Soul Talk

GodReflection:Is It Well with My Soul?

“I heard Your voice from on high. “I am the food of the fully grown. Grow and you will feed on me. And you will not change Me into you, like the food of flesh eats. But you will be changed into Me.” – Augustine of Hippo, Confessions
gary-portraitGrandpa seem to enjoy the company of his own self. It was in a good way. He made art from what is a rarity of our current century. He was a classic piddlier. Grandpa was never bored—he piddled. To piddle was to be busy regardless of the lack of importance attached to the task at hand. As he piddled he mumbled to himself.

On the back of his lot and adjacent to the alley he had a little wood framed shop/storage room—think really little.  It wasn’t uncommon to come upon him with his back bent over his junk bench as he talked himself through his current project. Perhaps soultalk2he was oiling his fishing reel or looking for a lid to fit a jar.

Now in my reflective years I find that I’m often astonished to the degree that I mimic Grandpa. When I am alone my own spoken words come forth to reprimand, praise and accompany myself through my daily duties.

In my last post I identified four tags I use to find food for my soul. I mentioned Soul Showers and Soul Walk. The third tag I’ve found for soul food is Soul Talk.

Grandpa may have been onto something. Perhaps I too should talk out loud and direct one-sided conversation to my soul. Maybe Soul Talk can be vital to a healthy soul.

soultalk14With each new day I want to use increased care with the words that speak to my soul. I want to be careful to not speak negativity into my soul. I want to remind my soul to seek what is good and right.

I asked in a former post for input on how others go about the task to feed their soul. One lifelong friend wrote: one of the things I have done intentionally is to control what I allow into my mind—what I watch, what I listen to, what I read, what I hear around me. And that has helped me to focus on my spiritual walk with Jesus.

Quickly I identified. By control of what I watch, read and hear I monitor what speaks into my soul. My mind regulates Soul Talk. As I bend over my life’s work bench I talk myself through cluttered junk. “Ok Gary what are you going to do with that piece of information? . . . Boy, I blew it that time, Lord help me to depend upon you more fully the next time a similar situation comes up.”

soultalk4When I declare to myself, “I need to read that book or this is the best use of my time,” it is an act of talk that feeds my soul.

With each sunrise I see with greater clarity the finish line of my earth walk. As a new day dawns may I remember to find times to utter to myself (with full awareness the Holy overhears) something akin to the words of the old church father, “I heard Your voice from on high. “I am the food of the fully grown. Grow and you will feed on me. And you will not change Me into you, like the food of flesh eats. But you will be changed into Me.” I think God might just like to see that kind of Soul Talk. What do you think?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Soul Talk

Soul Food

GodReflection:Is It Well with My Soul?

“I heard Your voice from on high. “I am the food of the fully grown. Grow and you will feed on me. And you will not change Me into you, like the food of flesh eats. But you will be changed into Me.”  – Augustine of Hippo, Confessions

gary-portraitOld Augustine caught my attention on this one. Is it possible a time will come when I am fully grown to the stature of God’s complete expectation for me? Is it possible to feed so thoroughly on the Holy that all my inner most being—my soul—becomes totally saturated and transformed into holy? This early disciple of Father, Son and Spirit had a great insight.

What sort of soul food would it require for such transformation to happen? Here is my best shot at what I think I’ve found thus far during my walk through the second half of the twentieth century and on into the first two decades of the twenty-first.  In an attempt to identify food for my soul I’ve found four tags to be helpful.

food2The first is Soul Showers. As a resident of the state of Texas it is not difficult to conjure up an image of a hot day with sun so intense that I swelter under unbearable heat. Outside is not a desired destination.

There are all too rare days when atmospheric conditions are just right for showers that result in a refreshing twenty-degree drop in the temperature.

I see rain showers as an analogy for God’s Holy Scripture. For it is in a consistent walk with God’s story that I find showers to refresh my soul. Unlike Texas rain Soul Showers are available from God’s book. I only have to open its pages as I open my heart.

food4Among the gems of King Solomon’s proverbs is this one: Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones (Proverbs 16:24). Within my Bible are countless precious stones inscribed with gracious words direct from the heart of Holy God. Those inscriptions leap from God’s jewelry box as primary nourishment for my soul. They come as refreshing Soul Showers.

In addition to Soul Showers I must feed my soul through efforts to Soul Walk. To learn to Soul Walk is a process. Jesus calls us like he did Simon Peter to step out of the boat onto the rough water. To keep our eyes on him is to keep our soul from the plunge into the dark deep that snuffs out God’s light.

food6It is in this act when I step into the heart and trust of Jesus that he can minister through me to others. In ways I fail to understand—as my soul walks into the waves of others to reflect a bit of Jesus’ peace something happens to me. My soul is nourished because I attempted to nourish.

To submit my heart to Jesus and let him minister to others through my daily walk feeds my soul. To Soul Walk the Jesus path is to find food for my soul.

I still have two major soul food sources to share and I see that I’ve let my word count get out of control. So it looks as if Soul Food just morphed into two posts.

See you next time. By the way, I’ve received great input from readers as to where others have discovered soul food. Some of which will be reflected in the next post. I would love to hear from you. It will enrich this series.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Soul Food

Soul Care Assures Soul Health

GodReflection:Is It Well with My Soul?

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come (1 Timothy 4:8).

gary-portraitThe exercise market is booming without my participation. I haven’t read any statistics yet I notice gym parking lots overflow on Sunday mornings. Big box gymnasiums with lap pools and all types of exercise machine known to mankind leave only room enough for trainers and the committed to fill each square foot of floor space with their worshipful presence.

Faithfully, Sunday congregants fellowship at these mega sites and throughout the week health8in their neighborhood strip mall locations. For daily devotion time homes provide space for treadmills and bounce balls. Likewise, marathons, sports fields and courts vie for calendar space.

Should the old apostle who wrote to Timothy pop into our twenty first century I suspect even he would step back in amazement at my culture’s emphasis on physical training.

Physical training is not the only industry that competes for our attention. Trillions of monetary, physical and intellectual resources pour into efforts to feed, heal, shelter, health16transport and cloth our bodies. Market specialist invade every conscious moment to increase our relentless appetites.

In stark contrast my mailbox, television and news feeds aren’t saturated with the Creator’s tips on how to nurture my soul. The old adage “out of sight out of mind” describes the challenge to maintain soul health.

I have come to recognize two insights important to my souls’ fitness. First, my soul seems to be hardwired by God to gravitate toward Him. I read in the Psalms:  As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God (Psalms 42:1-2), Truly my soul finds rest in God (Psalms 62:1) and My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God (Psalms 84:2).

However, even with a ‘God-draw’ implanted within I find it far too easy to experience soul malnutrition. That brings me to my second AHA: soul care requires intentionality.

health15Here is my concern: resources for my physical body shout for my attention.  It is as if the care for my body is in default mode while soul care doesn’t receive the same billing. I have to be more purposeful in the search for soul nutrients.

Maybe I need to explore a variety of avenues to assure my soul is refreshed. I want to look at ways to feed my soul. In my next post I will look at soul food. Some of the ideas I propose to examine are how soul nutrition comes through Scripture, through submission of my heart to Jesus, through my daily walk and through soul music and soul talk.

At this point in my life I see no way around what seems to be the fact that soul care assures soul health.

Will you share with me ways you have discovered to nurture your ‘inner you’ and to keep your own soul healthy? What works for you to be more intentional with your soul care?

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells

A GodReflection: Soul Care Assures Soul Health

Both AND Worship

GodReflection: Is Worship for God or for Me?

gary portraitThank you for allowing me to reflect along with you as 2018 begins. I pray it will be a year where as I write and as we all engage we will grow more in the image of God and His Son.

Recently, I’ve began to wonder anew about worship—mostly in context of the assembly. Over a lifetime I’ve heard that since worship is to be directed toward God I shouldn’t be all that concerned when I depart from a worship service with an empty tank. After all worship is not for me.

bothAND5But is my former assumption right? Perhaps it is not selfish to expect to gain personal benefit from worship? Maybe as a community who gathers in joint worship of the Holy, we should also tune in on each other with greater expectation.

Why not expect connection to the Holy so that each of our spirits will be recharged to power our walk?

Just maybe—worship is not only for God but ALSO for me. Perhaps it matters that the worship experience is conducive for me to give worship that in the act of giving—by the designed nature of worship—God gifts me?

BothAND1Surely, God aches each time I assembly with the body to worship and leave with my spirit tank on empty. I suspect that happens because my gift was not given from the best I had to offer.

Is not the gift of worship to Father and Son a reciprocal act?

Paul the apostle recalled a lesson he had learned for Jesus. It seems to me it has application to the worship experience:

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ (Acts 20:35).

Is it possible by my gift of worship to Creator God, I actually receive the greater present?

Is worship for God or for me? Is it plausible that it is a “Both AND” experience? Is it conceivable the act of worship is for God AND for me?

bothAND7Is it thinkable that in the presence of the body I am able to connect with God in a manner that is unique to the worship assembly?

Is it possible that in the very act of worship I not only connect with the Holy and those in the room but in addition I connect to every believer—past and present—who forms the body of Christ?

As I begin 2018 I want to examine what I’ve been taught, what I have taken for granted, and what I believe about worship. It may be more about me than I’ve previously consider.

After all, there is a sense that each of us are God’s projects as He give us every opportunity along life’s walk to let Him shape us more and more into the likeness of Jesus. Maybe that is what worship is all about.

I invite you to read over my shoulder over the next twelve posts as I attempt to gain clarity in my own mind on the question, “Is worship for God, for me, or is it for the both of us?

I would love to read your insights into this vital question. Do feel free to share with me your thoughts and experience.

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: Both AND Worship.


He Planned Eternity for Us to Be Together

GodReflection: Does God Care Specifically About Me?
The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call (Acts 2:39).

gary portraitI’ve heard it before: “It’s great when a plan comes together.”

Disney World, London Bridge and the Eiffel Tower, each originated as an idea in the mind of a person. An idea born in the brain of one individual was shared, modified and defined over time by countless eternity11people.

To date millions of people from around the globe have stood in the reality of a plan that came together.

Somewhere in the eternal thoughts of Holy God an idea formed that would result in the design of His cherished creation—humankind.

The object was to birth daughters and sons who would united their hearts to His heart to live with Him who unconditionally loves.

Eternal God thinks in eternal terms.

In a move far beyond my little brain to understand, Satan, a rebel angel, made his subtle attack in a garden setting to short-circuit God’s plan and caused God’s cherished ones to betray their creator and His eternal plan.

Over the last multi-thousands of years divided by a cross, God is actively at work to complete His original intent and in the process, negate Satan’s destructive power.

eternity9Parallel to Satan’s destruction Father God must surely anticipate with great excitement the day when His plan comes together for unconditional love between Creator and created ones when eternal human hearts will never again miss a beat with the heart of Father God.

When I read John 14, I come across at least seven promises from Jesus that I can take to the bank. They are solid. They are backed by Father God. They give me assurance that God has planned eternity for us to be together.

Listen to the seven promises. Read through John 14. You may find others. These are the seven that help me grow in love with Father God and trust in the reality of a perfect eternity in His presence:

eternity81. I am going to prepare a place for you.
2. I will come back and take you to be with me.
3. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
4. Because I live you will also live.
5. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father.
6. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.
7. I am going away and I am coming back to you.

God’s idea had no need for improvement. Its envisioned outcome was perfect as it rolled from His Holy mind. One day, millions from all history will experience the reality of Creator God’s plan that came together with all of its perfect and eternal completeness.

eternity5Once again, I find that God’s love is almost too wonderful to be true—but it is. He has planned a place for me to spend eternity with Him. I am His child. He will send Jesus to take me there. I will live in the home of Father and Son forever.

I now place my last brick in this series of twelve foundational bricks laid to help me sustain my confidence that Almighty God cares specifically about me.

bricks3Brick number twelve: He planned eternity for us to be together. Like the former eleven, I lay this brick in gratitude and humility seeking God’s power to help me become less of an “earthoholic” and more addicted to the Holy.

Amen. Come quickly Lord Jesus (Revelation 22:20).

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: He Planned Eternity For Us To Be Together.

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?

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