Category Archives: Emotions

Knowing God

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” (II Peter 1:2, NIV)

What is the purpose of our lives? What is it that we were placed here to do? When I was younger, I was too engrossed in Eccl. 12:13-14 “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (NIV) And more recently John 14:15, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (NIV)

Not that these two passages are wrong. After all, one was spoken by Jesus Himself, and elsewhere in the Bible we are told that God’s Word is never wrong (II Tim. 3:16-17). But that’s not the whole picture. Hardly at all. Rather, these two passages are more the MEANS to the end.

THE END

Duty. Obedience. Command. These are some strong words, that people sometimes use to bully or self-oppress, and at other times to legitimately call another out on their wrongs. But when it comes to the issue of “what is our purpose?” I have a feeling there is more to it then this…Like this is a part of it, but not the whole.

A lot of people might say getting into heaven is our goal. Well, a few chapters after Jesus told us to obey Him, He says this: ” ‘Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.’ ” (John 17:3, NIV) Most of the time you hear about eternal life, it’s paired with “asking Christ into your heart.” Now what does that mean? “Hey Jesus, can you come into my heart and crash a while?” What happens when you later decide to “slip up” and do some drinking or swearing? “Hey JC, can you cover your ears/leave the room a moment? You might not like this…” Tolerance. Bad stuff. “JC” doesn’t like that stuff. Remember, He called out people on tolerance. But in this passage, we get an idea of what it practically means to ask Jesus into our lives and how to get into heaven…And dare I say, our purpose?

THE REASON

“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ…” (Phil. 3:8, NIV)

If we are to know Christ and God…why? Because He is SO much greater than ANYTHING! Nothing compares. Ever. Nor will anything ever compare. Nor has anything ever compared before. HE IS IT! God is the old, present, and new awesome. I AM THAT I AM is Who should rock our world. “This is what the LORD says: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the LORD.” (Jer. 9:23.24, NIV) It’s not our new sneakers, our grades, the internship we just got into, or even our loved one’s accomplishments we should be proclaiming to the world…It’s God.

THE MEANS

Back to what I knew when I was younger…Obedience and Duty are part of the means, the expression of this love towards God. But what does loving God mean? It means to know Him. All these passages point towards KNOWING HIM. A relationship. Obedience and Duty without love and a relationship are merely religious structures that fall apart when tested by the fire. No, it is a relationship with us the He desires for our lives, and for which He designed us. By obeying Him you can show Him you love Him…but to just obey Him to get into heaven, that shows you to be motivated wrongly.

THE PURPOSE

“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice.” (C.S. Lewis, Til We Have Faces)

Knowing Him is the purpose of our lives. Nothing else compares. So, let us continue to get to know the Lord, “…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph. 4:13, NIV) Amen.

Advertisements

If Our Faith Has Cost Us Nothing, Then What Is It Worth?

If our faith has cost us nothing…then what is it worth? After all, your faith is only worth as much as it costs you. Salvation is free…but faith is not.

Your faith is worth what it has cost you

2 Samuel 24:18-25
Matthew 13:44-46
Luke 14:26-35
Acts 5:1-11
2 Timothy 3:10-17


You Have Been Telling Me

(This is a new Bible study, for a personal update, see here.)

“I don’t know what it is God wants me to do.”
“I’m just waiting for His call.”
“He hasn’t given me a sign yet.”
“I think because I’m good at (A), that’s what God wants me to do.”

How often have we said things like this? Or worse, lived them?

We have a tendency to not want to do what God wants us to, even when we really know what it is, and we just say things like this as an excuse. We lie to ourselves. We try to convince ourselves that God really doesn’t want us to go to the guy we hate (sorry…dislike) at work, and be nice to him. We try to say to ourselves that God couldn’t possibly want us to say hi to the dirty homeless dude on the walk to church. He couldn’t possibly mean that maybe, just maybe, He would like you to stop paying that 25 cents for whipped cream on your daily coffee, and put it in the tithe plate instead. Nah…God couldn’t possibly want that.

It’s so much easier for us to believe that He would call us to drop life, sell everything, and go to Timbuktu to teach little African kids about Him. We hate the idea that His message and love in our hearts should change OUR HEARTS. Why? We’re scared. We’ve lost our first love. We’re running from the truth. Call it what you may, but we forget the simple words of Jesus: “If you love Me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15, NIV) And if you really are following Christ, and allowing Him to change your life, and if you believe that Christ is God, and that God is love…”There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (I John 4:18, NIV) And right before that: “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like Him.” (I John 4:16, 17, NIV)

But the truth is, most of us know what it is God wants us to do. And even if we have pushed past self deception or fear or backsliding, we just don’t always know how to do it. We flounder around, not sure of what to do. Still, we are forgetting, “You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:2-4, NIV) We just need to ask. “For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:8, NIV) & “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:22, NIV)

So, what if we do ask? What is He going to say to us? What answer is it that we fear so much?…Moses was in a similar position. He was atop Mt. Sinai, and the Isrealites had just had the “Golden Calf Incident.” So, Moses was probably a bit stressed, seeing as how God had said “…I will not go ith you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.” (Exodus 33:3b, NIV) Wow. God was pissed. (And rightfully so…He is the only one deserving glory after all.) Obviously, God didn’t destroy them, He probably just wanted them to understand the gravity of the situation.

But now Moses is here, talking with God, and he says, “ ‘ You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but You have not let me know whom You will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with Me.’ If you are pleased with me, teach me Your ways so may know You and continue to find favor with You. Remember that this nation is Your people.” (Exodus 33:12b, 13, NIV)

That probably took a lot of guts on Moses’ part. After all, most people would have been prideful and stubborn. “How could You have stuck me with these God? Why did You let them do this? Why didn’t You make this work?” But instead, he repeated to the LORD what He had told Moses to do, and then asked for help (sure, Moses was afraid here, but he pushed through it). He acknowledged how the LORD had blessed him, and then, he asks God to help. He realizes with his words to God his need for help. (As Christ said a few thousand years later: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5, NIV))

Wow. Moses has let go of his fear, knowing that God loves him. He’s pushed aside what other people think. He’s stepped over himself and his pride.

God’s simple reply? “The LORD replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ “ (Exodus 33:13, NIV)

Imagine that. Wherever you go, the God of all creation, the One who knows everything, made everything, and has all power, will be with you. And, He will give you rest. Reminds me of more of Christ’s words…”Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30, NIV) And “ ‘…the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.’ “ (John14:26b, 27, NIV)

And keep in mind, we’re always telling ourselves that if God asks us to go across the world, then we’ll do it. Then we’ll listen. Then we’ll give up our Starbucks…But, here, God was asking Moses to do just that, and it was still hard for him. There were times when Moses was afraid, skimped out, or failed to obey. He didn’t all of a sudden become the amazing soldier God needed. He still had to work through everything. He still had to ask for help. Someone once told me, “If you can’t trust God with the little things, how can you trust Him with the big things?” If you can’t trust him to take care of you when you give up your whipped cream, how can you trust Him to keep you save from maleria and raiders and death by persecution? If you can’t trust Him to take care of you while you tend the flock of sheep in the desert, how can you trust Him to take care of you when you have a whole nation to be responsible for?

I guess the real question is: are we willing to ask, truly ask the Lord, to be with us, and to trust that He will be. Are we willing to say to God, “If you are pleased with me, teach me Your ways so may know You and continue to find favor with You.” And, even more importantly, are we ready to hear the answer?

“My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
“…the Counselor, the Holy Spirit…will teach you all things and will remind you…”


Since When Are Presents The Meaning Of Christmas?

Since the Magi “went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.” (Matthew 2:9b-11, NIV)

And, more important, since God “…so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NIV)

—–

On the other hand…

“The Greatest Omission”
by Anthony

Two-thousand years ago, a Babe was born,
Destined to become the object of scorn.
To save the earth & die for sins,
the beginning of the end, now begins.

The magi, they saw the star,
Went to see the Christ from afar.
Yet, we won’t go down to our knees in prayer,
And give our life, our all, to our Savior.

Farm animals, a manger, shepherds & yet,
That the cross is our focus we often forget.
Presents & carols & wishing for snow…
Why won’t we share what we know?

So during this time of merry & cheer,
Remember that it isn’t just once a year.
For daily is the Walk, & constant the Mission,
To not tell of Jesus: the Greatest Omission.

—–

And again…

Another great one to read is O Henry’s “Gift of the Magi.”

—–

Just a few thoughts…
Merry Christmas


Foolishness

I feel lost. I feel stupid. I feel like (hell, I know) I have no clue or idea on what will happen or take place or where I will go. I have no freakin’ clue as to what anything or anyone or anywhere is.

I guess I’m a fool.

In the world’s eyes that is…

—–

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’ Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.’ When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” (I Corinthians 1:18-2:5, NIV)

—–

Unfortunately, I’m a fool in my own eyes: “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” (Prov. 26:11, NIV) (See also Psalm 38)

Even worse, in God’s: “He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.” (Prov. 28:26, NIV)

Too often lately I have returned to my vomit…trusted in myself, so that “My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly.” (Psalm 38:6, NIV)

I need to realize that, to truly follow God, I need to change those things around: I need to be a fool in the world’s eyes, yes…but by embracing God’s wisdom. And in doing so, I’ll know that I am doing what is right, and in doing so, fix my wrong image of self.

(1) As a wise man of the world, I am a fool to God.
(2) To become a wise man of God, I need to become a fool to the world.
(3) To do that, I need to reject the world’s wisdom, and then embrace God’s wisdom.
(4) Then I will be a fool of God, and wise to the world.
(5) “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”
(6) Then I will no longer be a fool (one who trusts in self) in my own eyes, and rather will be wise (one who trusts in God).

Remember, these are just my disjointed ramblings, but are well summed up in Paul’s words written to the Corinthians: “Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise.” (I Cor. 3:18, NIV)


For A Rebel From Birth He Delays His Wrath

Isaiah 48:8-11 (NIV)

“You have neither heard nor understood;
from of old your ear has not been open.
Well do I know how treacherous you are;
you were called a rebel from birth.

For My own name’s sake I delay My wrath;
for the sake of My praise I hold it back from you,
so as not to cut you off.

See, I have refined you, though not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.

For My own sake, for My own sake, I do this.
How can I let Myself be defamed?
I will not yield My glory to another.”

—–

Or, as Kutless puts it:

—–

As the passage and song above say, it seems we always turn ourselves away from God, even tho He’s the whole point of living. After all, Christ shed His own blood, as man (even tho He’s God), for you. Not only have we not listened to Him, we have been a Rebel From Birth. Sinners. Think about that for a while. If you get nothing else frmo this random post…ponder that one and mull it over in your mind for a while.

Yet, somehow, for some reason, God provided the above Way to save us…As far as the east is from the west that is how far He will take your sins away.

It’s His grace. For a rebel like you and me, He will delay His wrath, give you a second chance (and often more) to repent and return to Him. Amazing how that works, eh? Ya, I know I’m rambling…not sure what my point is here. Just wanted to share some things that are on my mind, related to an issue I’m dealing with that I will not put to words here. (All I’ll say is that a little prayer would be nice…)

To close, remember I Corinthians 15:57-58…”But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (NIV) (Thanks goes to my friend Soliloquy for that one.)

God Bless,
Pilgrim.


Nothing Compares

“…the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea…its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging…Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall…the earth melts…”

“…men hotly pursue me; all day long the press their attack. My slanderers pursue me all day long; many are attacking me in their pride…All day long they twist my words; they are always plotting to harm me. They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, eager to take my life…”

Ever have days where you feel like this? I do. Very often in fact. I was having a day like this yesterday. Darkness shrouded my mood, and I was beginning to shut myself off from others in order to “protect” myself and them. =/ Not the best thing to do when you are in a depression, but it’s what I do. Then a very good friend of mine came to me and showed some good ol’ fashioned friendly kindness and brought me out of it. Then later she sent me some Scripture…And in response to my thank you message, she said something that reminded me that, maybe, after all, it’s not so bad. Maybe there is more good in my life than I thought, and there is stuff to *gasp* be thankful for.

As I was thinking about all this, a line from a really good novel I’m reading came to me: focus on the solution, not the problem. Well…I haven’t been doing enough of that lately. I’ve been focusing on my failures, shortcomings, all the stress and BS I go through, and wishing it would all get better. When instead I should be focusing on the solution. The Solution.

“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” (Philippians 3:7-9, NIV)

Jesus Christ is the solution to my problems…if I focus on Him, all the rest will either go away, get fixed, or seem so insignificant as to be nothing. In other words, it will all be considered a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing my Lord and Savior. Or, as Third Day puts it…

There’s a reason it’s one of my favorite songs, not only by them, but by anyone…Nothing compares, to the greatness of knowing You Lord, oh no…”

My prayer today is this: “Lord, please be the grace I need to cover my faults, and the strength I need to get rid of them. Help me just live for today, because I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. But I know that no matter if I rise or fall, I’ll never be alone, for nothing compares to the greatness of knowing You. For without Your love…I am nothing. But by Your love I am saved.”

And so when I focus on the solution to those problems at the beginning of the blog, I realize that there is an answer to them all…just go read Psalm 46 and Psalm 56 and you’ll see what I mean…

God Bless,
Pilgrim.


A Different Breed

I’ve been thinking lately about what I haven’t been doing. About how I’ve been living in a fog of doubt and indecsion and of inaction. And even more recent, I’ve been almost obsessed with Petra. I copied some of my Dad’s CDs, and have been listening to them almost non-stop while I’m working. This here is one song that I’ve listened to more than most…

—–

Title: Believer In Deed
Band: Petra
Album: Midnight Oil
Year: 1993

On this journey we begin at birth
This fleeting moment that we spend on earth
No second chance to live it all again
It must be now or never
To cherish each endeavor
What will they say that I have left behind
A faithful heritage for all to find
What will the see?
I want my legacy to be

(Chorus)
He was a believer in deed
He had a heart of a different breed
He made his mark and he lived by his creed
A true believer
A believer in deed

Am I living everything I say?
Am I pointing others to the way?
Will I leave this world a better place?
Will Jesus say he knew me
Is Jesus living through me?
Did I maintain my authenticity?
A man of honor and integrity?
Remembering me
I hope that they will truly see

At the end of my days I know I’m gonna say
I wouldn’t live my life any other way
I’ll look to my posterity to carry on for me
And pray that they will see

—–

My first thought is this: this is what I want.
Second? Why am I not doing it?
Third? A question that occured to me recently…”Why do I do the things I don’t want to do, and don’t do the things I do want to do? (Romans 7:15, NIV) Why don’t I follow through on the ideals and beliefs I hold?…Maybe it’s because I’m holding onto the ideals and beliefs, and not Jesus… (I Corinthians 15:3-4, NIV)”
I really don’t have many answers, other than this song describes what I should be doing. I have ideas on how to do that, but advice would be nice…as this blog of mine is sometimes for me to be helped than for me to help. =/

God Bless,
Pilgrim.

P.S. My Blog Post Judas’ Kiss can provide some furhter thoughts on the subject. And while I’m on the subject of Petra, “Praying Man” would be a song of theirs to look up…as prayer seems to be ever more important to my life.


Judas’ Kiss

This blog was originally posted on my Myspace Blog on Saturday, November 11, 2006. It is relevant background for my next post, so I decided to post it here here non myspacers can read it.
-P.D.

—–

Title: Judas’ Kiss
Band: Petra
Album: More Power To Ya
Year: 1982

I wonder how it makes you feel when the prodigal won’t come home
I wonder how it makes you feel when he’d rather be on his own
I wonder what it’s like for you when a lamb has gone astray
I wonder what it’s like for you when your children disobey

It must be like another thorn struck in your brow
It must be like another close friend’s broken vow
It must be like another nail right through your wrist
It must be just like
Just like Judas’ kiss

I wonder how it makes you feel when no one seeks your face
I wonder how it makes you feel when they give up in the race
I wonder what it’s like for you when they willingly disobey
I wonder what it’s like for you when they willingly walk away

—–

Ever listened to a song for years, knowing the lyrics to it even. And then, one day, the true meaning of it strikes you, and hard? Ya, that’s what this one did to me today. Do you realize that, every time you sin, you are essentially putting another nail into Jesus’ wrist? And that you are betraying He who gave His life for you? Not to mention that you are dishonoring His Name. So think of that next time you’re thinking, “It’s just once…and it’s sooo small. It won’t hurt anyone.” Maybe it won’t hurt you, or your friends or family, or even any human being. But, at the very least, it will hurt Christ. For we are the ones who crucified Him in the first place…

“…if they fall away…they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:6 NKJV)

Are you holding the hammer?

God Bless,
Peregrinus.


A Few Little Tidbits Of Recently Learned Lessons

A few things I’ve learned recently…

The oft-used cliche: “Satan attacks hardest those who are the biggest threat.” Someone told me this when I was talking about hard times in my life. I said that I must be a really big threat (half-joking). She said that I was, and that my light shined brightly. So I commented on how I don’t feel like it does. Her response? “I’ve never met a light bulb that can tell me its wattage.” Words of wisdom right there…(Shoutout to phrognut!)

Also, if the act of surrendur to God is a daily, if not moment by moment process (Luke 9:23, emphasis on “daily”) on our part…then it would make sense if it is on God’s part as well. He breaks us (or allows us to be broken) just as much as we are able to handle (along the lines of I Cor. 10:13), and waits and helps and loves us through the healing process, only to repeat again (and the reason it feels worse every time is because it is: you can handle more each time).

And in addition to my current lesson learning more about how important prayer and the Spirit is to our Walk with Christ, there are two goals I have in mind:

1. To “waste” myself on the Lord. Mary poured her alabaster jar of oil on Jesus…the money could have been spent on the poor, yes. But then, the world considers those poor people to be worth more than Jesus, and would believe to give Him anything would be a waste. But if He is everything, why not waste it? :D

2. I also want to reach the point of Chris Tomlin’s “How Can I Keep From Singing.” (click here to watch the video, or read the lyrics below)

God Bless,
Pilgrim.

—–

“How Can I Keep From Singing”
by Chris Tomlin

There is an endless song
Echoes in my soul
I hear the music ring

And though the storms may come
I am holding on
To the rock I cling

How can I keep from singing Your praise
How can I ever say enough
How amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing

I will lift my eyes
In the darkest night
For I know my Savior lives

And I will walk with You
Knowing You’ll see me through
And sing the songs You give

I can sing in the troubled times
Sing when I win
I can sing when I lose my step
And fall down again
I can sing ’cause You pick me up
Sing ’cause You’re there
I can sing ’cause You hear me, Lord
When I call to You in prayer
I can sing with my last breath
Sing for I know
That I’ll sing with the angels
And the saints around the throne