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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, March 31, 2009


So much good stuff as par the course lately in the blogosphere. Lots of good topics being bantered about and challenging ideas presented. Mystery. God allows for ther to be quite a bit i think. Life is lived wholly in our imaginations when you come down to it, isn't it??? I mean, wherever you go-there you are right??? We can't get out of our own skin, unless you are a believer in *out of the body* experiences lol Our imaginations are just as *real* as what happens naturally or from other peoples actions, at least subjectively.

Nightline had a debate last thursday night about the existence of satan-yea or nay??? It was held at Mars Hill Church in Seattle and Mark Driscoll, pastor of said church as well as Annie Lobert, ex-hooker who leads an organization known as ex-hookers for Jesus were on the pro-satan exists and Deepak Chopra as well as a former evanglical minister were on the anti-satan side. I thought it was ok, didn't have enough time to go deeply into the issue as it could have. I believe satan exists, but not as a fallen angel. Satan is our own sinful nature which rebels against God. Sin is the ultimate enemy of God, which Jesus destroyed by becoming human, going through life and facing every single temptation as well as all the things we feel and experience as humans. He did so perfectly, in total obedience to God the Father, and therefore destroyed sin and death forever and made access directly to God possible by His victory and letting us have access to His Spirit within us once we come to Him by faith.

I have to thank my friend jennypo for a comment she left me, reminding me of how God chooses when our life is up on this earth and when we belong to Him through Jesus, all is well. I get so caught up in my imagination about death and how it can strike and trying to avoid it or whatever, when all I need to do is rest in the true reality that Jesus has taken care of it and no matter what physical and emotional pain occur when it happens, ultimately He has made it something that has no more power and my battle has been to focus,trust and rest in that truth and promise, knowing even my constant falling down in various sins and failures cannot remove me from His care!!!!! I think for me, the emotional pain of losing my dad set a tone in my imagination once that happened that created a filter which fear surrounded and has sought to sabotage me from breaking free and living in the joy of the freedom Jesus gives in knowing faith,hope and love in His grace in a deeply experiential as well as mental/intellectual way. Day by day is a good song to reflect on in living this journey of life!!!!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Stream of Concsiousness

Just a free-flow here of many areas of stuff I wonder about and try to think about how to write of them. God. Jesus. Life. Death. God is good, He is sooooooo good He came down as one of us, in Jesus, and died for us even after we ignored and rejected Him. Why is it so easy to be distracted from thinking about God??? I understand logically about how death happens due to sin and the whole story, still hurts that my dad died at 30 from a long battle with cancer. Death can strike anytime anywhere, are we ever really ready, no matter what state our faith is in??? Fear, can fear be controlled??? Sometimes fear is good and helpful, often it seems to freeze and paralyze how do you manage it to keep it from being a detriment as to a help??

Wakeup,shower and dress, drive to work,clock in. Work can be so boring and montonous. Some coworkers are literal pains and make time just drag. Some coworkers are fun and easy to laugh and joke with. Certain parts of work are just things i don't want to do. Remember *do all things as though you were doing them for the Lord* Grrrrrrrrr of course i know that and want to do that, but i fight it or don't do it for whatever reason. Ah why do i feel stuck in the same patterns over and over. Well then again i have overcome some old ways and habits, yes God helped me to do that whoohoo!!! Uh-huh yes but you still do this that and the other over and over so locked in to self and failing to put to death the deeds of the flesh. Ugh so hate hearing the guilt and shame voices pointing the thumbs down at me for all the failures. Wow, God sure is good in how He helped this one and that one, how He has shown His faithfulness over time and especially in His Word!!!! I need to eat im thirsty!!!!

Ok well just a bit of free-flow there just as it happens in my head or a semblance thereof. Love to hear if it made sense and resembled your own inner mind at all??? Maybe i need to eat koo koo puffs if it sounds all surreal and bizarre lol Thanks for stopping by!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Let Humility Happen

If you are not aware of kathy escobar at *the carnival in my head* blog, you really need to be!!! She is one lil firecracker lady who knows how to tweek you in ways that may sting but are so heartening and uplifting for getting deeper in following Jesus as He seeks us too. She had a recent post discussing *I suck as opposed to humility* Wow,she really hit me between the eyes there!!! I feel and think so much like Martin Luther when he used to flog himself with a cat-o-ninetails while living as a catholic monk before coming to his true understanding of grace and faith. He did it physically, but i do it mentally and emotionally which is far worse. I have experienced a wide variety of hurts and painful experiences in life, as have we all. Some left indelible impressions, but probably the deepest blemish has been my endless self-deprecation and even self-loathing at times for my failures to overcome and get beyond various failures and hurts i have endured or had happen.

I am always shaken a bit like a slap in the face when I read or hear about pride being at the root of alot of my struggles. Pride???!!! I have been hurt,rejected,ridiculed!!!! How can that be pride??? Yet, underlying it all is a sense of being better than what happened to me or somehow being above that happening. I have a strange mixture of perfectionism and helplessness put together to form a very weird brew in my psyche. i think alot of the root of the pride is a shamefulness at realizing my weakness in being able to handle life and its challenges, especially back when young. I just buried this fear and uncertainty and decided to develop a facade which would display a mask of *holding things inside and handling them in my own way* This also was meant to portray inner strength and being one who had it under control and was there to be of help to others.

I want to make a post which is free association to just pour out all the *stuff* in my head and see how it flows,hopefully making sense in a strange kind of way. I know kathys post has me honestly wanting even more to break free of my being caught up with my self and instead finding ways to develop genuine humility to trust God and Jesus and to have Jesus attitude toward pain,suffering,death and any kind of wrong done to me whatsoever. To forgive and love and accept the painful way it is to actually do and still seek to do so and thank God for the pain and the freedom from self it will achieve within. Freedom from self and freedom to love and be other-centered. Such a really basic,simple truth but when all the twisted snags of life and this selfish nature get tangled up it becomes oh so complicated. Any of this ring true to you readers??? Happy almost weekend!!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Accepting Acceptance

Still have alot of what I posted on before this percolating. I wonder how many of you also are a million times harder on yourself as opposed to other people in forgiving yourself, showing yourself grace and love??? I looked back over my posts for the last 4 years now and can see changes and growth- thank God!!!! I have to attribute so much of that to connecting in genuine,real ways with people on here. Online people CAN and DO communicate love and compassion as well as exhortation and encoureagement and challenge. I say that from seeing posts by people who have heard derisive comments about blogging and online friendships by people who don't engage in it.

I feel various tensions between varying aspects of living life and how God wants to interact with me and transform my life. Does He want me to perform and do my best i can to have confidence and discover my inner strength or does He want me to stop seeking to do it on my ability and find a way to let Him do it in me by faith??? Does God want me to have a certain personality which brings forth specific features like boldness and a certain toughness or does He allow for me to develop in various ways that are not based on a macho ideal of how a man should be??? I struggle alot over this because I feel I have not understood all there is to get about my full maculine identity because I lost my father before he taught me and modeled those qualities, did not have a real male role model close enough to pattern after and was raised around women and influenced by them at school, home and around friends. I have this lifelong battle with fear and lack of confidence and of course it began long before I surrendered my life to Christ and gave it to Him.

I am always torn because I have the disconnect within. I know and believe Gods Word and that Jesus places His life in me and seek to live and become like Him in all ways He desires, of course in an imperfect manner as a human, but I have held onto this feeling and sensing of being afraid of not being good enough and undeserving of His love or love from anyone. This is a deep root and i am not able to totally pinpoint its origins specifically though i have noted various occurrences that caused it. I guess we all have this to an extent due to the rupture that happened to all of us after sin entered into life. I know i have spoke on these areas alot but that is so I can putthem in the open and have Gods help and help from people to deal with them. I wonder just how black and white they are??? When the Scriptures say fear not, perfect love casts out fear, God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power,love and self control, just how does that all play out and how do I accept His freeing me of fear??

Accepting His acceptance is such a huge thing. Does God accept me and snctify me continually as I work out my salvation with fear and trembling, knowing my struggle with obeying and believing on a constant basis????/ Does He expect me to reach a certain place where I find how and what He wants me to *get* as far as His expectation of my obedience and faith??? I see a tension spoken of and taught on how to realize holiness and grace. One side focuses on our badness and total depravity as sinners who need to realize the infinite holiness of God in becoming human and dying to save us from our sin although we deserved death. The other focuses on Gods love for us and His wanting to restore us to Himself and loved us so much, even though we are unworthy sinners, He still chose to become human and die to save us. Do you see the subtle shift in focus there???? Does God want us to be more affected by His holiness and power or His love and grace???? That may sound arbitrary but it hits me as 2 camps I see within the Church by preachers,teachers and theologians. Of course it should be a both/and i would think, but one has a different emotional effect than the other emphasis. Hope to hear all your thoughts and responses. Much love,hope and peace!!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

renew and restore

Hard to know how to put things into words here. I just read jonathan brinks blog posts about dealing with porn within the Church. I have addressed my own struggle on here along the way. Jonathan really touches on some very important aspects which hopefully will bring solid dialogue and fruitful ministry to those who need it.

What hit me so hard in reading his posts was the struggle in the heart. Sex-related issues,especially inside christian circles, can be so behavior-based. Really is a far deeper struggle than behavior, that is really the tip of the iceberg. My struggles with fear are tied in to my struggles with sex i think and have thought so a long time. For a wide variety of reasons, some i have no ability to spell out and others that have just been like building blocks one on top of another, I have felt as though God were a combination of disappoinment,anger and disinterest towards me, and i must stress, this is at an emotional/;experiential level!!!! I have known and believed in my mind the truth of who He is from what the Bible reveals Him to be. My experience of my father dying,various rejections and ridicule from people over time have left those impressions and beliefs inside my core.

I am the hardest on myself, always have been. I have always had a soft heart and been very easygoing, although with an intensity deep inside. I love to make people laugh and feel good and be encouraged, and seek to be this way with anyone. I torture myself inwardly though for times when I needed to be assertive or bold,display more mental toughness and courage and just didn't or convinced myself i couldn't. I have had so many incredible convos with people I met by blogging who have helped so much and are helping me as i seek to grow and transform steadily. It is just hard as I feel i am hitting places where i need to be so vulnerable in ways I have but still held back just enough.

A big thing for me is that I know all the language of dealing with things and know how to reach out and seek for help and guidance, but i still don't know how to simply integrate that into constant action. Internally that is. How to let go of the constant torrents of fear and shane that war inside my mind and let love grace peace take charge instead. Again it is complicated because i know the right answers, i know all about WHAT and WHY I just need to put into practice HOW. I am sorry if this comes out a lil jumbled or anything, just wanting to put into focus what it is going on inside and make it sensible and a springboard to move upward and forward. More as I can.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Follow-Up to Flux

I recieved 2 very good comments from friends on my last post and wanted to address them here. Jesus was tempted in all ways as we are, yet without sin. In James it says that we are tempted by our own desires or lusts which are inside us. Jesus obviously NEVER sinned, but He WAS tempted as it said in Hebrews. My point regarding His temptation in the wilderness by satan was that Jesus experienced the temptation, just as we all do in our humanness, but Jesus immediately brushed aside the lure by recalling specific Scripture and choosing to obey His Father and His mission as Messiah. I think this scene was placed in Scripture as a very dramatic way to show Jesus did have opportunity to bypass the plan God had for Him and choose His own selfish path, but He diddn't, not then or any other time. Jesus came to destroy the worls of the devil, which is sin,rebelling against God and choosing selfish pride. Adam and Eve selfishly chose their own desires over Gods commands in the garden and experienced the consequences. Sin resulted in death. The law exposed sin for what it was and is, law cannot overcome sin, only expose and punish it. Grace,forgiveness and love and the perfect sacrifice overcame the wages of sin which is death. Gods free gift of eternal life was accomplished by Jesus perfect obedience and we recieve Him by faith.

Jesus paid our debt to God on the cross, once and for all. I mentioned the prophet Jeremiah declaring the human heart to be evil above all else, which fits the criterion given for satan btw. Jesus washes away the old and provides the new. We must accept and put on His life via faith however. Jesus provides us with new life as spiritually clean and restored children of God. Apart from Jesus, we still are stuck in our sin-infested flesh though and have no way to remove it because Jesus is the only way God gave for it to be removed.

I hope this gives more clarification and hopefully good discussion will go on. Jesus mind is pure,holy,unstained by any blemish of any kind. He knew His mission and what God His Father wanted from Him, as He showed at so many places in the Gospels, including the garden of Gethsemane right before He was betrayed by Judas. I could never support any notion that hinted at Jesus compromising Himself in any way shape or form, to me, in making sense of His temptation in the wilderness with there being no existence of a supernatural fallen angelic being, I can only conclude the satan or adversary referred to were thoughts which arose but which were immediately refuted by focus on Gods Word, no allowance for anything to breach His perfect nature and obedience.

Always hope to hear from anyone and everyone, will be back to more personal sharing soon. This is just something that really caught my attention and obviously shifts my focus in regards to understanding satan the devil in a major way. Happy weekend all!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


A state of flux, change. I am moving and drifting in this state now, thankfully so. I am so thrilled by how many great people I have met in varying levels via blogging, whether we have gotten to interact or not, so amazing how this allows us to get to *know* one anothers mind heart and soul in such a cool way.

I think God likes to hide in plain sight alot of the time. Traditionally we have held to a belief in satan,the devil.lucifer,beelzebub as a supernatural fallen angel who was cast out of heaven along with others who followed him in rebelling against God and trying to pull off a coup de"tat. I am bucking tradition.

The book of Isaiah speaks of lucifer. In Hebrew the word is *heylel* which means bright morning star and refers to Venus, brightest planet apart from the sun. When the LXX or Septuagint, the Greek translated Bible was made in 3rd century, *heylel* was translated as *phos* where we get our words phosphorous,luminous,brightness. In the 4th century Jerome made a translation of the Bible into latin, known as the Latin Vulgate and became the authorized version accepted by the Roman Catholic Church. Jerome in his translation of phos transliterated it into the word lucifer. Tradition has lucifer/bright morning star being satan the fallen angel, helped along by the language used in the verses in Isaiah. Careful exposition of the passage reveals Isaiah is referring to nebuchadnezzar, king of babylon and NOT some supernatural fallen angel!!! Satan means adversary,devil means accuser. many places in the Bible these words are used and translated as adversary and accuser. However, in places where the translator felt the need to place emphasis upon a supernatural fallen angel, satan and devil are used as opposed to adversary or accuser.

3 things are the overall totality of what encompasses sin. Lust of the eyes,lust of the flesh,boastful pride of life. Jesus was taken to the desert by the Spirit to be tempted by satan. Jesus fasted and went without food in the desert. Lust of the flesh- tempted to turn stones into bread. Lust of the eyes-He knew all the kingdoms of the world had been prmised Him as Messiah, He could have used His power to take them and avoid the cross. Pride of life- Jesus could have had angels take Him into the Temple and be the political superhero Messiah many expected and hoped He would be as opposed to a suffering servant. The *satan* tempting Jesus was His own thoughts, since Jesus had to be tempted in all ways as we are, yet without sin. James 2 tells us temptation comes from our own desires, our sinful flesh we inherited from adam and eve.

Jeremiah 17:9 says the human heart is wicked and evil above all else. Hmmmm do we really need a supernatural devil to tempt us anymore than we s do to ourselves as it is??? Personification is a literary tool used a great deal in the Bible. Proverbs is full of them, wisdom especially is spoken of as a woman many times. Satan or devil spoken of as a being is a way to personify the nature of sin and opposition to God. What is the true enemy that came into existence once eve disobeyed Gods command??? SIN Paul tells us in Romans and elsewhere that sin entered the world through adam. Adam??? What about satan??? Jesus came to destroy the *works of the devil* SIN Jesus removes all sin by His death on the cross!!!!! I have alot more but i want to see what response occurs first.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

In His Time

A very good devotional song has this title. We are to trust God to take care of us,life and all that goes on in His time. I wonder if Adam and Eve had *the grass is always greener * syndrome??? I mean they had a close relationship with God their Creator. They had a perfect existence and yet they found reason to question it, to question Him? Lust of the eyes,lust of the flesh,boastful pride of life. I think those 3 match the tempations of Jesus in the wilderness. Jeremiah says the human heart is evil above ALL ELSE. James says we are tempted by our own desires. The definition of satan in hebrew and greek is adversary. I see by these verses and definition of the word that there is no need for satan to be a fallen angel who is out to destroy us to get back at God. We fight against Him and against ourselves enough without needing a supernatural being to do so. This may sound like heresy lol i have made mention of it before but contemplate it. I hope to have an article from a professor who has done extensive research on satan soon to substantiate that satan is really our own rebelliousness, stay tuned.

Faith. We all need faith, just the way life is made up. Big question is who and what do we place our faith in. God appeared to people in the OT, either via an angel, vision,or use of physical substances like a burning bush or cloud. He spoke audibly. The Bible is a record of His revelation of Himself to us. We are called to place faith in Him and His Word as we have no direct experience with Him. Jesus does not live physically here on earth anymore. Faith is called action. In order for it to be live faith we need to actively place something on the line to show we have faith. This is the major struggling point. We all sin and battle it all the time. We are human and have various weaknesses. We can have wild and crazy beliefs based on experiences we have gone through in life. The Bible contains stories of countless people God uses greatly who had tremendous moral failures. Yet they were said to believe God. They also had alot of actions that were not of faith. They lied,committed adultery,stole,cheated,murdered. Is there some line of demarcation to say when faith is being active enough??? I mean we all fall constantly, we have doubts and fight our bodies as wel as our thoughts and feelings. Mustardseed faith. very tiny faith. Does grace cover over for us when we lack stronger faith??? Does grace cover when we lack obedience???

I hope to hear if similar thoughts run through your minds. It will be good to hear all rsponses. Love,peace,grace and joy to all .