Archive for the ‘freedom’ Category

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Have a happy and safe 4th of July

July 4, 2011
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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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Control and true freedom

December 20, 2009
Control and freedom are interesting topics in themselves. If one is in control is he free or reacting to what is happening around them to maintain that control? If one is a servant or slave, there is a sense of freedom from the responsibility of higher things others are controlling so one is free to pursue other thoughts, wants or desires. Yet, that person is still not “free” as they are subservient to the lord, master, or boss.

I do not believe we are at the mercy of others control, yet see this tension that holds these things in place. In a way, I see that we may be a slave to one thing, then free to others, yet also then become a slave to that other thing. Being free to me is more than the fulfillment of my want or desires. I see it as sort of surrender. I may be a surrender to something far superior than one’s self that works hand in hand with trusting this superior “Being” which I believe has a person’s best interest in mind.

To surrender one self to pursue this best seems a means of freedom to me that leads to higher freedom. It brings the ability to love in spite of hate, to give in spite of need, or to forgive when wronged. It is bringing one’s self as not at the mercy or whim of one who wants to harm or does not have a person’s best interest in mind.

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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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Galatians 5

December 2, 2008

Galatians 5

1It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
2Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. 6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
7You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? 8That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9″A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be. 11Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
Life by the Spirit
16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Freedom…This is the truth that comes when one is free in Christ Jesus. One is no longer a slave to sin but free to live righteously in Christ. How sad that we forsake what the Cross and Resurrection gained for us. So many turn to the law to receive a righteousness it cannot give. They willingly take upon themselves the yoke of slavery and claim they are free!

In Matthew 11:29 Jesus tells us to take His yoke upon us. In the time of Jesus many Rabbis would call out to gain followers by saying, “Take my yoke upon you” This was a way of saying, “Follow my teachings.” They taught strict rules and called for their disciples to live lives of holiness. This seems to those who do not know Jesus, to be a good thing, yet it is slavery to the Law that leads only to death. Galatians 3:24 already taught us that the Law was a schoolmaster to lead us to the Life in Christ Jesus. It was to bring us to maturity which comes by faith. Yet, it seems that some find security in seeking their own righteousness instead of trusting in Christ Jesus.

The yoke that God gave to Abraham was circumcision. This was to show that God’s people we set apart to Himself. Yet, here Paul states that to set one’s self under part of the Law makes them obligated to obey the whole Law. Many teach grace and then negate it by teaching one must be obedient. This is true if one understands obedience is that of Christ and not of our own. For it is of the obedience of Christ that we are made righteous. (Romans 5:19) How if one is made righteous by the obedience of Christ Jesus can one suppose they can make themselves more righteous? It is as if some believe they can add to Christ Jesus’ righteousness… and in doing so negate the only righteousness they have. For one cannot trust in Jesus and trust their own righteousness to be saved. Paul speaks strongly and rather boldly of those that follow the way of the circumcision and tells them to cut it all off for all its worth which is nothing.

So many start out trusting Jesus, and fall into corrupt teaching. They start with the purity of Christ alone and then are taught to add their own works. Worse they are taught they must produce fruit… We are not fruit producers but fruit bearers. The branch cannot produce fruit without the vine.

The higher Law of Love is what we are called to. Paul states, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Sadly many fail to do this but appoint themselves as judges of righteousness forgetting that no one is right with God. Only Jesus is truly righteous. We must live by the Holy Spirit in total dependency. In that way we only find freedom; freedom from sin and its wages which is death. It is easy to spot those who are not free and follow the sinful nature. They practice the very sins they claim to be against! “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” Paul paints a sad picture. There are some of these judges that have even confessed they have a hard time not hating people who live free in Christ. They practice rage and cause dissension… and glory in their factions. Yet… even with all this how glorious is the contrast of those who live by the Spirit and practice Grace.

Those that live by the Spirit bear the fruit of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control” and as Paul states; there is no Law against these things.

Yet, also as we live by the Spirit we need be careful to not become proud and fall into the trap of the flesh. We must not become conceited that we are better than others. Humility is the conduit of Grace. Without humility, we cannot bear the very fruit we seek to bear.

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Galatians 5

December 2, 2008

Galatians 5

1It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
2Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. 6For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
7You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? 8That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9″A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be. 11Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
13You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
Life by the Spirit
16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Freedom…This is the truth that comes when one is free in Christ Jesus. One is no longer a slave to sin but free to live righteously in Christ. How sad that we forsake what the Cross and Resurrection gained for us. So many turn to the law to receive a righteousness it cannot give. They willingly take upon themselves the yoke of slavery and claim they are free!

In Matthew 11:29 Jesus tells us to take His yoke upon us. In the time of Jesus many Rabbis would call out to gain followers by saying, “Take my yoke upon you” This was a way of saying, “Follow my teachings.” They taught strict rules and called for their disciples to live lives of holiness. This seems to those who do not know Jesus, to be a good thing, yet it is slavery to the Law that leads only to death. Galatians 3:24 already taught us that the Law was a schoolmaster to lead us to the Life in Christ Jesus. It was to bring us to maturity which comes by faith. Yet, it seems that some find security in seeking their own righteousness instead of trusting in Christ Jesus.

The yoke that God gave to Abraham was circumcision. This was to show that God’s people we set apart to Himself. Yet, here Paul states that to set one’s self under part of the Law makes them obligated to obey the whole Law. Many teach grace and then negate it by teaching one must be obedient. This is true if one understands obedience is that of Christ and not of our own. For it is of the obedience of Christ that we are made righteous. (Romans 5:19) How if one is made righteous by the obedience of Christ Jesus can one suppose they can make themselves more righteous? It is as if some believe they can add to Christ Jesus’ righteousness… and in doing so negate the only righteousness they have. For one cannot trust in Jesus and trust their own righteousness to be saved. Paul speaks strongly and rather boldly of those that follow the way of the circumcision and tells them to cut it all off for all its worth which is nothing.

So many start out trusting Jesus, and fall into corrupt teaching. They start with the purity of Christ alone and then are taught to add their own works. Worse they are taught they must produce fruit… We are not fruit producers but fruit bearers. The branch cannot produce fruit without the vine.

The higher Law of Love is what we are called to. Paul states, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Sadly many fail to do this but appoint themselves as judges of righteousness forgetting that no one is right with God. Only Jesus is truly righteous. We must live by the Holy Spirit in total dependency. In that way we only find freedom; freedom from sin and its wages which is death. It is easy to spot those who are not free and follow the sinful nature. They practice the very sins they claim to be against! “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” Paul paints a sad picture. There are some of these judges that have even confessed they have a hard time not hating people who live free in Christ. They practice rage and cause dissension… and glory in their factions. Yet… even with all this how glorious is the contrast of those who live by the Spirit and practice Grace.

Those that live by the Spirit bear the fruit of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control” and as Paul states; there is no Law against these things.

Yet, also as we live by the Spirit we need be careful to not become proud and fall into the trap of the flesh. We must not become conceited that we are better than others. Humility is the conduit of Grace. Without humility, we cannot bear the very fruit we seek to bear.