My6inchchallenge's Blog

Tackling difficulties and overcoming the challenges life serves up – by Dona Halliday

Archive for April, 2011

What kind of God would act like that?

I wept for Judas. I’d been where he’d been, on the edge of that place where by my action I’d tried to force God from His seeming inaction. That place where I had exchanged my relationship with Him, maybe not for money, but for some sweet, immediate, selfish thing that had never been worth it. I’d cried tears of regret thinking my sin too dark, my betrayal too great. Convinced I’d gone too far, sinned too much. But unlike Judas — In the still of the night, while guilt and accusations rested — I recalled His unconditional love and sought His forgiveness.

I wept for Peter, whose denial had been as strong as his declaration of love and allegiance. I remember when my fear, my lack of faith had caused my life to shout out loud, “What Christ? I don’t know Him!” I’d been where Peter had been…

But I can’t look at you…

Bruised, bloodied, and way too human. What kind of God would act like that? You, Jesus, God in the flesh – humiliated by those you created, mocked and scorned by those who breathe your air, who live only because you gave them life. Whipped by hands that borrowed your strength, spat on by lips you formed… Weary, bent, limping, bleeding, dragging that heavy, wooden cross. WHAT KIND OF GOD would act like that?

Torn flesh, pierced side, ripped brows, hands and feet fastened to a cross – wounded, hurting, rejected — it’s breaking my heart–I can’t stand looking up at you…

I can’t stand the sight of MY sin, shame, brokenness and rejection so visibly weighting you down, causing you pain, separating you from your Father — this was for me and all humanity…

Did others view your love as weakness? Did they despise you because you did not strike back with power? Did they really think themselves capable of taking the life of God’s son?

What made you go, God of Glory, servant to man? What made you endure — serving, loving, forgiving, saving, transforming, healing, reconciling, empowering? You, the perfect sacrifice for your Father’s justice. Before You came I could not come — none could come to the Father without your sacrifice.

…What kind of God would act like that?

The One whose love for  the world drove Him to the cross, compelled Him to sacrifice His life, bear our pain, purchase our salvation, secure our peace and well-being, and gifted us with everything — now and for the future — that we need for life and Godliness.

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How much is your word worth? Build a relationship with trust

“When we see persons of worth, we should think of equaling them; when we see persons of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves,” so says Confucius.

Lately, I’ve tried to answer the question,“If someone’s word has no value, how can one build and navigate a relationship with such a person? What if this is the kind of relationship where you can’t just walk away, but you have to engage that person in some way.

We seem to live in a society where ones’ word is given without thought and where promises are made quickly without counting the cost of what it will take to fulfill them. I still don’t know and therefore I’ll have to learn how to navigate such a relationship, but this has caused me to examine the worth of MY word.

In the busyness of getting things done, getting to there from here and trying to balance life, have I decided that it’s acceptable to be a person whose word holds little worth? And who can I look to as an example of one whose word has utmost value and is known to hold a perfect record for keeping promises?

King David writes of God in Psalm 138:2 “I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy loving-kindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” This is fast becoming one of my favorite verses in the bible because it speaks of relationship. Mine and yours with God. It’s a relationship of commitment, one of trust and one of principle on God’s part; and like David we have to choose our response.

There is something that excites me about the God of the universe who so honors his covenant with his people that as the Clarke’s commentary on the bible puts it “He preferred faithfulness to his promise to the attribute of his power.” God who has the power to cause and accomplish anything and has created all things, understood that it’s difficult for trust to develop and relationships to grow without confidence in one’s character. So to build relationships with humanity He offers this promise — that with every powerful act that has proven His name – creator, deliverer, savior, healer, provider, counselor, king…, He has placed His obligation to fulfill His word, to honor His promises, above all.

This is good news to me because as I grow in my knowledge of God I’m learning of His character, I’m learning to trust Him, and trusting Him leads me to love Him. On this journey where my seeking God in prayer, bible study and worship has placed a stamp of confidence in my heart in the infallible God, I find an increasing desire not only to love Him but to grow up to be just like Him.

Did you know the troll got married?

The Troll got married

The Troll Transformation

I’ve never been one to spread gossip so I was quite surprised when I heard myself spilling some newly acquired information. “Did you know the troll got married?” I asked my publisher, who had stared at me quite puzzled. However, the troll’s wedding and wife had dominated the conversation with one of my closest friends during my morning commute. Can you believe it?” she had asked, somewhat shocked and with what I thought might be a hint of envy, “the troll got married!”

No, the troll is not code for someone we didn’t like during high school. And if you did not spend time during your childhood lost in the world fairy tales this would mean nothing to you, as a matter of fact you just might think it quite ridiculous – grown women still talking fairy tales.

However, this grumpy troll who had both excited and horrified us as children with his threats of eating who or whatever wanted to cross his bridge, had gotten married to a beautiful troll girl named Petunia. My friend had discovered this while watching Dora the Explorer with her daughter, and it had obviously triggered some soul-searching.

“Dona,” she continued haltingly, “if even the troll can get married, do you think WE might be too picky….?” There she goes again with the “WE” stuff… “Well, Petunia must be very special to be able to look pass Mr. Trolls obvious faults and still love him,” I answered deep in thought, comparing myself to Petunia and coming up short. “Yes, she has to be,” my friend agreed and I sensed the same comparison. “And the troll says she makes him laugh all the time.” “ALL the time? That’s mighty special,” I responded unable to contain my laughter.

But in the midst of our silliness here are some things I learned:

  1. In the simplest of things we can find enlightenment
  2. If we can bring laughter to someones world we’re more special than we may realize
  3. Even “trolls” need love and can be loved
  4. Love is not about being blind to ones faults but seeing them and choosing to love anyway
  5. Like a Petunia, we can plant ourselves in someone elses world and add fragrance and color to it
  6. Never be too old to enjoy moments of silliness.

Satisfied with a shake and a shout

“What did he say?” I wondered in annoyance. My annoyance was directed at my doctor who insists that my hearing is perfect. Not so. I can hear the noise but sometimes I can’t get the message. If the voice is too deep, or excitement causes it to rise in shouts, as it was in this case, I’d have to wait for an interpreter.

I was in church, no doubt something mighty powerful had been said because most of the congregants were on their feet clapping and shouting, I was still seated. As soon as the person next to me sat down, I turned and asked, “what did he say?” The shrug followed by the I don’t know caused my spirit to sink. This was not the first person or the first time…

I’ve often wondered if preachers and leaders of worship would care. Would they care that people may not be growing because amidst the noise they are missing the development of faith that comes by hearing the word of God? Or would they be satisfied that the response of the people gave the impression that THEIR church “has it going on?”

Would they care if they realized that after many, many years of confessing a relationship with Christ, that His people, like a mother who still hikes her 8-year-old onto her hip and carries her, still have to be told when to shout, what to shout, how to shout it, how long to shout it for, when to lift their hand, how long to do that for, and many people like parrots would repeat anything they are asked without giving much thought to the message they are repeating?

Would they care if they realized that after all the emotionalism, theatrics, shouting, slapping, high fiving, finger snapping, that when their members stepped back into the everydayness of their lives they were still ill-equipped with the faith, power and love to affect change in their world and live holy and righteous lives?

One of the scariest passages in the bible to me is where the Lord says to his people, Israel:
“I hate all your show and pretense—the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies. I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings. I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings. Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living.

It is possible to go to church Sunday after Sunday and go through the motions of worshiping God with our lips but have hearts that are far from Him. That’s why I’ve grown to greatly appreciate those who teach the truth of the Word. Those who understand that being satisfied with a shake and a shout produces malnourished, ignorant, unchristlike Christians. Those who do not need to be constantly affirmed by the shouts of their congregants, but have committed themselves to studying and teaching the word and trusting the Holy Spirit to do His work of convicting and convincing God’s people of transformation that needs to take place in their lives.

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