Archive for November, 2012

The Wrong Game

Posted: November 27, 2012 in Freedom, Hiding, Honesty, Lifestyle, Pretending

I’m sure everyone has played a game where you pretend you are someone you really aren’t or you play the old “hide and seek” standby. Games like this are fun unless you are sent out on a snipe hunt. However, there are games we play as we get older in which we are not rewarded with snow cones or chocolate chip cookies when the game is over.

Somehow we seem to process life in ways that send us chasing the ever evasive snipe until we come to our senses and really believe that God is not pretending when he plays the “serious” role. We pretend or we hide and the result is always the same: God does not free us as long as we hide or pretend. 

We can only pretend to be the “Incredible Hulk” for so long and we can’t go under cover indefinitely although some of us might win an Oscar for our amazing ability to deceive others and ourselves.

The first couple on the planet tried itI’ and their hiding didn’t last long. Check Genesis 3:8 for the first hide and seek game. For another consequential result of pretending, look at Acts 5:1-11.

God’s truth (John 8:31,32) does free us but only through obedience and not hiding from or pretending we are following the rules.

Have you been real this week with people? With God? Or do you have some cool hideouts?

Open 24 Hours a Day

Posted: November 22, 2012 in Addictions, Fear, Freedom, Perspective

This is what we like and want-something available whenever we want it. I mean, we have the right don’t we? We may not go all of the time but the potato chips and butterfingers are always there if we want them. Who wouldn’t want this availability?

However, almost everything in this store that’s edible has about as much nutritional value as rubber bands. We know we should go to Whole Foods because it is better for us but this 24/7 store always has the lights on.

Whole foods

Whole foods (Photo credit: parislemon)

We so easily forget how we have been trapped by our enemy and thrown in jail. But the jail is not locked and we might leave but we can always return. Living life our way or the enemy’s way is like this. We have been set free from a life dominated by frustration, anger, discouragement, pride, anxiety, loneliness, comfort…but the light flashes “Open 24 hours a day.” Don’t believe the lie that we can “check out any time but we can never leave.”

Why not grab on to Psalm 146:7, John 8:31,32 or 10:10 and experience life as God intended?

“That must be his best work.” We might say this as we look at the work of something an artist or a sculptor has completed. And we might be dead wrong. How could that be? We are alarmed because as we look at their work, we can’t imagine anything better. I mean they graduated from the most prestigious fine arts school unlike others who dropped out of school in the 5th grade.

I’m sure as we look at what satan has done to destroy the work of God we easily would conclude that drug addicts, sexual deviants, prostitutes, etc. must be his greatest work used to discredit God’s human creation in the Genesis Art School. However our enemy has one more idea and perhaps his masterpiece in getting us to miss the point of life and church.

The religious frauds and window dressers of Jesus’ day and ours are one of his greatest works used to distort God’s purposes.

Check out Matthew 23:25 and Luke 13:10-17 for a peek at some of satan’s most deceptive work.

How do we guard against this strategy of the enemy in our culture today?

Strange bedfellows? Not really-they have more in common than you might think. They easily become addictions that have powerful control over us. Forget the priority list of what we might say is important to us-these frequently win every time.

Think about Exodus 20:1-3 in the Word on the Street version of the Bible. “No. I’m your God, your God who liberated you from slave labour in the sweatshops of Egypt. I get total priority. You won’t have any other gods taking your attention from me. I’m it, the only God. No other god’s worth squat.” The challenge we fight every day is an addiction to really following Jesus or to anything else. These are addictions that war against one another all the time. We decide which one wins many times every day.

Matthew 6:19-21 brings it into focus. Everything other than a relationship with Jesus has a “sell by date” attached to it. Don’t waste your time -or your life chasing them.

Or think about Colossians 3:2. Our energy should be consumed by investing in what really matters to God. How serious are you in being addicted only to what matters to God? Get some opinions from a few friends.

Over the years and especially for the last few I have come to several conclusions that are critical to keeping me from jumping out of a car at 60 mph. One such conclusion is that I am in a battle for my life but there are not many helping me in that fight. Thankfully there are a few willing to ask hard questions that keep me on the right track. There are many Christian groups/churches that seem to have interesting speeches and talks but they don’t often hit me where I live. How about you? Do you have someone or a group that is willing to risk it all or who is willing for you to put all your stuff on the table?

1 Peter 5:8 reminds us that our enemy does not want to curl up with us in bed but rather wants to devour us. Many strategies-same end in mind. He wants to ruin and destroy us. We need someone to watch our back, someone who will help us prepare for the race with the right training, someone who will encourage us to keep going when we are at mile 4 in the 10K.

We are challenged by Paul to be that person for others and make sure we have someone in our life who is dead set on seeing us finish the race. Check Romans 12:10 and 16:3,4 as well as Philippians 2:4 and 19-22. Where or from whom do you get training for what life throws at us?

We all experience it, maybe infrequently, maybe too often and for too many all of the time. I am of referring of course to physical food that provides nourishment to sustain life. So much focus today is on food-cooking shows are some of the most watched on TV today. A better question than “are you hungry” might be “what are you hungry for?”

But how willing am I to experience loneliness and emptiness to learn to hunger after God as I hunger for no one or nothing else? While there is some joy and pleasure enjoying some things, our purpose on the planet is not to focus on consuming more. God uses the emptiness and loneliness we experience as we chase this stuff to draw us to a hunger for only him.

David experienced this-check out Psalm 63:1 and 73:25. Jesus was willing to confuse the disciples to get across a major point as he told them he had a completely different restaurant in mind. Take a look at John 4:27-34. I woke up the other day with a lot of things on my mind but the only thing I wanted to do was to spend time with Jesus. I knew it was the only thing that would satisfy my longing.

Would you be willing to come to a place where there is nothing in life that you want more than an intimate relationship with Jesus? It will cost, you will be tested but you will experience freedom unlike anything you have ever known.