Thursday, June 27, 2013

Big Dreams Into Tiny Pieces

Hi guys, sorry for last week's pause in writing... I actually just did not have the time, I left home at around 8:00 am and never returned until around 11:00 pm! I hope you all picked an older post and read it!

Lately I've realized something about myself... I've lost my dreams. Not in the "I've given up" sort of sense but in the "just not being purposeful," "not thinking about it" sense...  The problem with not being purposeful and not thinking about things is you can actually forget why you believed in something so strongly.. Another problem with not being purposeful is most dreams don't come true without effort.  That's right, I'm going there again, it takes work, anything in life worthwhile takes effort, work and some of the dreaded discipline.  So if I've forgotten my dreams or placed them in the back corner of my mind nothing grows but cobwebs and dust; I don't want that, I must shake myself and remember. Remember the promises, the hopes and the plans; and you must as well!

The thing that caught my attention was not that I had forgotten, it was the doubts that crept into the unoccupied crevices of my forgetfulness... How I seemed to, without noticing, slip into "maybe it wasn't really true" train of thoughts.  Don't get me wrong here, I've been fighting those thoughts and getting myself out of that corner; still, I'm not exempt and none of us are. 

I was reading the story of Joseph - you know, the coat of many colors guy - the other night and noticed something I've missed so many times before... I've always heard and thought Joseph's jealous brothers lied to their father making him believe Joseph died, they ripped their own fathers dreams as they ripped Joseph's coat and broke Jacob's heart with a lie!  Actually, they didn't tell him a lie at all... Yes, the ripped a coat and dipped it in blood and gave it to Jacob but Jacob let go of his own dream.
Genesis 37:32-33 And they sent the coat of many colors, and they brought it to their father;
and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son's coat or no?
And he [Jacob] knew it, and said, It is my son's coat;
an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent into pieces! 
But Joseph hadn't been rent into pieces, he was not devoured, Jacob's dream was still alive!  Jacob didn't even question the evidence, like many of us, Jacob jumped to the negative conclusion and gave up on his dream... And before you go wagging your finger or tisking with your tongue, think about the things you may have given up on just because what you saw told you it would never happen... We've all done it because it's part of human nature to draw conclusion without complete fact being presented.

Sometimes I don't understand God or his timing... Sometimes I just want part of what he's promised me now... Sometimes we argue and I whine over why, sometimes I doubt how... Sometimes I doubt my own capacity and ability to step into the dreams and promises God's given me... But all those sometimes really stem from me seeing the evidence, or actually the lack of evidence, without remembrance of the power of the God who spoke the promises in the first place.  I once heard that the power to fulfill the promise is immediate with the spoken word... Think about it "let there be light, and there was..." The power for the fulfillment was in the word, the time table was just shorter.  I don't know what your dreams are, I don't know the plans God has for you or the promises he's made but I do know that he will fulfill them! I do know that no matter what has happened or hasn't happened, no matter the evidence to the contrary or the lack of support, he is able to bring it to pass... And if I know that for you, I know it for me. So what are we doing? It's time to push what we see aside and have a little faith! It's time to live it out people!
2 Corinthians 5:7 (The Voice version) The path we walk is charted by faith, not by what we see with our eyes.
Habakkuk 2:3 (The Message) This vision-message is a witness pointing to what's coming.  It aches for the coming - it can hardly wait!  And it doesn't lie.  If it seems slow in coming, wait.  It's on its way. It will come right on time.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I Quit

Okay, so this post might not be what you normally get from me... Sometimes you just have to vent...  Yesterday at work I made a mistake, a big one... I mean, if I were my boss I would definitely fire and possibly sue me, it seemed that bad! I was so embarrasses and scared to fess-up that I decided to just write a note at the end of the day and quit.

I awoke this morning and started to get ready like every other day but then I remembered the mistake... I could have made it in before anyone saw my noted and truth be told, although there would be consequences and a lot of work to get past the mistake I realize my boss probably would have forgiven me and we could have worked through it.  I just couldn't bring myself to face it. My boss has tried to call me but there's no way I can answer, I mean who knows what he will say and I really can't take any anger right now... 

Of course, quitting is not a great thing to do and now I realize I've wasted so much... I will have no money past tomorrow, the people I work with will have horrible opinion of me now, I would just get another job but everyone will know I quit this one so I will have to switch professions completely.  I know, I probably should have just swallowed my pride and faced the music of my mistake but it's so hard and now it's too late! Right...?

I know you're all reading this wanting to scream at me and come shake some sense into me... And that's valid... Of course, my story is not.  I didn't actually make a huge mistake (at least not that I'm aware of) or quit my job yesterday.. But just like we all know quitting my career over one mistake - no matter how bad it seemed - would be completely irrational quitting relationship with God, or not starting relationship with God, over a mistake - no matter how bad it seemed - is irrational.  In the same way I should have just confessed to my boss, dealt with the consequences and worked it out with my job had this story been true, we should be doing the same in relationship with Christ. 
I know that somehow we separate our idea of how to work on and deal with relationship with God but we shouldn't! No, a relationship with God isn't the exact same as that of work, or with a spouse, friend or family member but much of the capabilities we gain from those relationships and the lessons we learn can and must be applied to spiritual relationship. God gets it, he knows we aren't perfect - in fact, he made us that way - he will work with you and forgive you if you just don't quit on him!  I know it would be easier if we just knew how to be perfect and could see what we should do in every situation so we no longer made mistakes - and God knows that too - but God made us with our free will and mind to make choices so that when we choose him it means something to him... He made us fallible because he can deal with that, he died to cover our mistakes with mercy and we could turn back to him and choose him all over again in spite of our errors.
Don't quit God, he has mercy waiting for you!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Sin Permit (re-write)

You've probably heard a lot of theories on God's love over-looking of all of our sins floating around out there... And I have to admit, at first, it sounded good to me!  I mean, think of it, I can do whatever I want, marry whoever I'm feelin' in the moment and break the vow as soon as it gets inconvenient or routine, I can live any old way and treat people however I want (I mean, some people just need to be slapped, right?) No matter what I do or how I live or my example to others, even if I don't love people the way Christ loved them I still make it to heaven because the cross took care of it long ago and now God has no requirements to live above sin!?  

Yes, the cross and resurrection does take care of all sin but not before you apply Christ's death (repentance,) burial (baptism,) and resurrection (God's spirit filling your life.) Repentance is not, according to Jesus in Luke 18:9-14 "I accept what you've done Jesus, come into my heart now" although acceptance is part of moving forward: repentance is more like "Oh my God, I've embarrassed you and myself, I've sinned against you and what you stand for. I choose to turn from that sin and die to my own will and way of living and with your help I will follow your ways EVERYDAY! Change me, cleanse me, mend me and save me from my own bad decisions! I choose you! I will do whatever I can to follow you and make it up to you. Although I can never do enough, Lord, I start today and I'll never stop trying until I see your face!"  And when you receive the Holy Spirit it's a sealed deal my friend! Acts 2:38, Acts 2:4 & Acts 19:6
  • "People conceived and brought into life by God don't make a practice of sin. How could they? God's seed is deep within them, making them who they are. It's not in the nature of the God-begotten to practice and parade sin." 1 John 3:9 So if you are a man/woman of and for God; a Christian (which, by the way, means to be "Christ-like") and since there was "no sin in Him" 2 Corinthians 5:21 there should be no sin in us without repentance... (Which is not that sorry sort of feeling but that changing decision of direction) you cannot continue to make sin your practice.
  • "...God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one's way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust. Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer." James 1:13-15  "Impervious" meaning - not allowing something to pass through. God cannot allow sin to "pass through" into heaven, there is no sin permit and like a boarder guard, God is vigilant regarding sin, we can't sneak it through or hide it from his search... We must dispose of it before entering his kingdom. 
  • "If we give up and turn our backs on all we've learned, all we've been given, all the truth we now know, we repudiate Christ's sacrifice and are left on our own to face the Judgment—and a mighty fierce judgment it will be! If the penalty for breaking the law of Moses is physical death, what do you think will happen if you turn on God's Son, spit on the sacrifice that made you whole, and insult this most gracious Spirit? This is no light matter. God has warned us that he'll hold us to account and make us pay. He was quite explicit: "Vengeance is mine, and I won't overlook a thing" and "God will judge his people." Nobody's getting by with anything, believe me."  Hebrews 10:26-31  This scripture has always been a heavy weight in my mind... No grey area here! If you choose to ignore the truth of God's word and excuse yourself from his guidelines "that's not for me," "I don't have a problem with that so I can do it without sinning" which by-the-way sounds like an addict saying "I don't need it, I can quit anytime I want but I choose not to." or even "that's not for today's society, God understands we are different now, educated individuals..." and last time I checked there was no codicil to the Bible. Not to mention why would anyone want to "repudiate Christ's sacrifice" on the chance you can "get away with it!?" If you forget the sacrifice for sin you are also forgetting the healing stripes, transgression forgiving bruises and life of the resurection! I agree "God has warned us that he'll hold us to account... He was quite explicit: "Vengeance is mine, and I won't overlook a thing" and "God will judge his people." Nobody's getting by with anything, believe me." speaks for itself and is as clearly laid before us... Sin is a choice, and when we follow that path we will suffer the consequences.  At that point it isn't even God being a mean punisher but it's us putting ourselves in punishment through our own choices.  God is loving but He is also just and cannot permit sin, He cannot over-look our sin or remove the consequence but he has given us clear instruction on what sin is and how to avoid it along with free will to choose the right path and a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13) from every temptation!

So, with David (Psalm 86:11-12) I pray "O LORD, teach me how You want me to live! Then I will obey your commands."  I will live according to the guidelines you have set up in your word (the Bible) not how I want to live or people think I should live, not even just the base of what I think I can "get away with" or be "permitted" to do but as close to you as I can get. ""Make me wholeheartedly committed to you! O Lord, my God, I will give you thanks with my whole heart! I will honor Your name continually!"  I want to be committed to Christ! I don't want to "spit on the sacrifice that made me whole" or "insult this Spirit" Jesus, I want to prove to you that I appreciate what you've done enough to change what I am doing; so I will, I will change what I am doing.