Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Day Thirty Seven: In the Game

I like that God does miracles. It seems like a huge upside to following Jesus, this possibility that through his power, circumstances can change in ways that make no natural sense whatsoever. That strikes me as rather spectacular.

And yet even as I think about that word, spectacular, I can feel something in me (I suspect it's God) urging me to correct my assessment. I'm no etymologist, but this word looks an awful lot like two others: spectacle, and spectator. I'd guess that they're related. And this inner prompting seems to be the Holy Spirit reminding me that watching from the sidelines isn't how God designed this miracle thing to operate. If we're following Jesus, the Bible says, we'll do miracles through his power at work within us--we get to play, not just watch. That's kind of wild to think about, especially for a girl like me who has always dreamed of being a superhero.

I suspect that many of us have this inner longing to be more powerful--to make more of a positive impact on the world--than our natural abilities allow. But I've looked far and wide for a superhero training school, to no avail. So the question becomes, how do we connect with that something BEYOND our own most actualized selves? Jesus is the only one I've found who delivers on these kind of promises. But the catch is: we don't get to go to school and train for six years; there's no Jesus equivalent to Hogwarts. Instead, as my friend Dave points out, Jesus jumps into our lives like we're in a game of Cranium and declares, "All Play!"

All Play, for those of you not familiar with this game, means that no one gets to watch while the others try to figure out the answer; everyone plays, all at the same time. It's the most fun part of the game, like getting called off the bench in sports. When it comes to doing what Jesus did--the miracles, the lives transformed in a single conversation, the multiplication of fixed assets into abundant provision--we're all meant to play. Imagine what that might mean for the world?

No, seriously: Stop reading, right now, and imagine what that might mean for YOUR world, and for the greater world around you. Amazing, right?

Let's pray:
God, show me what this looks like for my life.
Open the eyes of my heart that I might be enlightened and know the hope to which you've called me; the riches of your inheritance, Jesus; and your incomparably great power for us who believe.
Show me what you're calling me to, and give me the courage to step into it confident that it's not me at work, but you.
Let me see your miracles, God--in my life and in the world around me.
Thanks in advance!
In Jesus' name, Amen.

Sometimes you've just gotta dive in :)

If you'd like some help in thinking about this miracles thing, you might check out this talk given by Dave Schmelzer. It's part of the same series as the talks on prayer and guidance I've given over the past few weeks.

Our theme of diving in continues as we look to today's reading, in that we need to double up and do two chapters a day if we want to get to the cool finale of Acts by Friday. So here are today's chapters. Our friend Paul is in a bit of trouble. But oddly enough, the closer he gets to prison, the broader the audience for his message. Interesting strategy. I'll confess that I'd much rather post something on YouTube than go to prison as a way to get the word out, but we all have our preferred ways of operating!

Today's song: All That I Can Do by Bethany Dillon.
I ran around the room again
I ran outside and I ran back in
And I just couldn't get away from myself.
I don't care what tomorrow brings
I won't back down for anything
I want to think that I was made for something else...
All that I can do is hold onto You
And follow where you lead, where You're leading me...


the teacher said...

i woke up so refreshed this morning. yesterday i had a breakdown. i questioned my faith that i had that God would help me make my life better. i felt like i was walking alone. somehow from 7:00 last night to midnight, my whole outlook changed and i went to bed happy. i feel great today. that is God, with me. i can feel it.

so today's post gets me pumped up about making things happen for Him and not just lying around waiting for Him to help me. i felt like i have been using part of these 40 days selfishly. it is to get me closer to God, not get what i want closer to me. thank you for the encouragement. :) have a great day everybody!!

Liza said...

I feel that I've gotten much closer to God over this 40 Days of Faith. I've been praying each morning and it's made my days much better.

Larramie said...

It's not the ultimate role, but if seize a daisy encourages or brightens anyone's mood...

ForstRose said...

I go through cycles of frustration and wanting to just give up on things instead of pursuing the things that can lead to my dreams. This last few days I have been in the downhill porton of that emotional rollercoaster. This is not necessarily because of lack of answers from God but sometimes lack of trust or allowing myself to get carried away by the emotions of the moment.

While I try not to let emotions run the show they are sometimes so intense that I have to do something and work through them. Sometimes it takes awhile and feels like I am just going through motions of reading my Bible and praying or whatever it is that I have no motivation to do.

I don't want to get bogged down in those places or be there in the first place but in reality they do come and will continue to come but I have to choose not to let Satan get a foothold when they do even if it takes more energy and effort to resist getting stuck.

Like the last couple stanzas of the song for today that are posted here - "All that I can do is hold onto You
And follow where you lead"

Sometimes that holding on is easier said than done but if I don't hang on then I am like Peter taking his eyes off Jesus when Peter is walking on the water toward Him. Peter starts to sink and the same happens to me in life - everything starts to collapse and crumble when I take my eyes off Him and lose focus.

This process has been a good chance to refocus and encouragement that He is there even when I go through the discouraging times of feeling like I've been abandoned. It's not Him that goes away it's me turning my back on Him or letting other things crowd Him out of my priorities and focus.


heiress said...

Trish, I like the line in the prayer that states, "Show me what you're calling me to, and give me the courage to step into it confident that it's not me at work, but you." WOW, that really resonated with my spirit.

I believe that God called me to do this 40 Days of Faith as a way bringing me closer to HIM than I have ever been, and I am so thankful for that.

I feel that even though this round of the 40 days is coming to an end, it feels like its just the beginning of a deeper more spiritual relationship I have built with God.

Gretchen said...

I resonate with forstrose; I've been on the downhill slope of a huge rollercoaster in the last few days, and I need help! I am reading "Not the Religious Type", and that encouraged me to look at some of my situations differently. And I like the prayer posted at the end of today's post. I want to see what God is calling me to, because it seems like he's closing a lot of doors right now and I don't see the open ones just yet.

I also need to see if He'll pull off a miracle and get a group of us to Haiti in 6 weeks' time!

Kwana said...

Thanks so much for this post. It felt so refreshing to me that I just said Ahh at the end of it.
Hang in there. All of us. Getting closer to him is what I believe he wants.