Sunday, December 10, 2006


Barriers are commonplace in my life. They disrupt my unity with Christ. I become fixated on anything other than God and the results are disturbing. Perhaps the distraction doesn't cause me to outright stumble or sin, but I suppose anything causing me to loose sight of God is not holy. How does one break through the barriers? Perhaps recognizing the particular barriers is key. For instance I know that I have severe issues with patience, especially the lack thereof. Self-control also is a discipline that I have lacked for quite some time. I desire to loose my self of any envy by replacing it with contentment and praise. Lastly, I suppose I possess a certain unhealthy amount of selfishness which completely destroys any love I could have for God's people. There are four key recognitions: patience, self-control, envy, and selfishness. But recognizing these alone will do nothing to grow me. I must develop a strategy for overcoming these stepping-stones. First and foremost I must humble myself of any pride and realize that without placing God in the pilot's seat of reformation no permanent change will occur. God, please lead me in this personal revolution against my flesh. Grant me the humility to rely on You for strength. I desire to destroy the barriers that separate me from You.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Finals are over. Another semester come and gone. In reflection I am not sure how excited I am that it is over. I set a few mental goals for myself as the semester began and now I can see that I didn't do too well. I actually didn't do well at all. I severely lack discipline. How is discipline gained? I desire to develop discipline desperately. Christ possessed, developed, and maintained discipline throughout his life. Gandhi demonstrated discipline. Martin Luther King, Jr. lived a disciplined life. How did they do it? Their lives echo greatness and passion. Perseverence is key. Focus is a must. Optimism is perhaps too underestimated. In order for me to become the man I want to become I must learn discipline. I believe that God can work in my life in a way that can glorify Him and impact others for His kingdom, but I must surrender daily to His ways. To do that I must be disciplined in every aspect of my character. It is not easy, for sure. I am convinced that mediocrity is not for and will never bring contentment or peace to my life. I may not know for sure exactly which path in life to take, but whichever one is for me I plan to travel it with all of my heart. Jesus was not mediocre. He did not do things only half-way. Instead He defied the concept of normality and broke free from the confinement of typical. He lived His life with passion and zeal from one breath to the next. He wasted no words or any action. He made the most of every moment. He is my leader and my example. He knows the best way to live, the only way to live. He did more than survive, more than get bye. Jesus glorified the Father with His life. This is my goal and ambition. Jesus, become real to me. I desire to embrace You and Your ways in a radical way. I don't care if society or culture consider me abnormal or freakish. The only concern I have is what you think of me. Make me Your own. Transform my life, my habits, my ways and make them life Your own. Make me an image that You can be proud of. Help me to defy the concept of modern Christianity and become real for Your Name's sake. Give me the wisdom to understand the intricacies of Your Word so that I can apply it to the way that I live my life for you. I shun hypocrisy - especially that of the private type. Character is made in the solitary intimacy shared with You alone. Lord, work on me. Change my character and my heart to make You smile. Make me better day by day.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

God's sovereignty need not be questioned by me. I should accept it without any hindrance. I do however wonder on ocassion how His sovereignty is so sovereign. Horrible things happen to amazing people and while that should be no newsflash it certainly is not easy to swallow. How can I wrap my mind around grace and true justice in a world where the wrong go unpunished and right become the tormented. God's grace is indescribably wonderful - for me. But what about the people living in abusive households? What about the millions of people born into disease, starvation, homelessness, war, and the like? What about the people who seldom, if ever, see the gracious angle of my Lord? How does one explain grace or accept it as a reality when considering such circumstances. I am blessed. For me to claim anything less is a slap in the face of the Almighty God. Thank You, Jesus, for making it possible for me to have such an amazing life. I have more possessions in my refrigorator than many people will have in a lifetime. Yet I am a complainer. I pray regularly for things to "get better" and for You to work miracles in particular situations. How dare I? You've done so much for me already. Your life given on the cross is enough for me to be eternally in debt to You. You, however, refuse to rub that in my face. You alone have the right to own me and force me to live the way You desire because You bought me. Instead you offer freedom. You are sovereign. I may never fully understand exactly what that entails. I pray for my friend - Doug - and seek wisdom on his behalf. He has proven to me to be a man after Your own heart. Perhaps I need to look at Your miracles. You saved his life from the stroke. You saved his life from the fire. Who knows what else you've done for him that we will never know. Instead of questioning why these terrible things can happen to such amazing people I will bow my head in reverance and thank You for the unseen. Thank You, Father, for being in control of details and events that are too great for me to fathom. Thank You, Father, for not letting a single detail of any person's life pass you bye without Your permission. Lord, Thank You. Life is good and I honored to be called Your son.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Mountains can be breathtaking. They can also become deadly. Mt. St. Helens provides an adequate example. She blew her top killing everything in her path and leaving rippling effects for months and years. It's always a good thing to be on top of the mountain. It feels great - I'm sure. But what about coming down? Coming back to the "real world"? I think that it probably sucks. Much like spiritual mountains. I hate being on top for a spell only to find myself unexpectedly tumbling toward the pits. I have felt this so many times that instead of it being unexpected it feels like a natural turn of events. But its not. It can't be. Jesus stayed strong. He stayed on top. There was not a time in the physical life of Jesus where anyone can say, "Man, why couldn't Jesus have done better?" because He always did the absolute best. He ruled the mountain. Me? I am but a tourist. Sure I vacation to the slopes from time to time, but only for a season. Soon enough the vacation ends. I inevitably discover a way to loose sight of the meaning of the pinnacle. What does it take to make the apex a home instead of a resort? For Jesus it took discipline. It required a life of obedience and sacrifice. He defined commitment. Jesus proved that high-rise living is indeed possible by devoting to the Father. He refused selfishness and shunned prideful living. For me this means becoming devoted in my personal time. If dwelling with the Father on a regular basis is to become a reality then I must reprioritize my words, thoughts, and life. God has got to become more than just a religion. He must become more than an acquaintance. God must be my heart's desire.

Jesus you know more than anyone else the requirments for holy living. You know that pleasing God or "staying on top is more than simply setting your mind to obeying the Word. It takes relationship. More than anything, God, this is my desire. I you to be the sole focus of my life. I hate living for myself and the world. I willingly and graciously choose to serve You out of love. Love is an action - not an emotion. So for me to make such a claim means, in my mind, that I must commit to doing more than just saying words. I must live. Perhaps my biggest barrier is self. I am torn trying to please myself. Fear drives me to think that I will not be happy without a substantial amount of income. Pride drives me to think that I deserve a substantial amount of income. I rationalize by telling myself that when I do strike it rich I will be generous with the money and make large contributions. I have trouble, however, tithing with what I make now. I know that I must forsake myself and somehow tap into Your desire for me to achieve true contentment. God, only You can provide true Life. Help me to see and focus on this Truth. Help me not to loose sight of You.

Lord, I commit to this week. I know that battles are in store for me. I can visualize the enemies asttacks. Satan seeks to destroy and form of friendship that we may share and I believe that he will stop at nothing to seperate us. Remind me to turn to You, instead of myself, for the ability to overcome any temptation that comes my way. Sanctify me by your Holy Spirit and grow me to be a man who desires true communion with You. Only You have the ability to defeat sin - the power that disconnects me from you - and only You can show me the way. Please, Jesus, hear my heart on this and light the path. Be my Guide. Amen.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Measure up. Almost sounds like cowboy up. I can almost hear Christ saying those very words. Cowboy up. I seriously doubt Christ intended His church - His Bride - to be a bunch of pansies. Yet everytime I give into my flesh and commit sin I feel just like one. A pansy. Is that what the Lord of Lords sees when He looks at me? I know He is able to look past all of my insufficiencies, but where does one draw the line? Paul completely opposed the idea of giving into the power of sin even though God's grace is sufficient. He also said that he is a victim of "pansification". He did the things that he did not need to do. I am frustrated with myself for loosing sight. I lack discipline and focus. The Word notes that if we truly love our God then we must obey Him. No if's, and's, or but's. Do I lack a true love for Jesus? I think not. But I am a victim of selfishness. And of that I am ashamed. Sin is a very shameful thing. That's what I hate most about it. It makes me ashamed to call myself a Christian. To bare the name of the One who defeated sin once and for all. Why can't I? I have His power, His love, His name. I have His strength and courage to do battle against the enemy. Why do I make excuses? Do I further annoy the Lord by dwelling on mistakes? I feel as though I should let go of my inadequacies completely unto Him so that He can free me from the burden of sin. His love endures forever. Love is an action, not an emotion. I must focus on His grace and not my failure as a follower. True, I hate sin. I hate the results of it. I hate its ability to discourage. Nothing good can come from sin. Jesus I thank You for your victory over the power of sin. You fought brilliantly for an entire life to prove that by leaning on God the Father we can be set free. I pray that You would light an eternal flame inside my soul that can never be extinguished. Let this flame burn only for You for You are worthy of my praise. Only You can make atonement for my sin and only You can bridge the way from me to the Father. Thank You God for sending Jesus as a sacrifice. I may never understand how rich your love is for me. I can see Your love exemplified in the life of Jesus and I can never ask for anything more than the sacrifice you made for me. Thank You for offering me a chance to have abundant Life. I don't think I have even begun to tap into the wellspring of life that You promise to those that love You. I desire more than the oridinary, more than the status quo, more than just enough to get by. God, I desire to be like You. Not in the sense of power and majesty, but in the sense of holiness. You declared for us to be holy as You are holy. I suppose that holiness is only accessible through deep communion with You. That is the heart of my prayer. To be closer to you than I could possibly imagine at this moment. I don't have any idea of what a deep friendship with you is like. I want it so bad. God thank you for your forgiveness. Thank you for your love. I am very unworthy of all that you offer and I am sincerely grateful.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Holiness is by no means something to be taken lightly. Purity is achieved through obedience to the Word. God calls us to be different, set apart, uncomformed to the world. Charles Stanley says that being a Christian in the world is like kind of like asking an elegant lady in a white dress to to work in the coal mines - the soot will stain her and leave its mark. For sure God's plan and role is to intervene for us and provide a way of escape from the habits and lifestyles that often surround us. The world screams for ungodliness. Selfishness, materialism, pride, ungratefulness, dishonesty, and lust are characteristics that seem to define our culture. Do these things rub off? Do they leave their mark on me? For sure. I hate conforming to the world. I hate being rubbed off onto by the world. I hate knowing in my heart that I made the wrong choice, ventured down the wrong path, said the wrong words - conformed. All conformity to world does in my life is create a barrier between Jesus and me. No doubt His forgiveness abounds and His love endures through my sin, but I want more. I will never "deserve" His love. I can never "earn" His acceptance. But what I desire is please my Lord. He has done so much for me that I desire for Him to look upon me with favor and peace. I want Him to see in me a faithful follower who will journey to the end without waivering to one side or the other. When Jesus sees me I want to bring a smile to His heart. Indeed, I may not understand His love. Perhaps His mercy is so great that He never stops smiling, never stops finding favor with me, never stops viewing me as a faithful servant. But I know I can do better. It is written in James that faith alone is dead. Faith should be accompanied with works. I want to show Jesus my faith in Him by what I do - by the life that I live. It can be hard. He came to serve and I often feel put out to serve others. He came to minister to the needy and I rarely stop for the homeless. He came to be a light and I feel like all I do sometimes is cast a shadow on the light of others. I'm fed up with being stained by the world. I have no excuse. I know the truth. For a man to know the way to live and live a contrary life is a shame. Shame no more. I am a fighter. I desire to fight the good fight. Satan, the world, and my flesh are on a mission to destroy, but I need only God to defeat all my enemies. As far as the east is from the west so far has He removed our transgressions from us. He will empower to victory. He will comfort, protect, provide, shelter, and strengthen those whose hope is in Him. God knows no fear. He does not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power. Living for Him may not be the world's way, nor is it easy. Living for God may be stressful and frustrating. But living for God is the only real form of living - period. Everything else is dying early. He came to give life and give it more abundantly. I pray that I will fully grasp this concept. I need Jesus more than I need this life. Without Him life is an impossible misery. Forgive me, Jesus, for my shortsightedness and selfishness. Please help me keep my eyes and my heart fully focused on You. Give me the strength to follow Your example for life. Give me the ability to forsake myself. Bless me with a vision to see doorways to overcome temptation and the courage to walk through them. Remove any sin from my life so that I may be filled with righteousness. I truly want us to become closer. I want to know You. Yes, I want to know You.