General Articles, More

More…

There are times in our lives when we feel stuck.  We are stuck at a job.  We are stuck in a relationship.  We are stuck in a ministry.  We are stuck at this “place” in our life.

We may think of this feeling or mindset in a picture of water.  A river is a picture of flowing water.  A picture of things moving in the same direction at varying paces, but steadily moving.  A lake gives us a picture of tranquility.  A lake is often a picture of peace and relaxation.  It may provide us a picture of what it will be like once we have accomplished, overcome, or defeated something. An then there is the picture of water that fits what we are feeling when we are “stuck”.  That is a picture of still or stagnate water.  This water is uninviting.  A picture of stagnate water will bring to mind its stench.  And this is where we find ourselves sometimes.  In life, not really stuck, but stagnate.

Often when we feel this way we become diligent in searching for “something else” or praying to God if we are believers.  We desire  a change or to reach the ear of God.  “God, I need a change.”  It is when we are here that we realize that we want more.

It is not more stuff that will satisfy us (although we may think so).  Even though a spouse that gave more of themselves would be good, it is not enough to satisfy this desire for more.  Receiving a promotion and pay raise would be good, yet it is not the more that we desire.  No, our desire for more can’t be found in things seen.  The more we desire is more of the Lord.  More of the Father.  More of the Christ Jesus.  More of His Spirit (whether we believe it or not, this is true).  This thirst for more cannot be quenched by mortality, it can only be quenched by Diving presence.

I have learned about desiring More.  I know that we ask for more.  I know that I have asked to feel the Lord closer to me.  I have prayed for greater understanding.  Greater gifts.  Greater compassions.  Greater experiences.  I desire More.  I have longed for More.  I have and still do desire more.    Heck, I NEED More.

In all of my desiring, seeking, begging, crying, and all of the other things we do in prayer and meditation, I have learned a valuable lesson about more and the God that I serve.  This one lesson could potentially be one of those “Game-changers” for some; it was for me at least.  This secret is so simple yet it has taken me years and a lot of  “blood, sweat, and tears” to penetrate the hardened areas of my heart.

This is the secret I learned (I’m sure most of you already knew this):  More is not something that we pray for and then wait or look for God to give it to us; more is what God prepares us for.  

More is at the center of hope.  More is the acquisition manifested through faith, believing, and potential.  When we pray for more we must open ourselves up to how God will prepare us for more.  More may require more suffering.   Suffering is only the training ground necessary for us to be prepared for the next ordained step God has for us.  More may require less.  Less time for you to do you so that you can become more.  Did you get that?  More may not be something you receive, but rather, something you become.  Are we willing to become more?

More is not found in bigger or different churches. More is not realized in better jobs, new spouses, new cars, new houses, new clothes, or even new attitudes.  More is life and Life is more.

So now the only question we have to ask is are we really praying for more, or are we praying for “something else” for right now?  “Something else” is sourced subjectively; More is objectively sourced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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General Articles, myLIFE 4.0

myLIFE 4.0

Over several counseling sessions and life reflections I have found significant similarities in what many people go through.  In fact I could say that at several points in our lives we encounter “ourselves”.  Many times this is a great thing even though sometimes we don’t necessarily like what we see or the reality that is our life at that particular point.

Some of us look at this as the different chapters in life.  It  is the drama in an unwritten novel.  A novel about “me”.  Some reflections may cause us to think, ” I am glad that is over”, while others we wish we could return to.

I think of life as versions of a software that is continuously under the scope of updates and patches to repair or somehow address “bugs” that somehow hinder the software from operating at its full potential.  At some point we have to realized that we have already installed as many “patches” as we could.  Once we have reached that understanding then we have to consider, or maybe better said, we must determine that it is time to release the new version.

The same is true in our lives.  As we grow through the several trials of our earthly journey we patch and otherwise update our myLIFE software.  And while this is good we must realize that through all of the pain of growing that we reach points of new versions of who we are.

The Scriptures say that we are a “new creation” in Christ.  The truth of being a new creation is one thing, the reality of reaching the fullness of this is something altogether different.  What is awesome about new versions is that they build on a foundation that never really changes.  That is, new versions of this evolving new creation has its foundation in Christ.  What that can translate into is this: a new version of you is not a change in who you are, but rather, a better presentation of who you are.

Sometimes new versions are needed because the landscape of the environment has changed (I really wish some of the churches could understand this :).  A great practical example of this is Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system (which mind  you comes in a couple of version types depending on what you are using it for).  Microsoft did not completely disregard the coding logic that created the original operating system software with its release of Windows 8 .  Just like it didn’t for ’95, XP, Vista or any of the other versions of Windows.  It used the foundation of the product to produce a “new creation” that could better function in today’s technological environment.

The new version of you is necessary.  Many will not like it.  Some will suggest “you have changed”.   Well you have.  Sometimes the reason our circumstances are not changing is because we are running myLIFE 1.0, 2.0, or 3.0 in an environment that is requiring a new version.

I recently thought to myself that the version of myLIFE that God has been urging me to install and put out does not walk like, talk like, or think like the current myLIFE O/S program running on the BRG hardware system.  For me I had to deal with some very personal realities –– guilt, disappointments, pasts that directed my present, and several others.

I wonder what version of myLIFE God is urging you to install.

This new version of myLIFE, myLIFE 4.0 is significantly more robust.  There is added FAITH functionality, Freedom from guilt (especially the guilt that others put on you and the guilts you put on yourself).  This version runs Compassion 2.0-13 with the foundation of the Grace and Truth divine architecture…and several other upgrades specific to your system.

Release the new myLIFE version of your life.  If you are not there yet, remember to release it when your time comes.  The Redeemed and the currently Unregenerate benefit as your giftedness is released into the environments God places you.

2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:14-16

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Floaties and Faith, General Articles

Floaties and Faith

I recently went on vacation with my family and spent several hours at the pool with my children. My son swims just fine and my daughter (3) is fond of the water but does not know how to swim yet. Naturally, I take her out into the water while holding her but I also do several things to prepare her to begin swimming on her own. I have purchased a few things, such as a swim suit with built in flotation pads and a small kick board (or minature boogie board) just to name a couple of items.

One of her older cousins (4) was in the pool with her with blow-up arm balloons. These were quite interesting to her so we decided to allow her to use one of her other family member’s blow-up arm balloons so that she too could float with them. The purpose of these arm floats are to minimize the bodily restriction of the child while still keeping them from sinking below head level… a brilliant invention! or not if you are my daughter.

As I listened to her scream at the top of her lungs for the full 93 seconds that we were able to endure the shreik while at the same enduring the smiles and snickers of our onlooking neighbors, I simple said to her “daddy is right here what is the matter?”
None of the “soothing” words seemed to penetrate the fear that she was suffering from. I asked the same thing repeatedly and added “don’t you want to learn to swim” While trying to explain the physics behind the balloons that surely would not allow her to sink. ” What are you afraid of”, I said.

“I don’t want you to let me go”, she said. I sat and her the Lord clearly in her words to me, “If I don’t let you go you won’t learn to swim…but I am right here I won’t let you sink.” God uses my daughter in so many ways to communicate His word to me. Floaties are like faith, you don’t know it works until your in the water by yourself.

#CellsOfLife
#StrengthandFaith

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All She Said Was I Want God, General Articles

All She Said Was “I Want God”

The other evening my daughter and I were laying in the bed planning to drift off to sleep together.  Every night she says her prayers and typically gets a story read to her.   This particular evening we were just laying in the bed (she didn’t want to lay in her own bed since for some reason mommy and daddy’s bed has better pillows to sleep on — trust me, I am enjoying this for as long as I can — )

Before I forget let me back track a little bit.  Earlier in the day my daughter (she is 3) was asking about where God was. In my own feeble attempts I tried to explain to her (she is 3) how God was all around us, and how He lived in those that believed and committed themselves to Jesus.  Oh yes, quit a feat.  You know it is so funny to me how the Lord will show me how much I really don’t know.  As I continue to increase in Theological width and depth of understanding, learning the several different positions of thought in various areas of the Christian doctrine, considering the deep things of God, but yet the simplest things baffle me to no end and have become so very difficult to explain.   Especially to a 3 year old!

[You know you can preach the gospel when you can explain to a 3 year old the existence of God in a way that is true to the message of the bible and on their level of understanding.  Pray for me because I am obviously not there yet LOL…]

So, like I said my daughter asked me about God and she explained how she wanted to touch him.  She wanted to see and touch God and couldn’t understand why she could not do so.  She said , “I can’t touch God because He is all the way up there”.  Again I told her “No, babygirl God is not just up there He is right here with us…”  Well, I don’t think I did a great job of explaining to her but the Lord, in His infinite wisdom, prepared an opportunity for me to learn something about Him that I had misplaced myself.

My daughter and I are laying in bed ready to drift off to sleep.  Since we were not quite ready the lights were still on as she lay on my arm while I continued to read my book.  I decide to get up and turn off the light.  When the lights went out she says, “I want God…I can’t see Him, but I want Him”.  WOW!

In the darkness I say this, “Babygirl, can you see daddy?”

She says, “No.”

I say, “Well, how do you know I am here?”

She said, “I can hear you and your right there.”

I said, “We can’t see God but if we learn the sound of His voice we will always know He is there.”

I don’t know how much she took in but I know it sure did prick the center of my own heart.  What a reminder. And to think all she said was, “I want God“.

#CellsOfLife

#COLNewNation

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General Articles, Indecent Proposal

Indecent Proposal

Well, we are quickly arriving upon the greatest show on earth.  Yes, I am referring to the circus that takes place every four years as the forces of frivolity wage war, a staged reenactment of sorts, but none the less war, against their cross party opponents.  Yes, the circus is coming and what an exciting time this is!

It is always exciting to witness the race, aka rehearsal, prior to the center ring show.  That is, which two proponents — excuse me I meant opponents — will face off.  It is almost like watching a WWE storyline develop over the course of the year until the two greats face off at WrestleMania.  Election Day, where the MILLIONS [  “and the MILLIONS ” ] of the Political Process’ fans chant for the candidate in the red corner or the candidate in the blue corner.

No doubt that during this time amidst the bombardment of “persuasive” ad campaigns and the tattle tale-ing we will hear a few proposals from our candidates.  In fact we have already heard much of what we will hear over the next several months already.  And within all of the rhetoric there is and remains the question of faith of the candidate.

For our current Commander in Chief a firestorm of accusation coming from the “conservative right” demands he is not a man of faith.  In reality they are referring to the Christian faith.  Interestingly enough the man that they are apparently choosing to be the spokesman for their cause is also not of the Christian faith — he being a “progressive conservative”.

These are just thoughts, now on to the reason I am writing today.

When we say that we are of a particular faith then our actions should show that what we say is who we are.  Unfortunately, this is no longer the case.  For many saying the right thing is more important than doing the right thing.  This dog and pony (or rather elephant and donkey) show is no more evident than in the political arena.

Though there was a time in our country when politics was driven by religion ( not Christianity but a civil look alike) that time has long passed.  We are in a country, and have been for some time now, where you are condemned for the very hope you have; that is if you believe in Jesus Christ.  I am referring to the Jesus in the Bible not the propagandized Jesus made in the minds of men and stamped by the inspecting culture for genuine authenticity.

Let me not leave my statement regarding the words and actions of people.  On the campaign trail there are many proposals and promises that are made.  I do find it a compelling reality that now the majority of candidate believers do not hold that person to the words, promises or proposals, that are made during their rise to the White House.  In fact many people will make excuses for the candidates/presiding ruler on their own.  It is a blame game.  I admit that even I fall into this category of people, however different my reasons may be, being a labelled conspiracy theorist and all.

Several Presidential and other Political office candidates have claimed the Christian banner yet the civil policies and agendas that they support, ascribe to, and write into law are so far from Scripture that a true believer would have to at minimum question the genuine-ness of the said persons faith in Jesus.  Again, I am referring to the Jesus in the Bible not the propagandized Jesus made in the minds of men and stamped by the inspecting culture for genuine authenticity.

We live in a generation that has decided what its truth is; a generation that has made truth a subjective reality and not an absolute eternality.  We live in a generation where the avoidance of offense is more important than the offense that produces growth (we can actually be imprisoned for offending someone); a generation that chastises segregation but promotes diversification — the prior being enforced by government the latter being encouraged by government (local or federal).

What do we make of these promises and proposals of our “elected” leaders?  Anything?  Here is a different question, can politics and Christianity co-exists.  Though I am sure there are many that would respond in the affirmative I personally am not convinced or swayed to think so.

Here is a proposal:  I propose that a candidate means what they say backing up their speech with identical action.  I propose that we move our democratic process under the governance of a theocratic system.  That would mean that before writing something into law/policy it must first meet the approval of the objective truth as opposed to the moving target of subjectivity that it now satisfies.  I further propose that the 1st Amendment be upheld for the Politically Correct and those of us the are Politically Incorrect.  I propose that our country’s leaders openly define in which god we trust.  I propose that marriage stands juxtaposed to civil unions…

I propose these and could propose several more biblically derived things which I am persuaded would all be deemed as an Indecent Proposal.

“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.  Joshua 24:14-15

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General Articles, The Cup of Compromise

The Cup of Compromise

I do not doubt (maybe to much of an assumption but I’ll go with it) that most people would agree that there is a difference between coming to a compromise and making a compromise.  Although in the today’s culture it appears that the two contexts are used or heard synonymously.

The former context suggest that parties of some sort have come to a type of settlement after subjecting themselves to mutual concessions.  In other words, the two sides of an agreement have given and taken in order to come to an agreement that would benefit the two.

The latter context is a concession of character, integrity, or some other vital attribute that defines a person, persons or an organization.   It is a given over or given in to something or someone to the demise of the one compromising.

Recently, in my garden time with the Lord,  He has had me in three main places.  They are: Leviticus, The Prophets, and 2 Timothy.  In Leviticus there is the description of the Law the sacrifices and the actionable items of the priests of God.  In the Prophets there are the several oracles of coming judgment to the people of God, the surrounding nations as well as globally.  Lastly in 2 Timothy there is the overarching themes of loyalty to sound doctrine, the surety of suffering for the gospel, and remaining submitted to the will of God in light of the suffering.

Leviticus, with all of its laws, offering types and requirements, descriptions of acceptable worship and the necessity of being ‘clean’ before the Lord (to name just of few of its contents) express to its readers the proper way to approach a Holy God.  It is God’s directions on how to approach Him.  Which would indicate there is a right and acceptable way and a wrong and unacceptable way (Lev. 10:1-3).  There was no room for compromise (in either of the contexts I have written).

As I stated above the Prophets spoke about the coming judgement on the people of God (as well as others).  This judgement was due to their compromise of the Laws of God.  What seems to be a very central point is that Israel and Judah compromised who God called them to be and drank the cup of compromise based on the culture of their time.  They served the gods of that culture as so many professing believers do today.

In 2 Timothy Paul reminds Timothy that the one that keeps guard of sound doctrine does not need to be ashamed of that testimony since it comes from the One who enlisted him in the army, Christ Jesus.  The masses of followers follow a Jesus dressed in the chaos of this cultural’s “progression”.  Several branches are spiritually cross-dressing and passing off the gender specificity in earthly life an leadership ordained by God as an archaic and unintelligible approach to the Living Word.

The Cup of Compromise is not being sipped on my the people of God, but they (the people of God) have become the greatest of bootleggers in the distribution of this purple concoction.  We see it in how we mimic the world.  In mimicking we are indeed imitating.  I for some reason remember reading that we are to imitate Christ not the world.

For example, so many of our beloved “gospel” artist have no more of the gospel in their music than any of their secular counterparts.  Here is a thought: if you want to do secular music do that, if not don’t dress Jesus in culture for the sake of airplay.  For many people these “inspirational” play lists are “blessings”.  Hey I like some of the songs too; however, it is not gospel.  Let me state it this way:  Inspiration does not have in it the words of life leading to salvation; ONLY the Gospel has that.  They may help us get through, but getting through is one thing, Victory is altogether different!

I am sure there will be some that read this and consider that I am critical and will probably begin quoting Matt. 7 (one of the compromise drinkers favorite passages), however, I will give a warning for those that operate in the sphere of non-criticalness (I may have just made a new word).  But let me first state this, if I am critical (and I believe I am), my criticisms are saturated in the compassion of scripture.

Now, a world without criticism (especially criticism as given in the word of God) is a world without Light.  We often see God in His grace and mercy without receiving that He is also just, righteous and Holy.  We often miss scriptures of chastening and reprimand, or disregard them, exchanging them for only the grace and love verses (which mind you are just as true and valid).  Remember this: No divinely inspired scripture outweighs, trumps, or in any way disregards any other inspired scripture.  That means it all works together.

Yes God is a God of love but His perfect love is accomplished because He is Holy.  In other words, He perfectly loves because He is first in essence Holy. — I will have to go a bit deeper into this in another post —

We are called to holiness as God deems holiness not as defined by man.  We can not afford to be ignorant of proper understanding of His word.  We must be careful of the one that says, “God says” and “I am being led by the Holy Spirit” when the words that they are saying are no where confirmed in the Word of God…

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General Articles, Practical Christianity, Theoretical Christian

Theoretical Christian

I have had the honor of teaching several men and women during my time in ministry. It is always a joy and extremely humbling when I think of how the Lord has used me over the years. I love to see the “light bulb” go off in the heads of those attending when God is speaking.

That being said, there often seems to be a breakdown from hearing and amen-ing the word, and the actual application of the word. It is easy to agree with the word when you are not being challenged to apply it. This is the admonishment that James gives in 1:22-25.

Many times I have experienced (and still experience) people that say they agree and can give all the reasons why — especially when they have someone in mind that the passage or teaching applies to — yet when they are faced with the same type of season in their lives it (the Word) does not apply to them.

It is true that there are several things in life that do not have a direct passage of reference. This is why often people will say “where in the does it say that I can’t do…” in defense of their own actions. The better question may be, “where does it say you can?”

Sure we all fall short of the glory of God but leaning on that as a means to continue in wrong doing is flat out wrong. Falling short, struggling with a sin or the like is not the same as rebellion with no conviction.

Hearers of the word that do not do the word are Theoretical Christians. That is, they are Christians in theory not in experience. They can hear the word and can clearly see how it should work in the lives of others but in their own life they are the true masters.

We see this in how a person deals with different things in their life versus the advice they may give another. If you tell people when they face a financial hardship they should trust God, then when you face a financial hardship you should show them what that looks like. If you are one that says long distance relationships are not supported biblically, then you probably want to avoid being in a long distance relationship — instead of attempting to justify why it works for you.

At the heart of the matter is this, be a person of your word. Be a person of the Word. Make sure your advice/”revelations” in life are word driven and Word approved — not “backed up” by a scripture you found to PROVE your opinion.

Act as you talk. The grace, mercy and love of God is unparalleled, but so is His just-ness, holiness, and righteousness which will bring His chastening and wrath upon man.

It’s interested to watch how when circumstances and situations change in people’s lives so does the application of the word of God in it– more on that in another post though.

The truth is that people never lie about who they are… you just have to stop listening to what they say and listen to what they do.

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