Wednesday, November 27, 2013

That Life Sentence.

I cannot recall from the days of my youth, a time where I was not among the mindset that the world was a terrible place full of dangerous things.
As a kid I was, as I would define it, cursed with the blessed sense of awareness. I took in a lot. I observed a lot of things that were very dysfunctional. I experienced things that were abuses. There were traumas, and there was death and abandonment. There were times of neglect.... and so much pain.

Looking back there from here.... where I am sitting now...
It honestly makes me cry a little.

When I think about how, by all rights, I wouldn't even be here now..
It is absolutely impossible to not see the Hand of God in my life, even in most of the the most painful things I've survived.

Survival, is an appropriate word.
I was alive and breathing from one wave of attack to another wave of attacks. The world was pouring out so much destruction  on my family, friends and I.
Naturally, when you spend years surviving.... you're going to have habits that carry over into a time of peace.

Even when I turned to God,
I lived from one thing to the next

Let me me tell you folks, you can read the word of God and you can know the word of God, you can recite the word of God but what worth is it if you don't believe?

I'm talking ALL the Word.

Sure I believed that Jesus saves and died for my sins and that he resurrected ...
Sure I believed that He's coming back...

...but did I really believe that He came so that I could have life more abundantly?

I remember looking up at God and asking Him, as reverently and respectfully as I could ...

"Is this what my life is going to be like for the rest of my days? If It is, and that is what you want from me, I'll follow and I'll live it, but God, is there more to living than just surviving?"

He didn't answer me in an audible voice. He didn't answer me thunder or lightning, nor did someone show up in the middle of the night and bang on the door and say "God told me to tell you that there is more for you!!!"

God just brought to my mind the verse,
John 10: 9 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

I said to God " I believe you can do this."

I am so grateful for the mercy that He has shown me, that he has allowed me to be where I am.

" By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;  for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God."- Hebrews 11: 9-10

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The "Self" Infliction.

I was reading my new Bible the other day, and I had it opened to a passage that kinda floored me.

"Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit,returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry." - Luke 4

There is much in this little bit. A great much.

"And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”

Scripture > how we feel.

We are inflicted with this disease that will plague us from the moment we are aware, to the moment we die.
This infection of "Self"

God is smart, because He knows what went down in the garden, when the serpent was chit chatting with Eve. He knew that the second that she bit into that apple, that the action would doom man to be poisoned with an overwhelming sense of self.  Before the fall, man and woman had their focus on God, and each other... and it was good. Then the idea was brought forth for disobedience, The idea that "God did not say" That there was another word contrary to the truth...   Your word, your way, that surely, You will not die.

The two greatest commands are Love God with all your heart soul and strength, and the second like it, love your neighbor as you would yourself.

Now we struggle to love God in our churches. We don't read much of His word. We don't spend much time in prayer.
When we do, it is usually us telling God what we want, or what we think we need.
Should we pick up a Bible, its generally about a minute or two that we read a passage and then we wait until service for a preacher to tell us more things about what the word of God might say because we want to spend our time doing everything except reading it for ourselves.

Love your neighbor as yourself.
All of the commands of God are pointing to this place where God is trying to get us to stop focusing so intently on US, when we should be submitting to Him.

This sickness of self, it is rampant through the body of Christ. We don't have time to listen to what God wants us to do... because WE are too busy doing the things that WE like, in His name.

It's like throwing a party with a chocolate cake, and a chocolate fountain and chocolate ice cream with chocolate fudge and chocolate sprinkles with chocolate chip cookies and chocolate milk.... for the kid that is deathly allergic to chocolate.

Pride is an over inflated sense of self.

I'll get transparent here with something that happened years ago.

The worst pain that I have ever felt in my heart, was brought about from a moment when I heard the devil say words with my voice. I was experiencing a situation that seemed so, perfect. It involved a woman. When I was near this woman I was the happy. We had feelings for each other.  When I looked at my life, and my situation and all the places I've been and all the things I lost... all the suffering I'd endured in my young life... I was not looking at God, or HIS word... I heard that voice that sounded like mine say "You deserve this one thing. You deserve to be happy in this."  This relationship it felt so right, and romantic, and magic...

...but it didn't feel obedient.

The more years I put between then and now, the more I see how little I understood about love, you know. The sacrificial true stuff. I think one of the hardest things that I have ever done in my life is not be with that woman. My love and my duty to God, my focus on Him... that took me in another direction.
Had I said to heck with everything and stayed, what could I ever have spoken of on Honor, and Submission, Sacrifice and self denial? What could I have said that wouldn't have been contradicted by my action?

We get caught up in these things where we feel a certain way, and we think that because we feel these feelings so strongly and they are so powerful, that they are right.

I have heard people say that they do not feel convicted about certain things in the Bible that God says very clearly are a sin. Suddenly, when we say such a thing, we are now elevating our feelings above the truth of scripture.

Can you imagine, fasting for 40 days?
Can you imagine fasting for 2 weeks?
Can you imagine if Jesus had turned the stones to bread?

He was being tempted to take His eyes off of the focus and exaltation of God and the Power of the Holy Spirit... in order to serve HIM SELF!

.... and he didn't.

I am so far away from the example of Jesus, but I am fighting to get closer to it.
Love God with all your heart, soul and resources.
Love your neighbor as yourself...

A fool does not delight in understanding,
But only in revealing his own mind.- Provbs. 18:2

self focus vs learning from another.

Philippians 2:3-8

 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,  who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.  Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming (obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

This is something so very basic....

like breathing.

.. and like breathing,

it can kill you the less you practice it.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Movies and Frozen Pizza

Tonight, At about 11pm, I remembered that there was a midnight showing of a movie that I wanted to see. I remembered this about twenty minutes before I got off of work, and that, seemed like the most appropriate time to launch a campaign to try to find ONE person to attend this movie with me.

I'm throwing invitations up on my facebook status, I'm opening chat windows for people Facebook says are online, I'm offering to pay, I'm offering to pick people up because I've gotta tell you, movies aren't as good when you see them alone. I did that one time and it was awful. All the anticipation building up to see the show and  I turned to the empty chair and had nobody to tell how excited I was about it. After the movie, I had all the highs and lows of cinematic critique fresh in my mind, and there was nobody to share it with.
It was super lame.

I even got to the point where I invited the weird guy from work that doesn't exactly get things right, but is not a bad guy and heck, maybe even we might be better friends as a result of sitting seeing a movie outside of work. He smiled at me with a laugh and said he wasn't much of a movie person.
I've never really gotten that much either. I meet people every now and again that hate movies. I don't understand that. I love the stories. The character developments and the sense of adventure.People are like that. Everyone has some story that they can relate too. Everyone can see some character in a movie and laugh or launch into an anecdote about some villain that they faced in their own way. Everyone can tell a story about how they didn't rise in the face of adversity and they stumbled and it broke their heart. They can tell about a friend they lost.

 Perhaps, if I hadn't waited until the 11th hour, I might have had someone respond to my invitation.
Maybe then I would be munching on the golden buttery popcorn in the light of the silver screen instead of crunching on frozen mexican pizza in the dark of my living room.

I may have over cooked this a little. Its a bit chewy.

There is a message about the Gospel in here.

Can we get this excited about the news that not only did our sins be forgiven, but we can have victory over them to the point where we do not continue in them?

Are we telling everyone we can, that there is hope in a redeemer that loves us.
.... that piece was burnt.... I just bit a burnt piece.... I knew I waited too long to pull that out of the oven...

... don't wait to long to do the things that God is telling us to do. He says Go, preach the good news. Share the gospel. When you friends and family and co-workers and neighbors, and enemies and beggars and strangers  are in the heat, sweating out the pains of life without hope....  Tell them about the one who save them. That unlike this part of the pizza, they aren't too far gone.

Listen to their stories. Point out the foreshadows of God's character that is ready to be introduced into their script. The hero of tale.
The one bringing salvation.

The one with the power to twist the plot and make us no longer the villains, but the long lots heirs.