Christianity · Spirituality · Uncategorized

Our Guide

Summer cross country practice has started and I’ve been pleased to be averaging 8 brave middle schoolers coming to run in the heat.

One of the things I love about middle school cross country is that this is often the first sport some of the students have ever tried. Some are natural athletes and take off with an easy stride, but others struggle. I certainly can relate more to the strugglers, since I was never an athlete, so I try to work with them to learn how to breathe and stay loose in their upper bodies, how to run up and down hills, and how to pace themselves. Like any sport, a first time runner is not going to get all this right immediately. It takes working on one thing at a time, with patience and perseverance.

God deals with me in the same way.

I have been a Christian all my life and I would think that by now I would know how to do it, would know not to let myself get uptight over little things, would know when to keep my mouth shut and would be sensitive to those around me, but I keep getting it wrong. Or maybe I’m just more aware of my shortcomings than when I was younger.

I recently heard Joyce Meyer on her radio program preaching on the Holy Spirit in our lives. She was in John 16, when Jesus is telling the disciples that He is going to leave and that they are not going to understand what is happening. But He assures them that if He goes, the Comforter will come, the One who will live in them, not be in front of them like Jesus has been.

12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. ” John 16:12-13

The Holy Spirit is there to guide us in all truth. Joyce interprets this to mean that the Holy Spirit guides us in knowing the truth about ourselves, but only as we are ready for it. Just as I attempt to correct one part of a young runner’s form, God, through the Holy Spirit, is slowly working to perfect me, to show me areas where I need to grow. He doesn’t throw it all at me at one time – “Here, get it right!” – but instead, if I let Him, lovingly shows me my weaknesses, but only as I am ready to take it in.  And it’s usually not pretty!

Implicit in this is that we are each on a different place on the path. God may have revealed something to me that He has not revealed to you, and vice verse. I see this in many of the areas Christians have struggled with over the years. My parents talked about how they had to consciously change their attitudes about black people after they became adults, and it was not something that happened overnight. My own Southern Baptists split 25 years ago over whether women should be ministers, which felt like a divorce in the family. Right now many churches are struggling with their attitudes and policies regarding the LGBT community. Emotions run high over how to interpret what God is saying.

If any good can come from the horrific shootings in Orlando, hopefully people are looking with compassion on the victims and their families, and hearts are being moved.

Meanwhile, the best we can do is to pray for one another and ourselves, that each of us will be open to the truths the Holy Spirit is trying to show us, even if that means seeing ourselves in an ugly light and admitting our shortcomings. Any change has to start in each of our own hearts.

I’m just thankful I don’t have to go on the path alone, but that I have the Holy Spirit as my Guide!

 

Christianity · Spirituality · Uncategorized

Calling God on my iPhone

Just a few short years ago I never would have imagined that I would be carrying around a hand sized computer that would be a part of almost every aspect of  my life. At times I feel like I am on Star Trek! Our obsession with our phones can have its down sides – I cringe when I see people at restaurants glued to their screens instead of talking to each other – but  we have to learn to use our technology instead of letting it use us. So when I am not looking at funny cat videos, here are a few ways I use my phone as a tool to bring me closer to God:

1. Scripture reminders

The old way: I wrote scriptures on index cards and put them where I could see them for encouragement throughout my day. 

The iPhone way: Now my phone acts as a virtual index card. Using either the free Bible Lock app or just pulling an image off the Internet, I put a Bible verse or phrase on my “wallpaper” and every time I turn my phone on, it is there. I feel like God is giving me a little nudge and the verse seeps into my subconscious. Right now this is what I see:



Seeing this each time I turn on my phone reminds me that God doesn’t want me to just trudge through this life, but to soar!

2. Quick Bible translations: 

The old way: When I was really studying the Bible and needing to dig deep, I would  have different Bible translations and concordances spread out around me on the table. 

The iPhone way: Now when I am reading the Bible and find myself questioning the meaning of a verse, I can quickly go to the YouVersion Bible app on my phone and read a different translation. I still love my books and especially my Bible that I have labored over for 30 years, but having all those versions at my fingertips is so convenient! At times I can read the same verse over and over and it doesn’t click, but if I read it in a different translation, I will see something in it I missed. Comes in handy during the preacher’s sermons also.

3. Podcasts

The old way: I turned on the Christian radio station and listened to whoever was on at the time, or ordered cassettes from a particular speaker that I liked. 

The iPhone way: I download podcasts of ministers and teachers, plug my phone into my car stereo and listen when it is convenient for me. My favorite is Joyce Meyer, who is well known for her TV program and books. I don’t like watching her, but I love listening to her podcasts. Her teaching is always Biblical, honest and hilarious. She really gets on us women for being whiney, and moody, not trusting God and not being willing to go deeper in our walk with Him. This is a typical quote from her:

Her podcasts are around 15 minutes long, just the length of time for my afternoon drive home, and they help me “decompress” after my day. 

  

These are just a few ways I use my phone to stay in touch with God – what apps, podcasts or other features do you use?