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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

Sunday, May 31, 2009

What God Does

Had a sunday school class today where we talked about the verse in 1 John which says God is love. A question came up about pain and suffering and whether or not God caused things to happen that brought bad things upon people. Job was referred to, in that God tested Job by sending boild on his body,killing his cattle and his children. His wife told him to curse God and die but Job said *shall we not accept both good and bad things from God??* Job trusted God and His character even though this calamity had occurred to him. One of the key statements Job makes in the book , *yea though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him* This rings strikingly similar to Jesus ultimate decision in Gethsemane,to trust His Father even though He had to die.

This discussion raised a few thoughts in my mind. Does God choose to bring what we would call evil upon us for a purpose known to Him but which we must take on faith??? One of the guys in class asked how to tell kids in impoverished countries like India and Africa that God is love if He caused destruction and poverty to happen to them which they were stuck in for their entire life?? One answer is that some of the problem is man-made. However,man did not cause monsoons,earthquakes,famine and sickness to happen. God is love,yet alot of tragic events occur and have been happening throughout all of history. Wjat are we to make of it??? Clearly, these issues go beyond cliche, pat answers. Emotions can cloud clear thinking as well.

In thinking about Job and Jesus it has hit me again my battle i have had with fearing death. God instituted death after adam & eve disobeyed His command. Physical death has happened to all of us ever since and it will continue to do so. Jesus removed the sting of death, but it is still a painful thing, as it was for Him. None of us want to die, but we have to accept it. My struggle has been fearing it will happen at any moment and so i have always had this attempt to be on the alert for anything like that to happen and somehow,someway avoid it. This is totally irrational and I go through various stages before I reach a place where I feel a peace of Him being with me even if i were to die. This process has gone and on in my mind as long as i can recall. I wonder how it plays out in all your minds??? Death is like one of the last taboo subjects still around, its not anyones fave topic of conversation lol. I think I have gotten more freedom from my fear in the last few years because i have talked about it openly on here as well as to other people via email or Im or wherever. Does fear always involve feeling?? Can fear exist without feeling it??? If you dont want to be afraid and have no real reason to have fear but yet feelings of fear reappear despite your not wanting or believing you should have it how do you let it go??? i hope this makes some kind of sense and love to hear your thoughts as always!!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Hard Way

Seems to be the way i do certain things, thus the title to the post. I seem to make things hard on myself and feel like i have always have and just felt/thought it was just the way i had to be. I am teaching sunday school this coming sunday and am doing it on love. I have searched the net for all kinds of understandings on love, God being love, our call to love as He loves us and so forth. So weird how thoughts and feelings can still be disconnected so much. There is such a divide amongst theologians on what role our feelings play as opposed to our thoughts. A very prominent proverb says, *as a man thinketh in his heart so is he* Just how is this to be fully understood??? If I think I am weak and worthless does that mean I am??? I speak this in regards to when depression hits. Our feelings change like the blowing of the wind so often, even depending on our blood sugar levels or the weather. Attitude. But attitude can change alot too right??? Experience seems to say so.

Grace- Obedience. People seem to tend to lean on one or the other as opposed to balancing both. We are saved by grace through faith as a gift from God. But we evidence our recieving this gift by obedience and good works. God does the work in us by placing the Holy Spirit in us after we turn to Christ as Lord and Savior. We show our having recieved Gods gift by obeying Him and putting to death our flesh. if we love God we will obey as he commands and live a life that reflects that. Grace has done the work for us, Jesus did it all on the cross and anything we do serves to say He is not enough.

See the tension there??? Those who fall on the obedience side, to me, come across very harsh and judgmental in their tone. They speak of Gods holiness and hatred of sin and His love by sending Christ, but they come across like Gods justice and wrath are preeminent and His love is a conditional love based on our performance of obedience by our faith. Those on the grace side seem to me to go easier on us all and our sinfulness and see us as the weak flesh we are, and focus on Gods extreme measures He took to reconcile us back to Himself even when we totally rejected Him.

My head spins alot now taking all this in. I know i fail to love Him with all my being, to love my enemies as He did. I fail to be holy as he is holy and I battle the areas of sexual sin. I have read verses where it says those who sin sexually will be punished. Not to mention the one where it says those who di such things will not enter the kingdom of God. How is it i have spent my life since age 16 wanting to serve God and seek Jesus and yet at same time have fought against Him by choosing certain actions which clearly say in His Word anger and hurt Him????? Yet is not that a human condition for us even after we recieve Jesus??? I have never met anyone who yet who lives perfectly, but those who teach obedience sure seem to say we all should be as close to it as possible. I always want to encourage as anyone who has read here awhile knows, so it hurts to post this way. I am just laying out my heart though. I sit so often and just ask God to cleanse me and give me a heart and mind that wants to seek Him and obey Him and love Him with singlemindedness. Shortly after though i find i slip into an action or thought that is disobedient. I want to love as He says in the 2 greatest commandments, and i struggle to just do it. I feel worn out alot as i battle inside and i just veg out and feel stuck. Do you readers engage this battle??? Do you find it easy to love God and people with your whole being??/ Echoing a Beatles song- Help won't somebody please help me!!!! Help me to love as You love God & jesus.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

How Much Grace Is Grace??

A lot of differing thoughts swirling inside my mind. It is a very good thing alot of our minds work is unconscious you know??? Can you imagine if we had to actually think and process every single thing we did??? Talk about a snails pace!!! I have been pondering grace lately. I have to let go of my constant companion fear for little intervals now and then lol. Many calvinists believe that God chooses some who are the *elect* to be saved. There is no rhyme nor reason to this decision. He is God, He is All-Powerful and All-Knowing and He is our Creator so who are we to question or challenge His Will. All those points arfe true of Him, but the way He reveals Himself as Love. The fact He basically became one of us in order to die in our place, even though we rejected and disibeyed Him, suggests He is not a God who nonchalantly takes us like a daisy and plays *I elect him, I elect him not* until He is done. Jesus said to Peter when asked about forgiveness, forgive seventy-times seven, which amounts to forgive nonstop!!!! Paul in Romans says NOTHING can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.

Paul says in Romans all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. ALL. That being the case, why would God decide to choose a random few to be *elect* apart from all the rest of us He made??? Grace is unmerited favor, getting what we don't deserve and cannot earn. Why would a few become somehow set apart from all the rest of us when He says His grace is given to all??? I have come across a few blogs speaking on universalism lately, and they make an interesting case for it, and they are christians not cultists or anything. God desires all to be saved. His kindness leads to repentance, not His anger or judgment, but His kindness.

I dont want the fear i have, but it always has seemed to be something i had to have. I choose it since i have free-will though do i not??? I don't know. I have prayed so many times to be free of fear and at times i have felt it, but again does feeling have anything to do with it??? Do we feel faith,fear and love??? Do we feel mercy,anger,judgment??? I feel like i am in a labrynth here lately. God wants us to know He loves us more than we could ever know, but yet He seems to hide or be silent or remote so often. He wants us to seek Him with our whole being yet when we do so it seems we have a hard time finding Him. We cannot do anything of our own will to please Him, yet He calls us to perform in obedience. So many say He sets us free from the pressure to perform but so many verses seem to say we need to perform in order to be holy and obedient servants.

Just sharing my own personal angst here. I feel the quicksand as i once said because i have such a desire to be as genuine a disciple and follower as He calls me to be, and yet at same time i find it so easy to drift off into actions and thoughts that veer in opposite direction from His call. Isn't that always our struggle??? Any of you believe we are supposed to break free and rise above to a place where we are holy and blameless like Jesus??? Pauls words in Romans tell me no but James sometimes says yes. Just laying out food for thought.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Emotions/feelings are interlocked with our thoughts & actions. What is it that *hurts our feelings*? When we get scolded or chastised by a parent or authority figure,when someone is disappointed in us or ridicules us. Attitude. Is faith basically an attitude w/action & feeling??

Self is what blocks us from God. Everythingto do with self. God is always present,whether we believe,feel or think He is or not. We *experience* Him as being non-existent though if we don't believe in Him or don"t exercise faith. How do you get past being controlled by your feelings?? Can you experience the joy of Gods Spirit even if your feelings are messed up??

How do you get to the point where you are doing all you do as you live life to the glory of God & seeking His Kingdom & His eighteousness first? What is His Kingdom & His righteousness??

Fear is caused by threat of punishment & pain. Sin causes this to happen. God hates sin & judges it. Conscience is sensitized & ironclad about violating basic right/wrong. How do I take in His perfect love & have it cast out all fear???

What is full repentance???

Just a myriad of thoughts i wrote free-association style and decided to post as is. Hope to get responses.

Sunday, May 03, 2009


To be or not to be- animals don't have to worry about such a thing, they just are. Sometimes I wonder if that would be preferable. Started reading an online book written by prof.Beck at experimental theology, called the ghost of Freud. I have become a huge fan of his blog since discovering it, could be that he writes so insightfully about psychology and theology in very fresh perspectives. I have only read the first few chapters but the thesis is quite intriguing. Freud declared religion to be a narcotic and something people turn to as a way to escape the hardships and pain of existence. Christianity answers Freuds critique very definitively, but it is good to explore the reasons Freud had in making his contention and some aspects in which he made valid points.

Death and fear of it has been a conscious battle for me. Obviously it is something we all must face and we all do in our own ways. Jesus resurrection is the answer and overcomer of death,unless you choose to believe it never happened. My dealing with death began early on due to my fathers cancer, which ended up being terminal. I do not recall talking about death and its possibility with my parents while my dad was alive. I think this was due to me and my sister being very young and they didn't want us to be scared or scarred by knowing about my dads condition. As I have said before, I didn't know anyone else for a long time who had a parent die. i was 8 when my dad died, and I think I turned inward even more soon after, seeking to find protection from death as something *out there*. Of course my self-protection was not rational but dealing with losing my dad forever didn't seem rational either. I often find it odd that in so many ways i am very analytic and rational and seek to be logical in facing life, but at the same time can be very emotional and nonrational and mystical.

I think i have a lil bit of insanity in me in that i have always sought to find a way to make death vanish within my imagination. Maybe somehow, some way it can be overcome in a way where it just won't happen. I am saying this in a way apart from resurrection. In order to be resurrected you still have to die. I seek to remove the middleman lol When I find my wits and realize Jesus resurrection is the answer to death and think through all the history of how He alone conquered death, then it satisfies my mind and my heart. Soon I find myself thinking that I still feared death in times where i wondered was Jesus really alive??? Also, what about commitment and obedience??? Staying steadfast in faith??? What if i messed up something He required I fulfill and then i die and wham I am not with Him???

This last paragraph is the merry-go-round I ride on and off over who knows how long. I see a split in Christianity as well between the grace camps and the obedience camps. One says it is all grace, we cannot do anything to make God love us and we just need to rest in His grace. The other camp says we need to obey to demonstrate we have faith and have accepted His grace. How much obedience is enough??? Can grace be violated and abused to such an extent it is removed??? Faith is not feeling but feeling supports faith. Jesus has removed the sting of death, this doesn't mean it won't feel rotten to stop breathing or experience your bodily organs cease to function. Ultimately His gift of grace and love and eternal life will remove all pain and suffering and bad feeling. That is the ultimate hope and joy, which is where i turn to as i ride my merry-go-round. I wish i could just stay resting in that truth and reality *in the moment* always, but maybe needing to run through all the junk and be brought back to this truth is a good thing until i am there and it won't be necessary to even ponder anymore.