Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Take This Cup From Me; Yet Not

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.  And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.  Luke 22:42-44

Hello readers.  Welcome to my heart.  Let's begin. 

Interesting twist in the story.  For you churched people, you've heard this story several times.  But, just to be thorough, I want to give the context of this scripture. 

Jesus, at this point of the story in Luke, was very aware that the time had come for him to be betrayed and crucified.  And what you find, Jesus who was fully man and fully God, is showing a brief moment of vulnerability.  His fully man side was showing, revealing distress about the upcoming events.  The idea of dealing with the beating, and the accusing  and the nails, and the crown of thorns, seemed to be for a second overwhelming---so much that He needed strengthening to deal with the death headed his way. 

Why am I sharing this?

Well as always, I have a question for you.  How do you respond when your God given calling requires pain?  

Let me ask it this way.  Are you still willing to go through with God's calling even if you have to endure pain?    

Up until this time, lets stretch a little bit and say Jesus had it easy.  Not in the context of His lifestyle was easy, but just actively walking out His God sent calling was easy.  I mean, He was healing people, raising people from the dead, teaching and preaching, walking on water, performing miracles, all with seemingly effortless obedience to the Father. And please hear me, I'm not trying to make light of those beautiful moments in Jesus's ministry at all, but what I am saying is that up until this point, He had never had to pray in this way.   But here we see, Jesus asking for God to reconsider the plan.  I don't know about you, but I like this side of my Savior. 

So what I've learned from this and my recent life experiences is the question, what if God places you in a place that may hurt you for the sake of others?  

With our selfish culture, psh, hard to accept eh?  "If I ain't getting anything out of this, I'm not wasting my time." Says you and me.  

But what if God does it to you?  What if He puts you somewhere that you think is a waste of time because you're not benefiting from it?  

It would be like a guy in a race, being brilliantly talented, laying himself down between two connecting cliffs to allow the slower and less talented runner to finish before him. What's even the proper word for that?  Grace? Love? Selfless?  Stupidity?  

But what I see is Jesus is willing to be obedient to God, no matter what He has to to go through for the sake of us--which is the gospel.  Jesus, already in Heaven, already the Son, already in God's glory, came to die for us...... for....what?  It wasn't for Him, it was for us.  He already was with God, so this wasn't some works based thing Jesus had to do, but He did for the sake of us.  So, maybe there's more to this persecution thing?  

What if God leads us through some suffering in order to help someone else?  That there are somethings in your life right now that you may think sucks, but God has you there to bless someone else.  What if God has you in relationship with someone only to help them, and you get nothing you want in return?  

If I dare to be vulnerable with you.  I feel like I do a lot of pouring out and giving away of myself to others.  And in a lot of cases, always seeing the good in others, giving others the benefit of the doubt, always being sure others needs are being taken care of, always wanting the best for others.  And as of late, I feel a floating question is lingering in the back of my mind that is getting louder, "God, what about me?" I don't necessarily like the question, but I'm very honest and real with my feelings.  

"I mean, God, you seem to be enjoying taking care of everyone else through me, but what about me?" 

And the question I love to even ask myself when I start talking like that is this one, "What am I really after?  God's glory or my own?  Am I doing all of these things for something in return?  Why can't I love first?  Serve first? Lead first?  Grace first?  Forgive first?  Change first? Submit first?  Didn't Jesus do it for me?  Didn't He do it for you?  And I love my Savior's response to distress in His life, "God, I don't want to go through with this, is there anything else we can do? Yet...."  

Come on somebody!!!!!  Jesus said Yet Not -----my will, but yours.  

In that yet not, Jesus was realigning himself with God, saying "Yet not my will, yet not my way, yet not my glory, yet not my emotions, yet not my desires being satisfied.  God, it's all about you! Your will be done!  Your way acknowledged."   He realigned himself with God.   He realigned himself with the cross.  And------as will I.  

My dear, dear friends...

As will I.  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Live Deeply

 "A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God,  for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?"  Ecclesiastes 2:24-25

Hello readers.  Welcome to my heart.  Let's begin. 

I've been studying the book of Ecclesiastes.  Along with listening to teaching on it as well by Pastor Matt Chandler at The Village Church in Dallas, I've dove deep into understanding the underlining message of King Solomon in the text.  So this blog has a chance of being very similar to the Pacifiers and the Death Bed Question blog I wrote last month.

So, let's do some groundwork first.  First of all, you have to believe that God is for your joy.  Like, you have to, just have to, believe deep down in your heart that God is for your joy.  And that He's not withholding things from you, that He's not keeping you from having fun, but He's ultimately for your joy.  If you disagree with that, then, this blog may not carry the weight that it has the potential of carrying in your heart.  For anyone to truly feel the weight of this blog and this text, we have to agree on some things.  First of all, ALL THINGS were created by God and for God.  Secondly, sin is simply a perversion of design, meaning that when we are disobedient we are not behaving how God designed us(James 1:23-24), and when we abuse things that are given by God and using them in the wrong ways, that's what sin is.  So in that, I say that sexuality, marriage, sex, money, pleasures, friendships, all these things are created by God, His design.   And since they are His creation, He knows how its supposed to work.  

Are you with me?  

All things are created by God, so therefore can only be fully enjoyed when done how they were designed.  We can't fully enjoy our new sleek iPhone trying to use them as spatulas to flip burgers. So, let's go.

So, living deeply is this new idea and life philosophy I have of enjoying things how God designed them.  It's a response to the book of Ecclesiastes in which it talks greatly of how EVERYTHING is vanity and meaningless.  That all things will come to an end.  That all of our pursuits can be vane to a certain degree.  "I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind."  Ecclesiastes 1:14 

Claude, this blog is not very encouraging. 

Hahaha.  Keep flowing with me.  So in response to all things being vanity, the message is, MAKE IT COUNT. 


Now, there are some filthy messages out there that seemingly say the same thing, like YOLO and "You're Only Young Once", but those are taken out of context and perverted.  King Solomon is not saying that at all, but what He is saying is this, ""A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?" Ecclesiastes 2:24

So the YOLO principal can be applied, except in the realm of IN GOD.  So you only live once, so make it count, IN GOD.  Enjoy pleasures, IN GOD.  Enjoy fun and laughter, IN GOD.  Enjoy sex, IN GOD.  Because what I submit to you is that IN GOD is where we will find the greatest fulfillment of all these things.  If God is for our joy--- and He his, aggressively, ----then we will find great joy IN Him and be able to fully enjoy these things IN Him.  Do you see the common denominator here?


So yes, I am saying if you're not IN GOD then you're not living.  You're missing out on greater things, or more immeasurably greater things.  Yes, I am saying you are cheating yourself of thinking you can enjoy creation without the Creator.  Yes, I am saying you are the person desiring the pigs pods when God is offering you the fattened calf.  Luke 5:11-32.  Yes, I am saying you are desiring shallow things when God wants you to enjoy things deeply.  Joy is deeper than happiness.  Yes, I am saying you are wanting Ramon noodles when God is grilling steaks.  Sin is beneath you, God is the best for you.  You are cheating yourself, selling yourself short.  Desiring Oldsmobile when you have the Ferrari. 

Are you getting my point?   

Deep friendships. Having friends that know you and love you and challenge you and pray for you.    Deep relationships.  Having relationships that honors God and passionately seeks to serve one another and die for one another. 
Deep sex.  Having the companionship of a deep friend in a deep relationship.  An undeniable spiritual connection and physical connection and deep affection for this person, and you're engaging in a beautiful act that brings you two together as one.

God wants you to enjoy these things, but we've figured out ways of settling for the least, such as porn and lust.  Men, God wants you to long for a woman and her body, Adam responded the same way.  Don't feel bad that you desire women, but allow God's word to transform you in realizing that we shouldn't pervert that desire by wanting ALL of them, and even desiring the one on that porn site.  Women, God wants you to long to be a wife.  Don't allow pastors and singles coaches to make you fear that desire.  God wants us to enjoy relationships.  So stop letting the devil convince you that ALL men are the same, and that ALL women are the same.  All men are not dogs.  All women are not manipulators.  God wants us to enjoy deep friendships.  So stop letting betrayal in the past keep you from making new friends.  Being vulnerable SUCKS when it's abused, I know, I've been there.  But there are people out there that will love you for you, that you will be able to trust, that you will be able to allow to love you.  So come out of that brokenness and enter into a new realm of understanding that God is for you, and in Him you will find healing.   

GOD IS FOR YOU. And He's screaming, ENJOY ME MY CHILD. 



Readers and friends, let's live deeply.  Enjoying life. Soaking up God given pleasures.  Realizing that His law is for my joy, so I delight in something being so concerned about my joy and my well being.  That a God cares enough to delight in me and want what's best for me.  Drink deeply from the well of fulfillment. Smile. Heal. Love. Risk. Dream. Drink. Eat. Laugh. Sleep.Work. Rest. Trust. Be Still.

Live Deeply my friends.  Live Deeply.   

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

You Are Mine

Hello readers. Welcome to my heart. Let's begin.

Thanks for reading this blog today.  I'm encouraged to share with you the heart of our God. 

I know that some of you may have an issue with authority.  You may have had a person in authority who abused it.  You may have seen the countless reports of dirty cops and dirty principals abusing their authority.  And on heading towards an election, I'm continuing to witness a deep fear of putting someone in leadership with any sort of flaws or character deficiencies that we disagree with.  And of course the blatant fear of, "What if they're lying to us just to get into office?" 

In any sense of the term, I think as a culture we fear authority. And understandably, we've had sucky authority.  However, in this fear, we miss out on experiencing a beautiful truth about God.

As you saw, this blog is called You Are Mine.  Meaning, we are God's.  His possession.  His creation.  Created for His glory.  Not for our own glory, but His glory.  So that His name will be known among ALL of the Earth.  He created all things for Himself to enjoy.  He, the infinite of infinites.   No one knows how He got there, but He's there.  He's here.  He was here way before us.  He will be here way after us.  The Alpha and the Omega.  The beginning and the end.  The first and the last.  No other god is before Him.  The God of all gods.  The King of all kings.  The Ruler of all rulers.  Nothing happens without His knowing.  He's omnipresence.  He's everywhere at once.  He's omniscient.  He knows EVERYTHING.  He's omnipotent.  Limitless power.  He saves who He wants to save.  Judges who He wants to judge.  Does what He wants to do.  Move when He wants to move.  Is quiet when He wants to be silent.  He's above all creation.  The ultimate being if He can even be described as a being.  The majestic.  Incredibly mighty.

A little intimidating huh? Well, hang on to that feeling.  Let's do a little work here.

The same weight you feel right now, the same weight of God's ultimate authority and mighty power and the fear of the truth in that He can choose to flex His power whenever He wants, let's put that weight on the truth that He loves you.

Yes, He loves you.

Shall we run through the gospel? Just, quickly.  Let's go.

Adam and Eve sinned, which brought sin into this world and fractured the order of God's design.  So every time we have sinned it is a very directed jab at His authority and rule.  And people, His creation, continue to run away, hide and ignore the warnings and signs of His wrath which are in itself acts of grace.  Because He could just wipe His hands of us, write us off, but for some reason He doesn't.  Then Jesus, who is God in the flesh, so is fully God and fully man, comes to Earth to be the sacrifice for our continual rebellion---to fully satisfy the wrath of God for our sin for breaking His law.  So IN Jesus, we are reconciled and justified legally for our sin in response to breaking God's law.  Not because of anything we've done, but FULLY because of God's love for us.  And we run from His authority, but only someone in authority such as He can make a call such as this---to fully pay the tab----to fully pay the debt! 

I love the thought that God Himself satisfied His own wrath by coming as Jesus.  In His omniawesomeness (every way awesome), the idea of something in the position of just, glory, as God is and would remove Himself from His throne to be with us, is in itself delightful and greatly weighty to my soul.  And in this truth, we find the covenant He has made.  That for those that are IN Christ, there is no condemnation. (Romans 8:1)  No condemnation. Approved in the sight of God.  No punishment for your sins.  Redeemed.  Which means bought back from the consequences of our sin.  He bought us back for ownership. so if you're in Christ, you're His.  Shall I repeat it?

WE -----------------ARE---------------------- HIS. 

He has created the very essence of who you are, and born into inherited sin already apart from Him---He has taken great pleasure in bringing us back to Himself by adoption through the death of His Son Jesus. (Ephesians 1:5)  So, that intimidation you felt earlier, yeah, that's coming from something that's saying I love you enough to die for you.  And I WANTED to do it.  I TOOK PLEASURE IN IT. 

My grace is sufficient for you.  Why?  Because I'm infinite.
My mercy is greater than any of your sins?  Why.  Because I do what I want. 
Nothing can separate my love from you. Why?  Because no other god is above Me.

You are MINE. 

Get over yourself children.  You are not gods. You do not run anything.  You have no control of nothing.  You do not know more than me.  I am God.  I am He.  I am the One.  IT ALL ENDS WHEN I TELL IT TO.  Your opinions does not matter, ever.............. even when your opinion tries to tell you that you don't deserve me.  I didn't choose you because you're awesome and had it together, I chose you before you were even created.  Flaws and all.  Broken and well.  Crazy and smart.  Slow and dumb.  Angry and wicked. 


Get over yourself, and get to ME.