Friday, April 2, 2010

A Manifesto Of Hard Truths

George MacDonald once said that “If I devote the entirety of my day on what God would have me do, I would have no time second guessing it.” This is something that I have been meditating hard on as of late. There is a very fine line between what God would have me do, and what the ideology of the flesh would suggest I do. Here arises a problem; man does not have the capacity to devote our day to what God would have us do. This is a hard truth but a truth nonetheless. We may wake up every morning in meditation and declare to our God that I will do thy will always, and mean it from the bottom of our hearts, but we are sinners. We are a creation that has it in its heart to do well, but equipped with a mind to reason. Sometimes reason doesn’t collaborate well with the Kingdom. When collaboration fails, we turn to our own will. The minute we do this, even if for only the briefest moment, we turn away from the will of God. You see, we have a sort of protection while we are in the will of God. But the minute we turn away from that will, and execute our own self will, we are like a lone wolf in the midst of wolves.

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

We tend to hold a certain justification in regards to our temptations; that is that God is tempting us for a reason unknown to us according to his will. In our minds, our temptation in this world has nothing to do with what we have necessarily done; it is all part of a bigger plan. Well I am here writing to you today suggesting that maybe our temptations in this world are due entirely to what we have done. James wrote that God does not tempt. That temptation is a certain type of evil, and evil has no association with God. If that is true, then how is it that we have found ourselves in a position of hardship, despair, and temptation? Is it not because we have at some specific point turned away from the protection that is God’s will? Is it not possible that we have traveled into a region where God has no business being in? If our will brings about sin, and sin is evil, and evil is a vice that God has no association with; then I believe that it is safe to say that the walk that one travels in that situation is a road that God does not travel. At that point, it is up to man to walk back to Christ. And believe me, He will be waiting.

I believe I would be flawed if I did not point out the difference between hardships in God’s will, and temptations of our own making. There are hardships in God’s will. Do not walk away from this passage thinking that anytime an occurrence comes to pass that you feel is unjust, it is because you have entered your own will; this is untrue. God’s will is a path that we do not understand. We tend to fear, and dislike what we do not understand. But the difference is that the hardships in God’s will do bring about a purpose that is for a greater good. We may not realize or understand it at that moment but it will. A hardship that has arose from your own self will, on the other hand, will do nothing but take you further from the Kingdom of God and the will that He has bestowed upon you.

This writing is truly from a holy place for me right now. It is something that I have been battling with hard. For the past couple of months I have been under the impression that I am where I am right now because God wants me here right now. Day-by-day though I began to realize that this was something more; it was something of my own making. What I was going through had nothing to do with God. It had everything to do with myself. It wasn’t till I stopped expecting God to deliver me out of this place, and instead delivered myself back to God did I begin to feel consciousness. Take these words to heart, and apply them to your walk. These are hard truths, but they are essential.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Perseverance of Faith By Gift

The Kingdom of God does not ask much from its children; mostly for us to live righteous, pure, simple lives. Indeed this can get sometimes complicated, but not because the task its self is complicated. It is more because we ourselves make them complicated. It is not a hard task to love one another, or to not steal; I think we can all agree on this. Yet we all find ourselves constantly contemplating over these same pinnacle moral judgments every day. Part of this nonsense is because of our own self will; the idea that we have the answers. I spoke in my last writing about the God consciousness that we all have, yet seldomly chose to acknowledge. We may get away with this ignorance before our walk with Christ, but once we enter the Kingdom, we must acknowledge. We must rely on our God consciousness if we wish to live the lives that Gods asks us to live.

But how is it exactly that we are to go about handing our reasoning over to Christ? It comes two-fold. First and foremost you must come to Christ, receive his grace. Once we have entered his place, he gives us faith. Notice that I say that He gives us faith; faith is not of our own. It is not manmade and we have no dominion over it. It can be given, strengthened, but also weakened. I can say that I have faith in God, or that I have faith that this will turn out right. All this would seem that faith is of my own, and that I am giving it to God himself. But could you have faith (real faith that is directed and received from God) if he has not blessed you with grace? It is more of a plea from a man to a stranger. What we have more is a faith, which is directed to the grace that Christ has blessed us with.

So we have faith; but is that enough? Is it faith and faith alone that will lead us down the path that we have searched for in vain our whole lives? Certainly not! Our faith is a virtue, a trust between God that he is good. Faith is our energy; our energy that allows us to do the work of the kingdom. It is impossible to do the work of the Kingdom without the faith that is given to us from God. But as the Gospel of James says, “Faith without works is dead.” Our faith will weaken if we do practice it; we must do our part to maintain the energy that God has bestowed on us.

Miraculously, all that entails is for us to live righteous, pure, simple lives; for us to help one another, to be truthful, to love. It is not enough for us to just talk about what God has done for us. We must carry his will with us everywhere we go. Listen to our God consciousness, and fulfill the part he lays at our feet. When we accomplish this, we exercise our faith; it will grow. It will blossom into a beautiful and powerful thing. It will allow us to communicate on a more personal level with our creator. But without our works, the gift of faith will fade away. Our relationship will weaken, and our personal will may creep to the surface. Do not ignore a beautiful quality that our God has given to us. Embrace it, and never forget it.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lay Your Armor Down

Life really starts to become real once you begin your walk with Christ; you react to your surrounding just a little different. No one I have come across can really put their finger on just what it is, but we all feel it. We lose that edge that we carry around with us everywhere that we go; always worrying about that next step, that next confrontation. Our fear, regret, and worry are almost shed from our bodies.

Do not get me wrong though, the life of a Christian is not a blissful, can do no wrong lifestyle; we still fall short on a daily, if not hourly basis. The difference though is how we cope with our situations. Back before my walk with Christ, I was very hard on myself. Can anyone relate to that? No matter what situation I was in, I was the center of the problem in my own eyes. I was the loose end. To make it worse, it seemed that no matter what I did, I could never prevail to a position where I was no longer the problem. Every time I tried to correct or conquer my problem that I had, all I managed to do was to add another tally to the board of situations that beat me. What was my problem? Why was I not able to fix my situation?

My problem was that I always looked at myself as the ultimate problem solver. I had the answer to all the problems. I was that guy that everyone came to when they had problems. I was that friend that everyone seemed to depend on when they were in a place that they didn’t like. The interesting thing though is that my record solving other people’s problems was phenomenal. But yet my own record was nothing to be proud of. This did not make any sense to me. Why was I able to tell my friend just what he needed to hear, but not be able to make my way out of a box with no walls in my own situation?

The problem was simple; I was that guy. We all know him; many of us are still probably today that guy. The kind of person that will tell another exactly what the problem is, and how to fix it, but the second that exact situation comes into their own life they resort to a direction that better suits them. Sometimes the way out of a situation is not the easy way out. With that being said, it is a lot easier to tell another a hard way (but logical way) to overcome a situation, than to do it yourself.

C.S. Lewis wrote in one of his genius writings about the Laws of Human Nature. In short, we all have these laws in our souls; they are our reasonable side. They are that quiet vague voice that tells us in a situation what should be done; they are our God consciousness. Many of us battle our whole lives with these Laws of Human Nature because most of the time, they tell us to do what we normally do not want to do. The problem is that we all wear this sort of armor. A guard that we feel protects us from the world, and that will allow us to overcome our problems as they arise. We know what ought to be done, but we feel that we have an easier, better way to overcome; that the latter way is a weak sort of way because we are not in control of the situation. When in all actuality we are exactly what needs to be taken away. Our way of handling situations is the reason that all our problems our piled before our feet.

We need to lay our armor down. We need to realize that our actions and plans are only deepening our lives into a place we wish they not be. I knew these Laws of Human Nature that C.S. Lewis spoke of, I knew them well. They were the answers that I gave to others. But once I found myself in my own bad situations, I relied on my armor. Once we lay our armor down, and rely on our God consciousness, our problems will seem to work themselves out; and isn’t that exactly what we have been looking for? Ego is a powerful thing. It is difficult for us to admit that our problems are of our own making, and that the only way we can possibly overcome is to rely on another. But that is exactly what living a Christ filled life is all about. The reliance upon the amazing power, wisdom and love of the Kingdom is exactly what allows us Christians to live our lives without edge. We need not worry about how we are going to come out of today’s bad situation, because we trust that Christ will lead us out; with or without our help.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hidden From the World, But Seen From The Heavens

I am a big believer that sometimes the most important things in the Bible, is what it does not say. What I mean is that I think it is essential to look between the lines. Just don’t open the Bible and decide that you are going to read Hebrews in it’s entirely. When you study with this kind of mindset, you usually miss some of the most essential points of the gospel. The bible is full of tiny passages that pack a huge punch for your faith.

I recently came across a passage that I have seen many times. Though I have seen the passage quite a few times, I have never really sat there and thought what was really being said. If I have learned nothing else from studying the Bible, it is the fact that anything said in the Bible has some kind of meaning. Nowhere in the Bible is there any meaningless dialogue. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you will to be able to crack the hidden messages that God has given to us. So I was studying John, and I came across the passage where Nathanael meets Jesus for the first time. The passage reads like this:

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”

So here is the first encounter between Jesus and one of his twelve disciples Nathanael; these two have never physically encountered before. Yet upon Jesus seeing Nathanael he declares here is a man in whom there is no deceit; he is a god fearing man. How could Jesus know this about him? Nathanael himself is confused after hearing this. So he asks Jesus what he means, and Jesus tells him that he has seen him before. But how is that possible? I have read this passage many times, and never really gave it a second thought. Maybe Jesus saw him previously sitting under the fig tree. This is the argument that I have always held. But reading the scripture carefully, and reading between the lines, it shows that is not the case.

Jesus found Phillip first once he entered Galilee. After that, Phillip went back and found Nathanael. Phillip left Jesus and went to find Nathanael. Yet Jesus knew exactly what Nathanael was doing before Phillip got there. How is that possible?

The important aspect here is the fact that Jesus said he saw him under a fig tree. That plays a significant importance to the meaning. Galilee was a hot dry place to live. The houses were also probably unbearably hot in the sun. To make the harsh conditions a little more livable, the people would often plant trees around there house to give them shade, for a quiet environment for say maybe studying the Old Testament. We know that Nathanael was a believer and studied the teaching of the Old Testament by the way Phillip came and gave the news of Jesus to Nathanael.

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

Phillip compares the man he just met to the teaching that Moses and the Prophets have talked about. So from that we can probably gather that Nathanael probably choose to escape the world and enter the word of God in a shaded serene place. A place most people of his time chose to do.

So here we have an encounter of the strangest sorts. We have an ordinary man on just a regular day minding his own business, and out of the blue he gets word that the Messiah is here! What do you say to something like that? Nathanael was more than skeptical about Phillip’s news. When Phillip told him he was here, the only thing Nathanael had to say was “can anything good come from Nazareth?” So what does Jesus do? He tells Nathanael that he saw him in his most sacred place. The place he goes to escape the world, and all its turmoil. Immediately after hearing that Nathanael exclaims “You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” God told Nathanael just what he needed to hear. He went from being down right skeptical of what Phillip told him, to declaring to the whole world that this man is exactly who he has been reading about, and waiting for all his life. And all Jesus had to tell him was that he’s seen him before.

What an amazing story of whom Jesus is. The Bible gave the cliff notes of the story. Examining the details gives us the full beautiful story. Never settle with just reading God’s word. Tear the story apart, put it back together, and walk away with a message that surpasses anything spoke by man before.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Decade Under The Influence

There is a war going on for our minds, our souls, and our very existence. Most of us live our daily lives in the trenches without even the slightest cognitive notion of what is really happening. How could this be though? We know war, we see it every day on our TV sets, hear the pundits talk about it on the radio; but this battle is something different. Something that is so deep in our souls we are unaware of it. Those that are unaware of the struggle are so because they are ignorant of the battlefield. And that premise is exactly why this has been published; to inform, to enlighten, to spread.

One thing that I have found is that we are not so worried about what we understand; we are more worried about what we know. What I know is that I love my family, I enjoy playing music, and I wish I could understand. These thing I know for certain. But what is it that makes me love my family? This I do not understand. Sure we could come up with certain thought and ideas that could maybe bring me to some kind of conclusion, but even then, would it be a concrete solid understanding? Something we will never understand, but we will know. The problem today is the lack of knowing. This is how we have gotten ourselves into our personal warfare. We do not know, so we do not fight.

Influence is one of the most powerful tools to persuasion and dictation. We do what we believe to be best. But how do we determine what is best? We determine by what we know. If one tells us that we should go this route down the road, and we know that the person that told you is wise, we will probably take that route. We made this decision because we trust this fellow; our thoughts and actions were influenced by another. This is not a flawed sense of direction for life. Where it does get flawed however is when one gets influence from another that is corrupt. So what happens when all that we know is corrupt?

That point is the crucial point; what if the source of our influence is not what we think it to be? We may honestly think that the road we are taking is the best possible road to be on; but in all actuality it is the worse, and we are none the wiser. Our problem is not what we know; it is what we do not know. What we know is the flesh. All that is around us that we can feel, touch, and hear. But there is something far greater. A force that is never corrupt, never lies, and is always sustainable. God has created the flesh, and all that interacts with it, but sadly another force has snuck in and corrupted it. This force has influenced us for far too long; I speak from my own sinful past. But there is a way to break that bond. That way is to know the force, and glory of the Kingdom of God; the Kingdom that created before corruption. We live in the dark because we do not know the light. Once we are introduced to the light, everything starts to make a little more sense. I look back today at decisions I made in the past that I thought were the finest I could have made, and today I think what was I thinking? The flesh has that power to make an obvious lie a certain truth.

So today we strive to know the kingdom of God; to gain influence from its light and glory. We have to shed our relationship with the flesh, and all of its convenient, little truths. When we do this our lives will become clearer, our relationships stronger, and our understanding closer to concrete.