Two Years of Writing This Blog

As of June 10th this blog has been active for two years. In those two years writing in this blog has been a good place to examine and grow. Writing this blog has been part of God’s way of drawing me into deeper maturity and using what He is putting on my heart and mind with others.

Two years ago was a time of personal awakening. No longer was there denial or ignorance of deception in the church. An ever growing awareness of how vitally lost we are.  Writing this blog was a step in my growing in use of voice, something that had been long stilled.  Starting this blog took over a year to make. Actually God put it on my heart and mind while watching the movie Knocked-up. It was an unpleasant experience and the depth of how lost the world is in darkness was clear. However, the obedience was slow in coming until God really hit home that time is short and delay is a loss. The writing was a step of obedience. The two years of writing this blog have been a challenge and a vehicle for spurring growth.

One thing is clear; the blog provides a good measure of looking back of the ebbs and flows during the past two years. There are periods of increased writing and times of writing less. When the time have written less and pulled back are times of greatest personal struggle and are likely times where need to be more intentional and find time to write something. This year the goal was to engage in more daily intentional writing and that intentionality has dropped off. The year has been tough with seeing those around me struggle and reaching a point of emotional pain which tends to push toward own retreat. 

Question is, is my own personal state a product of fear and apprehension of what is a head, or of being worn down from pain and suffering of those around me, or of being impacted by the world’s perspective and darkness around me?  Actually, thinking of those aspects they all do seem interconnected. All I know, is God is acting and moving in the midst.  Perhaps some of it is the feeling of aloneness. I have those suffering around me, I have my own struggles, and I see the struggles in the world.  Yet, I cannot manage all this on my own. Yet, sometimes the feeling is just that, of being on an island, just depending on what God will do and looking to him. Family, friends, and church while are there, never truly touches the need of support. Yet in the midst of this, the call is still there.  So carry on and write. Sometimes the writing level drops off, and when it does so please keep me more in prayer, for the quieter the blog is, the quieter I am on the forum, the more likely in a point of emotional storm.
The hardest thing about writing is there is rarely any feedback.  Sure I can see the #’s of folks who stop by and which posts draw more traffic. Sometimes the posts I think are more important get less traffic.  I have no idea who get’s impacted by what I write, but yet the call is sure. The need is there to write what God puts on my heart. Hopefully, there is blessing and growth spurred on in other, but even if no one else read a word, this blog has served what God wants because it brings me into deeper maturity and growth in God as seek to grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Kingdom and being an ambassador of the King of Kings in a dark place. 

Now who knows what the New Year will bring. I know there are articles and projects that have been ideas that have yet to make it to words. There are posts mentioned that have yet to be written, so there is needed growth in finishing some of those projects and ideas as well as writing to things going on in the moment. Some things that may make it to press:  Publishing Work on the Foundations of Strong Delusion, analysis of Entertainment Media and the messages of the world, biblical response to conspiracy thinking, more on faith, suffering, and growth, and varied other threads. It is up to me to obey and write intently in the areas God leads.  I hope you have been blessed by what is written and always appreciate any feedback, even if it is feedback on ways I need to grow. So for this blog, there is much that may be written in the year ahead. May God bless you the reader and may God touch you and spur you on to growth, build you up in love, and lead you to serving God in both word and deed.

The End of 2009: Reflections, Resolutions, and Questions

Well another year on the Roman Calender is coming to a close.  Time keeps on moving.  In each life, good and bad, pleasure, and pain, joy and sorrow, laughter and tears and other such elements of life happen.  Each day another day where we face the consequences and curses of sin.  Yet, today is a day marked off to focus on change.  Change from one year to another.  Today is a day that people look back at significant events and make plans for what is ahead. In other words people take time to reflect on the past and look ahead to the future.   In this blog article I will take some time to generally reflect on the year ahead and look forward to what God is doing.  Please take an opportunity to pray for me as you read this post and thank God for what he has done as well.  First, I will share some personal reflections of what this year has been about for me and then will look ahead to what looking forward to in the New Year.

2009 Personal Reflections:

2009   was a year filled with much change and growth.  Looking back at an article I wrote last year looking at where I have been and where I am going it is clear the journey I had made. Last year I was focus on the pain in the lives of those around me.  My step-mother Janie Blake was in the midst of her battle of Cancer.  It is a battle won, yet not quite finished yet.  Also became aware of my brother’s mother-in-law battle with Cancer and learning that her process was one leading to death.  A death still pending.  I was beginning to grow deeper in my relationship with God.  Last year at this time I was focused on the professional goals of finishing what I needed to do to complete my professional licensure.  Last year I had commented on a need to contact others and move in forgiveness. I moved and made attempts at some levels of doing such, but still an area needing growth.  Last year’s article referenced starting a forum and eventual web-portal.  Well the web-portal has been low on priorities.  I started out the year with a list of articles to write, and failed to get to or complete many.   Yet, also had written some articles that I believe God used to touch others as well as myself. 

2009 brought some significant events into my life and the lives of those around me.  Janie was victorious in her battle with cancer.  My mother became aware of vision loss.  My brother’s family overwhelmed with the suffering of pending grief.  My wife engaging in and seeking to move into getting healing and changing and letting God work on restoring her to how He created her to be.  The church God has me at, New Joy Church went through a transition from Pastor Richard Hubert to Pastor Brian Sinclair.  A move I sense will bring the church in to a period of productive service to the King of Kings.  So lots going on in those around me. Also lots going on with me as well.

Looking back last year, I commented that 2009 was a year of change.  And good changes did occur in me.  I can say without a doubt I am not the man I was a year ago.  Sure, I have undergone accomplishing a personal milestone in becoming a licensed Psychologist. Yet, the changes run a bit different from that.  I am a person who loves stories and fiction.  I can easily get lost in watching assorted stories and movies and spend a lot of time doing so.  Yet, God has opened my eyes and ears to the depth of the messages communicated in the stories presented on television and in movies.  My level of viewing these stories has reduced significantly.  As a person who grew up with ongoing television exposure this is a significant change. 

Another change was related to changing my diet.  I was reluctant to do so. I enjoy eating the foods I eat and really was not committed to change.  I agreed to a diet manly to support my wife.  Yet, in the process God has worked on my heart to start viewing approach to food differently and changing my mindset.  I still have some changing to do and old patterns return easily, but the change is positive and it is no longer doing it because of wife’s request.

I also believe that God has me in a process of restoring voice.  I have been a person who easily engaged in matters to working to serve God and others.  It was all about what I am doing.  A few years ago, God let me know that in terms of loving God and loving other that I needed to grow and restore my voice.  Actually starting writing this blog was a part of the process but God moved in my life to the point where I he had me give a sermon. The crowd was small, the sermon was imperfectly delivered. Yet, it is a move of giving voice.  In the process God also taught me a bit deeper about what it means to love God and others deeply and what it means to worship Him in spririt and truth.  If you haven’t read the full “sermon” on that, please do go read it here: https://peacebringer7.wordpress.com/2009/10/26/worship-in-spirit-and-truth-how-do-we/.  God also has me back to a point where I want to find ways to serve God in the church and allow God to use and develop my voice.  So God has continued that restoration process. 

Well, there are probably other areas where God has moved and changed me but the ones mentioned are the core areas coming to mind upon reflection.  A lot more comes to  mind on what changes still need to happen and continue as continue to grow in loving God and others genuinely as a reflection of God’s love for me.

Personal Resolutions:

The biggest need for me in the year ahead is to be more intentional. Often with the blog, the forum, and whatever else God has going on in my life, matters are often taken moment by moment.  There are lists of article ideas that simply have not been written as engage in writing on things that are more topical.  There was an effort to have some intentional posts getting into element of  spiritual growth but the articles stimulated litte  discussion or audience.  Yet, they served a purpose.  So I know I need to commit to both having articles posted by certain days and work on the list and ideas on what to write about that God has stirred in me. Until I get to writing some of those matters further, the use of  the voice God has given me is still not fully functional. 

One commitment for me as well in growing with relationship with God, is being more intentional also in relationships. It starts with my relationship with God.  Much like the blog, the interactions with God ebb and flow.  There is a lack of intentional consistency.  All to easily I let other things get in the way and feed on the junk rather than spending time relating with the One who loves me beyond measure.

My relationship with my wife and family and friends also can fit the same pattern.  There are ebbs and flows.  There needs to be more intentionality of my interactions and communications with those I love.  So as I am writing this, it is clear my overall resolution and desire in 2010 is to grow in intentionality and consistency of loving God and others rather than attending to self.  Just thinking about this, the lack of intentionality ulitmately is about self-focus rather than a God-focused reflection of His love.  Being intentional involves an act of the will of where to turn my focus.  So all in all I need to grow in surrendering to God and being intentional about what He puts before me.

 Now there are hopes and plans for the year to come and ways that need to move intentionally.  Those areas really mark the questions for the year ahead.

Personal Questions:

As stated a lot is going on in the lives of those around me.  Changes, struggles, suffering, and growth all are there.  The question that comes to mind is how can I be used in ongonig ways to love and build up those around me?

Of course there is the professional question of what will starting a private practice look like and what will the year bring?

There is the question of how am I to serve God in the church he has placed me? 

Will God give other opportunities for me to grow in use of voice?

What does God want me to say and do to help others?  

What will God do with what He is already teaching me?

What will happen in the world at large as God continues to allow pieces to shift in setting the scene for the return of the King of Kings?

These are my thoughts at the moment.  Tomorrow I will post specific prayer requests for me, my family, and my church as well as some words in prayer for the year ahead.  Please take time to look at where God has brought you, what God is stirring in you for the year ahead, and consider what God is asking of you today.   And may all you readers grow in God’s love and peace in  the year ahead.

Personal Reflection: A gift on this day

Today is a day where God saw fit many years ago to bring into this world the person who became my wife and partner.  It is hard to fully put to words the thoughts, yet God created and gave life to my wife, Liz Blake.   God knitted her together in the womb.  Now it is hard to comprehend what God’s thoughts were when he knitted her together. Was I on his mind when he formed her in the womb?  How does the variance of our wills come into play?  These are answers we do not have as get lost in the complicated quagmire in the paradoxes of understanding God.  I know that today, on this day, God brought Liz to this world and she would one day become my wife.  Now we have moments of joy and pain, struggle and ease.  Yet, God has touched me through her, and I believe her through me.  So I thank God today for the gift of my wife, born many years ago on this day.  So today is a day of thanksgiving and blessing.  Even in thinking about God’s blessing of Liz, my thoughts go to my life journey, the ups and down, the moving past defenses and fears to get to the point where we are today.  God knew Liz needed a man like me as her partner and mate, and vice versa.  Please take time today to thank God for Liz, whether you know her or not.  Take time to thank God for the ways he as blessed you, even if times are tough and struggles and grief cloud your views.  For God is love, and he delights in seeing how we respond to love as our stories play out.  Also please take time to pray for Liz and what God has in store for her in the year to come. If you know her, find a way to bless her and wish her a Happy Birthday.

New Year reflections and resolutions

Well it is now 2009, and as of this article we are eight days into the New Year. This time of year two things happen, reflections and resolution. We look back on what has changed both good and bad and we look ahead for what he hope, make plans to make changes, and begin to make preparations for any plans for the year. The point of this article is to both look back and look at what is ahead. So this article is more personal reflection then it any teaching or commentary.

REFLECTIONS:

For me, 2008 brought a change in perspectives. I had started 2008 with the focus of just pursing my professional goals and just going from one day to the next. The start of 2008 was hope for further growth in relationships but really it was about getting by each day. Spend time with family and friends, read the Bible, go to Church, work at my job, and engage in entertainment often for felt needs for distraction. I knew I should perhaps start writing a blog but it was something always that I should start. It was on my “to do list” but ever put off. I was essentially coping. Working my hours and doing what I needed to do. Now I wanted to see God moved and initially tuned into programs like the Ramp which seemed to call for dedication to God. It was interesting blurbs that really didn’t even offer much to think about, since they only give snippets of any teachings. So I was simply getting along and getting by. Then in June of 2008 through the Ramp, I learned of Todd Bentley. As documented in the first article on the blog, I initially accepted Todd Bentley as a good thing and ignored the red flags and the warnings. After barely sleeping and looking more into what actually was being said and done, God woke me up to my self-focused sitting back. Once I started looking into that deception, I also began to be aware of prophecies about the United States, most I knew in my heart were off. Yet, exposure to them made me take stalk about where I was and recognize that I needed to get ready. I cannot just sit back and eventually get to doing something. I needed to stop just “playing with soap bubbles.” I needed to do what God called me to do. So I started my blog, and eventually the forum, which is now leading to a website portal as well.

Of course exposure to Mr. Bentley and his show in Lakeland, Florida also made me more aware of the nature of deception and the pervasiveness in the church. It has made me far more critical. My mindset had always been we all misunderstand God in some ways and most doctrinal differences end up around our focusing on when element or elements related to God with exclusion to the full picture and inability to cope with apparent paradoxes such as predestination and free will. I also had recognized that God allows us to be fed where we at and will reach out to us even in our errors and self-set limits of interactions. Personally I hadn’t really attended to the stark levels of deception. Then I was exposed to Lakeland and my eyes began to open to the lies that abound within the church.

A non-spiritual event that happened in spring of 2008 is an automobile accident where a driver came at me the wrong way that now results in my having chronic neck and back pain. I know understand better what my wife suffers and others with ongoing pain. Yet, even with the ongoing pain, God point me to “Rejoice in the Lord always” and it is a tempting trap to do otherwise.

So basically I moved away from being self-focused and actually began to do things God was leading me to do. I began using my voice, something that I had lost sight of using years past, perhaps gradually, perhaps connected to self-led failures that created wounds and doubt. But not only have I started to regain my voice, but have began to be more aware of deception and have dusted off the gift of discernment, which I have learned I need to be cautious and learn to read better what God shows me when he is and not jump to quick conclusions. Discernment can be initially quick but also needs time and further context. God has shown me that at times there are mixtures where even a deceiver is sharing truth and God moves in that truth, but the rest is clouded with lies and deception. So now that there is voice and renewed discernment, what is potentially in store for 2009? This leads to reflecting on the resolutions for the New Year.

Resolutions:

I think of this as resolutions, because it becomes areas and goals that I hope will be attended to, and decisions I want to commit to in the year ahead. We never know what the year brings, all we know at this stage is where we are pointed. Twists and turns will come, like my step-mother’s cancer returning, but still there are paths to go down, as led by God and the Holy Spirit. And 2009, really is a year of pending change. Yes, we have a new President and change will be happening regardless. But I am talking a time for personal transformation.

One of my resolutions and goals and really the starting point is deepening my relationship with God. God has already shown me of a need to be thankful daily, even moment by moment, regardless of circumstance. When things are getting tough I need to move beyond distraction and actually reach a point of being able to rejoice, with God’s help, since my strength to rejoice fails.

Another change that I need to make, is continue to follow God’s lead which will involve contact by email from people from my school and both forgiving and asking for forgiveness. I recently did write an old friend who went down a sinful path and I abandoned him to his sin essentially because of pride and self-righteousness. It is a hard thing to do, but this needs to happen.

I am in process of building not just a blog and forum but a website portal. It right now is an overwhelming task, but God has brought some good people to help, and I look forward to see how God uses what he leads in my life and the lives of those touched by those tools and services.

A personal goal is professional licensure in psychology and a hope to help others through in-office therapy and not just my current crisis evaluation and in-home skills training jobs. Yet, only God knows where those will lead.

Another resolution is to grow in my ability to meet my wife’s needs and to help her grow in her walk and overcome her struggles.

Also, I want to see healing and restored health for my step-mother and still hope that God can restore my mother’s vision. I need to open and listen to how God wants me to interact and act on behalf of those I love. I do also need to turn my felt responsibility for my family to God, seeing any of them in pain hurts regardless of coming at the hands of choices, or through life circumstances including health. Ultimately, I need to submit them to God before anything else. I need to daily turn my burdens over to Him because they are too much for me to bear.

All in all, I know that the year will not turn out in accordance with any expectations I have about what will happen, how God will work, and what is in store. All I know, is there is a season of changes coming. How that plays out, only God knows, but he has set things in motion and led me in directions for reasons only known to Him. And basically above all else I want to live in submission to Him, and build his Kingdom and not my own, because it is very easy to get caught up in building for self. There are way too many temptations.

I also know that God has some things for me to write and say. Articles on the to do list grow, there is a series coming on what goes into strong delusions and effectual deceptions, a series examining morality, an article on biblical approach to conspiracies real or imagined, and article on our wormwood, soap bubble chasing culture, and other things as God leads. It all can be very overwhelming. Add on to that adding the website and blog with family health concerns ongoing and I can easily be overwhelmed to the point of inaction. So pray for strength and let God move in me as he will.

I also offer the readers a challenge to go before God and turn yourself over to His will for the coming year. Ask God some very specific prayers:

Thank God for what has come in the years past and for what is to come, even any potential suffering.

Ask God to open your eyes and ears to any areas of deception in your life and to show you the truth.

Ask God to make clear areas in your life where you need to repent of your own self-will.

Ask God to show you anyone that you may need to forgive or reconcile.

Ask God to show you what is asking of you in this year ahead.

Tell God that you submit to His will over God.

And know that while all of this is easily written and actually easy to do, the surrender of self is never easy but when you surrender self to the God of Love who cared enough to send Jesus to pay for our selfishness, so that we can be reconciled, then you truly are blessed and find true peace.