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Life Practices: LOOK

(Note:  Life practices lead to life transformation.  As in, what you do, you become.  These posts are an extension of my thoughts from a sermon I gave at CrossRoads.  The practices are SIT, STAND, LOOK, LISTEN, AND SPEAK.)

LOOK for God.  Simple enough?  Or not so?

For life transformation to begin, we need to start by LOOKing outside of ourselves and our situations and begin LOOKing for God. For some, we LOOK for God with blinders on, and then we end up missing God.

Where to begin?

First, by LOOKing into the bible.  SIT in that place you have decided, at that time you have decided to SIT, and LOOK into the bible.  This, simply put, is the story of how God has made himself known to people.  By LOOKing into the bible, we see God and how he has related to people in the past.

When you LOOK into the bible, keep in mind that there is no one way to do it.  Here are some different ways:

  • Reading through the Bible in a year (you can find reading guides on the internet or purchase a one year bible)
  • Reading along the church calendar (again, you can find reading guides on the internet)
  • Perhaps you’re not a person who remembers well when reading, so for you, listening to the bible would be a way of LOOKing for God.
  • Maybe you need the accountability of a study- so you might want to join a bible study to help you keep reading and examining the bible
  • Another way-  Get a spiral notebook.  Read one chapter of the bible a day.  As you read that chapter, jot down observations or thoughts (or questions) that come to mind as you read.  It doesn’t have to be anything earth-shattering, just whatever you observe.

What else?  Don’t constrain yourself to just LOOKing for God when you are SITting.  Life change begins when we continue LOOKing for God throughout the day in all that we do.

Some people look to nature and creation.  I’m not one that can look at creation and appreciate the intricate beauty.  I see a lawn to be mowed and hedges to be trimmed.  I spent an afternoon with a couple of people at a nursery and they were transfixed on the multiple types of flowers and shrubs.  They were amazed at the intricacy of the designs.  They were astounded by God’s creativity.

Take a moment and consider an infant child.  After a few minutes of trying to wrap your mind around this created being, the growth, the development, and the intricate care that God took in creating this child who is unlike any other, you may find yourself appreciating God’s creative ability.

Art, music, and writing. They can point and direct you to God.

Symbols (not the clanging ones).

Before God took the Israelites across the Red Sea, before they were completely free from slavery, he told them to institute certain practices in their lives that would be a sign on their hands and a symbol on their forehead that God had delivered them (before he had even delivered them).  After telling them to institute these practices, he then delivered them.  The practices were to remind them of what God had one.

Find symbols that will remind you of God and what he has done.  It may be a ring, a necklace, a band or a bracelet on your wrist, or something altogether different.  Make sure that it is something that doesn’t blend into the scenery, but stands out to remind you of God.

I have a rock that I have carried with me since 1989.  While sitting on a bench, praying, I felt that God had answered a specific prayer.  Not wanting to forget that moment, I reached down and picked up a rock that was laying on the ground.  Many times, I have LOOKed at that rock, and been reminded of God.

I have a bent bicycle rim.  Seriously.  In August 2009, I was hit from behind by a Dr. Pepper truck (I remember nothing about the accident).  I could’ve trashed the rim (it and the bike were totaled), but I kept it as a reminder that even though something horrible happened, I lived.  God allowed me to live.

These are just a few ideas.

LOOK for God.

(A couple of books by Frederick Buechner that have been beneficial to me in this regard:  Now & Then, The Sacred Journey, Telling Secrets, and The Eyes of the Heart.)

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