By Bread Alone?

While Re-reading Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard this week I ran across a scripture that we are all familar with. Man Shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedth from the mouth of God (Note the KJV in there). And like all scripture there are multiple depths of meaning to be extracted as the Holy Spirit reveals them to us.

While Willard was speaking of the influence Christ Jesus has on our internal lives.  I begin to think about the beginning of that verse “Man shall not live by bread alone…“. It seems that we are born into a culture that trys to survive on bread alone. Until I knew God I was living in the gym, I was seeking the next party, I was going to buy some more cigarettes, I was seeking to fulfil the desire of the flesh. These things only fulfilled my stomach, my temporary need. There was no depth to my life, only the next “fix”.

So today I pray for those who are so caught up in their jobs that there is not room or energy for God. I pray for those who are seeking fulfillment in alcohol and drugs. I pray for those whose hobbies replace time with the Father. I pray for a new spark in our relationship with the Father. I pray for a date night where we renew our vows to God. Father I want to live and live more abundantly. I want people to see you over flowing like a fountain from your children, full of life, and love, and peace. May you be lifted high as your children are reuniting to the vine Christ Jesus.

Man Shall Not Live By Bread Alone…

Self Reflection (AKA Post Sunday Morning Funk) Part 1

What is motivating you to live for tomorrow?    No, really.      Today I have come to the sobering realization that my motives for life are not pure ones. I would like to honestly say that I live for the glory of God. But something inside me feels convicted when I say that.

Today after a mild disappointment in ministry I find my joy and fulfilment teetering at the helm of a single event.  “Prone to wander oh I feel it Prone to leave the one I love, Here’s my heart oh take and seal it, seal it for thy throne above”. These words resonate so very vibrantly every time I hear the old hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”. Because it is the most honest thing that I can sing to God. It becomes my confession of my disappointment with myself.       

As mentioned in The Sentry posted earlier last week, The Sentry has a major internal problem that hinders his effectiveness. This is how I feel with my own desire to please God. I feel like my “flesh” is desiring be successful and my “flesh” makes me feel depressed when that doesn’t look like the case.  

So I reflect on a friend of mine who is a Catholic Priest who has been functioning in his own monastery for the last 14 years. He is utterly fulfilled, always kind and loving, and centered in Christ. Very few people know that he even exist. I am reminded of Henri Nouwen who was on of the most successful Christian writers of the past fifty years. Nouwen taught and preached around the world and at the climax of his career he left the world of success for a ministry position at a center for severely handicapped people. Nouwen worked in the facility until his death. He turned down the pleasures of his “flesh” for a pleasure that must of been more fulfilling.   

In Christ’s temptation by the devil it was his recognition that was challenged. Yet as scripture tells us Christ took the road that led to sadness and death. He took the path that would remove his glory and take on flesh. To give up a throne and take up the cross. 

So today I have been exposed to my desire to be successful to be publicly acknowledged. Today I find the filth that remains in this vessel and I pray for forgiveness and cleansing. So here I am… flawed and disgusted at the wickedness that lurks in every mirror.   

These are a sample of the thoughts that run through my head on any given Sunday… welcome to my world.      🙂

A Kingdom Without a King

Yep, its that self hating topic again why I hate the Church… Wow that sounds harsh. Ya know, what ever happened to loving God with all your heart, mind and soul, and your neighbor as yourself. How easy can it be people. Why must we assess everything we read or see, why must we compare ourselves with each-other.

Tonight I reflect upon the way several of my friends are paralyzed by other Christians ministers. As if they are the ones who are to be commended. It’s like a disease and I find myself fighting to get away from it. It comes in the form of jealousy and envy, covetousness and pride. All running rampant in the Church of God.  Aren’t we suppose to be spotless and blameless. We can’t even receive grace with grace.     

Now it may seem that I am overstating the facts here, but I believe if we postured ourselves correctly, Our world (Work place, School, Neighborhood) would be so much better off. We have to realize that God is the founder and creater of the Church, not us. We have to realize that He has a will for His church and our opinion of it doesn’t really matter to Him.

During a recent conversation A friend of mine who has been recently divorced told me of a comment a neighbor made to her children. “Because your mother has been divorced She’s going to hell”. When My friend approached the other mother, and the woman stood by her statement, that she was going to hell. Now I don’t know about you but you could cuss my grandpa’s grave and not get me any madder.   

Can I reintroduce a concept to you all for reference sake. Its called the “Gospel”, the “Good News”.  You see scripture teaches that we are born into sin, that we are born into condemnation. That is where “the world” stands all by itself, “the world” doesn’t need our arrogance and it doesn’t need our opinion either. The world doesn’t need our “Christian T-Shirts” or our stupid bumper stickers.  You know what the world needs it needs my beautiful Jesus, Who died for the sins of the world. You see Jesus came to free the captives, to preach the kingdom to the outcast, the lame, the sick, and the sinners. You see… the world can do bad all by itself it doesn’t need us to reiterate what it instinctively knows. We have to show love and mercy, kindness and compassion, self sacrifice and humility, faithfulness and long-suffering.

So what has gotten into our system that makes us so focused on each-other, or on some pastor in Michigan or LA…..    What is it that has gotten our focus off of evangelism and into being “cool”…..     I’ll tell you what it is, its “the devil” and as long as we keep our heads out of our Bibles and our knees off of the floor we will continue to BELIEVE LIES and our churches will be as powerless as KINGDOM WITHOUT A KING.

THOR and the Kingdom

To all you Marvel fans the new Thor series has begun and has arrived with a bang. As with the character and the plot that has been laid out through the Avengers, its quite strange. A guy who is a god?… a guy who thinks he’s a god?, regardless this is a hard character to grasp in the midst of the Avengers, but this new series by itself is fresh and interesting.

The series begins with Thor being called back to earth to be with the mortals to continue his legacy. His is given the option to help humanity, to return to earth and shape the future of the world or continue outside of our world. In one scene he is talking with a guy in the Void (The middle ground outside of our world) And he asks him about about the city where he was from in the past, Asgard. What about the others? What about the past?  He begins to reflect upon friendships, lovers, and the joys of his past life. And the other character tell Thor that Asgard is inside of you and inside of those who believe in the gods.

In the following book he buys a plot of land in Oklahoma and creates a huge storm where in which the castle of Asgard lands right on the earth. The locals freak out… and on goes the series.

When reflecting on these ideas I can’t help but to be reminded of times where I was upset that weren’t more “Christians” at my job. “Ya know I just hate to be outcast by those sinners.” I found myself being sad and hopeless, wanting “Christian Fellowship.” Then one day I realized that I needed to build the kingdom right here. I needed to convert Christians to fellowship with. I needed to bring the kingdom to earth right where I was.   

You see the strange power and weirdness that is portrayed in Thor is the same strangeness that rest on us as we walk in the Holy Spirit. We are powerful beings not residents of this earth. Longing for the kingdom to come.  

So I resound with Thor today…. Through our faith and posture may the kingdom come from the sky and rest in the middle of our workplaces, in the middle of our neighborhoods, May we see the power we have to change lives by the kingdom that is inside of us.  

Transfiguration (Matt 17)

Revisiting the very mysterious passage in Matthew 17 was a revealing time for me today.  As of late I have been struggling to feel satisfied with my productivity. I have found myself wanting to do  more, wanting to jump the gun on a few things I know God is calling me to. I hope you can relate to what I’m talking about. I have just wanted to pleasing my Father in Heaven.

Well, over the past few days I have been led to read Matthew 17 a few times. And time after time of reading it I have had little insight or revelation…until today.   To recount the story Jesus takes Peter James and John on the mount with Him and He enters into an illuminating conversation with Moses and Elijah. The disciples don’t know what to do, they start talking crazy and the Father speaks to them and says “THIS IS MY SON IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED,LISTEN TO HIM” Christ walks them back down the Mount and tells them not to tell anyone.

Okay, we have all read the story, but today the Lord showed me something new.    Jesus takes the three guys who are always the closest and most spiritual with Him. These are the guys that are the only ones to pray over some sick people with Him, they are the ones who are most trusted, and they are ones who will come to write scripture that will be forever canonised in the New Testament. So these guys must of thought highly of themselves… they must of thought they were hot stuff.  So He takes them up the mount and they freak out at the sight of the Glorified Christ… I mean freak out like fall to the ground, and if that wasn’t enough the Father speaks to them and says “This is my son in whom I am well pleased..” He doesn’t say “You guys are great I love you your doing my will, keep on working at it.” He doesn’t say “hey Plant my church and I will bless you.”  He says “THIS IS MY SON… IN HIM I AM WELL PLEASED.” You see it is only in Christ that the father can accept us, it is only by the blood. It can not be earned or stressed over, it is given freely because of the love of the Father and the Sons obedience through the Holy Spirit.

You see because we have accepted Christ as our Savior the father sees Him when he looks at us. He sees the one who is well pleasing to Him. He sees the sacrifice. If we ever thought we could earn the Fathers favor and blessing we are mistaken. Christ was brutally beaten… He was crucified and Buried. And do you remember what the Son of God prayed in the Garden. “If there is any other way…”.  So you know what there is no other way. It is only by the blood, only by the Son; the beloved son who is glorious beyond all understanding.      So may you today reflect on the Beauty of Our Lord Jesus. May He get the glory forever and ever.

The Sentry

In The New Avengers, a comic distributed through Marvel, a story of one of the most powerful heroes emerges. He is The Sentry, a hero who has the power of a thousand exploding suns. But there is a problem… Captain America and the (New) Avengers find him totally useless and secluded from the known world. In discovering him and talking with him they come to figure out that he has been brain washed and that he has been tricked into using his own thinking to hinder himself from using his powers. He literally uses his own powers to beat himself up.  Ultimately the most powerful super hero becomes unable to funtion and even forgets who he is.      

Today after a long day of spiritual activity I can completely relate to the Sentry’s problem. My mind is roaring telling me all kinds of things that hinder my ability to function.  I wonder how much of my life is completely disabled because I beat myself up with my own fear. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear…    It is very easy to point the finger when we find ourselves unfulfilled. We may first point at the Devil, we may point to the one whom raised us, we may even point a finger at our creator.  But today I find myself as The Sentry pointing my finger at myself.    I am the one who hinders my own joy. I set myself up for failure, making high standards that are unreachable. It seams like my mind doesn’t want to believe that I can just cease striving and know…  I want to achieve. I want to do more than anyone else. I want to impress others.   But the truth is profoundly simple. Christ Jesus has died for my imperfection and redeemed my life.

So I recognize that I need a renewed mind, one that is not hindering the authority and power given in and through God. I recognize that my mind is the first target of the enemy and the most difficult part of my body to tame. So today I surrender my mind to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. I want to be changed, I want to cease trying to succeed. I don’t want to achieve I want to recognize Christ’s achievement.    I want to be fully able to do even greater things than Christ because He goes to the Father.     

I want to have power of a thousand exploding suns. 

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