Monday, November 28, 2011

Satisfy

What will make us happy? Well it’s not more stuff- that’s for sure. The ironic thing is that even though most of you will probably agree with me, you will still find yourself having a thought “I wish I had this” within a day after reading this.
I’d like to make the claim that we’re designed (now, on earth, in our broken state) to be unsatisfied. I’m sure that a lot of Christians would like to argue with me at first, but let me further explain before we do. Your argument (I’m guessing) would be that God is satisfying. While that’s true, it also is momentary. If you’re one of the people who knows that God ought to be satisfying but don’t truly experience his fullfifllment, I encourage you to not lie to yourself by telling yourself that your fulfilled because you’re supposed to be. Bring your empty and thirsty heart to Him, and experience His joy, then come back and talk to me. To those who truly are satisfied, I ask you “what is a day without Christ like?” If your answer is “unbearable,” you have just proven me right. You’ve proven that you need Him daily, and without His daily bread you would be unsatisfied.
The more important question though is not whether we’re designed to be fulfilled or not, but what are we trying to fill ourselves with?
When we fill ourselves with the wrong things or thrills (the newest phone, newest relationship, or more money), we experience a small dose of satisfaction or euphoria. I won’t deny that new and shiny things usually make us happy for a little while. The problem is that shortly after that happiness we’re left with an even bigger awareness of how empty and needy we still are. Oddly enough, our usual response is to try and fill ourselves with the same thing again. It really is a rather foolish thing to do. After enough time, even that small thrill will fade away and we either look to some other small thrill and repeat the process, or just remain empty and sad.
Those who are without Christ (not meaning they aren’t saved, but they aren’t walking with God) but seem to be content have done one of two things as far as I can tell. They may have reduced their expectations and become used to being more satisfied by the same small satisfaction. I.e. They have a gallon bucket that needs to be filled, but only have a cup of water. Instead of finding more water, they get a smaller bucket. Even if they do experience some level of fulfillment, it will do them no good in the next life, and it will be nothing compared to how they could be living in this life. Think also of a hungry man. If you give him an old cookie, he may no longer be hungry. If you repeat the process, he may become used to having old cookies. However, if you give him a fresh cinnamon roll, how much happier will he be? And that is the fulfillment of man’s creation versus God’s self.
The other group are those who’ve accepted that there is no great fulfillment. They’ve forced themselves to be happy not because they feel it, but because they convince themselves of it. They can’t face the fact that they aren’t as happy- especially when everyone else seems to be so happy. Being content with being discontent is no good way to live. They either stay this way of fall into the first category.
God is my joy, and can be yours as well. Before you commit to it, know and realize that you will need Him and experience Him each and every day at every minute of every hour. When you make Him the center of your life and start to fill your heart with what is in His heart, you’ll find that He not only satisfied but is more than enough. Be blessed.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Redesign


Last night I watched the movie “Twighlight: Breaking Dawn Part 1” and was actually somewhat impressed. I didn’t like every aspect of it of course, but it was a decent movie and I liked it more than I thought I would (and it was FREEJ. As a disclaimer, the honeymoon scenes are pretty inappropriate and certainly excessive.
What bothers me most about the movie is not the partial nudity or the baby delivery. What bothers me most is the portrayal of love and relationships. My first instinct was to be disappointed because we’re teaching young children and teenagers that this is what love is, but after more consideration I realized that we, as a society, have been teaching and have thought that this is what love is for a far longer time than 1 week. Here’s what I mean.
If I were to ask you (I’m guessing most of you) what the perfect picture of love is, the first thing you’d want to tell me is a healthy marriage or a fluffy date or sex. I’ll be the first to admit that I’d probably be guilty of it too. I’m not trying to preach from a soapbox here, but the reality is that most of television, commercials, friends, and perhaps to some extent, even the church has told us that a marriage is the greatest thing in the world; that it is the greatest fulfillment of the greatest need we have, which is love. I agree that healthy marriages and fluffy dates and sex are all in the realm of love, but I don’t think they’re the top out.
The reality is that those who are most in love with Jesus would not answer the question the way that you and I perhaps would. Yes, I’m sure you love God and as do I. I’m not asking if you love Him at all, but asking if He is your everything. Is He who you like to talk to in your down time? Is He the most important person to you? Is a relationship with Him the epitome of what love is and ought to be? Those who are most in love with Jesus already know that nothing and no one else could compare to the love we find in Christ; I don’t know about you but that’s who I want to be. That’s how I want to live.
The good news is that if you’re reading this, you’re alive. If you’re alive, there’s still hope. There’s still hope to change our perspective on love. When we change the height of love from being Jesus Christ to being a spouse, we do what we want with it. Fortunately love doesn’t work that way. God is not who you want Him to be. You cannot change Him, and even if you could, anything you would change Him into would be less than what He actually is. The people with the happiest marriages are those in which both people are in love with Christ more than they are in love with each other.
Through daily meditation on the things of God (and I am not limiting it to the bible. While the bible is certainly important and useful, God is greater than what can be contained in that book, because He is everywhere), developing a desire to be closer to Him, spending time with Him actively, sacrificing what you want most now to the One you wish to want most, and everyday speaking with Him and hearing His voice, we will find that He is far greater than this world’s idea of love. He is far greater than we have imagined.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fire

Fire is not cautious. It is not contained nor subtle. The thing about fire is that it does not "kind of" burn something; it consumes it. You will never catch on fire because you're looking at it or just barely get close enough to feel the heat. You will catch on fire by stepping into it.

When we catch the fire of the spirit, it will not be because we looked at it or experimented with it; it certainly will not be because we looked at a distance at some one else who had it. We will catch the fire by walking into it and choosing it, by sacrificing ourselves and being sold out.

God will not do the miraculous through soem one who learns about it. The reality is that the great things of God are incomprehensible for us. He will not and perhaps could not use the lukewarm to do the actions of the burning. He can only use those who believe in the impossible to do the impossible. We must give our lives to Christi with no less of an extent than He gave us His.

If you don't want to be sold out yet, that's alright. God won't love you any less. If you're just pondering on it and dipping your feet in the water, I tell you to be hot or cold. God  will respond best when you are open and  honest with Him about where you are. He does not care for lies. If you are sold out, I encourage you to spread the fire, to be a leader as you follow Christ, and continue in love.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

In Love

Being in love is like this. When the person you’re in love with walks in the room, you’re automatically more excited and happier, even if you’ve been arguing lately. It’s like no matter what you just can’t hardly resist loving them (not to exclude the “love is a choice” idea). When this person is about to come over, you want to show them your best, act your best, and give them your best. Even talking about this person excites you, and you can’t help but do it all the time. When asked to describe how much you love this person, you would answer with a thousand words and still not have reached the right way to describe him or her. That’s what being in love is like. You have the thought “if we ever do argue or fight, we’ll make it through it and only grow closer from it” as well as “I don’t want to fight with this person because I don’t want to be farther away, but closer.” You want this person to know that they don’t have to trust you with everything, but they certainly can. You want to be a safe place for him or her. On top of all of this, you will love this person regardless of what anyone says to you. Even if the person is a terrible and awful person, you’ll still look over and past that because love isn’t based on what he or she does but who he or she is.
Now ask yourself this. “Is that how I feel about Jesus?” Then, after some consideration, tell yourself this. “That’s how Jesus feels about me.” When is comes down to it love is a very crazy and almost stupid idea. Love says “even if you’ve killed my son, I’ll still forgive you, hope for you, and accept you.” Love says “I don’t care what you’ve done, I don’t care how you are, and I have the highest hopes for who you will be.” Love is crazy and it’s the word God uses to describe how he feels about you. The more you sin, the more grace He will give you to cover your sin. The farther you run away, the farther He will run to catch you. It really is preposterous to think that a perfect God with all power and sustainment is seeking to know and be with you, and that’s precisely what makes the truth of it all the more amazing. When God looks at you, He doesn’t see sin; He sees Jesus’ beauty covering your sin. Therefore there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ. That is why those who are not in Christ will go to hell- because Christ is not covering their sin. It’s also why no matter how much you sin or how terrible the sin is, God can still love you and keep you and deliver you.
Being in love causes you to do things that are more irrational than any other emotion and movement will cause. You would not abandon your life to find and kill some one you hated (unless it were for revenge or justice). You would not sacrifice your son just to make some one else pay attention to you. But love knows no bounds. People will travel thousands of miles or build thousands of roads or swim thousands of oceans to be with the one they love. Furthermore, love is what we’re more interested in than anything else. Why is that? Because it’s full extent is unknowable, and we thrive on adventure and mystery. Fortunately for us God is limitless, and walking with Him is always full of adventure and mystery.
If and when you shift your focus to loving God as much as you love that special someone, you will not only find fulfillment, but you’ll also find that He loves you even more than that. Those who seek Him find Him. Drawing near to Him in love will cause Him to draw near to you. Unlike all people, God is completely committed to keeping His promises; He is faithful. Jesus loves you.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bloody Jesus

When I ask you to picture Jesus, what do you see? What’s His personality like? Of course He’s perfect, but that’s not really telling us anything about Him. To say He is perfect is like saying “perfection is perfect” or “goodness is good.” Do you see a strong Jesus? One with power and authority over things? The one who can calm seas, move mountains, heal the sick, and let the blind see? Or do you see a common Jesus? One who is simply a great teacher and a prophet, who has good ideas but little more? The carpenter Jesus perhaps. Do you picture a broken Jesus? One hanging on the cross with blood pouring out of His side and a crown of thorns on His head? Maybe you see this bloody Jesus who, even if He did exist, clearly didn’t have the power to save Himself.
When I ask you this, I’m not asking for the correct answer; rather, I’m asking for the honest answer. It’s a completely different thing to think of Jesus as perfect and powerful and to actually experience Jesus in perfection and power. It’s similar to the difference in believing God exists and believing what God says. It’s much easier for us to just have a great “idea” of who God is than it is for us to actually live under this thing called grace, to actually walk in the presence and with the spirit. Unfortunately a good idea only requires intuition and imagination, not belief and faith. Belief and faith are what God has called us to walk in and to uphold. I don’t know about you but I’m tired of having a wild and radical imagination while having a boring and slow moving life.
Change is real. Power is real. Grace is real. What have you done to deserve them? Nothing. In fact, I’d say it’s an insult to God when you try to earn Him because you’re saying His death and even His life wasn’t and isn’t enough- as though His gift of salvation and a fulfilled life is somehow lacking. The reality is that grace is given to the humble, and salvation requires an act of humility. It requires saying “I’m broken, please fix me because only you can. I can’t do this alone anymore.” The reality is that faith is manifested in those who believe. I say all this to say that change and growth are not dependant upon what you can do and can’t do, they are dependant upon what He has done and is doing. All you need to do is believe.
We will never see the world be changed by a God we don’t believe in, or a God we think wrongly of, like a weak and helpless Jesus. We will never be impressed nor follow a God who is reduced to only a good man because we already have good men, and as admirable as they may be, they’re messed up just like we are. We will see the world changed by a God who is powerful and glorified, who gives us grace and shows us mercy, who flows not only around us but through us. Once we start to believe in this Jesus of power and authority, and we begin to walk in the same power and authority, then and only then will lives be saved and captives set free. I encourage you my friends to cast your eyes to heaven, and to no longer doubt or be influenced by fear, but to believe in and receive from this God of infinite splendor and glory.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Conclusion

What I’m about to say probably in some ways contradicts what I’ve said before, but that is irrelevant. You would not call a man foolish for putting gasoline in his car once he found out water wouldn’t work.
I think we as Christians have reversed the process of faith and belief. The world lives on a system of cause and effect. This makes sense because this makes sense or this happens next because this just happened. However, I don’t think faith works the same way. We’ve been taught by the world that it must work that way because that way is the only way it could makes sense, but faith doesn’t need to make sense because faith is based on God and from God, and God does not have to operate in terms that we can comprehend. Anyone who has an objection to faith working this way (perhaps they arrived at faith through logic like C.S. Lewis) has in fact arrived at the conclusion that not all things do, can, and ever will make sense.
“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”
Faith comes by hearing. To believe in God is to say that it does not need make sense; what we call sense is based on our limited knowledge of what we’ve seen and developed. To believe in God requires some acceptance that we don’t understand everything, and some trust that God knows more and does things for our best with that knowledge. Perhaps at this point an  allegory will help.
If and when you teach a child the multiplication table, you do not wait until he understands it to decide it’s still true. You already know it to be true, and that is why you are teaching it to him. Furthermore, you would probably find it quite peculiar if the child said “I’m not going to believe in the multiplication table until I’m old enough, have more proof, and have more experience with it.” God tells us we must have “faith like a child.” What I think this means is we must believe in God and believe God somewhat blindly, then see that the results are all that has been promised. In the words of a small elf, “seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing.” In other words, it takes no faith to believe in something once you’ve seen it. We are told to have faith until we see it.
Paul tells us we are saved by grace through faith. To me, this means that if you have no faith, you aren’t saved. That is the difference between those with salvation and those without. Grace has been offered to all of us because Christ’s death was for the world; faith is the other piece of the puzzle, and the part that is dependent upon you. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. If you do not have faith, perhaps it is because you are not listening and hearing God’s Word. As an extra note, God is the Word, and God is limitless. If you’re looking for Him, you will find Him around every corner, not just in church and in your Bible. Pray that your ears may be opened, eyes may be opened, and faith may increase. Through faith mountains will be moved, miracles will be seen, destinies will be changed, and souls will be saved.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Raw

Who are you? Not the you that your Facebook says you are. Not who you’d like to answer as. The real you. Many of us put up a mask or facade in most areas because we don’t really want to be transparent or honest with anyone. I wouldn’t necessarily say this is always a bad thing, but we should get something straight. It is a simple truth that changing your mask does not change your face. Changing your “on paper” description will not change who you are in life. However, changing who you are on the inside will certainly reflect who you appear to be on the outside. We only put masks on that appear better than who we really are (unless it’s Halloween). It would be a rather foolish thing though to cover a beautiful face with an ugly mask.
Sort of as a disclaimer before I go on, I want you to know that I don’t say all of this to discourage you, nor to judge you or put you down. I say it because the only change that will matter is the change of your bare bones or raw materials. You would not say that a mean man who does a nice thing is now a nice man, and nor would you say that an apple tree that somehow bore an orange is now an orange tree. The mean man becoming nice will not happen by him doing nice things, but by removing his desire to do mean things and placing a new desire to do nice things. It has to do with roots; after all, the roots will determine the fruit.
These roots that I speak of are what God wants to take a hold of, and they are what you must surrender in order for any true and valuable change to occur. You will not become a better Christian because you go to a different church or become a better lover because you get a different girlfriend. You will not change by doing different things, but by changing your reasoning for doing the things that you do.
For instance, I can give you a hug so that you’ll give me a hug in return, or I can give you a hug purely to show compassion so that you feel better. It’s the same action for each, but the intentions are what matter.
God is creating people who, even when the outside fa├žade is broken down, will be pure and holy, even at their core. If we will stop focusing on the image we are putting up, and dare I say, on the fruit we are producing, and focus more on our roots and God’s heart, not only will we change but the world will change. If we will give Him even our most fragile and vulnerable parts in faith, we will be not be disappointed by the results. There is only love in Him.
Consider this. You would not think very highly of God if He was not showing you the real Him. If all He gave you were simply doctrines and facts, and a dose of peace here and there, you would not consider Him to be anything like the God we know He is now. There must be depth in this relationship, both on His end and on yours. That is perhaps the reason we are not, at our core, who we wish we were and ought to be. When we seek the core of God’s heart we will find it. When we find it we will conform to it; when that happens, we become a fire.
The reality is you are a holy potential living in a sinful body, but we desire far more than just potential. The reality is that God is an almighty and powerful being that many of us have limited to being only potential. The reality is that He loves you more than you can possibly fathom, and whne you give Him your pain, tears, struggles, worries, and will, He will not only measure up to what and who you need, but overcome it (through the power that worketh in you). 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Amazing

There are only two things that being in God’s presence can be. It’s either amazing or it isn’t. Furthermore, there are only two thoughts you can have on it (in the same respect)- “It’s amazing” or “it’s not amazing.” If you don’t think it’s amazing, I can tell you with full confidence that you haven’t experienced Him. To call something amazing is to call it above the normal, better, extraordinary. God’s presence innately must be amazing because all of the characteristics of God are amazing. You could not be in the presence of God and not be amazed anymore than you could be in water and not be wet.
Now that I’ve prepared a little bit, I’ll get to my main point. Since we know that God’s presence is amazing, we must ask ourselves, if we are not currently amazed, why does it not seem/feel amazing? The answer is simply perception. For instance, if I tell you that every woman is beautiful and you say to me “no, there are some ugly women out there,” we would be forced to break it down to saying that it’s only a matter of perception. Let’s say that I make the same argument again, but this time I say “every woman is beautiful because God has made them beautiful.” Did the reality of women being beautiful change? Not at all. What changed was your knowledge which directly influenced your perception.
In the same way, if you are in God’s presence and do not find it amazing, your knowledge must be incomplete and your perceptions fogged. In my opinion (of course because it’s my blog), you should ask yourself every time you enter into worship “is this amazing or not?” If it is, God’s presence may very likely be with you. If it’s not, the logical conclusion is that you are not in God’s presence, because if you were you could not answer like that.
One more point and I’ll be finished. We would be foolish to assume that we can fully understand the thoughts and actions of a God we don’t assume we fully understand. If God tells you to do something and it doesn’t make sense, that doesn’t mean it’s not God. If you ask a person what God sounds like and he/she cannot explain it that is fully acceptable because the reality of God is unexplainable. If you ask someone “how do you know it’s God” and they can’t explain it, trust them. They truly can’t explain it because God is so much greater and higher than we are. You could not explain quantum physics to a 1 year old.
I challenge you to experience daily this God I’m writing about. He truly is amazing. And when you do experience Him, do not reduce Him or deny Him because you can’t explain Him, rather, rejoice that this God of all power and knowledge loves you and is on your side.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Eternal

     Reflect with me for a second on not your life, or even your year, but your day. Did you do anything important today? If no, then I challenge you to simply find motivation and purpose in life- hopefully in Christ. If your answer is yes, I ask you by what standard was it important. If it is your own, I fear it may have been of little true value (though not necessarily). IF it is the world's standard, you are probably dreadfully off. The world clearly doesn't know what important, because if they did, they would be fulfilled instead of empty.
     If it was by God's standard, I applaud you. I don't know about you, but I will confess that much of what I do is not important in an eternal perspective. I was discussing arguments with my mom once and she told me something very wise. She said, "If it won't matter in 10 years, it doesn't matter at all." Please don't misunderstand  this. She was speaing of what's worth arguing about, and making the point that most things aren't. On a bigger scale, if what you did today won't matter in eternity, it really doesn't matter at all.
     I don't write all of this to condemn or even convict you; I certainly don't write it to press any law or doctrine on you. I write it to influence your perspective- in hopes that your life, if it hasn't mattered much yet, will matter in the future. However, I hope that you will not change your measure of importance because you are supposed to, but because you want to. This change must come out of love, and love is a choice, not a need or demand. When our actions and days are based on the perspective of eternity instead of the perspective of today, the world will change.
     Two things happen when we start living based on eternity. Firstly, the things of this world become so much less important and less bearing. We will not worry about things that do not effect eternity because, ultimately, they don't matter. This is a freedom. Secondly, the things we do become more important and more meaningful. We feel more fulfilled because our life starts to quite obviously matter more.
     You are the temporary; He is the ternal. By seeking Him, you will be seeking the ternal. The more you see His love for you (and others), the more you will love Him. When that happens, perspective changes, and so does everything else. We will begin to store up treasures in heaven and come to fully realize that the suffering and trials on this earth are truly not worth comparing to the glory that awaits us.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Attacking Religion

It’s often a brought up idea that everyone should be free to choose what religion they want to follow. While I believe that is good, I don’t believe it is an excuse to ignore or hide The Truth. As Christians, we’re not called to tear down other people or their beliefs. We are called to spread Christ because He is the real Truth. We can attack a religion without attacking religious people.
Firstly, people get very easily offended when you attack them on a personal level such as their religious beliefs. God has not called us to offend people.
Secondly, religion and idols are not the same. In the bible, especially in the old testament, it talks many times about how bad idols and false Gods are. But, the modern sense of religion is not the same as it used to be because your religion used to be based on your idol.
A religion is an idea that can be devoted to to edify one own’s spirit. The problem is that only Christ can edify your spirit. Just like only gas can run a car, and not water, so it is that Christ is the only one who can fulfill you. It would be inconsiderate and not loving to share this with those we love. As Christians, we’re called to love everyone, especially those we find hard to love.
Also as Christians, we should be excited about sharing Christ!
Example. Let’s say that Wal-marts everywhere are giving out free ipads. Now, I’d be considered a pretty big jerk if I went and got mine and didn’t tell all of my friends. Why wouldn’t i? It doesn’t cost me anything, and it’s a great deal. It’s the same with Christ. We should share Him because we ourselves have experienced a love out of this world, and love that can’t be contained and wants to flow out of us.
An idol is what you actually worship, and it’s usually something nowadays such as relationships, money, pride, beauty, strength. An idol is worshipping the creation instead of the creator. The big problem with this is that the Creator has all of His creation to give to you. When you worship His creation, not only does it not respond to you, and not only does it steal your life away, but it also limits you to receiving only that blessing. God wants to give you all things and all things abundantly.
In summary, don’t attack religious people, attack religions. Also attack idols of all kinds, and be anxious to share Christ whom is our true lord and Savior, the only thing that can actually satisfy us. I caution you with one thing though, do not be demanding or have expectations, and don’t assume that you know some one better than you do. You knowing the truth does not mean You know that person’s perspective on it.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sin Doesn't Matter- Part 2


Now that I’ve laid the ground work for the ways sin does matter, let me go into the ways it does not. First, Sin does not control your future. The fact that you have sinned countless times is no reflection on tomorrow. You have been and always will be a sinner, and the best you can hope for in this sense is to sin less. God’s love for you is not based on your concrete past or your flexible and yet to be seen future. Also, as far as I can tell, sin has no specific will. The devil, to some extent, really doesn’t care if you steal or lie, so long as you are sinning and find no way out. Funny that God doesn’t care either in the same sense because any and all of His love has defeated any and all sin.
Secondly, as I said earlier, sin does not separate you from God. Yes, it does separate you in terms of being different from Him. He is perfect, you are imperfect. He is sinless and you are sinful. Don’t fret too much over that though because even if man had not ever fallen, we would still not be like God. He would still be glorified and you would still be a man. He would still be all powerful and you would still only have the power that He’s given you. He would still be the source and you still the vessel.
Sin separates your love from God (under certain conditions later discussed), but it does not separate His love from you. Nothing can separate His love from you, and nothing could make Him change the way He feels about you.
Based on what I’ve been taught and know, love works like this. God loves you. Using the love He gives to you, you love others and love Him in return. In theory, this means that nothing can actually separate Him from your love- because your love is His love redirected. I do not believe in man made love.
I’ve heard it said that sin and the enemy cannot resist your weapons; they can only influence your will to use them. I agree with this statement. If your love is God’s love, and nothing can stop God’s love (and God’s power), then nothing can stop your love. You’re like a gate. When it is open, God’s love flows. When it is closed, His love doesn’t flow. The difference is your choice to either open the gate or close it.
Lastly, sin does not stop you from being righteous and powerful. Christ tells us to be holy as He is holy, and He would not tell us to do something that could not be done. (Yes I’m veering away from the perfection argument). Though a righteous man falls seven times, he gets up again. I think as American Christians, or maybe as Christians all over, we’ve come to no longer believe that God can use us because we’re not good enough. It is precisely that belief that stops God from using us. We think that all of the “radicals” in the bible had some special anointing that’s no longer available to us, yet we also think that the New Testament rules apply to us.
One of my favorite people in the bible is Paul. The bible says he was so holy that people could just touch cloths and rags he had used and be healed. Crazy right? Yet this same man said “That I wish to do, I don’t do, and that I wish not to do I do anyways.” This is a clear indicator that sin is not what makes us any different from Paul. Paul was also a sinner.
What makes us different is that He completely believed in and surrendered to the power, and well, and self of God. That is precisely what we’re not doing, or at least not enough. When someone slips through the cracks of our common beliefs system, we call Him radical. We tend to think that he is better than us. We think God loves him more than us. It’s either that or we simply don’t understand and soon give up on understanding.
I don’t know about you, but I want to change the world. I hope you do as well. The way we’re going to do that is to believe how Paul believed. Then and only then will we see miracles and lives saved like Paul saw them.
Keep in mind motivations. You will not change the world if your reason for doing so is to be known. When you fall in love with Jesus, you also fall in love with His creation. Love must be your biggest motivation, and really very little of anything else. Those who seek Him find Him. If you haven’t found Him, you apparently haven’t been seeking Him. The devil is pretty happy about that might I add, and I’d suggest that you make him angry.
One last note. There is a cost. Just as we share in His resurrection, we share in His suffering. While that seems like a downer, we’ve also been told that our momentary troubles aren’t even worth comparing to the glory that awaits us. Me? STOKED.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sin Doesn't Matter- Part 1

I'm sure that when many believers first read this, they start thinking "David, I know you're a writer and you've been on point with a lot of stuff, but we're gonna have to talk about this one." I'm also almost certain that even non-believers will question this because they think the whole point of being a Christian is to be good and pure. Perhaps some others would say this cannot be true because ever man knows at least a small portion of his sin, and if nothing else, it leads to guilt or apathy, which are 2 feelings that matter very much.

Before I need to sit down at 200 coffee shops with a bunch of spirit-led and/or strongly opinionated people, let me clarify my view.

Sin does not matter. This in itself is a very absolute statement, and in one sense I believe it to be very true. But first I will describe the sense in which it is false.

Sin does matter very much in terms of perfection, God, purity, life and death, and probably a few other areas. First, sin separates us from God, and many times separates our love as well. This is caused by feelings of guilt and shame, and as far as I can tell, nothing else. Your sin does not separate you from God because it is sin or because you have a sinful nature. Christ died for your sin so that you would have access to God. To say that sin separates you from god is to say that Christ's death was in vain.

Secondly, the ends or wages of sin are death. The devil is living in a miserable pit of fire because of sin. One thing we all agree on is that sin is not good- even non-believers believe that (regardless of whether they define bad as sin or not). Sin is what separated us from God in the beginning, and is the defining attribute of our imperfection. It is what defines us as imperfect. God is perfect, and His standard is perfect. Anything less than that is not worthy of Him.

Thirdly, we can not have a sinful nature without sin, and our sinful nature is what causes a lot of the problems we have these days. In a strong way, our sinful nature is responsible for most if not all of the world we live in today. We know this because God created us as perfect beings in a perfect world, though I find no logic to that except from the bible saying so.

Later this week, I will put up part two which discusses the ways sin doesn't matter. Until then, happy pondering :)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Created to Believe

Why were we created? I don't know about you, but I've definitely thought this question quite a few times. My guess would be that you've also thought it too. We can ask it on a big-scale level as "why is humanity here?" or we can ask it on a personal level "why am I here? what's my destiny?" Well I hope to clarify the answer a little bit more for you in this entry.

First, why is humanity here? Logically, we can come to the conclusion that it is to do good. How do I reach this conclusion? Because all people, black and white, American, European, Asian, large and small, young and old, feel this urge to do good things, and at the same time, feel this desire to stray from bad things. While our versions of good and bad can stray a little bit from other peoples, there are really no significant differences. We all feel this idea of good pressing down on us.

From a more Christianity oriented perspective, we're here to love God. Loving God leads us to doing good things, to obeying Him, to being rewarded, and service. God put us on earth with the intention of everything being perfect. He wanted us to simply love Him and be loved in return (or vice versa). Now, since the fall of man, our purpose also includes leading the lost to Christ.

Now I'll discuss what I really want to talk about. Why am I here? Why are you here? Why was I created?

You were created to be wealthy. If we examine both the bible and modern times, many times we find that the people we look up to as the most spiritual are wealthy. coincidence? I think not. Solomon was wealthy. David was wealthy. Job (after some trials and pain) was wealthy. The leaders of the biggest churches we know of, which include Lakewood (Joel Osteen), Hillsong, and T.D. Jakes church, are all wealthy. God wants you to be wealthy...but there is a catch.

You were created to be happy. I know, crazy right? You weren't created to feel burdened and stressed all the time. You were created to live in harmony and peace with God. You were created to be content both with spirits of holiness and with men. You weren't created to live in a dramatic and toxic environment. As I type this I can just imagine some one coming up to me and saying "but you don't know what I've been through. If you'd seen all of the stuff I've seen and had all of these things stacked up against you, you'd be different." Maybe so, but that's really not my point. I'm not focused so much on the problem as the solution. God is the solution to every problem regardless of size and time and shape. Secondly, the glory always comes after the trials. Jesus was not glorified until His resurrection. You should expect to have hard times, pains, and trials. My point is that should not and does not have to stop you from being at peace.

You were created to have fellowship with others. You were created to be married. Now, while this may not apply to all people, as it did not apply to Paul, I think I'm still safe to say that most people want to get married. You weren't created to have torn and broken relationships; you were created to be edified and built up by others.

Lastly, you were created to be successful. I mean that in every area of your life. Financially, spiritually, romantically, and in all these things, you were created to be blessed by God and to walk and talk with God.

Here's the catch. You don't get any of these things by looking for them, and even if you did or do, you won't be content. The only thing we can get by looking for it is a relationship with Christ. Once that is completely and utterly looked for and submitted to, then all of the things I've described above will happen. Why is this? Because all of those things are good things, and all good things come from Him. As unfortunate as it is, you are not a good thing unless you are part of Him and He is in you. Logically, you can not have a good piece of cake unless you have a good cake. In the same way, you can't be a good person unless some one better than you is living and breathing in you. He is good and He is what makes you good.

You were created to believe. You were fearfully and wonderfully made to know and love this awesome person named Jesus Christ. Interestingly enough, God is the one thing that we have such a hard time proving, and yet such a hard time disproving as well. That is where agnosticism comes in. No one on earth can help but wonder if there is a God, and the only people on earth who can prove there is a God are the ones that truly and sincerely know Him. God would not tell you to believe in Him unless He was in fact real, and it were in fact possible to believe in Him.

When I say believe in Him, I do not mean simply to believe that He is real and exists (though that is the first step). I do not simply mean to obtain intellectual facts and philosophies on Him. I mean to know Him. Once you know Him, you will find that He is undeniably good and perfect, and you will be on the other side of the fence. Instead of being one who doesn't know if He's real  but not being able to deny His existence, You'll be one who believes and knows His existence. What's really cool and inspiring about this is that once you really know God, He will start to show you mysterious and wonderful things; He will share His heart with you when you give your heart to Him.

Jesus loves you. Nothing can separate you from that.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Don't You need somebody to love?

"Dont you need somebody to love?" Why yes, actually i do. I think we all both
want and need love, and we long to love others. Ive found my true love. His name is
Jesus Christ. Not only do i love Him, but through many years and many
experiences, Ive found that He loves me too.

I know this will come as a surprise to some people, and some others who ought to be surprised won't be because they won't really understand what im saying, and still some others wont be surprised because they already know about the truth im about to describe to you. 

No one can ever fill the place of God in their life with anything except God. In other words, only God can make you satisfied and content. You have an emptiness in you that God is supposed to fill, that nothing else can. If you consider this far enough, you will more than likely reach the conclusion that the devil's soul purpose in life is to keep you from finding that out, to distract you with any and everything that your flesh would rather pay attention to. He tries to get you to fill that emptiness with anything that doesnt go there.

I think the reason relationships with others, especially those of a romantic nature, are such an easy tool for Satan is because the love of a person is the closest thing you can get to the love of God. All other idols do not love you back, but people can and do. God created us uniquely to have the ability and capacity to love.

On the flip side this also reflects the reasoning for fellowship.

The way i know this all to be true is that it has been strived for for so many years in so many ways by so many people who have never quite gotten it. Most relationships fail. This is why. We were not created to depend on others most, and they were not created to sustain us. Your boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse will never have everything you need. No person ever could have it all. We were created to support each other, not depend on each other. Give Him a chance to fill you up and He will. Seek Him and you will find Him.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Flock

     God is referenced as the shepherd many times throughout the scriptures, and we are his sheep. Why is this so? Because he tends to us and cares for us and guides us. Why are you a sheep? Because you’re an idiot. I know that sounds cruel, but in perspective, it’s true. God is far wiser than you.


     Here’s the crazy thing. He is in love with you. He says “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?” Now of course we know that God is more like 100 shepherds watching 100 sheep, but that’s not the point.


     The one extra sheep is worth only 1% of the total flock, and yet the shepherd goes after it. There’s really no practical reason. It’s not for wool, because one sheep is worth hardly anything compared to 99. It’s certainly not easier to take care of. So why then does God pursue that one sheep? Because He loves it. He does it because He wants it, not because of it’s value in any practical purpose. God does not need you to follow Him, but He desperately wants you to.


     Love that is out of need isn’t love at all, it is simply need. You being wanted by God is far more valuable than you being needed by God. Crazy? God is crazy. Beyond crazy in my opinion.


     Maybe you read this and think “I wish I were part of the flock.” This entry of the sheep and the shepherd only applies to God’s sons and daughters, but there’s good news! You can be one too. There’s a real easy way to be that, and when you get there you will find that God is far more powerful and far more loving than you ever imagined. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who died on the cross so that you could be forgiven, and confess it with your mouth, out loud, verbally, and you shall be saved.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Trials

3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.

I think we so often get it backwards. We think that those who have hope haven't gone through anything. It's so easy to convince ourselves that the reason he or she is happy is because they don't have anything to be sad about. According to the bible, that's completely backwards.

People that have hope have it because they've been through the fire and back. Those people know that God is God, and that He is a good God who loves them and desires them. He is a God who saves. They have hope because they trust God. They trust Him to send the money. They trust Him to bring peace. They trust Him for a new home or a new car or a new wife.

A little further into it, I find one more thing to be interesting. This doesn't just apply to what we call Christians; it applies to people in the world as well. Most people who are older and who have really gone through stuff (and I'm saying most, not all) realize that what goes around comes around. They realize that even though they don't have a job right now, they've been without a job before and found one before. They know that a death in the family sucks but eventually time heals. It's a universal concept.

One last point. C.S. Lewis wrote in "Mere Christianity" "If you are a Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through. If you are an atheist you do have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the whole word is simply one huge mistake. If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all these religions, even the queerest one, contain at least some hint of the truth." The above paragraphs lead me to agree with him. Everyone, even the most wicked person, has some hint or idea or piece of truth, and few people, if anyone, has it all. Interestingly enough we find that, no matter how hard we try, we cannot separate ourselves from God.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Thot- The Miracle You Hoped For

I heard a sermon preached by Louis Giglio once (a podcast actually) about miracles. He believes, and I agree with him, that when you pray for a miracle, you always get one- it's just not always the miracle you hoped it would be (or perhaps prayed that it would be).

We find the story of Stephen is Acts. He's a believer and filled with the Holy Spirit. Basically, he ticks a bunch of people off because of his faith, so they take him out of the city and stone him to death. What's interesting about this is he was filled with the Holy Spirit, and yet wasn't delivered. Instead, he became a martyr (and quite a famous one at that). Though I'm sure Stephen hoped that God would deliver him from them, God didn't. Does this make God merciless? No, it just makes Him wiser than Stephen, and wiser than you.

A more told story we hear is that of Jesus dying on the cross. Jesus said "if this cup may be taken from me, let it be taken, though not my will but yours be done." Jesus could have had a variety of miracles save Him from the Romans, but that wasn't God's plan. If any miracle other than the one of Christ dying on the cross for us had happened, we would be in a much worse state than we are now even.

All of this leads me to 2 points. First, that if you don't know what to pray, simply pray for a miracle. God will come through. Secondly, trust Him. Many times His plan will involve pain and trials, real stuff that involves real life. I'm not gonna give you some sappy "it'll all be alright" soft soap christianity or entry. Trials are real, death is real, pain is real, depression is real. God is real. If Jesus had not died on the cross, He would not have had resurrection, and would not have been glorified.

No matter how far you may feel or how down you may be, no matter what trial you may be facing or what tomorrow may bring, remember that Jesus loves you.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Thot- Unbelievable

God is a lot of things. He is, as I'm only recently discovering, all expansive. He is not limited to a book or a church, to a religion or an ethinicity. Whether you realize it or not, He's not even limited to what you think He can and can't do (or what He will and won't do). He is far beyond that.

He is all knowing. He not only knows all that you've done, but knows your reasons for doing it. He knows your excuses and your pleasures, your justifications and your "hidden" thoughts. He knows what you did yesterday, and knows what you're planning to do tomorrow. He knows not only the literal, but also the abstract as well. He knows what you think of Him, and knows what you wish you thought of Him.

He is all powerful and sovereign. He is absolute in that sovereignty. This means that He can do what He wants to do, and withold what He wants to withold. He doesn't have to ask for your opinion or your permission. Logically, if God is powerful enough to create all things that we know of (let's just limit it to that for now), then He is all powerful enough to manipulate all things we know of. It's similar to how the maker of the ipad knows more about he ipad than anyone else. why? because he designed it and knows how to control it.

He is all loving. This is the crazy part. He not only knows all of your sins, all of your wrongdoings and filth, but He has the power and capacity of good to overlook that. His love, in fact, isn't changed by anything. Nothing that you could possibly think of would make Him love you less or love you more.

The difference between those who dream of changing the world and those who do change the world, between those who desire to be pure and those who actually are pure, those who start the car and those who actually leave the garage, is this. The latter know they are loved, and have and seek the knowledge of God. The accept His love and dwell in the power that comes from that. The first in the examples I gave usually has little more than information. Yes, they are saved and going to heaven, but they'll never experience anything great until they get there.

This brings me to my last statement. I've said in the last few paragraphs what God is. One thing God is not is unbelievable. I've heard many Christians (and perhaps even I have said this) say that God's love is just "unbelievable!" No, it's not. God is not a fool, and His love does have logic behind it. He didn't create you with the ability to think just so you could hear His thoughts all the time. He gave you the ability to think so that you could learn and grow from both tangible (books, podcasts, the bible) sources and supernatural sources (prophecy, tongues, imagination/dreams, thoughts).

Logically (yes, I love logic), if we believe that God is good (which nearly all people who believe in a god believe), we must believe that the commands He gives us are doable. He would not instruct us to believe in Him unless it were actually possible to believe in Him. He would not tell us He loves us unless it were true. He would not tell us to depend on Him unless He was, in fact, dependable. God is not unbelievable. Quite contrary actually. God is easy to believe in. I'd say that lies are actually harder to believe than the truth, it's just that we're confronted with lies so much more often.

If you go through life thinking that miracles are "unbelievable" or abnormal, you will never perform them. If you go through life thinking that God couldn't love some one like you, you'll never experience His love. He will of course still love you, but it won't be of value to non-believers hardly at all, and only of value to those who recieve salvation and nothing more once they get to heaven.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Action from Love, The Struggle

The church has forgotten the most important rule- to love God, and to do things because of that love.

Before I go on, I will say that it does not apply to all of the church. There are those who will simply read this with no convictions or change of heart because it does not apply to them. But, I would say with certainty that if you must fight to convince yourself that what I'm writing doesn't apply to you, then it most certainly does.

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus"

Jesus loves you. He could not love you more. The knowledge that's needed with this is to know why He loves you. Before I say why, I'll clarify what the reasons aren't.

God does not love you based on your righteousness or purity level. Saying "I'm too evil" or "I'm too sinful and dirty" or "I'm too far gone" is not valid. God died for you before you knew of Him, and His death still has power today. He died for you and wanted you before you ever did or even knew about anything good or bad.

It is not because of how much you do or don't do for Him. If that were the case, He would never love anyone except for in glimpses, because no one ever does anything quite worthy of Him (and if they do, it does not last long). You can always have more sincere prayers, deeper worship, and participate in one more ministry. And after you have sinned, His promises have not changed and He is not gone. He desires that all come to know Him.

He does not love you because you were predestined, or because He called some and not others, or loved some and not others. I've seen people come from the deepest pits of hell on earth to Christ's daily glory, and I've heard plenty of stories of those we thought holy both staying truly holy and backsliding to darkness (or turning out to be deceptive). And besides, even if this were not the case, you would not know who was called and who wasn't. Thus, you're just as safe to assume you are chosen as not chosen, and more so chosen because you know about God and the choice.

God does not love you because you love Him. Your feelings of loneliness or rejection are not from or because of God. God cannot hate, because hate is evil and God is not. So, it is senseless to stay in the struggle of God loving you or not. He has already chosen to love you and that choice will not change.

Now, I move on to why He does love you. The first and maybe most logical reason is because He created you to be loved by Him. You were especially designed to be cherished and infatuated over. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. That isn't just a coincidence or a human thought, God created you with a fearful and wonderful process, of which a fearfully and wonderfully made product came of, and has a fearful and wonderful and crazy-awesome destiny. That's you.

Now, hopefully back to my original point. We need to love God, but we should love Him because we want to. We should be pure because we want to be pure. We should do things for Him because we want to do things for Him, not because we ought to. The fuel for all of this is to know that He loves you, and dwell in that.
Going to church on Sunday does not make you a Christian; but rather, because you are a Christian, you go to church on Sunday. No amount of obedience will ever prove that you love God. No amount of humility or church attendance will satisfy Him, and it will never convince you that you love Him. Your loving Him is what satisfies Him, not your actions.

Those who love God know they love Him, and they don't walk around doing miracles and praying over people because they are trying to prove anything, they are doing it because they want to because they want God. They want God because God wants them.

Those who try to love God know that they really don't, they're aware of the struggle- that struggle to convince themselves they're accepted, and to convince God that they love Him. They either don't know or can't accept that God loves them, and that love is unconditional. It's like going to a job where you get paid the same amount regardless of how long you're there or how much work you do, except it's sooooo much better
I encourage you my friends to not stay in the struggle. If you seek God and seek Truth, you will find Him. Why seek Him? Because He is seeking you. He is seeking to overwhelm you in love and peace (that does not mean there is not a cost, but I'm not going into that in this entry).

Jesus loves you, and He could not possibly love you more than He already does.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Square Peg, Round Whole

You my friend, are a square peg. This world and all it’s pleasures are like a round hole; you will never fit. Why won’t you fit? Because you’re not made to fit. Because you’re not designed to fit. That’s why no matter how hard you try, the friends in this world won’t do it for you. This is especially true if you know that you’re not of this world.
Before I expound, I’ll point out that none of us were made to live “in the world.” Yes, when God originally created and designed the earth, He created it to be a place of peace and rest for us. But now when I speak of and say “the world,” I’m not referring to the earth, I’m referring to those who are ruled by and blinded by their sinful nature. I’m referring to those who have caught a glimpse of the truth and ignored it.
Now that I’ve defined the world, my bigger point was that none of us were created to live in sin. So you shouldn’t think yourself any more than those who haven’t found truth, because they were just as designed by God and are just as loved by God as you are. Despite the fact that they aren’t His children, they were created to be. They were created to love Him and be loved by Him; they were created to love Him, and through His love, to truly love you.
We will never care to witness to this world until we care about this world. The only way to love the world enough to have the courage and strength to share Christ with them is to know Christ more. The more we feel loved by Him, and the more we love Him, the more we will love others. My beliefs are that you shouldn’t share God with some one simply because you’re supposed to, no more than you should like football because all men like football or you should own a car because all adults own a car. You should share God because of the personal experience you’re having with Him. You should share Him with others because you’re love and desire for Him simply overwhelm you. This is called grace. Living by the law is obeying it because you should obey it/doing something because you’re supposed to do it. Grace is greater than the law.
One further point before I finish. The way to witness to the world is not by joining the world. There are plenty of analogies for this so I’m not going to even name one. The point is this. You will naturally become more like those you are around, like those you talk to and look up to. If those people are in the world, you will live as one in the world. You cannot be friends with God and the world. There is no excuse to stay in the world when you know the truth. Yes, this includes “it’s my only friend” and “this is where I feel most accepted” or “but we’ve always been friends.”
Then the argument comes “well the Christians I know aren’t much better.” The solution? Find better Christians. Surround yourself with people who are in and of God. Surround yourself with those who will encourage and love you with the love of the Father. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

You Don't Like Me

One of my greatest annoyances and pet peeves in life is this. I hate it when people (not to be confused with hating people) who don’t really like me act like they do like me. Honesty is the best policy far as I’m concerned.
Now, this being said, I can understand why they do so. It comes down to one or all of two reasons far as I can tell. Either they feel like they should like me because they feel and think that it’s good to like and love all people, or they have some and probably too great a sense of pride, which tells them that they’re better than disliking anyone, and that “you’re supposed to love everyone including your enemies” no longer needs to be taught to them because they don’t have any enemies. The reality with the second is that many times this is a blind view that the devil loves us to have; the reality is that they really do have enemies.
The first reason is admirable, but still at a fault. The second is foolish and unfortunate. The fault with the first is that God doesn’t tell us to like everybody. Jesus had plenty of people that He didn’t like; the Pharisees, the retailers of the temple, and I’d imagine the Romans, just to name a few. But, while He didn’t like them, He still loved them. He died for them as well. As disagreeable as it may seem, Jesus died for Hitler and Stalin too.
Jesus actually made some people dislike Him by loving them. I’ll let you read up on that one though. My bigger point is that being loving doesn’t mean being likable, at least not always. Of course we should strive to be at peace with all men (Romans 12 I believe), but not at the expense of honesty. This being said, I do know of a verse in the bible where it says that “God sent a lying spirit…” which means that He is sovereign and there may be exceptions, which means that what I’ve said may not be absolute. At the same time, God is God and He knows morality and perfection (and wisdom) better than you do.
Honesty is the best policy, and here’s one logic as to the reasons why. A bad man who is honest with himself and others will, perhaps through trials and pain or through wisdom and following, eventually want to change. This is because God has put in each of us an inner sense of morality, of what is good and what is bad. Furthermore, He has made us feel more compelled to do good.
A good man who is honest with himself will one, but humbled by seeing what faults he does have (and being receptive to being humbled), and two, people will naturally like him more because he is good, because he is real, and because he has character (which produces hope).
So either way, honesty is a good thing. Is honesty always pleasurable? No. Is confessing our sins to one another fun? No. Is confessing our sins to God fun? Not at all. But is it good? Yes. I believe that honesty is directly from God, and that it’s ends are always good. Do unto others as you’d have them do to you. Love your neighbor as yourself. Be honest, first with yourself and then with others.
One last point I shall make. Me bringing this up is not out of some desperate need to be loved by some one, as some may assume it is. It is not spurned by immaturity and sensitivity, but rather by injustice and hopefully wisdom. I don’t need you to love me because I know and love the One who loves me more than you ever could. He shall supply all my needs. I do, however, want you to like and love me, and I do my best to like and love you.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

In His Likeness


We are made in His image. It seems like I hear it argued or doubted all too often. Those who argue say it simply means we have 3 parts, a mind, soul, and heart. Thos who doubt are, as far as I can tell, ruled simply by disbelief and fear (and perhaps worthlessness as well).
>>>>>>>
This is what I believe. We are made in His image and likeness. I believe we are fearfully and wonderfully made. I believe it completely logical that a God who values us enough to send His Son to suffer and die a brutal and humiliating death also values us enough to make us in His actual physical image. Does that mean we all look the same? No. God was also smart enough and considerate enough to make us each individually special. If He was willing to give us some one as cherished to Him as Jesus, why wouldn't He also want to make us reflect Himself? Why wouldn't He be willing to give us everything else?
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Before I go on, I should point out that our bodies are made by God. Yes, we refer to it as flesh and our sinful nature and all of the above, but originally, before Adam and Eve sinned, we were created in His likeness. We were perfect, even in our physical attributes and form. I say this because I also think it completely logical that God has a physical form. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. While they are all in each other (noted by Jesus saying "I am in Him and He in me"), they are all seperate in a unique way as well. The part of the flowy ghostly mistifying spirit is already played by the Holy Spirit, so why would God the Father and God the Son need to only be spirits? Why wouldn't they have physical forms? Just food for thought.
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In a world of disbelief and doubt, I stive to not be reductionist. I don't care to make less of myself (or more of myself) than I am, and espeically don't care to make less or different of God. It's the same reason the bible isn't God. If God is only the bible, then He is nothing more than words and knowledge on paper. Knowing what I know, I know He is far more than that. God was here before the scriptures were written, and He'll be here for long after they disappear.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Song- The Truth Is

I am scared
I’m afraid
For I have sinned
If I confess
aren’t I less
Than what you want?
But the truth is
I’m fallen short
I am in chains

But the truth is
In Your arms
Is where I belong
I know through love
In Your name
Chains will break
I know
You are a God
Who forgives and forgets

But the truth is
I can be free
I can be changed

But the truth is
In Your arms
Is where I belong

What a beautiful surrender
What a glorious Father
I am forgiven
I am forgiven

But the truth is
I am free
I am changed

The truth is
In Your arms
Is where I belong

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Why?


My question today is this. Why? Why not love? Or maybe a better question is, why don’t we love? There are only a few reasons as far as I can tell. I’m going to do my best to keep this streamlined, but it may go off on a few tangents, please pardon me.
First and most common, we don’t love because we don’t feel loved. Being as we are, and even as God is, we desire to be loved and be loved. God was the “bigger man” by stepping up and loving us first, in hopes that we’d love Him back because we already were and felt loved. As inhumane or cruel as it may seem at first, we really only want to love those that love us. That is the basis for most relationships. You find something in common with some one, you’re kind and they’re kind, and you develop an interest and love for each other. This is true whether it be friendships or family or romance.
I personally don’t think that it’s impossible to love without first feeling loved, though I know of many people that do. Each person is made with a spirit, a soul, and that soul is given by and likened to God. I believe that with that comes a small dose of an ability to love, even without acknowledging Christ. If you want to dispute that, feel free to email me.
With this also comes a reality that if we feel loved by God, we can freely love others. Love is a need, and when that need is met by The One who designed it to be met by Him, we don’t need love from people and so, because we love God and feel loved by Him, we obey Him and love others. If you aren’t content, and don’t feel loved, and especially if you’re a Christian, you will find it terribly difficult to truly love others. This is because you don’t feel loved, which means you feel empty. You can’t fill up a car with an empty gas pump.
The next reason, I think, because we don’t know how to love. Solomon and God both make it very clear that knowledge is vital. Solomon says “though it costs all you have, gain wisdom and understanding.” God says “my people perish for their lack of knowledge.” A desire to love must not be confused with the ability to love. I have a desire to speak Italian fluently, but that doesn’t automatically mean I know Italian. So it is with love.
The most interesting thing about this is that love is received in different ways, and in different extreme ways by those who understand it the least. People who have more wisdom, especially the elderly, can receive love in a variety of ways because they understand that each word and each action can have multiple meanings. They understand that intention is more important than results (at least when it comes to love.)
That last line may seem a little shady so let me expound. If my best friend is dying, and needs a blood transfusion, I will gladly go up to the hospital to give him my blood. If he is as true of a best friend as Jesus describes, I’d go up to the hospital to give him my heart. Now, let’s say that my blood type or my heart does not match his. Am I any less of a friend because I couldn’t donate my blood or my heart? Is my love any less valuable because I couldn’t follow through with the action? No. But, this story is told from an inside perspective. My friend may never find out that I didn’t donate because I couldn’t, or some one hearing the story may think that, and think I’m a very terrible person.
If a person truly loves another person, in and through the perfection of love that is Christ, they will show love or at least seek to show love in every way. The love languages would become irrelevant because I would be speaking all of them. I don’t just compliment my friend if I love him, but I pick him up when he runs out of gas, I give him twenty dollars when he’s running low on cash, I listen to him after his girlfriend breaks up with him. That is love.
Now what really baffles me is this. If my friend is gifts oriented, and I am words of affirmation oriented (and we’re saying that neither of us have a love that is perfected), why would I not give him or her gifts? There are only 2 reasons possible. Either I in fact do not love this person, and convince myself that I do because I want to be proud of being a loving person, or I do not know how to love this person because I don’t know that they are gifts oriented. If you somehow do know this person’s love language and do not speak it, yet claim to love him or her, you are not only a liar but also unloving. I plead that if you are this way with some one, you repent and forgive, and ask for forgiveness.
There is nothing greater than love, no greater feeling that to love and be loved. Even God desperately wants your love. This is how I know. Jesus plead with the Father saying “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” If you read Genesis, you will find that we are created to fellowship with God. In Psalms David writes “how great are your thoughts of me oh lord, that they outnumber the grains of sand!” God is happy and fulfilled when you love Him, and He loves to love you.
My last note. The big difference between you and God (besides the obvious) is that you need love, while God wants love. God existed before you, but you did not exist before God. God is sustained without you, but He so desperately wants to live in you.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More than Mine


I just listened to the song “Glorious Day” by Casting Crowns. In the songs there’s a line that says “My Savior Jesus is mine.” Besides that fact that it’s so profound, I find something very peculiar about it.
Immediately afterwards I asked God (and myself) “When does Jesus say ‘I am Yours’ to anyone except the Father?” Then He answered me. He never has because it’s deeper than that. We not only belong to God but, if we choose Him and believe in Him, we are IN Him. It’s on a completely different level. An analogy.
A child who sleeps with a teddy bear usually cherishes the teddy bear for comfort, as something to hold and love, and feel safe with. The teddy bear belongs to the child in every way except maybe that he didn’t buy it.
Now, that is not the relationship we have with God, and we ought to be very joyful about that. Our relationship is more this. Say I have kid, and this kid has a kidney disease. I have the same blood type and genetics so I donate my kidney out of love to my own son/daughter. Not only did I help give birth to the child, but I raised him and saved him. See? The connection is much deeper. That is how Christ is with us. He loves us even more than that though. He could not love us anymore than He already does.
Not only did He create us, but He protects us, blesses us, and loves us. Jesus says many times in the scriptures that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him. Also, “If anyone be in Me and my word abide in him, he shall ask anything he wants of the Father and it shall be given to him.” Crazy Love. John 1 says that “in the beginning was The Word, and The Word was with God, and the Word was God…” So, The Word and God are one in the same.
God wants us to be in Him, and He wants to be in us. He stands at the door knocking, and if anyone will answer He will come in and fellowship with him/her. You need not ever feel bad about being blessed, about being safe, or about fulfilling your dream. You are supposed to be blessed! But, the only way God can bless you is if you let Him in and believe in Him. This relationship is even closer than a brother. It’s beyond that, deeper than that.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Painter


            The creation vs the creator. God is like a painter, and we are like his painting. When we follow his strokes, his ideas, and his plan, we become beautiful, we become what we were created to be. Though, unlike the painting, we have a will. We can choose to be how he has created us to be, or we can choose to smear and rub the paint all over. Love is the choice He has made in painting us, putting all of His thought and expertise into us. Love is also the choice of us to submit our will to His, and when we do, He is able to make us into a masterpiece.
            Also, when I look at a painting, I care about the paint that was used, the brush that was used, and the practical application, but furthermore, I am much more interested in the person who painted it. I wonder where his inspirations come from, what his experiences are, how he became gifted in the area of art, and who he is. In the same way, I strive to be far more interested in God Himself than His creation. In fact, my care for the creation comes from my care for the creator.
            The painting shows me things about the painter. It is an outward expression of his moods, his feelings, and his muses. So, the painting is important, quite important, in fact so important that the painter would not be a painter without his painting. This is why God created us, to love Him.
            Another break down in this analogy is that, because we have a free will, our lives do not always reflect Christ. The painting, in the natural, will be exactly how the painter paints it. If we choose anything other than Him, we have ruined the painting. If even one part of the painting is not like the painter designed it, it is no longer His painting. It’s incomplete, unsatisfied. Fortunately our painter has a love and mercy that endure forever, and He is ever patient with us to choose Him and His will.
            We are God’s creation, but because Adam fell to sin, we have become subject to sin, to flaws. However, because Jesus died for us, we can be made new again, as if we had never sinned. The painting can be fixed, all we must do is focus on the painter and allow Him to work in and through us.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Double Dose: Who You Are

Who you are is not determined by you. God has made you who you are, at least in all the ways that do and ever will matter. The ways that matter most are that you are fearfully and wonderfully made by God(Psalm 139:14), and you have a calling and a purpose He laid out for you, and placed in you something that no one else has/can do. Those are the greatest and most important things about you.

Who you are is not defined by Satan. He may in fact know who you are better than you do, and he is doing everything he can to keep you from knowing who you really are. He is a liar who makes his full-time job to convince you that you are something you really aren't, and to convince you that you aren't things that you really are. His best revenge against Christ is to steal you from Him.

Who you are is defined by God.

Before I go on, may I clarify something. Sin does not define you. A sinful nature and flesh does not define you. That is why homosexuals and murderers are not sin in themselves, they are sinful. We were all created to serve God in a perfect and holy way, and because Adam fell, we are flawed and impure. God has defeated death through Jesus' death and resurrection, and that same power is available to you. If two things are in you, and one is greater than the other, then surely it must define you (or at least who you're supposed to be).

So, the closer you get to who God originally made you to be, the more of your real self you are.

Who you really are is defined by God (whether you realize it or not). What you do with who you are is up to you. You can be fooled, decieved, ignorant, or know it and be foolish. God either has or so badly wants to call you to something so much greater than these.

Back to the painter analogy. God painted you exactly how he wanted you to be, then sin came and smeared that paint. Now, you as the painting must choose to either let Him fix you by seeking and believing in Him, or choose to be "jacked up." If you're truly seeking God, no devil will be able to hold you back. God will reveal the details of you as a painting, and sin and death are helpless against His power.

Borrow My Car

Wanna hear a cool testimony? So yesterday my roommate Berwanger (the one who smokes and has a girlfriend) wanted to go spend the day with his girlfriend. He spent like an hour in the morning calling car rental companies trying to get a car for the day. Well, turns out it's really difficult to get a car somewhere that you don't live. They only rent out to people locally.

So as he's calling i'm thinking "i could just let him borrow my car for the day" 'cause i'm not going anywhere. The only place i could go is Austin to hang out with Stephanie, but she's already said she's busy and i've driven to her the last several times so if she did want to hang out, she would drive to me.

Then of course i started to think about what a risk i'm taking. If something happens to my car, i can't afford a new one. After a little consideration and finding out that he couldn't get one, I decided to let him borrow it with 2 conditions. First, that he didn't download movies while he was gone (so that i could use the internet at a reasonable speed). Second, that he brought it back full. It was only at a quarter tank when he left so he was basically paying 30 dollars plus his gas.

The Enemy would of course try to play on the "what if" card, but God had something greater in mind. The devil rarely puts ideas into us that are pure evil, but rather, he manipulates the ideas that God has put in us and set before us.

When he was trying to leave to come back to the barracks, the car wouldn't start. He called me and let me know, and immediately I'm thinking "i'm so glad it's not me ('cause i don't know much about cars)" Turns out, he knows quite a bit. We hung up off the phone and immediately I said out loud "in the name of Jesus my car will start right now." He texted me about a minute later and said it started. How great is our God?

Berwanger determined it was bad gas. He put fuel injector cleaner and Heet in there and filled it up with high quality gas when he got back. So all in all I got a day off, a full tank of gas, free and fast internet for the day, my gas lines cleaned out, and I earned favor with Berwanger, and all because I simply listened to God instead of doubt and deception. Awesome right?

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Word, The Difference

I do not believe that the bible is the word of God. Here is why. The bible is a book. If we left the book on a shelf, it would not jump around and do miracles. There's no magic floating around that comes out of it. God however works in mysterious and wonderous ways, and those ways work both through us and not through us. God is not limited, the bible is about 1600 pages.
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That being said, i do believe the bible to be highly valuable and containing wisdom. I believe it is nearly necessary for the Christian life. It is scripture. It has many truths about the Word of God. It is a great tool and gift from above. One more reason is that there were Christians who lived and did wonderful things through Christ who did not have the bible. Moses, for instance, wrote  a lot of things that many people followed, but Moses did not have a bible to help him. You might say "well God did things differently back then." (not to be confused with saying God is different now and then, because He isn't.) This is true, but Christ's life, death, resurrection, and ascension only gave us more access to God, not less. The thing that was different between Moses and I was not that I have a bible and he didn't. The difference is first our calling, and second our strength in our beliefs. But that's getting away from the point.
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Now, the bigger point i want to make is this. When many of you read the first paragraph, I suspect you woud much have liked to disagree with me. Why would you disagree? Because you've always been taught that the bible is the Word of God. Now here's a wrench for you. When Jesus, the disciples, and apostles such as Paul went around telling everyone the truth, the people (Jews, Gentiles, Romans, Pharisees) stoned them, crucified them, and spat in their faces. Why did they do this? Because they already believed they knew what was right. They had taken the words of Moses and whoever else and twisted them to either what the Devil wanted, or what their own selfish desires wanted.
I do not claim to know all truth, but I do claim to be gaining in it and pursuing it. If you asked me, for example, whether God knows the future or not, I would not be able to give you an answer, least not a definitive one. We as Christians I believe need to humble ourselves to any truth God gives us, then compare it to the scriptures, pray for wisdom, and gain in wisdom. In my opinion and as far as I can see, the only reason a Christian would think they know everything is because they are proud. Pride shows just how ignorant they really are.
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Last note. Am I saying to be open to everything? NO. of course not. I'm not open to believing that homosexuality is ok. Why? Because I already know the truth about it. Once you have seen and known truth, stand firm in it, don't be shaken and bewildered.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Yesterday's Thot- A Chosen Generation 8-19-11

"We are a chosen generation." My argument against this i s that it hardly feels like we're chosen when every generation says that. It's like a child choosing all of the candy in the candy store.
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However, this i snot so. Despite the fact that it seems almost cliche, it is true and valuable. Us being a chosen generation doesn't mean that no other generations have been chosen; it's almost the opposite actually. It means that we haven't been left out. It means that our generation has been called and destined just as much as any other generation of glory. We've been chosen to love and be loved. We've been chosen to see miracles. We've been chosen to move mountains and part seas. We've been chosen.
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2 questions come to me when i think of this. First, why should i choose God? Why should i love Him? Well, just because He chose you, and chose you first. While we were still sinners, lost to death in a lost and dying world, Christ dies for us. He didn't even have the gaurantee that we would choose Him; He died so that we'd have the choice of choosing Him. He died so that we'd have the opportunity to draw close and see His face.
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Naturally the next question is "Why did God choose me?" I was thinking about this earlier yesterday and it brought me to a painter analogy. When a painter paints a picture, he does so with the purpose of liking the painting. He puts his mind, intelligence, and energy into it. He does all of this in hopes that it will turn out to be beautiful, to be something that he will love and show off, to be something He's proud of. God did the same thing when he made you.
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You, my friend, were created to be loved. God made you and designed you perfectly with the intention of being proud of you, with the intention of pouring all he has into you. That is why He chose you. That is how you know that you are not an accident. Jesus loves you.

A Broken and Contrite Heart

Today I listened to a song called "Better Than a Hallelujah" by Amy Grant. The line in the song, which the title is based off, is "The honest cries of breaking hearts are better than a hallelujah." Now, before I tell you why i disagree with this, I will say that I have a decent amount of respect for Amy Grant and the work God is doing through her. My point of this is not to bash her or the song particularly.

I disagree that God views a broken heart as more beautiful than a hallelujah, unless of course that hallelujah is "going through the motions" and fake. Then yes, God prefers honest brokeness to false praise. I have found that God highly values us being honest and personal with Him; that's exactly what being in the light is all about. God does not prefer broken and contrite hearts to being glorified and praised as He deserves (unless being glorified and praised comes from brokeness, mentioned in next paragraph).

God of course cares about broken hearts. "The sacrifices of our God are of a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, Oh God, you will not despise." (Psalm 51:17) God not despising a broken heart, and being receptive of a broken spirit, does not mean He actually prefers it. Many times in the Gospel of John Jesus says "_____ in order that your joy may be complete." The one way I am possibly wrong in this is that the sacrifices of our God are of a broken spirit. So, I take this to mean that we are called to suffer as Christ suffered, and as well we are called to rejoice and be comforted as He rejoiced and He was comforted. Notice that the ends of our suffering are joy and comfort. Christ died and was raised from the dead. He was murdered on the cross in order that He could raised and glorified.

My point is this. We must not use this verse as an excuse to remain broken. God the Father did not leave His Son buried and dead, nor did He "sort of" bring Him back or bring Him back secretly. He brought Him back in glory to eternal life and Joy at His right hand. We as God's children are not meant to live in brokeness our entire lives, and we ought not to accept that we are here. Yes, there is a time and a season for everything which includes pain and brokeness and suffering, but I fear that many people have accepted this not as a season but as a lifestyle, one which they do not know how to escape.

"Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice!" God loves you enough to cover whatever sin you've committed and to bring you to Him, but He loves you far too much to keep you there. If you are suffering, let it be because Christ has lead you to that suffering so that you may endure and build character that leads to hope (James), and glorify His name. Don't let it be because you don't know how to accept Him and His love, and certainly don't excuse your suffering because of some unknown or foolish reason.

My last point. There are 3 views of happiness, at least according to what CS Lewis describes, and i've come to full agree with it (I believe it's in Mere Christianity). There are those who are trying to be happy through things other than God, and it's usually through some sort of pleasure in a sinful way (sex, drunkeness, etc.) Then there are those who have accepted that happiness is unachievable. They've given up all hope of ever being content, because they don't know Christ. Finally, there are those who are truly content and joyful because they find their joy in Christ. These are the ones who realize that there is pain and trials in this life, but that there is hope and peace in Christ. This third group is who you're supposed to belong to, and I hope that you do; but if you don't, keep seeking and pursuing Christ, seek truth. "Those who seek me find me."