Eric's Blog

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” - Albert Einstein

Friday, July 26, 2013

On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” 36Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
39Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.   (Mark 4)

I've often wondered how Jesus could sleep in the storm. I can see being able to sleep with the boat being battered by the wind and waves. But Jesus had to have been getting wet too. If you've ever been asleep in a tent turning the rain you know how a couple of drops of water can bring you awake from a sound sleep. But Jesus didn't seem to be bothered.

The revelation I got this morning is that this story illustrates how Jesus released what was in him into the world. The calm Jesus had wasn't affected by circumstances. In fact, the calm he carried was enough to change the circumstances.
The disciples, on the other hand, let the circumstances change their inner world. The word Jesus gave, "We're going to the other side," should have been enough for them to do the same thing Jesus did. Jesus chides them for their lack of faith. This suggests that he expected them to be able to trust his word and release the same calm into the storm that he did. 
And so it is with me. I have his word and his promises, and his Spirit. I think the storms I face are supposed to train me to take my inner world into the circumstances and change them.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

More Practice, Better Writing

I'm thirty thousand words into writing on two different book projects.  This morning I skimmed through the first chapter of my first book and discovered how much my writing has improved since I began.  Of course, I knew I'll be going over it and editing once I've done the first draft.  But it was funny to see what I'd written just a month ago and compare it to what I wrote yesterday.  The flow of my sentences and the words I chose have improved greatly. 

I'm looking forward to seeing what I think a year from now.  If I keep my pace of a thousand words a day I should be much improved by then.  I hope I don't look back and think, "What kind of hack wrote this mess?" 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

I Know Your Works

To each of the seven churches in Revelation Jesus says, "I know your works."  To those he corrects he says they must repent and do the works they did at the first.  The sign of their repentance is see in their works.

Verses like these used to make me feel like I have to try harder.  Since I'm judged by my works it must be up to me to make sure I'm doing the works I'm supposed to be doing.  And if I'm doing the wrong works I need to "just stop it!" and get my butt in gear to do the right things I should be doing.  So living for Jesus was a lot of Shoulds I put on my shoulders and carried around.

But the Spirit has been working to get my mind right--"and I mean right" (insert southern accent).  My friend, Sheri, tells people, "Don't should on yourself."  My good intentions and attempts at good works never turn out so well.  It's only by resting in the Spirit that I can produce any kind of good fruit.

Jesus said, "Be connected to me like a grape branch is connected to the vine."  The purpose of our connection is to make fruit.  Now the branch doesn't fret and strain to make fruit.  As long as it's connected to the vine the fruit just comes.  In fact, thinking that a vine can make fruit happen by itself is silly.

So when I read stuff about "working the works of righteousness" I remind myself that I'm not the one who produces righteousness in my life.  My righteousness comes from Jesus and flows to me as I keep in step with the Holy Spirit.   My struggle isn't to do good works but rather to press in to Him and keep my connection strong.  I pull my life from Jesus and the fruit will come naturally.  I don't have to strain and struggle to pop out a grape. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Being In the Spirit

Reading Relation one this morning.  Got to wondering what John means about "being in the Spirit".  I know Paul talked about being with one of the churches in spirit when they worship.  Paul's comments sound like more than just "concern from afar".  It's like he's able to see what's going on in the church.

St. Theresa of Avila writes about similar experiences with the Lord---being draw out of her body and seeing other places. So this got me thinking and wondering what being "in the Spirit" was all about. 

What strikes me about John's comment in Revelation is that he says it as if it's the most normal thing in the world. It's almost like he expects everyone to automatically know what he's talking about.  Kind of like we say, "I was on the phone when the doorbell rang."

I think it's time to start learning what the Holy Spirit is all about.  I'm called to walk by the Spirit.  And I think I'm just beginning to understand a little bit of how to do this.  Being "in the Spirit" sounds like a different experience all together. 

So much to learn. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cross the Rubicon. Burn the Ships.

I like to have Plan B in my pocket.  I've got options if things don't work out.  It serves me well in lots of areas.  But sometimes I have to burn the ships.  Once I make the decision there's no going back and no other options.  Like Caesar crossing the Rubicon, either I conquer and survive or I fail. 

Today I'm burning ships.  I've been pecking away at being a Realtor and finally said to my self, "This is not my passion."   I'm pretty good at it, but I don't love it enough to go after it like there's no tomorrow.

Today I decided not to keep paying for my electronic key that gets me in to houses for sale.  And I'm not going to renew my license next month.  I'm going to do something I'm passionate about.

I've toyed with the idea of writing a book in the past.  One time I even came close to starting.  Fear and resistance beat me back.  I wasn't sure I could do it.  I didn't have the confidence to just sit down and do the work and trust the muse to visit.

But I've changed.  I know what I have to do.  I'm climbing in the ring with resistance and wrestling it to the ground each day.  I will make this work.  I'll keep at it until it does.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Loins of My Mind?

Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ  --1 Peter 1:13

"Loins of my mind" seems like an odd phrase.  What gave Peter the idea to put those two areas of the body together in one metaphor?  The Bible often uses "loins" like we use "private parts"--it's a polite way to talk about genitals.  Jews thought of "loins" as the place semen resided.  

So what are the "loins of my mind"?  Nothing quite like digging into a metaphor early Saturday morning.

What makes the most sense is that the loins of my mind is my creative thinking--my imagination. Sometimes my imagination can run like a mustang through the sagebrush--wild and free.  It's difficult to reign in.

Worry is when my imagination runs through bad areas partnered with "what if".  Mark Twain said, "I've lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened."

Rest, hope and grace are what help me gird up the loins of my mind.  The Spirit has been speaking to me this year about grace.  The revelation of Jesus Christ is letting my imagination run down paths of rest and grace.  No more striving to be good enough.  No more imagining I must earn favour. 

My imagination brings rest to me when it runs in the paths of grace and hope.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Getting a New Mind

And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen  --Mark 16:20

Does God really want a bunch of mindless robots?  I think we often talk and act like he does.  We sing the song "I Surrender All" and believe that 
The problem with us singing the old hymn "I Surrender All" is that we think it's a lifestyle choice.  

I went back and checked the lyrics.  This song talks about salvation.  Surrender is how we enter the kingdom.  But citizens of the kingdom are the king's kids not employees.  Yes, the king's kids are expected to obey the king.  But they also get to talk to him and have him listen.  The kids have a role in policy decisions.  Employees are expected to just do what they're told.

And since we're adopted children we're expected to learn the heart of the king so we know how to act like royalty rather than employees. 

And the way God does this for us is like Trinity learning how to fly a helicopter in the movie "Matrix"--he downloads it into our brain.  Not only that, he himself takes up residence in our body.  The Holy Spirit renews our mind so we have the mind of Christ.  This give us the ability to think God's thoughts.

Now we can't go off the reservation and just do whatever we want.  It is expected that the kids of royalty obey the king.  But as the king's kids we should know how to made our own decisions that he will stamp CONFIRMED.