Friday, 24 October 2014

Let's Get Chewing

As I sat this morning eating my very blue oatmeal and drinking my maple syrup infused coffee, while listening to a worship song proclaiming that "my God is mighty to save" I found myself beginning to sing along, and then I found myself thinking "yup I believe this to be true, my God IS mighty to save!"

As I began to journal I reflected on the darker doubt filled place I was in yesterday morning before I started my devos. So I thought to myself what has changed? The simple answer is that for the past mornings I have spent time in meditation and prayer with my God who is mighty to save!

The question that came to the page was "what happens when I don't feel or act as more than a conquers?"


The verse that was tumbling around in my mind is found in Romans 8: 37 where the Apostle writes "in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us." Earlier he makes the argument that those who are in Christ Jesus have been set free from the law of sin and death (vs. 2). 

I have to be honest sometimes, maybe even quite often, I don't feel or act free from sin, instead I am feel and act conquered by sin, defeated, struggling, unable to live the life of freedom and flourishing I read about in the Scriptures, and that I do believe is meant to be mine, "oh Jesus I believe help my unbelief."

The next verse that came tumbling into my mind, or rather that was placed into my heart was Romans 12:2 " Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."

Or as the Message puts it "Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."

I thought "Yup! That's the answer." This is a truth that God has to remind me of often... fix your eyes on Jesus, because HE is the founder and perfecter of your faith! (Heb 12:2).

So there you have it, don't feel or act as more than a conquer? Whatever it is that you struggle with, we all have something, it might be a sadness we can't shake or a we can't get a control of our unhealthy eating patterns, whatever it is we need to FIX OUR EYES ON JESUS BECAUSE HE IS THE FOUNDER AND PERFECTER OF OUR FAITH!

My recommendation is that we get into the habit of fixing our eyes on Jesus through mediation on his Truth and in prayer everyday, because lets be honest we are still broken humans, yes we are being perfected by Christ, we are not yet perfect and we still have our weaknesses, so we need daily, if not more than that, reminders of his Truth and promises! 

This does not need to be long or extravagant, maybe start be reading through the Psalms, start with Psalm 1 read it over and over again, really chewing on it for 5-10 mins, then take a pen and paper and let your thoughts flow for a couple mins, don't filter them. don't analysis the verse, let the outflow of your meditation on God's Word be your response in prayer. 

I also recommend doing it in the morning, before you go out into the world, plant your feet firmly on the Rock that is Jesus Christ. 

29-30 God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.
31-39 So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:
They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. (Romans 8: 29-39 MSG)

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Scam Artist

Do you ever feel like a hypocrite? 

Yesterday morning in class I was just about ready to burst out in tears over the deep love for Jesus that was pumping through my heart! All I could think was "I love you Jesus, I really really love you!"

Then not so much later that evening I was in the shower and all I could think was "I just want to go out and get drunk." I even went so far as to whisper to Jesus (the same Jesus I just had professed my undying love to) "I think I'm done being a Christian, I don't want to be a Christian anymore, I am done."

What the crap!?

As I stood in the shower, I kept thinking to myself "I am scam artist, I am scam artist!" Here I am in the morning almost weeping with love for Jesus, and in the evening I am ready to forsake him for a night of debauchery. Here I am working for University Christian Ministry discipling young women, leading a bible study, and going to Regent College working towards becoming a pastor!!! 

You're kidding me right!?

I know that I have said this before, but really "God you have the wrong person for the job!"

OK I know that people throughout history have felt this before, like Moses and yada yada... 

But this time He really does have the wrong person!

I love Jesus. I really really really do, I know this to be true as the Spirit cries out "Abba, Father!" (Romans 8:15) 

BUT I also have the very real desires to do things that I know are harmful and do not please my Father, and sometimes I actually act on these very real sinful desires... 

So now do you see how I am scam artist, I am really not pastor material, because I have sins that don't just exist in my past, but they exist in the here and now, and they are some really deep, dark, and ugly sins!

So where does this leave us?

I don't know where this leaves you, but it leaves me DESPERATE! Crying out to me Father "Help me! PLEASE HELP ME!"

I echo the Apostles oh so wise and real words:

17-20 But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
21-23 It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.
24 I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?
25 The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different
1-2 With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.
3-4 God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that.
The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us. (Romans 7:17 - 8:4 MSG)