Thursday, August 27, 2015

How Have I Changed Since Coming to God?




Thoughts this morning. . .

Thinking on how have I changed since coming to God?

This is probably a question best answered by others, but these are my thoughts as to how I have been changed in the last 15 years.

  1. I hate sin.  Before coming to God, I knew that lying was not right. . . I knew that stealing was wrong. . . but I found ways to justify sin in spite of knowing right from wrong.  Now God hates sin, and I love God.  When I sin, I sin against Him.  I disrespect Him.  I hurt Him.  It drives a wedge between between God and I.  I hate sin because of the effect it has on my relationship with God.  This relationship is the most important.  This relationship is more important than the rules of right and wrong.  The relationship precedes the rules of right and wrong. . . I am not trying to apply the rules of right and wrong on the outside, but my hunger to be holy, and righteous comes from my heart. . . I loved my grandpa.  I imagine my grandpa’s face as God’s face, and when I sin, I have disrespected God. . . I see my grandpa’s face. . . God’s face with my spit running down His face mingled at the same time with His tears. . . God loves me so much, and when I sin it hurts Him. . . I hate sin, in direct proportion to how much I love God. . .
  2. I am more humble.  Before coming to God, I was very prideful.  I didn’t need a God. . . a Creator. . . a supreme being in order to be a good person.  I was very prideful at how good I was. . . I was a fool.  I justified all my flaws in order to be able to continue doing them.  I thought myself good, because I would give a street person $20 every now and again.  Forgetting all the darkness within me.  I thought myself good, because I had no experience with anything truly good and righteous.  If you’ve never seen something pure and white, you can convince yourself that any shade of gray is white. . . . But once you are exposed to blanket of freshly fallen virgin snow, never again will you think the charcoal gray tapestry that is your life, is anything but the soiled rag that it is.
  3. I am more forgiving.  Before coming to God, I was great at holding grudges.  It took a bit to get me mad, but once mad I could stay mad for weeks or months on end.  Now I see. . . I truly see how much God has forgiven me of. . . and there is no restraint of His love. . . I can detect no grudge from Him for my past behavior.  If then He can forgive me, who cursed Him and hoped Him dead. . . How can I not forgive the small injustices done to me?
  4. I am happier.  Before coming to God.  Happiness was always receding into the distance ahead of me.  Happiness was always on the next hill to climb. . . better job. . . more money. . .nicer house. . .goals with the children. . .and when I would arrive at where I thought happiness was, I would find some new obstacle to my happiness.  What ever line I drew where I thought happiness would start, I would find only a temporary happiness.  I had no lasting joy.  But now. . . my happiness comes from within.  I don’t look for external happiness.  I carry my happiness wherever I go.  My happiness comes from my relationship with God.  It isn’t dependent on job, finances, health, marriage, children, etc. etc. etc. etc. any external source.  My greatest joy is to dance before the Lord, and to worship Him.  I have found peace and happiness in an extraordinarily unexpected place. Like Dorothy and her ruby slippers. . . the means for happiness was within my reach for my entire life. . . I just wasn’t looking in the right place.

Just a few thoughts. . .

I love you my God. . .
Thank you for everything. . .

Dave

Pack Animals




Jackie​, and I just love our dogs so much. You can tell the season is changing. All summer long our dogs were on the floor for most of the nights in front of a fan, seeking coolness. . . now with the recent change of cooler evenings, they are snuggled as close as possible to us. . . both gaining and providing warmth. . .

Thinking of it, there are great advantages to being a member of a pack. . . to having friends, and family around us for mutual warmth. . . support and companionship.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. (10) For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. (11) Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? (12) And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

I have known several in my live who by choice lived very alone lives. I do not say lonely, for by external appearances they have not seemed to suffer from their lack of companionship, but they also have not seemed to lead very happy lives. They have tended toward being eccentrics. . . whether by cause or effect, I cannot tell, but that eccentricism seemed to progress and enhance as their years of aloneness persisted.

Wondering. . .no real evidence, but still wondering in my mind. . . an audio speaker, if given as input, its own output, enters into a feedback loop, where the sound becomes increasingly distorted and painful to hear. . .quickly losing its usefulness as a tool to enhance clarity. . . It seems to me, that the human mind also, if left alone. . . generating thoughts which are used then as input for more self thoughts without modification and feedback from another person. . . this loop seems to result in increasingly strange if not totally bizarre outlooks upon life.

In short, all evidence is that, on several levels we truly need one another. We need others in our lives. . . We need the fellowship, and companionship, and brotherhood of others around us. Women being social beings to their core, seem to get this, more than most men. In my own life, I need my wife Jackie to keep me plugged into my family and other people. I very much think without her, that I could easily become a naval gazer. . . an eccentric living in a cave, with a long beard, and strange unkempt ways.

I need my family. . .I need friends. . . I need my pastor. . . I need my brothers and sisters in church to fellowship with. . . to travel this journey with me. . . to lift me up when I stumble. . . to offer advice and warnings of dangerous paths. . . to help me pass through trials. . . to celebrate with me in times of joy.

I thank you my Lord for my family and friends which you have place in my life. . .
I love you my God.

Dave

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Blessing of a Dis-eased Heart. . .





The past few days, my heart has been burdened, and I have been waking up and praying in the wee hours of the night, and throughout the day. . . It is not always that I devote myself to such passionate prayer with purpose. I do speak with God, much of the day, every day, but more in the manner of conversationally speaking to my beloved best friend, rather than in focused and fevered intercessory prayer.

I find fault in myself for not devoting more time to intercession. The needs are huge. There is an overflowing need in our world for God to act. . . heal, restore, reveal Himself. . . No shortage of topics for us to pray for. . . It dawns upon me, that it is not lack of discipline and strength of will within me, but lack of hunger. . . lack of heart. For now I have found a purpose, I find no lack of intercessory energy and dedication.

The dramatic on camera murder today well illustrates this. A day never goes by when there are not many murders, but the drama of this one, recorded in act for all to see, if they so choose. . . (I did not so choose) . . . but the drama of this raises within us an emotional response, that merely reading a headline does not inspire within us. This drama, because we connect with the event has touched many hearts, which would have remained cold, without an eye into the event.

Does this mean that any murder is less deserving than any other of our concern? No, but unless we have a personal connections, everything else being equal, we are insulated, and hardened by the sheer numbers of such events we experience over our lives. . .

Note the following:

James 5:16
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

. . . and note the contrasted warning of this:

Matthew 6:7
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Prayer without passion. . . without fervency. . . without true heart behind it is vain. . . a worthless exercise. It is not the hours of prayer. . . but the tears, and anguish. . . the depth of feeling behind the prayers which gives it potency.

It is not the discipline to force myself into my prayer closet which I lack. That lack is a symptom, not a cause. It is within my heart where the flaw lies. . . my numbness. . . the thick callouses which insulate me from caring are the source of my failure of intercession. Give me a prayer task close to home, and I have energy enough. . .

Lord help me love more. . .
Lord help me to care more. . .
Lord. . . please help my heart to be dis-eased. . .

Dave

Friday, August 7, 2015



Thoughts this morning. . .

Thinking on how have I changed since coming to God?

This is probably a question best answered by others, but these are my thoughts as to how I have been changed in the last 15 years.

1. I hate sin. Before coming to God, I knew that lying was not right. . . I knew that stealing was wrong. . . but I found ways to justify sin in spite of knowing right from wrong. Now God hates sin, and I love God. When I sin, I sin against Him. I disrespect Him. I hurt Him. It drives a wedge between between God and I. I hate sin because of the effect it has on my relationship with God. This relationship is the most important. This relationship is more important than the rules of right and wrong. The relationship precedes the rules of right and wrong. . . I am not trying to apply the rules of right and wrong on the outside, but my hunger to be holy, and righteous comes from my heart. . . I loved my grandpa. I imagine my grandpa’s face as God’s face, and when I sin, I have disrespected God. . . I see my grandpa’s face. . . God’s face with my spit running down His face mingled at the same time with His tears. . . God loves me so much, and when I sin it hurts Him. . . I hate sin, in direct proportion to how much I love God. . .

2. I am more humble. Before coming to God, I was very prideful. I didn’t need a God. . . a Creator. . . a supreme being in order to be a good person. I was very prideful at how good I was. . . I was a fool. I justified all my flaws in order to be able to continue doing them. I thought myself good, because I would give a street person $20 every now and again. Forgetting all the darkness within me. I thought myself good, because I had no experience with anything truly good and righteous. If you’ve never seen something pure and white, you can convince yourself that any shade of gray is white. . . . But once you are exposed to blanket of freshly fallen virgin snow, never again will you think the charcoal gray tapestry that is your life, is anything but the soiled rag that it is.

3. I am more forgiving. Before coming to God, I was great at holding grudges. It took a bit to get me mad, but once mad I could stay mad for weeks or months on end. Now I see. . . I truly see how much God has forgiven me of. . . and there is no restraint of His love. . . I can detect no grudge from Him for my past behavior. If then He can forgive me, who cursed Him and hoped Him dead. . . How can I not forgive the small injustices done to me?

4. I am happier. Before coming to God. Happiness was always receding into the distance ahead of me. Happiness was always on the next hill to climb. . . better job. . . more money. . .nicer house. . .goals with the children. . .and when I would arrive at where I thought happiness was, I would find some new obstacle to my happiness. What ever line I drew where I thought happiness would start, I would find only a temporary happiness. I had no lasting joy. But now. . . my happiness comes from within. I don’t look for external happiness. I carry my happiness wherever I go. My happiness comes from my relationship with God. It isn’t dependent on job, finances, health, marriage, children, etc. etc. etc. etc. any external source. My greatest joy is to dance before the Lord, and to worship Him. I have found peace and happiness in an extraordinarily unexpected place. Like Dorothy and her ruby slippers. . . the means for happiness was within my reach for my entire life. . . I just wasn’t looking in the right place.

This is not an exhaustive list. . .Just a few thoughts. . .

I love you my God. . .
Thank you for everything. . .

Dave