Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Chaotic Waters

Where is order? Where is organization?
Chaos is king, confusion reigns in each nation.
Thousands of opinions, left and right
Where are the cornerstones of wrong and right?
Chaos has much might.

Where do I turn?
Where do I look?
All paths are dark.
Should I take the ones others took?
"Light" is dark and "dark" is light.
Where is what's right?
The world feasts on opinion.
What one believes is fine.
Chaos has much might.

Our eyes our blind,
Our way is lost,
Is there any right way to be?
Right and wrong
Are lost in the human race;
We must have light to see.
Chaos has much might.

Each new philosophy claims a way out.
In this puzzle, we've added a new piece.
All this confusion is the meat,
The food on which chaos feeds.
Chaos has much might.

Chaos crowds from every direction.
Is there any other way to look?
Above is the path, it's the only way out,
A way that few have booked.
For above is the sky
An endless vastness,
Who would attempt its path?
The few of faith
Who look to the Son
The only real light this world has.

The Anticipation of Immortality

Life is a gift.
Sometimes that's hard to believe.
I find myself hating this gift
That for a limited time I have received.
But what happens after it expires?
Where do I go then?
For those who've taken him,
There'll be no end.
For those who've taken him,
It's more than it seems.
It's no longer a nightmare,
But the best of dreams.
Eternity will fall to the ground
Like a long-overdue gift.
And when I see Jesus' face,
The dream will shatter;
Only reality will exist.

The Greatest Beauty: Catalyst of Corruption

Nothing could compare to the autumn-covered vista laying out in large proportions before my marble-sized eyes. Only the great artist of our universe can paint such a physical picture and I feel like I am seeing it from his point of view. I noticed how beautifully the golden leaves frame the valley that grows into the snowy peak. The hundreds of different colored trees remind me that no color is out of the great artist's reach. I long to feel the soft grass and leaves massage my back and the clouds to hold me like a feather bed in this state of tranquility.
The artist's final touch breathes the mortality into this picture framed by the stars. The invisible air around me that brushes all of my skin and the scents that the fresh air carries through me, makes me a part of this reality that's so beautiful and I'm the capstone of it. And when the artist invites me in, this art is destroyed from the inside out.
The soft, mind echo of nothingness is something I'll never take for granted as I go back to the city where pictures like this are destroyed and looming towers hide out view of true beauty and importance.

A Spiritual Journey

The dark one is observing in glee.
Dark and cold, but burning.
His darkness sends hate throughout me.
Sharp, his talon; scorching his ray.
The grass whithers under his dark, burning spell.
Give grace oh glorious, bright Son.
My stone heart will soften and swell.
The dark one will be overcome.
He continues to push ridicule
Through the hearts of many; the grass.
Black, scarred, sinister
This evil will pass.
The dark one will be overcome
Through much blood and bitter toil.
The glorious Son will shine on,
His millenial kingdom built over this messy soil.


Wonder of Wonders

Wonder of Wonders

The water lingered on the leaf
As the array of colors reflected and made a rainbow.
The leaf slowly bent as the crystal drop delicately and quietly rolled off.
The tiny drop made its mark
And emitted a microscopic spray.

A climber studied Mount Everest.
In utter, speechless amazement he watched as
The huge boulders and pure, white, powdery snow
Created an avalanche like the erosion of a sand dune.
He stared toward the summit
As it stretched into the sky
Reaching for a cloud.

The spurting tidal wave threw the surfer from his board
To the soft, shallow water.
Another eight foot tidal wave, topped with a whitecap
Like a pie being crowned with whipped cream
Crashed head-on to shore.

All wonders go beyond earth though.
Look at space.
Look at the meticulously designed universe
And at planets regally rewarded with giant rings.

What about the most
Beautiful, majestic, amazing
Omnipresent, Omniscient, Omnipotent
Optimum, Opportune, Panacea
The most deserving of extolment,
The highest of all emperors and kings?
Going through this thesaurus is useless.
I'm trying to describe the first wonder of all time,
Not even of this universe.
Love.
Not l-o-v-e.
Real love.
It's spelled
J-e-s-u-s.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"Firework-Watching!"

Last night, God had a treat for me. Let me tell you a story first.

Last summer, I was up at the Asbury baseball fields praying with some friends at our weekly Sunday night fellowship and all of a sudden I had an overwhelming impression that God wanted to show us "fireworks." At first I thought He meant literal fireworks, and He may have, but I didn't see any literal ones. Maybe if I'd stayed up there long enough I would have, because we waited until 3 in the morning and I was too tired to stay longer. However, that night God spoke a word through my friend to me about how God wants to give me wisdom and we also saw a sea of fireflies down in the valley where the cross-country trails are! Talk about some natural fireworks.

Last night, for the first time since last summer, God told me to go firework-watching. Honestly, I didn't feel like it because it was cold out and I was tired, but I obeyed because I figured God had something He wanted to show me. Today, He told me what the significance of that time is and told me that He wants me to do it more often. It's His way of playing with me. God showed me that anytime He asks me to go firework-watching, He wants me to go up to the baseball fields and just enjoy Him and hang out with Him doing whatever. He specified to me that it's not time to be serious and ponder hard life questions or theological questions, but just time to chill. He showed me that He has subtle and majestic ways both to show me fireworks. It takes some getting used to, but now that I see its significance, I'm thinking I'm going to really learn how to like it. God's so cool.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ponderings Between You and Me

My Father,

I have so many questions perhaps reflecting that I make life too difficult when it really just comes down to living in joy and fear and love before You. I want to strip away all the things I don't know answers too and just live before You in confidence with You and all that is in You, as my sole source of joy. I want to fear You and no other. I want to love You and all that is in You and no other. Teach me to receive Your blessings and enjoy the good things of life that You bring my way. I think sometimes that I have a problem with enjoying Your material blessing. Strip all away that I seek as an end in itself though.

I have so many questions and they're all so introspective and random, perhaps reflecting my mood today. Maybe they aren't even legitimate or worth worrying about. I mean, who stresses about the things I've been stressing about? Here's one thing that I don't know if anyone reading this will understand. It makes sense to my categorical mind. It certainly reflects my "hyper-categorical" mind. I should be more laid-back and unified in my mind and not so "hyper-categorical."

Father, You have been so gracious to teach me the book of 1 John. What an amazing letter in the New Testament. It's one that I used to hate because it always made me feel so sinful and without hope and yet after reading it in its entirety and seeing its context, I see how beautiful a book it is and it's full of hope. Here's the thing: You've given me some cognitive understanding of it. Thing is, I want to "own" this letter of John at a heart-level. I want to walk according to the principles of this letter. I don't know how to really get that except to pray into it and get some practical revelation from You. Would You demonstrate to me what it looks like in the day-to-day for me to live according to the principles of this letter of John? I love the deep cognitive understanding You give me. I feel that You've given me a talent in that kind of thinking and teaching and thus I'm driven to do more research in and about 1 John. I'd love to exegete it. I just want to find the balance between the cognitive knowledge and my practical response of love to You by actually living this book-being a doer of the Word and not just being a hearer. Would You lead me in this, because I don't know what to do.

It seems lately that all I like to do is think and pray. If I'm not praying, I'm reading something or worshipping or walking. If not those, I'm socializing or eating with friends and it seems like I can relate less and less to some of my other friends which enjoy other things. I think of a close friend of mine in the area-I want to connect with him more, but he's much younger and his interests are so different from mine-well at least somewhat. I guess that I place such a premium on my narrow view of the presence of God which I limit strictly to the prayer room, worship music, intercessory prayer, Scripture, and fasting (which are not only legitimate, but very important to engage in regularly) that I don't leave a place for honing talents and enjoyments elsewhere. Frankly, I want the spiritual disciplines to be an even higher priority in my life in terms of regularity, but I also want to worship the Lord through enjoying the things He's given me: my love of reading, thinking, studying, serving, hiking, camping, playing sports and working out and I want to engage in these activities more, though they require money that I don't have just now. I guess I set them on the backburner until later in life when I have the opportunity to pick them up. Could You minister oh God to some of my questions here?

Ultimately, my prayer is simple-Let me find all of my joy in You and don't let me reject any kindness that You bring my way, but don't let me seek anything outside of You either.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Social Justice

This is an area that is so important and I haven't given much attention to. I mean, I've been focusing on prayer and knowing God in the place of prayer, but you can't know God too long before He brings your attention to the things that break His heart. It can be summed up in this one summary: God's heart is broken that this world will not put its faith in Him-the very thing that Jesus died on the cross for. All the evil in the world is only a consequence of this fact and it helps to put the issues of social justice into their proper perspective. They cannot be divorced from this fact.

However, that does not mean that we can deny the needs to social justice and simply focus on converting everyone, though that's important too. I need to be gripped with the compassion of God in regards to issues like sex-trafficking, genocide, Darfur, the "invisible children" made to do the work of soldiers, and the atrocity of abortion which America has legalized. We are as guilty as the rest of the world in the arena of social justice, for we have eliminated an entire generation of children through abortion.

I pray for the wisdom of God on how to address these many issues and all I know to do for lasting change is to continue preaching and proclaiming the words of God and condemning the evils which our world excuses every day.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Vices

How does one figure all their vices into what appears to most people to be a godly life? I've seen anointing on my life and God's favor pour down on me, not because I deserve it but because God is faithful even when I'm not. So many people look to me for godly advice and I sincerely seek to know God and be authentic and honest before God.

I have vices though. I don't just slip up sometimes, I actually rebel and do what I want anyway sometimes. I'm addicted to habits and things so bad and all they do is distract my walk with the Lord. I'm stubborn and arrogant often times and I see many places in the Scripture where God used people that were really sinful for His purposes. The fact that God uses you does not make you on right terms with God. That worries me sometimes. I so long to desire more purity and integrity in my walk when no one is looking, but my own self is my worst enemy in this endeavor. An announcement to non-Christians who think that Christians are hypocrites: You're right and I'm one of them. My only hope is that God will convict me and His grace will pour out to such an extent that I'll desire Him more than my vices and my love for Him will overshadow my addictions. I am not satisfied with my current walk which is sometimes apathetic. Pray that I'll want holiness bad enough that my spirit will rise up in strength against my stubborn self which clings to its vices. I have to make some definitive actions and steps to walk in the way I desire to walk.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Shaping History

I was able to do this very thing in the past two mornings. It is rare that the Spirit of God really enables me to enter into the spirit of prayer and specifically intercession, but the past two mornings at the Asbury House of Prayer at 4:00 am God enabled me to do that very thing and I found myself engaging in a privilege that God gives to all Christians, but few actually engage in! I came there so tired, but after worshipping, the Spirit of God came down and gave me a spirit of intercession. The hour flew by, and I left after my hour still in the spirit of intercession and unable to sleep until about 6 am.

Why don't Christians really pray? Prayer is the medium through which God releases of the power of Heaven onto earth and yet so few Christians really pray! Most don't even have a deep comprehension of what prayer is! I have heard so many misunderstandings about prayer. Prayer may start as conversation with God but it's a whole lot more than sitting on your couch and just spouting your mouth to God about what's on your mind, though it may include some of that.

Prayer is the human spirit engaging with and coming into agreement with the Spirit of God through intimacy. This takes a tremendous amount of time, for only after one knows God, can agreement with God and His heart come into place and once that happens God gives that person authority and power to release the will of Heaven on earth. Prayer is a conversation, yes, but it's in a framework of intimacy. I've had to spend weeks and months just enjoying God's presence and engaging with Him intimately before He'll really reveal His heart to me so that I can really intercede and know something is happening. Usually, I need to intercede from my own mind and knowledge and it just doesn't feel like my spirit is engaged or my prayer is anointed, but lately my spirit has been very engaged and the prayer time has been strongly anointed. I'm beginning to understand my posture in prayer little by little.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Romans 1:18-2:16

Romans 5:12-21 is pretty important for the second half of Romans 1 as is 1 Corinthians 15:20-24. I'll go to those in a moment, but back to Romans 1 for a minute. Adam and Eve knew God and this passage seems to refer to them and the curse we inherited through them, but they were only the first two among many. I think this passage makes a case for this. We're all guilty of becoming as they were: "futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened" (Romans 1:21, NASB). Wow! There's something very important in this passage which illustrates the point at which we're all guilty; not just Adam and Eve. Paul is talking about "them", plural. They, mankind became foolish in their speculations and their foolish heart (singular) was darkened. "Heart" is singular, meaning all mankind shares the same "heart" of hardness, unrighteousness, pride and suppression of truth. If we all share the same hearty of unrighteousness, we all share in the guilt and wrath of God which results. Taking this into account, this passage doesn't seem as harsh, for it says that all men have suppressed truth. Therefore, the condemnation of those which don't know God through Jesus is just. The Scripture tells us that if we're honest with ourselves, no one is searching for God and thus does not deserve Heaven. The message of the Scriptures is a God that searches out a rebellious mankind. Just as God sought out Adam and Eve in the garden after their sin, so God has sent his church, the body of Christ on earth, to search out the far reaches of humanity on earth to deliver the good news of Jesus Christ, the center and substance of the gospel.
God's "eternal power" and "divine nature" are understood through creation. What does the Scripture say that God requires as a result of this fact? The honor and glorification of the people, that is, that all people honor and glorify God based on His revelation of Himself in nature. If people sought out God on their own as we talked about above, then perhaps Jesus wouldn't be necessary, but the Scripture has already told us that all mankind shares the same heart which suppresses truth. Therefore, it's necessary for God to initiate salvation through Jesus Christ. We repent because of His initiatory kindness. It's because God first loved us that we can return his love. Jesus is God's physical manifestation of this truth. So, instead of honoring God as God based on His self-revelation in creation (ample proof that the visible is the evidence of the invisible), the Scripture says that people slipped into "futile speculation." This may seem hypocritical, but I'm going to ask a speculative question: If people were to honor God instead of speculate foolishly, would they go to Heaven or Hell? God puts this question to rest in Romans 3:11, reinforcing the point made above: "There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God...". In other words, the situation which the question addresses will never happen because all mankind is rebellious. NOBODY honors God as God. All mankind, with the same heart, suppresses and hardens their hearts, futiley speculating instead of honoring God. We all continue what Adam and Eve only started.
Romans 5:12-21 gives some real insight into why all people suppress truth. God is not blaming us for Adam's sin. Rather, through Adam, sin which begets death entered the world. Sin spread to all men and all sinned, producing death. Verse 13 says, "...sin is not imputed when there is no law." This is great mercy on God's part, but there's one problem. Romans 2:14 already tells us that where the Law does not exist [meaning the Law of Judaism, Mosaic Law], it's known instinctively, written on the heart and so non-Jews are a law unto themselves through their consciences. Romans 5:14 tells us that Adam was a foreshadowing of Jesus, bringing death to all. Through Jesus, justification, grace and righteousness come. 1 Corinthians 15:20-24 basically echoes Romans 5:12-21.
So, why do we have to choose Christ by believing and repenting? Why doesn't His work come to us automatically just as death and sin came to us from Adam apart from our direct choice? Here's the difference: we are as Adam was, albeit cursed and fallen now. We were never like God or Jesus. Romans 1:21 makes it clear that we all share the same heart, even in our individuality. We all rebel, we all continue in sin. We are more connected than we may think. Practically speaking, if Adam hadn't eaten the apple, one of us certainly would have, and even this statement is a misnomer because it excludes Adam from our act of unrighteousness. If we're all unrighteous, the first one to sin had to be the first humans to have lived, Adam and Eve.