I like to feel deep sadness for others. It reminds me that God is near.
The other day I started to think that something was wrong with me. It took me two days to cry for Boston. Some days I recognize that there is so much tragedy in the world, that if I were to completely grasp it all, I simply could not handle all of it. I really don't think that any of us could. What's extraordinarily sad is that we have a tendancy to become numb to things like natural disasters or tragedy. We are inudated with so many images of violence everyday on television that it surely must numb us in some way.
When I don't "feel" anything at all, I find myself asking God if there is something wrong with me. He reminds me of the verse that we don't walk by feelings. We walk by faith. Our faith is often manifested in our actions.
Lately, I may have come across as harsh. I am sorry. Desperately sorry. I am full well aware that our salvation is not obtained through our works or the things that we do. It comes through faith, through believing that someone loved us enough to take our sins and die. Jesus died for us.
Some days I find myself angry at "our" passivity. I find myself angry that there are children who are exploited. I find myself angry that there are people in our own backyards who are in captivity. I find myself angry that we think that lies and backstabbing are ok, and that God is pleased with those sort of things. I find myself crying out for people every single day. I find myself angry that we have made television an idol.
the other day I noticed something.. in nearly every single house that I entered, there is a televison. The television is placed in the center of the room. We ignore the people around us. We don't open our Bibles. We don't visit the sick. We have lost our sense of community and replaced it with a big black box. People around us are dying every single day. Our brothers and sisters go hungry..and our neighbors walk in darkness because our lights are hidden and muted.
People are lonely. People are crying out for someone to show them something real and pure and good, and we are all buried in our cell phones and our televsions. I'm not innocent of this behavior. I have shared in it. I am guilty. But, as a steward of time and talent, and as a carrier of the light of Christ, then I have to be aware that God wants more of me. He wants more of you. He loves and accepts us the way we are, but we are called to "walk." We are in a Christian walk..and to walk means that we get up off our couches and step out of our comfort zones and trust in Him.
We need to get rid of our idols. Idols are not statues in this day and age. Idols are anything that we place ahead of Christ. For me, food is sometimes an idol. If God has called me to fast and pray, and I choose food over God, then food just became my idol. If God has called you to turn off your television and pray, and you fail to do that, then examine your heart and ask God if television is your idol.
Ask God to reveal the idols that are tucked away in your life. Trust that He will answer.
another fault that I have: I often expect everyone around me to love me like Jesus loves me. Often, I find myself disappointed. But, the truth is that one day when I stand before God, I won't be able to answer for them. I will only have to answer for myself. Jesus loved those who didn't love Him, and He expects us to do the same. We often rail and rave about unconditional love because we feel as if we lack it. We do. The world is sad, sick place, but we are called to GIVE .expecting NOTHING in return. Nothing. We are called to love hard people and show mercy to those least deserving. That is the way of Christ and His Cross. That is the narrow road.
Another thing that bothers me deeply. As Christians, we often use our Bible as weapon. When others don't agree with our way of thinking, we are quick to cut them into pieces with scripture. We can sometimes be arrogant and proud that we are "right".. We chop up the athiests. We chop up anyone with whose lifestyle we disagree. But, when we do this, our hearts surely cannot be right. What does the Bible say about how our Bibles should be used? The Bible says that it should be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path? What is the function of light? How does it operate? If God is truth and love and light, then we simply called to shine. As children of light, we are meant to Overcome every Evil with Good. ---with good...with good...I can't reiterate that word enough. We overcome the darkness, not by beating it over the head, but by loving those who are trapped in darkness and showing them that there is a better way.
The other day God a verse into my spirit. IN order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we must first become as little children. I started thinking of the qualities of children.. What does it mean to be childlike under the guidance of a loving Father? To be childlike means that we are simply trusting. Children don't care too much about money. They aren't real big on idols. They simply trust that their Father knows what is best and they are willing to put their trust in Him and listen to what He says. I think back on the days when I was a child. I had no worries. I was carefree. I didn't worry about anything. I was content with simplicity, and there was beauty to be found around every corner.
Ask God to restore your childlike faith and trust that He will answer. Trust Him. Life became complicated when we became adults. Christ is simply calling us to surrender.
In surrender, there is freedom. I hear the words, "For you have been called to Freedom brother, Not freedom to fall back into your sinful nature, but to SERVE one another in Love.
I want to tell a story. When I first came to Christ, I went to a church service and someone told me that Jesus wanted joy for my life. A week later, a complete stranger told me the exact same thing. A week later, another complete stranger, a person that I had never met, spoke the same word. JOY. I have learned that, in this life, there are trials and hardships. There are things that well up on the surface. But the deep inner things of God, something that He plants within us, in the surrender, is JOY.
Reader, Jesus wants JOY for your life. It comes in the surrender. It comes when stop wallowing in self condemnation, we rebuke the spirits of oppression, and we accept the Joy that only He gives.
Three different people spoke joy. During the course of a three week period. Three strangers.
Three days. Jesus died and rose again, to show us that in Death, there is Life and that His Spirit transforms us and renews us day by day so that by His Spirit we might look like Him. Clothed in complete love, trusting, and ready to do the will of the Father.
A long time ago, I could hear Jesus speak something into my spirit. "The Time is Now" He kept saying that to me over and over. Friends, now is the time to get our lives right with God. Now is the time to seek. Now is the time to lay down the things that He wants at the alter of His feet, and trust that He is going to meet us where we are and help us on this journey.
Get where you need to be, and then I urge you..URGE... in the greatest sense of the word, to help your brothers and sisters. I urge you to LOVE them.
I urge you to forgive those who need to be forgiven just as Christ has forgiven you. I implore you to turn your back on darkness, and look solely toward Christ.
I once had a vison of a tightrope. I was walking a very thin tightrope. Below me there were dangers and ploys and futile entertainment. There was a bevy of distraction. But, in the vision, I knew that I had to look straight ahead or else I would fall.
At the other end of the rope, Christ was waiting.
Christ said to Follow Him. If we are to follow Him, that means that He is the one that should be in front of us. Not man. Not anyone else. Listen to Christ. He gave us the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us into all truth and He promised to speak to His children. "My sheep hear my voice."
Don't be so quick to have your ears tickled. Listen to Jesus and hear what He says.
Be blessed friends,
I love you. Pray for me as I pray for you.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians