Sunday Sheep Ponderings- March 26,2017

Pondering today on being naked.
I have the joy of watching my granddaughter when her mom and dad work. One of our favorite things to do is take off her clothes and just bask in the beauty of all those chubby baby rolls. When we take off her clothes, she just grins from ear to ear and gets so happy. Even in infancy, we long to be free! We instinctively know that we are not meant to be weighed down or hindered. Anna Kate has no shame, no insecurities, no expectations to live up to… no mindsets that make her feel unworthy. No wonder Jesus told us to come to Him as a little child! 
There is so much focus in the religious world on “sin” but I’m not sure why “sin” is so important to us. The Hebrew word for “sin”, chait, simply means to “miss”, to not hit the target in the intended spot, to make a mistake. Who hasn’t done that, right?! Sin is not a list of rights and wrongs that lead to hell. I know many of us have been taught that but it is NOT what the scriptures say. 
Ok, ok…back to being naked! So, in the garden, after Adam and Eve ate from the “Tree of the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil”, they tried to hide from God. Why did they hide??? Because they were naked. But they had always been naked and it had never bothered them before. Why now? All they had ever known was “good” and now their knowledge had changed. Their mindset had made the devastating shift from from ACCEPTED to ASHAMED. God told them not to eat from that tree because He loved them, not because He wanted to weigh them down with rules. He wanted their minds protected from the shame, guilt and condemnation that comes with trying to always hit the target in the right spot. He wanted them to enjoy the abundant life of being naked and unashamed, of being free and unhindered. 
Many (and I was one of them) believe, that what happened in the garden, unleashed the wrath of an angry God on humanity. A wrath so strong that He would need to kill his own son for it to be satisfied. That somehow, a violent murder of His own son, was the only way He could be appeased. I used much more flowery, religious words to say it, but eventually the sugar coating wore off and the harshness of my beliefs left me with a sour taste in my mouth. 
Now, I see things differently. I now look at all scripture through the eyes of love, not wrath. I see now that God never cared if they were naked. He never covered them in shame. He never condemned them but protected and loved them. In Genesis 3:11, God says to a hidden and ashamed Adam, “WHO told you that you were naked?” Do you see that? The accusation didn’t come from God! It came from Adam! And so the fall from ACCEPTED to ASHAMED began for all humanity. The knowledge of good and evil had infected our minds and forever changed the way we see ourselves and others. We became judges. And when you see yourself as a piece of crap, you behave like a piece of crap. But you are NOT a piece of CRAP! 
God has been on a mission since that day in the garden! A mission to restore your mind! A mission of turning you back from ASHAMED to ACCEPTED! A mission of LOVE not wrath! A mission of RESTORATION not condemnation! A mission of SAVING not destroying! He sent Jesus to insure that mission succeeds! Jesus is the exact representation of the Father and ACCEPTANCE, LOVE, RESTORATION AND SALVATION was His message! Jesus came to tell us that our misses (sin) don’t disqualify us, condemn us or define us! 
God didn’t murder His son, we did. When God laid down His life, He crucified ASHAMED so we can know we are UNCONDITIONALLY ACCEPTED. 
My friends, if you feel guilt, condemnation, pressure to measure up…just look at Jesus. See the unconditional love and acceptance in God’s gentle eyes! It will forever change your MIND back to where it was meant to be.
Happy Sunday Beloved! May you embrace your nakedness! 

Sunday Sheep Ponderings- March 18,2017

Pondering today on “seeing for the first time”. 
Have you ever seen a “Where’s Waldo?” book, stared at a 3D image until your eyes adjusted, or sat down with one of the old school “Highlights” magazines and looked for hidden pictures? It’s fun to search for something until you find it or look at something until you see it. 
One of my most favorite parts of this journey with God has been to awake to new truths (new to me), to discover beautiful treasures and to see things I never saw before! 
I look back at my 50 years of life and I’m amazed. Amazed at how I’ve grown and how much I have yet to grow, amazed at what I used to believe was true and what I have found to be true, amazed at how the things I’ve looked at for so long are now being seen for the first time. 
I don’t want to get into specific things because we could be here for days and it would probably lead to disagreements in ” views”. Instead, I’m pondering my overall experience.
I used to believe that when it comes to my journey with God, that I was on a journey upward, on a trajectory from earth to heaven, an endeavor to close the gap between my humanity and God. I was ever striving to get closer to God, to be more Christ-like, to shed my rotten,stinkin, humanness and be more “godly”. In truth, I really looked like a hamster on a wheel, running in circles but never arriving anywhere. I was always working on me, trying to become someone else, hoping I would be good enough. It was exhausting and hopeless. 
But…just like with the Waldo books, the 3D images and the hidden pictures, it may take time…but eventually things become clear. You “see things for the first time”, things that were right there in front of your eyes but you overlook, you were focused on the wrong things, or you had looked at it the same way for so long that you weren’t actually seeing it anymore. 
I began to see something about my journey that was brand new to me! I started to see God in everything and everyone. I began to see that God was WITH ME! God was IN ME! There was no gap between us! I didn’t need to get “closer” to God because we were one! I didn’t need to become less human because human was what God created me to be! I had been taught to “see” things that weren’t there. I had been taught to “see” things through a particular filter. I had been taught to “see” myself and my creator in ways that separated us instead of connecting us. No wonder I was spinning in circles and felt hopeless. I was seeing through other people’s eyes and not seeing the truth right in front of me. 
The truth that I am loved, I am accepted, I am the recipient of a free gift and I don’t have to earn it. I am not becoming something…I am seeing who I have always been…seeing it for the first time. 
When I look in the mirror now, I see the same reflection I’ve always seen but now I see her like I’ve never seen her before! I don’t see a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend who has fallen short. I see a human who is created in the image and likeness of a perfect creator. I see love and grace woven into every fiber of my being…long before I could have ever earned it. And I see you the very same way….PERFECTLY created! 
Happy Sunday my friends and may you LOVE WELL…especially yourself. 

Sunday Sheep Ponderings – March 12,2017

Pondering today on perspective. 
I went to see the movie “The Shack” last week. I had read the book twice several years ago and was moved in a powerful way. While I personally LOVED the movie and walked away from the book and the movie with such an overwhelming understanding of the pure love of God BUT…my social media has blown up with “Shack Haters” and “Shack Lovers” and all the opinions of both. This got me thinking, how in the world can people see the same movie in such completely different ways?! 
And so I’m pondering on “perspective”. Perspective has a Latin root meaning “look through” or “perceive,” and all the meanings of perspective have something to do with looking. 
Growing up in the Baptist denomination shaped my perspective of the scriptures and therefore the way I “perceived” or “looked” at God. As I journeyed from Baptist to Nondenominational to Charismatic Pentecostal to Mega church to church without walls…my perspective changed. I saw things at each stage of the journey that I couldn’t or wouldn’t see before. 
And so it goes with “The Shack”. I will confess that the Wendy of 15 years ago would have probably been a “Shack Hater”. I was very protective of my religious theology and I was very passionate in my belief that I had all the right “biblical” answers. My “perspective” was very narrow and I refused to use my peripheral vision to see ideas outside of my version of truth. 
But IF you are willing to go on the journey, IF you are willing to look at the bigger picture, IF you are willing to explore and ponder…your “perspective” will change in glorious ways! While it may be a little scary or unnerving, I know, it is so worth the risk! 
I believe your opinion of “The Shack” is all about “perspective”. 
Do you view scriptures through the lens of “heaven and hell”, “saved and unsaved”, “chosen and not chosen”, “right and wrong”, “insiders and outsiders”, “original sin doctrine”, “law”, “sin consciousness”, “the devil made me do it”, “fire is destructive”, “god was angry but Jesus put him in a better mood”???
Do you view scriptures through the lens of “unconditional love”, “pure grace”, “created in God’s image and likeness”, “EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue confess”, “full redemption”, “your true identity is IN Christ”, “saved is being made whole”, “fire is purifying”, “God is good”, “Jesus is the exact representation of the Father”???
Your “perspective” will determine how you see “The Shack”, the scriptures, your fellow man, and God. So the challenge for ALL of us is this…are you seeing the bigger picture? Are you looking at all the glorious miracles on every side of you? Are you brave enough to look at life, God, written words, movies, songs, people, and ideas with an open mind? Are you longing for a new “perspective”? Are you ready to see your creator as bigger, better and even more loving than you ever thought possible? I hope so! 🤔😎
Happy Sunday my friends!