Thursday, July 9, 2009

are you listening?

We serve a God with manners. God is always respectful of our right to choose. He gives many, many choices within in our Christian life, the first being whether to choose Him [life, everlasting and abundant] or to not [death and dissatisfaction]. After we choose Him, the choices don’t end.

However, God knows which choices are better and aligned with His commands and which are not. God’s commands serve two purposes. The first is that we give Him the glory and honor that He deserves. The second is something that is commonly overlooked.

God possesses all wisdom. He is not a fool, nor is He a sycophant to any type of emotion. His commands make sense. Many people choose to eschew some of God’s commands, thinking themselves the wiser. However, if one looks to the root of the commands, they will see that our God is one who is the wisest.

God is quite lovely in the fact that He will never force His wisdom down our throats. He will prompt, He will urge, but if we resist, He will not force.

However, if we do not follow God’s gentle prompting, He knows.

If we are seeking after God’s heart, isn’t only logical that we would want to fulfill His commands? Therefore, the proof of a heart seeking after God is not the lip service and praise that we give Him in His house or even the exhortation in front of other people, but rather it is based on wholeheartedly and faithfully following His commands. When it becomes our delight to follow God’s prompting and commands, then it is a true testament to a heart that is close to His.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

alone

“alone, alone, He bore it all alone”

When Jesus walked the hill of Calvary, He was alone. Even though God had previously given Him the right to choose disciples for His ministry and He was in close communion with them during His ministry, during the gruesome act of sacrifice, the pinnacle of His ministry, He was alone.

God understands people. He created us, and He knows our needs, whether they be for food, shelter, or for social contact. He awards us with brothers and sisters in the church so we can work towards the same goal together. However, as shown in His example, many of the most important points of our Christian lives will be gone through on our own.

Those are the defining moments that no one will know about but us. Those are the individual facets that God blesses us with in our lives that give us each a unique song of His goodness.

A contrast arrives when your life becomes juxtaposed with the lives of others who refuse to “walk the walk”. Suddenly we feel lonely because everyone else seems to be committed to a half-pursuit of God and we are experiencing an amazingly full communion with Him. It makes us want to quit being around the church or being around people. It makes us want to compromise.

In those times, a question is posed: What is our Christian pursuit about? Is it about receiving the affirmation of others? This natural need to receive affirmation from other people can be misused as an attack to our Christian lives.

Jesus bore the pain alone. Support from brothers and sisters can be a great tool to have, however, our Christian lives are not about affirmation within the physical church. It’s about our private longing and communion with God. No matter what is seen on the outside, no matter what types of acts others choose to commit, God seems our individual acts and cherishes the sincerity of each and every heart. Truly God is so good by loving us so deeply and uniquely!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

reboot

“so many times we fail, still Your mercy remains…”

I am someone who fails. Looking back, the amount of times that I have fallen and felt like a failure seem countless. It seems like that is what I am continually doing. Whether it be literally or figuratively, it seems like I am always failing and having to pick myself up.

Failure feels terrible. It eats away at you and creates these thoughts of doubt and distrust. These thoughts, seemingly directed at oneself, actually become the roots of doubt in God.

If our hearts are chasing after God and seeking Him to be the person and do the actions that He wants us to do, our success becomes His accomplishment. Not ours. That means that we need to believe that God will accomplish all the things that He wills to be done.

Our failure should not result in doubt in oneself, but rather, belief in God. Failure and uncertainty keep us reliant on God! It “puts us in our place”, so to speak. When we fail, we are brought back to our place of assurance, which is in God. On our own, we will never be free of failure. With God, however, failure is a means to an end, which is God’s glory, rather than just an end.

Failure is a beautifully unique part of the Christian walk. God does not condemn us for failure or mistakes but rather will welcome us back even more, every time we return if it leads to a deeper reliance on Him and an increased yearning to know Him.

True accomplishment will only be found in God.

Monday, July 6, 2009

what type of fool are you?

In this world, we can make ourselves fools for everything. Chick flicks bombard us with the concept of “fools for love”. These are people who end up doing anything, especially incredibly foolish things just to show someone else that they love them. We swoon over the idea because it is so touching.
I am a fairly obsessive person. If I am “into” something, I will slowly but surely become some sort of fool for it. The things that I am “into” are usual the most trivial of concepts—finding the best makeup products or baking the best apple pie! I think about the idea, I talk about it, I do my research, I read reviews. If you come up to me when I am in one of my phases, you can bet that I will find some way to sneak my current obsession into the conversation. It is so easy for my mind to become enraptured by a concept.
God, in the bible, states that He had come to give us life more abundantly. He knows us, and He treasures every special thing about us. That means that our minds and their intellectual tendencies, our likes, our dislikes, those are part of the uniqueness that God has created us with. That means that yes, God does treasure our uniqueness. However, do we make our lives about serving these trivial details?
It’s like going to the circus just for the roasted peanut stand. The goal of the circus, the point of the circus, is not the food. However, we can focus on these details and make them the center of our lives to the point where that is what we live for and work for! We can become so enraptured by these ideas that we can slowly and surely become fools for them.
There is a very fine line between making the most of all the things that God has given us in our lives and making our lives about these minuscule details. God wants us to have the direction of our hearts focused on the big show- Him!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

frustration

So many songs that we sing and listen to regarding the way of the Lord characterize this walk as one that is full of comfort and joy. They tell us that no matter what, the Lord has us and we leave those moments filled with the idea that a true walk with the Lord is one where the pilgrim feels assured and satisfied, and to a point, that is true. The satisfaction and fulfillment that is experienced in the Christian life is unmatched.

However, that does not mean that every moment with the Lord is easy. Life isn’t easy. There are hurdles, challenges and uncertainty. There is temptation and challenges and we fall. The good Christian life is not one of exercised blamelessness but rather of constant repentance.

The difference between the Christian life and the secular one is truly at the beginning and the end. We begin our Christian lives in the light of the cross and the fact that no matter what we go through, no matter what challenges or hardships, we live in the shadow of the cross, the ultimate sacrifice. This fact pushes us to continue even though giving up seems like a better option.

At the end of our walk, we have hope. We don’t toil for no reason but rather live in the fact that we have this eternal treasure waiting for us in heaven. We are propelled forward in pursuit of this. In exchanged for this glorious hope we are asked to patiently endure every challenge that is brought our way.

However, these things are part of a constant struggle to keep on with this commitment. In the midst of our failures and our pain we need to find those moments where we reach out to the things that we are supposed to keep on. We pick ourselves up and we keep on going.

We have to.

Friday, October 10, 2008

so many times we fail

It’s a really great thing when you can look back and realized that you have been faithful to your walk with the Lord for a certain period of time. For the last year my goal has been faithfulness and devotion, and I have tried to keep myself in check in those things regarding my walk with God.

However, after a certain period of time, you get so comfortable in your walk, and get so used to staying in the right that you forget how easy it is for us, as humans, to fall. You get smug. You think, “hey, I’m not too bad at this, I probably could go it alone!” and then suddenly something happens and you realize how easy it is for us, as humans to fall.

The temptations for sin are all around us. Its na├»ve to think that these things don’t exist or that they aren’t always waiting for us to have a moment of weakness. Even the good things in life can be turned bad depending on our lack of reliance on God and our remembrance of the place that He has in our lives and the lives that we are supposed to live.

This uncertainty and fear seems counterintuitive to the solace and peace that we are supposed to receive as children of God, but I beg to differ. The very basis of our faith is the fact that we indeed our sinners and that God has been gracious to us. We are sinners saved by faith, and no matter what are deeds are, good or bad, that will not change. This truth is one of the most beautiful tenets of our faith!

However, the shame and guilt that comes with sin are things that seem to want to pull us away from God. The overwhelming feeling that we have failed, that we have again shown imperfection brings the sinner to feel unworthy of receiving the great things that God has in store for them.

We forget that the Christian life is one of cultivating perseverance, and that the sin itself, while perhaps a terrible blemish, is not the thing that will keep us from God. God has already taken care of the sin! We need to pray yes, that God will forgive our sins, but also that He gives us the strength to keep on walking and that when we fall we remember that the Lord, in His loving kindness, is there to pick us up. Apart from Him, we falter.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

look alive.

Focus. I seem to write about focus a lot, and for 2 reasons. Firstly, I believe that focus is one of the most important things that a Christian should have. It is really easy to get distracted and sidetracked by all the busyness in life to the point where we lose our focus. Secondly, I believe focus is something that, unless fastidious about, I severely lack.

I am one of those people who can get completely caught up in things that are new or shiny. I enjoy the thrill of things that are new, and usually things that are new tend to take up more of my thoughts.

However, in order to be faithful, fruitful Christian, we have to keep on our eyes on the prize. This is easier when you’re life is lacking in other objects to take our focus, however, what happens when suddenly your life fills up with other things that demand your time and attention?

This isn’t about neglecting everything else in our lives for things that we think are look “holy”, but rather about shifting the focus and directionality of everything in our lives so that they are constantly being centered on Christ, because God praises those who are good stewards of what has been entrusted to them. Oftentimes we eschew these things because we think that they are too small to be noticed. Yes, many tasks are so small that they will never be noticed and appreciated by man, but we have to ask ourselves, is that the goal? Is that the purpose of anything we do? Even if it is, it shouldn’t be. We forget that we are running a race.

Races are not hard. You get tired. You want to quit, but something keeps on telling you to keep going. To push it. To go all out. You only get to run this race once you you’d better give it all you’ve got.

Look alive!