Friday, May 8, 2009

Free Will?

God is great! Infinitely greater than you and I. There is nothing He is incapable of. Omnipotent, omnipresent, omni-everything. He is not subject to our ideas of time and logic. He is Holy, as in, set apart, a cut above. He is so far beyond what this pile of meat between my ears will ever be able to comprehend that I have absolutely, positively, no business even trying to explain exactly how He works.

If all these things are true, and God is great beyond human understanding, how incredibly diluted and conceited would I have to be to think my free will is impervious to His influence. There are multiple examples of an override of free will in the old testament. The book of Exodus states, several times, that God "hardened Pharaohs heart to Moses' pleas" so that He may perform miracles (Ex 10:1) Could God not be doing the same thing in our lives and the life of the modern church? Is it so scary to believe that the Author of the universe, who knows better than we ever will, may interfere with the "pure" and "sacred" (insert sarcasm here) lives that we live?

The truth is, I don't know. None of us do for sure. We step out of line when we say that we do. Humility comes when we accept this truth. All I do know is I did not get to this level of faith on my own. There are many times where I felt that a decision was made for me. I did not "find" Jesus, He found me. There is no one on earth that I know better than myself and i'm here to tell you that myself isn't cut out to be a follower of God. Myself is self serving and interested in my well being alone. Myself is an addict. Myself is a liar, a thief, a manipulator, and a sexual deviant. I am not capable of the things He has called me to do. I am not able to be a good husband and father. I would have left years ago. I AM the wretch the song was talking about. I am lost without His constant influence. Without it, they would have found me hanging in that closet.

All i'm really trying to say is, God is bigger than us all. Bigger than our minds and bigger than our ambitions. I know that He is constantly molding me, forming me, to do His will. I also know, in my heart, that He'll do the same for you if you ask.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Pain of Healing

Over the past few weeks, a good friend and I have been poking fun at the lyrics of Michael W. Smith’s “Healing Rain.” Specifically the part in the bridge where “Smitty” sings the phrase “I’m not afraid of healing rain!” “Who would be afraid of healing rain?” We’d joke. What I didn’t consider, though, is that one must be hurting in order to need healing. I then realized that we have all been hurt. We’ve all caused ourselves and others pain. We’ve all done wrong by God and are in need of His grace. We all have injured spirits and are in need of healing. If the healing of one’s spirit is anything like the healing of one’s body, the process can be very painful and that is very good reason to be afraid.

There’s no better example of this than the pain a 3rd degree burn victim has to go through in order to be healed. Imagine that your body has been severely burned. You are experiencing a pain that is completely indescribable to others. People around you can see that you are hurting but have no way of fully understanding your agony. Your skin and flesh are charred and dead. Even the scent of your wounds is enough to turn stomachs. Undoubtedly, you’d eventually find yourself at the E.R. The doctor gives you the disappointing news that you cannot be healed right away. He tells you that you must wait until your body and mind are ready to withstand the grueling treatment. So for now, they just pump you full of pain killers.

So, you wait,

And wait,

And wait.

As you lay there, your body covered in a blackened veil of what was once you, you consider your predicament. Trapped in your own mind, you wish that you never had to know this pain. Your fear of the coming treatment brings you to tears daily. You are frightened and alone. After days of this, you become broken. You accept that you cannot undo what it was that put you in this state of torment. You also accept that you can’t spend the rest of your life in the false comfort of a drug-induced haze. You acknowledge that, on your own, there is nothing you can do to get through this. You put aside your fears of the coming treatment and give your trust to the one who will be healing you.

The day finally arrives. The doctor removes you from your bed and carries to a tub. He gently places you in the water. He places a warm, wet sponge against your skin… and wipes away the old, dead flesh. The pain is excruciating. You cry out for the doctor and he assures you that it’s ok. He comforts you and reminds you that this pain is for the best. For hours, the agony persists and all the while you hear “It’s alright, I am with you.”

Days later, the primary shock of the treatment wears off. There is still pain, but now you can more clearly see that it is working. You slowly become built up from a broken pile of body to a fully functional human being. Every day brings its struggles, but now you know where to turn when the pain becomes too great.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The opinion of man.

There are billions of people on this planet, each with their own opinions. Every opinion of every man and woman is agreed with by some and disagreed with by others. This means that every opinion, no matter how ludicrous it may seem to you, is valid to someone. If this is the case, the human opinion is completely fallible. An opinion, no matter the source, is never perfect. That being said, why do we put so much faith into our own opinions? If our opinions are just as fundamentally flawed as the next person's, why are we so bent on imposing and defending ours with every bit of our strength?

The short answer is: Pride. We fight for our opinions because they are born of our own minds. They're like our babies, our very own creation, and when someone threatens them we become like a cornered animal, doing every thing in our power to fight off the attacker. It is natural for us to defend that which we've created. It stems from a love of self. A love of self is, once again, a natural by-product of human life. It is prominent in us all. Jesus refers to the love we have for ourselves when instructing us how to love others because it is something we can all relate to. The problem comes when our love of self collides with someone else's.

God created us in His image. No doubt, this is where we get this love. It is useful, on this earth, to assure our own survival and the survival of our genes. It is when this love is held higher than love for others that we have conflict. The abuse of this love has created rifts in friendships, marriages, governments, and even churches.

There are two reasons I am posting this first in my very first blog. The first reason, is to be a challenge to myself and anyone who reads this. A challenge for us to take a honest look at ourselves and our intentions in this life. To check ourselves everyday and truthfully examine who it is that we are serving. The second reason, is as a disclaimer. I do not claim to have all the answers. I do not claim to always be right. I am simply a human with my own thoughts and opinions that are just as prone to being wrong as yours. I am a servant of the Most High God and do this in hopes that sharing my thoughts and experiences could help someone come to better know our maker. Consider this as you read on. God Bless and enjoy.