Monday, November 28, 2011
Currently I'm spending time working my way through Donald Miller’s first book, Through Painted Deserts. Many thoughts have run through my head so far, and I wanted to blog about them. I've ready this book many times in the past, and really enjoyed it. This time around, reading the book has opened my eyes to some interesting insights.
So, basically, I’ve found another thing that I’m a slave to. I’ve known this for quite awhile, but maybe today reached a new level of clarity. I’m a slave to the thought that more worldly possessions will make me happy. In my heart, I know this is false, especially when I’m out in nature, and that is enough for me. Then I get back into the real world, and the lure of the enemy comes crashing back in with a vengeance. I have found it particularly difficult to be happy for others when they get things that I've been wanting for awhile. This has been bothering me, because I really hate to be that person. Jealousy in people is never fun to experience. It sucks the joy right out of you. I DO NOT WANT TO DO THAT TO OTHERS.
I've heard many stories lately from people in my life of fun things they've been able to get or experience, things I've wanted in the past. And I began to feel the jealousy rise up, almost uncontrollably. It was horrible to watch. I read some more out of the book, and was reminded again that no matter how strongly I feel the pull, I know that material possessions won’t make me happier. Sometimes I think this love language thought is such a crock. Complete bullcrap! Gifts won’t make me happy. I mean, I know it’s the process of it, gifts make me feel like someone was thinking about me, and wants to express their love for me. BUT, the gifts won’t make me happy. I don’t need them. It’s strange because I think what I most need is a simplistic lifestyle, minimalist lifestyle, but what I most crave is the exact opposite. I crave the accumulation of unnecessary material garbage. Things that won’t make a lick of difference. My life is not worse off because I don’t have a smart phone. It’s not incomplete because I don’t have a motorcycle. It’s not incomplete because I don’t have an iPad.
My life is incomplete because I search to fill the void in my life with things, and not with Jesus. Pure and simple. No way around that one. It’s the truth. It sucks. Because to be honest, right now, I want “stuff” more than I want Jesus. Just sayin. Trying to be honest here. The desire and pull inside of me is more for material crap than Jesus. If Emily told me I could spend $1,000 on ANYTHING right now, I’d probably scream and dance around the room. Instantly my mind would start making lists of stuff, prioritizing what to get. If I were told I could spend some good quality time with Jesus, hmmmmmm, thanks. Not a bad gift. That’s ok.
How does one address this problem? First and foremost, I must repent. This has such a stronghold over me. I need forgiveness, and I need it know. I also ask for a continual reminder that things will not bring me happiness. Jesus says we shall have no other master before him. That’s serious business. I give this over to Jesus, and trust that He knows how to help me overcome this. Because right now, I feel helpless. This feels too strong of an urge to resist. I’ve got to trust that Jesus will lead me through this process.
Is it wrong to have "stuff"? Absolutely not. Is it wrong to place anything before Jesus? YES! If most of our attention was given to Jesus instead of the accumulation of things, our lives, and our world would be a completely different place. I'm working towards a completely different life. Please pray for me, encourage me, and support me as I work to allow God to break through in this area in my life.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Jesus' Prayer for His Followers1-5 Jesus said these things. Then, raising his eyes in prayer, he said:
Father, it's time.
Display the bright splendor of your Son
So the Son in turn may show your bright splendor.
You put him in charge of everything human
So he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge.
And this is the real and eternal life:
That they know you,
The one and only true God,
And Jesus Christ, whom you sent.
I glorified you on earth
By completing down to the last detail
What you assigned me to do.
And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendor,
The very splendor I had in your presence
Before there was a world.
6-12I spelled out your character in detail
To the men and women you gave me.
They were yours in the first place;
Then you gave them to me,
And they have now done what you said.
They know now, beyond the shadow of a doubt,
That everything you gave me is firsthand from you,
For the message you gave me, I gave them;
And they took it, and were convinced
That I came from you.
They believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I'm not praying for the God-rejecting world
But for those you gave me,
For they are yours by right.
Everything mine is yours, and yours mine,
And my life is on display in them.
For I'm no longer going to be visible in the world;
They'll continue in the world
While I return to you.
Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life
That you conferred as a gift through me,
So they can be one heart and mind
As we are one heart and mind.
As long as I was with them, I guarded them
In the pursuit of the life you gave through me;
I even posted a night watch.
And not one of them got away,
Except for the rebel bent on destruction
(the exception that proved the rule of Scripture).
13-19Now I'm returning to you.
I'm saying these things in the world's hearing
So my people can experience
My joy completed in them.
I gave them your word;
The godless world hated them because of it,
Because they didn't join the world's ways,
Just as I didn't join the world's ways.
I'm not asking that you take them out of the world
But that you guard them from the Evil One.
They are no more defined by the world
Than I am defined by the world.
Make them holy—consecrated—with the truth;
Your word is consecrating truth.
In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world,
I give them a mission in the world.
I'm consecrating myself for their sakes
So they'll be truth-consecrated in their mission.
20-23I'm praying not only for them
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they'll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
Then they'll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you've sent me and loved them
In the same way you've loved me.
24-26Father, I want those you gave me
To be with me, right where I am,
So they can see my glory, the splendor you gave me,
Having loved me
Long before there ever was a world.
Righteous Father, the world has never known you,
But I have known you, and these disciples know
That you sent me on this mission.
I have made your very being known to them—
Who you are and what you do—
And continue to make it known,
So that your love for me
Might be in them
Exactly as I am in them.
One could pull out many different themes from this prayer. But one thing I've always walked away with is that on numerous occasions Jesus mentions wanting his followers to be one heart and mind, to be unified as he is with the Father.
Unity, what an amazing concept. What a beautiful thought. The likes of which would rock the world. But then, there's always that one person. You know, that individual that seems to frustrate you no matter what. It seems their time, energy, focus, and existence is focused on being a pain in the neck towards you. Sometimes people clash for seemingly no reason at all. They just rub each other the wrong way.
I've struggled with that this week. I'm sure I piss off my fair share of people. In fact, I KNOW there have been times where people have made seemingly very unfair judgments about me. I am one of those that doesn't have a naturally pleasant demeanor. I'm not angry. I just don't smile naturally. My "natural" probably has been described as "leave me alone". Many times, I'm not feeling that way. I've tried to improve that over the years. Some people are smiley. I'm the opposite. Oh, I love to have fun, laugh, play, etc. But it doesn't always show.
This week I've really struggle with some folks. I tweeted earlier in the week how frustrating it is to have people proclaim something as a problem, and yet they seem to be the biggest contributor to that problem! I want to scream "Open your eyes!" I was really torn up about this. It was eating my lunch. And then, God began to soften my heart, and as He did, I became open to something He wanted to teach/remind me.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing remains
One thing remains
Your love never fails it never gives up it never runs out on me
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsty.com/jesus-culture-one-thing-remains-lyrics.html ]
On and one and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never ever have to be afraid
One thing remains
In death and in life I'm confident and covered by the power of your great love
My debt is paid there's nothing that can separate my heart from your great love