FULLY ALIVE!

Your life will be as bright as the noonday sun. Job 11:17


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Defining God

My head hurts.

I think it has something to do with my homework that is due Tuesday. Here’s the assignment.

“Develop a personal Definition of God and the Person of Jesus Christ (deity and humanity).  Your formal Definition brings together the various elements of Trinitarian theism into coherent concepts of God and Christ. Specifically, the Doctrinal Statement should define the names and attributes of God, and especially the Trinity—the Father, Son (including the incarnation and two natures), Holy Spirit, and the Trinitarian relations. The one-page statement is to be your definition or credo (I believe…), not an exposition, argument, or apologetic.” (There’s more.  I’m sharing a shortened version so your head won’t hurt, too.)

Aside from the fact that I struggle with the Turabian Style Guide (I was raised on APA) and the fact that I just had two huge quizzes and face another this week as well as having to write another paper for another class, this is a LOT to think about. A personal Definition of God.

Hmmm…

God implores us to “be still, and know” that he is God (Psalm 46:10).  I’ve spent a lot of time this weekend being still. I’ve read Scripture. I’ve listened to archived sermons from my pastor. I’ve read countless articles. I’ve sat just pondering all that I read and heard.

And while I must complete this assignment, or accept that a zero will be calculated as 20% of my final grade, I’ve come to the conclusion that God is not so much to be defined on paper by penning lists of His qualities and attributes – omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent… or even by listing His names – Elohim, El Shaddai, El Olam, El Elyon…

“Be still, and know.”

Know is the word that strikes me. There are different ways of knowing.  When I was a school principal, I always told teachers that they need to know their students as students but also as people. There is intellectual or factual knowing or, as the German say, “wissen” and the Latin and Italian “sapere.” This is knowing that is general, abstract and rather easily put into words like a student’s reading test score or knowing the answer to a math problem. But there is also individual, particular and often hard to articulate knowing that comes through relationships and experience. The German call this “kennen” and the Latin distinguish it as “cognoscere.”

I believe God desires us to have “head knowledge” – “wissen” and “sapere” about Him. He would have us study the Scriptures, know His names and know the works that He has done. But when His word tells us to “be still, and know,” I believe He means for us to know Him in true relationship and personal experience – “kennen” and “cognoscere.” And when you really stop and think about it, isn’t that awesome? That He desires us to know Him this way, at this level?

The King of Kings’ the Lord of Lords; the one true, living God wants to know you and wants you to know Him. Just think about trying to walk up to Queen Elizabeth, Xi Jinping (President of China), Vladimir Putin (President of Russia) or Barack Obama (President of the United States), introduce yourself and get to know them at a personal level? Probably ain’t going to happen. You’d have to try to navigate all kinds of red tape, background checks and Secret Service. And the key word is “try” because you’d probably never get through it all.

But God who is greater than these, wants you to know Him, to have a personal and intimate relationship with Him, to spend time with Him. Acts 17:27 (NASB) says God desires that we might “grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” He wants us to be in relationship with Him such that He has not hidden Himself away behind walls, bars, armed guards, bureaucracy or Secret Service.

God desires to build a unique intimate and personal relationship with each of His followers so that He may reveal more of Himself to each – truth by truth – as that knowledge is needed.

Who is God?

Be still, and get to know Him for yourself. Some possible resources for you follow. I’ve got to get back to that paper! (But I’d love to hear who YOU think He is.  Share your comments!)

RESOURCES

How to Know God

http://www.insight.org/resources/topics/how-to-know-god/

How to Know God Personally

http://www.cru.org/how-to-know-god/would-you-like-to-know-god-personally.html

How Can I Get to Know God Better?

http://www.intouch.org/you/all-things-are-new/content/topic/how_can_i_get_to_know_god_better_all_things

How Can I Deepen My Relationship with God?

http://www.intouch.org/you/all-things-are-new/content/topic/how_can_i_deepen_my_relationship_with_god_all_things


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No Corns, No Pinching

Yesterday I spoke at a work-related event. It was risky, but I opened with a joke someone shared with me years ago. Risky because I’m not the best joke teller and because of the audience. But I told it anyway. It went like this:

It seems that a man, known to be a cheapskate, had gone to the tailor to have a suit made, but when the suit was finished and he went to try it on, it didn’t fit him at all.

He was greatly disappointed and complained to the tailor. It was a horrible fit.  The jacket was too big in back, the right arm was too long, one pant leg was too short and three buttons were missing!

“No problem,” said the tailor, ” this is an easy fix – just hunch your back, bend your arm, walk with a limp, and stick your fingers through the button holes and you’ll look just fine!  Nobody will ever notice.”

So the man, still upset but not wanting to upset the tailor, contorted his body to fit the suit and, even though he felt that he had been duped by the tailor, he left. He had not walked one block when he was approached by a stranger.

“Who made that amazing suit for you?” asked the stranger. “I’m in the market for a new suit myself.”

Surprised, actually shocked, but pleased at the compliment, the man directed the stranger to the tailor’s shop.

“Well, thanks very much,” said the stranger, hurrying off. “I do believe I’ll go to that tailor for my suit. He must be an absolute genius if he made a suit to fit you.”

Isn’t it astonishing how we will wear something that we KNOW does not fit?  There are many a corned toe that will attest to this.  It’s also probably why SPANX and Lipo-in-a-Box are multi-million dollar companies, and everyone else has sought to make knock-off versions of their products which make claims to “transform” your body, help you fit in a size smaller garment and look pounds thinner.

All day long we (especially us women) walk around trying to “fit” into something that simply does not “fit” us.  Remember Cinderella – all those women trying to fit a Size 10-looking foot into about a Size 5 slipper?

We try to “fit” into social groups.

We try to “fit” into workplace cliques.

We try to “fit” into love relationships.

We try to “fit” into careers.

We try to “fit” into age groups and mindsets and lifestyles.

We try to “fit” where we simply do not belong and have no place being.

Author and TED Talk speaker, Brene Brown, says, “Fitting in, I’ve discovered during the past decade of research, is assessing situations and groups of people, then twisting yourself into a human pretzel in order to get them to let you hang out with them.

A human pretzel.  Corns. Pinching. Ouch!  Don’t we realize how painful it is trying to “fit?”

Brown goes on to say,Many of us suffer from this split between who we are and who we present to the world in order to be accepted, but we’re not letting ourselves be known, and this kind of incongruent living is soul-sucking.”

I think the split is not just between who we are and who we present to the world but rather between who we are, who we present and who our Father has designed and called us to be.  God has called us collectively as His people and He has called us individually to specific roles and responsibilities.  Trying to “fit” into roles contrary to His calling is like slapping God in the face and telling Him that He doesn’t know what He is doing. Now, there’s an ouch for you!

Examples of how He has called us as His people are found throughout the Scriptures:

  • Matthew 11:28                      We are called from labor to rest.
  • Matthew 5:14, 1Peter 2:9     We are called out of darkness into light.
  • 1 John 3:14                           We are called from death to life.
  • 1 Corinthians 7:15                We are called out of turmoil into peace.
  • 1 Corinthians 1:9                  We are called from loneliness into the fellowship of Christ.
  • Galatians 5:13                       We are called from bondage to liberty.

God also extends to us a personal invitation to a unique and special task He planned just for us as individuals. Seek to know, understand and “fit” that plan. How? First, you must have a personal relationship with His son, Jesus Christ. (Click the tab SALVATION at the top of this page if you don’t have or don’t know how to have a relationship with Jesus.) If you already have a relationship with Christ, then seek to know His plan by praying, reading His word, meditating, seeking Godly counsel and, listening.

One size fits all is a lie about pantyhose and about most other things in life including God’s calling. He has a plan just for you, and when you walk in the way that He has called, you will find it to be a perfect fit – no corns and no pinching!