Friday, August 28, 2009

Handcuffed by this world

Galatians 4:9 (ESV)

But now that you have come to know God, or rather o to be known by God, p how can you turn back again to q the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

Do we desire eternal life? Do we want to know that we have an ultimate purpose here on this beautiful Earth? I've seen the bumper stickers, signs, etc. "Life is short, Eternity isn't". So whey then do we continue to go back to the "weak and worthless elementary principles of the world" and possibly sell our soul to the devil (literally).

I don't want this world more then I want Him! I don't want an HD TV if it means that I can watch Hell's Kitchen in great clarity but have even more clarity of the real thing later. I know it's not about the products, but it is about the love for them. How weak and worthless that new camera is if my desire for it outshines my desire for Him. How weak and worthless is playing my XBox 360 if my schedule is based around my online league, rather then Him. How weak and worthless is my leadership as a father, a husband, and a friend, if I reflect this world, rather then His glory.



We have a wonderful world, I live in a wonderful country, and we have wonderful advancements in medicine, and we have technology that makes many things in this world just plain fun at times, and I have been blessed with far more gifts then I deserve, but I do not want to let myself lift gifts above Giver.

Transformation! Transformation!! Transformation!!!

Lord, increase my faith! I don't ever want to go back! Keep me in this place with You ... daily, may we continue to find His path for us.

Bless you all

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Can You Hide?

A piece of scripture reminded me this picture I took recently on Lookout Mountain in Tennessee. The big beautiful house on the top of the hill/mountain overlooking the city. You couldn't miss it if you were on the ground, or viewing it as we were from another bluff. It just stood out!

Perhaps you've read Matthew 5:14 where it reads (in ESV) "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden"


What struck me was not the overall concept so much as one word: "cannot". It does not read, "should not", it reads "cannot". If we are to be the city on a hill, we are unable to be hidden. In our church, our workplace, our home, the neighborhood store, or simply walking down the street talking to neighbors. Perhaps they might not be able to place what it is exactly that is different, but we "will" stand out if we are the city on a hill. It is what we are called to do.

The thought most definitely convicted me, as I need to be leading a life that stands out so much, it simply can't be hidden. I was listening to Francis Chan speak one time to a couple on an upcoming mission trip where it was stated (I believe by one of the other pastors at the church) that "we should live our lives in a way that demands explanation". We should be so different that people need to know what's going on. We simply wouldn't be able to hide it ...

The Peephole


So here I am, sitting in my hotel room in Tennessee, awaiting my journey home. I'm thinking about the past week, memories, family, waterfalls, cliffs, and yes, my amazing creator. So then I kneel before my bed, seemingly routine at times, and stare forward and see it. The dark room, everyone asleep, and the light pushing it's way in from the door and peephole. It's then that He started pouring words into my heart ...

"Why do you look for Me through a peephole?"

He gives me thoughts of my children, from the 12 year old, to the 3 year old. The experience of a hotel is so exciting, yet so simple. Elevator rides, the pool, heading out in pajamas to grab a cookie from the front desk before bed, having someone make your bed for you, and yes, even getting ice can be exciting for a child!

"Open the door!"

He continues to speak to me about our relationship, amazing what you can hear when you actually stop and listen. I felt like a child in a hotel, locked in the room, unable to just experience the joy that awaited me ... if I could just open the door.

"The door is open"

It wasn't a guilt filled "you-could-be-so-much-more" talk, it was the most loving and exciting talk I've had in a while with Him ... it's time I open that door with a wide eyed grin like one of my kids ... there's a lot to enjoy in this life before my next ... So much for a peephole, anybody have an extra door stop handy? I'm propping this thing wide open! Who's in? :)

Being Honest ...



Being honest ...

When I think about something that I trust most in this world the first thing that comes to mind is my wife, Marceen. Her commitment to me and this marriage is at the top of my list as to what I truly trust. In my honesty as a Christian, that highlights a problem though doesn't it? Because having said that, I should trust the promise of Christ (salvation & eternity) much more. Yet I (and I'm guessing many others) struggle with "truly" trusting in this, and it shows by the way we live and prioritize our lives (look at your checkbook, look at your calendar, imagine video taping or audio recording every action of yours for a day). If we truly trust in salvation and eternity, why do we continue to store up treasures here on earth and not in Heaven? The most joy I have ever had has been when I had moments of true Christian giving, bonding, fellowship, or support.

What if I was surrounded by people saying this:

"I don't know but I wouldn't trust Marceen if I were you"
"I think she's lying to you, she doesn't love you"
"Love is a feeling, it's not a choice"
"It's your life, make it about you!"
"You're living in a fairy tale, get real, stop being naive"
"It's ok to act the way you act, we're human, and it's human nature"

Imagine daily having people say that to you about whatever it is you trust the most in this world. I know for me it would certainly have an effect on my relationship and trust. And though it would only be what others are saying, not what I would know or feel myself, wrongfully so or not, it would start to play tricks on my mind, it would start to make me "doubt". Perhaps I may even start trying to find satisfaction elsewhere as I wouldn't be able to trust in what I should trust. See where I'm going here?

Well, if you ask me, that's exactly what is happening in this world with Christ, and certainly with His promise of salvation and eternity. It's a fairy tale, it's men twisting words, where's the evidence? The world is so violently against His Word (no matter how much intelligent theological and scientific evidence you throw at it) that what we hear is not the voice of reason; it's the seed of doubt. It's not what is real; it's the lie that is being whispered; and sometimes yelled.

May we learn to joyfully and with great excitement wait for the promise that is ours. And may we each think of something that we trust most in this world, and strive to show Him, ourselves, and this world, that we trust in Him more.

Lord, increase our faith! (Luke 17:5)

In His Joy,
~Matthew
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