Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Letting us vent

Job 30:20
“I cry out to you, O God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me."

Job seems tired at this point. For the past, oh I'd say 22 chapters all we heard about is his suffering. These past month has been a pretty grim one for the Old Testament reading. But what is God trying to teach us? What is God trying to say through his servant Job? Personally I don't know. But what I see here is an honest account of someone's faith. An honest heart to heart with God and saying, "Seriously God? What is going on?" While it is true that suffering does produce character, it just a painful process.

I like Job's honesty with God. I like how he just is venting all his concerns, frustrations, and disappointments with Him. I like how he just lays it into God. The thing is God can handle it. I think for me, I don't feel as if this type of honest Christianity is shared very often. Especially when those prosper around you, while you deep in your heart suffer. Quite often what I get from others and what I feel myself is what I call, "suck it up and suffer". Often its masked in, "well things aren't going well, but hey God is in control" or "have faith, He will bring it to pass." I hate to hear these phrases. But while they are true, you know there is a sense of injustice or unfairness that you just cannot shake off. I often ask myself during these times, hey, what about me? Not to be selfish, but just an honest heartfelt question of God do you even care about me? But yet my faith in God is to trust in the unseen. But it does suck sometimes. Yet the lesson from Job is that it's okay to vent it to God. He does hear, he can handle it.

God I'm going to vent, thank you for allowing me to just act like your child sometimes.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Exceeding Expectations

Acts 3:6-7
The Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.

I like how this goes. God will provide, he does provide, he brings forth provision. However it maybe in a way that we don’t want to be. Here the situation was that the beggar was asking for money. He was asking for something to take care of his needs at that moment. He was asking for his needs to be met the only way he knew it was possible. But God had other plans, He comes through the best way. Instead of being able to fed or be taken care of from money, God answers the heart of the problem. He heals him. And that’s God. Go to the root of the issue and deal with it. He deals with it here and he takes care of the issue. Now the beggar has a new life, a new beginning, and a new start.

We all ask God for things. We all ask God to guide us in the direction we need to go, we ask for his provision, we ask for his blessing, we ask for all this and more. Which isn’t bad, however maybe our problem is maybe we expect different answers or different results when we get what happens is that God gives us what we need. I am sure the beggar here would have been thrilled for just a couple of dollars. But instead of a couple of dollars he gets to walk again. God is amazing. He does crazy things like that to keep us from forgetting that He is God. He is the one that bring salvation, brings life, and brings ultimately His will into play. Often times we forget, when we ask for things, to ask what God wants. We know by promise He won’t give us things that will hurt us (Lk 11:11-13). So whatever He gives us will be for our good. It will be for our benefit as well as His. In our lives we must expect God to provide, but if he answers us in ways we don’t expect, we know that it is so much better. Remember God hits the root of our needs, not the patch we think we need.

Lord in my life, I know I ask for things to patch, but you or Lord provide for what it best for me. Lord I ask, provide, your way.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The death in following...

John 12:24-25
The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.

Though here Jesus is talking about following his Father at which requires an enormous sacrifice. More often than not, we ignore this sacrifice. After talking with many missionaries, they find it easy for this concept of following God to take root in the poor countries they serve. Why? It’s because they are dying, desperate, and in absolute need of a savior. I have heard stories upon stories of those who the poor cry out to God minute by minute. Desperation is often a requirement for God to catch our attention. I can think of many situations in my life where my sin has lead to desperate moments where God used me to change. However, why do we have to be desperate? Here Jesus is calling for a life where we are not desperate, but where we voluntarily choose a life that is opposite of what the world wants. He wants us to live in a way that is constant desperation of Him. Where our entire life is a total focus in upon His plan, His goals, His ideals. We become a true meaning of a servant, a life lived not for your own. But we don’t often take this path. In many cases, we want glimpses of Christianity, such as God’s love and his blessing but ignore the following and the obeying.

So what can I do? Well, in reality there is nothing I can do in terms of everyone else, but as for me, advancing to obedience is the beginning, but far from complete. The question in my heart I must ponder is, “Do I love God or do I love the world?” The glitter of this world is fun, exciting, and tantalizing. I grew up with it. The ideals of study hard, work hard, make money, succeed. The thought of gaining more, constant growth, and growth in influence and power is all around the people I associate with on a daily basis. But you see these ideas, they seduces me pull my heart to conform. Like a guy trying new pickup lines to a girl in a bar, is how the world is trying to win us. It never stops, and you know what, we fall for it. I do every day. It may not be obvious in some areas of my life, but some choices I make it is evident. I read a book where the writer claimed to get a vision from God seeing that the way the devil and his minions deceive us is that he preys upon our feelings of insignificance and inferiority. Our need to feel important and have some semblance of power has lead us to do some outrageous things. This is where in lies the issue, the insatiable desire for significance and power. John often says sin starts in the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life. We are in love with ourselves. But let me make this personal, I am in love with me. I too look at this see why Jesus said, “the man who hates his life.” We must hate our life regardless of how it is turning out. But it’s easy to hate your life when things are going wrong. Of course if everything is stripped away from you you hate it and are more than eager to follow the one who can better it. But for me and many others, we love our life, we want to make it better, we want the glory, wealth, comfort, and ease that money, power, and fame can buy. We don’t want that life of living in the desert, or doing a job you hate because you feel God called you to do that job, or walking away of a life of wealth to a life of poverty. That’s not our ideal, that’s not what I was taught, that’s not what this world wants you to do. So many of us sit in a quandary of questions and decisions that must be made. A daily choice of God’s way or my way regardless where I end up. Its like a marriage, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. The challenge is to start sinking your teeth in to what this life of a Christian is really about. Is it about me? I think not.

Lord its about you, not about me.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Saying NO

Luke 4:42-43

At daybreak Jesus went to a solitary place. The people where looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”

There was a sense of purpose here. Jesus had a purpose on why he was there and what he was doing. The work was great in the town he was in, but there was a higher purpose and a calling that his Father sent him for. There is nothing like knowing what exactly that is then your life is as clear as a bright sunny day here in Hawaii. Clarity is nice. Having a sense of direction and purpose provides something that some call Meaningful Work. Clear purpose and direction, allows you to say Yes to what is critical but more importantly, it gives you the right to say NO. Jesus here said NO. He passed on what appeared to be a golden opportunity to help others. But, what we now see is that though he would have been great here, it would have stopped him from gaining greater things later.

I wonder how many times in my life I sold myself short because I did the not so great things. I wonder how many times I may have said Yes to the wrong thing, and No to the right things in my life. I can only speculate what those would be. Had I known what the right direction and purpose in my life at the time. I would have been able to say Yes to the right thing and No to the wrong thing. Without the guidance of God, and not knowing the bigger picture, there has been times where I probably made the wrong decision. However, now I pray God give me the purpose that I so crave.

Lord I want to say no to the right things. Help me see those things to say no to.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Everything is Everything

Genesis 6:22

Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

In this story I was fascinated by how much God hated man so much that He was willing to kill off everyone. However, what is more crazy there was one person on the entire earth that God found righteous. But what does it mean to be righteous. The definition for a righteous person is that some one who is morally upright; without guilt or sin. In also this case it is someone who is obedient. Who follows God and trust him whole heartedly. It is something to have that kind of obedience, to do everything God has commanded. It’s not easy. But it is the necessary ingredient for in order for not only righteousness but also to find favor with God. God provided the right path for all of us. However, it is up to us to walk in obedience to Him.

This verse shows that what God desires from us the most is for us to be obedient to Him. He desires that we follow Him with our whole heart, mind and soul. This is what I know I need to do, but there are many things that get in my way that hinder me from striving towards obedience to Him. I truly desire to be obedient to him. I want to walk in His light and have the favor that Noah did. In order for that to happen, I must firmly anchor my love, life, and heart to Him. I must trust in Him and walk when He says to walk, and stop when He says to stop. But I know that isn’t easy.

Lord I desire to do what you command. Help me find that obedience for you.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sin is at your door

Genesis 4:6-7

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

It is an interesting thing God says to Cain here. It proves the nature of man that sin is always there. It also says that sin is always at our doorstep. It shows that sin is ready to pounce on us and destroy us. But also it shows that there is a two part thing for us to do. We must be obedient to God at this moment and be free of sin. While the text does not specify exactly why the Lord rejected his offering, but what is interesting is that it had to do with the matters of the heart. The hidden sin we have directly affects our relationship with God. Our relationship with God is dependent on our obedience and our attitude towards Him and His laws. Here there was something suspicious about Cain, and then sin took over him.

Our nature is crazy, but it seems that if we do not keep ourselves in check then we are prone to sin. Here the lesson is that God will provide, but we got to make the effort. We have to be better at staying away from sin. It is like the verse from James, “Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil, and he will free from you.” We have to resist the devil, but the only way to do that is to submit to God. Because sin is right there ready for me to stumble in.

Lord thank you for the warning. I want to submit to You.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Helper

Genesis 2:18

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

I like here how God had made a decision that Adam needed a helper for life. However, God states that it's just not that anyone should be a helper but someone who is a "suitable" helper. Someone who is very much in the same tune of life that you are in. Someone who is a good fit. Maybe not a perfect fit, but a fit nonetheless. That's the beauty of a helper. Someone who is a good fit and together you accomplish the works that God has prepared for you. But in order to do that. It seems like we need to be "in the Garden". We need to be connected to God. We need to be in His will. We need to be fully engaged to the love of God and be in obedience to Him. Only then will we be able to be allowed to see His will.

When I look for potential partners in life, I used to have a list and stick to it. However from this lesson, it seems that God already has a plan for a spouse in life. Though it may not be exactly what I think I want, but it will be someone who is suited to my life. Which is great, but the catch is that I must be in the complete will of God. I must be following Jesus whole heartedly. I must be living to the fullest potential I need to be in. Then God will bring along side the helper. The lesson is that if I live to where God wants me at, things will happen and God will provide.

Lord, thank you for this wonderful lesson on what it means to have a helper in life.