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Monthly Archives: February 2010

No profound thoughts from me this week. This scripture is so poetic and speaks volumes about our Creator:

“Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.  Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven.  The LORD will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest.  Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps.” //psalm 86:10-13


Have you ever noticed that most of our lives are about balance? A balance between school and video games, girlfriends and guy time, drinking and sobriety, showing affection and PDA, etc?

In Psalm 85, the psalmist hits us with love and faithfulness meeting together and righteousness and peace kissing each other (10). He doesn’t same keep them in balance. He says, “have them meet and kiss.” What does that tell us? I take it that if its a good thing FROM God, then do both. If you feel you need to cancel things out (pretending to be Christ-like on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday and living in the world on the other days), then you need to check yourself.

Psalm 86: 11-12 “Teach me your way, O LORD and I will walk in your truth, give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, O LORD my God, with all my heart. I will glorify your name forever.”

A divided heart rarely breaks evenly and honestly isn’t something I want anyway. I’ve split my time with God in the past and it sucks. I want that undivided heart. I want to fear His name. I want to praise Him with all my heart. I want to glorify His name.

ch. 86 v. 1-2

Hear, O LORD, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.

Guard my life, for I am devoted to you.
You are my God; save your servant
who trusts in you.

So the intern at church gave a really interesting sermon yesterday about how God takes care of us and protects us. It came from Luke 13.

ch. 13 v. 31-34

At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”

He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'”

Along with being an obvious mewithoutYou reference, this image of God/Jesus being a mother hen is very interesting. I’m not going to get into this potentially “feminine” aspect of God, because, well, I know very little about theology or the hermeneutics of the text. So the idea is basically that God will take us under his protective wings when danger arises. Our intern told us that when an enemy comes, the hen will call to her chicks, and they will come running for protection. Of course we need to accept this protection. If we do not answer this call, we will possibly not be safe. These hens will also fight off the enemy (our intern gave accounts of hens dying of fire and of foxes), but the baby chicks will remain safe.

Notice that last part, foxes eat hens. (This is an obvious reference to Fantastic Mr. Fox. God’s all about feeding to my entertainment interests this week). 2-3 verses earlier, Jesus referred to Herod as fox, then refers to himself as a hen. Ugh. That sucks. I don’t want a God who gets destroyed by the world. That’s fowl. (I went there.) Of course this seemly weak symbol, protects from the depths of hell, for even though our mother hen was killed by the foxes of this world, we were saved in the end. And our mother hen reaches his goal on the third day, and raises again.

We took the twine we used to use
to tie up tight our tattered shoes.
Twisted twigs and crooked cross
a necklace for the deeply lost.
Builder with the broken bricks,
Mother to the baby chicks.
You made this world look so nice,
I wonder what the next one’s like.

Psalm 82: 8 “Rise up O God, judge the earth.”

I have a problem when it comes to judging. I judge everyone. I judge everything. Well, maybe it’s not always judgment. Sometimes its just evaluating but a lot of time I judge. What people are wearing, who they are dating, what they are saying, etc. I think, I would make different choices. I think, I would make better choices. I’m going to start praying that my attitude changes and that I look at people with love and not judgment. I think my interactions will be different improved if I do that.

“I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” -Psalm 84:10

Would we trade living in a mansion on the beach in Miami with our favorite car in the driveway, yacht docked in the backyard, money in the bank for “the two of us” as Ludacris would say? Or insert whatever your dream life would be…you know, the ballin’ one.

Would we trade all that to sleep on the streets of India and wash the feet of the homeless that pass by?  Or insert whatever job you may think is lowly.

May we be willing to put everything aside to serve Christ with all our heart, mind, soul, strength, sweat, blood, & tears…no matter what the cost.

My comment was getting way too long so here are my thoughts. It’s long, but please take it all in. It’s a minefield of scripture and links. This is for all of us, myself included.

More possession of earth?

-“but the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace”//psalm 37:11

-“blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”//matthew 5:5

To put it bluntly, being meek doesn’t mean being a pussy (I was going to put ‘pansy’, but really wanted to find a way to weave this picture into a post this week).  It means you are staring your offender or enemy in the eyes, forcing them to acknowledge your humanity, and showing them that despite their offense, you are still putting them before yourself; loving them. Christ’s Kingdom and ways seem upside down to our twisted way of things. To me, this is one of the most difficult verses in the whole of Scripture to wrap my head around.

And it’s not just about being meek to our enemies, but those that that we could easily look down on (ie, the homeless).  We can be meek to them by lowering ourselves below them.  How do we do that? Well, do you know a homeless person? Start there…

“all the trees of the field will know that I the LORD bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. ” ‘I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.’ “//ezekiel 17:24

As far as more ‘earth’ or possessions, God speaks rather boldly:

“by your wisdom and understanding you have gained wealth for yourself and amassed gold and silver in your treasuries.”//ezekiel 28:4

In response to this man’s wealth, God says, I am going to bring foreigners against you, the most ruthless of nations; they will draw their swords against your beauty and wisdom and pierce your shining splendor.”//ezekiel 28:7

Less struggle?

-“when I saw the prosperity of the wicked….they have no struggles”//psalm 73:3-4

There is a direct correlation here…the prosperity of the wicked leads to no struggle.  A life without struggles is deceptive. Those that wickedly prosper struggle to maintain their masses of wealth.  On the outside it looks to us like a breezy life (not to be confused with Breez’s life), but they are fighting for flesh and blood…for physical things.  But what does Scripture say OUR struggle is against?

“for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”//ephesians 6:12

Nothing valuable (and God honoring) in my life has come without struggle.  We are essentially waging the coolest war in the history of the universe and we want less struggles??? This would be one war movie I would not want to watch. “Hey bad guys, yeah, we know you are bad…that’s cool, we really don’t like what you are doing, but…well…we just don’t feel like fighting today…raincheck?”

Like Switchfoot says we shelter ourselves in ‘our convenient Lexus cages’.  We are swimming around in the water with the sharks, but don’t really want to experience danger.  From reading the Word, danger appears to be God’s middle name.  None of us want to be nice, easy guys.  We desire to be dangerous.  The world tells us that means drinking lots of Guinness, getting into fights, getting a badass tattoo, taking a hot chick to a nice seafood buffet and never call her again….

What is God’s definition of danger? Taking initiative and being where help is needed.  Jonathan (King Saul’s son/David’s homeboy) saw an opportunity to serve God’s purpose and it was in the middle of danger, but he was faithful and followed, even knowing the outcome was uncertain.  He came to terms that he could lose his life but it was worth the risk of serving God. Read the short story here: 1 Samuel 13-14…Do we do follow this way??? Serving Him is pretty dangerous in my mind.  He calls us to be at the epicenter of danger.  To take His word as our offense AND defense and dive into the trenches.

Wow, from reading this, I think I might actually want to follow God.  I think that’s the problem. Christianity has such a tame, boring image.  Not to sound like John Eldredge, but I  think a Godly man is one that has lots of struggles.  Afterall, if we are really following Him, Satan should know our name (as reminded in a post from last week).  Sounds pretty dangerous to me.

More of a position to complain and have people listen?

-“one who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off.”//1 kings 20:11

Jesus is the one that puts on the armor.  We are just the punks that take it off.  This verse always humbles me.

AbrahamJesus…& Paul had things to boast about, but they didn’t…other than this:

-“but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.”//jeremiah 9:24

We often talk about how humble we are, but if we have to tell people, we probably look like this guy

Less like the common man?

-“live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”//romans 12:6

-“therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.”//2 peter 3:17

And how do we maintain our secure postion in the Kingdom of God?…

-“but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”//2 peter 3:17

Is this just me?

-Ha, it’s all of us.  To paraphrase the apostle Paul, “I know what I should/want to do, but I don’t do it. In fact, I do the opposite.”…We’re all in the same boat if we are real with ourselves. You are not alone.

What does it mean for us as Christians to live like this, to be blessed with this position in the world?

Jesus had the greatest position in the world, and how did he walk? Like this

-Our possessions themselves are not evil, it is us that is evil when we allow them to possess us (insert Fight Club quote here).

How we manage the blessings God has given us and the position (educated, wealthy, influential, wise, strong, good looking…these are blessings but also positions/platforms we stand on to look down on the ‘common man’) is what is most important.  Do we give God the glory and walk humbly? Do we give just as Christ has shown us to give?

We try so hard to manicure our image (even on Facebook) to present ourselves in our best light to everyone.  Let’s start being transparent with Christ.  It is only then, that we can begin to heal ourselves of our addiction to the world and be transformed by his ‘backwards’ grace that flips everything right side up.

Has the bible always been this convicting, or is it just something I need to hear? The first half of 73 rocked my world. Its not that I haven’t heard those lessons before, but to read it all right there, point after point, word of God. bam.

“For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens of common man; they are not plagued by human ills. Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.”

That sounds much like most of our American lives, no? Healthier than the rest, arrogant, oppressive, prideful. I don’t mean that the American life is a wicked one, but rather how often do I secretly want my life to be like this even more so than it already is automatically? More possession of earth, less struggle, more of a position to complain and have people listen, less like the common man? Is this just me?

The psalm goes on to say this is slippery ground, and how suddenly these wicked are destroyed. I guess what I’m asking myself/God/you guys is what does it mean for the us as Christians to live like this, to be blessed with this position in the world? More thanks be to God? More sacrifice? More service? Does it tell me something about where my passions lie when I’m proud of this position, only really yearning for more of a foothold on it? Thats scary as shit. I’m not sure I want that, and yet even as I don’t: I do.

How greatly I need God.

Psalm 73:23-24 “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me to your glory.”

These verses summarize our birth, life and death if we let God intervene and fall into our role in God’s plan. Let me explain.

Birth – Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.

From our beginning, God is there always with us. He desires a relationship with us.

Life – You guide me with your counsel

The Holy Spirit, the great Counselor, is with us. Think about it. If you do not know what you do, ask God for his wisdom (James 1:5). Don’t know what to pray? The Holy Spirit will give you the words (Romans 8:26-27).

Death – and afterward you will take me to your glory.

A life of obedience and dedication to God’s mission will lead to glory with Jesus.

This sounds sweet. I’m going in that direction. See you there?

/psalms 71-77/

I was reading Donald Miller’s Through Painted Deserts yesterday and something hit me.  Whilst chatting with his friend, Miller realized that sometimes he just wishes he could take a break from the spiritual life and not care. Just do whatever he wants-be content with just pursuing a job, dog, house, wife, kids sort of life.

I think I do this or long to do this at times.  When I masturbate it’s because the pressure to stay pure and wait (and pray for my future spouse or life of celibacy) is annoying and draining, if I’m honest and that’s the point of this thing I guess.  A year or so ago I was chatting with another brother in this group about the pressure to be in the Word.  He said that if he doesn’t feel like reading his Bible-he doesn’t.  I heard that and felt a relief to know that I wasn’t the only one who felt I was forcing it at times.  Then I didn’t read my Bible for 2 months.

That’s crazy. And that’s a long spiritual vacation.

Obviously our spiritual life is more than just reading the Word, but I believe our approach to understanding God’s Word and seeking Him in all other areas are correlated.

“This is what the wicked are like–always carefree, they increase in wealth.” -Psalm 73:12

It’s true…people that don’t know or follow Christ have it easy…for now. They do what they want.  They don’t spend months waiting around to discern God’s next step for them.  They say, I want to live in Miami and be a consultant.  Then they make it happen.  They live comfortably.  They seem pretty happy, and for the most part, are.  I envy all this.

Following Christ is the most difficult thing we will ever do.

It’s also the most rewarding.

Let’s stop cashing in our spiritual vacations and be diligent in following Christ, without making excuses, rationalizations, or abusing the freedom we have in God’s grace.  May our study, service, and spiritual heart for Him be genuine and not forced; faithful and not fearful; steadfast and not flaky. Let’s remember that our worth is not defined by what we have (or do not have): the hot girl at our side, the sweet dream job, the sweet gadgets (anyone have an iPad? It’s that time of month), hardcore muscle car or range rover, or Prius for our tree-huggers–I mean environmentally friendly members (Hoff/Huey).  Whatever it may be that we seek…the things we look to for validation, security, comfort, and worth; may we know that the Lord is our portion forever.  Nothing else is worth seeking, but Him.

Yo, a friend of mine shared Acts 19:15 with me the other day and it rocked me. Then I read Psalm 66:3b “So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you.”

Acts 19:15 says, “One day, the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know and I know about Paul, but who are you?”

My friend’s question and mine to you is, is your life so mediocre that satan and the demons don’t know who you are? Are you not making an impact for Jesus? I don’t know about you but I want satan and his demons to cringe when they hear my name. And not because who I am but because Christ bleeds and sweats from me. I want to be such an unpleasant taste in satan’s mouth that he fears the authority of the Lord that I bring.  How do I continue to deliver that? By contributing to the mission of God – to save a people through Jesus Christ.