Monday, July 23, 2012

Getting unstuck in my walk with Christ - Day 17

Good morning all!
I spent all day yesterday either at church or sleeping (lol), but the day before that was pretty successful :-)

I'll start with some spiritual reflections...
Chapter 8 of Unstuck lays out some great tips for truly engaging with scripture >>

1.  Receive God's Word
     To begin engaging with scripture we must set out with a mind to "spiritually consume" it a.k.a. we must "metabolize scripture."  How cool is that description?  Haha, ok, I am a biologist so I can really connect with this metaphor.  Think about the way that we approach a delicious meal...we take in the aroma, let our eyes indulge in the yumminess laid out before us, and as our eyes and nose heighten our anticipation for what we know is going to be absolutely delicious, our salivary glands start working over-time and our mouths start to water.  Then we dig our fork into the food and lift it to our tongues and slowly savor the tastes and smells that flow through our senses.  This is how we should engage with scripture - as a delicious banquet laid out for us to consume.  As Ruth Haley Barton says, "When we engage the Scriptures for spiritual transformation...we engage not only our mind but also our heart, our emotions, our body, our curiosity, our imagination and our will."

2.  Reflect on God's Word
Two passages from Luke Chapter 2 do a great job of displaying how Mary, the mother of Jesus, does just this.
17  And when [the shepherds] saw [the baby], 
they made known the saying that had been told to them 
concerning this child.
18  And all who heard it wondered 
at what the shepherds had told them.
19  But Mary treasured up all these things,
pondering them in her heart.

49  And He said to them,
"Why were you looking for me?
Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"
50  And they did not understand the saying that He spoke to them.
51  And He went down with them and came to Nazareth
and was submissive to them.
And His mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

     Both of the above passages describe situations in which Mary and the people around her were confused and unable to understand what was being said in regards to Jesus.  Instead of just simply wondering about them and moving on, accepting confusion, Mary stored these thoughts up in her heart so that she could continue metabolizing them and gain a greater understanding of her son and His destiny.
     I have to admit that there are plenty of times when I read something in scripture and after a few times of passing my eyes over the words without grasping anything, I just move on, "promising" myself that I'll examine it more closely later.  This is definitely an area that I need to work on - I'll expand on this in my next Unstuck post.

3.  Respond to God's Word
This is essentially another way of looking at sanctification - that journey all Christians take to become more and more like Christ.
1 Corinthians 13:13 [The Message]>>

13  But for right now, until that completeness 
[when we arrive in Heaven],
we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation:
Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly,
love extravagantly.  And the best of the three is love.

Consider what C.S. Lewis said in Mere Christianity:
     "The New Testament...talks about Christians 'being born again'...about 'putting on Christ'; about Christ 'being formed in us'; about our coming to 'have the mind of Christ.'
     Put right out of your head any ideas that these are only fancy ways of saying that Christians are to read what Christ said and try to carry it out - [...] It is not a question of a good man who died two thousand years ago.  It is a living Man, still as much a man as you, and still as much God as He was when He created the world, really coming and interfering with your very self; killing the old natural self in you and replacing it with the kind of self He has."
With this in mind, simply reading definitely isn't enough!

So in regards to cleaning...
     ** Went through some more of my academic folders and got rid of a bunch of stuff!  It's funny how you think an entire folder full of papers from a class relevant to your future is going to be useful...yeah no, once I started combing through some of the untouchable folders - I found a lot that I could recycle - and, of course *sigh*, more scientific papers that I could just find online and save as pdfs.
     ** Continued to go through my giant stack of completely random papers - once I get through it all, I'll post a picture - the size of this sucker is depressing...
     ** Finished filing away all my coupons
     ** Started cleaning out empty vials (from the bugs...)

Because I feel like things are going a little too slowly, today I'm setting some goals >>
1. Finish putting all my books in my bookcases
2. Finish cleaning out all the empty vials
3. Finish going through the giant paper stack
4. Fold the clean clothes sitting in the laundry room (yeah, this pile has been sitting there since before my LBS

State-of-mind pic of the day:
A banana grove in the village of Mto wa Mbu, TZE.
[taken by me]

Well, that's all for today - here's to being hopeful for a productive afternoon!!

...oh yeah...I also have a paper that I need to get started...

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