To Be Human Is To Live In God

Here is the most widely recognized quote from St. Ireneaus of Lyon, a disciple of Polycarp of Smyrna, who was an disciple of Apostle John. 

You are fully human as you live in God & God lives in you. Otherwise, you’re missing much about what it means to be a human being. Therefore, the goal of our lives is to live as fully as possible in God. That is the journey you are traveling. 

 

For the context of this marvelous quote, click here. 

Dr. K 

Here Are Some Ways To Benefit From and Practice Waiting On God

It's Well Worth it

What’s the point of the waiting on God? Why do scripture writers tell us to “wait on the Lord?” Is it really that important? When you experience what it means to “wait on the Lord,” you discover how significant this action is to your spiritual life. So significant, that you can’t live without it. 

In the midst of instructions on how to navigate our way through a messed-up world, the Psalmist David writes: “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him” (Psalm 37.7). 

When dealing with rejection and adversaries, “Wait on the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait on the Lord!” (Psalm 27.14) 

After a rich description of God’s steadfastness and strength, we are told: “they who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40.31). 

In describing a vibrant relationship with God, the Psalmist sings: “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit. Out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth – praise to our God; many will see it and fear. And will trust in the Lord.” (Psalm 40.1-3)

From these verses and the experiences of real life, learn:                                                            

1. In times of instability, weakness, or despair sit with God. Go to spot on the beach, a bench by a stream, a log in the forest, a rock by the lake, a chair in a garden, a swing at the park, a rocker on your porch – a place not often visited or a familiar place – and commune with God. Let Him fill you with His strength and courage to take your next step.

I have been trying to do this since an experience of this type with God in Montego Bay, Jamaica when 16 years old. Feeling isolated, disoriented, and empty, I sat on our veranda overlooking the sparkling blue Caribbean. There, God began altering and strengthening my heart profoundly. Over the last 41 years, God has continued this kind of work (I’m a really slow learner) in various settings. Taking time, beyond the normal, to be with God gives you what you need to journey forward.   

2. When making major decisions, slow down and walk with God as you discern what to do. Commune with God as you seek wise counsel, listening quietly for His guidance. Wait patiently until you know the direction you are to take. 

Recently, I’ve had the privilege of working with people in transition. In every case, they want to know “God’s will” quickly so they can move on with their life. In every case however, God has other ideas. These transitions are more about shaping their heart in relationship to God than in finding their next “job” or ministry. This always requires patient waiting. So hard. So necessary. 

3. Every day seek God in solitude and stillness developing a quiet heart, controlled emotions, and sober thoughts. Learn to live in that kind of quietness in the chaos of the day. Engage whatever comes your way in the quiet confidence which God instills by His presence in you. 

You who are journeying with me on this “UnCommon Journey” know that this is a constant theme of my writings. It’s constant because it is the DNA of life with God according to scripture and the experiences of saintly men and women from the beginning of time.

Real life is about living in union with God. Waiting on God is learning to live in union with Him. 

“Be still before the Lord; wait patiently for Him.” 

 

Do you struggle with waiting on the Lord? How will you apply to your life what you read in this post today? Share below.

Dr. K 

Exploring A Simple, Life-Altering & Challenging Way To Know God

Knowing God Comes By Waiting On God

How did the saints of old come to know God? The Psalmist David gives us a clue when he writes: 

Make me know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long (Psalm 25.4-5, ESV). The New King James reads: “On you I wait all the day.”  

David is saying this about God: 

  • Because you alone are my salvation, this is what I long for from you – to know your ways, to be taught your paths, to be led in and taught your truth.
  • This is how I will obtain all of this – I wait on/for you all day long. 

What does it mean to “wait on/for the Lord?” 

  1. Waiting is not a passive experience. It’s not as if you sit back, fold your arms, and do nothing until God shows up. 
  2. Waiting is like serving those at a restaurant table. Have you ever “waited” tables? The “waiter/waitress” pays attention to the needs of those at his/her table. The servers are there to serve, do what the patrons ask, and anticipate their desires. A waiter doesn’t give orders to his patrons. The waitress “waits” for her order from another. 
  3. Waiting is like anticipating an event or the appearance of someone. You don’t move ahead until what is expected has appeared. 

Characteristics of waiting: 

  • Patience – the ability to persevere, endure, and remain faithful in someone’s presence or absence. It doesn’t matter which. 
  • Attentiveness – to be occupied by another or something else; attentive to them in their absence or in their presence 
  • Expectancy – anticipating the desires of another or what may happen at an event 

Applied to you in light of Psalm 25.5 – “on/for you I wait all the day long.” 

  1. God’s ways, paths, truth are learned as you wait, in the way just described, on/for God. 
  2. God’s ways, paths, truth are learned as you wait all day long. It is in minute-by-minute occupation with/attentiveness to God that you learn His ways, paths, and truth. 

In all you do today, be occupied, attentive to, patient, and expectant with God. As you wait on Him all day long, you will come to know Him and His ways. 

I’ll explore some practical ways to do this in my next post. 

How will you “wait on the Lord all day long” today? Share below. 

Dr. K

Today, Recognize The Beauty of the Great In The Small

Every Flower is Fragrant Through The Power of the Holy Spirit

One reason there is so much delight in saying liturgical or set prayers is the wealth of expression. There are astonishingly beautiful realities put to words that any one individual would rarely conceive on their own. When most of us “wing it” in our prayers, we usually say the same routine phrases over and over. This is usually not the case with good prayers written by others. They are often thoughtful, rich, challenging, and expressive. 

Here is one such prayer excerpted from the Akathist entitled “Glory To God For All Things.” An Akathist is a hymn dedicated to one of the persons of the Holy Trinity, a saint, or a holy event. It literally means “unseated hymn” – it is to be sung, chanted, or spoken while standing or kneeling – “without sitting.” It usually consists of 13 parts or verses which conclude with an “Alleluia” meaning “praise the Lord.” 

 

Glory to God for All Things: Every flower is fragrant through the power of the Holy Spirit . . .

 

Every flower is fragrant through the power of the Holy Spirit, in a delicate flow of aroma and tenderness of color; the beauty of the Great contained in what is small. Praise and honor to God, Who gives life, Who spreads forth the meadows like a flowering carpet, Who crowns the fields with golden ears of wheat and azure basilisks, and the soul – with the joy of contemplation. Let us rejoice and sing to Him: Alleluia.

 

Read this over a few times. Say it aloud to God. Let the words permeate your heart and become your words. Let this prayer make a difference in how and what you see today. 

As we continue to celebrate the resurrection life of Christ, we recognize God’s life in everything around us – including “every flower.” 

Glory to God For All Things! 

Dr. K 

You Have The Grand Opportunity To Live Easter Every Day

"Christ is Risen...Indeed He is Risen!"

A couple days ago, I gave reasons why Easter is to be celebrated long after “it” is over. I hope that got your attention so that you’ll consider ways to keep celebrating Christ’s resurrection life. 

Here are a few suggestions: 

  • Sing about it. “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.” 
  • Say a creed daily, like the Nicene creed, which includes phrases about the resurrection.
  • Worship on Sunday intentionally acknowledging the resurrection. 
  • Prayerfully prepare yourself every night for a resurrection experience of waking the next morning in the power and grace of God. 
  • Recognize every living creature and plant you see as filled with the life of Christ. Spring is a marvelous time to do this. 
  • Ingest these words of N.T. Wright, New Testament scholar and retired Anglican Bishop, who reminds us how the resurrection changes everything since it ushers in the kingdom in which we participate. 

“The resurrection completes the inauguration of God’s kingdom. . . . It is the decisive event demonstrating that God’s kingdom really has been launched on earth as it is in heaven.”

“The message of Easter is that God’s new world has been unveiled in Jesus Christ and that you’re now invited to belong to it.” 

For decades I believed (dispensationalism) that God’s kingdom was only in the future. That goes to show how a diminished understanding and experience of the resurrection clouds a person’s theological and biblical understanding. God’s kingdom is indeed fully fulfilled in the future yet is present today. 

Living every day as in the kingdom of God is living a resurrected life in Christ. 

Live Easter today…and always. 

Dr. K 

The Joy of Praying For Others

Thoughts on a Lenten Adventure

For 7 weeks, beginning February 27 and ending April 15, I was honored to pray for over 140 people every morning and evening. There were also countries, life situations, and a few marital situations prayed for. Sadly, during this time, two people mentioned on the prayer list, died. Yet, it was great to connect through prayer with many I do not know personally. It was also a delight to connect with personal friends every time I mentioned their name. 

At first, I felt overwhelmed by the needs of some of you who are friends I love so much. You carry heavy burdens that would crush you if not for the sustaining grace and mercy of God. Tears flowed on your behalf as I simply shared your burdens. 

As I continued, praying for people on the list became a joyful engagement connecting my heart to yours and to God’s heart, as well. It was a privilege. I felt honored to stand with you in prayer.

It’s such a simple thing – asking God’s mercy for people. Yet, I was surprised that some people were hesitant to provide names. I’m happy for all that did. 

We’ve been “trained” to look for answers to prayer – outcomes – to determine if our prayers were effective. I don’t approach prayer that way. My role is to pray, not to “get” something. Praying for God’s mercy to be experienced in your lives is enough. God knows what that means for each individual. I do not. I’m sure many of you saw God’s mercy confirmed over the past couple months. 

I will remember the 2017 Lenten season as the prayer season due to this “experiment.” Lent is also about fasting and almsgiving. Yet, prayer took on a new significance for me this year. 

Thank you for all who gave requests and names. We are now bonded with a special “prayer glue” that unites us in Christ. Though I will not be praying for those on this list as consistently as I did the past 7 weeks, no one on the list will be forgotten. 

Prayer is a mystery. You and I are called to enter into it, for it is happening in heaven and on earth every moment. We don’t make prayer happen. We enter into what’s already going on. That is what this adventure has been about – uniting with the Trinity as they commune with one another in mercy and love. 

Thanks be to God for all things! 

Dr. K 

5 Reasons To Continue Celebrating The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Are you one of the types of people who move on to other things after Easter Sunday? The big day is over – family & food celebrated, special music and church service attended, eggs collected, attendance numbers elevated, and cards exchanged. Whew! It’s done! Yesterday was great. Now what? 

Sadly, the one time and place designated to an ongoing celebration of Christ’s resurrection is church on Sunday. Yet, I doubt that any evangelical-protestant church will mention the resurrection next Sunday. It’s over. We move on. 

It doesn’t seem right, does it? 

5 reasons to keep celebrating and living the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 

  1. Apostles: those who knew the resurrection (apostles, women, other disciples), lived the resurrection. The resurrection was at the core of their life and message of Jesus to others. 
  2. Sunday: a gift given to celebrate the resurrection. Prepare yourself weekly in repentance and anticipation. Then celebrate on Sunday. 
  3. Creation: every thing and every person is an indication of the life of God celebrated at Easter. When you experience the abundant life surrounding you and in you and others, you come alive. You experience this with babies – infants/children, puppies, kittens. Or springtime. New life awakens life. 
  4. Life: your present life in Christ depends on it. “For if we have been united with him [in baptism] in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his” (Romans 6.5). You deal with sin and live in Christ only as you live in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 
  5. Death: so you will not fear death. “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive…the last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15.21 – 26).  Jesus is the resurrection and the life. United to Him, you have no fear of death since it has been destroyed and since he is your life. 

To celebrate is to observe, mark, or keep an important event or occasion. Is there any more important event than the God-man crucified and dead, coming back to life? 

He is the resurrection and the life. He is to be celebrated every moment of every day. 

Jesus Christ is Easter. Celebrate today like you did yesterday. And, celebrate tomorrow like you did today. Keep going. Never stop. 

How will you celebrate Easter today…and tomorrow? Share below. 

Dr. K 

Death IS Defeated By Jesus Christ

St. John Chrysostom on the Resurrection

He that was taken by death has annihilated it!

He descended into hades and took hades captive! He embittered it when it tasted his flesh! And anticipating this Isaiah exclaimed, “Hades was embittered when it encountered thee in the lower regions.” It was embittered, for it was abolished! It was embittered, for it was mocked! It was embittered, for it was purged! It was embittered, for it was despoiled! It was embittered, for it was bound in chains!
It took a body and, face to face, met God! It took earth and encountered heaven! It took what it saw but crumbled before what it had not seen!
“O death, where is thy sting? O hades, where is thy victory?”
Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in a tomb!
For Christ, being raised from the dead, has become the First-fruits of them that slept.
To him be glory and might unto ages of ages. Amen.
St. John Crystostom (brought to you by Dr. K)