. Have you ever felt trapped, missed the mark and wondered why you fell for something so foolish when you knew better? I think of Paul’s great dissertation about the same thing in Romans 7:14-25. But as a discerning Christian, I immediately know it is sin in me that needs fixing, and only Jesus can fix it in a way that it is known to others.

Forgiveness is freeflowing, starting from Christ’s finished work on the Cross and flows until now. He stamps FORGIVEN, each and every time I miss the mark and confess my mistep. What’s more amazing is the forgiveness I receive for those things that I don’t know I am doing incorrectly. Yet, in His mercy, He gently offers the correction, confidence and reminds me of my position of place in His Kingdom here and now and forevermore.

It is miraculous! He exonerates me and you! How much more, then should I be so to anyone else, friend or adversary, particularly those in love with Jesus who come from a different place and see the same God from a different facet on the gem of truth. Truth does not change, but perspectives can the closer we get to the gem; they get clearer. Imagine the differences in perspective the apostles may have had, but for the sake of the unity of the church, they came together, worked things out in prayer and were strengthened. Imagine the forgivenss that was freeflowing.

It delights God to forgive a penitent heart, and strengthen the body of Christ through unconditional love.

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In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents [that is, changes his inner self—his old way of thinking, regrets past sins, lives his life in a way that proves repentance; and seeks God’s purpose for his life]. – Luke 15:10/AMP

Following the story mentioned above of the woman who found the lost coin is the story of the Prodigal Son.

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In the end, the father runs to the returning son, puts a ring on his finger and asks his older son to plan a party. The father was energized to see his son return. But the older son surprisingly was unhappy, a spiritual prodigal who “did it right,” but felt unappreciated until the father declared, SON, YOU ARE ALWAYS WITH ME, AND ALL THAT IS MINE IS YOURS. But it was fitting to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours WAS [as good as] DEAD AND HAS BEGUN TO LIVE. He was lost and has been found. – Luke 15:31a-32/AMP (emphasis mine)

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Ted Dekker makes the point in Section 2, Part 3 of his book The Forgotten Way, that both sons were in a grievous situation; one rebelled, the other judged, and yet the Father forgave both, happy to have his sons under his roof again. I think of Christ commissioning his disciples to bring Heaven to earth, and what is more Heavenly than a clean slate?

imagesTed Dekker states Today I stand whole and complete, for I am new, I am risen, I am in Christ.

In the1997 book Fresh Wind Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala, he speaks of a missing element today in many churches. Power. (@zondervan.com/fresh-wind-fresh-fire)

 

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…Acts 4: “Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders…”

 

pexels-photo-380283In Chapter 9, Cymbala goes on to tell the story of a homeless man who wanted no money. He only wanted the Jesus he heard about at the meeting. He was so transformed that he eventually married and at the time of the book’s publishing, he was in charge of 10 maintenance people at the church.

Cymbala challenges Christians to believe in the power of miracles and at the top is the power to receive God’s forgiveness and offer forgiveness. It’s transformational because it delights God’s heart.

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Jesus is the way, the truth and life through the power of offering forgiveness. The Heart of the Father is delighted more everyday one more heart turns towards Him, accepting Christ’s forgiveness and offering it freely allows the Holy Spirit to work wonders in our lives. It sets all parties free and grows grace.

Amazing!

He Speaks, I Listen, I Speak, He Listens


GodReflection: Is Worship for God or for Me?
gary portraitIt is rather awesome to realize it is actually possible to converse with Creator God—He who made the universe and all it contains. True, I don’t have to assemble with others in worship to experience this daily reality.

Yet, I am drawn again to times when Holy God acted in powerful ways within a group setting. I want to enter the worship assembly with anticipation of a word from the Almighty.

This is just me so here’s my take on how prayer works when believers assemble.

Sure, I understand that we gather in group worship to renew our allegiance to Creator God. But, I bring an agenda to the assembly—I come to encounter God. I don’t want to leave with the same baggage I brought to church. I want to hear from God.

speaks6Back in ancient history we all installed CB radios in our automobiles so we could carry on ‘rich’ conversations with the drivers of Eighteen Wheelers.

We first had to make contact over an open band for all CB radios. We did so with the logical question—do you have your ears on?

That’s not bad self-directed advice for my entrance into worship. Do I have my ears on?

I want to hear from God.

speaks13To hear from God, I want to be attentive to His voice. I wait for Him to speak through Scripture that is read. I listen for His voice in both the words of songs and prayers.

My ears want to hear Him speak through a teaching or a sermon. I pay close attention to any clues I might received as He speaks to me through His Spirit. I listen for Him at the table.

When I listen He speaks.

Hopefully, something I pick up in the process moves my soul. I want to respond. So, I speak. I acknowledge any ‘aha moments’ brought to my awareness. I repent. I affirm. I confess. I make promises. I make requests. I express gratitude.

This time it is He—Holy God who listens. As He listens, He takes into account the fact that I am a feeble human. As He listens, He hears my conversation through the spilled blood and resurrection of His Beloved Son Jesus. He listens with grace ears and a heart filled speaks11with love.

He hears and understand my words and my heart.

This back and forth dialogue accompanies the length of the assembly. Over and over the conversation cycle continues. He speaks, I listen, I speak and He listens. It is a Holy worship conversation between Almighty God and less than mighty me.
Pretty neat don’t you think?

speaks2But, don’t miss the stage that makes it all possible. It is the assembly of the church. It is with Jesus and my siblings in Christ that I gather around the table in dialogue.

For it is through brothers and sisters in Jesus that songs, prayers, request, Scriptures and instruction provide the flash points for Holy conversation.

For what my opinion is worth, it’s not a bad way to spend an hour or two each week. How about it?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: He Speaks, I Listen, I Speak, He Listens

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

The Secret I Must Share


GodReflection: God Shares His Secret

garyguaruja“It’s a girl” or “it’s a boy” is shouted with joy and great excitement to family, friends and strangers. The secret is out. It cannot be held.

Secrecy and elation wrap gifts meant to surprise those we love.

share4Carefully calculated cameras reveal a secret from jumbo stadium screens to catch an unsuspected recipient off guard. A ring is presented and the question: “Will you marry me?” is popped.

The young lady screams and bounces with excitement. The world now knows. The secret is no longer held.

The Gospels burst with announcement, excitement and celebration as they reveal God’s secret plan through Jesus to make available forgiveness, salvation and Holy friendship to us flawed and sin filled creatures.

The surprise was that Jesus would come to stand in the place of my sin so that I can stand next to God.

share8The Gospel of Luke shares stories Jesus told that characterize people’s reaction to the salvation secret with celebration.

When the secret of total and complete forgiveness was revealed, parties broke out.

When the lost were found friends and neighbors came together to rejoice, feast, and celebrate with dancing and music.

Jesus states:In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Luke 15:10

I could fill this space with those I’ve met whose hearts seem to almost explode with gratefulness because Jesus transformed their lives with secret grace held by God up until their “now.”

share13Francisco, a friend remembered with warmth comes to mind. He has since crossed over where he will receive his eternal reward.

Francisco heard the salvation secret. He couldn’t keep it to himself.

It was a secret he had to share. In the spirit of Jesus’ rejoicing stories, shortly after his baptism, he chartered three or four busses to bring  friends together for a great party to celebrate. He had to tell them all of his good fortune.

I lament that I’m not more like my friend Francisco. Truth is I’m not the party type. Perhaps, it is being a genuine introvert. However, I do wish I were more exuberant in my ability to share the secret.

share2But here is what I know.

I am super grateful for God’s grace, Jesus sacrifice and my forever canceled sin debt.

I am at peace in the knowledge that the Spirit of God walks with me throughout the day and stands with me each night as He lives in my deteriorating body.

I await with great anticipation the reality of a new heaven and a new earth.

I look forward to intensified blessings and total freedom from all of life’s wretch. All of which is party and celebration worthy.

Maybe I can at least be a window God can use to show others His love so that they can throw their own parties.

Let me close this series of posts by one more remembrance of Paul’s description of the Divine Secret found in his letter to the Ephesians:

share9For 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 have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,

God did what He had purposed, and made known to us the secret plan He had already decided to complete by means of Christ.

This plan, which God will complete when the time is right, is to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head.

All things are done according to God’s plan and decision; and God chose us to be His own people in union with Christ because of His own purpose, based on what He had decided from the very beginning (Ephesians 1:4-11).

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

My Reflection on The Secret I Must Share

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