Instead of continuing with silly stories of non-importance, which I know offer little bits of relief on otherwise mundane afternoons, I find I'm needing to write about the one thing that has stolen my attention. It is nothing external and has nothing to do with the happenings of today. I am not concerned with the Olympics, though curling is possibly the most practical sport because you can learn how to do a household chore while exercising. And I have no interest in material possessions. I will offer some nonsense once in a while. But for now, I find myself needing to write my heart.
I feel I better explain myself, so here I go, I suppose. There is no beginning or end, there is no real sense to my madness inside. I've been struggling through this salvation thing for years, working it out more recently through fear and trembling, as Paul instructs in Philippians, and now I've come to a place where the struggle is nothing. I embrace the suffering with open arms, knowing that as I mourn, I am comforted. The cross weighs lightly on my shoulders, for his yoke is easy and his burden is light. I find I'm more in love with my creator each day and unhappy whenever I step out of his presence. And I know this is not because of myself or what I do, it is because the God I always believed in has finally caught me and entangled me with his love.
I always thought God wanted to love us from afar, watching from his cloud-made throne in heaven, waving his finger when we did something wrong, but applauding like an unknown audience when we were righteous. Now, something has changed. God's love is not as a father, a shepherd, or a king, though he is all of those things. He is not far off, watching with a telescope. His love is that of a lover. The kind a man gives to his bride. A love where once inside, you cannot leave because you ache and yearn to be with Him always. I find my heart breaking multiple times a day, longing to be nearer and nearer to my lover and my friend. And each time this longing is met with sweet fulfillment. It will always be this way.
I've been reading copious amounts of scripture paired with writings by those who went on before me to serve the Lord. Some may say I'm a junkie, purchasing books to read over and over again as I learn what it is to die to myself, obey, choose Him for myself, be blessed for suffering, ache and yearn for His love, live each moment in his presence, work at everything as if it were doing it for the Lord (the list goes on). But a few have brought me to a place where I cannot do anything except accept what God has done for me through full submission. (Eventually I will write an entry devoted fully to a day in the presence of God, and Brother Lawrence will help me with that.)
But before I go on anymore tangents, I want to know what I am reading and chewing on daily because these are the 5 books I have in my purse right now. Seriously, five books, and these peel away my flesh each day, calling me to submission and devotion.
If you want to borrow any of them, or purchase them, let me know. I want to talk them over with you. In no particular order...
1. The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.
--Quite possibly the most basic read, but most essential for understanding how we can acknowledge God in every aspect of life, while being in constant sync with His Holy Spirit.
2. The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
--Exceptionally meaty. Bonhoeffer knows what it is to suffer, serving in jail during WWII as a prisoner for the cause of Christ. It will challenge you to die to yourself, and implore you to live for Christ through constant submission. Christ demands us to die, but gives us life. Unless we are to give it all, we are not worthy of the calling to eternal life he freely gives us. Ouch, Dieter, that's tough. But excellent.
3.The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer.
--Tozer was brilliant, but he gained it through no formal training. He never even made it through high school, but God gave him wisdom and knowledge supernaturally (I get what James is talking about now). He regularly spent his quiet time face down on the floor in the presence of God. His book is not about a distant God, but about a loving, intimate God who fulfills us as we long for him. He writes, "To have found God and still pursue Him is the soul's paradox of love, scorned indeed by the too easily satisfied religionist, but justified in the happy experience by the children of the burning heart."
4. Crazy Love by Francis Chan.
--Get ready. It's not about going to church, throwing up a prayer and trying not to curse. This thing that we are seeking is not about us, but about an infinite God who wants what he wants, and that's us. He's going to love us crazily. (I'm in the third chapter as of 1:30pm 2/18.)
5. The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis.
--Only for the well read (its on a professor level of reading) or those longing to improve while eating steak , this book explains the four kinds of love and how we are made to experience them all.
So friends, take heart. This is the beginning of something I'm obsessed with and I long to share with you if you are working through your salvation as I am.
Read some of the book picks. Suggest some for me. Continue to carry the cross of Christ and do not leave his presence. Oh, and open your Bible EVERYDAY.
Peace, love and blessings.