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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A God Eclipse


When the sun was eclipsed by the moon recently, the sun didn't diminish or vanish. To think so would seem absurd. It was simply blocked by some other thing that got in the way. The sun was still just as hot, bright, and real as it was before the eclipse and after.

I feel we too sometimes let things eclipse God. Sometimes it is our situations, our problems, or other individuals attempts that try to bully, silence, or belittle our views. Perhaps it's social situations or culture. Sometimes it's even more simple things like music, television, video games, and other noise that gets in the way.

There is a lot of noise in this world indeed.

However even if we forget God, it doesn't change Who He is, was, and always will be. God is still God ... and we are not.

Often I find people who claim they believe in God, but yet they find the need to fit this god into their own box. Their own box of understanding. This box doesn't require any discomfort, challenge, faith, conviction, and certainly not the existence of sin or any Absolute Truth. Reason, discussion, and intellect is replaced by bullying opposing views. If they feel differently, think differently, or act differently, they just make sure the box fits these views.

Some feel that I am the one closed minded. This is fine and expected, but I'm not the one making up the parameters. I seek Him ... His will, and His understanding. In turn the journey has been eye opening and mind opening.

Reading through John 9 last night I found just that. I came across this passage where Jesus healed someone who was blind from birth. However what became very obvious, is that when Jesus touches you, you are not the same. He didn't just open his eyes, he opened his mind.
The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out. (John 9:30-34 ESV)
And they cast him out ...

Why? Because God didn't fit into their box.

Then again ...
Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.
(Luke 12:51 ESV)
There always was a dividing line. Don't be naive to think that others are not on the other side of that line facing against you. Stay strong ... and be at peace brothers and sisters ... love conquers! :) May we pray together that others are touched by Him as we watch eyes and minds become open to His amazing Truth.

His,
~Matthew

Sunday, September 14, 2014

When Joy Fades


"I'm trading it in, for the joy of the Lord!"
Without going into a whole discussion around something I'm sure you have all heard more than one time, I'm not proposing that Joy is equal to silliness, happiness, or being goofy. Joy is something much deeper, eternal, and lasting. Happiness may grow at times from joy, but joy is not circumstantial. Joy is a something so profound that words rarely can do it justice, and I would also guess that many of you have experience this but possibly struggle to remain in it. Joy remains in trials, fires, and loneliness. Joy remains when our situation is no longer happy, laughable, or silly. Joy also remains when our life is going well, our relationships are going well, and our job is going well. Why? Again, it's not circumstantial ... because it should rest in a beautiful Truth from Someone that never changes; Christ Jesus.

However, as a follower of Christ, we also should be well aware when we feel that joyful rest waning. As I still am surfacing from what I would describe as a desert time, I am sensitive to this struggle. I learned a great deal, and I can tell that this afternoon was a time when I begin to leave His restful arms and begin to try and take control myself; a task that I will never be able to accomplish.

I have a lot on my plate that He is carrying, and when I step away and try to take hold of the plate myself I am absolutely crushed! Yet just like a child learning to walk, when I start to stumble, I feel His Hands right at my side catching me again; and I hand Him my plate back. (why do I think I could ever accomplish what He can?)

So while I may not have to always be silly (like my goofy son in the picture above!), while there may be times to handle serious matters, while happiness may come and go, I should always be able to rest in the Joy He provides.
Seriousness is not a fruit of the Spirit, but joy is. - Gareth Gilkeson
These words are challenging to me. There are plenty of times I'm quiet, serious, and reflective simply because I'm just quiet! However, there are also times I think I am too serious (at work, home, and about) when I'm missing the joy of this life He provides.

I struggle with this; but I will also let Him work with me on this too.

When Joy Fades? Recenter in Christ, and you will find it again.

~Matthew

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Kings: A Journey Through Samuel


1 Samuel 8
"[Give us a king so that] we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles." 1 Samuel 8:20 (ESV, Emphasis Added)
I often come back to this chapter. A people rejecting God and turning to the State for help and salvation is both a theme now as it was then. The cry, the warning, and the allowance to stumble causes me to see an immaturity in society that has never seemed to wane. However, going back to this passage, as much as they wanted a king, they simply didn't trust God anymore.

... or perhaps they let their problems get bigger than God.

  • Identity: What do we look like to all the other nations?
  • Authority: Who is going to lead and judge us Spiritually when Samuel is gone?
  • Leadership: Who will be our leader? We need someone to follow.
  • Protection: Are we going to get attacked again? Who will lead our army?
I don't really think things have changed all that much.
  • Identity: Am I going to look odd or offend someone else by being a Christian?
  • Authority: What is going to happen if he/she gets elected and our candidate does not?
  • Leadership: I didn't really like that sermon. I didn't like the band today. I don't think my pastor is as dynamic as that one I listen to on my podcast. What church should I go to now?
  • Protection: When will the next terrorist attack happen? Am I safe in this country?
These questions of identity, authority, leadership, and protection are all provided by God should we trust in Him. We need to learn to embrace our identity, and trust in His authority, leadership, and protection. Storms will come, and the waves will pound on the doors and perhaps break a few windows, but He is bigger than any storm, and better yet, He alone can calm it.

Are some things frightening? Yes. Are some things challenging to make a stand? Yes.

However this world will not overcome us, because we are His, and He overcame this world.

Stand Strong,
~Matt

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