Good morning Joan
Good morning Sue. God bless you.
Why do you always say that?
God bless you.
Is something wrong with that?
No, it’s just odd.
What’s odd about blessing someone?
It’s just not usual.
When was I ever usual?
Well, when you put it like that…but why do you bless people?
I know that we all need as much help as we can get to make it in life so I do my best.
Does it work? Do people feel blessed?
I don’t know because I don’t have control over people’s feelings and actions after I say it.
So if you don’t know, isn’t it a waste to say things like that?
Why would it be a waste?
There are words you have just sent out that will not earn you anything.
Is life all about earning something?
I think life is all about earning something.
Why else would we be here.
We are here to take charge and control of the world so we must earn our place in life.
Don’t you agree?
I don’t know what you mean by take charge and control of the world.
We are the smartest animal alive…we are in control right?
We were told in Genesis to be fruitful, multiply and have dominion over the earth. So that means we have control.
What do you think it means?
I believe it means that God has control and we must connect to what He sent us here to do and do it well.
How do we do that?
Quite simple really! Get to know God, know His voice, hear His instructions and life them out.
That sounds too simple. Isn’t following God more complex?
Why do you think that?
There are all these rules that we are to follow and they determine how we will get to heaven or not.
What rules? Isn’t salvation a call for us to believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths then we are saved?
It is but there are rules of living given after that?
Given by whom?
Ok. I believe that following God is all about relationship and spending time with Him and the word. There are critical things He will lead us to do that will be in conformity with others and there are things he will calls us to avoid but it has to be His voice we follow and not just rules and regulations from the church.
What do you mean? Don’t the preachers all speak for God?
I am asking you.
I believe that we all need to hear God and test every teaching we hear against the word of God.
What do you mean?
Remember when Paul spoke about the Bereans?
In Acts 17:11 Paul said the Bereans “were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” The Bereans heard the gospel from Paul and Silas who were among the original spreaders of the gospel. Imagine that they would search the gospel to confirm the truth of what was being taught how much more should me.
Think of Jesus who was on earth and was God, yet He spent time away in prayer and listening to His Father for instructions. Why do you think he would do that?
So that He would stay in tune with God.
If Christ Himself said, “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me,” how can we believe any different? Don’t we need to rest in the knowledge that we know nothing and daily seek God and His word? Shouldn’t we refuse to move on in our own strength and knowledge and only follow him? Shouldn’t we focus on the depth of relationship and love with Him that will transform us and produce Christ-likeness in us to such an extent that we are undoubtedly examples of God’s love to all. Shouldn’t we test everything we hear and live outstanding lives of love and compassion and grace? In all honesty, no amount of teaching from the pulpit will ever produce Christ-likeness.
What do you mean by, “No amount of teaching will produce Christ-likeness?”
It’s simple. There is nothing a fellow human being can tell you that will eternally transform your life unless God comes in, creates understanding and produces that change. The only lasting change in life comes from God.
So why do we listen to preachers or go to church?
Well, first we are called to share in the fellowship of believers and church on Sunday isn’t the only place this happens. Second, the fellowship should speak to conversations we have been having with God on our own on a daily basis. It should enrich and answer our questions or create new deeper questions for us to ask God. Third, fellowship should provide relationships with others who hold us accountable to our walk in Christ but don’t lord their knowledge over us. Fourth, fellowship is a place for learning together and sharing our lessons. It is a place to inspire us to love God deeper and more keenly as we encourage those who are walking slower.
So you are saying church isn’t the main ingredient in faith?
No! The main ingredient in the Christian faith should be our personal relationship with God. Everything else we do supplements that faith.
What does this relationship look like?
It is a love relationship.
Remember how when you fell in love and all you could focus on was your beloved? You thought about him all the time, you called and talked often, when something great happened you reached out, when something ‘bad’ happened you reached out, you sent cards, bought gifts, shared everything and so on?
Yes! It was a great time.
Do you still keep things like that?
Of course! How else would we be able to still be in love all these years later?
Now, think about God!
He is our ultimate love and the greatest joy in our lives. How much more and how much deeper do we need to connect with Him? He should be our first point of call when things happen. He should be the one we tell everything and ask everything. He should be our guide and our most beloved. He should be our all.
If God is all that, why do we need people around us? Can’t we just live in isolation and listen to Him only?
He created us as social beings and He guides us through the people around us. How often have you been in the middle of something and God brings someone to mine and when you reach out that person has part of or the whole answer you need? Or you are in the middle of something and someone calls you with just the right word or question that will trigger you finding the solution?
Then why would we want to remain outside community?
Ok, so where is the balance in all this?
God is the balance!
It all happens when we spend time with Him. He will speak to us and challenge us on things; He will provide the insight needed to know who to approach and who to stay away from. He will lead us and walk with us even in the hardest places and in the nicest places. He won’t leave us alone; He will be our comfort and leader. We will find balance and rest.
Does that mean life will be smooth sailing?
Not necessarily, but because He is walking with us, the harder paths will be manageable because of His grace, leading and peace that is ever with us.
Ever present help in time of need?
I like to say ever present help! He is with me no matter whether it is sunny and smooth sailing or if I am in the middle of the valley of the shadow of death.
Wow! Are you serious?
Absolutely! I have found Him with me even in times when I don’t know how to go ahead. I have looked back and seen Him by my side when I was walking in the deepest darkness. I have known Him when I was lonely and lost. I have known Him in the times of greatest joy. When He says ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you,’ He means it in ways our human hearts cannot even begin to understand. The only way to unpack this is to spend time with Him.
So what is the way to spend time with Him?
We are all different so you need to find your rhythm.