Tuesday, 29 January 2008

on the subject of loving people.

A good friend raised the question some time ago of the reason behind my caring/ doing anything for the people around me-- am i fighting for a cause for it's own sake- and is that worth doing? Do i care about people, or just their situation? What does this desire for resolution find its root in? Is it simply a cause-fighting instinct, one by which i feel the desire for advocacy? Do i look straight through the people as i'm looking at their situation?

The truth is, sometimes its easier to try and solve somebody's physical problems than relate to them as people. The only reason we can do anything for anyone without hypocrisy is by genuinely feeling love for them. This goes for telling people about my faith as well. The only reason for me to share my faith with someone is out of love for them. Any other motive is laced with insincerity.

"do you only love me because you want me to become a christian, or do you want me to become a christian because you love me?"

that about sums it up to me- any motive that doesn't include love is false.
But the reality is, i don't naturally love people. They are a nuisance to my selfish way of life. They get in the way of my life-plan. They have loads of needs and desires, hopes and aspirations that i don't want to worry about.
The only place i can get this love is from God. It ain't gonna come from me, no matter how "deep inside". God has to put that love in me for His beloved, and all i have to do i ask.
Now, equipped with this immeasurable love, i have no excuse not to demonstrate God's love to every person i meet.
Read a couple of chapters of James, it leaves me with no doubt that my faith must be a faith must be a faith of action. Inner state demonstrated by outward actions. But sincere, because i know what i have been given, and now have a love beyond understanding.

Monday, 28 January 2008

This is one of the hubble deep field shots-
i love this picture, and others like it.
Astronomers focused the hubble space telescope on an apparently "blank" area of the night sky and let the exposure run for a while.
There are thousands of galaxies in this picture- eliptical galaxies, spiral galaxies, supernova remains, nebulae...
what a creator.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Everlasting doors

sometimes there seems like there are huge obstacles in the way of moving forward in my walk with God. A couple weeks ago, pretty much starting on new years, it was insanely hard for me emotionally- seemed like everything around me was just coming to a head and i didn't feel like i could sort through all of the issues at once.

I felt like i didn't fit/wasn't wanted both in the group of friends i value most, and within my own family. It turned out these sort of things had been a problem for me for a long time but i always bottled them up- just tried to move on past them without dealing with the root problems.

Anyway, we had a week of prayer and fasting at our church which i tried to go to as much as possible- it was really intense for me-- during the week i got a definite analogy kept coming to my mind. It was as if all the fear and anxiety about acceptance was right in front of me like huge gates, much like the enormous Assyrian gates in the the British museum i love so much- and the way forward with God was on the other side. I struggled like crazy to just shrug off all this crap and just move on, like i usually do. It wasn't working.

Two things gave me hope in that place- both simple things but really powerful to me at that time, and continuing.
1st- What does the bible say about big gates? about gates of brass, everlasting doors? it says, in Psalm 24-
Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty— he is the King of glory.

so i grabbed onto that with both hands and declared, you know what- open up you gates of brass- Gods bigger than you, get out of the way. i genuinely believe that words have power- way more than we are inclined to believe, as western middle of the road Christians. We were made in the image of a creator God who spoke the universe- our words have power too, and even more so when we are speaking the words of God, through the scriptures.

OK so 2nd-- I praised. I have always said, you know, worship and praise means more when you don't feel like it, and declaring God's faithfulness is true so you should do it no matter what you feel like... well i have said that flippantly in the past with no idea how hard it is.
well, let me tell u- in that black place, where you feel like you can't do anything but worry and go around in circles in your head, going over and over the problems which fill up your entire vision--
in THAT place-- THAT is where praise is so immensely powerful. It totally takes the focus off of me, and back onto God where my focus ALWAYS belongs. yeah its hard, but it is the best thing you can do. Put on music that lifts up and declares that God is good, all the time, and MAKE yourself sing along.
its almost impossible at first, but the longer you praise, the more you get a completely new and right perspective.

anyway, that is what I've learned and am still learning this year.
i know i still have a long way to go, but the road is forward from this point.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

knowing that you know- pt 2

I am partially changing my opinion on "knowing that you know"... i think that now i can know that i know that God will always be there, but knowing certain things about Him is not important- rather knowing Him in all His uncertainty.
Awesome quote from Oswald Chambers in "My Utmost for His Highest" comin at u--
Gracious Uncertainty
. . . it has not yet been revealed what we shall be . . . —1 John 3:2
Our natural inclination is to be so precise— trying always to forecast accurately what will happen next— that we look upon uncertainty as a bad thing. We think that we must reach some predetermined goal, but that is not the nature of the spiritual life. The nature of the spiritual life is that we are certain in our uncertainty. Consequently, we do not put down roots. Our common sense says, "Well, what if I were in that circumstance?" We cannot presume to see ourselves in any circumstance in which we have never been.
Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life— gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life. To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring. This is generally expressed with a sigh of sadness, but it should be an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises. When we become simply a promoter or a defender of a particular belief, something within us dies. That is not believing God — it is only believing our belief about Him. Jesus said, ". . . unless you . . . become as little children . . ." (Matthew 18:3 ). The spiritual life is the life of a child. We are not uncertain of God, just uncertain of what He is going to do next. If our certainty is only in our beliefs, we develop a sense of self-righteousness, become overly critical, and are limited by the view that our beliefs are complete and settled. But when we have the right relationship with God, life is full of spontaneous, joyful uncertainty and expectancy. Jesus said, ". . . believe also in Me" (John 14:1 ), not, "Believe certain things about Me". Leave everything to Him and it will be gloriously and graciously uncertain how He will come in— but you can be certain that He will come. Remain faithful to Him

knowing that you know

always thought that when u became a christian, you just had a massive mindblowing conversion and then you just knew. what were you supposed to know? that you were forgiven, that everything was ok and that your eternal destiny was secure maybe. well, when i became a christian it wasn't all fireworks- i grew up in a christian home, i dont think you can get any more christian than having a dad who is a preacher man! so when i was 14 i got baptised because i knew that Jesus had died for my sins and i could be forgiven if i accepted that. Well, since then it has been a major growing curve for me. My family moved churches so now i'm in an amazing awesome chuch with great people, and now i'm starting to know.
It didnt happen the moment i accepted christ, in fact i cant place an exact day on when i became a jesus follower, but now, i know. i'm not sure when it happened, but sometime over the past 5 years or so, Gods words started sinking into me, and i started to believe what God said about me. Here is what i know.
I was created to be the very image of a loving God, a beloved son with an inheritance that stretches across the galaxies.
I walked away. It started before i could walk, before i could speak; i decided to think about me. i walked away, believing that God was holding out on me.
A jewish carpenter was born to a young virgin, grew up in the family business, healed the sick, raised the dead, and spoke earth shaking teachings which had him arrested and killed as a criminal to pay for his crime of blasphemy.
He was in fact not a heretic. Jesus Christ of Nazareth was and is the Son of God, and the execution of Him paid a blood debt to God for all humanity that could not be paid but for a perfect blameless sacrifice. He died in my place. When he was nailed to a tree on Mount Moriah, the Scriptures say he was disfigured beyond recognition as the sin of the whole world crushed him. As evening fell, he gave up his spirit and slumped, dead and gone. That was the end, for death is the final end of all, is it not?


He was certified dead by the Romans, the most efficient and ruthless executioners known to the history of man. He was buried, left in the tomb for three days, but it was not the end.
God incarnate could not be held down. Jesus rose from the dead, shattering the power of death over man and wiping the slate clean for all who wish it. Jesus paid my sin debt for me, and then proceded to shatter the power which held me in captivity since my birth.
What do i know? I know i am forgiven. I know i am a completely new creation, the old has gone the new has come. I know my God loves me and for all history has been trying to win me back. And i know that want to spend all of eternity in His presence loving Him and being loved for who i am, not what i have done. I can finally be who he made me to be, because now i know that i know that i know that God is not out to get me, but only to welcome me back with loving arms and cry with me.
I am sorry for the time i wasted with my back turned against you, Jesus. Thank you that you love me so much that you made a way for me to be alive with you. Thank you that you want me to have life abundantly. And thank you that I can know that i know, because you said so. Thank you Jesus that i can know you.