Archive for January, 2013

What kind of Love is this?

I was contemplating the story of Christ in the garden when they came to arrest him.  Peter in his usual calm manner, ie: being a hothead, pulls out a sword and cuts off a man’s ear.

 And Jesus knowing these men are going to arrest him and what’s coming next doesn’t say “Good on you Peter”. Instead he stops, heals this guy who is going to help his enemies kill him.
What kind of love is this?  I have a hard time loving some mebers of my family, and I actually like them most of the time.  I can’t imagine loving someone who wants me dead.  Yet isn’t that what the Christian ethic says we are to do, not just when it is easy, or when we feel like it, but all the time.
Next time someone says to me I don’t get this whole God thing, I am going to say “Me to neither.”  I don’t get how God can love me so much that he does what he does in order to have a relationship with me.
English: Prestbury war memorial - northern fac...

English: Prestbury war memorial – northern face “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”. On 864428. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

” Our comfort is not God‘s priority.” Max Lucado from It’s not about Me

Does God love man? 

Of course, but how off track do I get. I get tied to this idea that His love means that His end game is to take care of me.  God’s goal is not to lift me up.  Instead his goal is to bring me to a place where I bring glory to Jesus, that is really what Christian living is all about.  Not bringing glory to me for his sake, but to Christ for my sake.
I, you, all of creation was made to declare the glory of God.  Yet God’s glory, his greatness is not for His good, but for mine.  Lets be clear God does not need praise, worship or adoration.  He was full and complete long before the creation of the first angel.  Before God created man, God had need of nothing.  He created man to reveal his glory for man’s benefit.  Had God not created man He would still be glorious, perfect, and complete.

If you had it all, would you  share freely?

Even if it cost you, a lot?  Me either which is why it is a good thing neither of us is God.  His desire was to create man so that we could share in His glory.  Not loneliness or need motivated this, but love.
Thank God he is not me.
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Who are you?

Fear and Trembling

Fear and Trembling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What would I give to see God for who he is.  All of his glory in such a way that it would drive me to my knees like Isaiah in fear and trembling.  To really grasp my weakness and unimportance in the presence of God.

To see my self as I truly am because of seeing God for who he really is.
Or so I think.  Could I really handle seeing God face to face?  Or would I beg for him to depart,to leave me alone?
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Amish family riding in a traditional Amish bug...

Amish family riding in a traditional Amish buggy in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wonder if the Amish are on to something?  Are they right to send the young men out into the world.  By forcing them to make their beliefs system their own, nobody can then take it away from them.  What they claim to believe isn’t just because of what their parents, friends, or family believe, but they are forced to make a choice.  To either accept or reject the beliefs that they have been raised with.

Or is someone else’s belief enough?

Contrast that with the following survey from the UK
“Asked why they had been recorded as Christian in the 2011 Census, only three in ten (31%) said it was because they genuinely try to follow the Christian religion, with four in ten (41%) saying it was because they try to be a good person and associate that with Christianity.”
Can what you believe be handed to you like a family heirloom?  For me I left the family beliefs behind.  I searched and looked and tried so many things.  Only to have a sense of emptiness that nothing could fill.
Oh I tried and trust me I worked really hard to make all kinds of things fill me up, make me feel complete.  Inside of me was what I now know was a God shaped hole.  But then I tried to make other religions fill that.  When that didn’t work I then looked at anything, everything else.  Other people, especially women, trying to make them fit that shape.

Until it is your own it will not fit.

I would put someone else in that place, and for a time it would kind of sort of work.  Imagine trying to make three pounds fill a twenty pound bag.  There is something there, and it doesn’t feel as empty.  But sooner or later you realize that there is still something missing.  A life that isn’t full, isn’t complete.
The only thing big enough is God.  And now, well those other things just don’t seem that important.  Actually not important at all.  I enjoy the company of friends and time with family.  And although some of them are women I don’t use them to fill me up.  In fact being involved, dating, even the idea of marriage doesn’t really fit, at least for now.

Unlike Jerry McGuire the only thing that completes me is God.

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English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth Presid...

English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States. Latviešu: Abrahams Linkolns, sešpadsmitais ASV prezidents. Српски / Srpski: Абрахам Линколн, шеснаести председник Сједињених Америчких Држава. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“We should not pray that God is on our side, but rather that we are on His.”  Abraham Lincoln

Right to bear arms, abortion, welfare.  So much dividing our country right now.  I wonder if anyone is praying as President Lincoln, not that God was one our side but that we are on His.  As Christians are we assuming too much?  Some who dare to call themselves by the name of Christ, presume to know the mind of God, but I wonder how much time has been spent seeking God’s will before taking action.  Or do we just jump in with what we think is the correct Christian ethic, never stopping long enough to seek God’s will.

neither for or against

Back before the children of Israel entered the promised land Joshua is standing near Jericho.  I wonder if he is thinking about the battles to come.  Is he contemplating the lives that will be lost fighting?  I don’t know and it doesn’t say.  But then he sees a man standing with his sword drawn.  And Joshua asks him “Are you for us or for our enemies.”, and what’s the response?  “No, but as captain of the host of The Lord I come.”  Is God for Israel?  It seems to me God saying, I don’t do this for you, I do it for me.

Are we thinking God is on our side and forgetting that we need to be on his?  Until we get on his side we are not doing it for his glory, but for ours.

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English: "The First Thanksgiving at Plymo...

English: “The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am wondering about having a longing for God. I want to want nothing more than God.  And I know that there truly is nothing more.  I intellectually want and desire nothing more than all of God. Mentally I desire to settle for nothing less. Physically I go to my knees, face to the ground and ask for the fullness of God.

But day after day I get up,and go my way.  Off to work I go without what I came for.  Is it too much?  I come to God and like Jesus example I ask for a fish, an egg, and most certainly the Father won’t give me a scorpion, or a stone.  But is he saying to me, “you have no idea what it is you are asking for.”  Does he hold back, not for his sake, but for mine?
Is God holding back, hesitating a moment to allow me the time to build the muscle so I can lift the load that is coming. What if it takes tough guys to handle knowing God?  Is it really for the 98lb. Weakling to lift up God?
I don’t think so, we serve a big God, shouldn’t it take broad shoulders to carry him into a world that is lost, hurting hopeless.
At the same time I think of Thanksgiving day.  All the sights the sounds, but especially the smells.  I know Thanksgiving is nearly a year away, but right now thinking about it can you smell the Turkey, the gravy.  I think about the hunger building, the anticipation.  Being famished, and the smell makes it worse.  Is that sometimes the way God works.  Building the desire by letting us smell, maybe even see, but holding back the feast, for a moment.  Should I settle, taking what is there right now, or do I wait?  Refusing to get up until God gives me what I need?
Especially since what I really truly need is all of him.
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Work as Worship

I am a Realtor by trade and over the past several years I have made a decent living by serving my clients. Meeting their needs, helping them get what they want has been my goal.  My big goal has been to take care of enough clients, well enough, that I will be well compensated and I can then have all I want.

But what if that is all wrong?  What if instead I turn it all around?  Make showing the glory of God the Big goal.  Attempt to bring glory to God thru my work the priority.  To be so good at my job that clients want to know the how and the why.
What if I take exceptional care of everyone that comes in to my circle, my sphere of influence?  If I serve them so well that they see God working thru me.  Or maybe if they don’t recognize the why, they know that something is so different they are compelled to ask.
If I take on, attack my labor with so much love.  Work with an abundance of energy, enthusiasm would it show a difference?  If I really performed as if unto the Lord would it leave any doubt that I am different?
Perhaps I should perform my work as an offering, as a form of worship of God.
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Isn’t there more?

Being what some would define as moral does not mean your kind.  But as a Christian we are to be kind, gentle, humble.  And what’s more to love our enemies.

I don’t know of anyone who is seen as simply moral, who also loves their enemy.  Marcus Aurelious was known as a moral leader, his writings about stoicism are still read, studied, and followed.  Often by those looking for a moral guide to life.  Yet this was a man who had no problem persecuting Christians of his day, because they were the other.
We are called to more than just a moral life.  We are called to be more.  Christian ethics mean to be not just good people, but to be a reflection of our Creator.
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Does Walt Disney have it all wrong?

I know more than a few women that take on that whole princess persona, and I have always thought.  “Who the heck, wants to be with someone that needy.”  But it got me thinking.  Why do so many girls, and even grown women long, or desire to take on that persona?

Well what is a princess?  Isn’t a princess the daughter of the king?  Doesn’t that mean that every Christian woman is by extension a princess?  How many different places does the Bible call us the children, or sons and daughters of God.  Brothers and sisters in Christ, who is the King.  So is this a longing for women to take their rightful place?

Seeing the women around us for who they really are.

This seems to be a confirmation of the God shaped hole that we are born with.  I have often heard the sermon or teaching on wives submit to your husbands, and know more than a few people, men and women that get offended at such a thought.  Why, because we have such a confused and distorted understanding of what it means.
If you think of a great King or Queen what comes to mind?  Do you picture Henry 8th or is it Arthur?  What about Queen Elizabeth, whatever the case most often we do not imagine Prince John from Robin Hood, or the queen in Snow White?  No we picture the kind gentle caring monarch.  The one who cares for the people.  Princess Buttercup, who cares about the poor, not Anne Boleyn.  So why do we have a problem with submitting?
See if you’re a man, you are called to submit not to another person, but to Christ.  Called to submit, to love others so much that death is the least you can do.  Submitting to death even death on a cross.  So how can you not care enough about your wife, that serving her is your natural position.  Isn’t that what it means to be a Christian, to submit to one greater than yourself, and to serve those that are in your life
So who wants a princess?  Well thinking it over I guess I do.
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If I would just grab a hold of God with both hands I couldn’t hold onto all the other junk, the treasures of this world that keep me away from God.  So many things that I let come between God and myself.  He doesn’t put them there, I do.

While the stuff get’s pulled away

Lately it’s almost funny, everything I put between us, God keeps ripping away.  Like he is bound and determined to have me right in his path, unable to hide behind anything.  Money, work, relationships.  You name it over the past couple of years it has been torn away, or moved to the side.  Just one example, I’m a bit of a workaholic, and over the past year work has reached the point that by 5pm  I can’t find anything else to do.  After all how many follow-up calls, or letters can I send?

A change in priority

All of that other stuff does not seem that important anymore.  The more I know of God the more he seems to want me to know of him.  Almost like one of those nesting toys, only God is doing the work revealing himself more.
Although I must admit I struggle with being afraid of really completely letting go of the other stuff 100%.  Typical goofy worries, what if he sends me to Africa, kind of thoughts.  Excuses really.  I keep coming up with one baloney reason after another to not just grab a hold with both hands and hang on as tight as I can.  I guess my belief is not all I had hoped it would be at this point of my life.
What things are you grasping at?  Afraid of what might happen if you let go of that one little area? Or am I the only one?