From Across the Net – “Owlboy: A Reflection on Friendship

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Over at Gamechurch, M. Joshua Cauller writes about friendship in Owlboy. I really liked this:

“The constant teleporting-in occurs thanks to your magical device, but the shock of being instantly teleported into a violent scenario takes trust. You see that trust grow…”

You can read more here

Can you imagine the trust it would take for you to allow yourself to be instantly transported anywhere? Knowing that each time you were transported, you’d be thrust into a dangerous situation? Talk about loving someone enough to die for them.

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How many kids do you have?

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Walking from small group to the worship service on Sunday, I bumped into a fellow church member. We somehow got onto the topic of kids.
 
“So how many kids do you have?”
 
“One.”
 
“One for now, huh?”
 
“Yeah. One for now. We’ve been trying for the past five years though.”
 
“Well, you could have a surprise later in life, like your mother and father-in-law did.”
 
I am learning to be honest during simple conversations like these. Not to garner sympathy or even empathy but in an attempt to talk about the path God has my wife and I on. 
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The feelings that infertility brings out feel selfish at times. Even gross. I’m learning to communicate those thoughts and feelings out loud. Even if only with my wife.
 
Staying silent is frustrating.
 
Staying silent kills.

In the hard moments

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My chest hurts today. I’m not sure why. All I know is that it feels like someone is sitting on me. Someone large; Someone heavy.

I read this morning that:

God is working right now, but not so much to give us predictable, comfortable, and pleasurable lives. He isn’t so much working to transform our circumstances as he is working through hard circumstances to transform you and me. Perhaps in hard moments, when we are tempted to wonder where God’s grace is, it is grace that we are getting, but not grace in the form of a soft pillow or a cool drink. Rather, in those moments, we are being blessed with the heart-transforming grace of difficulty because the God who loves us knows that this is exactly the grace that we need.

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God knows what I need. Even if it’s not the cool drink of peace that I desire.

Remember who you are in Christ

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Social media is a mess. Everyone seems on edge. Nerves raw after what felt like a prolonged election cycle. Ready to explode when given the hidden signal or somebody sneezes on accident.

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My twitter feed has become a water pitcher filled with fear and adult temper tantrums. I get it, people are upset over the Presidential regime change. When you spend 8 years with one President, you are bound to feel shaken. Especially when the newly elected President is Donald “You’re Fired” Trump.

As a Christian it is easy to get caught up in the political vortex, to lash out without thinking. Easy to forget your identity.

Pastor Paul Tripp said it best in his devotional New Morning Mercies. As you go about your day:

“May God give you grace to remember your identity as His child in those moments when remembering is essential.”

Remembering is essential. As Mufasa told Simba in The Lion King, “Remember who you are.”

I want to challenge myself. I want to challenge you. Remember who you are when:

  • You are hastily typing out responses to a debate on Facebook
  • Your co-worker goes on a political rant
  • You feel compelled to correct someone in an un-Christlike manner

There is no need to pass along the negative emotions you are absorbing as you scroll through twitter.

Listen first. Limit your social media time/exposure. Be who God created you to be, remembering that you represent Him, now.

Book Review: How’s Your Soul? by Judah Smith

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When our souls are out of alignment with God’s truth, life can become a daily struggle. The “inside you” takes over, with false feelings reactive to present circumstances. In panic, we let external forces dictate what is true.

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Do you ever feel like you are just surviving, struggling to live one day at a time? I know I often do. Judah Smith writes that survival is not enough. Frustration, restlessness, and boredom do not have to be the soundtrack of our lives. Rest and fulfillment can be found in the soul’s true home: God.

Judah Smith’s How’s Your Soul? is challenging:

“It’s easy to love those who love you. That’s what Jesus told his disciples in his famous Sermon the Mount (Matthew 5:43-47). But it takes a divine love, a supernatural love, to love those who do not love us back. Yet that’s the only kind of love that will change the world. And it’s the only kind of love that will bring lasting satisfaction and health for our souls.”

How’s Your Soul? is also one of those books I haven’t wanted to read. Truth bombs hurt! But God has been using this book to work on me. Calling out areas of my life where I’m struggling but didn’t realize it.

“People sign up for helicopter Jesus all the time. I cannot wait to follow Jesus, they think, because he’s my heavenly helicopter. Get me out, Father! Hoist away, Jesus! Beam me up, Scotty! I think I just inserted Star Trek into the Trinity. Sorry about that. Storms hit, and we say, “Jesus, I don’t want to stay here. I don’t like this at all. It’s windy. It’s rainy. The waves are big. Where is my heavenly helicopter?” And Jesus replies, “I’ll be your anchor.” We want out. We want an escape. We want someone to remove us from the storm, but Jesus wants to be our strength and stability in the storm.”

I recommend How’s Your Soul? Especially if you find yourself treading water. Just prepare for a spiritual shake-up, Judah holds nothing back.

I was given a copy of this book for review. All opinions are my own.

How’s Your Soul Quote: Permission Before Restriction

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“It’s indicative of God’s grace that he gave permission before restriction. He said, “You can eat from every tree except one.” How many trees were there? Hundreds? Thousands? Adam and Eve could eat from all of them except one; the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Think about that. The odds were stacked in their favor. God wasn’t trying to trap them. He didn’t give them impossible commands and then laugh when they failed. He made it as simple and straightforward as possible. He set them up for success. He gave them the world, but he gave them limits too.” – How’s Your Soul? (Judah Smith)