Less Noise, More God

Thinking more about the discussion from last night……

  http://tomvanderwell.net/2014/08/really/ 

Less noise and more God.

How do we do that?  

Or let me rephrase that question – how do I do that?

For me, it’s a couple of things:

  • Less TV watching and more reading – I didn’t say none, I said, less.
  • More of the music that speaks to me about God – that would be Building 429, Mike’s Chair, Need to Breathe, Sidewalk Prophets, Third Day, Matt Maher and more.
  • More writing – some of it for sharing on here, some in my personal diary, some on http://thevulnerableproject.org/ and some on a book series I’m working on about adoption, what it means and how to understand and do it better.
  • More time spent working on “being” where God wants me to be.

Stay tuned and let’s see what God’s up to…….

Tom

“Really?”

Things have been weighing a lot lately.

Ferguson

Iraq

Israel

Hamas

Ebola

Ukraine

Nigeria

……….

It’s hard to see so many things that are happening and feel like, in many ways, it’s hard to know what to do.   I mean, we all know that none of these situations are acceptable but why so many right now and what do we do about it?

And then to feel like God is saying, “No, I want you to work at home.   Your kids, their struggles need to come first.”

I’ll be honest, I’ve seen that and seen significant growth in that this summer – both in them and in me.    But it’s also mixed with frustration.    God, I want to go out and make a difference!

And then tonight, I open my devotions, and one of the chapters I read is Psalm 37.    Vs. 7 hits me straight across the forehead.

“Be still before the Lord.   Wait patiently for him.”

REALLY?  

Is that what God wants me to do?  

That’s a whole lot easier said than done.   May we all experience more stillness and more waiting for God.

Less noise, more God.

I like that idea.

Tom

Joy, Not Happiness

Psalm 30:12 – “Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing  comes in the morning.”

Ferguson Missouri

Northern Iraq

The Ukraine

Israel

Hamas

Have we all forgotten about the kidnapped girls from Nigeria?

Robin Williams

Ebola

Michael Brown

Is it a riot or is a rebellion against a system that appears designed to police based on predetermined standards – standards that go back to the 1960’s and the violence of those days?

Does it make us uncomfortable because we prefer to sweep it all under the rug?

Does it make us uncomfortable because it makes us realize that some of us are more “equal” than others?

King David said, in Psalm 30, “Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

It’s night time right now.   There are so many things going on to weep about.

Racism, gender violence, religious violence, cultural clashes, mental illness, disease.

But God said that rejoicing will come in the morning.

Does that mean that everything will be better in the morning?

No, I don’t believe that everything will be better when the sun comes up.

I believe that God, through David, is referring to the “morning” that will happen when Jesus comes again.   That’s when everything will be better.    Until then, we live in a sin filled, imperfect world.    A world full of pain and sorrow.

I also believe that when David wrote this, he particularly used “joy” and “rejoicing” rather than happy.

Joy is the deep down sense of knowing that God’s got this.   It’s the peace that comes from knowing the world isn’t spinning totally out of control – there is one who can and will control the spinning in His time.

May we all experience even a little bit of that joy in spite of the weeping and the struggles that this current world faces.

Tom

P.S. If you want to read a thoughtful piece about how those of us who are white can and should care about Ferguson, go to http://qz.com/250701/12-things-white-people-can-do-now-because-ferguson/ .   This is not a complete endorsement of everything that they say – but rather a recommendation of some thought filled and thoughtful reading.

Underground Sprinkling

So, this morning, I’m sitting in our front porch doing some writing and listening to the rain.   It’s quiet in our house (not because everyone is in school – they are all still in bed.)

And the rain got me thinking about where we were and where we are.

Where we were – we were in a newer house with underground sprinkling (and many other things).    And rain was almost always looked at as something that got “in the way.”    In the way of being outside, in the way of many things.

Where we are – we’re in an old farm house (1890s) and we have a beautiful 1 acre lot in a subdivision.   It feels like we’re in the country but we’re in the city.    But we don’t have underground sprinkling.   So now, after a very dry spell, I got up and said, ‘Oh, it’s raining!  Thanks God!”

How many things, how much stuff gets in the way of our communication with God? Of our being aware of God? How often do we miss out on a connection to God, on being in His presence because we are too reliant on ourselves and our stuff?

I’m going to pray today that God makes us all more reliant on Him and as I listen to the rain, I’m going to hear it as God saying, “I’ve got this.”

Because even though it’s often hard to see, God does.

Tom

Pray like Abraham?– Today’s Sodom and Gomorrah

Today, I read Genesis 18:20-32 as part of my personal devotions.   A couple of things really hit me about that passage that I want to share with you.

Right now, the world is full of bad news.   Adoption laws appear to be going sideways, terrorists are being truly evil, war is breaking out, innocent people are dying in civilian airplanes, people are committing suicide, political bickering seems to take the place of actually trying to solve problems.   It’s not good and doesn’t appear to be heading in the right direction.   Oh and did I mention the Ebola virus in Africa, the ChikV Virus in Haiti and other illnesses?

In this Bible passage, Abraham is facing a similar challenge.   Sodom and Gomorrah are truly full of bad news, evil and horrible places.    But what does Abraham do?

He boldly goes to our Heavenly Father and begs for mercy on behalf of the people in those towns.    Now he has the privilege of doing it while standing in front of God while walking down the road, but what he’s doing is prayer just like we should be.

And God answers his prayer.   He gets the innocent people out of Sodom and Gomorrah before destroying the cities.

This raises a couple of questions in my head…….

  • Are we bold enough when we pray to our Heavenly Father about places like Iraq, Israel, the Ukraine, the Texas/Mexico border?
  • Are we passionate enough when we pray for healing for those battling emotional and mental illnesses?   And when we pray that people will be more open to talking about those illnesses?

God knows our hearts – but He wants to hear us be passionate about it and He wants to hear that we really care.

Prayer changes things – even when you don’t feel like you can do anything, prayer changes things.

Tom