Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Day Twenty Three: Name Change

I had ugly nightmares last night. The violent, grisly kind that left me unwilling to go back to sleep but so exhausted I couldn't really fight it. Not fun.

So this morning, I'm rather foggy, reading about this violent murderer Saul and how Jesus stopped him on the road to his latest slaughter, knocked him down and said, "What the #$%$! are you doing?" (Okay, maybe he didn't put it quite like that, but you get the picture.) Now, Jesus didn't just knock Saul down. He picked him up again and gave him an entirely new identity: from that point on, he'd be Paul, and his job was to tell others what he'd seen--that Jesus was real and had the power to transform our lives. He went on to write two-thirds of the New Testament. Kind of a big deal.

In the six years I've been into Jesus, I've wrestled with Paul's take on life more than anything else in the Bible. From the moment I first encountered him, I thought, "Man, this Paul guy has issues..." Suffice to say, Paul and I don't always share the same perspective. But my friend Dave says that when you hit these rough patches, it's helpful to assume that everything that is in the Bible is supposed to be there--God knows about it. So then our job is to ask God, "What's the deal with this?" and he'll help us reconcile what we read with how we see the world. And he really does this--it's rather amazing.

So I thought that today, as we see Saul become Paul and an entirely new chapter in the Jesus Chronicles begins, this might be a handy tool for us to have: when we read something in the Bible that bothers us, let's take it to God. We can ask him to explain himself, and what this might mean for us. If we leave a little bit of space for him to answer us, he will. And I guarantee it will be different--more encouraging, filled with hope and possibility--than we might expect.

Any suggestions for today's song? Leave them in the comments :)


Natasha said...

I love it when you said we should clear out space so that we can get feedback from God. My mind is always running a million miles a minute so I get distracted easily. I will work on that today! The only song that comes to mind at the moment is "Empty Me" by Chris Sligh (American Idol Alum)because it reminds me of what you said, if I want God to reveal things to me then I need to let go of the distractions inside of me!

Sarakastic said...

I was just reading through all of the post titles in the sidebar, we've covered a lot. Thanks for doing this!

Liza said...

I've been really distracted the last several days. I'm going to make a really big effort to clear out some space for God. Thanks for the reminder.

I can't really think of any one song for today. I've been listening to Nichole Nordeman almost all the time lately. I do like the "Empty Me" by Chris Sligh too.

Kim said...

What amazes me is who Jesus uses to get his message out. If Saul, the biggest proponent of stoning Christians can be turned around to become such a huge leader in the church, then what does that say for us?

Larramie said...

All God did was change the "S" to a "P," could it be that easy to change ourselves or anyone else?

Elizabeth said...

Pual's over-riding theme is that once he had been knocked rump over teakettle, it was no longer HE that lived, but Christ in Him! Would that I could put THAT into action everyday!
I've always loved that the Lord Blinded Saul, and in that state of humility, he had to rely on God to get him to safety...and God used the same people that Saul was headed to persecute, to give him shelter and heal him of his blindness...how's THAT for literal and figurative in the same action!
Blessings all, EJT

the teacher said...

I have always wondered where that was in the bible: Paul changing to follow Jesus. I really have learned so much more about people in the bible through this blog.

I feel like if I were to know more about theology and the geography and culture, I may understand what parts of the bible mean. I guess I am afraid to read some parts, because I will take the meaning out of context or not understand the point that is trying to get across. That is a pretty dumb reason to not try though. Thanks for making it easier.

Kwana said...

Great advice. Thanks. Clear a little space for the clarification to come.

Breeza said...

My friend suggested a song to me by Sanctus Real called "Whatever you're doing." I hadn't heard it before but it's a great song.

heiress said...

I was trying to see if I could think of a song that talked about change, but nothing came to me.

ForstRose said...

Sometimes we won't know the answers although I want to know them all and sometimes get impatient when I don't. However God is the only one who can "open our eyes and minds" to comprehend His word when it is foggy to us. He can either expand our capacity to grasp the idea or present it to us in a new way that brings added clarity to something that is fuzzy and shallow when attacked with mere mortal intellectual abilities.

I have to remember that when He desires for me to understand something He will reveal it in a way that speaks to me personally. Sometimes I ignore it or just don't get it the first time but if I am sincerely seeking Him and ask for direction/clarification or whatever He will give what is within His plan for me on a need to know basis in response to those requests. However although He is patient and will repeat the message or directions until I get it, He will not just barge in and force it on me.

It is always a two way street, starting with opening myself to His leading and inviting Him to be in control. This is an ongoing process and there are often many areas I try to "hang onto" instead of allowing Him the access to direct them and keep me on His narrow path where they are concerned.