#wcaacc: Prepartion thoughts- The Basics

The basics, two simple words that are often spoken with
disdain. We do not like thinking about the basics. Yet everything has a
foundation. There is no success for moving ahead without a focus on the
foundation.  It is the basics that serve
as the starting point.  It is easy to
lose track of basics and get too caught up in the subtle details that add to
the complexity. It always comes back to the basics.

For me today is a day of re-establishing the basics. Today
is a day to be grounded in who God is, who he made me to be, and how He wants
me to touch others. In this post want to just touch on a basic thought
regarding God, myself, and others.

The essential element here regarding the Basics of God is He
is my King and He is the creator. It is He who I serve.  I entered His Kingdom through the gate He
provided, Jesus. It is through Jesus that God is with me every day. It is by
accepting what God did and giving up of my self that enables me to be a member
of God’s Kingdom. The Kingdom is not of this world. At the basic level though I
serve God because what He did to set me free from my own selfish ways.

Regarding myself, it comes down to who God created me to
be.  At the heart, God made me one who is
able to touch others and help them be restored to what God created them to be.
My words, actions, and deeds are directed at building up into wholeness. The
only true wholeness is found in right relationship to the creator.  Now there is still work to be done in my life
to be more in line with who God created me to be. I have sins, hurts, fears,
and failures that keep more from being wholly at peace. Straying from God’s path
or embracing that which distracts happens all too easy.  At the basic level, as a Man of God, a member
of His Kingdom. He calls me to walk in ways bringing Him honor through engaging
in trusting and obeying . He calls me to worship in spirit and truth. He calls
me to work out my salvation and be awake and alert as walk in endurance the
path before me.  That path involves
bringing others to His peace.  At the
basic core I am a man who honors God and walks a path that brings others to
peace.

Finally, my thought go to the basics about others.
Everywhere there are people hurting. Each person has areas that they are not
whole.  We all need walking in greater
surrender. Each person around us needs a touch of God’s love. We all live in the
twisted and fallen world with the consequences of sin. We all have been hurt
and all hurt others.  We live in a twist,
broken, and fallen world.  Everyone needs
love.  Each of us also readily fall prey
to pride, unbelief, and selfishness.  We
each readily embrace the lust of flesh, lust of eyes, and pride of life.  And sadly, at the basic level, most will be
unwilling to surrender to God. Most will stay locked in darkness. Yet, even
with that fact, our encounters with others need to treat them as someone that is
redeemable. Someone that can be found. For each of us has no idea what word or
deed will impact another to set them free toward the path of wholeness. It is
God who knows the end, our responsibility is to love others. Everyone needs a
touch of God’s love. Our walk each day needs to be centered on that thought.
How is what I am doing demonstrating love.

In closing, take time to think, remember, and reflect on the
basics.  What is God in your life and who
is He. What does He want you to know and remember today. Then think about who
God created you to be.  Are you walking
the path or strayed. What is getting in the way?  Are you too caught up in examining the areas
of depth that forget to stay true to the basics?   After those thoughts then take time to think
about your interactions with others.  Am
I filled with anger and upset with others who wrong me?  Am I focused on the pain cause by others that
I forget the good?  Am I loving others in
word and deed. Am I interacting with others with love and truth?   Take time to reflect on those questions or
any other that God brings to mind. Or just simply ask God to show you what
basics you need to review and renew awareness of in your life.  Taking time to do so will in turn bring you
perspective that will bring you in align with God’s path of wholeness in your
life. Take these steps, and then rejoice and celebrate for in this is the way
of God’s peace.

Video Selections: God’s Chisel

This is another video from the Skit Guys. It has a powerful message that pertains to sanctification and our relationship with God.  The video was brought to my attention by a new member of the forum.  I hope all who view are drawn to a deeper awareness of God’s love, holiness, and the working out in our life.  Watch this a know that God does not make mistakes but He is not finished with any of us yet.

In the face minor trials: Musings on how to rejoice in the Lord

It can be difficult when we face the assorted trials of life.  Currently been in the midst of a trial in the form of an intestinal virus that has lingered.  The virus has prevented me from spending time with my brother and his family. It is hard to follow God`s directive to consider it pure joy.  This test is a difficult challenge and last night clearly  reached the lowest point . 

I know the illness and trial is temporary but the hardest part is that it is getting in the way of something I want, time with family.  What I want is good and even appropriate and is prevented.  The question is, is what I want at such a high level that I cannot turn to the Lord and submit to consider it pure joy.

The fact is always these kinds of trials serve to refine us.  Now there are people who have things ongoing far more permanent and have losses far more significant than time with family.  Yet, the emotions of frustration and the felt loss is significant.  Yet, in all things God works together for the good. 

In all things our directive is to rejoice in the Lord.  Here is the thing, God is constant.  We have momentary ups and downs.  We even may have long-term losses.  God is constant through them all.  God remains faithful.  Yet, it is easy to say and hard to bring my emotions and even body into line with this truth.  It is an honest struggle and rejoicing in the Lord here is beyond my strength.  I really would prefer to spend time with family.  We do not get to see each other often.  It is also hard knowing that they have been enduring a long trial with the wife of my brother`s mother dying of breast cancer.  Yet, perhaps in all this, God has allowed illness not only in myself but my father as well, to give them some time of quiet. 

Of course that conclusion is my own mind trying to make sense out of what is going on and trying to sort out a conclusion that I can understand. Only God truly knows why this was allowed and the purposes being served for His glory.  It is hard to see, hard to understand.  Rejoicing in the Lord and resting in His peace is difficult here.  Yet, in all things I serve God and His kingdom.  It is such a time as this that I suffer discomfort and emotional loss of time with those I love. 

 The important process here is I believe to focusing on the suffering and struggles and that of which I recognize and am aware of as struggles and turn to God.  There is a step here from being self-focused and self-aware and being God-focused and God aware.  It is real easy to be caught up in the loss and the minor suffering. If I could will myself to health, I would be healthy.  Yet it is all about God.  To quote the worship song Jesus Lover of my soul, “It is not about me, as if you should do things my way. You alone are God, and I surrender to your ways.”

This is what it comes down to in such minor trials.  The act of considering it pure joy and rejoicing in the Lord are acts of surrender.  Trials always bring a confrontation of self with both real and perceived loss.  It involves a tough step of surrender in the face of self.  It is true here with me, with an intestinal virus that is causing loss.  May God be glorified in this loss.  May my brother and his family get rest even though also facing a loss of what they expected and planned to help recharge them for the difficult days ahead.

So pray for me and my family. Pray for health and peace and strenght. Ultimately pray that we each grow in our ability to walk in surrender and grow in our God focus as we turn from attention to our suffering and loss. And whether a trial to us is minor or major, in the grand scheme of God`s plans, it is all but temporary and minor.

Christian Poetry: Who am I? by Kris Blake

My mother recently wrote a poem that I consider to be in the form of a Psalm.  It really stresses our identify in Jesus and God being mindful of us. It reflects on who we are to God.  Please read and pass this on!  

 

Who Am I?

Postby Kris Blake 

Who am I that you placed a cup before me?
Who am I that when I was hungry that you fed me?
Who am I that under your wings you hide me?
Who am I that when I was naked you covered me?
Who am I that when I sleep you guard me?

Who am I that you carry my burdens for me?
Who am I that you place a banner over me?
Who am I that you built a tent to shelter me?
Who am I that you put your cloak upon me?
Who am I that you put a shield around me?

Who am I that you bind my wounds for me?
Who am I that you mend my broken heart and uplift me?
Who am I that when I fall you pick me up and hold me?
Who am I that when I cry my tears are gathered for me?
Who am I that you sit down beside me, and you whisper that you love me?

Who am I that you clear the path and go before me?
Who am I that you wrote down your story for me?
Who am I that you open the doors for me?
WHo am I that your right hand is held before me?
Who am I that when I run the race you are cheering for me?

Who am I that you build a fire to warm me?
Who am I that your wind blows all around me?
WHo am I that your oil runs down upon me?
Who am I that your water washes over me?
Who am I that your table is prepared before me?

Who am I that you keep thinking of me?
Who am I that you looked down and saw me, and then you chose me?
Who am I that you listen to me?
Who am I that you delight in the fragrance of me?
Who am I that when I knelt down you put a crown upon me?

Post-birthday Musing: Forty-four years and counting

Yesterday was my birthday. It marked the start of my forty-fourth year on earth. Forty-three years have come and gone. Plenty of good, bad, and ugly have gone on those years. For me, the anniversary of my birth is essentially my personal New Year. It is a time to focus on God’s working in my life in the past, present, and future. As such it is a time of reflection, evaluation, submission, and thanksgiving.

    In terms of reflection, it is a time to look back to the changes that have occurred in the past year, the steps accomplished and the personal growth. It is a time truly to examine what it is that God has done in my life. The growth and progress in our lives can go un-noticed or seem insignificant unless time is spent looking back at how things have changed. Granted some years there seem to be more regression then progress but each year brings about change. In this past year though there has been definite growth in the spiritual, emotional, and relational level. The biggest area of growth is beginning to use and exercise the voice God has given me. Also and besides using the voice, my eyes, ears, and heart have been made aware of things previously ignorant or dismissive of in terms of the levels and layers of deception in the church.

    Not only is time spent reflecting on what progress have made in life but also time looking ahead at what areas still need work and what steps are needed to take to meet goals and vision. In doing an evaluation it is a good time to think about steps to take in year ahead and make plans for reaching those objectives. Certainly, in doing personal evaluation there are dangers. One danger is to start engaging in making comparisons rather than honest self-appraisal. At times it is hard to accept and recognize the differences in life. It is easy to look at folks my age who have children graduating from high school, for example. Another easy comparison is to look at where I am in my career and profession versus other people my age. The truth is God created each of us different and we do have different experiences be they good, bad, or ugly. How God shapes, guides, heals, and uses each of us is unique to our own personal journey and relationship. Yet, it is real easy to focus on what we think we lack. It is also really easy to focus on ways things may not have worked out as expected.

In terms of our agendas, plans, goals, visions, or objectives things often do not work out as we expect and it can be really easy to get caught up in our plans for bettering ourselves and engaging in our own plans and visions. As such, we need to constantly be evaluating whether we are pursuing our own plans or God’s plans. Ultimately such an attitude requires an evaluation of personal level of submission. A person’s birthday is a good time to take a hard look at self and renew submitting to God and serving his Kingdom versus our own. Granted, this is needed even day to day, moment to moment, but I find that a Birthday is a good time to commit the year ahead and any personal goals or plans to the King of Kings. It is a good day to renew the surrender of self.

Finally above all else, it is a time to be thankful before God for what he has done in your life, what is coming ahead, and what is going on in the moment. We need to remember whether we perceive progression or regression, if we are happy or unhappy, to be thankful. We are directed to rejoice in the Lord always, regardless of what else is happening. Our rejoicing really is not about our circumstance or what is happening but really about our surrender to Jesus the Messiah as King of Kings and His working in our lives to refine us. So whether the year was filled with many blessings or many trials, still rejoice for God is at work and He is the source of any peace or strength. Really after taking a step of surrendering self to God and submitting to him, the step of thanksgiving and rejoicing should be natural.

    In closing this article, I do want to simply encourage each reader to take time ask God to give me clarity and wisdom to see what he has ahead. Pray that I grow in my dying to self and practice greater moment by moment surrender of self. I have plans for the next year of my life, I have hopes that have yet to be fulfilled, but not as I will but as He wills. Above all my forty-fourth year of life is in God’s hands and I am thankful for whatever lies ahead.