Thursday, November 12, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Love your neighbor as yourself: although its rhetorical power has been dimmed by repetition, that is a radical notion, perhaps the most radical notion possible. Especially since Jesus, in all his teachings, made it very clear who the neighbor you were supposed to love was: the poor person, the sick person, the naked person, the hungry person. The last shall be made first; turn the other cheek; a rich person aiming for heaven is like a camel trying to walk through the eye of a needle. On and on and on—a call for nothing less than a radical, voluntary, and effective reordering of power relationships, based on the principle of love.
**THE ABOVE WAS TAKEN FROM ONE OF MY FAVORITE ARTICLES, WRITTEN BY BILL McKIBBEN IN A 2005 ISSUE OF HARPER'S MAGAZINE.**
The link to the full article is: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2005/08/0080695 . Don't read it if you want to stay comfortable and the same.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
This is one of my favorite quotes and one I ponder on from time to time. I occasionally pull out old journals of mine and go through them to capture and meditate old quotes that I have written down over the years. This morning I ran across this quote, one attributed to George Bernard Shaw. The truth here is sobering. True joy is not derived from seeking after that which makes us happy. No true joy is derived from being used up. Used up for a mighty purpose, a purpose bigger than ourselves.
When I meditate on this, I quickly come to the point of realization that being selfish has no place in being joyful. In fact selfishness and joy may operate directly opposed to each other. Can a selfish person truly experience joy. Can they, in all their longings for themselves, ever experience the sovereign truth of a joyful existence. A genuine joyfulness.
But I'm not selfish. Or am I? I'm not counted among that number. Or am I? How often do I not take that phone call because I'm just tired and don't want to talk? How often do I sleep in, when I know the Father is wooing me to awake? How often do I turn that TV on when the book I'm being led to read is sitting on the end table right next to me? How often am I used up for a purpose that I recognize as a mighty one?
Maybe I am selfish after all. And maybe, just maybe, somehow my joy is tied into all of this.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
This forum will never take the place of my journal, I don't want it to. But I do acknowledge that there is value in a public forum and public discussion. So we will see where this leads. I am making no promises to others and no promises to myself. We will see if discipline will prevail or if this will fade again.
As for today, I have begun again. As for tomorrow, that is yet to be seen.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
I used to see my life and my relationship with Him as a destination-based relationship. I was looking for something to fulfill, some place to arrive. Most of us, if we are driven-type people, live our days with destinations in mind. Destinations drive us. We have lists of things that we need to get accomplished, we have goals that we set for ours at work or in life. We gauge our effectivenss, and sometimes even our happiness, by the reality of if we reach these destinations or not. But I have come to learn that this is so opposite to how the Father wants us to live, especially when it comes to relationship with Him and fulfillment of His purposes. He is much more interested in a journey-based relationship than a destination-based relationship. It's about the day in and day out. It's about the little things, the daily love-life that we have with Him. He is more concerned about our journey than He is about our accompishments and destinations that we arrive at.
For this I love Him. The journey. Take me Father, take me and teach me to live with"open eyes" to understand the beauty of this journey. Help me not to miss the sweetness of the daily things, the sweetness of you. For this I love you.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I have also been reflecting on all the different ways that I was contacted yesterday. I think I have counted seven different ways in which peopled contacted me yesterday. The ways were in person, by phone, by mail, by email, by text, by IMing me on my phone, and by facebook (which I have yet to ever log-on to since my loving wife created one for me). It's amazing that we have so many different forms of communication now. I recently finished the book "John Adams" written by David McCollough. I dove into this book for two different reasons. Number one the Lord told me to read it and number two I have always been intrigued about the men who have served this country at the highest level (in fact I have a desire to read biographies on all 43 men who have served us). In this book many things stood out to me, but one thing that absolutely intrigued me was the way in which communication happened in the late 1700's. The description of communication and the complications with the time it took to communicate is, in my opinion, one of the intriguing things that jump out of this book that beautifully describes that time frame.
During the late 1700's communication was really only done via two mediums. One was of course face to face communication and the other was via letter. There are some amazaing stories of peace negotiations over in France or England that literally took months to get that news back to the States. In fact there were major war-time decisions made in Philadelphia or Boston concerning a possible war with France or England that were made months after peace treaties were made between foreign officals and officals from the States. It would take months to get word, via letter, across the ocean. The communication problem was not just religated to large distances either. In fact there is another story that when John Adams died (at his home around Boston) that his son, John Quincy Adams then serving as the 6th president of the U.S, received word so late in Washington D.C. that he wasn't even able to get to the Boston area until a week or so after his Father's funeral.
Communication in today's society and time is an absolutely amazing thing. We now know of specific little stories of war and of world events literally minutes after they happen. I can now be contacted seven different ways by people simply wanting to wish me happy birthday. So what does all this mean. It would appear to be a huge benifit of the times we live in. But do you wonder if all the communication advances are simply so that we can get news faster or so that we can have different avenues to get messages to people, like happy birthday. Where is the Lord in all of this communication advance. Is there more of an obligation to communicate now or have we now relied on others to communicate to us about Him, thus surrendering our right and duty of personal communication with Him.
Hmm, it has me thinking.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
There's a portion of scripture in Mark 7 that has lit me up today. One of those punches in the gut that you get from the Father just when you think you are beginning to understand things and live accordingly. I love these punches, because it's a form of discipline from Him. His punches and discipline just prove to me that He has love for me. (one of my favorite scriptures says "the Father disciplines those that He loves"). My punch today dealt with the commands of the Father vs. the traditions of men. It was an interesting and thought-provoking little jab that the Lord hit me with. If you are interested in getting a gut-shot as well check it out in Mark 7:1-9.
I should have seen this punch coming. He has been baiting me into a corner over the last couple of days so that he could deliver this shot. Kind of like a holy rope-a-dope move, he's good at these. He's been positioning me just right to land this punch that is showing me my own traditions sometimes get in the way of fulfilling His commandments. One of the ways He positioned me was by having me watch an older movie. Now if you know me you know how big of a deal that is for me. I very seldom ever watch movies. But the Lord spoke to me and told me to watch Schindler's List the other night. I have to confess I'd never seen it before.
What really primed my pump about this true story and about this era in Germany and Poland in general is the fact that there were Christians alive and actively assembling together during that time there (notice I stopped short of saying actively worshiping). They were actively having church in the middle of one of the largest mass killings of the innocent. They were adhering to their traditions, their normal routine of their version of Christianity. But adhering to traditions only doesn't do us a thing, when in the midst of all the adhering we are neglecting His commandments (refer again Mark 7).
The one thing that has stuck with me the most, and then I will stop this rant, is a story I once heard about one particular church in Germany/Poland at that time. It was a church that just happened to be positioned right in front of some railroad tracks. During this time in history, Hitler would use the railways and the train systems to transport hundreds of thousands of Jews to Auschwitz, which was the ultimate place of their slaughter. He would literally have the Nazi soldiers cram as many Jews in boxcars as possible and then transport them via the rail to the place of their death. A horrific scene, a dark time in the history of God's chosen children. In the middle of all this activity and right in front of one of the major train tracks stood this church. It is said that when the trains went passed you could hear not only the train, but the cries of all the people that were inside the boxcars. Adhering to their traditions, the story goes that the German Christians continued to hold church services and that in fact whenever they were in service and they began to hear the train come by they would simply "sing louder" so as to drowned out the cries of the innocent.
My heart breaks Lord for a people so caught in tradition that they would neglect your commands. It forces an inward look into myself. Am I simply "singing louder" in my daily life when I hear or see the train of injustice go by in front of me. What are our churches doing, do we stay in the four walls and crank up the music. Do we adhere to our traditions and all the while neglect your commands. Father forgive us, oh Father forgive me.