Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pain & Fear

Stay tuned for some thoughts on Fear versus Pain. How can they exist in the life of a believer? Where do they fit if at all?

Sooner or later, everyone will hear and everyone will speak. Why not make it elective and initiate. He will reciprocate.

Early On

“Early on, I made the mistake of wanting spiritual feelings to endure and remain romantic. Like a new couple expecting to always feel in love, I operated my faith thinking God and I were going to walk around smelling flowers. When this didn’t happen, I became confused.
What was more frustrating than the loss of exhilaration was the return of my struggles with sin. I had become a Christian, so why did I still struggle with lust, greed, and envy? Why did I want to get drunk at parties or cheat on tests?” (Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz, p.66.)

If I didn’t know better… I’da thought I was quoting myself. And in a way I am. Many of us have gone through what Miller is describing. That sense of “early on feelings” of goodness, grace, love and hope. Yet all too often they fad like early morning fog in Mystic Iowa.

When the “good feelings” fog faded in my life, the lie I begin to believe was that something was wrong with me. When you start to think something is wrong with you… the fleshy response of self-preservation begins to kick in… and you get ticked off at the rest of the world… because you’re sure THEY are causing you to feel bad... even God.

Can you believe that, we actually get mad at God… thinking that in the mix of all we’re feeling it’s somehow His fault. Or it’s the fault of our spouse, or our pastor, or the church, or the schools, or the government, or the liberal pagans that are infiltrating our precious religious culture, or the Taliban or Al Qaida, or Al Gore, or Bill O’Reily, or Jimmy Swaggart, or Jimmy Hendrix, or Bill Marr, or our diet, or our lack of opportunity or privilege. Oh how wrong we are.

As I see it NOW. The “early on feelings” of goodness, grace, love and hope are real. But they are real, because they are relative to the centrality and proximity of God’s voice. Jesus speaking our name, Jesus calling us out of darkness into light… no condemnation, but only acceptance and remedy for the moment and eternity, that’s what we hear. It is that Voice that most often comes when the PAIN we are experiencing becomes so deafening that all other sounds and voices are silenced. You know… the kind of pain that is so loud that everything in our existence hits zero degrees Kelvin… it’s that colder than ice type of pain… where we hear the Voice of Love – the Voice of Life.

As we realize the truth that a single solitary Voice called us from our tombs of death, pain and bondage… life, peace and joy become more and more of a reality. The “trick” that the enemy of our souls wants us to accept is that… the hearing of that Voice is a one time thing for all the rest of our lives. But that is the most treacherous lie we could ever embrace. That “trick” keeps religion in power. That “trick” keeps wounds from healing. That “trick” keeps the masses living in the shadow lands… somewhere between dark and light… between victory and defeat. Pain.

When we accept the facts and the truth that comprise the Love of God – we cannot but help understand that He wants to hang out with us 24/7 and He wants to talk to us and wants us to talk to Him. What do you think happened in the Garden? Do you think Adam and Even dressed up and went to church on Sunday and Wednesday nights? And God put on His best suit and “preached” at them for 45 minutes and then they went back to their tree house for fruit and nuts? I don’t think so. They walked and talked with Him. They sat and shared their thoughts and hearts. They laughed and embraced. They communed with each other. They listened to each other. They experienced the good feeling of RELATIONSHIP... until they (Adam, Eve and we) believed a lie… until that lie brought pain. At that point Adam and Eve took evasive fleshy actions that led them into sin… into darkness and deafness… ultimately into death.

Lies always and eventually bring pain. Then we start to feel the need to cheat, drink, envy, covet, and lust. Can you see the reversal that occurs? God desires that “early on good feelings” continue, but those feelings are absolutely contingent upon our willingness to ONCE AGAIN and regularly HEAR THE VOICE OF LOVE.

Stop right now and think about your “early on” experiences with THE VOICE OF LOVE. Would you like to get back to those “early on feelings” of goodness, grace, love and hope? You can.

Call… email… comment… blog… scream… cry out… pound down another shot… do whatever you feel you need to do… but DO NOT REMAIN SILENT, because He’s not! Stop. Listen. You will hear His Voice.

One thing I know for certain… my life and my mission are to facilitate a connection between you and Jesus. Is that your phone ringing? Maybe it’s God?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Few Thoughts

Just a few things. 1) I've been away from the net for a while, because I took a week off to clear my head and heart... kinda like an Internet fast. 2) I really loved my anonymous friend's comment posted regarding belief in God or the lack thereof. It was pretty thoughtful and will take some time for me to think through and respond to, but it was still a good response. 3) My friend's post has gotten me thinking about apologetics and the necessity thereof... I'm not sure if I'm supposed to engage in a "debate" about God, but maybe more of a discussion of what I believe God (if there is a God - and I do believe there is) has done in my life. I'm kinda jazzed in a way, because the folly of the cross always stirs up discussion amongst people who have deep thoughts and tender hearts. 4) I'm not gonna post much more tonight simply because I'm tired and don't seem to have the time for deep and free thinking and writing these days. That will change soon I'm sure.

So for now... I'll stop. I'm waiting for the offer to have coffee with my friend.