Worship

I’m not worthy of worship.

My favorite tv shows are not worthy of worship.

My problems are not worthy of worship.

My job is not worthy of worship.

Only my God, the one true God of heaven and earth is worthy of worship.

So why do I spend more time meditating on how awesome I am, why my favorite character did that, or how I’m going to do to fix this problem at work, than I do meditating on God, praying, reading the word, and worshiping God in spirit and in truth? In essence I’ve been worshiping myself.

Forgive me Lord for my arrogance and pride.

“Not of this world”, is a popular Christian statement, but it is very hard to walk out. It’s hard to pick up our crosses daily and sacrifice our wants, our desires, our problems it’s hard to let go, but we have to if we really want to live free in Jesus.

Thoughts of Throwing Away God’s Gift

For as long as I can remember, whenever life gets tough I start to seriously consider the temptation to throw away God’s gift. And more often than not, I buy into the lie that the devil is selling. I can still remember times, when I struggled early on in school, that I’d tell my mom, “I wish I had never been born”. Then later on in life when things just seemed to be too hard, my thoughts turned to how I could end it all, to be free of pain, sorrow, loneliness, and despair that seemed to plague my life. To say it plainly, for the majority of my life I’ve struggled with thoughts of suicide. And I don’t think I’m the only one. It breaks my heart every time I read about someone taking their own life, and not even that I almost cry when I read of someone who cuts themselves to dull the pain of their life. I know that God loves them and if only they could understand that, they wouldn’t have to hurt themselves to find peace.

Now I’m not writting this to tell you how I overcame suicide through my own strength or through my own force of will. Because as I stated earlier I bought into the satan’s lie, I believed whole heartedly that I was worthless, that the world would be a much better place without me. But rather how God has repeatedly saved my life, from myself. All glory and honor be to the one who created me, the one who loves me even though at times I haven’t loved myself, the one who had a plan for my life even before I was in my mother’s womb, all the praise belongs to God for taking me beyond the lies and into his heart of truth and love. I’m being transparent here, honest as I can be, not holding anything back (and trust me putting something like this out there isn’t easy) because I believe God has asked me to write about my journey and battling thoughts of suicide has been part of it (an ugly part of it). 

One of the reasons I believe this has been a constant struggle in my life, is because every time I wish I was dead, or fantasied about killing myself, the devil was throwing the miracle of my life back in God’s face. If you haven’t read my testimony, then you should know that God preserved my life at a time when I was defenseless, a time when my mother’s decisions meant life or death for me, a time when babies all over the world were being slaughtered simply to make a mother’s life a little more easy (click here if you’d like to read a more detailed account). So if the devil had ever been able to get me to follow through with what I was thinking that would have been a major victory for him, but he seems perfectly fine with a minor victory and insulting God. Thankfully God is not one to let Satan win lasting victories.

Another reason I believe that I was readily open to this attack of the enemy, is that as a human being I love doing things the easy way, or doing the easy things in life. Looking back now, non of the things that made me wish I was dead were really that hard. Math, spelling, heartbreak, loneliness, fear, and failure were all temporary and all things that eventually I worked through (obviously since I’m writing this ;-)). But the lies of the enemy made mole hills turn into mountains. Had I taken these things to God rather than working them out through my own limited human abilities, they would not have seemed so difficult. But I chose to trust in myself rather than the one who made me.

But the root cause of all of this is something I mentioned above, fear. Fear, is brought to us by a spirit of intimidation. This is a spirit I’m very familiar with, I’ve lived under it for so long, I’ve been bound by it’s chains, set free only be the awesome power of Jesus Christ! One of fear’s most used tools is a feeling of hopelessness. For the longest time I had no hope for ever finding a life long friend, I had no hope that I would ever find the woman that God had out there for me (and yes that’s how warped my mind was I acknowledged that God had selected a woman for me but yet didn’t have hope that he would lead me to her, how whacked is that?), I had no hope that I would ever find joy and happiness, and I had no hope that I would ever find understanding. So anytime life would get rough, this spirit would remind me of my hopelessness and I would buy into it. The logical conclusion being that if there is no hope for my life, why live it? As John Bevere talks about in his book “Breaking Intimidation“, fear makes us focus on ourselves. The thoughts constantly running through my head focused almost entirely on me and my current condition. I focused on how sad I was that my “girlfriend” left me, and focusing on something like that long enough I would start to think about how I’d never be able to find someone. This train of thought is something Pastor Michelle would call a death spiral. My other fears were similiar in that my focus was me, and my problems. The opposite of fear, is love. Love forces us to put our focus on others and breaks us free from the death spiral that fear has us trapped in.

I could talk more about the spirit of intimidation’s other tools like a false sense of control or the constant need to blame others, but if you want to know more about breaking this spirit’s control over your life I recommend John Bevere’s book Breaking Intimidation. I could also talk about the things God used in my life to encourage me, to give me hope and how he used my friends Brad and Jen, my Mom and Dad, and my love Arielle to show me how much he loves and cares for me, he used them to save my life in ways they will probably never understand, but if you want to hear more about that you’ll have to ask me someday or God will put it on my heart to write it here. Instead what I’d like to leave you with is this, as I’ve said before, the devil is a liar. Look at what I was so worried about above; finding the right woman for me, finding friendship and understanding. God has provided all those things and then some. I just want to encourage you to stop focusing on yourself and focus on God and he will provide all your needs. I’m a walking example of his love and his provision and I hope that my testimony will be used by God in your life to draw you closer to him.

Please Pray: The Stones

I’ve started praying for this couple and their two sons. And I ask that you do to.

20-21In the morning, walking along the road, they saw the fig tree, shriveled to a dry stick. Peter, remembering what had happened the previous day, said to him, “Rabbi, look—the fig tree you cursed is shriveled up!”

 22-25Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say, ‘Go jump in the lake’—no shuffling or shilly-shallying—and it’s as good as done. That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything. And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it’s not all asking. If you have anything against someone, forgive—only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins.” Mark 11:20-25

Update: Fixed the link

Silence

Today this interesting quote from Mark Driscoll’s blog popped up on my google reader, and really just gave me another perspective on how God and Satan view my day.

In that moment, God deeply convicted me that I was addicted to the false trinity of our day, the gods known as Noise, Hurry, and Crowds. I remembered the words of missionary martyr Jim Elliot, who said, “I think the devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, crowds . . . Satan is quite aware of the power of silence.”

Take God with you

Something that has been on my mind is, how do I avoid becoming someone who only thinks about God when I’m in church, and not just that but how do I develop a deeper relationship with God. I’ve been trying to get back into the habit of reading the word (well not just reading it but desiring to read it), while reading God’s word this morning I stumbled upon (or better God lead me) to this verse in Romans. Something I’ve probably read before, but in the Message Bible version it seems to take on new meaning and stunning clarity.

Romans 12

Place Your Life Before God

1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

This would definetly not be an easy thing to do, but its one of those moments where I remember that God’s word can speak directly to me. The Bible is not just a bunch of stories, rules to live by, or condimination. But rather it is life, a rich and full life in God.

And what’s really sweet is, is that theme seems to be the focus of books I just got.

Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth by Richard Foster I’m hoping this book will challenge me to engage more in prayer and meditation.

Waking the Dead: The Glory of a Heart Fully Alive by John Eldredge I really like John Eldredge’s books I’ve read both Desire and Wild at Heart, and WaH was especially good.

The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer I think this book will really challenge me and my views.

Ever feel like Charlie Brown?

Music: Ed Bogas
Lyrics: Artist Unknown

Race for your Life

It’s a new day
We all can agree that the sun shine’s
Brought to you absolutely free

Free as running water
Fresh as morning dew

No matter who’s the leader
When the sun sets down
It’s gone Charlie Brown
So race for your life

Take a chance cause there’s no second dance
Till it’s a new day

I’ll tell you a secret
You’re about to face a test
And you’ll have to do your best
Don’t forget, just remember
Just remember, don’t forget

Your life is free as running water
Fresh as morning dew

No matter who’s the winner
If you try, we’re behind you
Charlie Brown

Race for your life, Charlie Brown

Race for your life, Charlie Brown

Race for your life, Charlie Brown

Race for your life, Charlie Brown

HT: Distant Melody

Charles Spurgeon: Being Unfashionable

I found this quote waiting for me on my google reader this morning, and it got me thinking that maybe I’ve become way to fashionable.

The great guide of the world is fashion and it’s god is respectability–two phantoms at which brave men laugh! How many of you look around on society to know what to do? You watch the general current and then float upon it! You study the popular breeze and shift your sails to suit it. True men do not so! You ask, “Is it fashionable? If it is fashionable, it must be done.” Fashion is the law of multitudes, but it is nothing more than the common consent of fools.

Hat Tip: Josh HarrisTullian Tchividjian

Spiritual Amnesia

I have a bunch of excuses, I’ve been busy at work, etc, but that’s all they really are. I listened to this podcast by John Eldredge last night before i fell asleep and realized that they were talking, at least to some extent, about me.