Sunday, February 12, 2012

rules, rules, rules

i have learned i am a rules guy.  i like to play by the rules.  i like to enforce the rules.  i like the comfort that rules give to me.  (that is a statement all in itself, but i am not going to be addressing that one today, i dont think)

my desire for rules and boundaries has had me spending the last 7 to 10 days asking myself and others questions about how i should be living my life.  pointed questions, like how should i be responding to kim while going through a divorce.  how close should i let other people get to our situation.  what is my part of our marriage covenant made between us and God supposed to look like right now.  what are my friendships with single women or women going through a divorce right now supposed to look like as to still honor the promise that I made to Kim.  am i guarding and leading my heart the way i should be as a person trying to follow his Creator?  how much alcohol is ok for me to drink with people that are inviting me out (because they care about me and what to know that i am ok).  how can i be the father these boys really need to have to become strong men when i only get to see them 50% of the time.  how can i demonstrate the way they are supposed to treat their mother when they don't ever see us interact.

these questions, and many like them, are leaving me in an uncomfortable and unfamiliar spot.  i want to do what is right, i want to be who i should be.  i want to honor my God.

this morning it just came down to me sitting and talking with my God.  asking and saying "why am i not hearing from you.  i want to know these things.  i want to do what you want me to do."

i didnt get answers to any of my questions directly.  i am still confused, and without rules...

I was reminded of this from Proverbs 3 though:

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.t
I thank God for this and he reminded me of a thought from last night's service at Calvary...A long obedience in the same direction.

God has already given me the "rule" I have been looking for...and it is sad to say that He still needs to remind me of it considering how often He has told me...but there it is..."Rob, don't do this by yourself.  Trust me that I have your best interest in mind.  I created you and I know what you need.  You too often run off in your own direction when you should be running to me.  Run to me Rob.  Run to me."

Saturday, February 04, 2012

You are being loved

I often do not allow myself a lot of grace. I often guilt myself for failing in something. I heap the shame on thinking I deserve it.

It is stupid stuff sometimes too, like shaming myself for hurting emotionally. Seriously, I do that. I tell myself I should be over that, or that it is not worth hurting about. I feel badly for having relationship that make me smile and laugh because there is a part of me that feels like there always has to be this deep honest conversation happening so that the relationship has meaning.

There are a lot of lies I am telling myself

It is that reason why the Steven Curtis Chapman song "You Are Being Loved" has moved to the top of my favorites list in the last couple days.

While I was on the treadmill this past Friday night I came across this song and heard these words:

You ought to see the smile
you're bringing to your Father's face
You ought to hear Him sing His version of Amazing Grace
'cause that's the song being sung over you
By the God who breathes life into you

You are being loved
You are being loved
Right now at this very moment

My Creator loves me, right now, just as I am, this very moment.

And that is amazing

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

thinking about this...

This past Sunday I found myself spending time looking through a website called  A site where you can find all sorts of different paintings or magazine covers.  I recently began reading a book by Henri Nouwen titled The Return of the Prodigal Son that stems from a fascination he had with Rembrandt's masterpiece named the same as the book.  I am only a few chapters in, but Nouwen shares the lessons he personally learned as he pursued the truths within this story that is so small considering the breadth of the Bible.

My time on though was not entirely spent on that masterpiece though.  I decided to find other works by Rembrandt because I am finding his work intriguing.  Intriguing is almost too light of a word.  As I saw the different works, I was drawn in.  Many of them were tied to scripture, to Jesus and his death, but the one I was fascinated by, was the one below.  I saw names of Abraham's Sacrifice,  Abraham and Isaac, and the Sacrifice of Isaac.  I still don't know what it is officially called.

Many thoughts came to my mind as I got lost in this image.  I am not sure exactly how much time passed, 20 minutes perhaps, but I could not draw myself away.

Here is what I wrote a friend shortly after discovering this work, "the angel of God pulling back Abraham's hand that was yielding the unsheathed knife while the other exposed the neck of the one who could bear the promise that God had given him.  That obedience, that faith, it just stirs something inside of me that I cannot take my eyes away from."

I have thought about this painting more and more over the last few days.  I hope someday to own a copy, and to study it and meditate on what God is truly teaching us here.  It is more than just obedience and faith, because those are only surface words to describe Abraham's actions here.  There is Isaac as well, and the love his father has for him.  The pain that must have been felt as he unsheathed his knife indicated by the way that Abraham held his son's face so that there is no eye contact possible.

He was going to do it.  He was going to offer his son as a sacrifice to his Creator.  The trajectory of the knife's path as it is falling in comparison to the position of his hand shows that he was in motion.  This painting makes it seem that he was in the act of sacrificing his son.

No, obedience and faith are too light of words for what this is...but I cannot choose the correct ones either...

And then there is this simple question...what should my response be in light of this truth?