I know. You are probably thinking I’m going to put the classic “tell Him your plans.” Nope. Actually you should tell Him your plans but be prepared for when He tweaks it for His purposes. Your desires don’t just come from within yourself. The two that stand out to me the most I picked up through Gracewalk.org; Pastor Steve McVeigh’s website for his online church. He did a series called 101 lies you hear in church. #1 is thinking you gave your heart and life to Jesus Christ. We don’t have the power to do that. All we can do is seek after the things of God and even that is the Spirit drawing us and not in and of ourselves. God reveals Himself through Jesus and it’s our choice whether to receive Him. So He actually imparts His life to us-otherwise known as imputed righteousness. The second thing that stood out as funny is “making Jesus Lord of your life.” Since when do you “make” Jesus do anything? He’s already Lord of your life. You just have to acknowledge Him. A Pastor once said He’s either Lord of all or He’ s not Lord at all.
-The Great Commission: Our calling in life and response to God’s call.
-Presupposing on the things of God
From a book by Freddie and Ninfa Garcia. Founders of Victory Temple Ministries. They take people off the streets and disciple them in homes and train them at an Academy in San Antonio to be Pastors and House Leaders. From my short experience in the home (granted I didn’t stay the whole six months which is probably a sign of commitment issues when it comes to programs but I felt called to pursue something else which I can’t explain) the most commonly asked question was “What is your drug of choice?” Most of them were ex drug addicts. But any idol or barrier between you and God can be a “drug”. Even prescription drugs such as psychotropics that you trust in more than God for healing. Other “drugs” that we use to self-medicate the void in our life are: money, sex, relationships, work, games, music, books, knowledge, etc. There is no end to the list of idols. Every one of these is an addiction in some form or another. All the support groups, medications, and 12 step groups won’t remove them until you get tired of struggling and give it to God. As Tony Evans once said-”there are no addictions in the Christian life; only strongholds.” The theme of the book was that many drug dealers (or sinners in general) have to have the will to change but realize they don’t have the power. Such as Paul described in Romans 7. Jesus also referred to this as blessed are the poor in spirit-those who realize their need for God. Broad is the way to destruction and narrow is the way that leads to life. All you have to do to walk through is realize how spiritually bankrupt we are without our Creator and recognize the doorway (the Cross) He’s provided to cleanse us. Everybody is seeking spirituality for the most part. However most aren’t seeking it in the right places out of pride and love of sinful pleasures; the latter can actually be used for God’s glory in some form since to some degree sin is pursuing in the flesh what God may want to give you if you just trust Him for it and do it His way.
-The Great Commission: A Call to Duty, Action, and Humanity
“All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.” We all miss the mark. Or better put, we all miss the point of life. While not necessarily all “bad”, we do tend to be a little selfish and put ourselves first before God and others. God’s ways are higher than man’s, so His ways are to put Him first and others second and ourselves last. However don’t neglect to take care of your temple or you could become codependent in your relationship with God and others. Love your neighbor as yourself but don’t make yourself an idol. The first few books of the Bible and the book of Psalms teach us to meditate on the Law of God in order to have success in all we do. Sometimes we get so caught up in observing the Law that we become Martha’s instead of Mary’s. We end up trying to establish our own righteousness rather than allowing God to establish His righteousness in us through Christ. The 10 commandments are breaking down in Orthodox Judaism into about 613 laws (who was so anal they actually counted?). If you try to following every single one you will enslave yourself to legalism and forget that it’s all about a relationship. Then you could end up punishing yourself when you mess up (you will at some point). If you study them close enough, they are all about putting God first (loving Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength) and loving others as yourself. Seeing yourself as worthy through the blood sacrifice of a perfect offering (hmmm. . .wonder what that could be) and loving God more than anybody, anyplace, or anything (the cost of discipleship-Luke 14). In doing so, true believers/followers persevere in the faith so as not ot let anything come between them and their Lord (the other requirement for being a Disciple). Being a Disciple is not that complicated since it’s all about trusting God and putting Him first in everything and acknowledging His Son as the Messiah/Lord & Savior). In closing, we miss the mark-because we miss the point. That it’s all about love. And judging by how we humans treat each other-trying to get ahead and stepping on toes, putting people down who we feel are better than us, etc., we are far from loving each other like the Bible requires. Without the Grace of God this is impossible. And that comes through faith in what the Messiah has done for us to all those that turn to their Creator to find Life. Love Never Fails!
Sometimes people, even believers, take Jesus too literally. Yes, you can take even God too seriously now. Remember the darkest verse in the Bible said many of Jesus’s disciples turned back? Oddly enough this was John 6:66 in case know one else caught that. . .:) besides us numbers freaks. They deserted Him because He said something to the extent of eternal life meant eating the flesh of the Son of Man and drinking His blood. Now if He meant that literally that’s just gross. Catholics take it literally to mean communion-which should be practiced more in churches nowadays. Jesus was talking about feasting the living Word and drinking Living Water. Revelations 3:20 is an invitation for lukewarm believers to answer the call upon their lives and sup with the L-rd. It’s all about communion, a living relationship with God. Revisiting the Cross when we screw up and seeking forgiveness from the One who has already forgaven us. Likewise, there are only two demands of Jesus for those that want to follow Him. A Disciple is a student and learns from the Master. The only requirements are to love God so much that your love for family and friends looks like hatred; and the other requirement is to carry your cross daily. We humans like to overcomplexify God when His teachings are so simple a child could understand them. The first requirement goes back to the first two commandments and the Greatest Commandment to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Carrying your cross involves not letting the cares and tribulations of this world keep you from reaching your potential in Christ. You can have long-term goals but trust God to lead and take it one day at a time so you don’t get too overwhelmed. So the only real cost is to stop thinking about yourself and your problems and seek first the Kingdom of God. In doing so He provides everything you need (and possibly almost all of your wants on His terms) and fills your cup to overflowing into the lives of those around you.
Do we really love each other? Maybe in a human form which has nothing to do with sacrifice. We love those that love and accept us and ignore those that don’t fit into our little clique (which is all the church is these days). Upon visiting a homeless shelter I was amazed at the way people try to kill each other and run each other down just to get checked in and get a meal, shower, and a bed. I don’t like to go to the Doom & Gloom extreme of telling everybody how wicked they are like some people do. We are selfish by nature which makes us to wicked acts. We are by nature condemned without God. We don’t have to condemn each other and God doesn’t forsake or condemn anybody, though He does resist people who are proud, arrogant, and full of themselves. We pretty much condemn ourselves. Any love we have for God or others in that state is likely a codependent relationship since it’s hard to have self-esteem or value yourself if you don’t know your true identity as a Child of God. Anyway, homeless shelters aren’t the only places we kill each other. We kill each other in wars and Jihads (from a Muslim perspective). We kill each other by putting down those that we feel are better than us because they are better at something we aren’t. When we are too lazy to pursue our own dreams because we realize how much work it entails, we shoot down those that are willing to step out in faith and actually know what they want. In closing, if we don’t kill each other physically, we do it emotionally and verbally and mentally. True love is overlooking people’s flaws and seeing them for their potential in Christ and accepting them for who they are even if they are different. Most people who struggle with Mental Illness are usually highly intelligent, often artistic types, who feel isolated from the rest of society. Because no man is an island and we are created to be in relationship, this isolation leads to anxiety disorders, anger, frustration, depression, and eventually psychosis if not dealt with. One way to balance out your brain chemicals with the Word of God is to fully understand your true identity as a Child of God and realize that God loves you and accepts you for who you are even if everyone else hates you (in the Greek sense of the word hate-loves less). If you have one or two close friends that love and accept you that actually lasts a lifetime you are rich.
What is Faith? Some believe it’s accepting reality as it is. Then no matter how much faith you have you will still struggle with depression & anxiety because reality is negative by nature. No jobs, health problems, etc. John writes in his first letter that faith in Christ Jesus is the victory that overcomes the world. True faith is an overcoming faith. A faith that rises above the natural realm and sees God in the supernatural where all things are possible. In the supernatural realm there is a job for everyone that wants one. You can be healed from that sickness. Jesus said if you abide in Him you can have whatever you ask if you ask according to the Father’s will? What is the Father’s will? That you trust Him for whatever you ask Him for. To make sure what you want lines up with His Word. James says you have not because you ask with wrong motives. You probably won’t get exactly what you are asking for exactly when you want it since God is good at throwing curve balls. Paul says the just shall live by faith-your declaration of dependence so to speak. Most people live in fear. Fear of condemnation if they don’t know God. Many come to God thru Jesus just for fire insurance and aren’t really seeking a relationship. Thus, they may not have one sad to say. Anybody can make a profession of faith. Others fear the desires of their heart aren’t from God so they don’t pursue them. Do you think you were ever that far from God that all those desires just originated inside you? Most human desires in and of themselves aren’t evil until man twists them and pursues them by his own methods-without God. Some know what they want out of life but are “waiting upon the Lord” while He may be waiting for them to step out in faith and open a door that He’s put there for days, weeks, or months, maybe even years. The underlying issue of most illnesses is anxiety & stress. Anxiety is fear based and the only way to defeat it is to step out and face what you’re afraid of rather than hiding behind it. That would be how I balanced out my own brain chemicals according to the Word of God the last few months without the use of modern medicine. Remember the Greek word for “witchcraft” is pharmakeia so trusting anything man-made for something God wants to do in your life is a form of idolatry when there is a natural or supernatural solution.
Go after God,