Touchable God

I remember the first time I heard about the intimacy of Christ. I was sitting in a pew in a tiny Southern Baptist Church at a revival no less. The preacher was talking and I was doodling until God pricked my ears. It was like I knew I needed to pay attention. I had missed the first part of the story, something about a man and he was “simple” and he had been invited to stay at the pastor’s home…but it was this part that changed my life forever:

It wasn’t long after we had headed off to bed, and my wife and I heard commotion coming from the guest room. Our guest was obviously talking to himself, and periodically we would hear the furniture move. My wife was nervous and asked me to check things out. As I got closer to the door, it sounded like the man was in an argument with himself. Literally fighting. Icould hear him on the floor moving around, and the more I lessoned the more I wondered at this man I had invited into our home. Hearing a chair fall and what I wasn’t sure was either laughter or groaning, I resolved that he must surely be mad. With gusto I opened the door prepared for whatever I might see, but this…this large, tall, full grown older man, curled up in a ball, laughing uncontrollably. I just stared for a minute until he said, “I’m sorry, did we bother you?” I looked around – “we” was there someone else there? He picked himself up and righted the chair and said, “Jesus and I were wrestling, and he pinned me.”

Honestly, I have no clue what else the pastor said, how he addressed that situation, or how it ended. I watched other people’s faces. Their awe and disbelief, and the few that muttered, “Bless his simple heart.” And everyone laughed. But I wasn’t buying it. I loved that story. In fact, it thrilled me! To know that I had a Savior that would not only take my sin upon Himself so that I might live but would also wrestle a grown man to laughter?! This was beautiful. I wrapped my thirteen year old heart around that nugget and treasured it as Truth – God was not only loving, but He was touchable.

I need a touchable God. If we are honest, we all do. But it’s strange, isn’t it? People who feel Him and wrestle with Him and dance with Him are strange. Ahhh. The blessing of the simple. It is in simplicity that God meets us. I love His word that says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” We see because we believe. We believe because we know, and we know because we Trust.

He is touchable.

Where do you need Him to touch you? Now is not the time to be shy or ashamed. Now is the time to look for Daddy God in the place you need Him most. Where is that place? Let go of all preconceived notions and every “appropriate interaction.” Cast aside all fear of what others think and get real with God. Only you know what that looks like. It could be a wrestle, it could be a kiss, it could be a duet, it could be a dance, it could be ANY activity that frees your heart before Daddy God and feels His love and His willingness. Bear witness to that Truth, hide it in your heart and feel it for yourself – God not only loves us, but He is very touchable.

We just have to let go and reach out.

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Selfless Challenge – Week One

Any time you take up a challenge to reflect more of the heart and love of God, the enemy rushes in with arrow pointed, ready to aim. The very day I issued that challenge to myself, was possibly one of the hardest days I have had in a long time. I was physically ill and emotionally drained and no matter what help I needed from those around me, I wasn’t getting it. Their actions seemed to say. “You don’t matter.”

I refused to have a pity party because after all that would be selfish…and I was doing my best to keep from that. But, I talked to God a lot, asking how I might turn my feelings around into something selfless for someone else. Only, my motivation seemed more out of spite than love, and thus, the wicked cycle of selfishness hit my heavy heart again. I cried out to Him, “This is hard!”

And, I realized. It isn’t for Him. He is in His very nature selfless love. For Him to give it all for us is His joy not His challenge. The challenge resided in my flesh not my spirit. I had to control my flesh. Not an easy thing to do. In fact, it’s a very hard thing to do. But, He was there…selflessly loving me through each step of painful reflection.

We are selfish.

It’s killing us.

Our families.

Our marriages.

The root of every divide lies in the “me first” mentality. And we might see this, maybe silently admit this to ourselves…but we don’t change it. Honestly? – Because we don’t want to. We say “I love you..” but what remains unspoken is “..when you do this… while you act like that…because I need something… that’s what I’m supposed to say… if I’m happy.”

I have always hated the saying “You wanna have your cake and eat it, too!” Well heck yeah…how are we gonna enjoy it if we don’t eat it!? But when we love selfishly it’s a pathetic picture…(You English buffs will relate) It’s Miss Haversham in her molded wedding dress sitting at a lavishly spoiled wedding table. The feast is there…but in our desire to please our selves and what we want, we guard it and mourn it at times, but never eat it. Love lived selflessly doesn’t sit at that table, but stands behind it offering slice after slice and taking a bite here and there, smearing your cheeks with icing and offering extra servings. And guess what…? Love like that doesn’t run out, and it doesn’t feel like a chore and it doesn’t drain you. In fact, it fills you as you fill others.

I guess the challenge in selflessness this week has become, “True love can’t be selfish.” By definition it is not. So how do we show true love? What does that look like? I’ve gotten some glimpses. How about you?

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Selfish reflections on selflessness

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I woke up to selfishness. Of course in a house with kids that is pretty normal, but today it hit me hard. Little signs of selfishness litter my life, and were personified in scowls and frowns and words of disgust and hatred. From not being woken up for my oldest daughter’s first day of school simply because playing on the phone was more appealing to my husband, to having to fight the 4 year old to get in his clothes off and on again, to threatening the 9 year old because she didn’t want to leave the TV. And I realized, even in my silent acknowledgements of their “failures” I was selfish, too.

I’m tired. Not in a complaining, poor pitiful me way, but in a way that says, “By golly (because I totally use that phrase), this is not okay!” – not for me, not for us, not for the world. Jesus was not about being selfish. Everything He did was selfless. He is my example.

I have friends that hurt me. Their selfishness hurts me. They don’t have time to talk or send more than a two word text (or Lord help me a two letter text!). They think nothing of complaining to me, and when I try and encourage them, it’s not enough… It’s too personal. Or, when I try and reach out myself, they are too busy, or not interested, or just don’t really care. That’s the hard truth. But in my offense I am being selfish, because if I were truly thinking about them, and their needs ahead of my own, then it shouldn’t matter. But it does.

This isn’t a pity party. This is an honest look at what selfishness has done and what it looks like to me. And I am super guilty. In my devotion time these words penetrated my heart, “selfless faith.”

Selfless – having little or no concern for oneself, especially with regard to fame, position, money, etc.; unselfish.

This is where my heart hurts. This is where I am most guilty. My life often looks selfish; how often does my faith look like that? How often do I live in the joy of Christ and focusing on those He has placed in my life when it doesn’t somehow come back around to me? Well, I know we do good deeds.. I’ve done a few, but why? What’s my motive? Don’t ask that unless you are ready… Because the truth was painful to swallow, like a horse pill after you’ve put a teaspoon of cinnamon in your mouth (BTW – don’t try that). I mostly do good to make myself feel better. To make others like me. So that my Daddy God looks at me and says, “Well done.” To ensure that mansion next to Francis Chan just past the pearly gates. Selfish. Pure and simple. My faith and everything I do is about me, ultimately.

A worship song that I love says “I see a generation rising up to take their place, with selfless faith.” How can they do that? What example are we setting? Do we even know what a selfless day looks like, much less a selfless faith filled generation? I was pondering that… And my role to help lead this generation through this chaotic and not so charmed life… And I decided, it starts with me.

It would be a joke to say from this moment forward I’m not gonna be selfish. But I can challenge myself to live a selfless 6 hours, then a selfless 12 hours and so on and so forth. You think I’m being too easy on myself? You try it. In fact, I challenge you in just this ONE hour to do everything out of selfless ambition. If you make it.. Push it to 2.. That’s what I’m gonna do. In fact, it starts tomorrow for me, in earnest. And I’m gonna keep a journal. If you see me, challenge me. Ask me how I’m doing. This is serious. And it should be. We have a world to change, to inspire, and to encourage for Christ… And, lets be honest, our selfishness isn’t really working.