Creation over Creator?

image

And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

2 Corinthians 3:4-6 NKJV

What do we call a computer that becomes self aware and tries to take over the world? A sci-fi nightmare (a highly unlikely one, though).

But isn’t that sort of what we’re doing when we reject God? Deviating from the purpose we were created for, like a rogue robot?

But here we call it independence, power, agenda, individualism, and we exalt it with monuments.

Why do we so often prize creation over the creator? I mean it, when did this flaw first come about? Why do we prize objects over eternal souls, food over flesh, idols over El Shaddai?

And again I ask: why?

Our sufficiency is from God. It is nothing we did. Our peace doesn’t come from treaties. Our peace of mind doesn’t come from insurance. Our nourishment doesn’t come from bread. Our strength doesn’t come from muscle or power or the human spirit. It all begins, it all ends with God, whether we like it or not.

I am sufficient as a minister of God. Lord, let me do the one thing I was created to do: worship Your name.

Photo

bocsupportnetwork.org

Advertisements

Don’t Ever Change?!

2929565

When I was a few years younger and a little more idealistic, I set out to write my first novel. I couldn’t count the attempt that I made as a ten-year-old, which was a tale about a caterpillar-like creature living on a tomato plant. No, this was one was going to be my break-out novel, the real deal. The theme that I sought to explore was identity. I wanted to challenge two notions that seem different but are actually related. First, I wanted my story to shout “down with conformity!” And second, I wanted to say, “But is it good for people to believe that they are perfect and shouldn’t change?”

Bruno-Mars-Just-the-way-you-are-bruno-mars-21493793-1024-591

I don’t think I did this theme justice; my middle-school age protagonist just kind of whined through it all. And I don’t plan on giving a definitive answer today either, but I would like to leave you with something to nibble on.

How about instead of always wondering if God loves us “just the way we are?” (does everything we do and does every part of us please him?) and if everyone else loves us “just the way we are”… why don’t we ponder instead whether we love God just the way He is?

Or if we just love Him when he does things for us.

sugar-daddy2

 

 

Photo links:

sheetmusicplus.com

fanpop.com

sugardaddy.org

 

 

Trust: Does It Always Need to Accompany Love?

....why should I trust you?

“Don’t trust anyone. Never let your guard down.”

This is something that I hear all the time, even from other Christians. And it’s not like it doesn’t make sense.

Many of us learn this “lesson” around middle school (or earlier, if you weren’t quite as lucky). I know I learned it somewhere along the way, and I learned it too well. My little friends disappointed me, left me all alone, and since then I haven’t been able to look at other people, or myself in quite the same way. Over time, I went from happy, carefree child to quiet, awkward adolescent (although I can be fun with certain people).

So I can’t really say that I trust people a whole lot. I just wait for them to disappoint me. And when they do, I take their “rejection” personally. “What’s wrong with me? Why don’t they like me? What’s there not to like? What can I change?”

Let’s revisit the love verse. If you are Christian, you’ve probably heard it a million times, but I’m going to post it again because even though I’ve been hearing it for years, it has taken on a new meaning for me lately.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 RSV

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastfulit is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

The fact is, people are going to disappoint us.  People are going to downright screw us over.

But you know what? In all probability, we will disappoint others as well. Maybe we will even do our share of screwing over.

So here’s an idea. Maybe instead of always wondering what the other guy is going to do next, maybe we should focus more on our own heart, on what we are doing wrong. Maybe it is better to be a naive little fool who trusts people and believes in humanity and isn’t afraid of the devisings of men because her faith in God is positively overflowing.

But how, how is this accomplished? Should we “trust” that our fellow motorists won’t cut us off? But that’s crazy!

Should we “trust” that the creepy guy in the alley won’t mug us?

Should we “trust” that thieves won’t steal our belongings?

Should we “trust” the credit card company?

Should we trust our friends to be there for us? Our family? Our spouse?

Should we trust God?

I’m not quite sure what to make of all this. Personally, I have a hard time believing that people will come through for me because of past experience. My philosophy is, “they probably won’t, but hey, at least God will be there.”

And indeed He will. But should I believe in others too? Won’t that just make it more painful when they don’t come through? (because they won’t… don’t trust anyone!).

I guess it could hurt to try, but maybe I will. I’m not an orphan with street cred or a recent divorcee or a victim of abuse. I’m just another person who learned “the lesson” in some way or another. Maybe I can start unlearning it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trying to be Optimistic, For Once

Compared to yesterday, today I observed a boost in mental health. What more can I ask for from God? Every driplet of sanity has become precious to me.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Don’t even ask me about six months from now.

They say that the life is about the journey, not the destination. I have a hard time believing them sometimes. It seems like I have reason to crave the destination and despise the journey after all. My journeys often seem mundane and anticlimactic. What are my journeys? The first thing that comes to mind are my tri-weekly journeys to school. As a commuter, I’ve gotten way too familiar with one stretch of highway. I don’t really travel otherwise. So the journey motif isn’t working so hot.

On an emotional/social/personal level, the story is similar. Exciting things don’t happen to me often. Which is good and bad. Few friends and little drama. No love and no heartbreak. But the common theme is stagnancy.

BUT let me turn the tables on this whole whine fest and explain why I have reason to be happy.

The fact is that I’m in a good place in general. I’m busy and I’m on the way to something. And that is exciting. I have a novel to write, people to meet, a future ahead of me (God willing). I am just beginning to awaken spiritually. And I’m in college (except I’m on summer break) which I don’t enjoy all the time because I feel like I’m just watching everyone else have a fun and/or fulfilling time but you know what, my education is an amazing opportunity that I shouldn’t waste being miserable. People say that these are the best years of my life. I don’t really believe them, but maybe it would behoove me to. After all, it could be worse. It could be much, much worse.

Lord, the journey is enough for me. Lord, You are enough for me.

What If I Just Pretended to be Sane?

When I was younger, I watched the Andy Griffith Show. Picnic apple pie America at its best. Anyway, I remember one episode where Aunt Bee was given sugar pills which she believed were helping her get better. I later learned this is called the placebo effect.

Lately, I have had more free time. Which is good because I’ve had time to write and relax, which is what I’ve been waiting for. But unfortunately, I have also had more time to descend into madness. Or should I say, further into madness.

This worries me for many reasons. And the worry makes my condition worse. It’s a vicious cycle. At this rate, I could turn into a psychopath. Who knows what would happen to me without the love and mercy of God? Praise be to the God on high, who is the God of nice, normal people and the God of us crazies as well. I don’t deserve Him, I don’t deserve salvation. If Paul is “the least of the apostles” and “the scum of the earth,” well, I don’t even want to know what I am. But the Lord loves me anyway.

So when I say that I should probably be dead by now, I’m not exaggerating.

I wonder why this problem doesn’t go away, especially now that I’ve been baptized. I wonder why I am still knee deep in this spiritual warfare. The normal part of me can’t understand why the crazy part thinks it’s the end of the world when there’s 10666 miles on the odometer.

Ah yes, so let me circle back to the placebo effect. Here’s what I’m thinking. I want to try something new, so maybe instead of worrying about how I should seek treatment and tell my family (which sounds very painful), maybe I should try to work around this for now. What I mean is, the power of suggestion.

What if I tried to convince myself that I am not sick? What if I just drill into my head that the Lord is with me and the Holy Spirit is at my beck and call? What if I just stop associating with Satan? And what if this actually helps me? What if I pretend so long that I become reasonably sane?

This won’t work over night, that’s for sure. And I don’t mean to trivialize this problem, like you can just use some Steve Harvey style self help to get yourself out of the ditch in three easy steps. All I’m saying is that maybe I’ll give it a try. There is such a thing as too much introspection, and I’m sure I crossed that line a long time ago. Does it really matter which childhood event triggered this or whether or not I feel empowered as an individual? All I’m saying is that I’ll give it a try, and if God wills, it may work, and if not, well, maybe I’ll try the psyche ward eventually.

Please don’t make me go to the mental hospital!!!

You Just Can’t Lie to God

It seems obvious. He’s God right? He knows everything. But do we always treat HIm like He knows everything?

Sometimes I hold things back from God, as if they’re not relevant to Him. Sometimes I struggle instead of simply getting off my high horse and asking Him a question.

What makes us do things like this? Why do we treat God as if He’s not God? Why do we think He doesn’t understand our problems, desires, passions, and fears?

“Sorry God, but I want to watch this TV show instead of reading the Bible right now, it’s just so good!”

Wasn’t God there when they shot the episode? Doesn’t God know how it ends? Didn’t he number the hairs of the head of the director? And yet, we treat him like some kind of ignorant backwoods yokel. Or maybe it’s just me who does that. 

We may feel that God just doesn’t know how awesome the world is. He doesn’t understand the extent of what He’s asking us to give up. Or does He? 

So maybe that’s the time that we lie, and hold back, and pretend, and give him the scraps and bones of our charmed existences. 

But you can’t lie to the Holy Spirit. It’s been attempted. Look at the story at the beginning of Acts Chapter 5. 

Lying and pretending aren’t good, but the alternative seems almost as repellent. Honesty? With a God who isn’t afraid to judge us straight to Hell? 

So we stuff those proverbial skeletons in the closet and slam the door shut, still panting as we slowly sink to the floor in shame. But it needs to be done. 

Does it really though?

Lord, I don’t love you at all hours of the day or even close. Lord, my thoughts are evil and full of deceit and pride. I don’t love you with all my heard and soul and strength. I love X,Y, and Z, as you know. 

My soul pants for you, but as soon as it becomes satisfied, it runs after something else. 

But I know that You exist, and, what’s more, I know that You are Good. At my best, I know that I must serve You. Let these truths fuel me for the rest of my life, let it consume me forever. 

 

 

 

 

Back to the Basics- Reexplaining “Christianity”

Sometimes we forget where we came from, who we are as people, why we’re doing the things that we do and why we feel the way we feel. Christians forget too, but the problem is that we forget who God really is. Even if we have all the right answers. Even if we’re towing the line.

This post is really for anyone. If you’re not a believer, if you are a believer, if you know about the “Christian God,” for lack of a better word, or if you don’t know as much.

Assumption #1- Man is sinful

This is where people often start, and I suppose I’ll start here as well. If you don’t see yourself as sinful… well, that’s a pretty common thing actually. I can see why you would think that. Maybe for now, look around you, at the world you’re living in. Do you see injustice? Do you think there’s something wrong with how we “do life?” Is there? I won’t tell you, I’m just asking you.

Unfortunately, if we can’t agree that man is sinful, then it is difficult to proceed. But let’s keep the assumption that man is sinful.

What then? What are we supposed to do about it? What is sin? How do we stop it?

There is a way to answer this question without including God. You can say that we as people can progress towards a more enlightened existence, that is what a lot of people think.

But my question is: how? If sin is based on what you think is sin, how will you convince others to stop doing what you think is wrong? What if they don’t think it’s wrong? What makes you right above others, if there is no objective truth? What is to stop people from acting from self-interest? What if jail time is worth breaking the law to some people?

You can say that there is a universal human code of conduct. A cosmic bro code, if you will. So I don’t expect you to convert to Christianity based on the logic I’ve just presented because I am not the first to put it that way, but if it did make you think…

Let’s go in a different direction, shall we? Let’s make one more assumption.

Assumption #2 The God of the Hebrew Bible is the true God, and Jesus is the Messiah

What goes with assumption #2? That a man named Jesus came into this world oh, around the beginning of the common era, and taught a new and radical way of living. He taught that you should love your enemies and help the poor. He taught that money isn’t important, and he died to show us what is important.

Which is…

Eternal life through the forgiveness of sins.

When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, the Lord instituted a holiday called Passover. The Passover celebrates how the Israelites were led out of Egypt and how God “passed over” them when he was inflicting punishment on the Egyptians. To this day, Jews celebrate the festival by slaughtering a lamb.

Jesus became a Passover lamb for us. He had compassion on us, on our plight and our rut. He sacrificed himself so God would pass over us too.

If we believe, of course. Belief is where it all begins and ends. Belief engenders love and trust. Belief inspires action.

Matthew 16:16 (RSV)

16 Simon Peter replied [to Jesus], “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

1 Corinthians 15:3 

 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures,

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God— not because of works, lest any man should boast.

Romans 3:21-26

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction;23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 they are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins26 it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies him who has faith in Jesus.

John 10:11

[Jesus says] “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

 

Lately, I haven’t been feeling the belief as strongly. I’ve been trying to do things. I’ve been trying to move forward, but I keep feeling Satan holding me back. I’ve been introspective, reluctant, and confused. I haven’t laid it all down before the Lord’s throne. I’ve been wondering what I would do without my burdens. I’ve been wondering how much work I would be doing (because, usually, you can’t just sit there and wait for God to move your limbs) and how much credit I would receive if I just let God do everything.

But really, it’s so simple that it seems like rocket science. I just have to believe in the Lord Jesus and love Him. I just have to do His work. I just have to become attuned to Him, and when I become attuned to Him, I won’t feel the urge to sin… as strongly. And when I become attuned to Him, I will know what to do. Right?

Yes, right. I will have faith. Because with faith…

Matthew 17:20

So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief;[a] for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.