Friday, August 21, 2009

Paint It Black

Tonight i kidnapped Beth's car and realized how much i really enjoy (and miss) driving at night with really good tunes. And of course with Beth, there is an abundance of good tunes in the car... sorry guys, no Brittney Spears.

Anyway, there i was owning the road, rocking to a cover of
Paint It Black by the Rolling Stones and imagining Beth's Blue Ford Focus was a black '74 Firebird, a '69 Camero, or my fave, a 1964 Ford Mustang, no fast back baby! Ahem, anyway... I really enjoy this song and it totally speaks to how i have been feeling lately.

"I see a red door and I want it painted black,
No colors anymore I want them to turn black,
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes,
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes,
I see a line of cars and they're all painted black,
With flowers and my love both never to come back,
I see people turn their heads and quickly look away,
Like a new born baby it just happens every day,
I look inside myself and see my heart is black,
I see my red door and it has been painted black,
Maybe then I'll fade away and not have to face the facts,
Its not easy facin up when your whole world is black..."

The last verse of the song talks about wanting the sun to turn black. I am not exactly sure where i am going with this, but i got home and read Isaiah 9:2, which says,
"The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shined."

The NIV says, "on those living in the land of the shadow of death" which makes me think of Psalm 23, "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me."

All this sparked the meandering of my thoughts that may (or may not) be worth sharing.

Sometimes we choose to walk in darkness.
We walk in darkness and prefer it.
Sometimes Christian culture seems all hearts and flowers, and that makes me want to puke.
Maybe this is why Christian movies suck.
These are God given emotions so i should allow myself to feel, but at what point am i sulking/sinning?
God is doing a mighty work in me and i am blessed by these trials far more than not going through them... and i feel black.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Primary Allegiance to God

As part of an equipping class i am taking at Shoreline Church, i am re-reading (and actually studying this time), Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, by Paul David Tripp. Here are just a few thoughts running through the convoluted maze that is my scattered brain.

The last few chapters we have read are about following Christ's example and not forgetting our primary allegiance to God. We are ambassadors of Christ. So when the doctor says, "I am prescribing Micrographic Surgery. Bring a book, it will be a long day," instead of being scared, or dejected; we are encouraged for the opportunity to glorify God. However, it is easier (at least for me) to handle medical surprises than complicated people.
Luckily Mr. Tripp lays out some key ideas to keep in mind (also applicable to other crisis situations) on page 107.

Living a representative lifestyle can be summarized by three points of focus. As an ambassador, I will represent:

  1. The message of the King. An ambassador is always asking, "What does my LORD want to communicate to this person [or me] in this situation? What truths should shape my response? What goals should motivate me?"
  2. The methods of the King. Here I will ask, "How does the LORD bring change in me and others? How did he respond to people here on earth? What responses are consistent with the goals and resources of the Gospel?"
  3. The character of the King. Here I ask, "Why does the LORD do what He does? How can I faithfully represent the character that motivates His redemptive work? What motives in my own heart could hinder what the LORD wants to do in this situation?"
Yesterday we were talking though Matthew 14:1-21 where Jesus just got word that his cousin - the only person that knew who Jesus was and what he was to do - was beheaded. Jesus withdrew to grieve and be comforted by his Father only to then serve 5,000 + by way of miracle. I confess that my tendency is to become a recluse, not to put aside my grief to serve others. So immediately the motives of my heart begin to hinder what God wants to do in this [these] situation[s].

God is present, God is working and eternity with God awaiting us makes this all worth it.

Isaiah 62:5 For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.
Jeremiah 1:19 "They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the LORD, to deliver you."
Jeremiah 2:2 "Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the LORD, "I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown."

Monday, August 10, 2009

Isaiah 40:31
31but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

Placing our hope in the Lord and the new life that He offers us in Christ is compared here to soaring on wings like eagles-like flying. Imagine it, no longer are we destined to place our hope in ourselves, our jobs, the economy, our friends or a spouse. We now have a hope that cannot be shaken.

When our hope is in the Lord our strength is renewed. Whatever you are facing today you have a choice. Where will you put your hope?

Today's Commentary by:
Caesar Kalinowski, Pastor, Soma Communities

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tremendous in the Making

This past week or so i have been overwhelmed with peace. Not much has changed and crazy stuff continues daily; but God has answered my prayer for peace. And He did it His way [cue Sinatra]. I did nothing to 'accomplish' said peace, nor do i understand it, but man am i enjoying it! I am certain it came from Christ and i guess that is all i really need to know.

That is all i've got right now, so to explain more about what we don't know, here is C.S. Lewis (btw: I totally copy/pasted this quote from Scott's Blog).

C.S. Lewis:

"That is why we must not be surprised if we are in for a rough time. When a man turns to Christ and seems to be getting on pretty well (in the sense that some of his bad habits are now corrected), he often feels that it would now be natural if things went fairly smoothly. When troubles come along - illnesses, money troubles, new kinds of temptation - he is dissapointed. These things, he feels, might have been necessary to rouse him and make him repent in his bad old days; but why now? Because God is forcing him on, or up, to a higher level: putting him in situations where he will have to be very much braver, or more patient, or more loving, than he ever dreamed of being before. It seems to us all unnecesarry: but that is because we have not yet had the slightest notion of the tremendous thing He means to make of us."

Monday, August 3, 2009

Honor who?!

Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
Exodus 20:12

"To honor our heritage gives God glory, but this commandment may seem hard when one has come out of a broken or abusive home.

For those who have experienced this pain, honoring our father and mother is important for a number of reasons. First, it reminds us that we live in a broken world. Second, we come out of our dysfunction as ministers to those who have suffered without God. This also causes us to face our own unforgiveness and uproot the curse of judgment that we can pass to our children.

This commandment is healthy to stable families and healing to unhealthy families."

Commentary by:
Dave Whitehead, Senior Pastor Grace NYC