Sep 19

Chapter 2: Enjoying God

These are notes from week 2 of our fall 2012 Spiritual Parenting class, using the book “Opening Your Child’s Spiritual Windows: Ideas to Nuture Your Child’s Relationship with God” by Cheri Fuller. This week focused on the theme, “Enjoying God.” Please refer to our class schedule for links to notes from other weeks of our study.

'Vaka' photo (c) 2009, Petras Gagilas - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Cheri contends “…children actually have a greater innate capacity to enjoy God than adults do.” I know whenever I have a chance to hang out with kids and play with them, I definitely get more connected to the pure joy which is available to be experienced in the simple things of life. One of the important recommendations Cheri has for us in this chapter is to spend time playing with kids and experiencing the world through their eyes. I know for many of the parents in our class this wouldn’t sound like an appealing “homework assignment!” What I think we should take away from this, however, is that the open hearts which children often exhibit to FULLY living and experiencing life is a gift that we should seek to share.

Here are a number of Bible verses which Cheri shared in this chapter, which we read in class and briefly discussed. Each of these points to the JOY which God calls us to experience and live with. In seeking to know God and enjoy Him, we can not only share His joy with our children but with other people we work with and around each day.

Psalm 63:2-4 (MSG)

In your generous love I am really living at last! My lips brim praises like fountains.

Psalm 16:11 (MSG)

Now you’ve got my feet on the life path, all radiant from the shining of your face. Ever since you took my hand, I’m on the right way.

James 4:7-10 (MSG)

Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field.

Psalm 46:8-10 (MSG)

“Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”

Psalm 63:2-4 (MSG)

In your generous love I am really living at last! My lips brim praises like fountains.

Isaiah 55:1-5 (MSG)

Hey there! All who are thirsty, come to the water! Are you penniless? Come anyway—buy and eat! Come, buy your drinks, buy wine and milk. Buy without money—everything’s free! Why do you spend your money on junk food, your hard-earned cash on cotton candy? Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best, fill yourself with only the finest. Pay attention, come close now, listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words. I’m making a lasting covenant commitment with you, the same that I made with David: sure, solid, enduring love. I set him up as a witness to the nations, made him a prince and leader of the nations, And now I’m doing it to you: You’ll summon nations you’ve never heard of, and nations who’ve never heard of you will come running to you Because of me, your God, because The Holy of Israel has honored you.

Isaiah 65:17-25 (MSG)

Look ahead with joy. Anticipate what I’m creating: I’ll create Jerusalem as sheer joy, create my people as pure delight.

Acts 17:24-29 (MSG)

We live and move in him, can’t get away from him! One of your poets said it well: ‘We’re the God-created.’

These are specific prescriptions Cheri shared for us to “make the most of the enjoying God window:”

  1. Read through the Gospels in an Easy-to-Read version or paraphrase of the Bible
  2. Spend time with babies and young children
  3. Walk in nature and get lost in the details
  4. Read books that testify to the fact that God is still doing miracles today
  5. Find your own spiritual pathway
  6. Listen to God’s voice

This semester I’ve started a wonderful new monthly get-together with Curt Gruel, as part of our church‘s “Spiritual Directions” program. Spiritual advisors meet with you generally on a monthly basis and mainly listen as you share how you’re seeing God and seeking God in your life. This is a program my wife has been involved with for 4 or 5 years, and she’s been encouraging me to join for a long time. I really need this opportunity and accountability to focus and listen to God, so the prescriptions from this chapter about seeking to listen to God’s voice really resonated with me.

The prescription about finding ways to listen to stories about and learn how God is active and doing miracles today also resonated. During class some of our members shared stories about new visitors to our church and important connections which were made for them out in the community. Someone mentioned listening to KLOVE radio and being inspired with her family by the stories of faith they regularly share. I was reminded of the 3 Minutes About Jesus digital storytelling project which I started a couple of years ago and would really like to continue working on. It’s important for us to share stories about how God is acting in our lives, so we can be more attentive and attuned to the work He’s prepared for us to do. As Cheri points out in this chapter, however, these are important things to do also because we’re called to simply ENJOY GOD. I think we’re often (at least I’m often) so busy that I don’t take the time I should to enjoy God each day. I need this reminder, and many others in this chapter.

Cheri reminds us that we “can’t take our children any farther than we are ourselves.” This means that if we want our kids to learn to enjoy God, we’ve got to be enjoying God and modeling the joy which comes from a strong relationship with Him.

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