The meaning of life explained in a sunrise…

As I woke up this morning it was dark. I made a choice to get out of bed and prepare for the day.

It was still dark as I made my way to work but I chose to carry on expecting the day to unravel gloriously.

Then I began my work at the site and God revealed scripture through His creation!

It started with a visual whisper, a small quiet voice of light peeking from behind the mountains. I noticed and waited with excitement. Then this whisper of light began to touch the tops of the tallest trees – the giants of faith in my life, those that have come before or guide me now because they always notice this ‘voice’ first – and this ‘voice’ was changing my day, literally making it brighter.

Next as this voice climbed higher and became louder it began to light up everything on the earth. I turned around and there was the source! The Son was behind clouds but His light could not be contained. The clouds, dark only a moment ago were now illuminated and glowed with a brightness well beyond the blue sky. The darkness could not contain the light and the ‘God’s rays’ burst forth from behind the clouds in all directions.

I stood for a moment enjoying the view and the warmth on my face during a crisp fall morning. Thankful that I recognized the signs and turned to see the source of this goodness that shines on us all.

But even though I wished to, I knew I couldn’t stay still here all day. The knowledge that this light is all around me and lights my path was enough to allow me to carry on and complete the tasks assigned to me this day.

Throughout the day I only need to turn and look to see the Son once again if I need a reminder and a little warmth. But I won’t find the Son by looking backward because He won’t be where He was earlier in the day. I need to move forward and ‘listen’ for Him because He’s always with me and not just part of my past. This is where I need to be focused; not on the past or where I’d like Him to be, but where He is now. Because where I am now is where I need to pay attention and work from. The Son surrounds me all day and lights up everything, giving life to the earth and me. I don’t need to look around to find Him because the Son is always there. The Son never leaves me no matter where I go on this old earth. I just need to ‘listen’ and pay attention to the signs to be reminded that He is always there.

Drawing a better understanding of God's Word

So I'm taking a drawing class, a beginner's drawing class from an amazing lady and artist - Gayle Liman.

Why am I writing about it? Today I believe God showed me another picture of how we are to interact with Him. Haha, yes God showed me a picture during drawing class; pretty cool.

We are learning blind contour drawing, to train ourselves to see with our 'right' brain. The right brain mode is supposed to be the side of the brain where you see things as they are and not be interfered by our expectations, assumptions and expectations.

So to blind contour draw you position yourself in a way that you can't see your drawing hand, nor the paper. Then you look at a complex object (usually your other hand) and you draw it. The purpose isn't to draw an exact replica, but to begin to draw all that you see. All the little lines, bulges, curves and nuances. You are training yourself to see with your 'right' brain.  When you draw with your 'left' brain (which isn't wrong, and is necessary for more complex work), you miss many of the subtleties because you ignore details, or add based on what you think it should be, or expect it to be. Much like when we read and substitute or miss words and change the original meaning of the sentence or paragraph. I realize I'm probably describing this exercise very wrong, but this is what I'm getting from it thus far.

Now here's where the picture arises. God asked me tonight how I approach reading scripture.

Do I come to my Lord and His Word in 'left brain mode', and do I read to discover what I already know (or in my arrogance think I already know), or to confirm what I want it to say. Do I come bringing my past experiences and teachings from people and myself and thereby simply continue to recreate God in man's image and thoughts. Because of this, I fail to make myself 'teachable' by God and His infinite wisdom. Is this the 'failure' of the church (of which I must put myself into belonging)? In our desire to not appear too naive, or lacking wisdom or dare I say childlike; do I need to come to the lesson with my pre-conceived notions and thoughts and with a loud voice proclaim them in the class - oh has, and is, this me at times!

Or do I come before the Creator in 'right brain mode' and let Him truly speak to me? Do I simply let what is before me, speak to me? Do I believe His Word is alive, and inspired by Him and therefore want to learn from it, have Him teach me with things I do not currently understand (1 Corinthians 1:21)? Do I believe His Word when it says that His ways are above mine, and His thoughts are greater than mine, and that thru the wisdom of this world I will never truly understand God. If I believe this, then I must truly approach Him with an open mind (in my 'right' brain) and see all that is there, and all that He wants me to see.

As we were being taught tonight Gayle provided another 'ah hah' moment, that slipped me into reminiscing. When we are truly in right brain mode, we can't talk and in fact other noises and distractions disappear to us. Oh, they are still there, we are just so engrossed in what is before us we 'zone out' (something I am very familiar with my wife and children can attest to). This brought back many pleasant memories of times with family and friends, especially my children when they were young. Playing, wrestling or watching them I at times could have been hit by a train because I wouldn't have known it was there. I experience the same when I photograph, build things at home and yes sometimes even while working. Thankfully I can think of times while reading God's Word that I have forgotten about everything else and I can say it is especially in those times that I have been spoken to with before unknown understanding. It's at these times I believe that I have been given a glimpse into the heart and mind of God - and isn't that what I am truly after? I've come to fully embrace (much more than just knowing) the fact that my loving Father knows everything about me there is to know. I now come to Him, to learn about Him. Unfortunately there are many more times that I am very much in left brain mode, and the distractions of the world are very present during that entire time with God. And as I think about it, it is when I learn something new, the least often.

Romans 11:34 NLT - For who can know the LORD's thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice?

Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT - “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

Job 38:2, 4-5 NLT - “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line?

1 Corinthians 1:21 NLT - Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.

Your walk should change...

During the summer I had a conversation with a young friend of mine, someone I've considered a nephew since they were born. We were discussing how you can tell if you really believe the words of the Bible. 

During the conversation I had this picture come to me: 

at night when I walk through my home or an unfamiliar room, especially if I know it has a flight of stairs my 'walk' changes. I slow down, I use my toes to feel out the terrain in front of me and I walk much more cautiously. Why? Because I don't want to fall down a flight of stairs in the middle of the night. 

Here is the analogy as I explained it to my nephew. If I put a blindfold on you, spun you around to disorient you as to your placement in the room and told you there was either a step up, or a flight of stairs in front of you and then instructed you to walk forward; and you believed me you wouldn't walk the way you normally do.

You would most likely walk more like I described how I walk in the middle of the night with the lights out. 

Now, if you didn't believe me, your walk wouldn't change much from how you walk when you're fully sighted. Your confident of being able to navigate this world on your own, and because you do not believe what I've told you, you don't need to make any adjustments to your 'walk'.  The instructions I've given you may be interesting to hear, even good advice for someone else or another time but they don't really apply to you.

As this picture unfolded in my mind with deeper understanding I came to see what the different parts of the picture meant. 

The blindfold (or darkness) - God's ways are not our ways, and we can't understand fully God's thinking. He sees things from an eternal and timeless perspective. He also sees our heart and motives, not just our appearance and actions. He also has created this universe and all of its laws and has full understanding of them and all the benefits and consequences they bring. Our limited understanding (or darkness - blindfold) is that we don't always understand the complete why behind what God has asked us to do. There are many things that God has said are not beneficial for me, and from my human perspective I don't understand why, so I walk in partial or total darkness at times. But obedience through faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness (Romans 4:22 & Galatians 3:6), and that is what I am striving for - with God's help. 

The step or flight of stairs - this is the potential negative consequences of my actions if I'm not careful. Just like stubbing my toe(s) on a step,  or worse; falling down a flight of steps in the dark could be the consequences of actions I may take or fail to take. We must be careful here, because Christ's death and sacrifice covers all sins, but I also believe a healthy and scriptural fear of the Lord as well as a love for Him that compels me to live a life pleasing to Him should be my guiding factors in decisions I make on how to live my life. Otherwise as a wise friend pointed out to me this summer - can you really call Him Lord of your life and not just Saviour. These aren't actions to earn God's favour, nor my salvation but rather appropriate responses to the Love poured out to us by God and changes we ask and allow God to make in us (James 2: 14-26).

The instructions or warning about the step or stairs (the danger); this is the living word of God - the Bible. If you truly believe that the Bible is more than just a collection of stories, but rather the inspired and living word of the Creator of the universe and you and me, then shouldn't we take them to heart and heed those words as Abraham did?

My 'walk' then should be different! And visibly so to the outside world, otherwise what change has occured, and if no change has occured in who you are, and how you behave, then how much if at all have you allowed God into your life. 

If I could watch into a room at night with night vision goggles, and saw a person walking with hands outstretched to feel, legs being pushed forward using their toes as 'feelers' I would know exactly what they are up to - they've changed their 'walk' to avoid a disaster. When the world watches you (especially if you don't realize anyone is watching you), do they see that you're walk is different than before or from others?