My Senses Come Alive to Glory at the Beach!

My Senses Come Alive to Glory at the Beach!

After a summer riddled with surgeries, sickness, scans, and being stuck at home for "recoveries," we are "getting outa Dodge" and heading east ... to my beloved beach. So I am revisiting my blog posts written over the past 7 years that speak of sand and surf and sunrises at my favorite place. The beach early in the morning is a special place where I meet God in the Glory of His Creation and in the Peace of His Presence. 

May you be vicariously refreshed as you "visit" with me there... 

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Revelation 201: "Why do kids raised in Christian homes walk away from the faith?" and other such questions

Revelation 201: "Why do kids raised in Christian homes walk away from the faith?" and other such questions

Kids who have been raised in Christian homes, and even educated in Christian schools, seem to be "leaving the faith" in surprising numbers.

And maybe there are just as many young people and adults that "stay" but are bored, just going through the motions. 

What is going on? Why is this happening?

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The Rest of the Gospel: God's Process of Growth (Chapter 15)

Chapter 15  God's Process of Growth Key Verses:

I am writing to you, little children,     because your sins are forgiven for his name's sake. I am writing to you, fathers,     because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men,     because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children,     because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers,     because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men,     because you are strong,     and the word of God abides in you,     and you have overcome the evil one. 1 John 2: 12-14 ESV

Key Question:

What is Christian growth?

Read chapter 15 and answer the following:

1. Have you been tempted to believe that Christian growth occurs in only one certain How did that look to you?

2. What was the result of trying to put a box around God’s process in you?

3. Dan talks about three stages of growth from First John 2:12-14. What did God say to you through this description about God’s process of growth?

4. What does it mean to you that “God takes us in love” (p. 168)? What is God saying to you through that statement right now?

5. Think of two or three difficult circumstances in your life right now. Have you accepted that God is working on you to your benefit in each of these, or are you resisting God’s work? How does He want you to respond to Him in each circumstance?

6. Is there a contradiction between Christ living in us, as us, and Dan’s call to obedience on page 168? Why not?

7. Are there any areas in which God is calling you to be a responder to Him, to be obedient? If you have not yet responded, what has that done to your windowpane?

8. On pages 169 and 170, Dan says that God causes us to grow as He “uses the storms in the soul” to drive us to a place of inner rest. In what areas of your life are you not at rest? How is God telling you to respond to Him in those areas?

9. In what ways is your soul still turned outward, its attention on the body and the world? Is there an area or two in which you hear the wooing of God back to Him? What would it look like for you to respond to His wooing?

The Rest of the Gospel: Revelation -- God's Way of Knowing (chapter 11)

Chapter 11  Revelation: God's Way of Knowing Key Verses:

 ...that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe... Ephesians 1:17-19a ESV

Key Question:

What is the difference between "knowing" something spiritually and "knowing about" something spiritually?

Read chapter 11 and answer the following:

1. Has God brought you to the place where in your heart you know that you can’t live the Christian life on your own?

2. In what ways are you still seeking flesh answers to flesh questions (p. 123)? What is the answer to all spirit questions?

3. What are you trying to produce that you are incapable of producing? Or, to put it another way, how are you still trying to live out of your own effort? Are you ready to stop trying and trust God to do it instead?

4. Are you still expecting yourself to succeed at trying to live the Christian life? Does God see you as a failure when you are unable to? What is His perspective on your failures (p. 123)?

5. What is the practical meaning to you of “know-about means we must earn; know means we understand it’s freely given”?

6. What are some things the Spirit of God has revealed to you, things you know, that you can’t be shaken from?

7. What is the good news in the fact that true knowing comes by revelation of the Spirit, not our analysis?

8. Can you be content with where God has you in His process? How might He want you to trust His timing in your life? What does He want you to stop being anxious about?

9. What are some things God is telling you to believe? Review the three things Dan beginning at the bottom of p. 129. What is God saying to you about these three things?


Mystery of Christ in Colossians: the Mystery Revealed

Everyone loves a good mystery!  We got hooked when my mom came to visit from NJ when our kids were little.  She turned us on to Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Murder She Wrote, Miss Marple, etc. I guess the pleasure in mysteries is that the viewer is always trying to figure out "Who done it!"  My mom had an amazing track record in those days!  And I'm finding myself guessing correctly more often than not nowadays!  Aging?  Suspicious nature?  Who knows!

God has mysteries too, as we've seen in the book of Colossians.  But His mysteries are very different than the ones we try to figure out.  There are five distinctives of God's mysteries.

  1. They are about God and His ways
  2. They are now revealed but previously unknown
  3. They couldn’t be known unless God revealed them
  4. They are meant to be proclaimed, not kept secret
  5. There is still supernatural remaining despite revelation

God takes great pleasure in His mysteries!  There are many in the Bible.  But the Father takes particular delight in His mystery wrapped up in His Son, the Apple of His Eye!  Did you find the references concerning God's mystery in Colossians?

...the mystery that has been kept hidden...the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:25,27

My goal is that...they may know the mystery of God, namely,Christ [Himself], in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 3:2-3; also 4:3

To really spell it out, a little later in Colossians, Paul says,

For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him... Colossians 2:9-10 ESV

I love those verses!  They are key to the whole of our Christian walk in this world!  The full Christ Who is the wisdom of God indwells you and me, O child of God!  Let that truth really sink in!

Jesus is the fulness of God in the flesh, the God-Man, our Immanuel...and the full Christ lives His full life in and through me as I let I am full in Him!

As the authors of Jesus Manifesto (p. 34) have put it...

Jesus Christ is like a vast ocean.  He is too immense to fully explore, too rich to fathom.  You are like a bottle.

The wonder of the gospel is the bottle is in the ocean, and the ocean is in the bottle.

Join us next time to see how this truth can become real in your own life.  See you then!