Recently I have been struck by the importance of being an active part of the human race. We are all people with similar feelings and needs. Here is a fun reminder of that fact.
Maurer's Music Mayhem
About a year ago, I started riding my bike again. After more than 2 decades, I added bike riding to my new health regiment. I was riding a mountain bike that I purchased shortly after Jen and I were married. I put on close to 500 miles last season and was remembering why I loved riding so much.
A couple of my friends encouraged me to buy a road bike as that would be much easier for the type of riding I was doing, as opposed to the modified Diamond Back I was riding. The 80 mile rides would be less painful and more fun on a bike designed for road riding. I decided that I would see if riding stuck for more than a year before making a cash investment in something that I might not use.
Flash forward to 2013. I’m still riding and still loving it. So I decided to kick a few tires and see what a road bike might cost me. A couple of bike shop visits proved frustrating. The kind of bike I wanted was seriously outside of my budget. I had resigned myself to continuing another season using what I had. I did pray about it, though. I said, “God, if you want me to get into a road bike again, you are going to have to work your magic, because I can’t see it happening.”
Almost exactly a week later, I got an email from a friend that included a link to a Craigslist ad for a used bike. “I think this might be perfect for you,” he said. I looked at the listing and was intrigued but knew that there was no way I could afford what the seller was asking. My friend told me that he had talked with the bike owner and thought he might be able to swing a trade deal.
Now I’m not one that enjoys taking hand-outs. I pride myself in working hard to earn the things I have. But I was reminded of my prayer just a week earlier. “Is this you answering prayer?” I prayed. It seems it was. After putting my pride aside and being willing to accept how God works “outside the box,” I had a new-to-me Trek 1400 bike sitting in my garage.
I am thankful to God for his provision. I am thankful for my friend who followed God’s nudging. I am thankful for the bike owner who was willing to trade rather than sell. I’m still learning to recognize God’s provision. Many times it is through my hard work. But sometimes… sometimes I think God just chuckles as he works his magic in his own unique way… in spite of me.
Colossians 3:10 NIV
“and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
I am thankful that living the Christian life is a process. We are “being renewed.” It’s not “once you are saved the transformation is complete.” Lord knows I’ve chosen paths that are contrary to what he envisions for me. And while it is important to strive toward’s Christ’s perfect example, it IS a process.
About a year ago, I had been having a rough period in my life where I was yet again questioning why God chose not to reach out to me in a physical manner. If we are tactile people and are created in God’s image, than why does he choose not to physically touch us?
One Sunday I sat in church, humble, broken, and hurting. As I sat there with my head bowed I felt the Spirit breath on the back of my neck. I was stunned. I was relieved. I relished this physical confirmation of God’s presence.
About nine months later I was sitting in church and felt the same breath on my neck. Only this time I realized that the fresh spring breeze was blowing through the open window behind me. My analytical mind kicked in and I was angry! What I had felt earlier was nothing more than the wind. It wasn’t God at all! I was again bitter at God’s refusal to reach out and be physically with me.
Recently, I was sharing these experiences with a friend who encouraged me to acknowledge that maybe God can use the wind to breath afresh on me. If he created the earth, he knows how it all works and could easily command the wind today just like he did in Mark 4. My friend suggested that maybe I should be intentional about recognizing that God’s touch may not look or feel like I expect it.
With that in mind, I sat in church a couple Sundays ago and felt the spring breeze through the window. I smiled knowingly and thanked God for his touch. Within moments of my thankfulness the lady sitting behind me asked me to close the window because the breeze was making her cold.
ARGH!! NO!!! I had just acknowledged that God was touching me and this lady was asking me to stop his touch. I was frustrated, to say the least.
Again I relayed this experience to my friend and he started laughing! He suggested that this may be God acknowledging my recognition of his touch. He went on to explain that God wants to show me that he does hear me and that this could be a humorous way to get my attention. I’ve sat with that for a couple of weeks and decided to let this be my attitude. God does reach out to me. It just may not look like I expect.
So last Sunday, the nfcBrass helped lead worship in church, as we’ve been doing for more than 20 years. As we sat on the platform several of us were having issues with the wind blowing our music off the music stands. Now keep in mind that this is the first time I can remember having this problem in the sanctuary of NFC. Several of us were using clips to secure our music to the stand. In fact one person had to finish playing the song we were playing by reading his music off the floor!
I am choosing to believe that God is yet again trying to get my attention. He has shown me that he DOES want to reach out and touch me. I just need to be open to the way HE wants to do it. I’m thankful for this renewed awareness of God’s presence in my life in this funny and very physical way.
Now, does anyone know where I can get tornado insurance? I think maybe I should get prepared!
In church today, Pastor Gregg talked about the presence of God. In Old Testament times, God’s presence was represented by the Ark of the Covenant. But in Jeremiah 3:16, God promised that he would be present in his people directly, so much so that the people wouldn’t need the Ark any more, wouldn’t even think about it.
That got me thinking about how I still put God in a box, granted mine isn’t as beautiful as the Ark of the Covenant was. I think my God box is like a can of paint. I keep it on the shelf of my life. I don’t carry it around because many of my actions and thoughts aren’t really pleasing to Him. But when I need His covering, or to look good to others, I pull down my God can and cover over the unsightly things in my life.
Oh how I want to have God deep within me, oozing out of my pores so that all my thoughts, all my actions, all my desires, are not only pleasing to Him, but are based in Him. I want to be based IN Christ, not based ON God. I long to rid myself of my sinful ways, and replace that black tar with the redeeming light of God.
This also got me thinking about God’s “physical touch.” Readers of this blog will know that I’ve lamented that God doesn’t touch me personally like my family or friends do. I suppose God allows himself to remain in the paint can on my shelf where I’ve put him. And it is difficult to reach out and touch someone when you’ve been put at a distance. God is a master of restraint. Because I’m sure there are times he would like to reach out of that can and whoop me upside the head!
My prayer today is for the indwelling of God in my life. I pray for softness and willingness to let go of my sinful ways. I pray for God to clean those unsightly spots out and replace it with an inward filling of His light. I pray that all my actions and attitudes are His, shining, oozing, and seeping out of the very core of my being. I pray that I will be wrapped up in and completely filled with the living, active, present Christ.