Monday, September 17, 2007

Not Them, Just Us

I found this quote from Jim Palmer's book, 'Divine Nobodies' most interesting..

'Maybe "us and them" is an illusionary tactic of the real enemy, and there is no "them" but just "us.

Does criticizing and blaming others serve to cover my own tracks of insult and injury in the world? Have I confused a war of words with rolling up my sleeves and actually doing something about all the issues and problems I claim to care about? Maybe demonizing people out there distracts me from the demons of pride and selfishness within myself.
In the fourth chapter of his New Testament letter, James asks, "What causes fights and quarrels among you?" Answer: "They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves."

I'm wondering if set free from that struggle deep within for worth, purpose, significance, meaning, and love, I could see people more through God's eyes. Jesus said that God "sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set the burdened and battered free."

Maybe there's just one classification of people on planet Earth: imprisoned, empty, unfulfilled, broken people in need of life only Christ can give.

Without a doubt, one of the very best books I've read in years, I can hardly wait until his next book comes out soon...Wide Open Spaces


Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Living Loved Battle

This doesn't have to make any sense to anyone else, including me. I'm not saying this is the only way of viewing what I'm wanting to share here, different is, and can be good, not necessarily better.

When I think of the love of God my Father, I can't think of that without it encompassing His transforming, liberating grace as well.

I wrote a piece a while back, thoughts, on the inconvenient truth of grace. I am seeing not a decreasing, but rather an increasing awareness of this becoming an ever more alarming, but freeing proposition.
Unless I'm really in a fog, it is my understanding, although belonging to Him, there is still within the bent and twisted avenues of my unconverted soul a inclination, a disposition towards my wanting from the moment I awake, to want to follow the interests of me, myself, and I.

Is it that incongruous to think that His love and grace is, an inconvenient truth? Doesn't it talk about this most clearly in one of the communications Paul shared with the church?

Galatians 5:16-18 (The Message)
16-18 My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God's Spirit. Then you won't feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don't you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?

Learning to live loved, is only possible in the context of the struggle that goes on continually from within, the outer pressures are simply being used of the father, no matter their complexities, to present us an opportunity to allow, know, what it means to choose Life, in the face of the inconvenience to my self.

This as well from the Message, Romans~1-2

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ's being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.

A new law, a new and living dynamic, (the Law of the Spirit of Life) the love of the Father, moment by moment freeing us in this battle where the gravitational pull of sin and death beckons us to live.
I love the thought our brother Peter shares with the church, so very much alive today, in this moment as it was over two thousand years ago,
'Continue to grow in the grace and true knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.'

For me, I cling to the One who is that Living Hope, the one who said, 'I have come to seek and save that which is lost.'
We are all lost, and it is Him seeking us, drawing us in ways that stagger our independent and arrogant ways, whereby in having our eyes opened to the reality of His unconditional love, there is no fleshly boasting permitted.
If I have lost something from birth, how would I ever know I was missing something? Maybe this loving Father has much more (up his sleeve) in his heart and affections towards me than simply saving my lost/dead spirit, but calling forth those lost portions of my soul that were meant to be vibrantly animated with His loving embrace.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

When Love Came To Town

I have been pondering on what Jesus said with regard to saving or loosing our lives,

"Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?"

In my opinion, there is no lasting and fulfilling way to deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Him apart from one most essential thing, Knowing the present and unconditional love of God the Father, other wise, it might look good, being-living sacrificially, but maybe inwardly bemoaning the fact of having to give up something.

If we were created, all of man kind, to be loved unconditionally, to try and function apart from this reality explains the insanity of what man is doing to his fellow man.It says that in fear there is torment, but perfect love (unconditional love) drives, or casts out fear. The plague of fear and shame that is in the very DNA of mankind is an unavoidable prison house, and no one escapes its clutches unless Love comes to town!

A Marxist leader once said. 'that religion is the opiate of the masses,' and religion goes far beyond what most of us think we know it to be. In my opinion, everything outside of Christ Jesus, not knowing this unconditional love of God the Father is pure, 'religion.'So in other words there is an absolute need to find whatever it takes to anesthetize the insanity of these relentless and tormenting fears within us. This anesthetic comes in many forms, bottom line, it never frees us, but in fact only securely keeps us enslaved.

For every situation you'll ever encounter will offer you two options in prayer: "Father, save me" or "Father, glorify your name." One will only compound the frustration and emptiness, and the other to discovering what it means, when Love comes to town.

Freedom, the way of escape, is only found in the true knowledge of the Father's unconditional love, this true knowledge is a weapon that defies all logic, it is the key that frees us from our self-interests, our self-preservation, and finding a way of facing and dealing with whatever life throws at us.

I like what Wayne Jacobsen says in his book, He loves Me, "It's not the words we use that matters here, but the cry of our heart. Choose to save yourself and you will find yourself resisting God when you don't even mean to. You'll end up praying against the very things God is using to transform you. You'll miss his attempts to help because they won't look like the thing you want."

This insatiable craving for security and completeness is only found in the arms of this loving Father...let His love draw you unto Himself.

U 2 Lyrics....."When Love Comes To Town" (Live From the Kingdom mix)

Don't you know love is the greatest thing that the world has ever known
Love is what everybody loves
We all need just a little love But I did what I did when love came to town
I was a sailor, I was lost at sea
I was under the waves before love rescued me
I was a fighter, I could turn on a thread
But I stand accused of the things I've said

When love comes to town I'm gonna jump that train
When love comes to town I'm gonna catch that flame
Maybe I was wrong to ever let you down
But I did what I did before love came to town

I used to make love under a red sunset
I was making promises I was soon to forget
She was pale as the lace of her wedding gown
But I left her standing before love came to town
I ran into a juke joint when I heard a guitar scream
The notes were turning blue, I was dazing in a dream
As the music played I saw my life turn around
That was the day before love came to town

When love comes to town I'm gonna jump that train
When love comes to town I'm gonna catch that flame
Maybe I was wrong to ever let you down
But I did what I did before love came to town
When love comes to town I'm gonna jump that train
When love comes to town I'm gonna catch that flame
Maybe I was wrong to ever let you down
But I did what I did before love came to town

I did what I did
I did what I did

I was there when they crucified my Lord
I held the scabbard when the soldier drew his sword
I threw the dice when the pierced his side
But I've seen love conquer the great divide

When love comes to town I'm gonna catch that train
When love comes to town I'm gonna catch that flame
Maybe I was wrong to ever let you down
But I did what I did before love came to town

Thank you Madonna I'm calling you to fire it up
And telling everybody everywhere that love is in town
And it's gonna stay around
And you can always, love can always be found
You got to have it
Don't you need it
Everybody need it, everybody
Everybody need it, everybody
I don't care how much money you got
I don't care how many mansions you live in on the hill
You need love
Gotta gotta gotta get it
Gotta gotta gotta get it
We need love
We need love
We need peace
We need joy
We need hope
We need salvation Hallelujah, hallelujah
And we got to catch the glory of our own tree
Do the best you can, God understands
He holds the world in the palm of his hands
And I want you to know that
No more fighting in the gangs
No more killing in the streets
No more fighting each other
No more hunger
No more homeless
No more helpless
It ain't the glory
The spirit isn't selfish


Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Unforced Rhythms Of Grace

Are the unforced rhythms of grace, the ever expanding knowing of God's unconditional love, producing in me a security that is not intimidated, not easily disturbed?

In how the Father 'seems' to be moving in such unconventional ways, ways that seem so foreign, obscure or abstract at best, or as it is put so beautifully in the book, The Shack, when one of the main characters asks, 'Are you saying God that all roads lead to you...and God (Papa) explains most clearly, as in offending the mind, to reveal the heart, His heart..I will go down any road to meet up with whomsoever.'

It talks about Jesus being a rock of offense, a stone of stumbling, and in another place where He himself says, blessed are you if you are not offended in me.

The man (Paul) who wrote the letter to the Romans in the New Testament, talks about it this way..'The next question is, "Are they (the Jews) down for the count? Are they out of this for good?" And the answer is a clear-cut No. Ironically when they walked out, they left the door open and the outsiders walked in. But the next thing you know, the Jews were starting to wonder if perhaps they had walked out on a good thing. Now, if their leaving triggered this worldwide coming of non-Jewish outsiders to God's kingdom, just imagine the effect of their coming back! What a homecoming!

I want to be someone who rejoices in seeing one who has been blind and bound and held prisoner to shames mocking torment, released from this prison house, not by weapons of warfare, but through something far more powerful, the unconditional love of the Father's embrace.Even in Jesus' day, the self-righteous religious leaders were miffed, at what seemed to be blasphemous, exuberant, and highly emotionally charged voices exalting this one coming in the name of the Lord God.

I liked what Jesus says to such ridged and fearful thinkers..'Some Pharisees from the crowd told him, "Teacher, get your disciples under control!" But he said, "If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise."

He is the way, truth and life, as long as things are unfolding His way, lives coming into a living sobriety, even though I think it violates the 'prescribed' order of it happening, am I able to rejoice and celebrate with Him?
What a friend my elder brother Jesus is, his winning love removing the torment of fear from deep within, making me to BE as he is, willing and able to welcome all of the prodigals He is bringing home to live in His house forever.