"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." ~Jim Elliot

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Battling Uncertainty and Unbelief

Everyone thinks God is good until life is bad.

Perhaps you are in a place similar to the one I find myself in these days. School just doesn't make any sense. The job is tough. Your relationship is falling apart. One more shred of bad news came today. Yet another bill. The doctor still doesn't know. The car is falling apart. You're betrayed, rejected, ignored - invisible. You're lost, and there's no map. No clear sense of direction. No understanding of purpose. No clear calling. Nothing.

This is going to sound like the end of a writing because I do not yet have a beginning. That part has not been written in me yet. All I know is this: hardship is the test of obedience. Even in our most difficult circumstances, we must remember that God is not a man like us. He does not waver; He is not prone to change. He does not base His decisions on a moment but on the eternal wisdom He possesses.

(You don't have to know. You don't have to understand everything. You don't have to have an extensive game plan. Just hold on for the ride. One day everything wrong will be made right).

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

1000 More Reasons to Love Arizona (Photos)

Good news - it's finally cooling down here in the Valley! Autumn here certainly doesn't feel the same as that in Indiana, but Arizona has a beauty of its own. Enjoy the pictures.





 Reason #1!







Ok, so maybe this isn't a reason to love Arizona. It's
just some photos from my root canal. As you can see,
the oral surgeon did fantastic work.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Home

Romans 8:23
And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.

"If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the most logical explanation is that I was made for another world." ~C.S. Lewis


This blog was born out of the realization that though there is much change in life and though I am bound to changing circumstances and locations, this world is not my home. Right now I'm away from home. Understand this please. I'm in my house on Poinsettia Drive. And I'm in the house of an earthly body. But I am not home.

This summer and fall has thrown me many curve balls. New location, new job, new church, new friends, (soon) new school - new life. And it has terrified me. For the first time in my life, I have come to the realization that I am deeply afraid of many things. And for yet another time in my life, I am awake to the paralyzing pain in our world today.

It's not just angry customers that scare me. It's not just uncertainty. It's not just transferring. It's not just a shooting in Washington. It's the weight of it all. When all of these ingredients are mixed into a drink, the cup becomes utterly bitter, almost impossible to swallow.

This is my burden. This is my mountain. These are my tears. This is my present death. It's my groaning.

There are some days I do not know what to do. All I can do is cry out to God for His grace and fall at the mercy of Christ. And it is on days like these that I come to the end of all hope in this world, and here I see that I was not made for this world at all. I was made for - and in sorrow and expectation I yearn for - a different world, a heavenly city, a place prepared, a weight of glory.

And that place is home.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Always Learning, Never Arriving

2 Timothy 3:1-7
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Long ago as I thought about this passage I was greatly convicted about that final verse. It had my spiritual wheels turning, and lately I've been coming back to a realization of the truth of the statement here.

Christians like me are really good at learning things. We read our Bibles every single day, we go to church every Sunday, we ask deep questions, and we read good books; and we may even pray from time to time. All of these are critical to the growth of a believer. They are essentials, and learning is a necessity for every child of God. But it is not an end in itself.

A drug addict can learn that what he does is wrong and still be hooked. A cutter may discover that God does not delight in self-destruction and still be a cutter. A prostitute may be taught that it is wrong to use the human body for immoral purposes and still continue in her sin. A porn addict may know that adultery is wrong and still be a porn addict. A drunkard may see that drunkenness is dissipation and still be a drunkard. A hedonist may know that his pleasures will never be satisfied until he places them in God and still be a worldly hedonist.

And all of these kinds of people, regardless of specifics, may truly and sincerely desire to be free from their sins and yet continue in them. Many people go to hell that way.

I do not want to be the next tragic story in the line of fallen people.

What God is teaching me now is this: yes, I may have been learning for the past five years that His followers are to make disciples, but if all I do is learn and take no action I would be better off not knowing. I may know full well by now that the greatest commandments are to love God and to love my neighbor as myself - but if I do not love God and do not love my neighbor as myself my learning is in vain.

You can preach all you want. You can sit and listen all day. But do not be deceived into thinking that we can sit around learning all day and do nothing with the tools we are given. The Bible was not written only to be memorized - it was written to be obeyed.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Monsters

Though it is a rare occurrence, every few seasons it seems that I have a dream that reminds me of the inhumanity of humanity. Such was the case last night. (Suffice that to be descriptive enough).

Today I am reflective of something I read a while ago: "Every one says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive" (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity). A similar concept applies to common thought about humanity: everyone says there are bad people, but no one who says so thinks he is a bad person.

Christians who read something like that and immediately direct their minds to criminals are a prime example; we make wonderful hypocrites. Mormons think they are good, Jehovah's Witnesses think they are good, Catholics think they are good, Muslims think (hope!) they are good, atheists think they are "good" - and so forth.

A father's thoughts about his son who beat up a child is another strong example. How one's kid can gang up with two friends and bang up a smaller kid and one can still say, "He just got in a bad crowd," is beyond my mind.

Something we must all understand about the human nature is that it is in many ways like the nature of a beast. And something I must understand is this: I am a monster. Because of sin, I have the potential to do horrendous things. There is no such thing as a good person, and I am no exception.

And this is the state we were all in when God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to die for us (Jn. 3:16). It happened while we were still helpless; it happened while we were yet sinners (Rom. 5:6-8; 1Tim. 1:15).

For as long as man denies this, man will be a kind of sub-man. Not an evolutionary genius - a degraded monster. There is only one antidote; there is only one hope.

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