Life Expectancy – Listening to God

This is 30 Doradus, deep inside the Tarantula Nebula, located over 170,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. Millions of "baby stars" are birthed inside the thick clouds of dust and gas, and our God knows each one by name. Source: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2012/2012/01/results/100/ NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration
Anybody out there? This is 30 Doradus, deep inside the Tarantula Nebula, located over 170,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small satellite galaxy of the Milky Way. Millions of “baby stars” are birthed inside the thick clouds of dust and gas, and our God knows each one by name. Source: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2012/2012/01/results/100/NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration

By: Jana Greene

“When you wait to hear from God, expect him to give you a dream, an insight; this is the faith factor where you wait expectantly.” – Rick Warren

Listening.

All day long, I’ve been asking God to tell me why He gave me the word “listening” to write about today. The problem is that my mind wouldn’t be still enough to listen for His answer to my questioning. When my spirit finally became still, the communication was as clear as a bell.

“Are you listening expectantly? Or just putting prayers ‘out there’?” Said Abba.

That’s an excellent question, and the answer is often the latter.

I immediately thought about the SETI Projects – scientific research using the best technology on earth to put signals out in space, so that if there were any intelligent life ‘out there,’ they might give us a  signal in response.

“There are great challenges in searching the cosmos for signs of intelligent life, including their identification and interpretation. SETI projects use the best available scientific knowledge to conduct experiments, which has traditionally led to searches for electromagnetic radiation emitted by advanced technologies. Radio telescopes are used to investigate the cosmos using large radio antennas.” – Wikipedia (which knows all, of course.)

When it became perfectly reasonable to embrace the likelihood of extraterrestrial life while denying the existence of God,  I do not know. Somewhere along the line, things went terribly wrong. Many scientists consider SETI to be pseudo-science – adding an itchy faith issue to what is accepted as hard-and-fast method. There is something out there, we just don’t know what it is….but we are sure enough that it exists to keep listening!

It occurred to me that nobody goes to the trouble to send out signals without making the effort to listen for a reply. Parts of the scientific community have been listening for a response from space for decades now. They just keep listening because they ultimately expect a response.

Which is more than I can say for myself at times, because listening is not my strongest attribute. But I’m learning.

When I pray and then listen expecting God to answer, my antenna is up, and the signal is clear.

When I pray just to put prayers out there, it become pseudo-spirituality.

Listening and expecting a response from Holy Spirit opens up all kinds of supernatural, extra-celestial communication. God wants us to expect a reply. He expects us to listen with expectancy, and He wants us to hear from Him.

Clear as a bell.

Found in the Falling

fallingBy: Jana Greene

Overwhelmed, Abram fell flat on his face…” Genesis 17:3-5 (MSG)

Falling.

Throughout the ages, humankind has created a billion “little g” gods in their likenesses. Often, these faux deities required perfection or sacrifice of that was deemed ‘perfect.’ Spotless animals. Virgins. Those in the highest priesthoods chose who was worthy to be sacrificed – any living being who was considered ‘fallen’ was a sub-par sacrifice. What worth is someone who has fallen flat on his face?

What kind of God rewards the art of collapsing?

The whole world seems on the verge of collapse nowadays, and if you didn’t look any further than the circumstance, you might become despondent. You might look around and say, “Where are you, God? Where are you in this fallen world?” You might ask that. And in your despondency, you might plunge to the ground, face-first.

And there, in that moment – not that circumstance – is God. He is found in the not knowing what else to do. He is found in the falling.

Falling is nothing new. Adam and Eve wasted no time falling away from God in the Garden of Eden, when everything was pristine and perfect. We fall away in good times and in bad.

I’m thinking a lot about this at Easter time, when we believers greet one another with “He is Risen;” and “He is Risen, indeed.” Being risen is the opposite of being fallen, isn’t it? Unless the rising of Jesus from the dead makes us transcend our circumstance by bringing us first to our knees.

As with Abram, who received a whole new identity after falling face-first.

Overwhelmed, Abram fell flat on his face. This is my covenant with you: You’ll be the father of many nations. Your name will no longer be Abram, but Abraham, meaning that ‘I’m making you the father of many nations.’ I’ll make you a father of fathers—I’ll make nations from you, kings will issue from you. I’m establishing my covenant between me and you, a covenant that includes your descendants, a covenant that goes on and on and on, a covenant that commits me to be your God and the God of your descendants. And I’m giving you and your descendants this land where you’re now just camping, this whole country of Canaan, to own forever. And I’ll be their God.” Genesis 17:5-8 (MSG)

What kind of God rewards the art of collapsing…the majesty of falling? The kind who made us in His own likeness. The kind whose love for us manifested in the death and resurrection of perfection, so that we could serve in the highest priesthood.

Our Big “G” God. The Covenant Giver.

You fall away from your own will and might, and embrace Him. In doing so, you gain your inheritance – your new name. His.

And all the trouble in this fallen world cannot take that truth away.

Taking a Lean of Faith (when a ‘leap’ seems like too much to ask)

 

Photo by Jana Greene
Photo by Jana Greene
“…That’s right. Because I, your God,
    have a firm grip on you and I’m not letting go.
I’m telling you, ‘Don’t panic.
    I’m right here to help you.” – Isaiah 41:13 (MSG)

By: Jana Greene

Leaning.

Do you ever feel teeter-tottery? Overwhelmed, as if the wind has been knocked out of your spirit?

There is a purported trust-building game in which a person deliberately allows themselves to fall, relying on the other members of the group – spotters – to catch him or her. A “trust fall” requires a total letting go of self and dependence on another. What about the times for which you cannot seem to truly let go of pain and free-fall into complete faith? Am I a “bad” Christian when I struggle with trust? Or am I a “normal” Christian, who doesn’t get it right all the time?

I’m learning to “lean into” God, even when a trust fall seems too much to ask. What does the leaning look like?

It helps to be totally undone in order to properly lean

Leaning into God does not require that you have my balance. As a matter of fact, I must alter my angle to lean, give up my foothold. You cannot be perfectly balanced and leaning at the same time. It requires a certain vertigo event, a dizziness. It’s okay to bend toward the Father.

God wants you to fall against Him

He isn’t afraid of your weight or the heft of your burdens. He is strong and immovable.

Leaning means that I have to rest

There is an element of relaxation in a proper lean.

And trust in preparation for the fall

If you lean against nothing, you crash to the floor. Isn’t that what we are really afraid of? What if I buckle under the worry, and hit the ground, and a force of Supreme Love isn’t there to catch us? We fear we may never recover. That’s the reason we aren’t all in a constant freefall lean into God.

But He is worthy of trust.

The Bible says we are given faith, not that we earn it. God knows that we have to learn how to flex the faith muscle. He knows we have to learn how to genuflect with that gift in order to rely on it properly. He isn’t suprised that we aren’t fearless. Pray for the faith to fall into His promises. And then lean into Him until you can.

Leaning requires movement on my part.

I am stubborn. I like to do things myself, thank you very much. But standing straight and rigid and being self-sufficient are not what the supernatural life is all about. Surrender takes surrender. I know that much. I have to will the topple, in order to trust God to provide stability.

Are you feeling teeter-tottery?

If you cannot jump into the arms of the Father,

If you just don’t have the spiritual energy to take that leap of faith…

Don’t just stand where you are, afraid to move at all.

Lean into Him.

Lean in close enough so that you can hear His whisper.

“Don’t panic!” He is saying. “I’m right here to help you.”