Thursday, December 24, 2009

Checking In... just keeps's kinda funny that way!  Oh, well, I suppose the fact that life does go on is definitely something to be thankful for, especially during unexpected difficult times.  Can I get a witness!?!

Ok, so, since it's been a while since I blogged and all, I bet you thought you were off the hook!  Wrong!

So, tell's that challenge/homework going for ya?  (You know, the one I dared you with back on the November 11th post...go check it out if you are just now reading my blog for the first time...but you others have no know the challenge I'm talking about!)  No, seriously, I do want to know how you're doing with it.  In case you're wondering...I'm still plugging along at it.  Soooo much I'm learning, too!

Well, there are only a few options of answers for "How's the challenge/homework coming?"

1.  "I've started, but I haven't gotten all the way through yet." 
- Well, I must say, very good!  Seriously, I know you may be beating yourself up over it a little (or a lot), but I promise, sometimes you just have to do things at your own pace.  And, believe it or not, that is exactly the pace at which you should be doing it.  The main thing is...just don't quit!  Don't give up!  Keep reading and considering all that is there and you will be sooo glad you did!
- Are you hung up on something?  Do you have questions that have surfaced?  Ask.  I may not know the answer, but I can sure try to help you find out.
- By the way, for any of you at whatever stage in this, one thing I have learned very well lately is to not wait until you (or I) have all of the answers and get it all figured out (we never one can).  Take Him as you know Him right now, the way He has revealed Himself to you up to this point in your life, especially through the book of John as you are working your way through this challenge.  He will progressively answer more of your questions and show you more of Himself in your life as you are honest about what you do know (little or much) and act on the knowledge you do have.  

2.  "I've already finished." 
- Awesome!!!  Now, did you really consider it as you were reading it?  If so, what kind of thoughts did you have?  What different things did you learn (or are you still learning, rather)?  Please share. 
- Do you remember the part about Him feeding the extremely large crowd of people?  Did you catch a couple of the lessons in that? 
  • Like for instance, sometimes in order to realize that God is at work we have to realize how humanly impossible the situation is. 
  • Also, when we are dealing with something that is so impossible, are you one who takes whatever you have (strength, hope, energy, belief, money, etc. - even as little as it may be) and brings it to Him knowing He can take it and multiply it like He did the food that day and do something you could have never dreamed possible!?!
  • Here's an awesome quote for you from my study of John I am going through (called BSF, in case you want to know more about it).  It's related to a lesson to be learned from the boy who gave his small lunch to be used that day, not knowing if he would even get to eat any of his own lunch, but just thinking that he might could be of some help... 
  • "You must risk in faith before you know by experience." (Will you take that risk!?!)
3.  "I haven't started at all..."  
     (followed by one of the following:)
   a.  "...but I do plan to, just haven't done it yet."
  • Again, I'm very glad you plan to (of course, it doesn't matter whether I'm glad or don't have to please don't owe anything to me...this is all for YOU...for YOUR benefit, not mine.).  Do start as soon as you get a chance, and I will say the same to you as I did above in #1..go back up there and read that again. 
   b.  "...and I don't plan to at all." 
        (To which I will then ask "Why Not?" and your response  
         will quite possibly be very close to one of the following:)
       i.  "I already know what it says, because I've read all or 
            most of John as well as the rest of the Bible so many
            times over the years...not to mention all of the 
            sermons I've heard on it (or even preached on it).  
            So, really, what's the point?  I already know all there
            is to know."
  • Really?  You do?  I do understand what you are saying, as I have thought and told myself the very same thing several times, for several years of time as a matter of fact. 
  • Is it really that you think that there is no way you could see/read/learn anything new by reading John again...or could there be more to it?  
  • Let's think about this.  Time to really get honest.  I dare you!
  • Could it be that you have been rationalizing your life and way of thinking for so long that you don't even realize that - even though you say you are happy with your life and the way you are living it and are furthermore not doing anything wrong - could it be that you are actually refusing to "come to the light lest your deeds be exposed" and you have to face and admit the fact that you have been wrong after all?  (quoting from BSF and John 3:18-21, not to mention my own experience) 
  • I know it's terribly difficult and even humiliating to consider that you might have to hear "I told you so.",  even if it is your own self saying it!  (And, honestly, you are probably the only one who will say that to you...soooo many people in your life will be so overjoyed and refreshed to see the change in you and the obvious joy in your life that they won't even think twice to welcome you home with loving, forgiving, caring arms.)  
  • No one can judge you, because no one on this earth is above sinking to the lowest depths imaginable...and each of us truly knows that about ourselves.
       ii.  "I don't believe in God, so there is no point in reading
            the Bible.  It's no more real than the mythological 
  • Do you believe everything else that you read?  Fiction?  Mythology?  Folklore?
  • If you read other things KNOWING they are not true nor real, then what will it hurt to read this one book of the Bible, John?  Besides, it's nowhere near the length/size of many highly read literary works (the likes of which you may enjoy reading as well). 
  • Why not just take this intellectual challenge and read it once through?
  • I'm not asking you to believe it.  As a matter of fact, you can even leave out the prayer part of the challenge if that's just way too "out there" for you.  No big deal.  Give it a shot.  
  • Again, as I said when I first issued the challenge...I dare you!  I'll even up the ante now...I DOUBLE DOG dare you!  :o)  To quote a pretty great movie, "What are you...yellow?"  ( anybody home!?!)  Ok, just had to throw some humor in there somewhere, whether you caught it or not.  :o)

Well, there's my re-cap of catching up on the ole assignment.  I'll leave you on this Christmas Eve with one more wonderful, thought provoking quote from BSF that is really a pretty cool concept to me...especially at this gift-giving time of year that all began back with THE Gift that was so lovingly and undeservingly given to us. 

"One who receives God's Gift of Jesus Christ and eternal life GIVES TO GOD to gift of one's love, thankfulness, and life."  WOW!  What a concept!  WE actually give TO HIM when we RECEIVE the Gift He offers US!  If only I could convince all of these people at Christmas that I really AM giving to THEM by receiving FROM them!!!  What!?!  You don't think that'll fly!?!  Me either!  But, I'm thankful it really DOES fly with Him!!!  :o) 

Merry Christmas to ALL!!!!!  :o)  God DOES love YOU!  Stop fighting it, and receive it!!!

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