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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

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


I have had a sunday school class this summer on the Protestant Reformation dealt with Martin Luther.John Huss, John Wycliffe principles of the Reformatiion and John Calvin. Calvin is always kind of a trigger for me because i really disagree with so much of his theology which is called *calvinism* The funny thing discovered in researching him is that what has been passed down as his theology all these eons actually was not done by calvin himself but his followers. Especially the TULIP an acronym for the most outstanding tenets of his theological system. Calvin himself was hugely influenced by Augustine who in turn was impacted by plato.

My torn title comes in from the discussion that ensued. calvinism teaches that God sent Jesus to save only the *elect* Just who the *elect* are is something ultimately only God knows. He chooses those who are based solely on His sovereign authority as God. We as the creation have no say and should not even question Him in anyway shape or fashion because we are mere clay and He is the Creator, His ways and decisions so far above us we dare not even attempt a glance at discovering His purposes just accept them and follow obediently. I fall on the opposite side of the spectrum regarding Gods purposes. I believe He created us as free beings able to make choices even choices that are bad and wrong. This is because He is a loving God who places relationship as a supreme value and love. The price of creating us in this way leaves open the possibility we will reject Him and His love and desire for relationship with us. Because of His character God still wanted to give us a way to overcome ourselves and sent His Son, who is His exact replica in human form to take on our flesh and our nature and then die as a substitute for us. We become His *elect* by choosing to accept the free gift of salvation He offers through His Son.

My torn part comes from knowing the assurance of salvation. The calvinist side say once God has chosen you as His elect then nothing can pull you away from Him and you are eternally secure. The freewill side says you choose salvation He offers but have the choice to walk away from it or lose it since it is a gift and choice made. The whole idea of a transformed life came up and how a life that is *born again* and surrendered to Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit would look like and would continously be like. Are there certain sins a *Spirit-filled* christian would cease to ever commit???? Is there a way to continue in addictive behaiors and certain activities and attitudes that resist or actively rebel against God and still be serving and seeking Him at sametime???

This kind of stuff tears me up because I spend so much time seeking to surrender myself to God and Jesus and turn over all of myself as well as openly face the times and ways I still engage in sin and other unholy behaviors. i am seeking to be transparent before Him and to become more like Christ yet still have so much where I fall way short and still need to be repenting from. Part of me thinks God understands its a constant war and battle and will be until He takes me into eternity and part of me thinks He has the way set for how His chosen should be living and I always am falling short and even resisting so maybe Im not one of the ^elect* and THAT serves to be the biggest buzzkill that can ever happen. Sooooooooooooooooooooooo TORN

Does this debate occur inside your minds??? Any of these issues or concerns??? Should believers always have absolute confidence in the assurance of their salvation??? Can God be at work in us as His even if we are still struggling in several areas to become holy??? All thoughts welcome as always!!!

Sunday, August 26, 2007


I seem to be having many incidents of this description lately, many helped along by reading the lives of lots of bloggers. I really wish there was a way to create a magic room where we all could be transported in a 3-d image seated around a table and just have endless time to discuss anything and everything that came to mind. The thought of just where is God in relation to our lives has been a source of discussion lately a few places and one i sure ponder often.

Genesis is the book of beginnings after all it opens up *In the beginning God* a powerful and awesinspiring recount of creation is given and the masterpiece is of course the creation of humans well truth be told womans creation was the piece de resistance I mean adams comment has been said to literally have been WOW!!!!! God is Spirit He is a Person the Bible tells us of how He related to His creation in an anthropomorphic fashion. God is described as walking in the garden of eden and calling out to adam and eve. Here we see the poetic symbolic nature of the language used in genesis because God is not human and has no mouth. Just how is He personal???? What was the activity happening between He and adam & eve BEFORE the fall???? The *death* referred to by the snake as he tempted them had to be spiritual death since after they ate and sinned they were still physically alive so just what was the difference in them before they spiritually *died*???

I am in a state of flux about so many things now. Everything seemed to fit so nicely in a tidy lil theological box for so long and the last 2 years that box has been tossed and turned and made to spin like its caught in dorothys tornado in Wizard of Oz. I am a INFJ supposedly the rarest of all types. I like to be very logical and analytical and completely process things through yet i become so overwhelmed by my emotions. I have had fear be such a paralyzing force in me for so long with love seeking to push it away but my own struggle to accept that i can recieve love and can realize God made me worthy to be loved as He did everyone else. I think in many ways I appropriated fear as a weird way to exercise some control over what otherwise looms as uncontrollable and unsettling to handle psychologically or emotionally. Death is a reality it happens to all of us it launches us into eternity an eternity separated from God is neverending misery and despair. Eternity spent with God is beyond comprehension wonderful and amazing!!!!!

God is love He is my Creator and Maker He is Good why do I then and have i then so often day after day been afraid of Him,resisted,rebelled,ran,raged and returned??? The most awesome experiences ive had in life have been times of what were His love and peace just filling me and making me so aware of how good he is. Still i get all mixed up in my distortions and misconceptions as well as just my own selfishness. Heres to having more awakenings which lead me to closer intimate relating to Him

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

who i am vs what i do

barbara made a post a few days ago about a special person in her life and the relationship they share. One of her points that really hit home with me deeply was about realizing God loves us for who we ARE not for what we DO!!!!! I think this is a major deal for me that i have struggled with since a young age.

I think my initial understanding of God was that He liked me when i was good and was angry or upset or disappointed with me if i was bad. Possibly many of us have internalized this view of God and His emotional relating to us but it seems most grow out of it in time. For me though who i was seemed to be tied in to my physcial appearance which was fine until i turned 12. Severe acne covered my face and I recieved nothing but constant reminders and ridicule of how ugly i appeared despite usingall the remedies that were available then. i wasn't going to church then and really did not have a relationship with God in anyway except for what i had taken in while in the Catholic Church. I think feeling and believing myself to be ugly and unattractive and undesirable to others not just girls in a romantic sense but people as a whole as well and ultimately God. i think i devloped an inner realization that i had to perform and be a certain way in order to get affection or acceptance or be valued and loved. This is thinking out loud all thoughts by my readers will be welcomed.

Seeking to have some kind of control also has played a major theme for me also. Mostly after my father died i think as an 8 year old and one who already was very intoverted and more at home inside my head and imagination, I sought to make control in a way that met my needs. Death was liike a monster in the shadows that could come out and strike anytime and somehow i needed to find a way to keep him away. i was a voracious comicbook reader growing up and i am sure had a highly developed case of *magical thinking*. I think that it never quite fully went away and has been lodged in the back part of my consciousness all this time.

I will need to expand in more posts on this. I just am sensing even more so now especially after reading blogs of people who resonate what i have experienced so incredibly and strike chirds of resemblance inside me. I have the 2 mes one that can live move breathe and fully take on life and realize Gods Authority Jesus Lordship and the Holy Spirits guidance as genuine reality. Then there is the me that feels like i have to be *on guard* all time always looking out for any hidden dangers or attacks always trying to outguess whatever is *out there* and not really quite able to let God and His love be the power He is but sensing fear and pain and the unknown as something that is destined to happen to me and to get me in some catastrophic fashion. The second me cannot pin down any of these ideas because its more emotion/intuitive.sensing based and so its a circle that goes round and round.

I say all this as a committed disciple of Jesus Christ and lover of God even though i fall flat over and over again. I want to give Him this second me. Is that possible??? Is that what He wants??? Do we all have this battle going on to some degree or another and it will be that way till we die and are promoted to glory???? All thoughts and wonderments are greatly valued. Definitely more to come.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Chasing My Tail

No i have not become delusional thinking Im somehow a dog or cat i just feel like that is my *sitz in leben* in english *situation in life* so much of the time. My endless go-round with my fear and my seeking to give it to God Sometimes i feel like Im a machine or robot with human skin on i just live life and seek to make sense of things as the dailiness of it happens day after day. That is only a part of the time. i have so much in my head i want to think about and chew on openly out here but it just rambles around in there. I wish i could take all the nonstop activity that occurs inside my mind and transplant it into my body as far as active response to any number of things throughout each day instead of continually contemplating about doing the very things i want to be doing!!!

I really am stuck lately wondering how and why i am as old as i am and still dealing with being afraid of death. I stop and think that Jesus took care of that problem for me and i have known and believed He did a very long time. The weird part is how I have let certain worries about questions of salvation and discipleship and such meander inside me and somehow always made it through just saying God would take cafre of it. He knows my fears and knows my heart He will take cafre of it. The fact i am still dealing with alot of those questions and concerns even now is what makes me scratch my head. i have an internal control which is on automatic pilot saying i know the answers and have known a long time for some reason just cant seem to rest in them. But when i look around i see most of the world has very diferent conclusions to what they believe are the *answers* and the ultimate destiny of their lives.

Jesus loves me this i know for the Bible tells me so. That is the most profound truth I want to hold onto of all the theology within Christianity. Accepting that truth and letting it direct everything in my life is my desire and my dilemma. The verse that sticks inside me and pins me against the wall time after time, *to he knows the good to do but does do it, to him it is sin* How to resist temptation as it happens and choose love over sin??? How to let the Holy Spirit melt and mold my heart instead of hardening it or scarring it by choosing to act selfishly. How to actively love God and my neighbor as Jesus calls me to and let that be a constant choise. Acceot grace to help me when i fall short of this ideal as i will because i am a hman who still has a sinful nature as well as my new nature.

Alot of people articulate their thoughts so much better than I. i just want to know God is working as i seek to chisel away from the barriers to love and obedience i have inside and become free to live as He calls me to. To know that I CAN change even though i have had the same fear for so long the same inner pain and self-degradation the same shame and guilt. Even in the midst of seeking to serve Him and for Him He is holding me and seeing me through. just like the poem *footprints* so wonderfully describes. Give me hope even though a part of me wants to wallow in despair help me to break open the box and see how trully huge You are God. help me to take inside myself the reality that if you are for me who can be against me??? even myself

Blessed Be the Name of the Lord!!!!

Monday, August 06, 2007

lamenting to God

Barbara made a very poignant post today and spoke very positively about how therapeutic and empowering the experience of blogging can be. Dan Allender wrote a book where he talks about the Psalms and how they are outpourings of raw emotion being layed entirely before God. The emotions expressed are both positive and negative. Sometimes the psalmist expresses burning anger towards God as well as sorrow grief confusion despair and the whole gamut. I feel like an ascetic at times, seeming to think that the more punishment i dish out on myself the more relief i will get. No it wasnt true then and its not true now. Matin Luther, when he was a young monk studying for the priesthood in the RCC before he launched the Protestant Reformation, was reported to have used whips to beat himself endlessly hoping to expunge himself of sinfulness in both thought and deed.

I am deeply conflicted and my desire to be open and genuine and discover kindred souls is what drives me to post as i do so often. i am not seeking to say things in a display of navelgazing or to be any kind of exhibitiuonist or attentionseeker. i just really have found that genuine encouragement is given on here, and it sby the *church* because believers are the *church* There are times where certain things are just not able to be said with those closest to you in person because of the dynamics involved. Sometimes haring in this way first also serves to make it easier and in a clearer fashion do so with people face to face.

i was in the car on the way to my moms apt the other day. i was at a red light all of a sudden i got a feeling and thought hit me that I could have a heart attack and die right there, i tried to let it pass but it started to make me feel scared. i cried out to God to please let it pass and to help me . The light changed to green, i drove up to my moms and was ok. This could happen anytime anywhere. God can take me anytime He wants for any reason. I am haunted by how long i have let fearing that happen be a struggle inside me as you all well know who have read this blog at all over the last few years. My conflict is that i feel like i should not have this fear at all as a believer and follower of Jesus. Another part of me thinks that there is plenty of reason why i have this fear and struggle with it and could well do so until i actually am taken by the Lord into eternity. I dont know just how to let this go and live life rejoicing in the Lord seeking Him and His kingdom first and living a life seeking to love HIm and love my neighbor as myself. I mean, God and Jesus specifically tell us not to worry about our life so it sgtrikes me that They wouldnt want me to be constantly anguishing over fearing if my life is going to end or not and that Im messed up even more for worrying about the fact i have fear at all.

Community. The church is a community. The *one anothers* are a huge part of the instruction in all the NT. God is a community the Trinity. I think He is alot more wanting me and all of us to focus on loving one another and growing together than so worried about my own soul. I have been in church communities since i was 16. I have beein in communities with other believers when at Bible college and seminary. I find it alot easier and have so very thankfully at times when actually involved directly with people to carry out what I see Jesus calling me to in His Word. Inside my head there is neverending conflict going back and forth between my 2 sides.

I have lost my train of thought here somehow. I guess i am just seeking to find if I am fighting a mirage in trying to rid myself of fear once and for all and to seek this constant feeling from God that will just stay in me telling me im not afraid i have no fear. Maybe that is not the way God handles it and doesnt expect me to either. i seem to end up so reliant on feelings as barometers to know where I am in my being close to God. There must be a balance where God wants me to find and meet Him at and to enjoy Him in ongoing relationship. I hope this has not come across all disjointed and just honestly expresses the goingson inside of me and my seeking completeness and love in realting to God and my neighbors. I want to stop trying to keep pain out and openly invitingly let love in with all that love opens me up too. Praise You O GOD that You ARE LOVE!!!!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Abrahams Secret

Abraham is one of my favorite characters in the Bible, for alot of reasons. He did so many things at such an advanced age and even had the kahunas to laugh at Gods telling him he and sarah would have a son. Abraham was far from perfect, far from sinless. He offered his wife as his sister to Pharaoh in order to save his own skin. He was a crafty businessman and a few other things. The one amazing thing he had, and that i am referring to in saying he had a *secret* is that he KNEW God!!!! He knew God in a personal way that gave him the freedom to do just about anything possible in life including offer up his own son as a sacrfice.

The story of abraham and isaac is one of the most compelling in all of Scripture. What must have been running through his mnd,his heart, the jumble of emotions as he led his son up that mpuntainside???? What is God doing???? How can God demand such a thing???/ Why and how could God ask this of anyone let alone someone as close to Him as abraham had been??? Were those the thoughts racing across his brain??? How was he able to pull himself together and not have a total emotional breakdown???

I think because of his imtimate closeness to God, his knowledge of who God was, what His character was and how he loved Him, as well as knowing how much he was loved by God that he believed somehow God would spare his son before the sacrifice happened. When the angel appeared i can almost see him letting out a huge whoop and mouthing the words *its about time* or something like that. Maybe i am way offbase and abraham had no clue God would spare isaac, but i tend to think he did.

I want to be like abraham. I saod that I agree with my former professor the more i know the more i realize i dont know. Larry over at *last exit to oblivion* just had a great post about doing reevaluation. I think the last few years i have been in a stop start process of this. I have had some *aha moments* but always end up going back to old familiar routines, defense mechanisms,ways of trying to give God what i want to give Him and keep certain things i want myself as well. Amazes me still of how intricately devious the human mind can be as well as the heart. God says Himself in His Word that ONLY HE can know the heart of man, we are far too clever for our own good and can easily decieve ourselves as well as any others. I am seeking to let change happen, to be a part of the process and not a roadblock in the way. I am my own worst enemy so much of the time. I pray and seek for God to answer my prayers and to wrestle with me and lead me to be a living sacrifice and seek Him and His kingdom first. Then almost to quick for words after i go back to committing certain actions or thoughts which induce behavior which run totally counter to what i have been seeking with Him and from Him so intently!!!

I reallly want to cooperate with God and trust Him and obey Him in faith and love i will go crazy if I am not doing that more and more each day here. I love God and Jesus, and there is still a part of me that wants to take over and fight against that saying i cant fully love God since i canmt be absolutelu sure he is really there, I cant trust he loves me anc cares about me and if He is there and is the God He declares Himself to be he wants nothing to do with me anyway because i have disobeyed and failed Him far too often and still do all the time. How can I be seeking to be a genuine Christ-follower and yet still act and think in ways that defy Him and resist Him??? How can i want to absolutely run into His arms and just live in the love He gives nd shun that love so much as well??? I have such painful memories of bac choices ive made especially in the midst of seeking to act as His servant, like when i was at that church in illinois, and at my ordination day. I have inwardly and outwardly sought to develop Jesus character in me and to be like Him. i have also sought to have lil hidden areas where i go off and act in ways that are total opposite to Jesus character and holy godly living. that is what agonizes me on a regular basis. i think my fears i struggle with stem alot from this foreboding that sometime all of a sudden God will have had enough and death in some painful way will hit me and just leave me in an eternal state of pain. i am crushed writing this because it goes against who I KNOW god is and what Jesus has done and the reality of the Gospel. But i am speaking from feelings... I whip myself alot for ever having these feelings and thoughts. let alone for the sins which cause the feelings and fears to squish around inside my head. it is like a constant circle well maybe more a labrynth always seeking to find the way out but never finding it and getting stuck time after time in deadends.

part of me has a huge joy in that i think God is breaking down the barriers I have had to help me reach the place where I just rest in Him totally 1005 and just realize He is always here and i cant drive Him away i cant lose Him to death he wont abandon me and He wont ignore or ridicule or punish me. I wonder if alot of this stuff i project onto God and how i feel Him seeing and treating me has to do with negative emotional experiences i have gone through in life Hmmmmm. My way has been to suppress and repress alot of this letting some of it out at times. God is good and my feelings cant change that. i pray more and more my feelings and actions and thoughts will be more and more daily focused and expressing the way abraham was able to i want to share abrahams secret!!!!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Hide and Seek

I always had fun playing this game as a kid. Not sure which one I liked more hiding or seeking. My approach/avoid title made me think of this in relation to God. Alot of times it can be compared to playing hide and seek I hide or try to hide when I have done something i know hurts Him or when i just want to be *doing my own thing* I seek Him when I really need Him as well as when I want to be closer and want to have Him lead and guide me and just be there assuring me He is real and He is a Personal God who loves. Alot of deeper undercurrents affect how i relate to and seek God as well. The interplay between our feelings and thoughts is one of the great wonderments we all consider since creation. I do have particular aspects of this that i contemplate more lately.

How does God operate within my thoughts/feelings?? What parts are HIm and the Holy Spirit as opposed to which is me and how does that let my freewill stay active?? Be not afraid is a oftrepeated command and exhortation given by Jesus. Be strong and of good courage was Gods call to His people in the OT. Are these statements referring to feelings and thoughts??? How do we make it happen??? Why are there times when a peace that can only come from God fills us and other times we may feel completely alone and apart from God???

I get all wrapped up in a pretzel of my own internal making when I let my mind race through my fears/rebelliousness/pain/laziness in relation to God.Jesus and His Word. Believing and following Jesus is like air its there and requires no questioning it just is real. That is the way my mind processes alot especially when i go into periods of doubt or depressive thoughts or pain and such. Then i look around and see that actually the vast majority of the world are NOT christians. That just is so weird to knw that and wonder how its possible. God does love me and wants me to know Him in personal relationship far more than i can ever imagine. Why have i let distortions and deceptions and errors fill my mind and cause me to turn from the very One who made me and who wants to enjoy me in a way i can scarcely imagine but is mich greater than anything that can happen in this existence. Why does God allow it?? Does He work through all of it to bring me into that true relationship that He made us for before the fall.

So those are my ramblings on a late friday night. So good to see that alot of others have similar issues going on and we do encourage each other in carrying on the journey.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Apt description of how I am relating to God lately. I had a professor who used to say the older he got the more he knew how much he really did not know. I used to smile and think o what a fun lil remark and bit of wisdom there. Now that I am around the age he was at when he made that statement its amazing how true i find his words to be. I definitely do not know like i once thought i knew and God sure is a most awesome and majestic God who defies being placed under a microscope or into any theological category or system that man conjures up.

I have experienced some incredible times last 2 weeks of just awareness (yes dana i had to use THAT word lol) of God being present of the reality that HE is always present and its my laziness,hardheartedness,immaturity and a few other things that prevent me from a constant embrace of His Presence always. O have also had glimpses of my own stubborness and recognition of the *old nature* that really does seek to battle and fight against God and His will in just a number of ways even tiny small ways. It really has made me more keenly cognizant of how sin permeates our existence and displays the unbelievable wonder of how truly amazing His grace is!!!!!! I also see any doctrine of believers achieving perfect holiness in this life a noose around our necks choking the truth out of us because only Christ will EVER be perfectly sinless and to teach that we should seek that as a goal to be a mature christian just lays a burden on us we dont need or should have.

I dont know why this is but I have often felt as though alot of times i needed to ask God and Jesus *permission* to rejoice in the Gospel and the genuine reality of salvation and belonging to Him. It's like i see all the *stuff* happening everyday as a result of our living in a fallen world and i cant let myself have the *out* of the Gospel. Like i have to feel pain and worried and a lil hopeless because so much that happens is that. Does that make sense in any kind of way??? i have been unraveling alot of junk i have held onto as underlying emotional assumptions and beliefs even that actually fight against my soul in trusting God and Jesus and living by faith in a positive active manner. God is in control ALWAYS!!! It doesn't matter what is happening anywhere anytime anyplace God is in control. Satan and circumstances and our own sinful nature tries to make it appear different and usually suffering,abuse,apathy and vice are the ways that are used. I struggle deeply internally with a battle where o make choices for pleasure which go against what i believe and know to be Gods way and His will. i try to make justifications and rationalizations but the fact remains- I fight and rebel against Him alot of the time.

What really hits me lately is how i have, since i was 16, immersed myself in a christian environment and sought to place nyself as close to God as i thought i could in what i wanted to do as an occupation and in just living life. All that and here i am in such a weird place where I struggle so much to just live in faith hope and love relating to Him as He calls me to in His Word and by His Spirit. The good thing is I seem to be awakening to promptings He shows me more and more bad news is i still am struggling with a few things i need to let go of and give to Him. I know many prayers sure have been helping me get my mind straight and help me to seek Him even in ties of severe hurting. He is just as He says in His Word. I want to turn myself over to Him completely help me to do that Lord God and help me to seek to want it even as i feel resistance inside let Your will be done inside my heart. Thank you for Your love and patience and grace!!!