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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, August 30, 2008


What a concept. Believe. Quite a jampacked word there,containing so much within its small confines. Just where does belief come from??? How do we develop and determine our beliefs??? Are some of our beliefs made for us and placed in us??? I could rattle off so many questions i boggle my own mind. Well, guess that really isn't so hard to do lol. How big an impact does our nuclear family and our basic environment have on our forming beliefs??? The whole genetic vs environment, nature vs nurture question looms huge to me here.

We are all inherently unique in our personalities and the stuff that makes us *us*. We all can share alot of similarities in temperament,gifts,attitudes and other qualities or traits but none of us are totally alike in every way.Believe. Believe what??? why??? Is there sufficient reason and evidence to believe something??? The Bible begins with, *In the beginning God* He is there,we are not told how or why He is there, but He is. Our minds desire to explore reasons for Him existing and what kind of God He is. Good detectives hunt for clues and evidence when conducting investigations. They follow leads, interview eyewitnesses and possible suspects, search for physical evidences. They pursue their investigation in every avenue at their disposal to discover what they believe is the truth of what happened. We are to do the same.

Faith is the major component of believing, Knowledge is as well. We believe something very solidly with knowledge to verify our belief as true. However there are many beliefs held that have no knowledge base and yet still are held lock stock and barrel by those who choose to do so. Aside from mental illness or disability in some form or another, why would this be??? Beliefs and faith are not comprised solely on a rational knowledge basis. Emotional reasoning comes into play here and can vary as widely as the sun from the earth. Deeprooted emotional pain can resist almost any and all attempts to overcome it. No amount of proof to show its falsity can work at times, depending upon the severity of the emotional attachment to the belief held.

I have heard it said fear is the opposite of faith. That statement causes me to curl up in a fetal position and feel as though i were back in the womb deep in my soul in all honesty. Why?? Because i fight with fear and have done so as long as i can recall. I have been a believer since I was 16. Does that mean i really never did have faith, that this whole time i have been deluding myself??? NO!!! I believe that statement is in error. If we had no fear what would push us into acts of courage and bravery??? Faith is acting in spite of fear, of pushing onward with the fear raging and trying to blow our house down. Fear can actually end up inspiring faith in an even greater degree than if it it were absent.

I fight fear I seek faith I believe I battle my human weakness and frailties I pursue the upward call with fear and trembling I am thrilled i have everyone else in different places on their journeys and that we have this place called blogging to impact each other!!!!!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Words are Powerful

Whoever wrote the *sticks and stones* ditty must have been a mime!!! lol Seriously, words can be like a deathblow. The Bible is filled with warnings and admonitions to be careful how we use our tongues. To ponder carefully our words attimes and not to speak before thinking. Wise advice indeed. I think blogging is a testimony to the incredible power of words. We reach into each others souls via our words on here so often. Hopefully in a solid,uplifting way but at times in a negative,harsh or discouraging way as well.

My moms story of my dad had great impact. It has given me a very solid way to remember him and know the man he was. I need to clear out the junk of my inner voices that seek to tear down destroy and discourage my spirit and make fear prevail and hope dissipate. I don't know exactly why i let fear take a such firm grip on my emotions and imagination. Well i guess in some ways i do. I know I must have wondered how God could allow such a thing to happen, and if such a thing could happen to my dad, well then who else could it happen too??? I think I did not comprehend the faith of abraham in surrendering his son if that were to be what God required of him. I want my emotional core and attitude and imagination along with my will to all align and trust Him as job did. As shadrach,meshach and abednego did. Sitting in worship service today i kept looking at the cross in our background and just praying God would help me to have the faith hope love and obedience as those i just mentioned did. As i prayed and was listening to the sermon, His nearness and realness felt so clear and easy to know. Why did it happen that so often the fears and doubts and worries cloud over like a storm that won't leave????

i want to share good words encouraging words thoughtful words healing words. i want those words from others to myself. I want to know God is with me leading me to move forward even though i have been His all this time yet with so much struggle and held back. So often the junk stays in my head and tells me i have failed too much, been unfaithful and disobedient and lacked genuine repentance. I want to realize the hope He gives of a brand new start everyday. Grace. Hope. Love. Abound more and more and more.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Various Thoughts

My mom wrote me a letter talking about my dad, how they met, what their relationship was like and what kind of a person he was. I loved reading it, it painted such a great and vivid picture of what their relationship was like and how our family was. It hit me so deeply when i saw that he had malignant cancer even before getting married. Amazing that that they could brave that reality with all the pain that was sure to happen. Love did conquer fear and despair there!!! He had several surgeries to remove cancer in various body spots. His lung, chin,hip. He dealt with all of them, the pain and recovery time, even made sure we took a family vacation together to have a special time before he got more seriously ill. I know i have idealized my father but reading my moms account of him just hit me so hard. He was such a brave strong man!!!! Shortly after getting back from the vacation he had some pain and was looked at. The drs said the cancer had spread everywhere!!!! They basically told my mom he didnt have much longer to live. He planned his funeral, a cop funeral. He made sure he let her know how much he loved her and my sister and me. He fell into a coma but right before he died he opened his eyes and looked at my mom who was right there by his side and said * i love you* he then died soon after.

I just cried so hard after finishing the letter. Because of seeing his pain and dying so young and suffering for most of his adult life. I cried at my moms having lost her love of her life so young. i cried for my sister losing her daddy at only 5 years old. I cried for myself and in anger at myself. I have lived with fear most of my life and have never come close to what my dad went through. Death has so much to teach us, but i have had this crazy image of it as being some kind of invisible force ready to strike when im least expecting it. Despite my faith and knowledge of how it has been defeated and that we all must face it. i have kept the struggle with this fear. I think i cried at feeling ashamed over my weakness. Embarrassed at how I have dealt with it for so long. I cry now. I didnt want to be caught up in fear i dont want to be a weak coward. i dont want to be a disappoinment to my dad as he looks down at how i grew up and lived. I cry because i feel that way. i cry because i feel I have blown so much. i cry because I have so much of a gap between my head and heart and between theory/experience in so many things. I cry.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fear Factor

What a crazy show!!!! I don't know what was the worst-eating the utterly disgusting ,gross things they had to eat or the wild and crazy stuf they had to let crawl all over their bodies.Anyway, I am wondering about another factor in dealing with fear- what causes it and keeps it lingering???

I wonder if we can ever remember the very first time we felt fear???? I can't recall any specifics at a very early age, other then being afraid of a spanking after doing something bad lol. I know i saw the movie, * Dr Terrors House of Horrors* at a drive-in when i was 6 or 7. It was a movie of a few different stories blended into one. The one story had this hand that somehow acted like it was alive and it attacked people, killing then. A very tame movie really but for this hyperimaginative kid it was really scary!!! Hearing about Charles Manson was scary,as were hearing about the riots and the killings of bobby kennedy and martin luther king jr. My family went to see the train carrying bobby kennedys body go by in jersey. I still am amazed recalling how many people came out to see that.

Having my father die is of course,for me,the strongest determinant for my fear. Because i had no warning, and that he died so young, affects my thinking and emotions, as well as wonderings about God and all that is involved in life death and eternity. I had never experienced death personally before,let alone such a major figure in my life. I think unsaid thoughts and beliefs filled my mind as a way to deal with my questions and wonderings. I think i felt somehow responsible. I wondered if my mom and grandma would be taken next. Maybe my lil sister or even myself. How did cancer happen and what let death happen??? Where was God during it all??? How would God help us now???

I let my fear be this one big focus- death-keep it away-don't want it to happen. See this is very much a childs approach and a major part of me stayed stuck there long after getting older, at least when coming to grips with this area. I came to learn so much to answer my questions but my emotional core has still struggled and hurt very deeply. He is with me always and nothing can separate me from His love in Christ,especially not death. I still have struggled to latch onto that fact and truth, feeling the fear of all the physical pain involved in my body dying as well as the emotional pain of feeling weak and helpless due to having the fear. I have prayed without ceasing it seems for God to remove this fear and I swing back and forth between wondering if He has chosen not to or if i for some reason just don't know how to let it go. if the fear went away how would I be changed??? That is a subject for another post. Hope to hear thoughts and experiences anyone has had themselves in facing fear as a factor.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Choice and Force revisited once again

Predestination and Freewill 2 polar opposites, spiraling in tension with each other decade after decade. Choice and Force are really synonyms for these 2 powerhouses. Funny how the Power in Star Wars is called the Force. Hmmmmm interesting how the Force was able to be controlled and manipulated by both good and evil.

Does God force things upon us??? Does He let us freely choose our own path as our lives unfold??? I have recently come across several blogs of people who say they left christianity behind and de-converted. I am wanting to walk on eggshells here and not offend in any comments i make. I am curious as to all that combined to bring them to the point where they left their faith behind. I share on here alot of my personal struggles with trusting God and living out my faith. So many factors come into play determining why I have the difficulties and wrestling I have. Does God force certain choices upon me by causing specific thoughts and/or feelings to occur to me??? Is there something that forces one person to believe a certain way and another to believe a totally different way?? Do we all have total freedom to choose what we believe and are free to decide as a direct result of how we are created??? Are we free to choose not to make a choice??? Are we free to seek out to discover whatever we need to fulfill us?? I lay these out here in a very general way so I can get a wide variety of response as opposed to ready-made answers.

Choice and Force. Objective and Subjective. How do we know what we know, and then how do we determine what lets us know what we know when we know it???? LOL

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Once Upon A Time

THE END!! Hmmm wow quite a story there eh??? Can you image the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson or Dr Seuss writing a story like that??? Not likely. I feel like that is exactly how the story goes if God does not exist. Somehow life in all its hubris came to be at some point long ago. Humanity has managed to survive and develop a fairly consistent and progressive routine as days go by. So many experience happen to each person. So much of a blend from good to bad ,from magnificent to horrific. Total sense to utter nonsense. Inexplicable occurrences of mans inhumanity to man and animal. We are born, we live, we die. End of story. I can't buy it.

I have had a few atheist friends over the years. One happened to be my roommate in Bible College. He went to cal state fullerton though, alot of them lived in our dorm since it was cheaper. I had many good conversations with him and other atheists. Almost with no question the problem they had in believing in God came down to emotional/moral issues, not one of intellectual decisionmaking. They had been hurt by events or tragedies in life, or by other people. Where was God when it happened and why did He not in some way prevent it,help or do anything to lessen the impact of their pain??? Giving answers to these kinds of questions is never easy and usually not really the want of the one asking. They want comfort and reassurance, not a short answer that seeks to explain their pain and frustration in a nutshell. I don't blame them one bit. God should be way bigger than that anyhow.

I have my own battles with faith and obedience and following Jesus faithfully. I often castigate myself and seek absolution by beating myself with a mental whip unmercifully due to my having sought to be a professional minister who takes on caring for those entrusted to his care, only to have made choices that landed me in the desert, much like the prodigal. It is not fun to have a deep longing to commit entirely to God with all i am, and still go off over and over again to chase after idols of pleasure and promise that entice by somehow offering a balm that temporarily removes the pain of losses and hurts. Of course they are illusionary and never satisfy because they can't. They can only do what they do,which is why they are temptations. DUH!!

I am heartened by the reality that when I turn back to the pages of Scripture, I see time and time again that people, even those closest to God, continually turned away and ran after selfish desires. They wanted to have Gods ability for themselves in various ways, and didn't want to obey and follow the Greatest Commandment. I am heartened not because they did this and so do i, but because despite their doing this, God never left them, never forgot them and never stopped loving them and providing His grace. I am so thankful that He gives me moments, small moments, where my heart is touched to its core and i just marvel at His glory and goodness and just have to cry and tell Him thank you that He really is God!!!!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

A Puzzlement

I was in theater all my years in high school. Loved to act, loved plays. The KIng and I is a terrific play. Yul Brynner was fantastic as the king of Siam, trying to deal with change and the influence of the western culture upon himself and his country. He has a solo which is called the title of this post. He reflects on life and all the changes and variables involved and declares it to be a puzzlement. Wise words.

Life can be very difficult. Everyone has their own unique brand of difficulties to handle. I am humbled so often by the struggles i read about that happen or did take place in peoples lives. I wonder what it is that can cause some people to crumble and disintegrate almost and others to become strong and sturdy??? We are all human, we all have the same body parts, gender specific that is, all bleed the same blood. We sure do have quite a variety of background in our cultures,family dynamics, religious and political persuasions,socio-economic backgrounds. Our personal beliefs differ quite dramtically as well. It is not just christianity that splinters itself into so many subgroups. Buddhism,hinduism,islam,paganism all have some variance within the core of their belief system. So much information, so much to take in and wrap ourselves around with our essence of who we believe we are,what we believe is true.

Jesus is the One who stands out to me, ever and always. He has been the lightning rod for what gives life its meaning and purpose. No other person has elicited such intense thought,emotion and action as Jesus has. It is a puzzlement that even to those who commit to being His followers, that they tend to in so many ways have a love/hate relationship with Him. We can want to be put to death for Him and then also want things that have nothing to do with Him all within a very short period of time. A genuine remarkableness is that He understands and gives total love,grace and acceptance regardless of our failings in remaining loyal and true to Him.

Why are there so many who have lived in places where Jesus is not the cental focus??? Where perhaps He may not even be really known?? How can He declare He is the Way,Truth and Life and that no man will see the Father apart from Him??? I don't know the answers to that. I do believe that in order for Him to BE who He claims to be- the ANSWER who reconciles us back to God our Creator, He HAS to provide a way for any and all people to belong to Him. How this is accomplished??? That will continue to be a constant pursuit. Jesus said He went to prepare a place for us. He came that we may have life, and that life is to be eternal. If He is not who He clams to be then as the DaVinci Code said, He is the greatest con of all time. I choose to believe He is no con. Even so, very often, a puzzlement.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

To Know Him

Theology is something that you cannot avoid. The moment you think about God, you are involved in theology,let alone talk about Him. I know many like to say they don't care about theology and just want Jesus. It just doesn't go down like that. Jesus Himself had a theology. He was and is always about His Fathers business, but He maintains a theology and so do we, even if we choose not to acknowledge it. *Jesus loves me this i know for the Bible tells me so and that's all i need to know* Awesome sound bite, great bumpersticker, not so good life motto. You say whaaaaaattttt??? I am saying God has given us alot to handle in this life He create4d us to live and just going by that mantra doesn't cover it all. Besides Jesus wants us to know He loves everyone and not just us, Jesus and we not Jesus and me.

I posted awhile back on what it means that God is spirit. How are we to take that and relate to Him knowing this?? Many struggle with whether or not they can know God personally, or even if He truly exists. Alot of those who struggle with this issue are christians, some even who call themselves deconverted believers. Such diversity of belief. God is spirit. He is a Person. He is not some impersonal force(sorry starwars fans), He has self-consciousness and self-determination. He is conscious of His own Being. In Exodus He declared I AM WHO I AM. He has mind,emtions and will. He thinks, feels and acts. He is invisible, He is immaterial. We know Him apart from our physical senses.

God dwells in the spiritual realm. We also have spirits which no one can see. Spirit=breath. Breathing is the evidence of life. Gods Word is declared to be God-breathed, meaning He gave it life. Hebrews states that His Word is living,active and able to judge the thoughts and intents of men. There still exists today a huge attempt to discredit and deny the claims of the Bible as being Gods Word. A healthy debate and attempt to uncover and understand difficulties is one thing. Denying it to be His Word which carries with it the power and truth of Himself is quite another. Gods Word comes from Him. If His Word is deemed untrustworthy, what does that then do to God Himself???? Just something to nibble on.

God is spirit, He is personal, He thinks, feels and acts. He wants a relationship with us. Why then do so many claim they can't find Him??? I am NOT talking about belligerent atheists or pagans who have an a priori stance to not even make allowance for knowing Him here. Let me make a caveat here. I think many atheists and pagans Do have an open stance towards God and seeking truth, I am specifically talking about those who declare themselves to be antagonistic towards Him in everyway. Why do many believers who have committed themselves to following Christ and seek to know Him and God, to live life as they see Him call them to, why do they find themselves in a dark fog and have no contact with God, who made them and is personal and desires a relationship where they know Him???

I just hope to stimulate thought feeling action and discussion here. We are not satisfied with pat answers or we wouldn't share and explore as we do so well here in blogland. Fun to see what theology everyone has in their responses!!!!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Long and Winding Road

O yes Beatles fans indeed it is!!!! Im a Paul guy btw, (sorry layla, but johns cool too) Just was an apropos title to this post. I just got done reading a post over at *the carnival inside my head* kathy escobar's place. She has such a great way of getting down to the nitty-gritty so quickly. Assumuing. Never does anyone any good. Only makes asses out of us if we do, but we do it alot nonetheless.

Assuming is really tough when you do it to yourself as well. Assuming you should know this and that about various things. Assuming you should be at a certain rate of proficiency for a specific skill or activity for the age you are or iq level you have. Assume you should have a certain mastery of life and social skills as well as other necessities of life and the living of it. I know i have deficiencies in certain areas due to not having a dad to teach me as father do their sons. I know my mom taught me a great many things but some things just were not on her radar i'm sure.

I got the book *The Highly Sensitive Person* for my bday and i think it will be a very enlightening book. I think I have always fit into the category of the highly sensitive person and this may give understanding to why i reacted and felt as i did about different events that happened over the course of life. I know loud noises have always been a huge problem for me, especially when i was a kid. I had multiple earaches as a kid and they caused much pain. i got some relief once i had my tonsils out but the damage had been done. I had to leave a carnival area once because the music was too loud. I got disoriented and felt panicked when anchoring a tug of war in i believe 4th or 5th grade because everyone began screaming and it just was too much for me at the time. I have always had the self-talk as well. I know we all talk to ourselves in our minds but my self-talk just goes on cruise control lol . When I would make appointments with my ministers to talk with them for help on something, i would have a running dialogue so strong inb my head i could hardly concentrate on what they were saying.

I talked to God as i worked today, which i try to do pretty often. Running mail doesn't require much thought imagine that??? :) I told Him i wanted to move past my fear and how it just blocks me so often. i started thinking about going past the fear, to actually having the event happen that i was afraid of happening- dying and the act of it, whether it be heart attack stroke or whatever. I usually get to messed up to keep going here and make myself change thoughts. I didn't though, and just tried to think and feel that God would be there with me the whole time, no matter how bad it felt. I wanted to find the way to be able to relax and just believe and trust He would be there giving me His love and grace and not a look of anger or disappoinment or even worse just not really even be there at all. My emotional core struggles with all of this in relating to God. But i guess in all honesty my mind does to some extent as well, for thoughts and emotions are closely linked. A whole thought process of why do i have these ideas/feelings of God being real but absent, distant,punishing,angry come from??? The whole idea of being given what i deserved and for violating my conscience so many times. Right and wrong and having done what wa wrong. This whole scenario played out in my head in such a quick time. It just really spoke to me though of the separation between law and grace. The law is unbending, just the way it is. Grace is unlimited, just the way it is.

I have more i want to lay out in times ahead, much like my narrative of my life. Please tell me if you relate to any of this, or if i sound like i need to be 5150 well maybe not that but you know *grins* I do feel a bit of a relief and release inside myself more and more like the loosening of a tightly held bottletop. Hmmmmm sure hope i experience THAT a lil more as time marches on!!!

Sunday, August 03, 2008


I still want to be humpty, laying all in pieces and knowing only God can put me back together as i need to be. The title of this post is the other side,which for some unexplicable reason fights Him doing just that all along the way. I have stuff I hate to think about writing on here, I have stuff i feel I need to write on here no matter that i hate it. I am heartened deeply by gracious people who share some of themselves and that my sharing has meaning to them.

Torn. My life overall is so good and has been as I reflect on it and yet I have so much I ache and hurt over, as do all of us. I have some decisions I made that were good,well-informed and wise. I have others that were selfish,misguided and wreckless. I want a heart that seeks to be pursuing God with everything in me. I have a heart that continually finds ways to stray and wander off into my own lil desires that are in conflict with Gods will and purpose. I can see Him at work in the midst of chaos,pain and duress. I can get caught up in doubt,despair,self=pity and heart-wrenching questioning of why people suffer in so many ways and how it all can maintain Gods character and nature of being love,grace,holiness.

I had an atheist roommate once say i was the best example of a christian he knew. I have always been humbled so much by that. I was always myself with him, never tried to be the *perfect christian* and all that entails. I had lots of people around me who were christians say how they could see him saying that about me. I know and have always known all to well my many flaws. I have felt the deep sting of shame,guilt and regret after falling down due to certain sins I had committed. I had believed at one point in time i was above falling into certain areas of sin. I believed i should have been able to resist and flee before giving in to the temptation. I ended up giving into the same area of temptation in an addictive way. I at the same time was seeking to turn to God and be His servant as best i could. Torn.

I have been torn in that I have had so much swirling inside over the years,times of growing as well as falling. Times of feeling I was just stuck and then sinking in quicksand as well as feeling I was learning and being strengthened by these same struggles. I was not wanting to live a double-life but in a lot of ways I could be seen as doing that at times when indulging in these certain areas as they would have been devastating had they been publicly known, and ended up having that impact once I had to confront them and the consequences.

I am working my way through here on these posts. I want to share in a way that is redemptive,healing,uplifting and challenging. I don't want to be lurid,sensationalistic or tabloidish in any way shape or form. I want to be raw in sharing I want to gain that deeper intimacy with Jesus paul speaks of in Philiipians. Yet i want to be raw in sharing how very frail i am and how long a ways i have to go in getting there. Thank you all who read,share,encourage,exhort,rebuke and just sit alongside. Torn.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Humpty Dumpty Needed God

I always liked that sarcastic line *humpty dumpty was pushed* just tended to make you feel a smirk come to mind and say aye yes poor humpty was conspired against or was did in by someone. I always felt bad for humpty though as rhymes go. I guess i feel a lil like humpty. I have been moved alot by many posts in various places talking so directly as to our brokenness and woundedness and how God takes us in our flaws and weaknesses and helps us see it is Him, it is Jesus whose power lifts us up, NOT us taking on and possessing Jesus power ourselves but relying on Him and all He did and is and finding comfort and peace in that reality.

I am wanting to be in a place where I lay with my shell cracked into pieces, knowing only God can put it back together. The bad part is the secondguessing I do inside my head of whether He wants to or not. I feel such conflict so often because I on one hand so seek to stand strong on His character and promises, on Him being exactly Who He reveals Himself to be. But on the other hand having pieces of me where I resist,doubt or turn my attention elsewhere. I hate that I have unrealistic expectations and at the same time can use them as a way to avoid or hide from difficult responsibilities or life situations as well.

I saw swingvote today. Great movie kevin costner does one of his best roles i think, and the girl who plays his daughter is awesome!!!! I won't give anything away, a thing I picked up on though is how deeply flawed we can be and not really be very consciously aware of them, until life smacks us up side the head with them. Redemption and hope are always available though, that is something that needs to be a constant reminder, especially if we find ourselves being overcome by the tribulations and trials we face. I am especially thankful for how Jesus treated Peter, who was one of his closest and most loyal followers and friends, yet denied even knowing Him 3 times because he feared for his life. Jesus gave him 3 times to reavow his commitment to Jesus and gave him encoursgement to become the rock that Jesus had said he would be. Flaws dont have to be fatal!!!!

More to say in more posts. Never give up- faith hope and love are always available!!!