Saturday, October 3, 2009

The One with "The Shack" Review!!! (Day 1: 364 days left, 99 to go!)

  • Personal Status:  Still stuffed-up, but definitely on the mend!  
  • Baby Status:  Officially 19 weeks pregnant more week till half-way there!
  • Genesis 3-5:  It's really interesting reading Genesis & The Shack @ the same time...both have accounts of humans actually walking & talking to God, in the's fascinating..."Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he walked in the garden in the cool of the day,..."  (Genesis 3:8)  Although I may never be blessed with a chance to physically do that...I could live my life with the knowledge that God is with me everywhere I go...I can intentionally invite Him & along.  
    • Just read the part about Womans' repercussions for choosing the knowledge of good & evil over obedience.  "I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.  Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."  (Genesis 3:16)  So glad we brought that upon ourselves...!  I love what Eve exclaims when she gives birth to Cain though, "With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man."  (Genesis 4:1)  I'll need the help of the Lord to get me through my first pregnancy too!  I just hope I'm proclaiming his praises @ the time!
    • When Cain is contemplating killing his brother, God says to him:  "If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?  But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."  (Genesis 4:7)  God does say in the New Testament that He will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear, but when we are tempted, He will provide a way out so that we can stand up under it.  (1 Corinthians 10:13)  It's a choice to give in to sin or to learn from God how to master it.  I all too often don't put in the effort that requires but live in mediocrity.  
    • I found the verse John Steinbeck must have referenced for the title of the only book of his that I've yet read, "East of Eden"..."So Cain went out from the Lord's presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden."  (Genesis 4:16)  
  • Matthew 2:  I love how God appears to Mary & Joseph and the Magi in dreams during this time...
  • Simple Abundance:  Sarah's advice for the day is to battle the world's insistence that you can look perfect, keep a perfect house, cook perfect meals, etc. etc.  She says to do so you should literally chant in your head,  "You're not real.  You're not real.  You're not real.  I refuse to grant you the power to make me miserable."  Good advice!  Easier to say that to a magazine cover though then a friend who's just as human as myself and seems to pull these things off....!
  • The Love Dare:  Today talked about Kindness, described in part as "...never being unnecessarily harsh."  but speaking "...the truth in love."  I'm always very honest with Jay & upfront...but I'm sure I can work on the harshness at times.  The part about initiative is what struck me.  He & I have been through this issue of mine before.  I consistently allow/expect him to...brace yourself....sort of take care of me & wait on sounds terrible!  I struggle with the, "I'm weak, I don't feel good, I'm stressed-out" thing more than I should allow myself to.  This chapter says that Kindness, "...doesn't sit around waiting to be prompted or coerced before getting off the couch."  We have tried this exercise before...every time I am prompted to let out a, "Honey....could you please?....."  in a whinny tone, of course...I need to really evaluate whether I can get off my lazy but and do it for myself.  Today's Day 2 Challenge:  In addition to saying nothing negative to Jay today, do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness.
    • Result.....I did not rise to the occasion with this dare as much as I would have liked....but I did give him some out of the ordinary, un-selfish time & attention...and that's all I'll say about that!
  • The Shack:  Where do I even begin?  There is SO much to say about the experience of reading this book...which I've now finished.  But I hope that although I've read it from cover to cover, that I will never be finished with the story of what Mack experienced with the God I also love....and understand so much more intimately now.  I'll start by simply flipping-through the book and charting the different beautiful & notable lines I high-lighted....
    • "There is something joyful about storms that interrupt routine.  Snow or freezing rain suddenly releases you from expectations, performance demands, and the tyranny of appointments and schedules."  Chapter 1, Page 15  Seriously agree...storms can be my favorite for these very reasons that I could never have worded so well!
    •  "The soul is healed by being with children,"  Fyodor Dostoevsky  Chapter 3:  The Tipping Point's..........Can't wait to have mine!
    • "He was sick of God and God's religion, sick of all the little religious social clubs that didn't seem to make any real difference or affect any real change."  Chapter 4, Page 66
    • "I guess part of me would like to believe that God would care enough about me to send a note."  Chapter 5, Page 71  I relish those times when I realize that God has gone out of His way to teach me something or bless me in some way...when I haven't even asked Him too or even paid Him any attention...that undeserving grace takes my breath away every time.
    •  "Love always leaves a significant mark."  Chapter 6, Page 96  The line's referring to the marks Jesus, the Father & the Holy Spirit retain after their death on the cross for us...physical marks of the death....but the lines is beautiful in many meanings.
    • ", humans are not defined by their limitations , but by the intentions that I have for them; not by what they seem to be, but by everything it means to be created in my image."  Chapter 6, Page 100  This actually supports the beliefs of friends of mine that we don't have to DO anything in this life....I am constantly caught-up in the belief that we have to DO something, many things.....otherwise our lives are still troubles me..... 
    • "Love and relationship.  All love and relationshiop is possible for you only because it already exists within Me, within God myself.  Love is not the limitation; love is the flying.  I am love."  Chapter 6, Page 101  Love is the flying.... 
    • "She is Creativity; she is Action; she is the Breathing of Life; she is much more.  She is my Spirit."  Chapter 7, Page 110  A Description of Sarayu, the Holy Spirit.... 
    • "Jesus didn't hold on to any rights; he willing became a servant..."  Chapter 9, Page 137  That's one of my biggest human conundrums...inability to release the belief that I have rights...the right to be treated with respect, the right to be heard, the right for my consideration to be taken into account....but a servant has no rights....and I'm truly meant to be a servant to God's will on this earth.  If anyone "deserved" rights, it was Jesus....but He didn't hold on to
    • "So many believe that it is love that grows, but it is the knowing that grows and love simply expands to contain it.  Love is just the skin of knowing."  Chapter 11, Page 155  This statement would be why listening to someone, really listening is SO's not enough to trust that they know I love order for love to increase, the knowing of someone or something also has to increase....the best way to get to know someone better is by listening to them.....this needs work in my life.
    • "No one reaches their potential in your world.  It is only preparation for what Papa had in mind all along."  Chapter 11, Page 167  Cheers to all the world's underachievers & those who feel inadequate in the world...your best is yet to Christ....
    • "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction."  Blaise Pascal  Chapter 12:  In the Belly of the Beasts  Agreed!  Humanity can excuse anything & everything when they truly believe they have religion behind them...
    • "Evil is the chaos of this age that you brought to me, but it will not have the final say."  Chapter 13, Page 190  
    ....and comments on the last few chapters will have to wait for tomorrow because I am exhausted & have a lot to think about it......
      •  Continuing on...this statement brought on discussion with my husband about how we honor the 10 Commandments in our present day lives..."-so that it no longer has jurisdiction over you.  And the Law that once contained impossible demands- Thou Shall Not...-actually becomes a promise we fulfill in you."  Chapter 14, Page 202  Made me question in what way we are meant to honor the 10 Commandments now...of course I believe that we should still not take another's life or dishonor our parents, etc....but Keeping the Sabaath holy is one I struggle that should look now....I've never felt guilty about doing laundry on Sundays, but is it important to set one day aside each week as God did in rest in Him & it enough to get together with other believers or should there be more?  God in this book said that He doesn't have expectations like that of us......thought provoking to say the least....
      • However, Sarayu did mention her appreciation for us when we are in action...."I am a verb."  "And as my very essence is a verb, I am more attuned to verbs than nouns.  Verbs such as confessing, repenting, living, loving, responding, growing, reaping, changing, sowing, running, dancing, singing, and on and on."  Chapter 14, Page 204  The Holy Spirit may not have expectations of us, but she does respond to our actions......then on the next page, she says  "I give you an ability to respond and your response is to be free to love and serve in every situation, and therefore each moment is different and unique and wonderful.  Because I am your ability to respond, I have to be present in you.  If I simply gave you a responsibility, I would not have to be with you at all.  It would now be a task to perform, an obligation to be met, something to fail."  Chapter 14, Page 205
      •   One final quote, from the very end of the last page of the last chapter...
    "Earth's crammed with heaven,
    And every common bush afire with God,
    But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
    The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

    -Elizabeth Barrett Browning

        I will take many, many things away from this book...and will read it over & over again....but one of my favorite lines to ponder is this.....that God is especially fond of beautiful & humbling....

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