Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

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A meditation on Psalm 23

August 3, 2011
A meditation on Psalm 23
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. – Yet I still do… 
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. – Yet I eat thorns and breathe dust.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yet I feel weak and do so much wrong.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: – Yet at times my fear consumes me.
For thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. – Yet I fear the rod is for me and not to protect me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: – And then You challenge me to invite them to eat with me!
Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup Runneth over. – Yet I fear how I will pay rent and other bills each month.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life – Teach me how to trust You, God.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Only by your Grace and Mercy…
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A question to consider

November 23, 2010
 
What if the people we believe do not fit into our theology, do in fact fit into God’s theology?
I am looking at this question as what we hold may be true but not complete… so being open to the possibility that God has more than what we now believe that pulls us ever deeper into Who God is, and who we are in Christ. To close off God with a sealed theology turns faith into religion that keeps God at bay and only allows hope in appeasing His anger. That is not growing in Love, but perishing in fear.
 
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=iggyrocks-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0310293065&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr 
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Two things I have learned that have helped my faith.

April 26, 2010

Two things I have learned that have helped me grow in my faith.
1. If you come to the end of your rope… grease that sucker and let go… it is there you will meet God as you are completely in His Hands.
2. Trusting God is like trying to float… the more you try to float, the more you sink… yet, as you relax and let the water support you, you begin to float. Once you depend on God to float you is when you truly trust God.
3. Bonus: God is God and you are not. You are His creation flaws and all. God is not surprised at your flaws… He is very aware at who you are. He is more aware of who you are that YOU are. God has not called you to be perfect… in fact the verse in Matthew 5:48 actually should not be “be perfect” but “be mature” or “be full of age”… God calls us to maturity not perfection. God is perfect and you are not… and once you accept that, you will mature in your faith. Jesus was the only proven perfect One. Be clothed in Christ and His perfection.
Matthew 5:48 (Amplified Bible)
48You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect.

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"Stay tuned" you prisoners of polluted politics

February 20, 2010
On Friday 19th February 2010, @lissnup said:
reply #IranElection “Stay tuned” you prisoners of polluted politics as you queue for the toilet, buttocks clenched tight against your blood-flecked diarrhea, against being taken away, against the baton, not knowing which might come for you.
Help is coming. Someone will write a very long letter, very soon. If you’re really lucky they might remember to mention your plight and that of thousands of others like you.
What’s that? No one knows where you are? They told you your family, you friends are all dead and you’re next? Just stay tuned anyway. I’m sure some important people will be having tea together again soon. Very soon.
 
http://tl.gd/ab3fq

 
 
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Interview with Adele Sakler: Gay Christians

January 10, 2010
Reposting this interview as it is this month’s iggytalks show.
This was a fun interview. Adele Sakler is funny witty and this interview could have gone on for hours. We cover many things from fear of gay people, to how we can move beyond focusing on “sin” and focus on Jesus.

Download this episode (71 min)

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Of this I am certain (An ongoing conversation)

January 7, 2010
Is certainty the enemy of faith? Does being certain mean that mystery is no longer allowed? I run into those who seem to teach that we must be certain in all things of faith yet I just don’t see how that can be. I see that living in doubt leads one to fear, yet faith leads us to certainty and courage… so how does this all fit? I see this as a bit of a false dilemma made by those who cling to certainty and do not allow awe and mystery… or see that someone that simply trusts in God and does not need to know with certainty the answers… but knows that God IS the ANSWER.
Just on a personal level I have not issue with certainty… yet to me that does not mean all knowledgeable. The issue that I see is that many base their certainty as the basis of their fiath. Yet, Jesus stated, “Even more blessed are those that believe and have not seen.”
So I am certain that the bible is authoritative, not because I can prove it is infallible or inerrant, but that Jesus stated it was authoritative. Modernism seems to gut faith out of the bible and bring all of Heaven into the realm of man’s logic and reason. God is so far beyond us that to do so is to declare God is made in our image and results in God becoming vain human imagination.
So certainty can have mystery in it as we grow. One can be certain as to what God has taught them, and yet acknowledge there is so much more (an infinite amount of knowledge) to learn. This take humility which some lack as they make human logic and reason their certainty and believe they have arrived. They reduce faith in Jesus to believes and base salvation not on Grace or that the “Just shall live by faith” to salvation by believes and living by logic and reason.
To me I am certain in many things God has taught me… yet I am open to being wrong. Yet, often I confess God must bang my head against the wall to change my mind… but usually God hits my heart and then m mind follows. Then again, I may be wrong…

Peace.
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‘Man Vs. Wild’ Star Set to Lead Crusade in Orlando This Fall

July 27, 2009

‘Man Vs. Wild’ Star Set to Lead Crusade in Orlando This Fall

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Grace: Failing Forward

March 9, 2009

This weekend I have been in some interesting discussions. On one had I was discussing the Bodily Resurrection and hope that this discussion will go on, On the other side I was in a deep discussion with a couple of Calvinist. During the conversation it was stated that I seem to attack Calvinist. In some ways I see that as true, yet what I pointed out was that most the time Calvinist come to me and not only accuse me of all sorts of things, they also attack me on personal levels. Funny thing is I realized that I do not remember ever being attacked by anyone who is of the Arminian persuasion. Though I know I have had some interesting discussion with Arminians, I only recall about two that took it to the level that many Calvinists have. Now, please, I am not “anti-Calvinist”. I have read up on Calvinism and in my view there are some really good things Calvin taught, yet I also see some grave errors in Calvinism.

The other people who seem to often fall into the Calvinist camp but not always, are those who seem to literally “hate” anyone associated with the emerging church/conversation. These seem to attack mostly on a personal level. I was even told a couple of times I was not “saved” because I have a link to Brian McLaren’s websites… I find some humor in that as I do not recall Jesus stating that links to people can make one lose or jeopardize their salvation.

Now the point is not about my disagreement, rather in how I sometimes respond. I admit fully at times my reactions are not very good and sometimes not Christ like… In this and other areas, I see my own personal failings as a Believer in Jesus.

What I have come to realize over the years though is that we can focus on our failings and fall into self condemnation. In fact, in my own life I know that at times I am harder on myself than God is!

Failing is not a sin. Or if it is, it is not one that takes us so far out of God’s Grace that He is unable to restore us. If one looks at failing as sinful, I see that then one may miss real opportunities to grow in Christ.

When I have failed, God has not ever forsaken me. I have sometimes felt shame and not wanted to come to God and understand what happened, yet when I have pressed in, I found that God does not feel the same shame about me. In fact, God lovingly picks me up and sets me upright again and again.

Failing is part of the process of renewing out minds. If we are not failing, then we are not moving. In fact to not fail is to not try. If we are not trying then we are not able to grow!

Victories only come when we accept we fail. God is not surprised in our failings, though I do think at times He is more surprised when we do not fail.

Romans 3 verses 10 -12 tell us of every one’s condition:

“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

When we realize that there is not one person who is “right”, and that everyone is “wrong”, we can begin to truly seek dependence on God for all things righteous. So many people, and I include myself, fight for our own “rightness”. I see that every disagreement and fight with someone else is based on our need to be right in our own eyes. In stead of allowing God to be our “rightness” or “Righteousness” we seek our own and worse, impose our standard of “rightness” on the other.

Now we do need to use some judgment, but correctly. And as one fails, if we understand that only God is “Right” then we can trust that when we are wrong or wrong another, God will set us right again.

When failing, if we accept that we will, I see that is when God will use us. In fact as we fail, God steps in and is able to do what He intended in the first place if we trust Him to do so.

I found when I fail, God lifts me up again… He lovingly dusts me off and then shows me how to succeed. If He does not, then the lesson of course is that I do not need to succeed in that area. Yet, without failings, there is no success. Without trying there is no success.

Now, what do I mean by try?

John 5:19-21 is where one needs to start in their understanding.

Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.

Now notice what Jesus stated? Jesus did not do anything Himself but totally depended on the Father to do all things. Often we think that “trying” is what we do with our own hands. We fall into the wrong thinking that if “I” try hard enough “I” will succeed. Though one may do great things on their own, this is not how one succeeds in the Christian life. To live in total dependence on the Father as Jesus did is the only true formula to success. In living in total dependence on the Father through Jesus Christ is the only way to receive the Life of Christ. Success by man’s standards is often contrary to God’s standards.

Mark 8:35-37 asks the questions we should ask our self as to if we are truly seeking Godly success.

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

These questions should point out to us if we are seeking our own success or trusting God for His. What good is worldly success if we lose our soul in the end?

God’s grace covers our failings, yet to mire in the muck of our failings instead of running to God and admitting them, we lose the opportunity to grow as God desires us. There is no condemnation for those in Christ… so there is no condemnation for the Believer if they fail. If you have failed, get up… talk to God… listen to His guidance and know that He is more concerned and loves you than you even love your own self.

I once heard a very wise man say, “If you get to the end of your rope, grease that sucker and let go! When you do, that is when you are trusting God and He will be there.” That sounds scary as we would rather tie a knot in that rope and trust our own strength and hang on. Yet, what can we do in our own strength better than God?

Trying is not about working harder, but resting in what God has done and is still doing in you as a believer. The Christian life is a lot like floating on water. Have you ever tried to float? The more you try to float the more you sink. Yet, when you relax, trust the water to float you, you do not sink. Trying in the Christian life is just like that. If we go in trying to keep our self afloat we only sink, yet, if we relax and trust God to float us, He keeps us buoyant in the Christian life. When we struggle, often it is because we are relying on our own strength and not trusting God.

When we do fail, fail forward. Do not allow your failures to keep you from growing but allow God to teach you through your failures. Failing forward is about getting up and growing from them. When we fail, one needs to use that as an opportunity to see themselves as they are and see their real need for a Savior. It allows us to walk in the Faith God gave us and to learn how to trust God more.

My prayer is that if you are reading this and are paralyzed with fear of failure, do not give up but believe God will be there. Trust that His way for you is the best for you. Give up “trying” in your own strength and begin to trust God in His.

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Grace: Failing Forward

March 9, 2009

This weekend I have been in some interesting discussions. On one had I was discussing the Bodily Resurrection and hope that this discussion will go on, On the other side I was in a deep discussion with a couple of Calvinist. During the conversation it was stated that I seem to attack Calvinist. In some ways I see that as true, yet what I pointed out was that most the time Calvinist come to me and not only accuse me of all sorts of things, they also attack me on personal levels. Funny thing is I realized that I do not remember ever being attacked by anyone who is of the Arminian persuasion. Though I know I have had some interesting discussion with Arminians, I only recall about two that took it to the level that many Calvinists have. Now, please, I am not “anti-Calvinist”. I have read up on Calvinism and in my view there are some really good things Calvin taught, yet I also see some grave errors in Calvinism.

The other people who seem to often fall into the Calvinist camp but not always, are those who seem to literally “hate” anyone associated with the emerging church/conversation. These seem to attack mostly on a personal level. I was even told a couple of times I was not “saved” because I have a link to Brian McLaren’s websites… I find some humor in that as I do not recall Jesus stating that links to people can make one lose or jeopardize their salvation.

Now the point is not about my disagreement, rather in how I sometimes respond. I admit fully at times my reactions are not very good and sometimes not Christ like… In this and other areas, I see my own personal failings as a Believer in Jesus.

What I have come to realize over the years though is that we can focus on our failings and fall into self condemnation. In fact, in my own life I know that at times I am harder on myself than God is!

Failing is not a sin. Or if it is, it is not one that takes us so far out of God’s Grace that He is unable to restore us. If one looks at failing as sinful, I see that then one may miss real opportunities to grow in Christ.

When I have failed, God has not ever forsaken me. I have sometimes felt shame and not wanted to come to God and understand what happened, yet when I have pressed in, I found that God does not feel the same shame about me. In fact, God lovingly picks me up and sets me upright again and again.

Failing is part of the process of renewing out minds. If we are not failing, then we are not moving. In fact to not fail is to not try. If we are not trying then we are not able to grow!

Victories only come when we accept we fail. God is not surprised in our failings, though I do think at times He is more surprised when we do not fail.

Romans 3 verses 10 -12 tell us of every one’s condition:

“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

When we realize that there is not one person who is “right”, and that everyone is “wrong”, we can begin to truly seek dependence on God for all things righteous. So many people, and I include myself, fight for our own “rightness”. I see that every disagreement and fight with someone else is based on our need to be right in our own eyes. In stead of allowing God to be our “rightness” or “Righteousness” we seek our own and worse, impose our standard of “rightness” on the other.

Now we do need to use some judgment, but correctly. And as one fails, if we understand that only God is “Right” then we can trust that when we are wrong or wrong another, God will set us right again.

When failing, if we accept that we will, I see that is when God will use us. In fact as we fail, God steps in and is able to do what He intended in the first place if we trust Him to do so.

I found when I fail, God lifts me up again… He lovingly dusts me off and then shows me how to succeed. If He does not, then the lesson of course is that I do not need to succeed in that area. Yet, without failings, there is no success. Without trying there is no success.

Now, what do I mean by try?

John 5:19-21 is where one needs to start in their understanding.

Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.

Now notice what Jesus stated? Jesus did not do anything Himself but totally depended on the Father to do all things. Often we think that “trying” is what we do with our own hands. We fall into the wrong thinking that if “I” try hard enough “I” will succeed. Though one may do great things on their own, this is not how one succeeds in the Christian life. To live in total dependence on the Father as Jesus did is the only true formula to success. In living in total dependence on the Father through Jesus Christ is the only way to receive the Life of Christ. Success by man’s standards is often contrary to God’s standards.

Mark 8:35-37 asks the questions we should ask our self as to if we are truly seeking Godly success.

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

These questions should point out to us if we are seeking our own success or trusting God for His. What good is worldly success if we lose our soul in the end?

God’s grace covers our failings, yet to mire in the muck of our failings instead of running to God and admitting them, we lose the opportunity to grow as God desires us. There is no condemnation for those in Christ… so there is no condemnation for the Believer if they fail. If you have failed, get up… talk to God… listen to His guidance and know that He is more concerned and loves you than you even love your own self.

I once heard a very wise man say, “If you get to the end of your rope, grease that sucker and let go! When you do, that is when you are trusting God and He will be there.” That sounds scary as we would rather tie a knot in that rope and trust our own strength and hang on. Yet, what can we do in our own strength better than God?

Trying is not about working harder, but resting in what God has done and is still doing in you as a believer. The Christian life is a lot like floating on water. Have you ever tried to float? The more you try to float the more you sink. Yet, when you relax, trust the water to float you, you do not sink. Trying in the Christian life is just like that. If we go in trying to keep our self afloat we only sink, yet, if we relax and trust God to float us, He keeps us buoyant in the Christian life. When we struggle, often it is because we are relying on our own strength and not trusting God.

When we do fail, fail forward. Do not allow your failures to keep you from growing but allow God to teach you through your failures. Failing forward is about getting up and growing from them. When we fail, one needs to use that as an opportunity to see themselves as they are and see their real need for a Savior. It allows us to walk in the Faith God gave us and to learn how to trust God more.

My prayer is that if you are reading this and are paralyzed with fear of failure, do not give up but believe God will be there. Trust that His way for you is the best for you. Give up “trying” in your own strength and begin to trust God in His.

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The God hidden in the book of Esther

January 15, 2009

I was pondering over what to write about next and decided to go through the hidden mysteries in the Book of Esther. Interestingly, Ester means, “ hidden” which should give us a hint that there is more to this book than just a story.

Some compare the time of this book with what was happening in Nazi Germany as the book revolves around the story of the extermination of the Jews.

Here are some interesting things about the book of Esther:

1. There is no mention of the name of God in the book.
2. There is no reference to worship or faith.
3. There is no mention or prediction of the Messiah.
4. There is no mention of heaven or hell.
5. There is nothing “religious” about it.

Even Martin Luther believed it should not be part of the Canon.
The name Esther gives us a clue: it means “Something Hidden”! And if one digs deeper into the story one will actually find that though no mention is there of these things… their imprint is through out the book itself.
The story can be taken in view of flesh against Spirit. Much as the story of Esau and Jacob was the story of flesh against Spirit. In fact Haman was a descendant of Esau, as Esau was the father of the Amalekites whom Saul failed to destroy as God commanded him to. This of course was the motivation of Haman who was attempting in proving God wrong when God declared, “… “For hands were lifted up to the throne of the LORD. The LORD will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.” LORD will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.” (Exodus 17:16)
Though no outright mention of God or The Messiah, here are some interesting prophecies in Esther it seems that God is hidden within the text itself. Throughout the book there is acrostics that spell YHWH. One is found in Chapter 5:4, ““let the king, together with Haman, come today to a banquet I have prepared for him.” In that the words in Hebrew broken down all start with the letter YHWH. This also appeared in 5:13; “Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.” In the words “Yet all this availeth me nothing” again we find the acrostic YHWH.
Now personally I do not take things like the Bible Code that seriously yet this does seem to garner my interest a bit.
The story itself is truly amazing, as it is the story of Israel in total surrender to God for deliverance in the person of Esther. In a sense I personally see that as representing the Church now. In a sense a Christians we are to bring salvation to those who God redeemed at the Cross. We are all “Esthers” in that we being the Bride of the King need stand up and be who we are.
For you see that Esther represents the human spirit with it’s fears and desire to hide ourselves and Mordicai represents the Holy Spirit who admonishes Esther with these words:
4:12. When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13. he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”

We have come to a royal position as believers in Christ for such a time like this. We need respond as Esther did in faith:

15. Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16. “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
17. So Mordecai went away and carried out all of Esther’s instructions.

When we step out in faith, God will do the work that needs be done.

We can carry this thought out a bit more as Xerxes, would represent the “Christian” and Esther the “human spirit”. Haman is the sin that dwells in us. If we are not careful we like Xerxes can allow sin in unaware, for Xerxes did not even know he signed the death warrant for the Jews. Yet, it is God Himself through the Holy Spirit that can expose this sin we cannot see and as I stated Mordecai represents the Holy Spirit.

All would be lost without the Holy Spirit and though God is not mentioned, the Story is of our own salvation… even to the point that Esther is adopted by Mordicai… for we to as Gentile believers are adopted by God as Esther was adopted by Mordicai.
In the end Haman is hung on a gallows… did you catch that? Haman representing sin is hung on a gallows… as Jesus who became sin for us, was hung on a cross. Sin was out to destroy God’s people and in the end, sin itself is destroyed.

(Much of this information I have gathered over the years. I want to thank those teachers who showed me these things and more, though I wish I could know for sure who you were.)