Monday, February 28, 2011

OK, I have to admit I am a nerd (I think that I already admitted it in the past, but it never hurts to re-up). One of my favorite TV shows is NCIS. Why? Because of the science of criminal investigation.

I was watching it the other night and the narrator said this: Every man is born as many men and dies as a single one (a quote from a philosopher Martin Heidegger). The truth of this quote struck has many paths - some of which are chosen for me (my birth date, my place of birth, who my are parents are, etc.), some of which I choose.

It is the last part that is the most challenging - who I ultimately will become is shaped by the paths that I choose. If I continually choose to respond angrily when life throws a hard circumstance at me, I will become an angry person. If I choose to look at people and care for them instead of looking at how they can serve me, I will become a person with a servants heart.

The quote is stating that to a large part, we are captains of our fate; we can choose who we become. This is not necessarily true in all areas of life, but it surely is true from a character perspective; the true essence of who we are and really what we ultimately want to be defined as by those around us (e.g. I would rather be defined as "kind and poor" vs. "rich and mean").

Our ability to be captain of our fates is true in our eternal destiny too. We have to choose to follow God; we have to choose to understand our need for a Savior and choose to accept Him as Lord of our life everyday. (Note that this is written from a free will perspective, even though I know that God is the one that calls and ordains; I have not, nor will I ever figure out the mechanics of the mystery between our free will and the sovereignty of God!!!!)

The letter that Paul wrote to the Philippians indicates that we are to "choose joy"; even in the midst of trying circumstances. The love of the scriptures is not an emotion, but a cognitive choice to put other's needs on an equal plane with ours. Joshua instructed the nation of Israel to "choose you today who you are going to serve".

Choices, choices, choices - choose those things today that will bring you closer to God and more in line with obedience to Him. Choose who you will become today by choosing to do what is right and holy. Chose today what will ultimately shape your character into one that is Godly and beautiful.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

OK, so you may be get tired of me writing about the desire that God has for us. For some reason, I just can't get it out of my mind. I believe that God wants to do a work deep in my soul, so the Spirit is camping out a lot on this issue in my "thinking" time.

I was listening to a speaker (Andy Stanley filling in for his dad on In Touch) talk about our appetites this morning - our appetite for more, more, more. He pushed beyond the obvious of appetite for food, and moved to our appetite for power, position, sex, things, shoes, acceptance, love, ______, etc. (fill in the blank with a whole bunch of things).

He went on to say that some of these appetites (or desires if you want to call is something else) are God created and Satan distorted. Our distorted appetites never whisper, they always scream. Our appetites never say "wait", they always say "now". Our appetites will make us do crazy and apparently unintelligent things (refer to Esau selling his birthright for a bowl of stew in Genesis 25). I would also say suggest that appetites always promise more that they will deliver.

How true....and troubling. Troubling in that all these appetites draw me away from God instead of to Him.

There is competition for my appetite. The psalmist implored me in Psalm 34 to "taste and see that the Lord is good". He implores me to fill my appetite by tasting Him and His ways. Unfortunately, I fill that appetite in so many other ways that are SO subtle, that often I don't even realize that I am using them to fill me.

How this must grieve the heart of God. How I must grieve the heart of God. His STRONG desire for me, to fill me, to be with me, to love me, to grow me, to perfect me, to be for me; and I use a cheap substitute and trade away what God has for me for a short term pleasure.

I have to set a watch on this area. It is SO easy to be controlled by distorted appetites. Satan desires me to be controlled by them! God desires to have me; He desires to give me fullness of life. I must be diligent in watching for ANYTHING that keeps me from being drawn to him - any attitude, any action, any word, any thought - and root it out of my life so that the Spirit of God can fill me.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I have been thinking more about my last post - the desire that God has for us.

Isn't that one of the things we want the most? Don't we want someone to accept us for who we are, not what we do, not how we dress, not where we live, not our position in the community, not what we are financially worth, not what our face or body looks like? Don't we? Isn't this what we really want?

Don't we really want someone to look us in the eye and tell us that they love us just the way we are - faults, imperfections and all? Don't we want that kind of unconditional love that says "regardless of where you are, I will still pursue you; I will still love you; there is nothing that can separate you from me?"

The "professionals" tell us that this is a basic human need - the need to be loved. What if that is what God is offering us? What if He really didn't care what car we drove, were we lived, where we worked, how much was in retirement account? What if He really longed to give us all the love He could? What if WE were the ones who were stopping His love from flowing to us? What if our hang-ups, our view of who we are, our small view of what God wants for us is stopping Him from loving us? What if our lack of trust in who He is and what He has in store for us is stopping us from receiving from Him?

Lots of things to think through on this one. I do know this: the creator of the Universe is drawing us to Him. He really, really, really wants us to know Him and enjoy living in the light of Him.

Don't let some hang up in your way stop you from experiencing His longing and love for you......

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I have been studying the life of Moses again for the leadership development gathering that I do each week. We are in the place in the record of events just before God gives the Ten Commandments and other laws to the Israelites. As I was reading last night, this very caught my attention in Exodus 19:

4 You yourselves have seen what I did in Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now if you fully obey me and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.

I absolutely love the words - I brought you to myself......... Isn't that a wonderful picture of God? Drawing the Israelites to himself? Carrying them; bringing them; inviting them into a relationship with Him. He desired them to be His treasured possession.

What a beautiful picture of God and His desires for us! I hope that I never get over the amazement of what God did for me by sending His Son. He calls me His son; He calls me His child. Amazing!

Listen to the heart of God in His words; listen to His heart for you; listen to His longing to know you............

Sunday, February 06, 2011

I was watching Day of Discovery this morning. It was about addressing some of the doubts that people have in believing Jesus. One of the things that struck me was the statement "You have to look at the historical facts about Jesus and wrestle with them - he is a living, breathing, documented human who lived and walked this earth and made some claims that you must consider" (my loose interpretation of what was said....).

Some important issues that were raised in that statement. Did Jesus really live? Is he a myth or a philosophy or simply a good man? How seriously do I have to take his claims? A man named Paul Meier went on to make the statement (my translation): Jesus is not some mythical creation of someone's mind. He is not a "philosophy" or a system of religion. You have to wrestle with the facts of Jesus; the historical documentation of what others have said about Him. By extension, you have to wrestle with his claims and his statements.

One of the cool things about this is that God in his divine plan, scripted history in such a way that His words would have external documentation to affirm its validity. I recently read that there was more known documentation of the scriptures than there was of any other historical text or book.

I don't believe God ever intended us to have blind faith. He gave us creation. He gave us a living, breathing, human who walked this planet. He gave us historical documentation in support of his work. He gave us evidence that makes our faith reasonable.