Friday, December 17, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Cost of Discipleship


This morning I found a passage that sums up the whole book:

To be called to a life of extraordinary quality, to live up to it, and yet to be unconscious of it is indeed a narrow way. To confess and testify to the truth as it is in Jesus, and at the same time to love the enemies of that truth, His enemies and ours, and to love them with the infinite love of Jesus Christ, is indeed a narrow way. To believe the promise of Jesus that His followers shall possess the earth, and at the same time to face our enemies unarmed and defenseless, preferring to incur injustice rather than to do wrong ourselves, is indeed a narrow way. To see the weakness and wrong in others, and at the same time refrain from judging them; to deliver the gospel message without casting pearls before swine, is indeed a narrow way. The way is unutterably hard, and at every moment we are in danger of straying from it. If we regard this way as one we follow in obedience to an external command, if we are afraid of ourselves all the time, it is indeed an impossible way. But if we behold Jesus Christ going on before step by step, if we only look to Him and follow Him, step by step, we shall not go astray.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

True Love Wait




"Someday someone will walk into your life and make you realize
why it never worked with anyone else."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Think


T--Is it true?

H--Is it helpful?

I--Is it inspiring?
...
N--Is it necessary?

K--Is it kind?

Gentleness and Strength





“Nothing is so strong as gentleness and nothing is so gentle as real strength.”

Ralph W. Sockman

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Where Is God When It Hurts?


I am a mystery, God confesses. I am strange, infinitely strange.

My script of history is quite unfathomable to the human mind and heart. Yet you ought to know one thing: I am not a detached God, residing in the heavens and objectively governing the destiny of each human being the way I see fit.

I am present with you in your anguish. I am in the groan of a beaten slave, the wail of a bereaved mother, the spilled blood of a murdered child.

You are crying? I am weeping with you. You feel crushed? I am crushed with you.

No matter how deep your darkness, I am deeper still. I do not orchestrate human suffering from some distant planet, removed from your existential distress.

I am there with you, suffering with you, sobbing with you, praying for redemption together with you.

Man may never comprehend God's "mind." But let him not think, God tells Moses, that God, who understands the purpose of the pain, gives Himself the luxury of not feeling the intensity of the darkness. Every tear we shed becomes His tear. He may not wipe them away, but He makes them His.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Burn


By Chana Weisberg

I burned my finger this morning. It was nothing major really, just one of those irritating little burns that you get from trying to cram too much into a hurried and harried morning routine.

I was attempting to prepare my son's lunch, the carpool was honking… and the plate in the microwave was very hot. Carelessly, I pulled it out and only belatedly realized just how scorching it had become.

For the next several hours, the area around my finger was red and sensitive. For a while I soaked it in a tub of cold water and the pain was alleviated. But as soon as I removed my finger, the throbbing resumed. Touching anything hot, or even lightly immersing my finger in a lukewarm liquid, resulted in a searing pain. Returning to my normal daily tasks was out of the question. The area was still very tender. It needed special care.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I learned from my burned finger—something more than just to be more careful in the stressed morning rush hour.

Each of us has some part of us that has been "burned"—some point of tenderness, and some area of sensitivity in our lives. It is that wounded part of us that needs delicate care and soothing treatment.

When something or someone touches this raw area, we'll experience a burning sensation of hurt, anger or misery. It may be a mild, innocuous comment, but any contact with that bruised part of our ego causes an intense pain to shoot right through us. It might be a lukewarm action, one that certainly was not meant to cause us any suffering, but handling this sore area creates a stinging discomfort.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The lesson I discovered is that it's not the lukewarm action that is at fault, nor the heated comment that's to blame. It's only our own sensitivity to the issue at hand that has caused us our distress.

So, before retorting in resentment, grief, or rage at the audacity of the individual--before we even let him know exactly what we think of him and his comments--maybe we need to ask ourselves: is our anger justified? Was the comment or action really offensive, or is this just a sore, sensitive point in our life?

And, maybe before making a comment that might be misinterpreted, we should give it a second thought, and refrain. Just in case. Otherwise, we might inadvertently touch a tender "burn" in someone else's life, causing them to experience tremendous discomfort.

Because each and every one of us has some sore spots….

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dear Father



A Letter from the Trenches

I am writing to you at a moment when I have some breathing room. A moment of calm. A moment where I feel like I can write, without the enemy coming down upon me.

I am sorry I haven't written to you in so long. Please understand. For months now, the enemy has attacked. He has been unrelenting. It has been one of the hardest battles of my life.

I miss you, Father. Every day, I pray to be close to you again. Close to comfort. All that I want is to come home and to be close again with you again.

But I know that this war is necessary. I know that this fight, these moments when I feel furthest from you, are really the moments when I am serving you most. I know that really, I am doing it all for you, Father.

I have to be honest, though. As this last battle raged, I began to forget what this was all for. I forgot why I was fighting, Father!

Instead, all I could see was the dirt in my eyes and the blood on my hands. All I could see was the enemy's guns pointed at me. There was no time for thinking, no time for caring about what side I was on. I just did what I was told.

I just aimed.

And shot.

And fought.

These are the moments I will never understand, Father. Why can't the world be simple? Why do we need to fight for our souls? Why can't the good side get along with the... other side?

Instead, we must fight like dogs. We must live in the darkness, we must allow our enemies to surround us while we fight them.

Sometimes the struggle is so overwhelming, I forget what side I am on. I begin flailing around, struggling through a darkness that is so truly enveloping that I feel as if I am doing more harm than good.

This was what the last battle felt like. This was why I didn't speak to you. I almost forgot you were there.

But then something miraculous happened, Father. As we fought, and as it seemed most desperate, the enemy suddenly began retreating. For seemingly no reason beside our stubborn determination to fight on, the armies decided to turn and run. It was a glorious moment.

As we chased them down the fields, as we danced in jubilation, the massive size of their forces no longer blocked out the sun. The rays of light came down and poured over the field.

And this was when it all started to make sense. This was when I suddenly remembered you. And I remembered that I was out here not for me, not just so that I could defeat my enemies, not just so that I could brag about my achievements.

I am here for you. I am here because of you. And I can't return to you without finishing what I came here for.

I've come to accept something. At first, I didn't want to. But since coming here, since hearing the footsteps of countless enemies surrounding me, I have no choice but to accept that there is nowhere to hide. That if I don't stand up to the darkness, it will continue to spread until it covers every part of the globe. Until it covers my very soul.

And this is why I am here, in another world, another dimension, unable to see you or touch you or hug you. I have work to do. I am here for a reason, and that reason is so that I can return to you. I am here so that I can return your world to you. I am here for you.

Still, the battle may be won, but the war is far from over. The enemy has simply retreated. It has not surrendered. It has not backed down. As I rest, they are regrouping. Staring down at the beautiful sunny field, I am aware that it will one day be dark yet again. The army will be back for me again, this time stronger and more powerful.

But as I sit here, Father, staring at the beautiful field, looking at the rainbow you created just for me, I can't help but bring up vague memories of when we were truly side by side. And I can't help but look forward to the moment when we will yet again be able to look each other in the face and hug each other out of pure love.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Leprosy


By C.H.Spurgeon

Behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague."—Leviticus 13:13.

STRANGE enough this regulation appears, yet there was wisdom in it, for the throwing out of the disease proved that the constitution was sound. This morning it may be well for us to see the typical teaching of so singular a rule.

We, too, are lepers, and may read the law of leper as applicable to ourselves. When a man sees himself to be altogether lost and ruined, covered all over with the defilement of sin, and no part free from pollution; when he disclaims all righteousness of his own, and pleads guilty before the Lord, then is he clean through the blood of Jesus, and the grace of God.

Hidden, unfelt, unconfessed iniquity is the true leprosy, but when sin is seen and felt it has received its death blow, and the Lord looks with eyes of mercy upon the soul afflicted with it. Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness, or more hopeful than contrition.

We must confess that we are "nothing else but sin," for no confession short of this will be the whole truth, and if the Holy Spirit be at work with us, convincing us of sin, there will be no difficulty about making such an acknowledgment—it will spring spontaneously from our lips.

What comfort does the text afford to those under a deep sense of sin! Sin mourned and confessed, however black and foul, shall never shut a man out from the Lord Jesus. Whosoever cometh unto Him, He will in no wise cast out.

Though dishonest as the thief, though unchaste as the woman who was a sinner, though fierce as Saul of Tarsus, though cruel as Manasseh, though rebellious as the prodigal, the great heart of love will look upon the man who feels himself to have no soundness in him, and will pronounce him clean, when he trusts in Jesus crucified. Come to Him, then, poor heavy-laden sinner,

Come needy, come guilty, come loathsome and bare; You can't come too filthy—come just as you are.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why I Love the Lord


You ask me why I love the Lord,
well, friend, just let me say...
Life wasn't worth living,
'Till the Savior came my way.


You say I miss so much of life,
yes, friend, praise God, I do.
I miss the pain and sorrow,
that once was all I knew.


I miss the days spent seeking joy,
the long nights full of tears.
I miss the heavy burden,
that I carried through the years.


But, friend, I wouldn't have them back,
for all that life could pay.
Life wasn't worth living,
'Till the Savior came my way.

~Unknown

Pursuing Justice, not Judgment


This is the attitude I find in myself and lurking very close to justice-minded people.

Judgment is the pronouncement of condemnation over another person. It is the process of damning someone in our hearts and minds. Jesus confronted the spirit of judgment in the Pharisees and teachers of the law when they wanted him to approve the stoning a woman caught in adultery. I believe Jesus would have reacted similarly if it were the man who was brought before him to be stoned.

Simply put, the Bible seems to distinguish between condemnation (something only God is capable of doing) and correction (something we as fellow law-breakers should do in love for one another). Jesus says in Matthew 7, in effect, “don’t judge, but once you’ve addressed the log of sin in your life and can see clearly, by all means help someone struggling with the speck of sin in their life.”

Condemnation is a spirit in league with pride – the mother of all sins; abhorrent to God and the original sin of humanity as depicted in Genesis 3. A true desire for justice looks first within at all that is broken, depraved and out of sorts with God, our community and the world.

Only then can we act with true compassion and real power in our quest for justice, coming to terms first with our own desperate need for forgiveness and correction.

Of course the discernment of evil and the quest for justice is critical for human flourishing.

We were meant to govern one another in ways that protect the weak and contribute to the good of all; it comes with being made in the likeness of a just God. But the ease with which we damn one another – whether people (like politicians or theologians with whom we disagree) or groups (ethnic, ideological, corporate or denominational) is frightening.

Here are a couple of questions that may help clarify justice from judgment, correction from condemnation:

1. In your offense over an injustice, ask God to show you if there are ways you are guilty of the same injustice. Are there derivative sins related to this injustice that you yourself struggle with?

2. In your anger over this injustice, are there particular people or a particular person that you find yourself hating? Ask God to help you grow in compassion and understanding.

3. Before pointing out wrongdoing or bringing a word of correction to a person or a group of people, ask yourself, “to what extent am I motivated out of a sincere burden for this person’s growth in godliness versus just plain anger and offense over their behavior or words?”

Perhaps Tolstoy put it best, “Everybody wants to change the world but nobody wants to change themselves.”

Let us hunger and thirst for kingdom justice and righteousness – first by examining ourselves and confessing the wickedness in our own hearts and behavior, then by working with compassion toward the healing of both the oppressor and the oppressed.

For more reading visit:

http://www.urbana.org/blogs/blog.main.leastofthese.cfm

Assigned Seating


By Dr. Jeff Childers

The other day I was reading the Didascalia Apostolorum (DA), like people do on a bright May morning. Chapter 12.4 has an instruction for bishops in the worship service:

If, after you are seated, some other man or woman should arrive who is honored in the world, whether from the same region or another congregation, you should not leave off your ministry of the word—whether you are speaking it or hearing it or reading it—in order to show them to a place. Instead, remain as you are and do not interrupt the word.

For those who may not know, DA is an anonymous manual of church order, written largely in the 3rd century. Originally composed in Greek, it survives today mainly in Syriac. Though not especially well studied yet, DA gives us fascinating glimpses into early church life before Constantine’s time.

In this passage, DA counsels church leaders not to do what would come naturally. In the ancient world, when people of worldly dignity show up, it would be normal to drop what you are doing and receive them amidst the pomp and circumstance that fits their status. Not to do so would be rude and politically unwise, since surviving and thriving in that society depended so much on playing long-established games of patronage and preferment.

From a worldly perspective, one would expect that the ranking “dignitary” of the congregation, the bishop, would be quick to court the favor of local luminaries and visiting VIPs by privileging their position in the church assembly. In public gatherings, the seating chart was a primary way of making and reinforcing a person’s significance in society.

But here DA encourages the bishop to recognize that attending to the word is more important than attending to worldly status—and that in the eyes of God a minister of the Gospel outranks those whom society would privilege on account of wealth and power. Like it or not, any bigwig who walked in expecting special treatment would get hit squarely with a different set of values than he or she was accustomed to outside the church.

Later in the chapter (12.6), DA gives bishops further advice about seating arrangements:

But if a poor man or woman should arrive, whether from the same region or another congregation, especially if they are elderly, and if they have no place, then you, bishop, should act for them from your heart, even if it means sitting on the ground yourself. There should be no respect of persons with you, but you should please God through your ministry.

The arrangements are deliciously ironic: When big-shots show up, yanking the minister’s chain to receive attention and trying to impose their privileged status on the congregation, ignore them. But when someone arrives whom the world would naturally place last, someone poor or feeble and insignificant, quickly move to find them a place—even the place of highest honor, the bishop’s own seat! By subverting the toxic norms of a sick society, the minister’s seating chart becomes a pointer to the Kingdom.

Not everything in DA would naturally be to the liking of the contemporary minister, but here we have a worthy teacher. Following Jesus’ lead in Luke 14:7–11, DA instructs ministers to embody the gospel in ways that will foster the world of God’s new creation.

Is there a need to rearrange some of the seating charts in your context?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Kneeling Heart


Some people pray just to pray and some people pray to know God. ~Andrew Murray

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Purity is Important After All...

Prayer



Far, far from our prayers too often is any thought of prayer for a love which will lead us to give one whom we love to follow our Lord to Gethsemane, to Calvary – perhaps because we have never been there ourselves.”

- Amy Carmichael, Gold by Moonlight

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Battle of The Mind


The Nehemiah Institute's worldview PEERS test shows that 83% of the children from committed Christian families in public schools adopt a secular humanist or Marxist socialist worldview by the time they graduate. In addition, the SBC's 2002 annual meeting, the Southern Baptist Council on Family Life reported that 88% of... the children raised in evangelical homes who attend public school,
leave church at age 18.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Adam And Eve's Unhappy Sex Life



A post that caught my attention. Just ponder on this! Think of how Adam and Eve relationship would be like now being seperated from God. Isn't this what many men and women are experiencing apart from the Love of God. One relationship to another....feeling empty!

John Jansen posted this picture entitled Adam and Eve. It's a "painting that ... has [been] used in Theology of the Body presentations".


I don't know who painted it or where, but I feel compelled to re-post it. John says it speaks for itself, but I feel like it needs talking about.

It's just so potent, so visceral. I see boredom and pain. I see people trapped in a mechanical sexual relationship without pleasure. I see addiction. The half-nakedness suggests a hot summer night whose carnal activities has not brought relief from the heat outside or passion from within.

She looks old, worn out, tired; but she continues to apply make up to try to make herself alluring -- yet failing. She actually looks older than he does, suggesting some kind of cougar-love where the past-her-prime sexual aggressor actively seeks out the younger man to try to recapture her fading flower. Her vanity mirror is in front of her while she applies the makeup, but her eyes are sliding to the side, as if to see if Adam is still there, still caught in her wiles. Extending the metaphor, the classic pose of turning her head one way and her eyes another gives the viewers the impression that she is looking at us, to catch us too.

Adam looks spent, bored, and non-vital. He's either asleep, in pain, or both as his slack-jawed expression suggests. He looks post-coital, as if he's only just pulled on his pants. He grips the apple near his prominent crotch as he sits splay-legged. The apple here is a symbol of the forbidden fruit from the Garden of Eden, something that was taken in a way that was not supposed to be taken. It doesn't bring him pleasure, but he keeps hanging on to it, unable to let it go. In this picture the apple represents sex, but without love: a mechanical, even boring pursuit. He looks as if he meant to eat the apple, but fell asleep in situ before he could muster the energy.

The colors are flat: brownish and dull reds, symbolizing a lack of vitality. The browns also suggest earthiness, recalling the Garden of Eden by contrast -- in this case a barrenness, a lack of green growing things, of life. The lighting and shadows are harsh, non-flattering, as if the glare of reality is too much. The window shade is open and it's dark outside, giving the impression that it is a hot night. Since there is light on inside and darkness outside, the open window implies that anyone can see what the couple is doing from outside. The couple's half-nakedness shows a lack of modesty for their own bodies and for the sexual act. It is on display in a form of exhibitionism, but again without pleasure. In fact, Adam's base torso and passed-out pose implies they only just completed the act while the window was open the whole time.

These are just gut reactions I'm having. I'm sure others could explain it better. But I've never seen in one picture the damaging effects of sex without the proper understanding, context, and respect it demands that this picture affords.

Sex outside of marriage, contraceptive sex inside of marriage, self-gratification and selfishness: this is you -- and I've never seen you so unhappy.

Blogger: http://blynken.blogspot.com/search/label/Adam%20and%20Eve

Created for Him


We were created to be a friend and companion of god!

Man was decieved and chose to live life independently of God.
God created man and woman and placed them in a garden paradise to live and enjoy His presence. Every day God would fellowship with Adam and Eve in the Garden, and He provided for their every need. Adam and Eve were free to live and enjoy God's presence. Their only restriction was eating fro the Tree of Knowledge, which would bring death to their relationship with Him.
Satan deceived Eve by questioning God's character, word, and motives. Adam and Eve believed the lie that they could be like God. This sin affected every aspect of their lives and caused a tragic seperation in their relationship with God.

Believing THE LIE caused a tragic seperation in man's relationship with God...but this didn't stop God from loving us.

The good news provides the solution to the problem of our seperation.

God sent Jesus Christ to earth to reveal God's lve to us, and to give His life a payment for the sins of the whole world. Jesus christ experienced physical death and spiritual seperation fro His Father while paying the penalty for all our sins on the Cross. Jesus experience death for us, so we could be forgiven and receive eternal life. His perfect sacrifice satified the just and righteous demands of a holy God, so that we could enjoy an intimate love relationship with Him. This is good news!
What an Amazing selfless love!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How God Sees Us


The truth about me is always what God says! Not what I think or feel;
think or do.
The truest thing about me is what God says!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Dug Down Deep

Dug Down Deep from Sulva Productions on Vimeo.

He Loves You


You have a Father who loves you more than any other human being on this planet ever has or ever will.
Nothing you can do today will make God love you any more, and nothing you can do today will make God love you any less.
God is not disillusioned with you because he had no illusions about you to begin with.
Because shame, guilt and condemnation have no role in helping you live in God’s life, he has removed them in Christ and does not manage them for your growth.
He wants to make himself known to you daily and teach you how to recognize and follow his voice.


He Loves You!

Embracing Freedom



The greatest freedom in this kingdom is from the tyranny of your own desires, agendas and plans.

The second greatest freedom is from the tyranny of other people's opinions about you.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

John Piper - What is Humility?

Our Belief System


Most of our beliefs were formed before we had any "spiritual" awareness of God.

Because we had no conscious understanding of God or "truth" as He defines it, we formed our own belief system apart from His truth. We have grown up living independently of god and relying on our own understanding-which has courrupted our belief system. Our corrupted beliefs seems more true than God's Word. They may even seem more rational.

There is a way which seems right to man, but its end is the way of death.
Proverbs 14:12
NAS


A "belief" is an assumption we hold to be true: a presupposition or conviction. We do not usually question it and are often not even consciously aware of it. We have belief about everything. We do not live by animal instincts, but by beliefs that have been developed and reinforced throughout our lives. Just as our eyes recognize color but fail to percieve x-rays or radio waves, so our beliefs cause us to process certain information and block other information.

Like a filter, our beliefs cause us to accept or reject new data.

God's Word Reveals the Root of Our Problems


We face problems every day, and we struggle from time to time in our Christian lives. Jesus assured us that we would have trouble in this world, but He also promised that He would be with us and would make us a overcomer. Only Jesus has the power and authority to overcome the problems of this world, and only Jesus can overcome the personal, internal problems we struggle with each day. Our Creator understands us better than we understand ourselves. He came that we might have and enjoy life.

I came that they might have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance 9to the full, till it overflows). John 10:10 Amplified

Why then, do I experience so little victory and joy in my life? Why are so many Christians plaqued with personal problemss? Why are we not experiencing the abundant life that Jesus promised? Whether we are struggling with emotional, relational, behavioral, or spiritual problems, Jesus is the answer and has revealed the solution in His Word. The Bible contains everything we need to know to live a successful and abundant life.
Where do you turn for help in the midst of life's problems? Where do you look for solutions? to whom do you turn for wisdom? Do you try to resolve your problems in your own strenght ans with man wisdome? Do you become so focused on the problems that fail to apply the supernatural resources available to you in Christ. Are you forcused on the symptoms instead of the solution? Do you turn to God as a last resort? In the midst the of your confusion, do you find it difficult to know where to turn in His Word for answers?

Regardless of our problems or confusion, God's Word is Truth, and Jesus is the Answer.

God's Word Reveals the Root of Our Problems

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


"Do not be mislead. Bad company corrupts good character. Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God--I say this to your shame." 1 Corinthians 15:33-34

He who walks with the wise become wise, but a companion of fools suffer harm. -Proverbs 13:20

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child. Proverbs 22:15

The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it. Proverbs 27:12

Follow your instincts and say no! Have courage and be bold--these are our children that are at stake. God put you in charge. No one will love and protect them the way you do. The people who will want to influence your children and lure them away will not be around for them when they fall.

Stand your ground, parents!

Protect your children

Sloth


Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger. Proverbs 19:15

How can we use this time to advance God's kingdom on earth and bring glory to Him while we are here?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Prodigal: An Animation

The Prodigal Daughter

Stay in His presence!


God’s preeminent calling on our lives has to do with our relationship with Him, not our service for Him. From Genesis to Revelation we find that God’s relentless pursuit of man has far more to do with taking hold of his heart than enlisting his hand. What delights Him far more than a morally upright life or one spent in service to others is a life caught up in passionate pursuit of knowing Him and enjoying Him”

By Dwight Edwards

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Seeking the Spirit's help as we study his words


The opening paragraphs of Dale Ralph Davis' The Word Became Fresh: How to preach from Old Testament narrative texts are enough to stop every preacher dead in his tracks.

Ralph Davis mentions that as he was reading Richard Pratt's He Gave Us Stories, Pratt cited these words from John Owen:

For a man solemnly to undertake the interpretation of any portion of Scripture without invocation of God, to be taught and instructed by his Spirit, is a high provocation of him; nor shall I expect the discovery of truth from any one who thus proudly engages in a work so much above his ability.
And if that were not enough to send you to your work with your complacency shaken, Ralph Davis adds:

We are guilty of arrogance, not merely neglect, when we fail to beg for the Spirit's help in the study of Scripture. We may even have such arrogance even when we seem to be seeking the Spirit's aid--I think of those times when in a light-headed tokenism we utter our slap-happy prayer that the Lord would 'guide and direct us as we study this passage.'

One shudders to think how flippant we are. But how many more times we neglect any overt seeking of the Spirit's help! The pressure is on. The passage must be studied for the sermon or lesson. We pull out our exegetical notes; we grab several of the better commentaries off the shelf; make sure that one Bible dictionary of choice is close at hand.

Deep into our study time the thought occurs to us that we have not looked--nor did we think of looking--to the God who breathed out this Scripture to give us an understanding of the Scripture.

He will likely give that understanding through the tools we use, but when we use tools while neglecting him the tools have become idols.

We may have a high view of the Bible; we may be distraught because large sectors of the church seem to ignore its authority. Yet in our own Scripture work we easily ignore its chief Interpreter.

Professionalism rather than piety drives us. We needn't be surprised at our sterility and poverty if we refuse to be beggars for the Spirit's help.
These words are well worth reading again, and reflecting upon at length, and acting on daily. Who knows, this may be the most important thing that you read today.

Article by Against Heresies

Monday, May 17, 2010

Friday, April 9, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Performance Treadmill


I came across this article and it is good to know that someone also feel like I do..

by Jeff McQuilkin

I think the thing I miss the least about church-as-usual–especially as a staff member–is the pressure to perform, especially during service times. I learned–and I taught–that when it was time for our gathering, all our problems were tabled, all our personal issues were put to the side for the purpose of focusing on God. If we were having a hard time, or a bad day, all that had to go away for however long we were in the service. It was a sincere effort, really, not an attempt to be heartless. I really believed that it honored God to serve Him and the people no matter how I felt at the moment. And there is truth to that, I think, because whenever we can get our minds off ourselves to help others, it’s a healthy thing.

What hurt about it was not the willful turning of my attention to God, nor did I believe He didn’t care about my problems. What hurt was that because I always seemed to be playing a pivotal, seemingly irreplaceable role in the service, when I was in crisis, the leaders seemed to care more about whether I could “pull off” my role in the service than how I was doing personally.

Nobody would have admitted it, no one would have wanted to put it this way. But the attitude was, The Show Must Go On.

As believers, it is definitely important that we gather together, although I really have a broader understanding of what that can look like. But when the church service is the centerpiece of church, the meeting itself becomes more important than the people who are gathering at the meeting. And that, I think, is where setting our issues aside becomes unhealthy. We really weren’t doing it for God. We were doing it for appearances. The Show Must Go On.

I can still see this on the faces of pastors, people I know and care about, people whom I know to be genuinely sincere. They don’t even realize when they are doing it, but there is a fear on Sunday mornings of anything that could disrupt the order of service. Everything must go off without a hitch, everything must be run smoothly. No matter how many times it is protested that church is not a show…it is still run like one. And It Must Go On. No Matter What. It is one of the major reasons why people simply cannot see the Church as people anymore. Church is a building, a program, a gathering.

A show.

The think I like best about not doing that anymore is that I no longer feel enslaved by a mandate to make the Show Go On every week. Toward the end of our 10-year stint leading a house church, I think we finally started to get this. It stopped mattering so much what we did when we gathered; it became more about who we were with, and what we shared together. It wasn’t a community coming together each week to do their duty. It was just a community. And because of that, the things we did and said and talked about–the worshiping together, the focusing on Jesus–became that much more meaningful.

As so many of us look for and discover new ways to be the church, I think part of that process really needs to be putting the gathering of believers into a healthier perspective. It seems to me that in finding a better way, a major priority we as believers should have should be to make our gatherings about God and each other, not about…um…the gathering. Just saying.

Thank you, Jeff.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Building Bridges with the Gay Community



We often find ourselves in awkward situations in which holding to a biblical view of homosexuality will be controversial. In the office, at school, at a party, at church, in conversations with family, friends or neighbors -- talking about what you believe concerning homosexuality can be very difficult. When talking with people who believe homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle option, suggesting that homosexuality is sinful can appear stupid and rude - if not homophobic, unloving and abusive. When dealing with people who think homosexuals are simply sick perverts, it can appear wishy-washy, compromising, liberal and unbiblical to suggest that God loves and forgives sinners who struggle with homosexuality, and that we should do the same.

Different people are tempted in different ways when placed in these situations. Many of us want to sidestep the issue and avoid an unpleasant incident, concerned that the gospel message will get lost or distorted in the conflict, or that people will get the wrong impression and no longer listen. Sometimes we just don't want to bother with the hassle. Others of us can get so frustrated with those who hold to and promote destructive falsehoods that we show little Christ-likeness as we set out to clearly indicate exactly how we think the persons with whom we are speaking are wrong.
The issue of homosexuality takes these rather common relational dynamics and amplifies them. Discussion of homosexuality evokes strong emotions and responses, especially when people disagree, and touches on fundamental convictions about right and wrong, love and justice, heaven and hell. The responsibility of Christians to be both prophets and peacemakers in the midst of heated debate requires us to turn again to the Scriptures for guidance as to how we should represent Christ in a fallen world.

Patiently Listen
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. - James 1:19-20
Don't just listen for opportunities to find fault or critique. Listen to understand how others feel and think. Listen for what matters to the other people, what they value, what they fear. If you don't understand something, ask questions that encourage the person with whom you are speaking to explain better their position. When a factual claim is made, politely ask to have it substantiated with reference to a verifiable source. You can learn a lot, and demonstrate the kind of respectful hearing you would like to receive. The more you understand an opposing viewpoint, the more you can gain from it. More often than not, folks that are strongly mistaken in one respect are especially perceptive in another. The more you affirm what is true in someone's perspective, the more you can sensitively and credibly address what is errant.

Listening is difficult.
It takes discipline, humility and effort. In this era of sound bites and short attention spans, it can be hard to resist the temptation to speak out at the first opportunity. Listen first, and ask questions to make sure you understand what someone is saying. Let them know you are really listening to them, even though you may disagree. More often than not, the disagreements people have are more complicated than they could possibly work out in the normal course of polite conversation. Attentive listening can pave the way for more serious discussion at a later point. Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city (Proverbs 16:32).

Carefully Discern
Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes. - Proverbs 26:4-5
Any deviation in thought, word or deed from God's revealed will in the Scriptures is what the Bible calls "foolishness." While we should be hesitant to label any person a fool, the Bible is not bashful about saying that some ideas and conduct are foolish and wrong. How we think and how we act matter. Foolishness is something to which we are all vulnerable. While someone may be foolishly espousing defiant falsehoods, it would be equally foolish to be provoked by them into carrying ourselves or thinking in an unwise fashion. Not every situation calls for the same response. It is possible to obey God by both speaking and refraining, depending on the circumstances. Making the right response requires discernment.

Sometimes we need to answer directly someone's foolishness. At other times it may be appropriate to, as it were, let their foolishness speak for itself. Sometimes people will want to oversimplify things into a "Have you stopped beating your wife?" kind of question -- no matter how you answer you will concede their point. Sometimes people will be talking about love or justice, when really they are just defending licentiousness or prejudice. Sometimes people just want to know if you care about what is happening with them or someone they are close to. By listening and discerning, it is possible to speak to the real issues underlying people's arguments, without being trapped by someone else's foolishness. "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted (Galatians 6:1)."
Foolishness is delusional, making the foolish person wise in their own estimation. As hard as it can be to admit that someone else with whom we disagree is right about something, we are all familiar with how hard it can be to admit when we are wrong, especially if others are watching. Do not be surprised that people will hold foolish convictions with loud impatience. We cannot always, by the power of our persuasive skills, "bring someone around" to a more biblical point of view. When discussing something as complex and controversial as homosexuality, we may not always have "the" answer that will end all argument. We can always provide an example in thought, word and deed that commends itself without argument.

Personally Repent
Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them -- do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish." - Luke 13:1-5

Before we can talk about someone else's sin (be it homosexuality, false teaching, or hatred towards people different from ourselves), Jesus calls us to come clean about our own sin. It is easy for us to think that, because we have a right point to make, our motives in making that point are also right. What are you wanting to achieve when you answer someone? Do you want to win an argument? Do you want to assure yourself that you are not a coward by standing up for the Lord? Do you want someone to approve of you? Do you want to care about this person, or do you just want them to shut up? Do you trust God to accomplish his purposes despite what this person is saying or doing, or do you think you have to make it happen yourself? Are you trying to make a wrong world right, a messy world neat, a complex world simple, or are you trying to love and help people made in God's image who live with you in a complicated and fallen world?

Especially in heated discussion or debate, there is usually ample opportunity for everyone on every side to examine their motives and actions and come up short. It is always easier to see someone else's faults than it is to see our own. Only when we have experienced God's forgiveness of our sin can we responsibly recommend that grace to others. We need the kind of maturity that desires, not so much for people to be shown wrong, but for them to be loved and forgiven in the same way we have been loved and forgiven in Christ. Then we can speak the truth of the gospel with the compassion with which God has spoken that same truth to us. "How can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye (Matthew 7:4-5)."

Gently Instruct
Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. - 2 Timothy 2:23-26

There is a difference between obedient witness and stupid arguments, between quarreling and kindness, between gentle instruction and resentful pontificating. While we often equate boldness with sternness, or instruction with insistence, the Bible calls us to be both wise and gentle. This means preparing ourselves, both our minds and our hearts, in advance. We should not assume that our beliefs and attitudes are always correct, but instead we should look to be instructed from God's word ourselves before we presume to instruct others. We need to take time on a regular basis both to learn from God's word and to study the arguments made against it. We need to pray for God to conform us to the likeness of Christ whom we seek to serve, even as we talk with those who would deny him with their words or actions. Jesus said, "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16)."

We are called to gracious disagreement, humble opposition, gentle instruction. Speaking God's truth will inevitably create conflict. We need to make every effort to have that truth - and not our sinful attitudes and actions - be the cause of such conflict. Many times people will object so vehemently to the truth of the gospel that your gentle manner will speak louder than any words. We are not required to argue someone into repentance, or to be completely perfect in our attitudes, in order for God to accomplish his purposes. It is God who leads people to repentance. Our responsibility is to be faithful to God and to his word, and to give him glory as he works out his will through us his earthen vessels. "The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)."

Mercifully Pursue
Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear -- hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. -Jude 22-23
God calls us to be neither reclusive nor rude, but instead to move boldly into confusing, high stakes situations with the gospel of God's mercy. We must bring the gospel of God's grace where it is most needed: to the vocally anti-Christian pro-gay activist, or to the mild-mannered clergy who says the love of Jesus means affirming homosexuality as God's gift; to the quietly confused and scared teenager, or to the frantic parent; to the silently shattered spouse, or to the respectable and bigoted conservative. All of these people need God's mercy in Christ. Mercy is more than giving people your opinion in a conversation -- it means practically caring for them as opportunity allows, with your time, attention, compassion and assistance.

Showing mercy does not mean turning a blind eye to sin. On the contrary, it means taking sin very seriously, and seeking to help people immersed in its consequences. This doesn't mean being pushy with your help when it is not welcome. It does mean being patiently and persistently available to help those who live in a fallen world. Sometimes just being willing to talk without arguing can be the most merciful thing you can do. Sometimes saying what you believe in a way that doesn't require a person to agree or disagree can create space in which they can think about what they believe without feeling under pressure to have an answer. Sometimes showing mercy means building relationships with people you might not want to be close to; sometimes it may mean setting or respecting boundaries in relationships despite what people think. Mercy may be the last thing you want to show someone that you see as perpetrating harmful sin against themselves or others. Yet this is how God has revealed his mercy to us, and this is how he has called us to represent him to others.

Some people don't want to hear about God's righteousness; others don't want to hear about his mercy. Others are caught in the middle, thinking they have to choose between Christ and compassion, truth and love. It takes courage and humility, patience and persistence to listen, discern, repent, instruct and pursue as we should. To be Christ-like requires us to be more than we are, to look to and depend upon him who can make us like himself. "With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 )."





Harvest!

Friday, February 26, 2010


What I liked the most in this story is the psychology of the old man. When he’s alone, he speaks to himself. Every now and then he says “I wish the boy (his apprentice) was here”. Also the way he talks to the birds, to the giant marlin(which is his target) treating it as his friend and he is playing a game with it, to those small fishes, the way he fights with those sharks. I liked his way of looking at things, his zeal for catching the biggest fish, the way he keeps himself alive and pushes his limits everyday, his sacrifices, his dreams, his thinking, his character as a whole. Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Patience



Patience is not a waiting passivity until someone else does something. Patience asks us to live the moment to the fullest, to be completely present to the moment, to taste the here and now, to be where we are. When we are impatient we try to get away from where we are. We behave as if the real thing will happen tomorrow, later and somewhere else. Let's be patient and trust that the treasure we look for is hidden in the ground on which we stand."

Trusting God


It is much easier to say, “Father, please forgive me for being crabby today” than it is to say, “Father, I have been putting so many things before You in my heart that I spend hours every week sinfully angry. I am unloving and selfish in my relationships and lazy in my service to You. Because Jesus died for sins such as these, please forgive me and help me change.” And He will.

C.S. Lewis compares the work of God when we confess sin to the work of dentists when we go to them with a toothache. He says in Mere Christianity (Book 4, Chapter 9: "Counting the Cost"), “I knew those dentists; I knew they started fiddling about with all sorts of other teeth which had not yet begun to ache.”

You should never question the love God has for you. He is even gracious to His enemies, never demanding rent when they walk His earth and breathe His air. So, if you are His purchased possession, do not hesitate to “dump the whole load” when you confess your sins. He already knows how bad it is anyway. The demolition work will only make you look more like His Son.
Can you trust Him?

True Intimacy-Henri Nouwen


Human relationships easily become possessive. Our hearts so much desire to be loved that we are inclined to cling to the person who offers us love, affection, friendship, care, or support. Once we have seen or felt a hint of love, we want more of it. That explains why lovers so often bicker with each other. Lovers' quarrels are quarrels between people who want more of each other than they are able or willing to give.
It is very hard for love not to become possessive because our hearts look for perfect love and no human being is capable of that. Only God can offer perfect love. Therefore, the art of loving includes the art of giving one another space. When we invade one another's space and do not allow the other to be his or her own free person, we cause great suffering in our relationships. But when we give another space to move and share our gifts, true intimacy becomes possible.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Here's looking at you, Kid!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Hen and Her Chicks


By Wayne Jacobsen

The forest fire had been brought under control, and the group of firefighters were working back through the devastation making sure all the hot spots had been extinguished. As they marched across the blackened landscape between the wisps of smoke still rising from the smoldering remains, a large lump on the trail caught a firefighter's eye.As he got closer he noticed it was the charred remains of a large bird, that had burned nearly half way through. Since birds can so easily fly away from the approaching flames, the firefighter wondered what must have been wrong with this bird that it could not escape. Had it been sick or injured?Arriving at the carcass, he decided to kick it off the trail with his boot. As soon as he did, however, he was startled half to death by a flurry of activity around his feet. Four little birds flailed in the dust and ash then scurried away down the hillside.The bulk of the mother's body had covered them from the searing flames. Though the heat was enough to consume her, it allowed her babies to find safety underneath. In the face of the rising flames, she had stayed with her young. She was their only hope for safety, and willing to risk her own life she gathered them under her body and covered them with herself. Even when the pain reached its most unbearable moment, when she could easily have flown away to start another family on another day, she made herself stay through the raging flames.Her dead carcass and her fleeing chicks told the story well enough--she gave the ultimate sacrifice to save her young. It also illustrates an even greater story--this one almost incomprehensible. In this story it is the Creator of heaven and earth who does exactly the same thing to rescue his wayward children from their own destruction.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Love and Vulnerbility


















By Mary Selby

I happen to have a cocker spaniel by the name of Dusty as my companion. Anatole France couldn't have said it better...

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” — C.S. Lewis (The Four Loves)

Tears have fallen today, though we knew this day would come. Our “Arnold Bean”, the once chubby beagle had to be put to sleep at the ripe old age of thirteen. The pain that loving brings is climaxed upon the death bed and perhaps purest in the tears of a child. Yet would we choose to not love, even an animal, in order to avoid such pending hurt, as death comes with life? Would we avoid affectionate attachment, so as to not feel inevitable anguish?
My daughter’s good bye offering to her beloved pet was a video montage which she made from the last pictures of today. Heart felt and tear invoking, her thirteen year old heart morned in an innocent and truthful way. My son, who chose to go with us to put the “old man” to sleep, made some deeply profound statements, as he rubbed his “best friend’s” head. Even in his eleven year old mind, he understood that both Lucifer’s fall and man’s fall were affecting his lovable beagle Arnold, and that because of sin, even the animals must pay the price and die. The sweet little boy that he is, said, “I am going to weep and weep for my best friend.”
Life means death and there is no escaping the pain that it brings. As C. S. Lewis stated, “Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken.” In order to live the highest joys, one must experience the lowest lows. Loving an animal, especially for a child, is the first steps of experiencing life and death, joy and pain. These may be the baby steps that help prepare for the loss of a grandparent or friend and should not be discounted and avoided, but embraced as part of growing pains that go along with life in a fallen world.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Relationship Not Religion!

Relationship Not Religion!

We are passionately committed to help people discover the joy and freedom of relational Christianity. It is our firm conviction that Jesus' death on the cross was to prepare for each of us a dwelling place in the heart of a loving Father and to free us to the kinds of relationships that can share his life with other believers and with the world.
You'll understand our passion when you can figure out who in this cartoon needs the most help.

By relational Christianity we mean:
A personal friendship with Father, Son and Spirit. These are not just words to describe Christianity, but the very way he has called us to live. Healthy relationships with other believers. Many today think fellowship is nothing more than attending the same service together, when it is meant to be so much more. We help traditional churches, home groups and and house churches discover how to relate to one another in his love and allows the ministry of Jesus to flow between them. Friendships with people in the world, so that as God displays his character through us they might come to know the love of God for themselves.

For that to happen we spend a lot of time helping people understand the freedom that Father has given us through the work of his Son, Jesus. Only as we live in his love and freedom can we even begin to experience the power of life in Christ as he brought it to us. Specifically, we help people discover the freedom...

To live in the love of an awesome Father, free to respond to him as he leads you, even if that means you make mistakes now and then.
To walk without guilt or condemnation. Recognize that transformation is a life-long process that Jesus works in us by our security in his love, not something we do for him out of fear.
To be real. To feel what you feel; to ask what you need to ask, to be wrong where you are wrong, and to extend that same freedom to others.
To be liberated from accountability to human leaders who seek to take the place of Jesus in the church by telling others what they think he would have them do.
To love other brothers and sisters freely, serving them the way Jesus leads you and not trying to conform to their expectations of what a 'good Christian' should do for them.
To live free of bitterness and hurt, even where religious institutions (and those who run them) have failed you. We've all got plenty wrong with us, so there can be no end to the generosity we can extend others in their weakness.

With this passion in mind we look for any way Father asks us to...

Go wherever he sends us to encourage people in the life of Jesus, whether it is to hungry hearts in a traditional congregation, a house church, or an informal gathering of believers who want to escape the rigors of religion for the joy and passion of a friendship with the Living God.
Publish materials that will encouarge people to the journey of knowing God better and trusting him more.
Gather with those who are disillusioned with organized religion to help them heal from past abuse and to help them discover what life in Father's family can be.
Equip believers to let God transform them by his magnificent grace, so that they truly relflect his image to the world around them.
Help people who do not know him at all, to be captured by his love.


Article by Wayne Jacobsen

Thursday, January 28, 2010


After riding the tidal wave of the feminist movement of the early 70’s, I began to wonder what value does God really put on women. Regardless of the culture or time, men and women have always had different positions. Were the feminists right, that men and women should be the same? Was traditional America right in the 50’s, a woman’s place is in the home? Or were some of the Middle East cultures right, that women are property?
Even though men in a male-dominated culture wrote the Bible, I believe God’s inspiration reveals His heart for women in those pages.

Women were created second, not second-class. From the very beginning, God put His mark on us! He said that He made men and women to be like Him, not in the way we look, but in His character. He gave us the same moral attributes that He has. He put the same potential to express God’s character to women that He did to men. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them…. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and He brought her to the man. (Genesis 1:27, 2:22) Just as a father gives his precious daughter to her husband in a wedding ceremony, God gave the woman to the man as a special, precious gift.

Men need help! This is a well-known fact to all women but it can be proved Biblically. In Genesis 2:18, God says It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. This verse proves that men need help! It doesn’t say that women need help. God puts a high value on females as we help the male species to function in this world. As wives, we present a different view of life to our husbands. We give them a sense of relationship and community. We fill in their gaps!

The Future is in our hands! God created women to bear the children of the world and to have the primary role in nurturing them. As the famous line goes “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” In our role as mothers of the next generation, we have an incredible opportunity to impact not only the direction of individual lives of our children but also of a whole culture. Even in the “least progressive” of all cultures, women have the role of influencing the next generation because of the amount of time they spend with their children. As a child growing up, my mother had such a positive impact in my life in many ways. One of her most significant dogmas was the prohibition of the phrase “I can’t.” We were not allowed to say those words together at all. Consequently, we were brought to believe we could do anything. Never underestimate the impact of a mother on the life of a child. Can there be any more important role in life?

Bottom line: Whom do you believe?We can believe those who say our worth comes from our position or how much money we make. We can believe those who say it comes from how our kids turn out. We can believe those who say that it comes from how we look or how people respond to us. Or we can believe God! We can believe that we are valuable because of who He made us to be!







Scope

EXPECTATIONS, ANGER AND BITTERNESS


Throughout life, we all develop expectations. An expectation is something we look forward to happening. Expectations usually develop when we compare ourselves with others (“They get to so why can’t I”) or from promises people make or imply. Some expectations result from true needs in our lives, like being loved, accepted, and feeling safe. When those expectations are not met in the ways we want them to be met by others or God, the emotional reaction is often anger.
The Bible says to “be angry, and yet do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26). Anger becomes a problem when we deal with it in a wrong way. A way to guard against acting in anger is to surrender our expectations to God. In surrendering, I choose to let God meet my needs in the ways He sees best, not in the ways in which I want to see things done. I decide to trust Him and look to Him as the source of my peace, joy, provision and security, instead of looking to circumstances or to other people.


However, what if I don’t recognize an expectation I have and I get angry? What if the anger remains in my heart? When I do not deal with my anger it turns into bitterness. A bitter person is one who is unhappy, resentful, harsh, critical, and mad at the world. If I do not deal with my bitterness it will lead to a sense of hopelessness or despair. The roots of bitterness will go down deeper and deeper into resentment, revenge, not being grateful and having no hope
(Hebrews 12:15).

To deal with anger and bitterness, I can choose to forgive others for what has happened and release them from my expectations. God will deal with them, so I defer that right to Him. I become unable to be satisfied and focus totally on the unmet expectation, and, the one who failed to meet it. Also, I become unable to see how God is meeting my needs. What if the anger is at God? If so, I must make a choice to trust in the truth that God is loving and compassionate, that He is working all circumstances in my life for the good (Romans 8:28), and that He will provide my every need (Philippians 4:19) in His way and in His time.


Scope

Belief System



Man creates a Belief System


1- Man is a believing being.

We have beliefs about God, ourselves, others, circumstances, events and the world. We operate on the basis of those beliefs. Our beliefs are shaped in various ways - our perception of our parents, our environment, family, school, peers, etc. When we put all our beliefs together, they form a belief system.
Our whole perception of reality is based on beliefs about everything around us. Our beliefs become the lens through which we see everything. Example: Small child is told he is clumsy by his parents when, in reality, he is just displaying normal three-year old motor skills. However, he forms the belief that he is clumsy. He goes through life perceiving his behavior as either an evidence of his clumsiness or an amazing departure from his norm of clumsiness.


2- Man is Controlled by His Belief System

We are controlled by our beliefs. For as he thinks within himself, so he is. Proverbs 23:7a. Remember Karen Carpenter. She got the idea that she was "chubby " so she spent what remained of her life compensating for that chubbiness with anorexia nervosa until she died.
Usually it is more subtle. We act out what we believe is true about ourselves. Even a compliment can be received as rejection based on what we believe about ourselves. Our beliefs are the "grid" or "lens" through which we see life.


3- Man’s Belief System is Corrupted


Our beliefs are corrupted because we were born in sin, live in a sinful world, and are under attack from Satan. Romans 1:21-22 says that our minds and hearts are darkened. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools. Our beliefs are not necessarily logical or rational, but they are our beliefs and we act on them.
Satan attacks us through our belief system. If we believe our worth is tied to how much money we make, he will tempt us with greed and actions which follow that desire.
How do we change our beliefs which are corrupted and are controlling our lives?

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
. . .that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind . . . Ephesians 4:22-23



Scope