Monday, July 27, 2009

Breaking chains

“…because whose who are led by the spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received a spirit of sonship and by Him we cry Abba Father.” Romans 8:14-15

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Battle. War. These things mark the heart of every boy and man. Back in June, as my family was harvesting potatoes, I noticed a second cousin of mine, about 7 years old now, tromping through the field like Godzilla, throwing dirt rocks into the air and watching them break apart when they hit the ground, and all the while making explosion sounds.

Sure he was just having fun, using his imagination coupled with hyperness. But he was also letting his heart come out. And no wonder considering who sits on the throne in heaven.

God is a liberator. He fights to set captives free.

“Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created man on earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened or has anything like it even been heard of? Has any other people heard the voice of God speaking out of fire as you have and lived? Has any other god tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by miraculous signs, and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand, and an outstretched arm or by great and awesome deeds like all the things your Lord God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?” Deuteronomy 4:32-34

Just as God stormed Egypt and led His people out, today He storms the gates of hell to bring his own out of bondage. We fight alongside Him. But the war is not for the faint of heart, nor each battle for the cowardly.

I myself have often taken the easy way out. I’m the compromiser. I seek solutions that benefit most people involved. If there’s an unpleasant dispute to be had, I would put it off as long as possible.

Not…any…longer. (Pause added to emphasize the weight carried by my voice).

I am not meant to be swayed by those around me constantly; to give in, trading my convictions to please others. I’m taking a stand. This world isn’t going to understand me anyway.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us, is that it did not know Him.” 1 John 3:1

Let me be clear of this distinction. There’s a time to be gentle yes. But there’s also a time to fight and not flight. And through love you can fight, and I do believe when we love others we are called to fight for them.

Running will only delay the battle. Fighting brings liberation.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


This past weekend I celebrated my 21st birthday with some friends down on the beach. I came back 1) without my glassses (lost them in the ocean, this would only happen to me of course) and 2) sunburnt really bad. Day 3 post baking, my skin has begun to peel and rid itself of the old skin. My face has taken the worst of it, so I'm attempting to resurrect my skin.

Got me thinking about how we die to ourselves to become alive in Christ.

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we dies with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know what since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:6-11

Dying to myself which in my mind goes hand in hand with surrender is a common theme in my walk. Since I set out 3 years ago to follow God all the way, I continue to come back to these points. I hold Stephen (Acts 6-7) in high regard, because in Stephen, I see the end goal. To be Christ as though He'd taken the place of my mortal body. Stephen reached this point, because he layed down everything, putting God above all. We see no mention of whatever sins he struggled with, whatever weaknesses he had, because being totally immersed in Christ those things are no longer evident. They are swallowed up by the light of the risen Lord radiating outward.

That is the race I run. To reach this goal. But there yet remains weights I must cast off, that I must say goodbye to, to run even faster while my legs have it in them. In no particular order

-Complete honesty
-Sharing my burdens with others
-Self Importance
-Putting God above my own desires and dreams
-Doing His will and not my own
-Loving Him with all my heart

I pray that as my desire grows, that I would leave all else behind and run with every ounce within me to Christ, and then run one step behind until the race is finished.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Revival starts with us

Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the city of Greenville their sins. For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a city that does what is right, and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. “Why have we searched” they say, “and you have not seen it?” “Why have we humbled ourselves and you have not noticed?”

Yet on the day of your searching you do as you please. You seek me only a little while, then you turn your attention away. You cannot search as you do today and expect to be heard on high. Am I supposed to answer after you seek me for only a day? Is praying only for bowing one’s head like a reed, and for getting down on your knees? Is that what you call a search, a day acceptable to the Lord?

Is not this how I want you to search me out: to loose the chains of injustice, and untie those held captive by sin, to set the oppressed free and break every chain? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-when you see the naked to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help and He will say: here am I.

If you do away with oppression and the pointing finger, and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noon day. The Lord will guide you always, he will satisfy your needs in a sun scorched land and will strengthen your fame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of streets with Dwellings. If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the time of worship a delight, and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob. The mouth of the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 58

City of Greenville and East Carolina University, I posted this passage from Isaiah 58 which God spoke to the Israelites centuries ago. I made a few substitutions because I believe God is speaking the same to the city of Greenville.

People everywhere are seeking out God, to know Him personally, to hear His voice. We are seeking the same connection a few of our friends have who seem to love God as though they were married to Him. But as soon as we begin to search and seek Him out, we turn away to other things to bring us entertainment.

If we truly wish to know God, we have to come to Him in obedience. This means listening to God’s word, the Bible. This means setting aside ourselves to live for His Kingdom. We cannot search for God and still do as we please!

Imagine if even a tenth of the students at East Carolina and a tenth of the population in the city of Greenville lived in obedience to God?! If that tenth prayed to Him every day, His voice would be heard, His will known, and people’s lives would be changed so dramatically, we would all stand amazed at what is happening, even those who do not believe.

Seek out God, by obeying and praying. Revival starts with us as Christians from which the streams of living water flow (John 7:37-38).

Sunday, July 12, 2009

For His Glory

Recently I was listening to Big Fish FM 92.7 which is all I listen to now on the radio because it plays my kind of music. Yes it plays some songs over and over again but they also get me thinking with stuff like this.

Wally was talking Sat night on my way home from work about God's protection, and his personal beliefs on that. He started this train of thought by responding to an email in which a guy said, "Well I don't know about your faith, but I believe God will always protect me." Wally stated that at times God removes His protection for a greater purpose and so He doesn't always protect us as most Christians like to think. Case in point, look at the Israelites. God let them get attacked by neighboring nations when they turned to idols and sin.

I also agree. God doesn't always protect us. And here's why.

We were created to give him Glory. Check out Isaiah 43:7. And Paul also wrote in Philippians 1:20 "...Christ will be exalted in my body."

The early apostles Peter, Paul, James, John were thrown in prison, martyred, exiled, beaten, etc. Why did God not protect them of all people? Because their suffering made God more famous! It brought Him glory!!

So I urge you when bad things happen not to say "Why God did you let this happen." Instead look to how the situation brings God glory.

And I encourage you to live to bring Him glory. Its all about Him folks.

"Not to us, but to your name, be the glory"

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Somethings odd with the lawnmower

I take great pride in mowing grass. Comin up on my 10th year, I've learned a few tricks and the proper methods of trimming yard as opposed to cutting and butchering a yard. But today as I was mowing my aunts yard, I noticed the deck is not cutting just right. A few too many streaks and uneven places tell me the deck may have become off level. Or else the blades need tuning. I'll have to take a look at it on saturday.

Thats all for now.

Nah, I'm joking. That part is true, but I wouldnt blog about just that. While I'm looking at the deck on saturday, physically fixing things I'll probably continue to think through spiritual matters. Something about working with my hands and fixing things brings me into a state of mind where spiritual matters also become clearer.

Relationships are so darn complicated. And it can be easy to get the wrong idea by misinterpretting signals. This isn't a recent revelation but its something that has been a theme in my life for a year now. I find myself second and third guessing how best to encourage someone, knowing when honesty up front is the best course, and I'm over analyzing things or under analyzing them.

In short my head is spinning, and I keep feeling like I'm missing opportunities to say the right thing. I'm seeking signs, but then I also fail to full proof interpret them without leaving doubts wondering if it instead meant something else.

I need clarity.

So I'm going to continue to ask Him who knows all hearts which I may never begin to grasp.