Realizations

Philosophy in the Middle of the Desert

A Man After God’s Own Heart March 6, 2014

I think of a child running through the meadows, wide-eyed with wonder, a radiant smile, hands outstretched to Heaven, spinning around, throwing up flowers to the sky, to God.  Taking in the mountains and fields, loving life, rejoicing in it.  Loving God who he can feel there with him, who he knows intimately, talks to and praises openly, with all his heart, thanks God for the beauty of nature, which he knows are God’s gifts to His children, fruit of His love.

And God responds to this innocent boy, perfect in heart, by coming alive around him.  As the boy runs, the flowers around him open up, the clouds part to reveal a beautiful sunset, a breeze blows his hair, light shines down on him, birds fly by, deer appear.  It’s the manifestation of God smiling and hugging the boy, telling him how much He loves him.  And likewise, as if trying to hug back just as hard, the boy shouts at the top of his lungs, “LORD!  I love you with all my heart!!!”

And being overwhelmed with this euphoric experience he falls backward into a soft bed of flowers, eyes closed, no longer focusing on the manifestation of God, but rather God Himself, there beyond the senses. He doesn’t know what else to do except whisper over and over, “I love You.  Thank You.  I praise You.”  Then his joy reaches the next level where his smile turns into a frown and tears of supernatural joy freely flow from his face.  The boy doesn’t care who sees or about anything else going on, because all he cares about is loving and worshiping God as much as he can.

[written with my left hand, while my right was sprained, on 1/16/14]

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My Valentine February 15, 2014

[written on 1/25/14 with my left hand, during 24 hours of silence; posted in honor of Valentine’s Day!]

If you’ve gone through a whole day without loving God, trusting God, or truly focusing in on Him/tuning into His voice… then you failed your top priority of the day.  The day was a failure.  You got an F.  You didn’t pass the test of loyalty.  After all, isn’t this the greatest commandment in the Old and New Testament, and indeed the meaning of life?  “Love the LORD your God with all your heart…”

If you don’t feel love for God in your heart something is wrong.  Stop everything you’re doing; take off from work if you have to.  Until you’re right with God, until you get to the place where you can honestly ask God to give you opportunities to proclaim His name today, to proclaim your Love.  And then go out actually looking for those opportunities.

God wants us to love Him like a lover — like in Song of Songs — consumed with Him as if we have a crush.  God wants me to run out through the fields to find a tree that I can carve a heart with both our initials in it.

We always put God on the shelf, getting Him out when it doesn’t conflict with anything else.  But why not put everything else on the shelf until it doesn’t conflict with God?  Why not love God and trust Him even if it means we die?  [21514- As my friend, Spencer Argow, pointed out to me last week, the last time I saw him before he died:  “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” ~Job 13:15]

[I should note that writing this article is my very act of living out my advice, as this came to me during a time when I have so much stuff people want me to do, and I chose to put it on the shelf until I’m right with God again.  It’s kind of corny, I know, but that’s the point!]

 

Lonely God February 8, 2014

Filed under: Christianity/Theology/Spirituality — milesprowers @ 6:25 pm
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[1/27/14-  while listening to John Reuben’s I Pictured It]

Lonely god. A phrase I thought of a week ago. How truly sad it is, this creator god who creates children to love him, but instead even the best of us confine him to increments of our time disproportionate to our other affections. What a shame that I truly care more for his children than I do him, the very one by whom I exist. I’m scared to lift my hands in praise to him because I care more about what my brothers and sisters think, than what my father thinks.  He gets excited when an opportunity arises for us to talk about him, to mention him like we would a lover. But when we think he’s not looking we change subjects or imply that we don’t even know him. And his smile becomes a frown as he turns his head and leaves before we see him and realize he overheard us. And I feel this god crying out in the wilderness, saying, Why won’t anyone come live with me?  Why only brief visits?  Is it the way I look?  Or is it because we don’t have anything in common?  Nothing to talk about?  But oh, my child!  Don’t you have more in common with me than anyone else?  Shouldn’t you have more to talk about with me than anyone else?  You are made from my own genes.

What would happen if we went to live with this god?  And got his advice and encouragement all day?  Ran to him when we were injured or rejected, knowing he would only run to us, embrace us in love and cry with us. And there, resting in between his shoulders, we could feel his heartbeat.   [Deuteronomy 33:12]

People are actually dying around us and yet we are still too afraid to just trust God, to just praise Him as much as we know how, and let him come to us and supernaturally change things, for the best of our own lives and ultimately everyone we are connected to.   People are on the verge of dying and will one day not be able anymore to feel the effects of the reckless faith we could have had. And God cries out to us:  Why won’t you just trust me?!  What have I ever done to you that you would doubt me like this?

O Moses!  What did you find out there in the wilderness?
O David!  What did you find out there in the wilderness?
O Jesus!  What did you find out there in the wilderness?

 

Courage January 25, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — milesprowers @ 5:37 pm
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Just because you’re not afraid right now doesn’t mean you truly aren’t afraid. Change your circumstances and see if you’re still unafraid.  It’s then that you will realize you’re living in fear.  Not happening to feel fear at this moment is not the same as having courage.  Courage is a way of life, just like fear is a way of life — regardless of the circumstances.  While fear is passive and pessimistic, courage is active and full of faith.  You only live once, so which life do you want to live?  A mediocre one or a legendary one?  For all in life is a choice and every moment in life is a step: a step inward or a step outward.

We hide behind excuses and shelter our timid selves with the lie of the world which says we’re supposed to be afraid.  And we willingly blind ourselves so we can ignore the fact that the path to courage begins with just one small step.  It’s so much easier to be lazy, to be passive, to stay in our comfort zones and be miserable.  The miserable life is an easy one to live, but a happy one is very difficult.  Because friends and confidence and blessings come from rejection, trials, and sacrifice.

So we’d rather just pretend the world knows what it’s talking about when it says you were born this way, that your identity is either fearful or courageous, so there’s no use in fighting it.  But is that realistic?  Isn’t it more realistic that our brains and bodies adapt to our surroundings and the habits we determine for them?  Maybe some people have natural tendencies towards fear or courage, but who of us hasn’t had a moment of fear and courage?  It proves that if we’ve had courage before we can have courage again.  Some of us just have to fight for it harder than others, and some of us aren’t willing to fight at all.  But the fight is only one step at a time, and the first step is the hardest.  And then we can take another step outward, toward a lifestyle, to a habit of courage.  Why not choose a life of courage?  You will choose your next step.  Posting this was my small step towards courage.  What is yours?

[written with my left hand]

 

The Paralysis of Analysis November 29, 2012

Filed under: Christianity/Theology/Spirituality — milesprowers @ 12:26 am
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[Written on 112812- while on a spiritual high after seeing Shane Claiborne speak, and then having an extended time of devotion/meditation]

“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” ~Heb 12:2

The Christian life is a race.  In a race you can’t think about how weak you feel, how tired you are, but you ignore those thoughts and just keep running.  Otherwise you start to dwell on them and then think how to soothe the pain: “just slow down a little, you can still win, or maybe you can go all out to win a later race.”  No, this is the only race we have to run.

Likewise, don’t even entertain negative/depressing/pessimistic thoughts, because once you allow them in, you inevitably start to dwell on them and then on how to soothe them, aside from God.  When in reality God is what you need to soothe them.  And He will soothe them if you give them to him.

Negative thoughts are never from God.  Why would he ever have reason to put a negative thought in your mind?  What good does it do?  Does it increase your faith?  Make you more in love with Him or others?  Make you more likely to share the gospel or serve?
No.  Never.  Negative thoughts are always from the enemy.

Some argue that they aren’t pessimistic, they’re just being realistic. “I’m a realist.”  But since when does God want us to be “realistic”?  Is the Holy Spirit’s intervention in our lives realistic?  Is the supernatural realistic?  No.  God has told us to hope beyond hope (Rom. 4:18).  Have hope even when it doesn’t make sense, doesn’t seem realistic.  After all, we really do have something to hope in that should trump all our current circumstances (salvation from sin/judgement, God’s presence and bliss in Heaven, the love and peace of God, the promise that all things work for our good).

“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.”  ~1 Cor. 13:13

This is what you’re supposed to believe is realistic:  that you have to do it yourself, you’re helpless, God won’t supernaturally intervene for you, he won’t give you a supernatural filling of peace, you’re left on your own to fight for your whole life trying to survive (finding happiness, not in God but in food and entertainment and your job and comfort).  But is that really more realistic?  Of course not.  But the enemy plants the thought in your mind and once you entertain it, your emotions embrace it.

And yet this kind of thinking directly contradicts Jesus’ whole attitude on Earth, who said: “Do not be afraid anymore, only believe.” ~Mark 5:36, Luke 8:50

Just stop the introspection and live!  Just keep running!
Believe that God is good and really does love you!  Believe that He will actually keep the promises He made to you in the Bible.  Believe that if you resist the devil he WILL flee from you.  Just try it and see that it actually does work.  It gets easier each time, and the first time’s always the hardest.

When that little man in your head starts nagging again just tell him that you aren’t listening today, and keep running the race.  If he starts up again later, then tell him again and ignore him again.  Who is he anyways that you should believe him instead of God?  Instead of listening to him, listen to God.  Embrace the love, peace, truth and goodness of the things of God which he wants you to embrace.

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ,set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” ~ Col. 3:1-2

Look up, not down.

Be others-focused, not self-focused.
(But don’t become judgmental towards others as you focus on them, be judgmental of your own sin first.)
Be others-serving, not self-serving.

You can’t change others, so don’t try to change others.  Only God can change them, so ask God to change them.  And leave the ball in His court.  Or does He not truly care for them more than even you do?

Ask that God would create a time of silence in their lives when they can hear Him clearly, hear what He wants to say to them, and ask that He Himself changes them, according to His will, in His timing.  That’s if they even do need to be changed the way you think they do.

Don’t criticize others; encourage them.

If you’re convicted about an area of their life, judge yourself in that area first.  And then let God change them.  If they’re to be changed by you at all, let it be by your love and their own love for God, and His spirit drawing them, convicting them so that they change by their own choice, by the Spirit’s enabling.

And remember that while the Christian life is a race, it’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon.

Think only good things all the time.

🙂

 

Religion: √ Other February 18, 2012

[As written on 012912]

“What religion are you?”

This turns out to be a loaded question.
How would the first Christians have responded?  That was before the term “Christian” existed.
How would Jesus (does Jesus) want you to respond?
“Christianity.”
Oh, so Christianity’s a religion?
In most cases, Christianity is a person’s religion…that is, for a person who isn’t really a Christian.  Christianity is the religion of someone who doesn’t understand what Christianity really is.  Of someone who makes Christianity into a religion.

Or you could say, more appropriately,
“I have no religion.” “I don’t follow a religion.”  “I don’t believe in religion.”
As someone at work asked me,
“Are you religious?”
To which I confidently regurgitated the theologically-sophisticated answer I had been taught to believe:
“No.”
Wow.  I thought he was a Christian.  I didn’t realize he’s an agnostic. 
As I realized what he was probably thinking, all I could do is just stand there, stumped, unable to jump back on my train of thought and explain myself.  I just passed up the perfect Gospel opportunity.

In an ideal situation, their question would be:
“What is your religion?”
In which case, the simple, yet theologically profound, answer is:
“Jesus.”

Most people aren’t theologically aware enough to even realize what Christianity actually is, so most people would think,
Okay, Jesus = Christianity, so Christianity is his religion.
…and be on to the next thing.

But hopefully there would be someone who would at that point question you further.
“You mean Christianity is your religion.  A Muslim’s religion is Islam, not Muhammad.”
And then in that glorious, life-changing opportunity you fulfill the meaning of life, you obey the Great Commission, you plant the seed, you preach the Gospel to them in one sentence:

“Jesus didn’t start a religion; He personally took the place of religion.”
And if they question you further, you answer further.

It’s unclear exactly what the minimum is that a person must believe in order to be saved.  The best example of salvation in the Bible is the thief on the cross in Luke 23, who, to my knowledge, is the only instance in the Bible of someone who is clearly, definitely saved.  Of course the apostles were and all that, but I mean, the thief is the only person God Himself ever told “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”  You are saved.

Specific details aside, the Gospel as simplified as possible is this:
Christianity = Salvation by God’s grace through Jesus.

[42112- Perhaps the next time we fill out one of those forms that requires us to specify our religion we should check the box “Other”, and if it provides a blank to clarify we should write in “Jesus”.  That would throw off the nation’s statistics, perhaps for the better, perhaps for the worse (as it would seem to indicate Christianity dying off, when in reality it’s being resurrected in a new form, stronger and more alive than before).]

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