The Mirror of My Soul

bibleI like spending time in God’s Word.

That’s not to say I don’t have questions and doubts, that I don’t get a bit bored through some sections, or that I understand everything.

But I don’t read God’s Word just for me. It’s not a self-help book. Oh, it certainly helps, but’s it’s more about Him than me.

I can open the Bible with the wrong motivation or expectations. But I’ve found there’s an approach – an attitude – that helps me.

I ask God to make His Word a mirror.

I know, that sounds as if it’s about me, but not exactly. Of course, if I’m the one reading, it has something to do with me. But looking into a mirror actually gets me to think beyond myself. It gets me out of my head and out of my way. I ask God to let me see Him and see truth. To reveal what’s real. To wipe the fog away and help me focus on what is most important. To engage with Him and become more like Him.

I’ve taken many approaches to the Bible over the years. I’ve scoured it to find inconsistencies. I’ve studies it to solve mysteries. I’ve skimmed it to satisfy my self-imposed obligations.

I’ve also made friends through it. I’ve been comforted in chaotic moments because of what was going on in and outside of it. I’ve let my pride and insecurities crumble. I’ve admitted I was wrong. I’ve seen brilliant hope pierce darkness. I’ve recognized mistakes and taken steps away from them. I’ve trusted God more even when I didn’t understand. I’ve become more patient and gracious. And I’ve grown.

I’ve grown because God has shown me purpose and possibility. That’s what He does. That’s who He is. That mirror of His works, because it reveals Him, and in the process, it reveals me.

You, too.

The Bible Doesn’t Behave Well

article-2359633-1AC0F111000005DC-768_634x361If we’re honest, the Bible often doesn’t seem to be on its best Sunday behavior. It creates and contains quite a ruckus at times. It isn’t tame. It isn’t easy. It’s not neat and tidy. As much as we want it to tie everything up in a pretty bow, we find frayed edges poking in all directions that often surprise us.

But if we’re honest, it often accurately reflects our faith.

Faith is about trust, and the journey of trust doesn’t always behave. It is unsettled and untamed at times, and like the Bible, that’s a good thing (as long as it’s productive). It’s a reflection of reality. God doesn’t fit in a box, and when we can easily put a lid on our faith, we might not have considered some of those frayed edges poking in multiple directions. Maybe we need to invite God to challenge us on the things we believe but don’t live, claim but haven’t questioned, and say we understand but have never explored.

Lean Into Lent: Easter

Lent is a preparation, a spiritually-disciplined journey, a purposeful reflection on Jesus Christ.

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so they could go and anoint Him. Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they went to the tomb at sunrise. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance to the tomb for us?” Looking up, they observed that the stone—which was very large—had been rolled away. When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; they were amazed and alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he told them. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has been resurrected! He is not here! See the place where they put Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there just as He told you.’”

So they went out and started running from the tomb, because trembling and astonishment overwhelmed them. And they said nothing to anyone, since they were afraid. (Mark 16:1-8)

Lean Into Lent: Day 40

Lent is a preparation, a spiritually-disciplined journey, a purposeful reflection on Jesus Christ.

When it was already evening, because it was preparation day (that is, the day before the Sabbath), Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Sanhedrin who was himself looking forward to the kingdom of God, came and boldly went in to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate was surprised that He was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him whether He had already died. When he found out from the centurion, he gave the corpse to Joseph. After he bought some fine linen, he took Him down and wrapped Him in the linen. Then he placed Him in a tomb cut out of the rock, and rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb. Now Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus were watching where He was placed. (Mark 15:42-47)

Lean Into Lent: Day 39

Lent is a preparation, a spiritually-disciplined journey, a purposeful reflection on Jesus Christ.

When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three Jesus cried out with a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, lemá sabachtháni? which is translated, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?

When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “Look, He’s calling for Elijah!” Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, fixed it on a reed, offered Him a drink, and said, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to take Him down!”

But Jesus let out a loud cry and breathed His last. Then the curtain of the sanctuary was split in two from top to bottom. 39 When the centurion, who was standing opposite Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “This man really was God’s Son!”

There were also women looking on from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. When He was in Galilee, they would follow Him and help Him. Many other women had come up with Him to Jerusalem. (Mark 15:33:41)

Lean Into Lent: Day 38

Lent is a preparation, a spiritually-disciplined journey, a purposeful reflection on Jesus Christ.

They forced a man coming in from the country, who was passing by, to carry Jesus’ cross. He was Simon, a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus. And they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means Skull Place). They tried to give Him wine mixed with myrrh, but He did not take it. Then they crucified Him and divided His clothes, casting lots for them to decide what each would get. Now it was nine in the morning when they crucified Him. The inscription of the charge written against Him was:

THE KING OF THE JEWS.

They crucified two criminals with Him, one on His right and one on His left. [So the Scripture was fulfilled that says: And He was counted among outlaws.]  Those who passed by were yelling insults at Him, shaking their heads, and saying, “Ha! The One who would demolish the sanctuary and build it in three days, save Yourself by coming down from the cross!” In the same way, the chief priests with the scribes were mocking Him to one another and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself! Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross, so that we may see and believe.” Even those who were crucified with Him were taunting Him. (Mark 15:21-32)

Lean Into Lent: Day 37

Lent is a preparation, a spiritually-disciplined journey, a purposeful reflection on Jesus Christ.

Then the soldiers led Him away into the courtyard (that is, headquarters) and called the whole company together. They dressed Him in a purple robe, twisted together a crown of thorns, and put it on Him. And they began to salute Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They kept hitting Him on the head with a reed and spitting on Him. Getting down on their knees, they were paying Him homage. When they had mocked Him, they stripped Him of the purple robe, put His clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him. (Mark 15:16-20)