Friday, April 30, 2010

Back when Stupid was stupid

As Father time begins to look more like a Brother, I find myself waxing nostalgic. I miss Summer days when the only thing I had to worry about was if we had enough daylight left for Baseball. You know, back in simplier times, back when being stupid was actually being stupid!

Fast forward to the events of the past several months. Famous Husbands that have been caught sampling other peoples commitments or even lack of it. Tigers and Outlaws that apparently can't be left alone for 5 minutes without cheating on their Spouses.

And what is the excuse/reason for this outlandish behavior? Why, they have an addiction! Don't you feel bad for them? There was nothing they could do! They are products of their biological make up. The only victim here is themselves or so they would have you think.

The sad part is that our Society falls right in line with that ingnorance and we even start catering to it. We now have Rehab for Sex addiction. You know, what we use to know as, "I got caught cheating" Class. Believe it or not folks, the things that we generally do to ourselves or to others is not from some chemical imbalance in our brains, or some genetic make up that we can blame our Parents or our Parents, Parents for. Sometimes we just get stupid.

Deb and I celebrated our 24th Anniversary last week and my Mother-in-Law pulled out some Pictures from our dating days. I was in shock because in my mind I'm still that skinny kid that said "I do" but in reality there is now nearly twice as much me than there was then. But it's really not my fault, you see. I'm addicted to Food! It's really my Parents fault too because they started feeding me back when I was a baby. It's really Debbie's fault too because she is a good Cook and every day she gets me my fix. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't have a problem at all!!!

Rediculous? Absolutely but hopefully you see my point. You see, I know that people are weak. I realize that they make bad choices that affect their lives and the lives of others but there are some things that are absolutes. If you made a vow to love, honor and cherish someone until you die, you ought to live up to it. Respect yourself enough to live up to your own word. Respect your Spouse enough to always do what is right. And when you mess up, don't go blaming others and seeking treatments for "diseases" that we have made up to hide our own guilt. Own up, man up, say your are sorry and spend the rest of your life proving it. Repent to God and your Spouse.

A $600,000 boat won't fix what is broken. A half zillion carat diamond ring won't fix what is broken. (sorry gals) Why? Because the thing that is broken is the Spouse that cheated and it's not from addiction nor from or because of others. It's because they broke their word, their vow before God and Man and the only one they can blame looks them in the mirror every day.

You may the greatest Golfer in the World or you might can build custom Motercycles from paper clips but when you have lost the trust of the person you love, those things don't really matter. It is better to be a Man that is held in esteem by his Wife and Children, than a Man that the World knows but no one respects.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Trials or Trails?

(Warning---- Long read)

We speak a lot in Christian circles of "going through trials." Generally meaning of how we go through things that do not always go our way. I've even heard one "Christian" equate a stolen parking space to going through a trial. I'm convinced that much of what America calls trials is nothing more that spoiled children not getting what they want immediately from their Father. I don't think we can truly speak of trials when there are those, such as Christians in China, that literally put their lives on the line for the cause of Christ.

Before anyone accuses me of being too judgemental of Christians let me state to you that I am a product of what I speak. I've been there, done that and sold the T-shirt at a garage sale after I've worn it out. That's been made very clear to me in the past few months and has come into a clearer revelation knowledge even this past weekend, when I asked God to deliver me from this trial. Imagine my indignant response when I felt God speak into my spirit, "Why would I remove from you what is drawing you back to me?"

"Back to You???? I don't understand what you mean? I've spent my whole life trying to get closer to You, trying to make you love me more, trying to be good enough for You to accept me and use me more, trying to become holy enough!" Now imagine my religious indignation when I felt God speak into my spirit, "All of those things that YOU have been trying to do are not possible!"

"Oh! Surely you mean that they are not possible through my own means, (swelling up because I thought I had the spiritual answer and I was soooo proud) but possible through you because "YOU MAKE ALL THINGS POSSIBLE!" Whew, Glowray, I feel a shout coming on! But then imagine by conditioned unbelief as I felt God speak, "NO! Simply not possible!"

I say "conditioned unbelief", because I feel that I have suffered with what most people with a religious spirit suffer with and that is a feeling of unacceptance. I've been one that has stated, "I don't like religious people" and even gone so far as to say, "I'm not fond of religion either." I've said those things because I have stated to believe that I would rather have relationship, which I truly do believe but seeing myself through honest eyes, I see that I have gone about seeking relationship through religious means. Meaning that I have lived with the premise that "if I can just get to be good enough, then God will accept and use me more." What I have found is this. That premise is not possible.

Before anyone cries out that I've gone off of the reservation and am walking away from God, let me point out some of our collective conditioned unbeliefs.

1. If we sing the right Songs, stand or kneel at the right times, snot and spit where appropriate and by all means work up a sweat, we can come into the presence of God!

Before I point out where that is fundamentally flawed thinking, let me state absolutely that I do believe in the power of corporate worship. It's just that most times I believe that we accidentally reach the point we are striving for.

The thinking of "coming into the presence of God" is a relatively Pentecostal idea but that idea is fundamentally flawed by the very thing that we often preach. "After Christ was crucified the veil of the Temple was torn from top to bottom." Signifying that God, Himself, tore it. What did the veil of the temple represent? It was the point of seperation between God and man. If God went through the point of tearing it, shouldn't we realize that we live with HIS PRESENCE every day of our lives? Shouldn't our lives be lives of worship everyday and how much more powerful can our worship be when we truly realize that? We've been conditioned to believe that if we do things just right, God will honor us with His presence. The sad truth that we often fail to realize is that God honored us with His presence at the death of his Son. We have just failed to accept it because of conditioned unbelief.

2. If I just do better, I can make God love me more, use me more or my favorite, (because I've allowed this belief to cripple me spiritually) I can have more power with God because I will be more holy.

I've included all of these together because they are all designed on the same conditioned unbelief and that is, "there is something I can do to earn more of God." It simply is untrue. OK, I feel that round up mentality starting to come over you again so let me be clear, I BELIEVE IN HOLINESS. I just don't believe in the process of conditioned unbelief that we generally go about it with. There is nothing that I can do to be more holy. There is nothing I can give up to cause God to love me more and there is nothing that I can do to cause His power to work more effectively through me. I know that just puckers some of the self-righteous so let me give you a new paragraph to soak it in! :<)

How is it possible to make someone love you more? Especially when that Someone, God the Father, gave His own Son to die in your place. There is nothing more that can be done. Even Jesus said, "There is no greater love than when a man gives his life for his Friends", yet the majority of organized religion is based upon the idea that we somehow have to earn it. It is rediculous in its premise and impossible. If accepting the blood of Jesus as a covering of my sin is not good enough to make me holy before God, NOTHING EVER WILL BE. This conditioned unbelief of becoming good enough is the reason why we have Churches full of "Christians" who live defeated, discouraged and powerless lives because what they are attempting to achieve through their religious exercise is something that can never be achieved because it has already been given to them and they just don't realize it. IT IS NOT POSSIBLE FOR GOD TO LOVE YOU MORE! The sooner we accept that, the sooner we begin to live in His destiny and power. The hard part of this for the truly "religious" is that God loves the drunk in the alley just as much as he loves those we deem to be Saints.

Yes, I hear you saying, "but what about Sin seperating us from God?" It's true! Sin does seperate us and always will. Let me put it to you in another setting. When I dated Debbie, I had some fairly flashy clothes. Back in those days I was in good physical shape and I bought shirts and pants that accented those qualities because in my mind, "this beautiful girl likes what she sees and I want her to like me more." I had a collection of shirts that had designs and one that even had some sparkle to it and I thought that she really liked to see me in those shirts. (yes, I was a total red neck) It wasn't until after we were married that I came home one day that I found all of those clothes, that I thought helped to make her like me more, in a pile to be given away to the next misguided redneck. Imagine my surprise when I realized that all of those times that I thought she looked at me because of what I was wearing, I found out she was looking at me because SHE LOVED ME. Even with my flaws she loved me and yes, she worked to change me and I went along with it. Not because I thought it would make her love me more but because I accepted that she loved me.

You can't get closer to God than to have his manifest presence living in you. The sooner we accept that, the sooner we truly change. Not because we are earning his love or acceptance but rather because of it. I can't be more holy than to have Christ live in me. It simply isn't possible. I can't be more powerful than to live in His realized and continued presence in me.

This conditioned unbelief has caused entire religious organizations to built upon guilt based rules and regulations that do nothing to draw us nearer to God but only magnify the flaws that we wrongly believe causes God not to love, accept, or use us. I'm done serving God out of guilt and because I've removed the needless guilt, I accept relationship and I change. Not because I have followed some misguided formula but rather because you cannot walk with God and not change. Conditioned unbelief causes us to think we have to earn the right to walk with Him. That my Friends is truly impossible.

This revelation causes me to realize that most times, what I have considered to be trials has simply been trails that lead me back to a love that was so freely given, yet we have a hard time accepting it. All of this can be summed up in a very simple yet, astounding truth that Jesus uttered more than 2000 years ago. He came to a Woman at a Well and because of his perfection without acceptance She began to deflect his love with religious arguments about what Mountain people should worship on. He said, "But the hour cometh, AND NOW IS, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.John 4:22-24

The thing that we often overlook in that passage is that the FATHER IS SEEKING out such worshippers. Those that worship in spirit and truth. I can't be more "in the spirit" than to have His manifest presence live in me every day and that should change the way I worship.

Sadly, most of todays "Praise and Worship" is built upon the context of "coming into God's presence" when His Word clearly teaches us that He is seeking the worship of those that accept and realize that His presence literally abides with us.

Does your worship seek more of God or do you worship the one that has already accepted you, already loves you and already seeks out those that worship Him in that way?