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Archive for September, 2008

Still Angry

It doesn’t help that I go to work already imagining what someone will say to me. I am getting angry at little stuff. Just now, my printer ran out of paper in the middle of a job and I got out-of-proportion frustrated.

I tried to remind myself over and over again today, "J, you haven’t done anything wrong. Some people just have their ways and communicate their personal preferences in terms of black and white and when they respond in a manner that is unbecoming to the situation, it is not about you."

A passage that God graciously gave to me by popping it into my head was, "Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Hebrews 12:3). I had placed a shovel across my shoulders, behind my head and it reminded me of how someone carried a crossbeam on the way to crucifixion. So, God wanted me to remember Jesus and to get my thoughts back in perspective. Jesus had to deal with sinful people who "won" the day. But, in the end, it was Jesus who was victorious as he did his Father’s will. "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." (Luke 22:42). Mary was the same way – "I am the Lord’s servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." (Luke 1:38).

I know I don’t deal with the ugliness that Jesus dealt with and so I need to search my soul and go to work ready to love people as Jesus did.

Lord, I can’t do what you’ve asked me to do. I need to be transformed. Lord, I am not accepting your peace; my soul is not accepting your rest. I need help.

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Let it Go

Today I was told, "let it go." How can I let it go? I’m still angry at the way my co-workers and I are treated and, while the solution is obvious and simple, I am left with, "let it go." What stinks is that the devotional reading today was about patience. I know God is not pleased with the situation, but what is his will for me when there are wrongs, when I have politely and simply stated the need and solution, yet the response is "let it go"? I’m sure there is a reason we have four laborers and three middle-managers and an office manager, but I am not familiar enough with organizational systems to understand why. Yes, we did ask for help but you would have thought we’d ask the mm’s to explain string theory. The silence was deafening.

So, I take it God wants me to be patient and watch him do his thing. I know I am supposed to remember that God is my boss and work accordingly, but if God were actually in leadership where I work, I imagine he wouldn’t be irresponsible, unhelpful and busybodied.

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As I read tonight, I was suddenly moved to near tears by one question, in the midst of a series of questions, written by a pastor on sabbatical. "The pastor’s question is… Am I willing to spend fifty years reclaiming this land (meaning a parish and community) with these people? I was overcome with emotion becasue the thought instantly came to mind that I will never get a chance to stay that long in one place.

What would my life have been like had I stayed at a youth pastor position for 10 or 20 years? What would it have been like to have been part of a community for 50 years? God, what a glorious dream! God, may I one day meet a pastor who has devoted himself to you in one place for that long.

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Why is it God’s Fault?

Saw a video today, put out by a Christian. I understand where she was coming from and I understand that many people question God, but why is it God’s fault? Are we not the ones who disobey? Are we not the ones who want him out of school and government? Are we not the ones who do church and then live as atheists outside our religious events? I just don’t see where God owes us anything. Has he not given enough? Who am I to demand more, to demand him to jump when I say jump? Instead of blaming God for things, maybe we should look at ourselves. Instead of asking, "Where is God…?" perhaps we should ask, "Where am I…?" and/or "Where is the Body of Christ…?" His plan is to work through us.

I know that people face suffering at the hands of evil people. I know that some people just have a run of bad times. In the former, where are we to defend the down and out? In the latter, life down here just stinks some times. There are no sugar answers. Sometimes we just don’t know. Sometimes we just don’t get it. In the meantime, let us make sure we aren’t sitting around on our pews fuming at God because he won’t do things our way. Let us go out and help people. Give ourselves away and bear one another’s burdens.

 

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I am Angry

God, I am angry. You already knew that. You know why I am angry. I don’t want to stop being angry. I don’t want to settle my soul and let it go. It has only been two days of this feeling and yet I can’t seem to remember when I last enjoyed a day at work. 

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I feel weird. Today has just flown by. I haven’t really been here. I haven’t really been anywhere. I did a few chores, but I didn’t do anything of eternal value. I did things to help my wife, but nothing to draw close to God. I’ve read the Bible once this week. Why do I think God will use me if I don’t even bother to get to know him and his kingdom?

I got to thinking yesterday and today, what my life would be like now if I had read the Bible everyday since Jesus saved me. What would my life be like now if I had memorized a passage a week? What would my life be like now if I had studied each book of the Bible a month or so at a time? Jesus saved me 273 months ago. If I had studied one book of the Bible per month since my rebirth, I could have studied each book 4 times each.

Yes, I do panic when I think of that. I think of how much of my new life has been wasted. No matter how badly I want to go back, I know I will die not having read or studied as much as I could have. I could wash my conscience by saying, "Well, it is the application that God cares the most about," or "I do meditate on God’s stuff alot while I work or play or whatever, and that is what God wants, not just reading and studying to gain information or to check it off a list." But, I know I could have done more. I really don’t have any excuses. I wasn’t "too busy" and I don’t think "too tired" works either.

What is scary is that I don’t know if I’ll change. I know what I need to do, I just don’t think I have the courage or energy. I don’t think I’ll ever get through the pain in my gut for wasted time.

I know God is kinder to me than I am to myself. But I am ashamed of my wasted time.

 

My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

September 20, 2008

The Divine Commandment of Life

 

The true expression of Christian character is not in good-doing, but in God-likeness. If the Spirit of God has transformed you within, you will exhibit divine characteristics in your life, not just good human characteristics. God’s life in us expresses itself as God’s life, not as human life trying to be godly. The secret of a Christian’s life is that the supernatural becomes natural in him as a result of the grace of God, and the experience of this becomes evident in the practical, everyday details of life, not in times of intimate fellowship with God. And when we come in contact with things that create confusion and a flurry of activity, we find to our own amazement that we have the power to stay wonderfully poised even in the center of it all.

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I Despise Halloween

In and around my town, there are billboards advertising an upcoming local Halloween event. The billboard is a take on the old-school scare-the-life-out-of-you game where you stand in front of a mirror and repeat a certain person’s name three times and she "appears" in the mirror. The first time I saw the billboard, I looked at it for several seconds before I looked away. It was like I was so stunned to see it, I couldn’t take my eyes off it. The figure on the billboard has no pupils, just the whites of her eyes. I immediately began to ask God to take the image out of my head. Since then, it is like these billboards sneak up on me and I have to immediately look away and repeat my prayer. Now, they are playing commercials on TV. I turn the channel quickly.

I admit I am more sensitive than most. When I was a counselor in the ’90’s, I dealt with some tough occult things. So, I see things differently than your average joe. What is play to others is very real to me. That is why I decided to write tonight. I was flipping through one of our coffee table books about Florida legends and myths and I saw headlines and pictures regarding ghosts, etc. My spirit was troubled and I knew I wouldn’t get to sleep unless I read and wrote.

The title of this entry is probably a bit too general for what I actually wrote, but with Halloween approaching, I’ll have to deal with billboards and commercials and my brothers and sisters in Christ who don’t have a problem with All Hallows Eve.

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