"The Divine Shape"    [ 17 ]   
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Sept 2010

How often have you heard this, or read it with just a cursory glance? . . .

 Joni Eareckson Tada
 
Joni Eareckson Tada
 
book: "When God Weeps"
 
When God Weeps
It is written:
  "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
    nor have entered into the heart of
    man the things which God has pre-
    prepared for those who love Him."
1 Corinthians 2:9

For some reason, I have recently been drawn to books about suffering in light of eternal gain. One such book is called "When God Weeps" by Joni Eareckson Tada (co-author: Steve Estes). If you do not know about Joni . . . she was an active 17 year-old girl in 1967 when she accidentally dove too deep into a shallow pond, and broke her neck. She has spent the rest of her life in a wheelchair as a quadriplegic. As if that wasn't enough, she suffers from chronic pain, and has just recently contracted cancer! Yet through it all, she has sought the Lord and spent her whole life helping others. "When God Weeps" is just one of her many practical books that address difficult, real-world topics, all from first-hand experience. Her message in this book is: "Sometimes God allows what He hates in order to accomplish what He loves." In this life God, Our Loving Heavenly Father, is much more concerned with developing our character and glorifying Himself through our imperfections and weaknesses than He is concerned with our carnal comforts. After all, if this life is but a brief tremulous gasp before Real Life begins, should we not all the more eagerly anticipate what awaits those who choose obedience over seeking our own creature comforts? She touches briefly on the subject of heaven toward the end of this book, quoting in part from C. S. Lewis:


Consider this unusual but excellent analogy by C. S. Lewis:

I think our present outlook might be like that of a small boy who, on being told that the sexual act was the highest bodily pleasure, should immediately ask whether you ate chocolates at the same time. On receiving the answer "no", he might regard absence of chocolates as the chief characteristic of sexuality. In vain would you tell him that the reasons why lovers in their carnal raptures don't bother about chocolates is that they have something better to think of. The boy knows chocolate: He does not know the positive thing that excludes it.

We are in the same position. We know the sexual life; we do not know, except in glimpses, the other thing which, in Heaven, will leave no room for it. Hence where fullness awaits us we anticipate loss.

Do you recall the definition we've used for suffering? It's wanting what you don't have and having what you don't want. In heaven, you will finally possess what you've always wanted: fulfillment of your deepest desires. And you will always be satisfied with what you have: no boredom and no envy.

Lewis once told a tale of a woman who, after she was thrown into a dungeon, bore and reared a son. The child grew up seeing nothing but the dungeon walls, straw on the floor, and a little patch of sky through the grating above. His mother, an artist, tried to teach her son about the outside world by sketching for him pictures of fields, rivers, mountains, and cities. The boy did his best to believe his mother when she told him the outer world was far more interesting and glorious than her drawings. "What?" asked the boy. "No pencil marks out there?" His whole notion of the other world became blank, for the pencil lines were not part of the real world. The boy believed the real world was somehow less visible than his mother's pictures. But really, the world outside lacked lines because it was incomparably more visible. Lewis concluded:

"So with us. Our natural experiences (sensory, emotional, imaginative) are only like penciled lines on flat paper. If they vanish in the risen life, they will vanish only as pencil lines vanish from the real landscape."


 C. S. Lewis
 
C. S. Lewis  (1898-1963)
 

Yes, this is C. S. Lewis . . . creator of the Narnia Chronicles, best bud of another author you may have heard of (a certain J. R. R. Tolkien), Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Magdalene College, an incomparable theologian of our times. Once an atheist, his investigations into the nature of logic and reason led him inexorably (kicking and struggling, as he recounts) to the foot of the Cross of Jesus Christ. And once committed to pursuing God as He truly is, this man began to chronicle his understanding of God's Truths in some of the most compelling treatments of the Christian experience ever known.

There are two kinds of people:
      those who say to God,
      "Thy will be done,"
               and those to whom GOD says,
              "All right, then, have it your way."



A man can no more diminish God's glory by
refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can
put out the sun by scribbling the word,
'darkness' on the walls of his cell.

 

You don't have a soul.

 You are a Soul.

  You have a body.

 

I could quote the man all day long .. . but that would only dissuade my purpose for this entry. How can we, each of us in our own lives and in our own ways, live to bring the greatest glory to God? Is it found in selling all we own, giving the proceeds to the poor and "following Jesus"... whatever *that* esoteric goal may mean to one Christian or the next..? I have heard it said that whatever you give your time, attentions and affections to, that to which you give your money most effortlessly - that is your idol.. your god. Is it wine, women and song? Cars? Gambling? Entertainment? Travel? Clothes? — Archbishop William Temple (1881-1944) said: "What you do in your solitude is your true religion." The Christian's very Life Goal on earth ought to be to commit oneself to being a messenger of God's Good News (the Best News EVER!!) to all mankind, using your time, talents, and treasures for His Kingdom, regardless of where it leads or what it may cost. For some, this may mean chucking it all to chase a missionary's path off to the Congo. Others, as indicated by verses like 1 Thessalonians 4:11 & 12, may fulfill God's purpose for their lives by 'blooming where they're planted."

"The Cobbler's Calling"
 Martin Luther
 
Martin Luther  (1483-1546)
 

Martin Luther was once approached by a man who enthusiastically announced that he’d recently become a Christian. Wanting desperately to serve the Lord, he asked Luther, “What should I do now?” As if to say, should he become a minister or perhaps a traveling evangelist?

Luther asked him, “What is your work now?”

   stylin' medieval boots

“I’m a shoemaker.”

Much to the cobbler’s surprise, Luther replied, “Then make a good shoe and sell it at a fair price.”

In becoming Christians, we don’t need to retreat from the vocational calling we already have. Nor do we need to justify that calling, whatever it is, in terms of its “spiritual” value or evangelistic usefulness. We simply exercise whatever our calling is with new God-glorifying motives, goals, and standards—and with a renewed commitment to performing our calling with greater excellence and higher objectives.

One way we reflect our Creator is by being creative right where we are with the talents and gifts he has given us. As Paul says, “Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. . . . So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God” (1 Corinthians 7:20, 24). As we do this, we fulfill our God-given mandate to reform, to beautify, our various “stations” for God’s glory. (source URL)

One of the very cool things about Desert Breeze Community Church is an 8-week course taught by Pastor Ray Davis called "The Game of Life". He covers the basic tenets of the Christian faith as well as a great many other topics. One of those fundamental points is figuring out how and why God made each of us the way we are .. each unique and passionate for a world full of diverse dreams . . . To quote:

   Desert Breeze Community Church  

What God made you to BE determines what He intends for you to DO. You will understand the purpose you were created for when you understand the kind of person you are. This is the secret of knowing God's will for your life!

God is consistent in His plan for each of our lives. He would not give us inborn talents and temperaments, spiritual gifts, and all sorts of life experiences and then not use them! By reviewing and studying these factors, we can discover the ministry God has for us... the unique way God intends for us to serve Him. Your ministries in life will be most effective and fulfilling when you are using your Gifts and Abilities in the area(s) of your Heart's Desire in a way that best expresses your Personality and Experience! Consider: what is your SHAPE?

 
Your hands shaped me and made me.
—  Job 10:8


 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame
was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your
eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were
written in your book before one of them came to be.
—  Psalm 139:14-16

 

Your S.H.A.P.E. will determine your Ministry
   S PIRITUAL GIFT(S)
I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his
own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.
1 Corinthians 7:7
     
   H EART (PASSIONS)
For it is God who works in you to will and
to act according to His good purpose.
Philippians 2:13
     
   A BILITIES (TALENTS)
And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill,
ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts - -
Exodus 31:3  (also see 2 Cor 3:5)
     
   P ERSONALITY
Where does my personality best suit me to serve?
     
   E XPERIENCES
What Spiritual experiences have I had?
     

 

 
QUESTION: What Painful experiences have you had?
 
  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion
and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can com-
fort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
—  2 Corinthians 1:3-4
 
   
 
QUESTION: What Educational experiences have you had?
 
 
Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
guard it well, for it is your life.
—  Proverbs 4:13
   
QUESTION: What Ministry experiences have you had?
 
  Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise
God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ,
and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.
—  2 Corinthians 9:13
 
   
   

Success Is Doing What God Made You To Do!

 

Each of us is so uniquely and lovingly crafted by the Mastor Potter for our time here on earth, fashioned to fit precisely into the world in just a certain way – like a puzzle piece – settling into the lives (and hearts) around us by specific appointment, fastening into vocations and stations ordained for this precise arc in history . . all to fulfill the function(s) for which God created us! In a sense, it's like the most grand-ültimate Chessboard EVER, involving the willing cooperation of the pieces, to some degree. And though we may chafe and shy away from the Great Potter's hand, so eager to suggest a different form or function for ourselves, yet still He Divinely SHAPEs us to realize His best plan(s) for our lives. If we but TRUST Him to do His work and lead us as He promises to (Proverbs 3:5-6, James 1:5, Philippians 1:6), He Himself assures us that He will guide and weave our paths to our best possible gain -- (Romans 8:28, Psalm 23) -- NOT necessarily in *this* life, as our limited perspective so often reflects an awkward visage, at best, of what we think we are. CAN we trust Him, The Original Artist? I would choose to, even as my own thumbprints get in the way, jabbing here or there on impulse. Despite our meddling, I believe His purpose can and should be Trusted at all costs. To this end, all of it really is Exciting Stuff!

So even now I enact what I have been SHAPE'd to do:
creatively share God's Truths through the most effective medium at my disposal!

~   It's ALL by faith!   ~

And it's nice to know that, according to Hebrews 11:6, even such faith as this pleases God!

 
 my divine shape
 
 
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