Sunday, January 16, 2011

I'm so thankful for the many people the LORD has blessed me with and the many friends who wished me a happy birthday. People just recognizing and saying those words makes the day so special. I had the chance to do what I wanted to do most on my birthday and be a recluse (after work that day anyway)! Much needed rest was in order and I have enjoyed the opportunity to have it.

I have spent a couple of days this weekend on a "stay-cation", house-sitting for some friends who often call on me to do so, and it was so funny. I was restless, and wondering, what to do this morning after sleeping in. I was having trouble "figuring out" how to rest! I could not pray, I could not enjoy reading my Bible, and I just could not figure out how to get relaxed, so I finally did what rarely ever fails. I went on a run on that heavenly loop of 3 miles with a golf course on one side and a lake on the other. About halfway through the loop, God started speaking to me and giving me a prayer to pray today. I said to God, "You are a genius, LORD. You would not let me relax and just be with you until I stopped trying to be religious. And then, the moment I start running, You start coming to me and speaking, giving me Your thoughts and Your desires!" Running has been a gift from God over the past 7 years. It has not always been so. There was a time that I hated running, but I had always heard that if you keep doing it, you would cross a threshold and it would become refreshing. Running now energizes me. It's an exuberant activity and maybe that is why I connect with God in it; I have always encountered God exuberantly. That may be one of the primary facets of God's character that I have been attracted to for the past decade of relationship with Him. Running puts my mind, my soul and my spirit in a posture where I can hear what God is saying and receive joy and life from Him. The flavor of fullness of life for me and the flavor of encounter with God that has meant the most to me has been "exuberant." Running was exuberant rest today, and the LORD was delighting me so much, that I ran the circle twice (for about 6 miles) to see what else He might say to me.
Anyway, He only said that one thing this morning and it was only about a 5 minute prayer, but it precipitated in my mind to an idea that I may yet act on. It was refreshing.

Why did the LORD do this for me this morning? Why is He so kind? I'm no different than anyone else on earth. I get bored with His Word and prayer. I'm not disciplined about doing them. I have other gods in my life, just like everybody else does. Sometimes its sex, sometimes its food, sometimes its music. Sometimes my god is what other people think of me, or all my friendships. I'm easily a full-throttle hypocrite at times. I mean, I watched a video today about the Song of Solomon today and God is easily the expert on pleasurable and adventurous (or exuberant?) sex if you read that book. But all of my life gets out of kilter when sex becomes my god, and yet I still do it and do not know how to escape (truly working on that one though). But, back to my question-Why is God so kind to me? God is kind because it's His character to be kind. It's who He is. His gentleness and kindness are what draw me in and help me to turn from my sins.

God always meets me in the ways that I least expect. When I try to be religious and do religious things, it's like the presence of God runs away from me. Then, I go out running and all of a sudden the Spirit of God rushes up to me and speaks (and I've done nothing to deserve it). Another good example was when I went out west to hunt antelope with my dad last year. We had planned this trip for 2 years and I felt like God wanted us to do it. So, we went to Kansas City to visit the International House of Prayer first, and then we went hunting out west. After the trip, when we got back to Chicago and prepared to part ways, I had a sense of something that I had not thought of. We were about a half-hour from our split-up point and I realized that I had two days before I had to be back in town for work. I realized that I was not ready to be done yet and I wanted to do something spontaneous, that I rarely get to do. So, when we reached the gas station and split up, with dad driving off, I just stayed there, thinking and praying for about 45 minutes about my options and I finally received a sense of all God wanted me to do for those 2 days. I had thought about going to the inner city of Chicago to minister and hang out with the homeless, but what I felt the LORD had me settle on was this and it was unexpected to me for one of my "religious" mindset: go to Cincinatti and get a motel for 2 nights, and go to King's Island on Saturday. I felt more of the LORD's pleasure and peace on that than on anything else, so that's exactly what I did. I had hours of time to read and pray in that motel room and I had a blast for the day at King's Island. God even came to me and taught me a very important lesson through this sort of sky-diving simulation thing. I journaled about it later and I also found a vision from a journal from 2 years ago revitalized. It was truly spiritual time.

So I have rested and enjoyed my exuberant God this weekend and that leads me to something that I've needed to say and just hadn't thought of until today, since some of my facebook readers will be reading this. There are some of you, though not all that have expressed frustration when people do not talk to them on facebook or online. Some of you are offended and assume a lot of stuff that is not true when people do not talk to you. I'm quite aware of this because I'm one of those people that does not respond to a lot of messages online and I want you to know that the reason is not that I want to ignore you or that I'm angry with you or even indifferent towards you. I just do not do the online communication or chatting thing very often. I'm sure that this may be the case with many others to. I may occasionally say something, but I just do not like communicating online very much. I'd much rather be face-to-face. Nor do I have the time to maintain a huge presence online. Nor am I going to seek to maintain one. This is not a priority for me and I do not think it needs to be a priority for me. I just do not want anyone to take personally my neglect toward online relationships. I believe that I need to focus primarily on those I'm around everyday in my immediate sphere because that is where God has placed me and I simply do not have time for more. I wish I did, but I do not. God has emphasized the need to me to be very careful with my time, to get rest and to be willing to say "No." a little more often, and so I need to do that. I've almost canceled my facebook a few times, but I'm not sure that is what I need to do.

If anyone needs to talk or be in touch, call my phone number. If I cannot talk to right then, leave a message and I'll return your call. This is the easiest way to stay in touch with me.

Until next time,

Nathan

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