Processing Disappointment #1

Soon the wise lady leading the afterglow quietly said, “I believe Scripture instructs us to bear one another’s burdens, not analyze them.”

SLG Coaching

Several years ago, a good friend took me on a vacation to Algonquin in Canada.  It was a fantastic time of canoeing, portaging, camping and talking.  A memory maker of gargantuan proportions.

Recently another opportunity came up to return there.  I looked forward to it for months and tacked it onto the end of the trip to Canada last weekend.  I went in on Sunday with high expectations and left on Tuesday with my tail between my legs.  What happened is immaterial.  The point of this blog is to explore some facets of dealing with disappointment.

In absolute terms, it was just a vacation that took a weird twist.  Not a big deal.  Just about all of us have one or two of those in a lifetime.  In the immediate, though, it was a huge disappointment.  I was looking forward to engaging with nature, to being on the water in…

View original post 1,286 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

10.2 Discipleship 101: Live Simply – Love Extravagantly.

Discipleship doesn’t have to be so darn complicated!

The Contemplative Activist

10.2

Years ago as a new Christian, I thought my personal pilgrimage with God was the essence of Christianity. I used to evaluate my maturity over and over again. “Am I growing, Lord?” I remember when I was memorizing Scripture, eventually memorizing about a thousand verses. “Boy,” I thought, “I must really be mature. I must really be growing. Look at all these verses that I have memorized.” That was how the Bible memory course motivated me: You want to grow in Christ? Memorize his word. But in fact I was growing little. I was still biting my wife’s head off, yelling at my kids, and doing a thousand things that hurt my relationships. I had lots of verses memorized, but few were worked out in my life. John Wimber

Our Theme: ON DISCIPLESHIP.

So what, exactly, defines a disciple?

Over the years, I’ve always enjoyed asking pastors how they would…

View original post 1,117 more words

Posted in Jesus | Leave a comment

Pursuing Pleasure (continued…)

Embracing pleasure produces thankfulness.
Not embracing pleasure produces guilt (possibly over a blessing the Good Lord could be trying to give).

When the Ultimate Giver freely gives us a gift or rewards us with something, who are we to say no? Who are we to disagree? Who are we to disagree with the Lord?

Similarly, when the same Good Lord calls us to experience intimacy by joining Him in a place of sorrow, who are we to deny Him? Could this invitation not also be a gift? Though painful, though not pleasurable, could we find glory in embracing Jesus’ invitation – that He would actually trust one that He made to dwell with Him in sorrow?

I’m learning. Perhaps the emotion (whether sorrow, delight, or another) is not as important as the one or the One with whom it is shared. There is something deep within the human soul that resonates in dwelling with one another or with The One in trial (producing steadfastness), in grief (producing an opportunity to be comforted), and in pleasure (producing delight). I believe it’s all a part of communion. Perhaps communion is of dwelling with one another and with the The One. If it is, I believe it’s an art, learned and persuasive.

Posted in Thoughts | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Pleasure is good.

Lately there have been repeated themes, one of which is that pleasure is not a bad thing – it’s a good thing. 

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I over complicate things. Let me say – it’s just not necessary to do so! It’s a lot easier to live life simply. 

Yesterday, I was quiet and was in a healthy place of taking care of my soul, and the Lord started speaking to me. He said pleasure is not a bad thing. It’s a good thing. And He also reminded me that I need to embrace suffering when it comes, but I don’t need to pursue suffering.

God told me to seek first the Kingdom … Not to seek first suffering. 

It was nice to be reminded life can be simple. Uncomplicated. Pleasurable. And that its good and right to take pleasure in life, even as a Believer. 

… That we don’t have to mope around casting out demons, interceding with faces to the ground. Sometimes we can rejoice and be joyful and enjoy life. 

The art of communion – drinking the cup and the bread – dying to self, submitting to God, and having a genuine smile on my face – it’s an art. I’m still in the process of being, but to the Artist I’m already a Masterpiece. Ironic how the painting isn’t finished, yet we’re already a most prized possession. 

Just thinking out loud in this one … Reflecting on Ecclesiastes and pleasure … Eat, drink, & be merry, friends! 🍔🍷😍

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Good ideas are really just God-given thoughts.

Good ideas are really just God-given thoughts.

Believers have the mind of Christ.
We think like Christ. We don’t think like Him 100% of the time, but when we think according to the Spirit of God, we think like Christ. *Romans 8

Why not, then, produce the most genius creations, stories, ideas, and cures known and unknown and not yet spoken, written down, or lived?

Why not provoke the Holy, All-knowing Spirit within me to divulge what He already desires and longs to tell me?

He doesn’t want to keep His knowledge a secret. His will doesn’t have to be a mystery. It is to be searched out by princes and found by Royalty, because the Lord’s Royalty is the same as any other in that it’s given through the bloodline.  It’s one that’s been shed in order that everyone who wants in can enter. A free for all, no gimmicks, no entry fee; only sincerity of heart upon public confession.

He doesn’t want to keep good things only for Himself. He is good. He’s defined by goodness. In all of His goodness, He wants to share Himself.

Not only is He good. He is pure in motive and at the same time, all-powerful. He is a King. But one thing separates Him from other Kings. He is full of love. He is a Loving King.

Only a Loving Ruler-King who has all the power in the world would rule the way my God does. Only He would choose to not give Himself the One thing He desires. Only a King full of Love would limit Himself to His greatest desire being dependent upon humans agreeing with what He already knows is true.

To be a King…
To be all powerful…
To have all control…

Why not use these advantages to gain everything wanted?

Why not demand rules for His own happiness?

Why not rule over other people’s desires, especially if His are good, right, and true?

This King is unlike other Kings.This King desires to rule with people who want to rule with Him, not because of power attained, but because of Love sustained.

This King desires to upgrade the people He made in perfection, even after they pierced His side, broke His body, and mocked His name.

Where He could have had human love, He saw a puppet on a string and instead chose freedom for those created.

“Those created”
Mankind
God-made

“Those created”

The ones in the painting when he Himself is the Painter, the Maker, the Creator of the tree branches on which they swing and the clouds upon which they’ve determined to soar above.

The thing He has chosen to not give Himself is the will of man.

The All-Loving King did not make a mandate without free will. He made a date with man, His will for them to be free to love the All-Loving King.

Man has a will to choose to love God. Man has a will to choose to not love God. If man did not have a choice in the matter, it would not be love. It would be democracy, and my God is not a dictator. He is a Servant of All.

Posted in Thoughts | Tagged | Leave a comment

Communion

Reflections on Henri Nouwen’s “Can You Drink The Cup?”

(from Chapter 2: The Cup of Sorrow, pages 31-37)

Communion.

What is communion?
– being together
– common union
– having something another person(s) has/have
– sharing something with one or more people
– agreeing on the same ideas, ways, or thoughts about something
– living together with person(s)

Communion.
It’s being together with like-minded people who think like you – or like us.

Communion.
It has something to do with communication – the way I feel, think, react, and respond to other people and the way they feel, think, act, and behave toward me.

Communion.
It’s a drink and a bread crumb at church. In some churches, it’s a scheduled service event, ‘prepared and taken’ one time a month. Some churches take it together, eating the body as a body and drinking the cup as a body, all at the same time. Other church bodies take it individually, waiting until each person has decided in their heart to go receive.

 

“To go receive”…

 

I think this is an obedient act of humility, one in which people willingly choose to partner with the identity of Jesus Christ in His suffering.

And I believe and have just realized that for some saints, self included, choosing to suffer with Jesus is a loving act of obedience, one somberly taken and intentionally chosen. To “take communion” for some is to willingly enter into the suffering of Jesus after having tasted the sweetness of His joy. For others, sorrow and pain have been all too familiar and mourning has become an expression. For these who will receive comfort, “taking communion” may be learning to step into the joy of Jesus. Both enter into Jesus’ emotions, and both can “go receive”.

If part of communion is being together, I would guess there’s mutual understanding that another’s presence is pleasurable.

If the communion I take and eat is the body and the blood, I “go receive” and later sit at the feet of the one broken for me. Pleasure for me, was given through Divine atrocity.

I wonder if Jesus finds His body, the Church, Life-Giving. I wonder what He thinks about our communion. Our communion with Him. Our communion with each other.
Does our communion look like His communion?

When He desires the marriage supper of the Lamb, does He desire something which has never before happened or have we seen glimpses of it on earth?

What does it mean to prepare communion?

What does it look like for each person to personally “take communion” and “to go receive” communion?

Communion represents unity for us and disunity from the Father for Jesus.

Will I suffer with Him and also enter into His joy? Will I embrace the fullness of the communion of the Lord, as He defines it?

Posted in Jesus, Thoughts | Tagged | Leave a comment

Everyone is Given Different Amounts of Grace.

God gives us grace, but the grace given to each person may differ.

For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. – Romans 12:3a

I may have grace to do kid’s ministry while my neighbor does not. My friend may have grace to go to a community to share the Gospel with people four times a week, while I may have grace to do the same exact thing once a week. Neither is wrong nor right. Neither demands applause nor rebuke. Both are good and pleasing before the Lord when we are simply obeying Him with pure motive. What is right is obeying the Lord by joyfully and generously doing what God has asked us to do.

On the flip side, this also pertains to us not doing what the Lord has not given us grace to do. For some of us, this may be difficult because we want to prove to ourselves that we can complete ___________ (list your flesh challenge). I may be capable and trained to do children’s ministry, preach to masses, and do administration work. However, if this is a season of restoration and healing for me, the Lord may remove the grace to do those things in this season. When I forget this reality and start doing all these ministries and wonder why it feels like I keep ramming my head into a closed door, it might be an indicator that God has removed the grace for me to do those things in this season.

I’m just now re-thinking this season and how so many things were difficult for me that have not been difficult before. Perhaps it was the enemy. Perhaps it was other people. Perhaps it was that the grace for me to do those things were removed in this season. Whatever the case, I never ever want to do anything because I am capable, willing, and able. I never want to do anything in my flesh. I just want to do what the Holy Spirit tells me to do. Jesus said what the Father was saying. Jesus did what the Father was doing. I want to be like that. I want to be so focused on what Someone Else (Jesus) is saying, doing, and thinking, that I’m following Their (God’s) every move.

In practical application, I can ask the question, “Holy Spirit, what are You highlighting for me in this season?” instead of asking “Am I capable to do this?” The truth of the matter is, I can do a lot of things. The Lord has made me capable and able; but what is the best thing I can do in this season?

I once had someone tell me that if the enemy can’t deceive me with evil, he will tempt me with what is good or great to distract me from what is best. I don’t know if satan knows what is best for me, but I do know he’s strategic in his thinking and his plans. He has to be. He’s losing quickly, he has a limited amount of power (he has 1/3 of the angels while God has 2/3 of the angels), and he has limited knowledge and time. The guy is in a rut – not that I feel bad for him. It just makes me aware that I want what’s best in my life – not just what’s just good or “doable”. I don’t want to settle for anything less than the best that the Lord has for me. It would be a shame to lose out on the best that the Lord has for me, especially because I just simply didn’t believe the Truth that He wanted it for me.

That said, I can ask the Holy Spirit, “what are you highlighting to me in this season?”. I’ve heard that the Lord doesn’t throw a bunch of things at us in one season, and that He usually highlights a few things, if not just one.

I wonder, then, what is the Holy Spirit highlighting to you in this season?
What is He highlighting to me?
What do we have grace for in this season?
Of equal importance, what do we not have grace for in this season?
What can we gain in this season that we couldn’t gain in any other?

Whether this season of life is in the pits or it’s in the clouds, let’s not miss what the Lord has for us in the now. It’d be a pity to have to go through another lesson all over again because we missed it the first time – especially if it’s not such a fun one.

Life lessons. I’m speaking to myself here probably more than others, so feel free to learn from my mistakes! J I hope and pray we can gain in this season what we can’t in other seasons and that we gain revelation on what the Holy Spirit is highlighting to us.

Until next time,
Shalom friends!

– Morgan

Posted in Thoughts | Tagged | Leave a comment

Living Out Our Identity

Willingly or unwillingly, I think I’m learning about humility in this season.

I keep hearing about it, and I’ve been given a definition.

Humility: being willing to be known for who you are, not less and not more.

If this is definition is true, humility requires responsibility and action. It requires responsibility and action, because God has given us identity (who we are) for a reason. He doesn’t tell us who we are so we can get on a high horse and say we have identity from God. No – he gives us identity in order that we can glorify Him by walking according to the fullness of our calling. There’s a purpose to our identity. It’s something to be lived out. He gives us identity (example: worshiper) in order that we can do something about it (example: to worship Him). Who we are (worshiper) determines what we do (worship). Our identity guides us in what to do.

A question that has given me great clarity in my identity has been the following, and I’ve asked the Lord this question many, many times over the last few years is “God, who do You say I am?”.

A follow-up question that helps me to reflect upon the Lord’s answer and to put it into practical application is, “How am I living that out right now?”.

My practical application -> have a conversation with God.
1. Ask, “Lord, who do You say I am?”

Listen to the Lord’s response, write it down, and ask Him to help it go from brain knowledge to belief.

2. Reflect upon what the Lord has said and partner with Him by asking, “How am I living that out right now?” and “How can I agree with what You’ve said about me?”

I hope and pray these questions help us to simply connect and communicate with God and encourage us to be effective and live according to our full potential in the eyes of Jesus. Amen!

Until next time,
Shalom friends!

– Morgan

Posted in Thoughts | Tagged | Leave a comment

Seeing the Big Picture in Hard Seasons

Real talk.

This past season has been difficult. (I wrote this a week or so ago, and now I feel like I’m coming into a new season and the Lord is giving me and us breakthrough, but this word still applies to the past season. Hang in there, friends, if you’re still feeling like you’re standing in the midst of a fire.)

This past season I’ve tried to identify what has happened and what has needed to happen. I’ve tried asking the Lord “why?” and I’ve tried giving up. That didn’t last for long, because the Lord has given grace to endure. “Forgetting” about the problem wasn’t a solution, and sitting in frustration just led to greater frustration. Intercession, worship, and venting were the expressions that enabled me to endure.

The fact is that sometimes we go through hard seasons. The harder fact for me is that sometimes we go through hard seasons and we don’t know why. Knowing something is hard – I can deal with that. Going through something that is hard and not knowing why – that’s just annoyingly frustrating.

When I don’t understand something that I want to know, and I feel like I’m not getting answers as I am seeking the Lord, I get frustrated. After I realize frustration won’t do anything, I look for wisdom other Believers have gained. Thank God that other Believers spend time with the Lord and gain wisdom from Him. I’m grateful for people who share Truth like Havilah Cunnington, who says it like it is. A month or so ago, I listened to one of her sermons/podcasts and jotted down a few key points that resonated deeply.

I think her reality encouraged me to look at the bigger picture of life and to see a timeline instead of only seeing my current situation. When I look back in the past on the timeline, I can understand how some things in the past connect to what I’m doing now and how it’s been beneficial and helpful. I can’t exactly do the same thing with the future, though. I can look at my present situation without full understanding but still know the Lord will use it in the future.

Knowing the Lord will work all things out for my good is a relief. It helps me to persevere and to keep going, but it doesn’t necessarily make the present situation easier. Sometimes life is just hard. When we don’t know why life is hard in the present moment, I think looking at the bigger picture is helpful. This life is short, and this season is only for a time. I want to get out of it everything the Lord has for me. I don’t want to miss a thing, and I don’t want to settle just because things are hard. If I settle when things are hard, then I have little strength. It’s not a problem to have little strength, by the way – it just means that the Lord needs to help me grow in strength. Another life lesson. This life is such a journey….

My friends, I hope and pray you learn to encourage yourselves in the Lord, as I am doing, in order that we may remain fruitful. Here’s notes from Havilah’s. I pray they encourage you to see the bigger picture, specifically during hard, intense seasons.

We walk through some things to help others.
 

God is not being mean. He’s not trying to torture me. He’s letting me see deliverance and freedom in my life.

I’m stuck, because my calling and future is dependent on what I’m learning right now.

There are a lot of people waiting for me on the other side of my obedience. Let me not miss the point.

Part of humility is being able to walk through hard things with a clean, pure heart and say, “I’m willing to actually go through this for the sake of those You (Jesus) want to reach”.

I’ve read through these notes multiple times this season, and I pray that I can believe the Truth within them.

If this resonated, share with us how you’ve been encouraged in hard seasons. I’d love to hear!

I hope these words encourage you as they have encouraged me.

Until next time,
Shalom friends!

– Morgan

Posted in Thoughts | Tagged | 2 Comments

The Correlation Between Humility & Grace

  
I think there’s a correlation between humility and grace that I’ve discovered lately. So many times, I talk about needing grace or I hear others say they’re in need of grace. 

God reminded me of James 4:6, where it says, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 

This is a promise to me. The humble are the ones who receive grace. I, then, not only want to be humble, but I need to be humble because of my need for grace. 

Four verses down, it tells me that I can humble myself. It’s in my own capability to humble myself. The promise behind it? James 4:10 tells me when it says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.” 

I was wondering about the “how to” humble myself when I realized there was probably direction in between the middle of those verses. 

Verses 7 -9 describe multiple things I can do o humble myself. 

7: submit to God, resist the devil 

8: draw near to God, cleanse my hands, purify my heart 

9: be miserable and mourn and weep and sorrow 

These things don’t necessarily seem like a joy party to me, but when I want the fullness of the Lord, it’s all inclusive – bad, good, and hard times. 

I long to glory with Jesus and I am willing to sorrow with Jesus, too. I want to be exalted by God, therefore I must humble myself. 

I am so aware I need the grace of God. Repeatedly, the Lord tells me how to receive grace. It’s to remain humble. 

He mocks those who mock, but gives grace to the humble. Proverbs 3:34  

Lord, give me grace to remain humble, in order that I can position myself according to Your promise to receive more of Your grace. Amen! 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment