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pursuing the upward call with fear and trembling

just a 44 year old man seeking to share my meanderings with the world at large or the blogosphere at small

Saturday, January 27, 2007

He has shown thee

i love singing this Scripture!!! what is good and what the Lord desires of thee....... but to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God!!!!!! The Good news is encapsulated in this verse spelling out Gods heart for us to walk with Him of course the grace and forgiveness we have in Jesus must be ultimately added into the mix.

I am humbled by this verse and just by contemplating the awesomeness of God period. He lives in dazzling light He alone being Almighty God pure perfection absolute power might justice and perfect love. He has displayed His character in His creation and in His Word declaring His goodness by His mercy and love as He showed to the Israelites. Ultimately demonstrating His incomparable love in Jesus. yet, i struggle to trust Him, to worship Him, to love Him, to be still and know He is God. When I sit and read His Word i so readily see Him at work and sense His Presence and His absolute control over all that exists, but when i look at myself or certain circumstances which involve pain,hurt and other aspects of suffering I feel that doubt and troubling sense of anxiety creep in and cloud my clarity on focusing on Him.

God never changes in His nature, His character. O AMEN FOR THAT!!!! i soooooooooooooooo wish i could be and do the same!!!!! i want to be a witness and disciple showing Him in my life in all aspects and yet I also let the lust of the eyes lust of the flesh boastful pride of life enter in and lure me to whatever enticements that exist there. The lure i think that was the whole point of the Wizard of Oz.... dorothy lost her contentment with her life and sought adventure only to ultimately discover there's no place like home. Isn't that what happened to adam and eve??? They had paradise perfect relationship with God............ and they sought excitement in something else!!!!! DOH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hello mcfly!!!!!! Those who fail to leaen from history are doomed to repeat it. How prophetic are those words. Sex seems to be that lure throughout history, especially here in our culture. So much of advertising is based on sexual enticement paris hilton washing a car in a bikini to sell cheeseburgers???? PUHLEESEEE!!!!!!!!! ok sidebar done sex offers excitement passion pleasure an escape from the humdrum life often becomes a way to flee frustration pain hurt heartache boredom duty you name it. No wonder it has been around as one of the ultimate tempters for so long!!!

i sought in my last post to share personally on my struggle with sex and wanting to treat it as God intended. I think being able to be open and vulnerable removes the stigma and shame which i think all too often has kept believers paralyzed in a sticky web of slipping sliding and being stuck in a black hole where it feels like no one can reach in and help pull us out. Life can be hard, and no amount of jole osteens and zig ziglars pushing positive attitude and being upbeat and joyful can change that. The Holy Spirit is NOT just another way to escape and get a *high* or adrenaline rush. Jesus never preached a 3 point sermon on follow these keys to a successful happy life.

I have been struck many times by how pain and suffering are par for the course in life as God demonstrates in His Word. Almost all the books and magazines and theses and whatnot written on the subject focus on why it happens and how to overcome it but NOT moving IN to it embracing it desiring it. i am especially cognizant of this because of my lifelong pursuit to avoid or escape pain and suffering as best i could. Somehow thinking God would appreciate my cleverness as i dodged all the missiles coming at me or close by. Funny how Jesus said blessed are those who suffer for His Name. HUH??? Paul said he wanted to share in Jesus sufferings so he could also share in His joy. His joy????/ In suffering????/ i think back to all my time in church and ministries hard to recall many who were chomping at the bit to GO SUFFER!!!! i am not saying this as a diatribe just as an observation. Totally preaching to the choir here folks!!!!!

i want to learn from God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit how to share in Jesus sufferings how to praise Him and rest in Him whenever they occur and to move into my pain when it happens and when i sense God using His chisel on me. Barbara, who God uses as a very wonderful vessel to show His grace at work, has helped me to realize the need to surrender my fear and trepidation ever more clearly as i see her taking steps to do this very thing. pain causes us to share ourselves in ways that just do not happen any other way. It is the leveler helping us all to discover a common ground no matter our differences pain touches us all and makes us all basically on the same plane. helps us all to be able to be humbled and realize One is there who CAN handle all of it all of us all at once all the time!!!!!!!

Instead of wondering WHY God????? i want to wonder God why did You choose to suffer and die for me????? That change in focus causes a glimmer of heaven to break loose inside me like i cannot even express!!!! Teach me God!!!!! Do what You need to do so i can realize and know You in the most intimate way possible!!!!!! help me when i go back to my stubborn ways and my fear to be able to pray and offer up to You my hope and desire to let You transform me as only You can including using pain and suffering AMEN

Thursday, January 25, 2007

sex is sacred

I wonder what kind of visitors i will get on search engines from THIS title??? Been meaning to talk on this for quite sometime, I think i now have some clear thoughts. Out of all the hot button issues that exist in life i think consensus would declare SEX to be numer uno!!! I often wonder if it is as big a mess in third world countries as it has been here in usa and uk. God laid the ground ruels concerning sex to adam and eve as well as their children very early. man and woman shall become one flesh joined together in marriage. The animal kingdom??? oh hey smorgasbord time all you can eat!!! have as much as you want no limits!!! Funny how it seems alot of us would like to be animals when it comes to sex. This is hard to talk about in an open manner not sure how much to share not wanting my humor to be taken the wrong way not wanting to be rejected or dismissed for mistakes made especially in such a heat4ed emotional area. I commend many people who have been bravely willing to tackle this and divulge their own personal struggles, as ted haggard has shown, there are a multitude of people men AND women who struggle with sex in their lives. i wanted to address just why that is from my own personal experience.

I first am very glad that my mom and sister, who read this blog, know and love me with all my struggles i have faced over the years, which allows me to be open and honest here in sharing. I was very naive and innocent until becoming a teen concerning sex. My mom kids me because she was a school nurse and showd me and my sister a fil about having babies and sex ed when i was like 10 and I didn't believe that babies actually came out as they really do. I did have older teens on my block growing up in jersey who filled my mind with wild stories of spanish fly (whatever that was) and other stuff just fuel to fantasy. As i have noted before, when i moved to california at 12 I feveloped a severe case of acne so much for any flirting and romantic involvement with females!!!! Only attention i recieved from girls was to have them laugh or look away or to be felt sorry for because of being unattractive. Just because one is unattractive outwardly does not mean the same desires amd impulses are not just as strong and active as the most attractive .

We all have a great need for physical contact touch a famous research study show3d baby monkeys who are kept from physical contact with their mothers begin to die. Maslows famous hierarchy of needs has this as one of the MOST basic. if this does not happen for whatever reason, a way will be found to compensate. I know for me, amd a host of others who struggle with sex or/and love addiction substituting fantasy becomes a coping mechanism for not being able to have the real thing. of course, having the real thing is not meantto be like the animals or hugh hefners way but fantasy ends up being a dysfunctional means of getting somethin gwe feel we have been wrongly exonerated from. I know this is old ground i just need to say it aloud for my own self to express where I came from and how it sprung up.

Loneliness, lack of affection,inability to develop romantic attachments play a HUGE role in fueling addiction. I wonder how many affairs would happen if the couple were not experiencing deep feelings of this nature for whatever reason. The entire porn industry bases its existence on the LACK of intimacy people feel wanting to give a cheap fix something to take the pain away for that hour or 2 only for it to just intensify the hunger to have that desire met... which leads to wathing more porn which leads to more need and o nand on

God knows the whole makeup of ourselves he created us!!!! Sewx is sacrd because it is meant to satisfy that deepest need for intimacy and belonging and acceptance we cherish in our inmost selves. Looking at a porn may seem fairly harmless the first time, but if it fuels a hunger which is not being filled the way God intended oh it leads to a rocky road like a tidal wave which grows bigger and more massive as it keeps going. None of us want to hurt each other in acting out our addiction. The denail rationalizations and self delusion are of gigantic proportions much like the alcoholic or drug user seeking a fix we will find a way. satan sure has made it easier to get our fix as well anonymity is the oxygen of sex addiction the shadows allowing us to engage and stay hidden at least to a certain degree.

I wanted this to be persoanl. i am sorry if i have digressed into talking generally about facts youall are familiar with. i guess it is very hard to be personal about something like this. Especially when you fear offending or pushing away people you have made a connection with if only a small one via comments or just sharing parts of ourselves. i guess i have been moved by some posts by others out here in blogland mostly women. i wanted to share as a man. As a christian. As a minister. To share because i am nornal, not some weird freak lurking in the dark unable to handle my sexual urges. I live life fairly normally, and seek to serve the Lord with all my heart as i am able. yet, i face these challenges. Everyday. I know many more do as well, some have not even admitted it to themselves. I hope in some small way by my open sharing to reach someone who has walked in my shoes, or who needs to know they are not alone and that God has a hitman ready to kill them for their horrible sin. Because seriously, i think sexual sin feels that way internally to any who have committed it. We feel as though we have leprosy, and are tainted forever unclean. The silence which has existed way too long within the Church as a whole has served to foster this dilemma im afraid. Oh the grace and freedom to experience if all who struggled with their sexuality could share with each other!!!!

i hope this will come across in the way i intended, as an encouragement and a means of sharing. I pray God will continully transform me inwardly so i can be used to minister to all who share these struggles abd to recieve grace and acceptance from those who don't. Thank you Almighty God for Your perfect love grace and forgiveness!!!!!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

facing the fear

Last night we had our monthly council meeting at church. i chair the Sunday School dept. My friend who is our parliamentarian wasn't there which was odd because he is always there. Our chairman decided to call and discovered he had experienced a relapse of rapid heartbeat and was in the hospital. he is doing fine now and recovering once again. he has had this happen so often in the last 10 years its old hat to him. We prayed for him at the meeting and I kept him in thought and prayer during the night.

In the middle of the night i suddenly had a thought of..... what if something haoppened to me right now i had just written earlier about facing my fears and trusting God no matter what well time to test it out my head felt tight and i felt a lil anxious i began to sing praise songs and pray telling God my desire to trust Him to turn over my fear my head was still feeling tight thought went through me i could have an aneurysm and die right now instantly or a heart attack God is in control He is to be trusted fear swept through me as i tried to pray and sing thoughts of wanting to die in a better way kept running through my head as well as just accepting that nothing separated me from the love of God in Christ nothing at all. Eventually i woke up and it was time to go to work God had allowed me to drift off in the midst of seeking to trust Him and call out to Him.

I really am thankful for KIng David and the Pslams!!!!! He poured out his GUTS all of it to God in there!!!!! He was the *man after Gods own heart* and man o man did he display a whole gauntlet of emotions and doubts and stuff in those Psalms!!!! I often wish we had the *rest of the story* about so many of the Biblical characters, but a great many of them did display their failings didn't they??? As i was sitting in my recliner trying to relax and trust God even if I had something sever happen physically, I realized that it is very different to wonder about something from a distance emotionally speaking as opposed to having it flare up in full living color........ weird how sometimes there is a realization of His peace , like when i had my angioplasty and other times its a sense of dread and panic like oh please God don't take me now nottttttttttttttttt nowwwwwwwwwwwwwwww i am not ready noooooooooooooo!!!!! I was very glad to awaken not even having recalled dozing off which helped me to seei had taken a few baby steps of trusting God because i would have kept my mind running in full gear to offset any bad thing happening if i could help it!!!! that illusion of control thing again, Oh what a wonderful amazing God!!!!!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

fear of God

beginning of wisdom right???? I should be close to King Solomon level by now!!!!! ai yi yi I have read many posts about trusting God, resting in God, drawing near to Him and connecting, growing our relationship. it strikes me as so weird within myself as i reflect from my reading, how long i have been a christian, 29 years now and still in so many ways fel like a baby as far as resting in and trusting God. The reasons for this are legion but the dilemma remains. Most of my waking moments i am thinking about God and Jesus in some way shape or form but also have so much distraction and trivial fluff that just takes up space. For example. i have a job which requires very little mental exertion. i mean really, how tough is it to handle mail???? I pray meditate reflect and other things while doing my work. yet i also find myself frustrated by thoughts which swarm around and take away from my focus on God. My machine fails to work properly, i am asked to help in an area i just don't like, a coworker is being really immature and annoying, i get reminded of a failure or fault from the past and it feels like salt is poured in the wound. yet, sometimes in the midst of these distractions i sense God telling me to not sweat the small stuff and relax enjoy just being in the present and accepting he is in control.

i smile to myself attimes when this happens. But strangely at other times i get chagrined, its like i don't want him reminding me of the fact He is there and wants me to rest in Him. i want to have my tantrum or discontent for whateve reason!!!! Do any of you experience this???? I love to sing hymns and praise songs to God and yet i also get filled with clutter in my mind where I get caught up with past failures and feeling bad over them or future desires and wondering if i will be able to achieve them again unable to be in the present!!!

Smitty at crockpot faith has written a few posts dealing with this subject and really has stimulated my thinking. One of the things she mentioned that resonates deeply with me is if she fully trusts God,,,, she will find that trust challenged to see if its able to be upheld. this has been an ongoing question inside myself for as long as ican recall. I wory that if i acknowledge i totally trust God, hands down, then the devil will do something to challenge me like what happened to job and i will cave, thus showing i was not able to trust like I said i did. Still, Scripture resounds with the command to trust God, to live by faith, and rest in knowing His faithfulness and goodness. I seek to do this as best i can at one level, but there is that piece of me which is in there somewhere saying i will never be able to do it, that i am a double minded man unstable in all my ways and like the servant who hid theit one talent and so had everything taken away. See the ambivalence??? it feels very strange typing this because i want to trust God completely, i know i am lost without Him and He is absolutely worthy of my trust...... so why this struggle????? Do my examples resonate with some of you???? Is it a lifelong process that we grow into until we pass from here to eternity???? Do any of you feel like you are in quicksand as you seek to trust God, feeling the more you try and the closer you get to it the faster you slide down deeper in the sand?????

i am so very glad God is good and that He allows me to ramble in print my inner thoughts and feelings to a wide spectrum of people via the blogosphere!!!!

Monday, January 22, 2007

risking openness

This is an idea i have had swishing inside my myelin sheath for quite sometime. I thought about saying my medulla oblongata but need to give the stuff that coats the greay matter some love. I always hear about the success and successes of AA and other small groups or support groups. I have wanted to have a small group very similar to those only not specifically addressing just recovery or addiction issues. Openness is something we all want to have and be as well as recieve from others. I think if we all practiced this openly alot of psychologists and counselors would be out of business!!!!!

One of the biggest blessings of blogging is how it makes a connection with people i otherwuise would never meet. Simply due to distance time and other obstacles. Blogging also aloows for a very rich amount of openness able to share as lil or as much of ourselves as we choose to. The one small missing part is the in person presence which does realoly assist counselors in doing productive therapy. I can't say how many challenging,inspiring.gutwrenching.thoughtprovoking blogs I have come across over the last year oh so many. I hope sometime to create a group based on risking openness and have a goosd amount of people join who desire the same thing. I love going and reading all the blogs of so many of you 2007 has gotten off to a fantastic start and hope it gets better and better!!!!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Jesus Christ Superstar

I performed this play in high school. i played a roman soldier. My director was an agnostic who relished arguing with me over why Christianity was not for everyone,and i think he purposely made me play scenes where i had to be brutal to Jesus thinking it would upset me. i used it as motivation to make the scenes as real as they were meant to be. The play actually takes the point-of-view that judas had or might have had. It is actually well-written from that vantage point and makes some interesting points, especially when the scene where the zealots try to get jesus to be their political Messiah. Jesus sings a song telling how no one understands Him or God really and how our humanness limits us from really seeing. As i think about this title though,,, it strikes me how really Antichrist its message is. Jesus was the the virtual antithesis of a superstar. He held the TOP POSITION of all creation!!!! talk about bigtime!!!! BUT....... oh and what a huge but........ Jesus didn't care about His *position* He sought to become the lowest of the low. A servant to all. He had all the power that could ever exist, He held the right to absolute worship and adulation and absolute prestige and He never sought to act on it EVER!!!! The temptations in the desert from satan show His total lack of ego so succinctly. He was at the point of physical,emotional,mental exhaustion and satan tried to tempt Him. Jesus immediate response was to turn to Gods Word and His mission which was to ALWAYs do the Fathers will.

No superstar would act like Jesus did not any i have ever seen on this planet. Yet, jesus is truly the only genuine superstar in the epitome of all it should mean. Reflecting on this makes me think of how He acted in the mundane areas of life. He ministered, constantly. He took time to refresh by going off alone and spending time with God. He didn't seek spectacualr experiences, although He created many Himself kinda helps when You are the Lord and Savior of all creation uh yea lol i just am really struck by Jesus true humility when He was the ONLY one who had a right to show an ego. helps me to realize God is active even in the wee bitty things which we wish alot would turn into excitement and amazement of some kind.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Faking out my Mind

This is something I sooooooooooo want to do several times almost every single day!!!! My mind can get stuck on a few *themes* it seems, and just run them over and over again and again. I seek for ingenious ways with which to fake myself out but to no avail. Our individual thoughts we all deal with have been cropping up as subject matter lately. I never cease to be amazed how at times so many varied people can all collectively be focused in upon a solitary issue, or issues. I wanted to share a few of the quandaries i jumble around with as far as mental gymnastics go ( hope i do not crash on the uneven bars again ouch!!)

I stress about certain things which happened when i was 14....14!!!!!! I am NOT that same kid in that same set of circumstances yet, mentally/emotionally/relationally I stumble inside as though I AM still there like i was attimes, and still get all tied up in knots over some of the same issues back then.

I do not want to have fear..... fear springs up out of nowhere at times sometimes i can muster courage to go on despite it sometimes i grin and bear it as it rages inside sometimes I don't know how or why but it vanishes. How do you make yourself not afraid???? I have been on airplanes, sweating and almost hyperventilating my mind just anxious rivulet of thought one after another saying... *it will be ok,,,, it will be all right...* while struggling to not let it absolutely drive me into a freefall panic. I have had times where i felt that sense of dread happen and somehow found a way to let it pass by or just not give in and allow it to grip me in its viselike powerhold. i have no idea how i know I WANT to ALWAYS overcome fear..... oh to shut it down and choke it into oblivion!!!!! How do we get our minds to be fearless????

i want to approach all things with confidence, yet so many times i fail in this and become overwrought with self-doubt, worry criticism and other ravagers of the soul which gang up like a mob ready to perform a lynching. My mind plays back these shadows of events that happened which caused me to lose confidence for whatever reason and the same shadows twist and spin and converge in ways which remove all hope or reason to allow or expect any semblance of confidence to remain.

As i type these lil scenarios they seemed to lose a lil of their power that they all too greedily own when existing only within my troubled psyche. I always am very appreciative to read personal stories of others who deal with their own *mental shadows* and how things turn out. Always a challenge to self-edit. What do I leave in???? What do i leave out???? Does this help the telling of the story or hinder??? increase excitement or add to dullness???? Ah the joys of being a writer or storyteller, whatever forum it may take place in. I can't wait to read many more of YOU out there and your own tales, as well as to recieve comments.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Let God BE God!!

As though anyone could stop Him!!!! But actually we can, in a way, and he makes it possible. His choice in how He created us,formed us,allowing us freedom and ability to choose, to love or not. In creating us the way He did, God made it so that we could frustrate His being Himself!!!! I know this analogy is imperfect, but my underlying point is that God ultimately outdoes Himself in Christ.

I love all the blogs with special posts about beginning a new year and all to look forward to. God is new every morning as it says in His Word. He is age to age the same yet always fresh and breathtaking everyday. I want to be *in the present* alot more this year and let Him be Him. I have let the past and sins which were committed there become like a noose around my neck internally far too long. Even before I made some really major mistakes i had that struggle with allowing very small things to act like a death sentence within, definitely suffered from an over-senstivie conscinence and legalism on myself. The times where i seemed to get a glimpse of what grace actually meant in a feeling sense for myself i always seemed to find a way to sabotage it by falling in some way. I think I place even more shame and pressure upon myself because i aspired to be a spiritual leader and to minister to others and ended up failing in some ways I had never envisioned. The verses in timothy where Paul warns men to not seek to be leaders for they will incur a more severe judgement. Or the one that talks about a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. In my darkest moments these verses and other thoughts along these lines are just crushing inside. I seek to pray and give all to Him, to lean not on my own undwrstanding, to be still and know he is God. All my mind and heart echoes back are .....that I didn't... that I chose sin, selfishness,worry fear and doubt. That is the vicious circle i want to let go of and allow Gods love grace and kindness to remove and help[ me rest in the present with Him.

I don't want to be a broken record. i certainly do not want to be whining or bellyaching, just the issue that has struck me stubbornly that i want to share and have Gods power to be transformed from. I wish i were more stable and emotionally mature like many to have moved on from certain struggles or patterns and maintain an ongoing victory. I want that to be the case now. I wonder what many of your reflections are??? Do you struggle with certain aspects of life, emotionally.spiritually/relationally. in similar ways maybe even since childhood??? Do you find yourself gaining victory over sin easily and sensing your maturity just stay on an upward plane??? is it a mixture throughout your life??? relly hope to hear a lot of varied responses .

God is good All the Time All the Time God is Good!!!!!