Thursday, November 27, 2014

An Undoing

At this moment in my life, I feel like God is taking me through a cleansing process. He's helping me unlearn the ways the world has influenced me to act, to think, to speak... And He's instructing me to relearn life through Him, and His word. He's sensitizing me again, to the things the world has taught me to be desensitized to, and softening the hardness of my heart, layer by layer. Albeit beautiful and necessary, this process, this undoing so to speak, is difficult.
 The battle becomes more strenuous, more emotional with every single layer He peels back. Like peeling an onion, the stench gets stronger the more you peel away, and the tears get heavier. But every time, without fail, He's there to comfort me and encourage me, every single step of the way. And the more difficulty I face, the more grace and love He pours out in my life. I can feel Him strengthening me, every time I choose to fix my gaze on Him and His unchanging love, rather than the unstable, inevitably disappointing and ephemeral things of the world.
 I remember my pastor once saying, "I don't want to get my world views through the world, I want to get my world views from the bible." It reminds me of Paul, who thought he saw so clearly, when he was persecuting Christians. His world view was so certain. Then Jesus stepped in and flipped his entire view upside down. He finally saw real truth and ironically, became blind. That is so symbolic to me. He lost his sight, the eyes that he once believed saw everything so clearly... And got his sight renewed by Ananias, a disciple of God. Now Paul saw through these new eyes... Given to him, by the Lord. What an "unlearning" he had to go through...
Choosing to follow God, isn't this instantaneous, one time transformation. It's a process... An undoing. A refining. He is giving us new eyes like he did, Paul. And now it's a relationship we're cultivating... God pursues us, but we now have a duty to pursue Him back... And He is always faithful to respond.
I pray for triumph over these trials, God. Help us never lose sight of Your love. You are faithful to provide. There is nothing, no problem that can ever be bigger than You. Let us be a generation that seeks Your face.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

One Foot in Flesh, One Foot in Spirit

I heard a great analogy for what it's like for a christian to be living in sin: Imagine there is a giant pile of manure in the middle of your living room floor. Now you decide you want to clean your house, so you start dusting the cabinets, sweeping the floors, wiping down windows and mirrors, the whole shebang. The house is now squeaky clean. There is not a blemish to be seen inside or out... Except for that huge pile of manure on your floor, that's still there, collecting flies and saturating the whole house with its foul odor. Yet you still say "Perfect!" pat yourself on the back and call it a job well done.
We've all been there. I know I have... Trying to delude myself it was okay to keep one foot in the flesh and the other in the spirit. Doing this tore me apart. I used to try and appease my guilt by saying "well, what I'm doing is not that bad. I'm not committing murder or anything of that degree..." This was a dangerous mindset to fall victim to, but God in His grace revealed something to me that shattered this lie in my life. He told me not to think for one second, that because I considered my sin as "not that bad," in comparison to what someone else may have done, that I wasn't breaking His heart the same.
When I first started my walk with God, I'd tend to compare my walk with others' and feel discouraged when I wasn't seeing His grace in my life in the same way as theirs. But God showed me that no two walks are ever the same. He created us individually, and so He loves on us and speaks to us individually. We should never compare our walks and expect God to work in our lives the way they did in another's because He uniquely works with every one of us. The same goes for sin. Just because my pile of manure isn't as big as someone else's, does not mean that it doesn't reek in equivalence in the eyes of the Lord.
In Matthew 5:17, Jesus says "Therefore, whoever relaxes one of the least of the commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven." As I was reading this passage, God revealed something to me. His commandments, are not apples in an apple orchard. We can't pick and choose the commandments we like and overlook the rest. Every single commandment is indispensable, and I pray that if we relax even one of Your commandments Lord that you convict us, and reprehend us in Your love.
I pray to you King Jesus, to never let me or anyone disrespect You, by trivializing Your commandments. You, who even through seeing the piles of manure in our lives, loves us indescribably. You who in your reckless love, sacrificed Your only Son to be a ransom for us. We are to be a light, a lampstand to the world, God. May we never, upon taking apart the lampstand find dead flies spilling out from inside. You are better than anything the world could ever tempt us with and You are with us in all trials. I love you, Jesus and I thank you for your mercies on our lives. Amen.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The L Word

1 Corinthians 13:13 "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
In my journey with the Lord, I've realized how easy it is to get distracted. God uses so many people today to perform miracles, healings, prophecy etc. and while there is nothing wrong in hoping in the Lord for these things, it becomes concerning when these things become the objective. 
The very core of God, is love. If I walk upright and go to church every Sunday, but lack love in my heart then these acts become trivial and hollow. God's love is the footing that keeps my life together. Without His love as my basis, my infrastructure of life becomes compromised and the slightest wind can knock everything down.
I often find my focus in going deeper into relationship with God becoming obfuscated. It either turns into me just attempting to better myself as a person... Which ultimately and inevitably leads to pride and failure, or I begin treating God as a means to and end. I focus on the material goal itself, rather than God. But every time, in His grace, He helps me realize that my focus has shifted. He shows me that He is the root. Drawing closer to Him will transform me naturally, as a matter of course. And when I cast down my idols and put Him as my ultimate goal, before I even realize it, I find that my needs have been met. 
It's all about Him. God's love is foundational. It lays the groundwork for everything else. All He asks is for our hearts, which He more than deserves, and He provides everything else so we can find peace in Him... We never have to worry about our futures so long as we are pursuing Him with our hearts. What an awesome God.
I've been starting my mornings in prayer, asking the Lord to remind me of His love daily. To never let me regard His love as commonplace. To never let me speak of His love frivolously. God, admonish me daily that the changes and gifts I desire are purposeless without Your love as the root. 
Lord I pray for all who seek You, to increase in hope and increase in faith, but most of all, increase in Your love. All You want is our hearts, God, help us feel this overflow of Your heart for us. May we fall in love with You deeper every day. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Love Too Wild to Understand

2 Peter 2:20-22 "For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them to never have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: 'The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.'"


Every time I'd try to get myself to make a new blog post in these past few months, I'd end up staring at my computer screen, frozen, unable to muster up anything to type out. I had so many things I could've written about, but every time I'd attempt writing, it'd feel so forced and so fabricated... Because it was. I had the mindset that whatever it was that I was going to write, it had to be wholly edifying... So that in the chance that my peers read it, they'd know I was doing well. Even if at that moment of my life, things weren't going well (things were horrible, really), for the sake of self preservation I'd write as though everything were rainbows and butterflies. Ergo, even writing, my once precious form of catharsis, became jaded and obstructed, all because I couldn't get real with myself.
 Here is some backstory, sparknotes style. My priorities became very convoluted in these previous months. I became distracted, and deluded myself to be content with my lukewarm faith. I'd feel convicted every Sunday, feel bad about it and that was it. I knew I was breaking God's heart, and would immediately think of something else to avoid the guilt and the fact that things needed to change. I was knowingly backsliding and the momentum was picking up, and I was just kicking back and enjoying the view. In the midst of this descent, I'd have moments where I'd feel an urging to make a new blog post, and like I said initially, I'd be frozen... Unable to execute one proper sentence that didn't sound like contrived, artificial jargon.
It's true that to see if someone is walking healthily with God, you can tell by the fruit they bear. Here I was, in sin and delusion, attempting to create a spiritually uplifting post and still left dumbfounded when my brain and my fingers wouldn't cooperate. Even my own fingers were calling me out on my bull. I was never going to get honest with myself, put myself in a position of vulnerability and write about my backsliding, no. I was going to try and force a post about the amazing things I was accomplishing in life, sprinkle some sentences about the love of Jesus over all of it and hope to fool any nosy readers and more importantly, fool myself. I think I was hoping to fool myself, really. In retrospect, I wish I did post something during those months, so I could read it now and guffaw at the blatantly embellished word vomit that I managed to amalgamate. 
And here I am now, getting real, and able to feel that release once more. God planted this love to write in me, and my attempt at using His gift to bear false fruit was brutally rebuffed. 
I remember hearing a sermon by Francis Chan where he talked about Christians backsliding, that really impacted me. He talked about how backsliding is as if we vomited, walked away from the vomit, and then made the conscious decision to walk back into that vomit and then roll around in it... And before we knew it, we put ourselves in a position far worse than when we first started. This. Is. SO. True. I covered myself in vomit, and came to God shameful, detestable and wretched... and He STILL forgave me. The holy, sinless Creator of the universe, in His incomprehensible and uncontainable love, came down to my pitiful level and with no hesitation, absolved me of my sins. I REEKED of sin and He still ran after my heart. He embraced me despite my repugnance, and let me find my rest once more in Him. How You love me, God... I can't find the words to describe the beauty. I can't find the words WORTHY to describe Your beauty. 
Thank you, Lord of all. Everything I do on this earth, I want it to glorify You. I want my words and the fruit that I bear, to match the life I lead behind closed doors. I am mute without Your wisdom and my words are barren without Your love. Forgive me Lord for falling into temptation and break my heart for how I've broken Yours so that I may know how much I have been forgiven for. I'm desperate for more of You. Always desperate for you, King Jesus. All glory to you, Amen.