Archive Page 2

13
Oct
09

caught up in yourself

Take a good look around you
And I’m sure that you are bound to
Think that all you have comes down to
You and what you’ve done
If you look far beyond this
There’s a life I hope you don’t miss
What has kept you from moving on
Is learning to let go

And there’s so much more
Than what you’re looking for

Caught up in yourself
Call it like it is
Well, you’re so good
But you’ll never be good enough

You think if you surrender
It’s the end, but just remember
Life is more than dying embers
Burning in your soul

And I know it’s true
‘Cause I am just like you

Thank God for mercy
Thank God for His grace
Thank God for everything you’ve got

Before it’s too late

And there’s so much more
Than what you’re looking for

09
Oct
09

white house….to prison

Meet Charles “Chuck” Colson…charlescolson

Power.  Success.  Presidential aide.  Washington influence.

Known as President Nixon’s “hatchet man.”  Described by some as the “evil genius of an evil administration”.  Colson described himself as, “valuable to the President … because I was willing … to be ruthless in getting things done.”

.DOWNFALL.

Scandal.  Described as a “national disgrace” for his involvement in Watergate.  Sent to federal prison.

In Colson’s book, Born Again, he “describes the day he sat in his prison cell and began jotting down notes of the events that brought about the fall of a president and the rebirth of his former “hatchet man.

From the White House to prisonJust like THAT.

But there was a plan. While Colson jotted down notes, God was working in his heart.  Colson re-committed his life to Jesus…and the LORD opened Colson’s eyes to the needs around him in prison.

Fast forward. Colson started the ministry, Prison Fellowship, and built it into a $50 million organization operating in all 50 states and 110 countries.  What is their vision?

That Jesus Christ’s transforming grace and truth be manifested in the lives of prisoners and their families, as the local church and Prison Fellowship partner in Christ’s work to restore prisoners to the community and Church as contributing members, bearing witness that no life is beyond the reach of God’s power.

He is regular contributer on Christianity Today and was recently interview by TIME on the launch of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview.  Read the interview for yourself.  These are my favorite snippets:

The church has fallen into a therapeutic model. It believes its job is to make people happy and take care of their problems. It’s a feel-good kind of Christianity. I don’t think the job of the church is to make people happy. I think it’s to make them holy.

A lot of people don’t want to bother with it. [Many] people have reduced the whole Christian faith to just a relationship with Jesus. That strips the faith of its doctrine, its sovereign nature. The biggest problem is getting people to be serious about what they profess to believe.

Jesus came so that we might have life and have it to the fullest (John 10:10).  He can redeem and restore….and send us forth to do His kingdom work (Acts 9).

08
Oct
09

the other side of pride

This past Sunday, Lon gave a great message in his series, “The People Jesus Met,” and discussed the arrogant rabbis– all this came around to a message on humility.

As Lon pointed out in the message, many of us walk around with an incorrect understanding of what it means to have humility.  So Lon defined it for us…

What humility is NOT:

Humility is not self-deprecation or self-degradration.  Humility is not acting humble to camoflage the true condition of our heart.

What humility IS:

Humility is Holy Spirit produced way of seeing ourselves.  Humility recognizes that all we are is all because of God’s undeserved mercy.

Are you humble?  Do you recognize that you are no greater but no less than what God created?

I get caught up in thinking of myself as less than what God created.  Boasting about yourself is just as much of a sin as self-pity.  And looking down on yourself is not true humility.  I have to catch myself when I start questioning God about where He’s placed me and what opportunities I have to serve Him. He doesn’t make mistakes– He is sovereign.

Philippians frames how we should model ourselves after Christ’s humility…Philippians 2:5-8:

5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Servant. Obedience. Those two words jump out of this passage.  When we are humble and obedient, God uses us for His kingdom glory.

To read more about Biblical humility, go check out Tim Sweetman’s latest blog post, “Loser Christian.” He has a great quote in his discussion about his own struggles:

Self-pitying people desperately want to be good, not for the glory of God, but for themselves. They want to do things for and by their own power and might for the personal recognition. They want everyone to serve them, like them, and approve of them. When these desires are not fulfilled, a prideful person will become even more inwardly focused and will continue a vicious cycle. (Exemplary Husband by Stewart Scott, page 179)

07
Oct
09

trusting. leaning. acknowledging.

To-Do Lists.  Go, Go, Go.  Busyness.

Ryan sent me this article today from the Prison Fellowship Ministry, “The Busy American Family.”  The author promotes a new book, Not So Fast: Slow-Down Solutions for Frenzied Families. While I don’t have a family, I can relate to the topic (…perhaps why he sent it?).

What is the problem with being too “busy”?  As the article points out,

‘the busyness of life gets in the way of developing relationship with God.’  In a survey of over 20,000 teens and adults, 6 out 10 Christians said they were too busy for God.

We settle into becoming busy-sloths (sloth is often defined as avoiding physical or spiritual work).  I am guilty of doing this in my own life.

I first started my addiction to being a “busy-sloth” in high school, right after my parents separated.  The pain and hurt were too much for to  face– so I started doing– and doing lots of things.  Things that from a worldly perspective were “good”– activities to fill ALL my time because as long as I was doing things, I couldn’t focus on the situation at hand.  I could smash down the pain of my family being torn apart.  Avoidance was my solution.

And the cycle is incredibly hard to break, because  I did it again in college.

Running is exhausting though.  Eventually you are forced to stop because you just can’t go anymore.

And what’s left?  The pain is still there and you are too tired to move.

God stepped in for me (I’m sure He tried many times before, but I was too stubborn to listen).

There was humbling to be done.  He had to teach me that I couldn’t do things on my own.  One of the first passages that really stuck with me (and hangs in my bathroom today), Proverbs 3: 5,6:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

When I read this verse, I am reminded:  I need to trust Him, I need to lean on Him, I need to acknowledge Him.  ONLY He can make my paths straight for me to walk.

Lately, I have felt myself slipping back into being a busy-sloth.  I make excuses, “I can’t say no!” or “If I don’t do it, who will?” but really, what I am avoiding?

And it hurts.  I feel empty when my life gets “too busy” for God.  His truth sanctifies; it cleanses out all the emotional gunk and replaces it with His peace that passes all understanding.

David’s prayers in Psalm 63 resonate with me and remind me why I feel this way…Psalm 63: 1-5:

O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.

Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.

I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.

My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

06
Oct
09

the screwtape emails

Go here to read all the entries from Boundless blog.

TO: wormwood@tempters.net
FROM: Screwtape@hellfire.org
RE: re: prayer

So she has a prayer partner. This makes it rather hard to avoid prayer, doesn’t it? But surely you know that you can still keep her from contemplation. Since you are so inexperienced, I will let you in on some tried and true techniques: First, keep her mind on how she must sound or appear to the others who are praying with her; this way, the words she chooses will not be prompted by anything but a desire to impress or influence the others. Encourage her to use flowery (but meaningless) words, believing that they denote piety.

Second, whether she prays in a group or alone: As soon as she has requested something from God, prompt her to think about how she herself can bring about the results she desires. Before she can even get to the next supposed request, she will be secretly plotting how to change the world on her own, completely forgetting that foolish notion of trust in our Enemy’s sovereignty. For example, if she begins to pray for her relationship with a classmate whom she finds annoying, lure her into fantasizing about various things she could say to him to put him in his place. Next thing she knows, her prayer time will be cut short and she’ll be picking up the phone to call him!

Better yet, take the fact that Enemy is omnipresent, and spin it into something like: Since He can hear my very thoughts, I don’t need to have a specified prayer time, do I? This, combined with the ideal of praying without ceasing (a phrase from the Bible that she has surely heard several times in her classes already), will keep her lips quiet. Meanwhile, continue to keep her busy, busy, busy!

02
Oct
09

loved by the god

Imperfect. Loved.
Clumsy. Loved.
Sinful. Loved.
Anxious. Loved.
Fearful. Loved.

Fallen and broken. Cleansed through Grace. Loved by the God of the universe.

 

God IS Love.

 

If I could rewrite 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, it would read:

Love GOD is patient, love GOD is kind. It HE does not envy, it  HE does not boast, it HE is not proud.  It HE is not rude, it HE is not self-seeking, it HE is not easily angered, it HE keeps no record of wrongs. Love HE does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It HE always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

02
Oct
09

God given rights?….or promises?

Reading this blog post about God given rights, which ends with this conclusion, “We do have “God given rights” to be sure, but they have nothing to do with forcing others to pick up the check for goods or services we desire,”……made me reflect…..

What does God think about “God given rights?”

I immediately thought about what God lays out for us in Genesis.  He gives man dominion over all the living creatures and allows Adam to name them (Genesis 2:19-20).

God gave man boundaries and told them not to eat the fruit from the tree in the center of Eden (Genesis 3:2-3).  Man broke this boundary….and God must administer justice (and mercy).

So what DOES God give to man— to Adam and Eve?

Well I went to Genesis 3 as a starting point…

vs. 16— God gives Eve pains in childbearing
vs. 17— God gives Adam food– but only through painful toiling
vs. 19— God gives Adam, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground[.]”
vs. 23— God tells both Adam & Eve– “So the Lord banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had taken.”

God does not give Eve a life without pain.  No, she will experience pain, but the Lord will sustain her (Psalm 55:2).  God does not just give Adam food, but he gives Adam the ability to toil and work the ground in order for Adam to eat (Isaiah 26:3-4; Philippians 4:19).

God does not give us the right to eternal life– He provides an everlasting PROMISE of eternal life through faith in Jesus.  In His loving mercy, He takes away the sting of death that came with the fall of man–John 10:27-28,

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.

Click HERE to read more about the promises God gives to us.




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