5/31/2005

Dominion

When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive him (for whatever is to be forgiven), I do so with Christ's authority for your benefit, so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are very familiar with his evil schemes. 2 Corinth. 2:10,11

We preach God's message with sincerity and with Christ's authority. And we know that the God who sent us is watching us. 2 Corinth. 2:17

Alex was explaining something to me last night about authority and dominion and how it was meant for man to be submitted to God in their power over the earth. Before I talked to him about all this, I had met my girl Janina for dessert and we were sitting on the porch of the establishment. Suddenly a baby gopher scurries across the parking lot toward us. Then it freezes in the gutter as we get up to go and look at it. It wouldn't move so we finally poked at it with a weed and got it running. I chased it toward a big grass field at the end of the lot.

It is moments like that when I start to sense human authority over animals. I look around at the world and see what horrors people have done with the dominion we have over the earth. But Alex was talking about more than that. He was saying we have an authority over the people around us in Christ. That's a scary thought to me. But I see how it's true.

Paul talks about forgiving with authority and repremanding with authority. I feel, personally, like my confidence in God grows everytime I prove Him to myself. And the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. With wisdom and discernment given to us by Him, we know what we know because He provided for us to know. I think what my problem is, I forget to give God the credit and glory for all that I've learned. I tend to think that God has worked only in the things that have worked in my life, not the things that have failed. But the truth is, He didn't provide the wisdom by granting it to me in my sleep. I learned only from the pain of consequences. I wish I wasn't that stubborn, but I was. I'm getting better. So, having learned these things in whatever way God knew I would learn, I am now equipt better in Him.

We were going through Peter's stages of growth in 2Peter 5:7.
It goes (NLT):
Faith
Moral Excellence
Wisdom
Self-control
Patient Endurance (perseverence)
Godliness
Brotherly love
Love for everyone

Peter goes on to say something very important: "The more you grow like this, the more you will become productive and useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop these virtues are blind or, at least, very shortsighted. They have already forgotten that God has cleansed them from their old life of sin."

That's the trick, remembering that God has cleansed us and not one of our sins is taken into account. If they were, we could not have this new life. I see how narrow the road really is when it comes to balancing salvation and sanctification. Being grafted into the Vine and then being fruitful by abiding there.

I just thank God for my devotional today. Pastor Greg Laurie mentioned that we need to pace ourselves in our spiritual race. I tend to sprint when I should be keeping a pace, then I poop out and everyone else passes me. Oh, I made some good time and learned really fast, but in the long run it doesn't make me any more likely to finish the race. I can learn at the pace that works because I don't want to be weak at a crucial moment in the future. I need to save my energy and be steady and solid, not giving in to the urge to be ahead of everyone else. There is time near the finish line where I can push myself to the limits, after that there is rest for eternity.

5/29/2005

Luke, Mary and Mary Mag

As I was reading the intro to Luke yesterday I read that he was a Gentile physician. The book of Luke, they say, was probably written to another Gentile, Theophilus. I just read Romans all the way through recently and for some reason I needed a little reassurance as a Gentile believer. I don't know any Messianic Jews but if I did I would be honored to know them. Jews are God's chosen people but so many of them have been cut off by their unbelief and Gentiles like me have been grafted on. In the past I didn't realize what kind of respect it warrants to be a chosen race and people. But it also had more pressure to it. They were the ones who rejected God time and time again for idols of gold and wood.

But Mary was one to love. She was blessed among women because she believed what the angel told her. Zechariah talked back in disbelief and was made mute until the birth of his son, John the Baptist. But Mary calmly accepted what Gabriel told her was to happen. A fourteen-year-old girl! What a pure and beautiful spirit she has. That she could see her son adored and worshipped even as a baby and she simply stored her feelings in her heart, only mentioning them to Luke decades later. The angels sang, Anna and Simeon prophecied, Jesus himself spoke at twelve of being about His Father's business. He was twelve! Mary accepted all of it. God gave her an incredible amount of space to store things in her heart. I am constantly having to clean mine out and make room for better stuff and more holy experiences. So I sing and scream and cry and somehow that washes out the old. Sometimes people are there to witness it, other times only God is there comforting me with His love. God removed the heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of soft, squishy flesh. Mary's needed no replacement, hers was tender and huge to begin with. Then it was pierced by a sword as she saw her son nailed to a cross. The parts of the Passion of the Christ movie that always get to me are the parts where you can see her heart breaking. Mary lost her Lord and her son on that day so I could be forgiven. Then I imagine her joy and elation when He rose again. She fell at His feet to kiss them, the feet of her risen son. Only He was her Lord above all things and she was able to accept that from the very beginning. A willing oven for the holy bread of Life, a teacher and disciplinary for the early years, a comforter and caretaker during the physical development of her Lord. And then as a twelve year old boy He gave her something else to accept. That God was His Father, not Joseph. After that, during His ministry He mentions that His mother and brothers are all those who hear the message of God and obey it. Mary accepted and accepted and stored up thing after thing. You know she did, it was just her nature. She had other sons and daughters to raise and love, imagine how their older brother Jesus was able to love and teach them. He wasn't a bully older brother, you can count on that. He did not sin.

I really am not like mother Mary, I am more like Mary Magdalene. Rescued I want to give extravagantly to my Savior and sit at His feet just basking in His holiness. After a life of utter darkness, His light is all I desire. And if Jesus ever told me He was going to raise my brother from the dead I would probably doubt. When Jesus came to raise Lazarus, no one believed it would happen, did they? Is that why Jesus wept? In the New Living Translation it says, "When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, He was deeply troubled and moved with indignation." Indignation! Mary Magdalene who worshipped and listened to Jesus so steadily before was now weeping over the loss of her brother and probably feeling a little resentment towards Jesus for not showing up earlier before Laz had died. All these followers probably thought Jesus shouldn't have taken His sweet time coming to see Lazarus, because He could have prevented his death. I think Jesus wept at the unbelief and the bitter feelings toward Him. His beloved child, Mary Magdalene had even begun to change her mind about Him. I mean, He let her brother die!

All this happened two chapters after Jesus had raised the little girl from the dead. He raised a little girl, didn't they hear about it? Now He can raise Lazarus. How come no one thought of that, I wonder? It seems like people just have way too many reasons to not trust in Jesus and just accept things as they have always been. Death, sickness, and sin have always been so how is this Jesus going to take it away? It doesn't fit into our finite, stubborn brains. I am no better than any of the believers/doubters gone before me. Only with God is any belief possible. He created Mary with the gift of acceptance. He fashioned me in my mother's womb and I was born into this family and place and time for God's purposes. Any faith that I have was given to me (As God's messenger, I give each of you this warning: Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much faith God has given you. Romans 12:3) so I can't even boast about my faith, right? But I want to be open to accepting what faith God gives me. I have many thorns of doubt that stab my mind and heart and I need to clean those out by walking on the water to Jesus and proving Him to myself.

5/28/2005

Big Lessons

Last night I blew it, but I learned something. I was on stage playing and for the last three weeks no other musicians have come to play. So I am thinking everybody's just an audience. Then at 9:30 a dude walks up and he's like, "Can I play some songs?" I just about screamed with embarrassment. To top it off a three piece rock band wanted to get up too, I thought those guys were just in for coffee! So I am playing songs after song after song and I know what it feels like to me a performer who is stuck in the audience. They were probably like, "When will this chick shut UP! I wanna play!" So I am about ready to start a song and the solo guy is like, "when you're done I'll play." I said, "Oh, I'm done alright! Pleeeease get up on this stage. I had no idea you wanted to play." But he was like, "No, no play this song and then..." I don't know why but that just frickin ticked me off. I had to drudge through a song beating myself in the head mentally for forgetting to ask if anyone else wanted to perform. I should have guessed that the night I am totally relaxed and practicing my songs with an audience is the night something would catch me off gaurd.

I make sure I learn from mistakes like this one and this is what I learned. A couple things actually, first I learned that my ego is still alive and kicking. I didn't sing hardly any songs about God. It was interesting that none of them came to mind. There wasn't a single Christian in the house and it showed. Ok, there were two guys that play on the worship team at the church there and me, but we weren't being obviously Christian all night. In fact, you'd have had no idea that we belonged to Jesus. But we were sure being agreeable musicians.

The other thing I learned was how easy it is to fall back into the 'music (for the sake of music) scene' without even trying. I felt like I was in L.A. with a bunch of amateur creatives trying to make the connections and sound ear-catching and look eye-catching. I'm not talking about the others who performed as much as I am talking about what I must've looked like. The way I felt was very different. I was killing time onstage like normal because people came for live entertainment and somebody had to give it to them. What I was closer to feeling like was a spectacle or a freak. I kept comforting myself with the thought that maybe someday I would be a part of a totally awesome band in Chicago and I could leave all the Big Bear blank stares behind. Yeah, sometimes I don't think this place really gets me.

One other thing I learned: When I don't pray before things, I lose. For me I think music is my weapon against the enemy. But like all humans I lean toward darkness rather than light. I start thinking, "Well, I wasn't a horrible person before I came to Christ. I mean, I was decent to people and mostly they took advantage of me. Now I know sometimes that I need Christ, but music is something I can handle. I think I got this one, God." Oh boy, that's a bad place to be. By His wonderful grace and mercy He makes it a lousy time when I am in that mindset. He shows me just how much of a horrible person I am without Him. I suppose things could have still gone smoothly if there hadn't been other musicians in the audience, but there were and I didn't even think to ask if there were. That's because of, "I think got this one, God." Well, look at the bang-up job I did with it! Praise God for not withholding these lessons from me. I repent and am humbled by Him. Oh, HOW HE LOVES ME!!!! I pray and pray that I may glorify Him and He is teaching me how to let Him glorify Himself through me. By the time I go to Chicago I have a feeling God will have taught me many more things along these lines. I am so thankful that He would discipline me like this. It means that I truly am His child and He loves me. And He forgives me and has made me see where I haven't been submitted to Him. Oh praises and honor to the Lord! He teaches me and then comforts me with His mercy.

I'm not crying because I am sad, I am crying because God has blown my mind with His love. Hallelujah!

5/27/2005

Star Wars 3

I finally saw Star Wars Episode 3 last night. If you haven't seen it, you may not want to read this post yet. But it's hard to spoil a prequel to a popular old trilogy. Everything pretty much gets set up for Luke and Leah to enter the scene. And Darth Vader is born, and so is the empire. It was neat seeing it all come together. It made me want to watch the first Star Wars movies released. I really wanna see Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher argue and I wanna see Chewbaka bark or whatever that noise is.

This movie, Episode 3, was sad. Obviously it looks like there's no hope for the good side. I was joking around with my girl, Danielle saying that all cute guys go to the dark side. I don't really believe that, but it seems to happen more than not. The truth is, he was a sensitive young man who felt sorry for himself. The enemy used that self-pity to his advantage and decieved young Skywalker. It first started with a merciless killing of a bad guy that was ordered by the then unknown Sith Lord. There was a moment when Anikin protested and then his loyalty to the Chancellor who he had risked his life to come and save overthrew his morals. He was able to give someone else the responsibility for his actions or rationalize it in some way. It's really hard to watch as someone makes stupid decisions based on fear, anger, and self-pity. We all do it, though. It's just a matter of when we stop and repent.

I kept having to remember the scene in the Return of the Jedi when hope and love finally prevail. Anyone reading this had better have seen those three movies already, if not...get crackin! Anyway, when they put the Darth Vader helmet on Anakin I kept flashing to when Luke takes it off in the last scene. There was hope for him then...

Sometimes it take an entire life of darkness before we learn true love. It's never too late to repent and come to the light.

5/26/2005

Shiny Metal Looming

Well, I have been in touch with Alex from Chicago a lot. It looks like I will be visiting his music haven this summer to really try out. Yeah, I am going to get on an airplane and fly through the air really fast and high in a huge metal tube. Oh, the things I do for the Lord! Obviously I am not a big fan of flying. But since my faith has gotten stronger perhaps it will be a blast. Perhaps I will cry in terror like I did a couple years ago when I visited Kelsye in N'Awlins. I hate take off and I hate landing. But I will bring Pedro my teddy bear with me to squeeze and maybe a couple jager & redbulls. I think it's silly to get all worked up, but I see the reality of the situation and it seems ludicrous to trust God when I've put myself in this bullet and it's my own dang fault if I trust it will stay in the air. Sheesh, where's my faith? Well, we'll see where it is when I put my little seatbelt on and glue my head to the headrest and my eyes to the runway.

I love rollercoasters! I even did that giant swing where Ryan, my brother, and I were all strapped in and flying toward the ground at Six Flags. I don't know what my problem is with airplane flight. Maybe I just haven't done it enough. I'm like one of those people who time warps from the past and what is normal to the rest of civilization is shocking and traumatizing to me.

I think it's funny that the big thing I am thinking about is making it through the plane ride to Chicago. I mean, I am going to sing with Alex who I think is a great guy and who writes great songs. I don't know, should I be writing about that? But I'm not worried about that. It would be silly to worry about that. I am trusting God completely with that and I know He has prepared me in a lot of ways for just this situation. But the flying part looms in the distance like a swell on the water while Peter stood on it. He was like, "I am already standing on the water without that great of a reason to do it other than making sure it was Jesus out here. Now there's this huge wave coming at me and I can't take my eyes off of it. Suddenly I wonder: Is this really an appropriate situation? It's either scream & sink or do a little 30 A.D. surfing with Jesus over the wave. Why would I take this lightly by enjoying it?" Hmmm. I feel that way about flying. Some people are like, "Woooohoooo! I love take off!" I am like, "What's there to love about defying God-made gravity in a multi-ton metal tube? That's taking risks, man." But the truth is, I would be more likely to crash if I was on the freeway...yeah I know. Lord have mercy! :)

5/23/2005

BLOOD

I watched 'the Passion of the Christ" again last night. There was so much blood.

There is a scene in a different movie, one called "Cold Mountain" where the hungry soldier ends up with an old woman in the middle of the forest. She takes him in and cleans his wounds and realizes that she must feed him. She holds the head of her pet goat, stroking it's soft fur and cuts it's throat. It was such a gentle scene and the woman mentions that the goat had it's purpose and now has it's final purpose.

That scene is always what I remember when I read the old testiment about all the scrifices that had to go on. They were ordered to lay hands on the head of the animal before slaughtering it. I don't know why God needs blood as a payment for sins. Maybe because blood is life (Lev. 17:11) and sin is death, they cancel eachother out. It must grieve God for blood to be spilt, so every sacrifice of the old testament must have grieved Him. Then to end all the bloodshed and all the need for bloodshed, He gave His precious Son. The spotless lamb, human and sinless was killed and His blood shed. So much blood. Jesus' heart kept beating as streams of blood flowed from His wounds. Every breath created more blood in His heart and the blood seaped through lascerations for hours. He dripped and dripped blood until it was enough. No pleasant little throat draining like the sacrifices of old. Jesus was bled like grapes in a press. After He had bled enough the Father forsook Him because He wore our shame. Then what horrors awaited Him in death? Did He go to hell or just into sleep? All of this was done to Him, but it was meant for me.

I think in our day we put way too much importance on this temporal existance. How could humans ever believe they created themselves? How empty and spiritless to think that we came from mud, then monkeys! But since a lot of humans do think we created ourselves survival is the primary goal. Therefore the thought of being beneath a god of any kind is ridiculous since they only rely completely on their 5 senses and their mind. And we think ancient cultures are primitive! Our generation has dismissed the thought of anything beyond our five senses! "If God exists how come I can't see Him?" How simple-minded can you be? No wonder faith is so valuable the darker this world gets. The further people get from the truth, the easier it is to forget the truth. Like froggies in the pot just waiting to be stewed...

I'm really glad Mel Gibson put all that blood in the movie. I know from my own reading of the bible that he held back a little. Jesus was even more torn up in reality but, seeing ribs through his wounds and watching his face swell up was enough. A friend told me one time, "Every lash they gave Him was like one of my sins being covered." Maybe it was more along the lines of one drop covering one person's sins. Or maybe one molecule of lifeblood covered one person. There had to be a quantity of blood because a simple cutting of the throat didn't happen. Or maybe it needed to be sprinkled throughout Jerusalem and sprayed onto the watching crowds and then passed on to those they touched on and on through time.

In any case, it was necessary and Jesus did it of His own free will. He's my Husband and He bought me with a price. I am His and I need to learn to respect that and obey Him. Teach me, Holy Spirit. AMEN.

5/21/2005

Stars, Fans, & A Chicago Band

Last night's open mic went great! At first I didn't think anyone was going to show, but then my friend Daniel brought in his crew and I played for them. Then Avie showed up from down the hill and I played for him and Darlene. It's been really great meeting people online through findjesusfreaks.com and craigslist. It has been fellowship that I had no idea would happen. Thank You, Lord for all these Christian musicians! They really ARE out there...

At the open mic last night stuff happened that was a little unsettling. Great! But unsettling nonetheless. I am accumulating fans, real fans. It surprises me since I am so out of practice, but hey! What it tells me is that people are hungry for deep, convicting songs and an honest songwriter. Maybe the only thing it should tell me is that my friends really love me and put up with me. :) But in any case, they are there making up my audience regularly. When people admire my music, I really want them to give glory to God but I can't gaurantee that they will. I sing about Jesus in my songs and I feel the mood change a little when I do it. But mostly I am just blowing people away with my vocal stylings. Singing is what I do, it's what I've always done. Maybe my motives still need to be changed.

I talked to Alex in Chicago yesterday for a while. He's really cool and loves music as much as I do. I got a chance to explain my reservations about travelling so far to jam with a band. The biggy is what made me refuse the offer of singing with Exit, that all-girl U2-style band in LA. Those girls are awesome, don't get me wrong. It's just that they had very firm expectations about how they wanted their singer to sound. My voice doesn't take orders well. I mean, I can imitate whoever and be a chick version of Bono with a little practice, but if that's all I am 'allowed' to sound like, to me that's not fair. Creativity equals freedom when Christ is within. I am not concerned with making it big and selling millions of hoo-has, etc. I just want to work with musicians that I get along with and who love the music, not as a means to an end but as God-given music. I want to pray before every practice and lift up God to show us what He meant music to sound like. If a band does that, there is no way the world can miss such a blazing light of glory for God. Maybe Alex has something like that going on, but flying to Chicago to find out is money and risk. I've never been over to that part of the states, in fact I am not even sure where Chicago is at. I shall consult the all-knowing yahoo maps. Oh! I see it, now. It's by a big lake. Cool. 2069.6 miles away....

I sang "dock of the Bay" last night. I could totally sing it if I moved to Chicago...."Two thousand miles I roamed, just to make this dock my home. Now I'm sittin on the dock of the lake..." I don't know what I am talking about, going to Chicago. I am just going to take it easy with all my options and pray a lot. God is perfect and His timing is perfect. There is a lot I am doing here in terms of ministry and fellowship so I don't want to think about bailing on it yet. But I do think about buying an electric guitar with the money I don't have (freakin credit baby!!!) and writing more Cornell-like music.

You know what? I smoke ciggies because it is a passive way of dying sooner. When I die I will see my Creator and I selfishly cannot wait to see Him. How is it that we are to fall so head over heels in love with God and not want to be with Him? But I suppose if we love Him we'll obey His commands. But we are all going to leave this world at some point, right? These bodies are falling apart from the minute they are fully developed. I know smoking is bad for my lungs, voice, heart, circulation, and longevity. I don't intend to smoke forever. But one of the rationalizations is that I want to see God a little sooner than not. I guess I should live as long as God wants me to so that when I enter His kingdom I have more jewels and less chaff. But even if I only have one jewel and a tiny bit of treasure stored, I know Jesus will be there. I know God's presence is there and that's all I can ask for...
...maybe the treasure in heaven is God's presence. Maybe the more treasures we store up there, the closer we get to Him. Maybe the more solid we are as spiritual beings, the more God-intesity we can handle and therefore we get closer to Him. It is sort of an overwhelming thought, that I could possibly love God more than I do now. I am almost afraid to fall deeper in love with Him because I can't imagine being more in love with anything. Hmmm, it just goes to show me that I still need to learn how to love. But that's good because I have finally realized Who is worthy to teach me love.

5/20/2005

Be Still My Child

You mean I'm not being LAZY?!?! Waiting on the Lord is okay, in fact, it is mandatory to have joy. Yesterday because of J-Dog's reference to Charles Stanley's sermon (thank you God!) on waiting I was filled once again with the joy of the Lord. I had so much energy I was wearing out my teenager friends playing hacky-sack.

I had started to get anxious because someone told me I should be doing something with my life. For me it has always been a struggle to actually get anything done as far as success goes. I make rash decisions because I am not afraid of taking risks. Then I lose all hope and direction and panic! It's because I have put myself in a place where God hasn't prepared me to be fruitful in. It's also because I didn't wait for His guidance or teaching on things, instead I listened to others telling me that trust in God is a cop out.

I am not God, people! I am just a small infantile creation who realizes her powerlessness and weakness. Believe me, I have tried to 'manifest' positive things in my life and think my way to super-successdom. I am so good at convincing myself of things that I don't even know when I am doing it (see: my last relationship). By God's mercy I never succeed without Him. And I am even more fortunate because I can't even come up with ideas about how to serve Him. I just know what I can do for the immediate future to honor my mother by moving out and to keep my integrity by updating my employers on any plans I have to leave town (none, yet). But as far as what I am suppose to do with my music, I truly have no clue. And that's good because it calls for complete dependence on the Sovereign God for any plans as well as actions.

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3 (niv)
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 (niv)
"Destruction is certain for my rebellious children," says the LORD. "You make plans that are contrary to my will. You weave a web of plans that are not from my Spirit, thus piling up your sins." Isaiah 30:1 (nlt)
The LORD shatters the plans of the nations and thwarts all their schemes. But the LORD's plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken. Psalm 33:10-11 (nlt)
Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21 (niv)

5/18/2005

The Path & the Machine

God knows everything I have been through and how I experienced my life thus-far and He can give me proper wisdom accordingly. Other people see the path I walk and panic because they have tried that path themselves. I once gave an analogy of a bunch of rockstars walking down this well-worn path until it bottle necks between two high cliff walls and only one person is able to squeeze through. That analogy really explained tenacity and perseverence but it also described the competitive nature of that path. I have never been competitive. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but it is what it is. I'll let you win any day if it means seeing your face light up with joy. Maybe it isn't such a great, compassionate thing when I give up so others can succeed. God chose ME in this calling. I need to be bold and confident in the gifts He gave me. The accuser will try to tell me it isn't worth it, that I'm a born failure. Jesus, by His Holy Spirit replies, "In your weakness I am strong." The narrow path isn't between two high cliff walls, it has an infinite drop on one side and the Rock of the Ages on the other. If I slip or teeter off the edge of temptation, God grabs me by my shirt collar and throws me backwards onto the Rock and breaks me. Then I heal and learn and by the strength of Jesus I balance on this path.

The Music machine, even the Christian Contemporary Music machine works the same as any other machine. It works with hundreds of intricate parts all for the purpose of production. I would like to think the CCM machine hopes to produce truth that the Holy Spirit then pierces peoples' ears to hear. But unfortunately it often just produces 'safe' music for kids to cling to. Instead of posters of Eddie Vedder they have images of hot Christian guys in their minds or even on their walls sometimes. Instead of screaming and reaching for John Mayer they scream and reach up to the ceiling worshipping...God? And I am not here to say who they are worshipping or what kind of thoughts they have. My point is, it's all a machine. It cranks out a product and people are either sold on it or not.

As soon as my voice or my guitar playing enters the ears of someone else, it ceases to be mine alone. Suddenly it's owned by the audience and they perceive it as they will. I am a performer and it's my job to express the truths I have been taught by the Holy Spirit in ways that I can understand best, through music. I am a seed-planter, not necessarily a harvester. That means product is not my primary concern. When I am successful is when I am most honest in my expression. If my song is tainted by grease to make it slide through the machine faster, that's not honesty and that's taking me from my success. If my voice is compromised by the packaging they have slapped on this product, then I have again failed. My success depends on the authenticity of my words and music and where they come from. I am not interested in money, fame, or selling the product. I am interested in giving the Holy Spirit something to push through the hearts of mankind that gets past all of the static of the age. Lord if it's Your will, let it be so. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

5/06/2005

Mere Creatures

"If life is so important why is it so #$@!&! fragile?" from the movie Insomnia

That is a #$%@! good question, if you ask me. I have always been fascinated with mortality and how a man can look indestructible and healthy as a superhero but can die of a heart attack simply because heart disease runs in his family. It is a wonder why people stretch and shape themselves with plastic surgery when they could get on a doomed airplane and be crushed and obliterated. I think my acquaintance with thoughts of death has been good for defining my priorities but it has threatened my own respect for the moment, if you know what I mean.

The character who said the quote up top was a murderer in the movie. He had claimed he killed by accident. But you could see his desire to do it again. It reminds me of that horrifying scene in Of Mice & Men when the big stupid guy accidentally breaks that womans neck. Death by accident and even worse, murder by accident have got to be the most disturbing reminders of our mortality.

We are seeing superheros a lot more on movies now and people are responding with predictable zeal. As the belief in God diminishes, humans have to create superhumans to aspire to and perhaps come to worship. What makes the X-men different from the gods of ancient Greece? Not much. My mom prefers Spiderman and I prefer Neo from the Matrix and Wolverine. I like the idea of man flying and warding off evil. I also love the idea of rapid healing and and an indestructible metal skeleton. Can Keanu Reeves or Hugh Jackman really do those things? Duh! No! But that doesn't mean I don't admire them for portraying the possibility. In fact if I ever met either of those men I would probably be short of breath and want to touch them and listen to them speak. I don't usually see them as equal to me; creations of God who are dust as I am. I forget that they are merely dust when images of enhanced special effects come to mind and by all appearances they seem immortal. But there is danger in admiring these actors/god-portrayers for anything but creations of God whom He allowed to work the entertainment machine. Danger for them and danger for their audience.

Please, Lord continue to show me that you alone are worthy of worship. Strengthen my grasp on the truth that we are all Your creations and are all in desperate need of Your unfailing love and mercy. In this world that seems to have forgotten You in order to worship themselves and eachother, I seek You everyday and hunger after Your words. I am nothing, Lord. You are everything. Your will is my peace and joy, I am honored to know You! Thank You for revealing these things to me, Lord. Thank You for strengthening me by Your word and healing me by Your wounds. My happiness is in serving You! Hallelujah!

Isaiah 55:3"Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, for the life of your soul is at stake. I am ready to make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the mercies and unfailing love that I promised to David. (NLT)

5/02/2005

God's Treasure Hunt

I watched that movie, "National Treasure" yesterday and it got me thinking. God gives us clues and guidance through His Word and through His peace. Those of us who have been taught how to love early in life do well on the treasure hunt, but there is always the risk of injury for them. After all, as soon as we think we are experts that's when we trip, fall, and eat dirt. But God picks us up and reminds us that we are still on His territory, hunting for treasure with His maps and clues and He guides us internally by His Spirit. We are humbled and realize: learning to love takes a lifetime.

I am always a little curious whether I will find another clue or some treasure (glory to God is the treasure, fruitfulness is the treasure). I used to be obsessed with finding the treasure and sorely disappointed when I would find yet another clue. But I see now, just as in that movie: we must go through the life of Jesus in order to know God better. In the movie they talked about going to all the places the forefathers went and the value in that. The most important part of the movie was how much they loved the hunt. That's what made it worth experiencing.

My mom named me after the goddess of the hunt. I somehow managed to adopt hunting as one of my character attributes. I am also a Leo in astrology so I managed to adopt lioness characteristics as well. Don't get me wrong, I don't believe in anything that is against the one true God, forever to be praised! However, He did choose to whom I would be born and when. It's interesting to say the least. I have never hunted game but I am a heck of a shot with a pellet gun. But back to the real hunt: I tend to think abstractly and that can be a help or a hindrance because sometimes the clue is obvious: 'Love thy neighbor.' But sometimes it's complicated: 'Put nothing else before Me, not even the man you love'. Sometimes the clue seems to take me in circles: 'Go back to Big Bear' or 'Stay in Big Bear'. No matter what I think God is doing, I know that He is right in what He does. The more I trust Him, the better. If I second guess Him and hesitate or look back...that's not trust. That's asking for trouble.

Lord God, I pray for strength to move for my body and peace for my mind. I trust You and give You my day. Thank You my Father for all of the guidance and encouragement from people online. Bless them as You have blessed me with their words. It is my joy and pleasure to obey You, God of Heaven and Earth. Amen.

5/01/2005

The Minds Dine

Shouldn't we stop being impressionable youths when we grow up? By grace I am growing up and I am finally losing that thing within me that soaks up everything people say. I still listen intently and lovingly to my friends and I learn so much about them. I still see things from their point of view without judging or having much of an opinion at all. But as far as applying what they say to my own life? Now I hold it up to the bible and I pray before I let their philosophies find meaning in what I believe to be true.

Last night over sushi my girlfriend and I talked and she gave me her idea of Jesus. To her, he was a good man in touch with the reality that we are all sons and daughters of God. His impact on the world of his time was so strong that he still can help people today. In the same way, the impact my dead ex-boyfriend had on me is strong enough so that he may 'visit' me and 'help' me as well. She says that when people believe something wholeheartedly they make manifest their own reality. Jesus' present-day 'life' is just a result of a lot of people believing he is the only begotton Son of God, sacrificed for our sins, etc. Christians are manifesting Jesus in the present day even though he died 2000 years ago. So in her picture, he was an amazing, loving man who was more in touch than anyone with the fact that we are all sons and daughters of God. Reality manifestation of many people united is so powerful that Christians will even manifest his return. Her view of Jesus is as a respected icon of history and she even prays to him as well as to her grandma, and her sister for protection and guidance.

As I listened to her I loved her so frickin much. Her point of view is beautiful in many ways and it was my pleasure to listen to it and imagine it. I can absolutely see how she has been surrounded by Christians her whole life and yet is not a Christian. Since a small child she has been extraordinary, from what she has told me, and has had meaningful experiences in many spiritual areas. She is one of the most dynamic and entertaining people I know. Yeah she rocks, but she's wrong about Jesus.

The unfortunate catch to this spirituality is that you may believe in Jesus but you may not believe in sin. How does that work? If it is to work, you shouldn't read the bible, or at least not the parts about sin and the fall. But you can have pictures of 'Jesus' on the walls and The Davinci Code on the shelf. You should stay away from 'negative energy' churches that preach salvation from anything; who needs salvation when there's no sin? But you can adopt a 'Christ-consciousness' at your local Church of Religious Science. You can love all people (including silly Christians) because you won't judge them since truth is relative and their reality is theirs. But you can also justify unloving, even hateful things by believing that they are loving and you are still a good person when you do them (since the only truth is what you make with what you think). All of this really sounds like it could work, except...

I had a wonderful dream last night. I dreamt that Earth had two moons and one sun. In the night sky I saw all three heavenly bodies join suddenly and abruptly as if moved by God's hand. They made one circle and then vanished. I grabbed the arm of the person that was with me, "Did you see that?!" He hadn't seen it. The more people I asked, the more I realized I was the only one who saw it. In my dream that sign from heaven meant that Earth had one month left before Jesus came back. I was elated and tried to tell my friends and family. I don't remember how they responded, but I danced and praised God and planned to spend my days on my knees with my eyes up to heaven like Mary at the foot of her Lord. It was one of the best dreams I've ever had. Another one was the dream I had when I was about nineteen and I saw God in the clouds and Jesus returning in them...

When I woke up this morning my heart sank a little. I realized that I hadn't really seen the sign in the heavens and I didn't have the reassurance that my King was returning for me in one month. But I know He will come back. Not because enough people are thinking about it really hard, but because that's what He promises me. The tricky thing about belief in 'reality manifestation' is you end up entrusting your life to your own mind. As prideful humans who believe we know better than God most of the time, that's a very easy trap to fall into. But I know what my mind is and I know what my soul is and I entrust my life to neither of them. I don't know this self-god that speaks to me through my inner dialogue. I know the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who came down as a man and paid for sin, putting an end to death. I know Him only because of what He has done to reveal Himself to me. I know I didn't manifest anything because He surprises me with His grace. It's nothing I could have come up with on my own, even if I had memorized the whole bible. The way I know God is in the very core of me, so that when my brain is a dead grey lump in my head, I will still know my God. No amount of transcedent meditation on the reality I desire could compare to the love and peace I have by simply trusting in my merciful God.