Guest Post on Bible Reading at Soul Stops

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I’m delighted and honored to be a guest writer at SoulStops.com. Many thanks to Dolly Lee!

Why do I compare Bible reading to the Saturn V rocket, and what do I call the moon? I invite you to read my article at Soul Stops.

Launch Day for Behold the Beauty: Oct. 13, 2015

My book, Behold the Beauty: An Invitation to Bible Reading, releases on October 13. That’s this Tuesday!

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I will be sharing more information soon. For now, I invite you to take a look at the book’s Facebook page.

Sign-ups for my monthly newsletter will also be available soon. This will include book updates, free subscriber-only resources, and thoughts on the writing life.

Some details:

– Published by BibleDude Press

– Endorsed by Cynthia Hyle Bezek, Jennifer Dukes Lee, and John Blase

– Discounts for bulk orders available

Thank you for the support and encouragement you have shown! More coming soon.

Book Review: Playdates with God, by Laura Boggess

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I play tennis with my husband once a week. I wouldn’t normally associate tennis with forgiveness, but as I swung back my racquet, or reached high for a serve, or ran to the net for a quick approach shot, my tennis lessons from Coach Bob (my coach from age 9) and Coach Karen (my college coach) came flooding my mind to dovetail with some of what I had read in the Bible over the past couple of decades. Does that sound weird—playing tennis helped me forgive and overcome bitterness?

Yet it happened; different aspects of tennis served as a metaphor for certain aspects of my spiritual life (Scripture memory, focusing on God, acknowledging sin, forgiving quickly).

Bread-making, too, has been part of my spiritual life. I’ve associated kneading bread dough not only with a particular Psalm I memorized, but also with verses in Habbakuk about rejoicing in hardship.

And again, with hiking. One summer we went on backpacking in autumn at the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and that, like the tennis and homemade bread, helped me grow in intimacy with God.

On one of these hikes I decided to start photographing flowers from behind. Did you know that the backs of flowers are just as interesting and beautiful as their fronts? As I noticed this about flowers, I thought of how God values the beauty of the hidden person. I thought of how God delights in and rewards secret acts of righteousness. It made me want to be like the back of a flower.

Laura Boggess helps me understand that when I play tennis, or make bread, or hike through the Sangres and position my camera behind a Columbine, it is a playdate with God—and these playdates doubly enhance my relationship with God. These playdates both rekindle and cultivate my love for Him to make it “the love that endures—the excitement of new love and the security of old love all twined together” (Playdates with God, page 111).

Since 2008, I’ve been reading Laura’s words. With her lyrical, tender voice, she always stirs a deep part of my inner life and makes connection with my own ponderings, struggles, longings, and celebrations. Laura’s book is new (launches today!), but her living-out of the book’s message is not new. For a long time now, she has been intent on noticing and embracing every moment as sacred. And I’m going to be one of her playmates.

The stories we tell ourselves matter. When we are able to communicate the wonder God drops into our lives, others are drawn into our story. And when our stories hold rich tales of intimate times with God, people will want to step into that bigger story of the gospel. What better story to tell than the one Jesus lived and died for? Are you letting the gospel story lead your internal narrative? Am I? Because when we do, it will change our focus. It will change our lives. When we live our story in tandem with the narrative of the gospel, God is given the place in our lives that he deserves. And spending time with him becomes the most important thing.

– Laura Boggess, Playdates with God, 123-124.

Watch the book trailer for Playdates with God!

God’s Heart in a Little Green Marker

Why? WHY? Why-why-why?!

I want to know, too. So I take out my little green marker and highlight anything I see that answers the question, “Why?”

Reasons. Purposes. Motives.

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Then I put on my magic…

Would you like to hear God’s heartbeat? I invite you to read the rest of my article at BibleDude.net: God’s Heart in a Little Green Marker. (I’d love to meet you in the comment box over there!)

i'm a bibledude.net writer

Hearing implies…

nearness.
A God who hears is a God
close by, not far, within
reach. Whenever I think
(or read in the Word)
of God hearing me, let it be
a reminder of His nearness
and presence. Whenever
I pray (with the confidence
that He hears my prayers)
I am praying in
His presence and
close intimacy.

The LORD is far from the wicked,
but he hears the prayers of the righteous.
(Proverbs 15:29)

Sometimes Only God

There are, sometimes,
certain bitternesses
and joys
that no one
else
can understand.

In certain
states of the heart,
no communion can be
found except
in God
who understands
all.

The heart knows its own bitterness
And a stranger does not share its joy.
(Proverbs 14:10, NASB)

Each heart knows its own bitterness,
and no one else can fully share its joy.
(Proverbs 14:10, NLT)

***

Linking with two dear ones:

While Running Up Centennial Trail

(For this month’s theme at T.S. Poetry: “Angels.” See the T.S. Poetry Press Facebook page for more!)

Waters gathered from some repeated precipitation
(whether steady snowmelt or fly-by rainstorm)

caused a depression, a canyon’s precursor,
this rut running the length of her

trail, a rut she tried to circumvent by aiming
the soles of her Asics beside it or leaping over

to the other side where the ground was still
the same—fallow and in desperate need

of breaking, made arid by long afternoons
of scorching, self-centered heat.

Repeated doubts and questions pounded, the same way
too much uphill running makes shin splints, fractures,

stresses that make her plead with the regular
cadence of her strides, “Don’t let me give up,

don’t let me give up.” And then, two men
on mountain bikes (whether Specialized

or Cannondale or Gary Fisher, she’ll never
know) came down—it was God’s kind way

of answering—for the man on the bike who came
down first encouraged, almost fiercely, “Good job!”

So the woman kept running and wondered if angels
went mountain biking down Centennial trail.

Who Fills In the Blanks? (Wanting What He Wants Me to Want)

Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
(Psalm 37:4)

Because of Psalm 37:4 I have a wish list:

My Heart’s Desires

1. I want __________.
2. I want __________.
3. I want __________.
4. I want __________.
5. …
6. …
.
.
.

It’s not that I delight in the Lord,
fill in the blanks,
give Him my list,
and then He will give me
what I desire.

I think of it this way:
I give Him the blank list,
He fills in the blanks,
and then He will give me
the desires themselves.

Father, I ask not that You give me what I want, but that you give me the want.

***

(This week Ann Voskamp hosts a community of those who share about Fasting. This is my fast: to seek not my desires but His.)

“Why have we fasted and You do not see?
Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice?”

Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire,
And drive hard all your workers …

Is this not the fast which I choose,
To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the bands of the yoke,
And to let the oppressed go free
And break every yoke?

(Isaiah 58:3,6, emphases mine)

(On Wednesday, click on the Holy Experience badge below for more community posts on Fasting!)

The “Where”

I need to find the right place.

They said to Him, “Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?”

He said to them,

“Come, and you will see.”

(John 1:38-39)

Where.

Colorado. The grocery store. Academy Boulevard. Under a tree.
Behind me. Out the door. Two hundred miles away.
Bethlehem. Nazareth. Golgotha.
These are places. Where.

We live in frames, our bones covered in muscle, blood, flesh, sensitive nerve endings. We walk, touching the skin of our soles to the earth. We know the feel of cutting wind, warm embraces, rough bark, pain from a bruise. We are physical beings, made from the dust, and so our places are physical locations.

But there are places . . . and there are places. Our “where” is not always the same as Jesus’s “where.”

So they were saying to Him, “Where is Your Father?”

Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also.” (John 8:19)

They ask where, but he answers with know. For Jesus, the “where” is being with the Father. It is knowing Him. Knowing God is a place.

Tell me, Jesus, where are You going?
Show me the place where You’ll be.
“Come, you’ll see,” is all that You answer.
To know You is all that I need.

Where do I want to be?
Knowing Jesus.

This Wednesday Ann Voskamp hosts a community of those who share about “The Practice of Faith.” Click on the Holy Experience badge below to read more posts on Faith!

Also linking with Bonnie Gray for Thursday’s Faith Barista Jam. Bonnie asks, “What season of faith are you walking through? Fall (letting go) – Winter (loss/waiting) – Spring (new starts) – Summer (embrace and celebrate)? My faith season is Fall; I am letting go of wanting to know all the answers, and instead walking with Jesus where He is, where He has me right now, and seeing with the Partial Vision He has given thus far. Click on the Faith Barista badge below to read more community posts on seasons of faith!

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