Monday, January 30, 2006
If you're going to do it right, it probably has to hurt"
I think that translates over to our relationship with God easily. Not in that giving God our lives and our will has to hurt, but that it is difficult and puts you in a position where you find you just have to suck it up. I could do a slip-shod job (as I did bandaging this poor guy) and guess what, the work I do won't last long. The bandages might slip, or slide or have to be redone completely. Which, in the end makes the time I took doing a useless job, worthless.
But, if I am willing to endure hardship and do it right. The outcome will work, and be useful.
I don't know if you get my analogy, because I'm still working it out in my head. But I hope you get the gist. Because I want to get it right.
I ask that, because lately - while I've been struggling with this stupid pride - I've been pondering the idea of how change takes place. And I'm finding more and more that you achieve change once you're changing for God's sake, rather than change.
And the most interesting part, is that YOU don't change a thing. It's just surrendering to God working in you. No 'acts of holiness' will make you holier in God's eyes. All your actions don't change one thing about your heart. And it's your heart's absolute surrender to God that brings change.
Over at Blog in my own eye Keith blogged about The Hope of Glory. And he was talking about God In US.
I wondered how seriously we take the idea that God is in us.Because it's obvious to me that His Spirit is intimately involved in preservation of unity.When Paul wrote to Colossae, Christ was in the saints - though it was a mystery.
His Spirit was in the prophets before He was born among men, when they sought the details of that incarnation to serve those who would follow them.
His Spirit was in David, who begged that the Spirit not be taken away from him when he sinned against God.
It was His prayer to be in us.
If His Spirit isn't in us, we aren't His.
His Spirit is how He seals us as His own, and guarantees what He has promised later.
His Spirit is how He strengthens us from within.
His Spirit is how God pours out His love into our hearts.
It is God in us, those last two verses are the ones that I really enjoyed. Especially the one how He strengthens us from within. Changes always come from within. You accomplish nothing on your own. Praise God, that He in His infinite mercy would not only save us, but give us the exact help we need to become what He would want us to be. His mercy towards us is overwhelming. Especially if you stop and remember where you would be without him.
Saturday, January 28, 2006
That's this coming Wednesday guys!! Hurry up and enter!
It is my most heartfelt prayer, that God would bless this blog, and me by allowing anything I blog to somehow find its way into the hands of someone hurting. God loves you.
God bless you.
Lord help me Jesus I've wasted it...
Try me Lord, if You think there's a way
Why me, Lord?
Lord help me Jesus I've wasted it...
Friday, January 27, 2006
sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul
and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and
intents of the heart.
This year I have been more into scripture so far than any other year before. I am amazed at how some of it is opened up to convict me of my sins. My most earnest prayer this year has been that the voice of God would be made clear to me. I too often find myself wondering if His sheep know His voice, and I'm not sure of the voice, then what kind of sheep am I?
I'm not to the point that I'm doubting my salvation, just...I want a closer walk. And let me tell you something. That closer walk won't come from reading great authors like C.S. Lewis, Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, or A.W. Tozer. Though those are good authors and books to read I'm sure. They lack one thing that the bible has on every page. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
How amazing is that??? My entire life I've heard that verse referred to over and over again speaking of the twoedged sword. It's the last part that amazed me. This Word is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of my heart. The ugly thoughts of self and pride that I would hope I could set aside long enough to do something actually GOOD for the Kingdom of God, for His purpose and glory, rather than my own.
But His Word knows my intents, His Word knows my thoughts, His word divides my spirit and soul, piercing.
Read His word, and keep on reading. See how much He loves you, See through the inspired words of His apostles how He wants you to act.
Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
Romans 12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
Romans 12:13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
You'll be amazed at all the ground the scripture covers. Worship Him and Praise Him. Let Him be glorified in your life as you turn away from the old things (being a lover of yourself 2 Tim 3:2). And watch as God works in your life.
His word is amazing. Read it!
Thursday, January 26, 2006
1And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
6And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
7He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
8But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
9And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.
10And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
11Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
12And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:
13On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
14And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.
16And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.
17And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.
18And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.
19And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;
20The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.
21And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
22And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
23And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
24And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
25And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
26And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.
27And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
I tell you this not so you'll know my situation, but so hopefully you'll know what to do when you're in a situation like this, those situations where you have no control, (eg. emotions, other peoples decisions, acts of God). So, what to do? Pray.
You know this, probably 99% of the Christians that come to this site (99% of the unsaved also!) know this already. You get in trouble and you should pray. But, I just want to exhort you. When you come to these situations, and you pray, pray knowing that without this prayer you won't make it. Pray believing that Christ alone can handle your burden, and that you are absolutely nothing without His strength working in you. Pray trusting, that God really does love you, and the people in your situation, more than you can possibly imagine.
I think a lot of people don't address their prayers to God like that, I know until recently I didn't. I would pray because I was concerned, and I thought God should be concerned. Imagine if someone came to you saying "Your child is sick! Please do something to help this child! I care about the child a lot!" What would your reaction as a mother/father be? Would you be angry? Did you feel like I automatically assumed that you didn't care as much as I did? Would you feel like, if you did help the child that you would of been doing it for the sake of the person asking rather than the one you love that was sick? Do we call on God to come to action, out of love for US, rather than the love for those that are hurting?
As a harsher example, are we so arrogant that we believe God's answers are out of love for us rather than love for those we've prayed for?
I'm ranting now, and I'll try to stop. I just want - mainly- remind you. God loves those you're praying for. Ask God to grant the fearful peace, not because you don't want to deal with their fear, but because God loves them, and in His word He promised peace to his believers.
God loves us, remember when you go to Him in prayer, that you're not trying to sell Him on a reason. He already has a reason to help us. He loves us. Worship Him and give Him your every care. For those that love God, and are called according to His purpose, He will work everything out for good.
Monday, January 23, 2006
But I didn't.
Knowing all those things, I'm wondering now if I truly believed I'd get in. I grew up in a strict household where, though try your best, you'd never measure up. I wonder if I actually projected those same feelings onto God?
I've prayed for many things this week, not the least of which is a heart for the lost. But suddenly here I was watching some program on tv, and I thought... yeah... yeah....I'm actually looking forward to the idea.
And while I sit here now, still pondering this change in attitude, I can't help but be amazed at how God still teaches me the strangest things at the strangest times. And while I pondered that, I also wondered if maybe, this was his way of giving me a heart for the lost. Why would anyone want what I've got, if they figured out I wasn't even looking forward to the prize?
I don't know why He taught me what He did, but don't mistake my confusion for lack of gladness. For I am very glad. I always wondered if there wasn't something wrong with me that I wasn't looking forward to -was in fact dreading- heaven. And I have to tell you now, pray. Pray wholeheartedly that you will be teachable, that God would teach you daily, hourly, and every minute on the minute if necessary. Just pray that He would continue His good work in You, and let Him know that you want it completed. Tell Him you want to be what He wants you to be. Nothing more, and not one iota less. Pray with sincerity and with earnest. Pray believing.
Friday, January 20, 2006
I have no ability to see beyond false smiles, and the superficial "I'm fines"
But Father God, YOU DO. Give me wisdom in my words,
Give me discernment, and perception that could only come from You.
Give Your followers insight to the lost and hurting around them.
All of us. Not just me.
Touch those hurting.
Lead them to those that can point out Your amazing love Lord.
With Your amazing Grace, draw them to Your own Word that will open their eyes to your love for them that came with such a high cost.
Give them hope.
And do whatever it takes to break our hearts for the nation that's lost and hurting around us.
Father, we're so calloused.
So hardened, that we don't see the big picture of those hurting.
Break my heart Father, again and again, until it is raw and tender.
So that I can be sensitive, and my heart will be towards the lost in a more fervent way.
Remind me daily. Of Your lost and dying world.
Touch through ME.
And forgive me for letting worldly, foolish distractions, take my eyes off the lost and dying, the hurting and mourning.
Please Father God, In the precious Holy name of Your Son, Jesus Christ.
Grant me this.
I won't say much on it, but I just want to tell you. Whoever did that search, probably has people in their lives, co-workers, family, acquaintances, the lady at the grocery store that s/he is always friendly with. No one looks at them and sees the pain that one MSN search expressed.
To all those out there, that we don't see. YOU ARE LOVED.
Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
ROMANS 5:6-8 NKJ 6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
1 JOHN 4:9-10 NKJ 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
God loved you and sent His only Son to die for you, so you may live -- not because you loved Him -- or even asked Him to. He suffered for you because He loved you.
He has not changed. God still loves you now.
One week-night, when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher's sermon, for I did not believe it. The thought struck me, 'How did you come to be a Christian?' I sought the Lord. 'But how did you come to seek the Lord?' The truth flashed before my eyes in a moment - I should not of sought him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him. I prayed, thought I, but then I asked myself, 'How came I to pray?' I was induced to pray by reading the scriptures. How came I to read the scriptures? I did read them, but what led me to do so? Then, in a moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, "I ascribe my change wholly to God."
Some specific ideas:
Pray that you would submit to your leaders and be a joy to them as they keep watch over your soul ( Heb. 13:17-18).
Pray Rom. 15:5-7 and Phil. 2:1-8 for your leaders.
Pray though 1 Tim. 3 and Titus 1 and pray that give your leaders the grace to remain qualified for the offices they hold.
Pray 1 Peter 5:1-4.
Pray that they would “put on the whole armor of God, that (they) may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” ( Eph. 6:11-20).
Pray that they would lead the church in its mission of making disciples ( Mat. 28:18-20).
Have you prayed for your leaders today? Maybe the best use of the next five minutes would be to stop reading blogs, and to start praying.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
I recently took up an old hobby, I'm not going to tell you my hobby, but it doesn't appear to be a sinful hobby if you think about it. But, I felt convicted of this hobby many many years ago and know I'm not suppose to do it. Every now and then, this hobby comes out of no where and I engage in it with interest, as it could possibly be useful one day. But, I'm not suppose to do it. I spent the last week and a half doing it anyway though, and now I find myself in an interesting position.
I lost my fire. My ummph. It's the passion inside me that has me joyful most of the time, that has my mind passionately for or against certain things/topics and also keeps several topics swirling around in my mind nearly overwhelmingly constant. It's an incredible feeling that leaves me breathless and excited, and ready to take on the world. Never without something to say.
And as quietly as it appeared and grew, it vanished. Leaving me going 'huh?' Then immediately my mind went back to my sin, my 'hobby' and reminded me again that anything less than obedience is unacceptable - and comes at a cost.
I started thinking about how I needed a renewing of my mind (anything to get my mind of needing a repentance from disobedience!) and did a bible search for "renew mind" And it gave me two hits, but the best one was Ephesians 4. I'll try and just give you the last half. With just this final exhortation: If there's anything stopping you from being where you want to be with God, from growing and thriving in His amazing grace. Get rid of it. From someone that has tasted grace, let me tell you, my hobby, though however difficult to give up, isn't worth what I have already paid.
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Monday, January 16, 2006
Thanks to Louie over at Marshian Chronicles for his post.
This is very interesting - A major film, called “End of the Spear,” will be launched January 20.
The story begins in 1956, when five Christian missionaries gave their lives in an Ecuadorian jungle, attempting to bring the gospel to the Waodani stone-age people. At that time they were the most violent tribe on Earth — and yet they became the most loving and peaceful!
The missionaries made friendly contact, but something went terribly wrong. The Waodani speared them to death. A tragedy? Yes, but God turns everything to good, for the blessing of many and for his glory, and this was no exception.
God used this tragedy to motivate more people to become missionaries than any other event in modern history — perhaps ever. He also used two women to complete the work of the five martyred missionaries, bringing the Waodani to t; himself. So the deaths of those five men did more to advance the kingdom of God than their lives ever could.
But the story doesn’t end there. It seems God is about to use the tragedy that happened 50 years ago to help hundreds of thousands — maybe millions — to come to know Christ in our day, using The End Of The Spear. It is a major motion picture (production cost $12 million) that tells the story of God’s grace from the perspective of the Waodani.
Beginning January 20, End of the Spear will be shown in theaters across the United States. If it does well it will be accepted by many other theaters, but it must do well right from the start.
This is where you and I come in. We can make the film do well. Our prayers can make it prosper, and also we can do something to answer our own prayers. We can work together to get at least 100,000 people to see the film on January 20th.
How? Very simple. This e-mail is going to hundreds of addresses, many in America. Just about everyone else has American Christian friends. Our connections are endless! So, if each of us were to pass this e- mail on to just 10 others (some can share it with hundreds!), and each of them did the same, our goal of getting 100,000 people to see the film on January 20 would be reached easily — and likely greatly surpassed! Just forward this e-mail to 10 caring Christian friends.
Watch the trailer Here.
What a great opportunity to advance the kingdom of God in such an easy, non-offensive and effective way!
I spent the weekend crawling out from under my desk, and over to the cross. Where I had to humbly apologize for my foolishness in taking my problems and trying to resolve them with what God probably laughingly describes as "my own strength". We both know I don't have any capabilities when it comes to fixing my own problems. And the stress of the situations actually made me late for work two times in a 6 day period. And I'm never late for work.
But now, God's got my problems, and I'm slowly trying to relax again. And I went back to church. My church has changed in the past few weeks, because while I was at home hiding under my bed, apparently my pastor resigned. I don't know him well, because in the two months I've attended services there he has preached possibly twice. Another man in the congregation has been preaching. And when the pastor resigned immediately the other man was voted in as pastor.
I talked to the new "Pastors Wife" after our church fellowship Sunday. And I was left wondering if she wasn't doing the exact same thing I had done. Attempting to resolve some things, or fill a role under her own strength. Then I wondered if this isn't a more popular problem than I think. Every Christian will happily tell you that they trust in God, and they know they can't do it without God.
But, wouldn't we be a much calmer and stress-free bunch if we actually did put that into practice? Or is it that we believe God can't do it without US? Do we truly believe that God wants someone to fill this role, to be certain things for a certain group of people, and that if we don't fulfill that role somehow, all those people will be left adrift? I don't think so.
I believe, if we'd just sit back and follow God's promptings, we'd discover that everything was taken care of. When God wants something done, He knows how to accomplish it a lot better, and faster than we do. And when we actually TRUST in Him, and let Him lead our actions to resolve a situation or to fill the role we're trying so desperately to fill, I believe we'll find that we can do more than we ever thought. Because when we don't spend so much time worrying about whether we'll be Mr. or Ms. Perfect, and simply act on someone elses orders, the responsibility becomes far easier to bear.
Christ promised His yolk is easy, and His burden is light. So if we're aching with a horrible yolk, and struggling under a heavy load, wouldn't that mean we're missing a step in the process?
I attended a church fellowship recently, I made some sandwiches and some little lemon cake bites, dropped it off on a table and was 'ready'. My role had been fulfilled. With very little effort the task had been accomplished. Everyone ate and enjoyed themselves, and then the moment came when everyone was done and the cleaning had to be taken care of. I didn't have a clue what they wanted me to do, where things went, or who they went to. So I put lids on things, washed some dishes, wiped some tables, and pushed some chairs in. There isn't any stress in that, and it's just a matter of knowing that you're not in charge, someone else is, and so you just do what you can.
It's got to be one of my strangest analogies yet, but I am equating that to life. We're not in charge. God knows where everything goes, and who should get what dish. We just have to do the easy things, what we can with the understanding that someone else is in control. As you grow, you'll realize that this bowl goes to Mrs. Smith, and you'll be of more help. And you'll also get direction from the person/Person in charge about something extra you could do that you wouldn't know about on your own. It's not hard. Imagine though, how it would of looked to the lady in charge of the fellowship yesterday, had I taken the burden on myself. If she were in charge and I acted as though the whole success of the dinner depended on me? It would of looked ridiculous to anyone watching.
Try and imagine God feeling the same way. We're not in charge. He knows we never COULD be in charge. Stop trying to run something you have no business trying to run. Let the boss run the show.
LET GO AND LET GOD!!!
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and health.
It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.
1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
Eat and drink what you like.
Speaking English is apparently what kills you.
You've made a decision to live a Godly lifestyle, you've cut out your television and are just reading the bible from here on out, you're starting to feel the difference in your faith, the changes as your body fills itself with knowledge of the bible and the Holy Spirit, and you're telling everyone else about the wonders of salvation. Suddenly you find yourself thinking, I've done so well, and no one is perfect so it's not a big deal that I said that about Mrs. Franklin last night.
I don't know if I'll be able to get my point across at all. But I pray so. But do you feel entitled to sin? Have we conditioned ourselves so much that you can't 'not' sin, that we suddenly find it absolutely offensive if you suggest that I shouldn't sin? I've had this discussion several times with other people, and each time all it seems is people try and convince me that we're not sinless and that it's ok to sin. And I have little problem with accidental sin, it happens to us all and while we should guard our hearts and minds to prevent it it does happen. What I am blogging about today is premeditated sin. We know when we're doing it that it's sin, but we don't stop. We know before we do it that it's sin, but we continue planning the event, and we do it anyway. On the premise that everyone sins. The benefits of knowing my precious Savior, far outweigh the benefits of talking bad about someone, envying their belongings, or any number of sins. Nothing is as blessed as coming to a Righteous Redeemer and saying I don't want to sin. But so often, we make a conscious decision that we do indeed want to sin. And that we're going to follow through with it because, well, no one is perfect.
Sin enters your life much like the toxins of unhealthy food. It takes away your energy, it bloats you until all you feel like doing is sitting around taking in more toxins. It starts off simple, the 'cheat day' of sodas and chips, or gossiping and a few lies, until you realize you are so far off course that you've not got health problems from all your decisions. It's never the life we imagine when we have our cheat day. But the outcome can be quite the same.
Chase after God. Pursue Him. Seek Him while He may be found.
Friday, January 06, 2006
Louie, over at Marshian Chronicles posted a link to "Assess Myself" And I enjoyed it quite a bit. I'm not done yet, but I assessed my spiritual gifts. As part of the results I was told I was :
The Perceiver: 100%
The Server: 90%
The Teacher: 55%
The Encourager: 60%
The Giver: 70%
The Ruler: 45%
Showing Mercy: 84%
I almost had to laugh as I read part of the paragraphs on my most dominant gift "The Perceiver". As one of the paragraphs seemed to fit my life entirely. It read: The primary function of this gift is to reveal information the perceiver has discerned in a way that will help others. This information is not always positive and well received. As a result, perceivers sometimes appear direct, blunt, or inconsiderate of the feelings of others particularly when sharing this information with people possessing different motivational gifts. This is a classic case of the gift being misunderstood because their real intention is to help people.
I haven't really considered the things I am constantly telling people as any special word from God. But trust me when I say I'm always qualifying statements to friends with "please don't be offended!". I'm pleased with the results, as they mostly give a good idea of who I am. Certainly not a ruler or a teacher, and I'm trying hard to add more encouragement to my many many moments where I've decided I need to tell someone something. I have the strongest conviction that if people could just listen they might find some relief. And I speak passionately, because I WANT to see them find that relief.
For me, this trait has put me at odds with one of my very best friends here on earth. He's struggling, and I have so much to say, that I know will only harm the relationship further. I urge you to remember this, before you learn lessons the hard way (as I have). Gifts ARE blessings, but they are chock full of responsibility. And the burden of using it, isn't nearly as light as you would expect. Use it wisely, whatever your gift. But, do better than me, use it freely even if it means losing your friends, or burning bridges. Whoever you're using your gift on deserves anything God puts on this earth for them to help find their way on the path. A path that leads to greater peace, and greater joy. I'm letting my friend down by selfishly choosing to keep the relationship. Partly because I don't believe he'd listen to me anyway, and partly because if he doesn't, I've lost something that's of vital importance to me. And I'm not ready to lose that yet.
Knowing that there's something you're holding back for yourself, is like sitting on a pin. You know it's there, and you sit tentatively because everything isn't 'alright'.
I guess, I just want you to know that, when someone points out sins, or errors, or a better way of doing something maybe you should just take it as it is. It's not a judgement, it's not a condemnation, it's not a sudden revelation that you are bound for the pits of hell. It's a simple helping hand, possibly put there by God. And whoever is telling you, whatever it is they feel you need to fix. Trust me on this one solid fact. They've got ten times as many things they have already picked out in their own hearts and are tackling or avoiding.
As "the McCready" bears down on them, the children flee towards the room with the wardrobe inside. Which of course leads them, including the disbelieving Peter and Susan, into Narnia.
One parallel I noticed(as the story is so full of allegory it's almost daunting), which I didn't notice on reading the books, is how the pursuit of Mrs. McCready is in response to the children's transgression- the breaking of an old stained glass window during a cricket game. This pursuit leads them providentially to the wardrobe and into Narnia, which becomes their safe haven from their accuser, the elderly housekeeper. Their entrance into the magical world (Kingdom of God) is made possible by the admission wrongdoing, and saves them from judgement.
But also while thinking back on the movie, and my favorite character, Lucy, I thought of another aspect. Lucy, found something. It was something amazing and magical and wonderful, and a little frightening all at the same time. She tried her best to convince others, and as it often happens, they didn't see what she saw. And, failing to convince them, in the dead of night she sought to find that special place once more. And you don't wake up to find something in the middle of the night if you don't believe with all your heart that it can be found. That surity, the confidence, and that desire is what made her brother follow her.
I found another quote recently online that said "Love and prayer, not logic and debate, are the most powerful evangelistic tools." It's our utter confidence, that a Heavenly Father IS up there, and He will hear and answer our prayers, whether yea or nay, because He loves us, that gives them hope. It's our passion, to draw closer to that Father, discarding all logic or personal comfort, that draws their attention. It the change in us, the love for the seemingly unloveable and the peace and joy that passeth all understanding, that makes them desire.
You can debate, give them all the logical reasons in the world, tell them 100 times a day that God loves them. And it won't draw the desire from them that seeing someone else that has something we want.
What do people see in you? What are you giving them? Do you have that confidence? That passion for Christ, that peace and joy? Do you have it? Do you want it? It's Christ alone that brings that change. If you haven't offered Him your heart, do so now. It's not too late, or too early. You'll be amazed at what He can do when you offer yourself to Him. It's worth every minute, every step, and every prayer along the way, just to have that peace, and joy. Just to know a Savior, who has rescued your soul from a fate far more worse than simply death. Choose God.
Thursday, January 05, 2006
I dreamed I was at morning worship in my home church, but the circumstances were very unusual. For one thing, the power was off and it was a little chilly inside the building (it often is in real life!) and there were no lights or sound or amplifiers or speakers or PowerPoints running. (I think this part of my dream is something I've actually wished would happen.)
But I don't think I would have specifically wished for what happened next in the dream. A dear friend of mine - a gifted worship leader, especially in song but also in speaking - stood up and began animatedly addressing the east wall of the worship center. As if blind to the rest of us, he began adjuring it to echo the praise of God brought forth by all creation and listen to the words that would be shared - and if hearts of stone did not melt as a result, he said, "I might as well be talking to a brick wall." Then he sat down.
What was even more extraordinary about it was that my friend did not stutter. Usually he does when he speaks, even when his thoughts are truly inspired; only when he sings does the stutter completely disappear. Then, as often happens in dreams, I somehow deduced that he must have been singing.
My preaching minister was speaking next in the course of the dream, and it seemed as if he was singing as well. In real life, he does not like to be heard singing. I'm not even sure if he sings well; I'm not sure I've ever heard him. Yet in this dream, he was pouring out his heart to the rest of us in a kind of song, and it was having its effect. Hearts of stone were melting, and tears flowing. Seven young people - unwilling to wait the time it took to change clothes or take turns or even let him finish his message - went to the baptistry and immersed themselves as a group, arms about each others' shoulders ... and the response from the church was thunderous; there was applause and there were cheers and shouts of "Hallelujah!" that would have been deafening at ALLTEL Arena but seemed quite comfortable and comforting and warming in this dream.
Then, spontaneously, everyone began singing "Holy Ground," and before we had reached the part of of the song that says so, I knew solidly and incontrovertibly that the Spirit of the Lord was in this place - and the thrill of this faithless, confident knowledge was absolutely electrifying.
I awakened all of a sudden at that point, my heart still racing.
That is the kind of worship I dream for, the kind that I look for, and yearn for. And I often find myself walking away when I've been in a service where they sing half-heartedly, and quietly a couple of songs, because that's what churches are 'suppose' to do. I've always believed one thing, and noticed it prooved true in his post also, but it all starts with one man. I pray, humbly and ambitiously that one day God may give me the inspiration and the courage to be that one person.
Have you ever fasted? Have you received any results from it?
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
A friend and I were discussing whether it was possible to wake up 365 days a year with a smile on your face. My answer was a quick NO, that obviously I couldn't because she happened to accidentally witness that horrible attitude that I blogged about awhile back. She then kindly said I was entitled to a bad day/bad mood. To which I quickly disagreed. Then obviously I had to prove 'why not'. After a moment of thinking, and another statement that led me down this road, I realized the answer.
The reason I'm happy, the reason I have joy, peace, love, and contentment in my life, is simply because He loves me. And because of that love, I'm reaping the benefits of a change in lifestyle, a change in attitude, a change in perspective, and especially, through all those things, a change in circumstances. My life, mind and body have been changed thanks to His loving mercies and grace towards me. My relationships with others have changed, thanks to His relationship with me. Now, if that's why I'm happy, every day, then why would I be unhappy?
Ok, let's just say my workload just increased, I'm not going to get paid any extra, and my boss is no longer kind and generous, but frustrated, angry and always on my case. Sounds pretty bad so far to me. Do the reasons I just gave you, OUTRANK the reasons for my joy? My made up problems do sound bad to me, but, so far the problems haven't even come close to the blessings.
If the only reason to be in a bad mood is if the bad outweighs the good, what kind of scale are you using??? Or is it that we've just given ourselves permission to be grumping, a sense of entitlement, because we're not normally grumpy. Why can't Christians be expected to have joy all the time? I know at least one person that will argue, being happy, and having joy isn't the same thing. So I'm going to ask, what is the difference? Can joy and unhappiness exist together? And, even still, do we have any reason to be unhappy?
That's not to say that I don't allow people to mourn, there is a time for mourning, and a time for weeping, there even really seems to be a time for sorrow. But, does that mean God approves of us mourning, and weeping, and sorrowing over temporal earthly things like whether my washing machine has broken down or not?
I asked God to take away my habit. God said, No. It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.
I asked God to grant me patience. God said, No. Patience is a byproduct of tribulations; it isn't granted, it is learned.
I asked God to spare me pain. God said, No.Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.
I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life.God said, No. I will give you life, so that you may enjoy all things.
I asked God to give me happiness. God said, No.I give you blessings; Happiness is up to you.
Tuesday, January 03, 2006
A special hello today to all those New Years Resolution folks out there. Because I'm joining your ranks today.
I've got a question for you, do you eat because your body tells you to eat, or because you choose to eat to maintain health and well... survive? Now, I understand your body tells you to eat because it's hungry, and a well trained body can give you a cue so that you will stay healthy. But, when your body says, feed me a chicken fried steak from Chili's, well... isn't it over stepping it's boundaries a bit? Well, that's what I'm tackling this year. For the next twelve months, and hopefully a lifetime afterwards, me and my body will eat only the foods I decide it should eat, whether my body likes it or not. Also, my body may just not eat for awhile if it's going to complain about the situation too much. It may sound like a weird masochistic thing I'm doing, but I don't believe it is. No one has ever died from missing one meal, or 20 even. Drinks lots of water, and as long as you don't do something stupid like keep off foods for a month, then you're pretty much set. There's a biblical basis to this, though I'm hard pressed to tell you what it is. I just don't want to live in submission to my body. If I don't want to stop and eat right now, because I've eaten enough already, I shouldn't have to eat because my body grumbles about it. And it really is more mental than physical. It seems when your body wants to eat you see food everywhere, or you're suddenly willing to get it from anywhere to fulfill a craving. I don't know if much of this has made sense, but...long story short, I'm taking control over my body and my eating habits. ;) This is gonna be interesting. :)
Sunday, January 01, 2006
Hey all, you've probably seen the heading up there telling you to look for the giveaway, well here it is. :) Every time you enter a comment, you've entered yourself in the drawing. Make sure that your email address is included in your comment. Or it'll be realllly hard for me to get the prize to you. As for the prize of Bruce Wilkinson's amazing book Dream Giver I can hardly say enough good things about it. It's an amazing book, that I feel can truly make an impact. So, without further ado, START COMMENTING!!! :)
February 1st I'll announce a winner.