From Religion to Relationship :)

From religion to relationship. Yes, yes, yes…

This was the journey of Saul of Tarsus to become the Apostle Paul. It took a paradigm shift, a transformation of mind to heart. Jesus got his attention, blinded him for days and then gave him new eyes to see! Jesus showed him that it wasn’t about rules, but about relationship!

I read this recently…

“If you believe the wrong thing, it will take away the power of the right thing. For example, if you’re legalistic and think that you have to earn your way to God, the importance of grace diminishes. I think of how before Saul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, Saul the persecutor operated in pure legalism. When the scales fell off his eyes, his religious mindset was not just broken, but God created a new nature in him. In this new nature, Saul turned Paul was not only freed from the religious pressure nagging him in his inner thoughts, but also his mind was renewed.” (Shawn Bolz, God Secrets.)

Legalism prevents us from intimately knowing the Father in the greatest relationship we could ever have.

Legalism also keeps us from loving others, and stuck in just knowing about others and easily slipping into judgement.

Does learning the truth about others always set one free? Maybe not. I can think of learning a few things that did not bring me peace.

BUT, seeing God’s Truth about others is another thing…

Seeing how God loves someone stuck in legalism/religion, whatever… (and instead seeing HIS Truth available to them), helps to set me free to love them as God loves them, and pray for them.

I’m still learning this.

Yes… there IS the call to wipe the dust off our feet when our gift of peace is not received… When peaceful relationship is not welcomed, keep walking… Freedom is elsewhere. Submitting to religion (or someone’s legalism) is not freedom. I don’t want to be Saul of Tarsus or friends with that guy! I want to journey with Paul and see God do mighty things!! God’s kingdom is about freedom!

Ask God:

Where am I trapped in my thinking?

What do you want to set me free from?

Who do you want to set me free from?

(Friendship is related to the word ‘freedom’. If you are trapped, constantly torn apart, that is not a friendship, that is abusive. One of the hardest things to do is walk away from someone you love who has continued to abuse you, manipulate you, control you… Tough love is no longer enabling someone’s pattern of abuse, legalism, religion, etc. Loving them is showing them that behaviour is not okay.)

God, what promise do you have for me?

What gift do you have for me?

Enjoy a 2-way relationship with Father God who made a way through His son Jesus.

Read and Meditate on His Word.
Ask Him questions.
Listen and Write.
Pray it all back to Him!

Christianity is not a religion (earning our way to God’s love), it’s a relationship (He is love and extends His love to us through His son Jesus who opened the doorway).

 

Intentional Meals Together?

“Cook at home and enjoy family meals.”
I read these words recently in the newly updated food guide…

feast.togetherThanks to a young friend recently visiting from Germany, who inspired us, I have been encouraged to ALSO include EVERY family member in the making of suppers, no matter the initial headaches, and turn them into a s..l..o..w.. going culinary social event from start to finish.

Food prep, feast, clean up…

I realize that though our Canadian family is one of the few (it seems) who aren’t running off to a million events after downing a quick fast food supper meal, I realized we still were not eating slow enough… like Europeans seem to do…

feasttogether

These folks across the ocean seemingly take 2-3 ours of everything together – food prep together, eat together, drink together, visit together… and often then games together.

I like this.
Intentional togetherness feasting.

I’m thinking too of the early house churches where the communion dinner was a full intimate meal and not like now in many places with little cups and little wafers done assembly line like and quickly with no interaction with others.

So, I’ve been re-inspired to swim upstream in my culture…

Make meals together.
Eat together.
Linger together.
Celebrate together.
Play together.
Bonus delight: invite a friend or two, or a family or two on the whole process! Adopt others into your family for dinner.

Forget the too many cooks in the kitchen theory.
(Yikes, did I just say that?)
Let’s make it work.

I wonder too…
Could we have less anxiety and depression in our country if we did this more…?
Less isolation…?

(Wow, all that prompted from the newly updated food guide…)

 

Inspired by:
8 ways Canada’s new food guide will change how you feed your kids…
https://www.todaysparent.com/family/family-health/new-canadas-food-guide-is-awesome/

Are You Confusing Christ With Christians?

Many of us have been hurt by those who call themselves Christians. I have. In fact, I’ve been hurt the most by Christians and yet I still choose to follow Christ. Some would say I’m nuts or duped. Ten years ago I myself just about walked away from Christ and then I just about killed myself because I wrongly thought that if Christian leaders hurt me, then God must not love me. But, instead I dug in the Word of God to get an answer and learned something that was always there, but I didn’t quite understand it before.

There’s no secret – we Christians are a bunch of liars, cheaters, thieves, complainers, and sometimes even murderers- much like the rest of the world. The difference is we must recognize that we are sinners and then we must choose to recognize that we need Christ who paid the price for us to get out of our ‘ditches’ of life. No, we’re never going to be perfect this side of heaven. When we mess up, we’re called to give each other grace- like Jesus has given us grace. This isn’t a license to sin but it’s an understanding that we need a Saviour and no amount of self-help will solve our problem of sin. We are also called to turn away from our ditches and recognize our wrong and get in the car that God should be driving- not us.

If you’ve been hurt by Christians, I encourage you to put your eyes on Christ and learn more about Him and stop only looking at everyone else. You and I need to let Him drive the car.

It may be a lot like driving on the road and keeping your eyes on the horizon rather than the ditch. If you look at the ditch, you’ll end up in the ditch, but if you keep your eyes ahead, you’ll keep going towards the goal – which is drawing closer to God. One day we’ll get to see Him face to face as the Bible promises. And all that is now blurry will be made clear. I long for that day and I will not let another person bump me off the journey.

Sometimes this requires getting alone with God for a long time, and away from those who call themselves Christians and yet have hurt us. I get that. I have had close friends who even did an experiment in taking a year off of gathering with fellow believers in an organized church- to see if that made any difference.  They had become disillusioned in their church and needed to refocus. Sadly, it did make a difference. They grew closer to Christ when they dug in the Word and in prayer together and served together apart from the larger gathering. Ouch. That’s when you know that a church has taken it’s eyes off of Christ.

Now my friends are back with a larger community, who has recently gotten a new pastor and who is leading them in the right direction. We all need effective leaders in order to be led in the right direction. Without a gentle shepherd, a loving and visionary leader, we die.

For my friends, they are now stronger in God and allowing God to work through them, in order to make an impact on their fellow believers. They recognize Who they follow- God and not their fellow believers who can often trip them up- (even church leaders) because all are sinners. My friends know they are called to focus on the horizon and help people OUT of the ditch. Complaining about those stuck in the ditch doesn’t help. Following those stuck in the ditch doesn’t help either. We need to focus on the horizon.

Don’t confuse Christ with Christians because that will only turn you off. No Christian person is worthy of being worshiped and idolized. We all are sinners – even pastors and news articles have testified to this.

Read this article in RELEVANT Magazine – An Open Letter to Anne Rice (who recently walked away from Christianity because of Christians).