willow draconis

cait: scattered and disheveled and full of laughter. ENFJ & coffee lover. my joy is not my own. it is for you.

On The Sometimes Overwhelming Need to FEEL God

jlgerhardt:

image

The other day Eve and I were hanging out at the house. She played with Barbies and her new plastic penguins. I folded laundry and wrote a post.

After a little while she came into my office and, as is her custom, climbed into my lap in the most awkward way imaginable—her hands in my hair, her elbow in my eye, her feet entangled in the computer power cord, almost knocking the laptop and my coffee to the ground.

Then, settled, she sat in my lap, her huge five year old self blocking any chance I might have at the keyboard.

She held my face between her hands and lifted her (stinky) feet to my shoulders. [She’s quite flexible.]

We sat this way for thirty seconds.

Did I mention Eve’s an extrovert and her love language is touch?

Did I mention I’m an introvert and fundamentally bothered by invasion of my space?

In an act of motherly love (and extrication), I kissed Eve’s forehead, told her I loved her, and lifted her off my lap and onto the floor.

I said, “Go play.”

She said, “But I want to be with you.”

I said, “You are with me.”

She said, “No, I want to be WITH you. I want to FEEL you.”

-

"God With Us"—it must have meant something much different to the apostles and to Mary and to Lazarus. For them, Jesus Emmanuel meant a conversation over figs watching the sun set behind Jerusalem. It meant washing one another’s feet and rubbing shoulders in a crowd.

I forget sometimes that people actually held Jesus’ hands. I forget they helped Him into a boat. I forget they carried His cross and rubbed His skin with spices.

"God with us" looks different today.

Often I find myself trying to climb into a lap I can’t reach.

Because I want to be WITH God. I want to FEEL Him.

-

Before Jesus died He talked to His apostles, trying to prepare them for His absence. He said:

"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will bein you.”

I find it interesting that when Jesus leaves, He doesn’t say, “remember that I was with you and that’ll be enough.” He doesn’t say, “Even though I’ll be in Heaven, I’ll still be with you but in a different way.” No, He offers two points of hope: 1. He says He’s coming back. And 2. He says He’ll ask the Father for another advocate (an advocate like Himself), the Spirit.

For us, Christians living post-incarnation, “God with us” is the Spirit.

And it’s not just sitting beside us on the couch in the body of a single man who comes and goes. The Spirit is inside us, permanently, perseveringly present.

Do you want to be WITH God? Do you want to FEEL God? Consider the gift of the Spirit…

-

I don’t know every way the Spirit of God works. I know the Spirit works through the Word. I know the Spirit works in prayer. I know the Spirit tills the soil of my heart, fertilizing virtues until they bloom into fruit.

I know when I feel alone I can crawl into bed with the Living Word and feel held.

And I suspect there’s more…

For me though, the Spirit most powerfully presents Himself in the lives of the saints. When I need God, when I need to FEEL God, I seek out His people, people full to spilling of Spirit.

I sit in their living rooms or beside them in a truck or across a table at Chick-fil-a and I experience the very presence of God.

I look into God’s eyes—blue, brown, and hazel. I see God’s smile—sometimes crooked, sometimes straight, so often beaming. I touch God’s hands—giant, wrinkled and tan or small and ivory with glitter-painted finger nails.

Sometimes I take walks with God. Sometimes I laugh with God. And occasionally I climb up into His lap and let Him stroke my hair. 

Because sometimes it’s not enough to know God’s close.

Sometimes we need to FEEL Him.

(via takecaretiredsouls)

And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

—Isaiah 58:11 (via kvtes)

(Source: victoryingrace, via simplici-tea)

jhnmyr:

John Mayer/Steve Jordan/Pino Palladino/Chick Corea/Wallace Roney

Here’s a full seven minute tune I loosely composed called “Little Sur,” recorded last February in New York City. I got together with some of my friends and favorite players for six amazing days of playing music with no rules, no plans, and no pressure. Oh, and no vocals. What came from it was a really inspired batch of recordings. Hours of music that I’ll need to sift through at some point should it ever become an album. (I hope it does.) If you’re wondering where I am in the mix, that’s me playing a Music Man long scale guitar… Pino and I are kind of both living in the bass space. As soon as Chick came in on the piano, I knew something really deep was taking place.  This is the rough mix that was given to me at the end of the day, as it has lived on my laptop since.

I tried to find a minute, two minute clip to share with you, but these recordings just don’t work any other way than in their unabridged form. So here it is. Free music. Played freely, shared freely. Put it on and go for the ride… If you dig all seven minutes, then surely you deserve them. 

There are times for marketing strategies, and there are times for just  p l a y i n g. The original design for all musicians.  Hope you enjoy hearing this as much as I did. 

John 

Calling has this weight that somehow we think that your calling is fixed. That your calling is this line that you’ve finally found and now you’re on that track and that’s what you’re gonna do forever and maybe that’s the case. But I feel like calling has much more to to do with the moment that you’re in.

—Jon Foreman (via hellomoon)

| MAKING CONNECTIONS |
At Encounter House Church this week, I was reminded that we all go through seasons in which God lets the sun go down on something in order for it to rise again on something new (and sometimes unexpected). These new, good things come into our lives because God is intimately involved with our inner workings. He knows what makes our hearts beat faster, and he knows what makes them stronger. 
But we have an enemy who wants to distract us from the good stuff God created for us. In his book The War of Art, Steven Pressfield calls this enemy Resistance. He says that it keeps us from doing a number of things - any act of creating (writing, painting), eating healthfully, starting an entrepreneurial venture, serving the poor, even committing to another person.
St. Paul touches on Resistance in Romans 7:21-23 - “So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.” Resistance might create roadblocks in a number of ways - distraction (mindless television, incessantly checking notifications/emails, etc.), drug and alcohol abuse, anxiety, stress, gossip… These things ultimately lure us away from our calling.
To put it simply, the enemy wants us to lose because he fears who we will become in our pursuit of goodness - RADIANT and GODLIKE. 
But take heart! We have been promised that the battle is already won. In the meantime, we are equipped by the Holy Spirit to continue God’s good work. Pressfield would associate this spirit with genius, a Latin word that the Romans used to “denote an inner spirit, holy and inviolable, which watches over us, guiding us to our calling.” To conclude: let go of the old, make way for the good and new, and resist resistance. 
Ephesians 2:10 - “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

| MAKING CONNECTIONS |

At Encounter House Church this week, I was reminded that we all go through seasons in which God lets the sun go down on something in order for it to rise again on something new (and sometimes unexpected). These new, good things come into our lives because God is intimately involved with our inner workings. He knows what makes our hearts beat faster, and he knows what makes them stronger.

But we have an enemy who wants to distract us from the good stuff God created for us. In his book The War of Art, Steven Pressfield calls this enemy Resistance. He says that it keeps us from doing a number of things - any act of creating (writing, painting), eating healthfully, starting an entrepreneurial venture, serving the poor, even committing to another person.

St. Paul touches on Resistance in Romans 7:21-23 - “So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.” Resistance might create roadblocks in a number of ways - distraction (mindless television, incessantly checking notifications/emails, etc.), drug and alcohol abuse, anxiety, stress, gossip… These things ultimately lure us away from our calling.

To put it simply, the enemy wants us to lose because he fears who we will become in our pursuit of goodness - RADIANT and GODLIKE.

But take heart! We have been promised that the battle is already won. In the meantime, we are equipped by the Holy Spirit to continue God’s good work. Pressfield would associate this spirit with genius, a Latin word that the Romans used to “denote an inner spirit, holy and inviolable, which watches over us, guiding us to our calling.” To conclude: let go of the old, make way for the good and new, and resist resistance.

Ephesians 2:10 - “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

The Kingdom

somethingelemental:

Reportedly, there are 4,200 religions in the world to date. In a 2012 poll, the world’s population is 59% religious; the rest are non-religious or atheists. On average women are more religious than men. 

What is a religion? That’s a trickier question than one might assume. Merriam-Webster defines a religion as —

re·li·gion

 noun \ri-ˈli-jən\

: the belief in a god or in a group of gods

: an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods

2.2 billion people on the planet carry the name Christian, making it the most pervasive, most populated religion in the world. 

What kind of religion is Christianity? Who or what is at its center?

Looking at passages of the Bible with Jesus makes it hard to reconcile that Christianity is indeed a religion. Often, Jesus speaks against the religion of the time, Pharisaical Judaism, bucking the system and challenging common beliefs. This Judaism resembles what most people think of modern Christianity: judgmental, rigid, ritualistic, and hypocritical. Jesus rises in anger, getting in the religious leaders faces, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” Jesus did not teach hatred of those who disobey God, but rather, he claims (and his followers claim) to have died for those very people. He died for his enemies.

Early in its history, Christianity didn’t resemble a religion, but a social revolution — challenging beliefs found in the ancient world. In the beginning, there were no designated temples or buildings for worship — the church took place in people’s homes. Not until the the news of Jesus had permeated the culture of the time had the construction of a place of worship begun.The biggest belief that was challenged by Jesus was that of the doctrine of karma — you get the equivalent of the bad or good that you put out into the world. He challenged the legalistic teachings of the time — teachings that ring familiar to religion today: obey this and get that.

Jesus taught on the subject of restitution: forgiveness of outstanding debts and wrongdoings. In fact, with his death and resurrection, he reveals the doctrine of grace into a world ruled by the moral cycles of karma. With belief in Christ as God himself and what he stood for, there is a break in the cycle, what comes around is not what goes around any longer. 

The early Church had “not a needy [person] among them”. All shared their possessions and wealth. Jew and Gentile commiserated in what was considered a “sinful” manner. The belief of classism was smashed upon the universal grace — all are forgiven, none stand taller than any other. God cursed mankind as one and redeemed them just the same.

What kind of religion is Christianity? 

It is the invasion of the culture of heaven — it is how things ought to operate, how they were intended, it is all that is right and correct, what people strive for all around the world without realizing it — the Kingdom of God.