Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sometimes it works ...

... two things at a the same time that is; sometimes it works. Like how you can enjoy drinking two different drinks at the same time! That can be pretty darn fun ... and awfully cute to watch! :)


However often I'm finding with God that isn't quite the case. When the Spirit puts something on your heart you know it. It's almost humorous when you try to fight it, as if you're going to win a battle of wills with the Almighty! Sure you can push it aside, but it's not going to get out of your heart, and worse, it's going to turn into a cancer of the soul. The sad part is that's not His desire for us, we shouldn't harbor these damaging thoughts ... yet we do.

"For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate" Romans 7:15 (ESV)

The battle of the flesh and Spirit is a vicious one ... and often messy. Distorting us, letting culture define our values, and having us "follow our heart" as if we left to our own devices will choose what is good.

I may be able to enjoy drinking from two straws at the same time, but I certainly can't keep my agenda and His at the same time; we need to work from one plan. I just have to keep reminding myself that some of those items on His agenda are out of character for me ... out of my comfort zone ... but the results are out of this world.

Peace,
~Matthew

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Will you just pay attention to me?

It's ironic that the other day I was getting frustrated with my son as he is fidgeting while I'm trying to have a conversation with him. Yes I know, I'm the only parent out there with that problem right? :) But all I wanted was an attentive child to sit, pay attention, and hopefully learn from some of my direction. After all, if our kids would listen to every word we said our job would be much easier! However, then they wouldn't be kids would they ...


I say it was ironic as last night I'm on my knees, in a silent room, attempting to shut up and listen to God ... I do a lot of talking and fidgeting when I'm praying, and far too little listening! It's so hard for me to stop and listen. I can almost hear Him telling me, "Will you just slow down, sit still, be quiet, so I can teach you something?" I hear Him saying "I have answers for some of your questions if you would be quiet enough to hear them!".

Let us not miss God in our midst because we're too busy fidgeting with life ...

"The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing." Zephaniah 3:17

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Keep Looking Up!



This picture reminded me of something I heard from a friend of mine recently. He mentioned a talk that a pastor once spoke on that impacted him with simplicity and honesty. The pastor brought up the group of performers that juggle and spin plates. He mentioned that they will tell you that they need to constantly look up at the plates to maintain the ongoing balancing act. If they look down, and take their eyes off the plates, it's all over.

It's just like us when we take our eyes off God; things just start spinning out of control and come crashing down.

As we enter the final 40 days before Easter, may we all remember to keep looking up; daily, hourly, and by the minute. It's not about ignoring life and focusing on Him, it's about doing life with Him. It's about making your life about Him in whatever you're doing.

I pray that you, like my daughter, will not just look up with happiness at the things in this world; but look up in pure joy at the things far beyond this world.

Looking Up,
~Matthew
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Phil 4:8 (ESV)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Exposing My Roots

I'm just amazed on how things can change in a matter of a month or two. I had a very stressful Christmas season, and certainly having to celebrate it without my uncle was on the top of that list of causes, but I let it lead me to a very dark January. I've dealt with anxiety issues before but this was different, or at least much darker it seemed.

It was also very different in another way; I've never felt that close to my God before. My prayers and tears went from crying out in agony, to crying out for mercy, to crying out in joy as I released some of my baggage to Him.


Just like the roots of this tree I felt as if I was being completely and totally exposed. My weaknesses and fears weren't buried, they were front and center. As I sit here now in February, I still feel some aftershocks, but I am undoubtedly in a different place.

I prayed often "Lord, increase my faith"
I prayed often "Lord, renew my mind"

When I was ready, He knew there was only one way to begin that journey. It wasn't waiting for that lightning bolt moment to happen, but He gave me the opportunities instead. Opportunities to give up my worry to Him and show Him (and myself) that faith heals. He gave me opportunities to renew my mind by showing me through prayer, individuals, and the Word that this isn't a battle I need to carry on the rest of my life. That while still a process, I "can" turn this over to Him.

I heard a speaker one time tell us to ask ourselves one question. "What is God trying to show me through my greatest limitation?".

Well, my greatest limitation that keeps me from experiencing the life that I know I was meant to live would be my anxiety (in particular, being a moderate hypochondriac). I never knew the answer to this question. I never could grasp what He was trying to show me through this. But I think I have the answer to it now, and it's simply this:

"That this is His burden, not mine." He wants it ... because He cares for me

If I can free myself from what to me is such a crippling issue at times, imagine what else He can do for me. In those darkest moments I still was able to smile, find joy, and know that no matter what, He's still my God.

My prayer now is not for freedom from anxiety, but simply a commitment on my part to fall in love with Him more each day. Either through the Word, Prayer, or serving in a way that I was meant to serve. Any relationship takes work, and the more work you put into a relationship the more fruitful and intimate it becomes. I say I love the Lord more than anything, but my life hasn't show it, and that's my change. My challenge. As I've heard it said before, God may not have His favorites, but He does have His intimates.

I've read Romans 12:1-2 so often ... prayed for it so often ... and for the first time in my life, I feel real transformation happening inside me ... I love you Lord!!!

~Matthew


"And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen." (1 Peter 5:10-11, ESV)

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