I took back Saturday yesterday.
Now, it's Sunday's turn.
We have a new minister at our church.
And for the last few Sundays, I've been taken away during his sermons as to how he can take a very familiar passage of the bible, add context to it, and then help us apply it to our lives.
He doesn't "preach" hellfire and brimstones (most Methodist preachers don't), but you don't leave feeling guilty...as if you hadn't measured up in some way.
He preaches the word, scaffolds the application, and then lets the individual take it from there.
I leave church uplifted...even when we've talked about something I know I've got to work on.
How's that for a church service?
I've always had a strong faith.
I don't even really know how to explain it.
But, I have wavered in my daily time spent with Him.
And reading my bible.
I spend enormous amounts of time reading other things, magazines, blogs, Facebook, novels, essays etc...but somehow my bible has fallen, once again, by the wayside.
I want to bring it back.
My friend Roan wrote the other day about how she copies scripture as part of her devotions...and I couldn't believe how I had somehow missed this very simple hands on approach to reading my bible.
A bible reading strategy that involves actively engaging with the word the through reading, annotating, and writing.
This way I can devote a part of my day every day to focusing on the word of God doing things that I do best and strategies that have worked for me all my life.
Just like daily exercise, I have to exercise my faith.
Not because I have to.
But, because I WANT to.
I believe we are all offered Grace...we simply must reach out and take it.
Faith shouldn't be forced on anyone. That was never Jesus's intention.
I don't force my faith on anyone, and I don't intend to start here.
But, this blog is a huge part of me, and I'm pretty much an open book.
I've decided that my faith should also follow me here.
I also selfishly thought about all the beautiful journals I could now justify buying in order to copy my scriptures :)
I never said I was perfect.
I'm going to start with the Psalms.
I think I just need some music and poetry right now in the wake of my husband's heart issues last week.
Our youngest children sang "Jesus Loves Me" this morning during our service, and there was one little girl who swayed with the music, sang sweetly above the rest of the children, and raised her hands innocently, allowing herself to be taken away by the song, completely ignoring the fact that she was standing in front of the entire congregation.
I want to be like her.
This morning our pastor preached on Genesis 32:22-31
Jacob's wrestling match with the angel in the middle of the night.
Jacob was born holding on to his brother Esau's heel.
And, he lived his life that way, trying to grab onto the heel of others to propel himself forward.
A familiar bible story that showcases his personality vividly is when he stole Esau's birthright by dressing up like Esau, hairy and smelly like his hunter brother, in exchange for a stew.
Jacob pretended he was someone he was not.
And God saw through that. Just as He does with all of us.
Like Jacob, we wear our own smelly facades because we want people to see the person we want them to see.
A lot of people spend a lot of time and energy pretending.
There is no need for disguise with God.
He loves us...the real us...despite our shortcomings.
Through His Grace, we are re-named, just as the angel re-named Jacob, Israel.
We come to Him Lost -- He renames us Found.
We come to Him Sinful -- He renames us Forgiven
He wants us to be who we are.
He'll take care of the rest.