Archive for July, 2011

On Pride and Praise

Posted in Uncategorized on July 30, 2011 by divineappointment

I think I understand why it is that God calls us to give him “all the glory” and why he rejects the proud but gives grace to the humble. A person looking from the outside could see those things and conclude that God is insecure, and needs his back patted all day long. Something that also might get people thinking this is that the bible emphatically says, “I am a jealous God.” I remember when I first read that. I had just made a new, mature connection with God at the age of 15. Mature, meaning that I now understood that God’s intentions were to intimately be in relationship with me. He wasn’t some holy dude on an unseen hill.

Anyway, I was reading the bible in a teens translation. When I read “I am a Jealous God”, I jumped up and got a King James Version (what we Pentecostal Holiness kids grew up hearing/reading) to see if this was some weird translation! It wasn’t.

It said, “the Lord thy God is a jealous God.” But, but, but what about all that God is perfect, and stalwart and love stuff? Love can’t be jealous! Jealousy isn’t strong! It’s childish and crazy! So, is God childish and crazy? Does this mean that he wants to have a close relationship with me because he’s the kid on the playground that doesn’t like to share his toys?

No one wants to get close to that kid on the playground. Everyone wants to punch that kid in the face. And who wants a jealous, possessive lover? One who is always questioning your whereabouts, one who doesn’t trust you, accuses you of evil, beats you with negative words and fists, and then makes it feel like it’s your fault. What kind of love is that? It sure doesn’t sound perfect or holy or unconditional to me.

It took me a while to figure this all out. I had to figure out what was jealousy. Let’s think about this together. Jealousy is not envy. God is not envious. He cannot be. Everything already belongs to him. Envy is desiring something you don’t have; and getting emo and crazy about it.

Well, since the world was created by him, and according to at least one super-popular songwriter, He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands, what is there he could want to own? Nothing. Now, jealousy, on the other hand is possible for God. Jealousy deals with things you own.

When what you already own is being compromised or interfered with by another source, the feeling one can have is jealousy. Now, jealousy can be sprouted from different intentions. The jealousy I mentioned before negatively, sprouted from insecurity. That jealousy is never good. The jealousy God experiences is rooted in love. Check Corinthians 13.

It says love does not envy. It does not say it is not jealous. The problem is that we try and make jealousy and envy synonymous. It is not. Love can experience jealousy. The jealousy we have become accostomed to is the one where the root is a lack of trust, mixed in with keping records of wrong, disbelief, and becoming easily angered.

Check Corinthians 13 again. All of those things re clearly not traits of Love. Jealousy not sprung from love is all of those things. Now, Christians believe that God is love. If jealousy is springing up from God, it must be springing up from love.

So, what does jealousy sprung up from love look like? It looks like watching the person you love the most take a nose dive off of a mountain cliff, when you knew the way to a bridge.

It looks like watching the one you love most in the worst situations choose to stay there, when you have a way to safety.

It looks like a very broken heart crying out, “no, no,no! This is not how it should be. I have so much more for you.

It is hurt. It can even be frustrated, and angry. But get this. It’s not about the selfish interest of the bratty cosmic boy with the cool toys. No, it’s not about getting us so that his collection is full, or his ego is stroked. His jealousy exists because he loves us. He wants to see us protected. He is jealous for us, not envious of others who steal our attention. This jealousy wants the best for us.

With this understanding, we see that God is not prideful when he says, worship no other god before me. His desire is to protect us. He wants to pat our backs, not that we need to pat his.

So what about all the glory and honor and praise belongs to him, business?

You know what I realized about that? There are several benefits to giving God honor and praise. The first thing is when you realize that God is the supreme author of the world we know, I makes sense to give God props. In addition to that, God sees the dangers of pride. Pride will make a person fall flat on their face. Pride will close a mouth that needs to cry out for help, and open up a mouth that needs to be silent and listen.

Humility is learned. It has to be practiced. The best way to do so is to realize that we do nothing great without the strength given to us by God. This praise is a testiment to his Glory. Now, because we know that love is not proud, God does not have a pride issue. So, what does he do when we exalt him? He raises us up right back.

It works out great because we learn humility, and God exalts us. Now, we could just skip a step and exalt ourselves. But we wouldn’t learn humility that way. If we are full of pride, how can we opperate in love? If we cannot opperate in Love, we cannot opperate with God, for God is love.

It all points back to wanting the best for us. God wants that we be exalted by him. Who could exalt us better than God himself, anyway? In order to do that we must be as humble as he. David, the man that God said was after his heart, said this of God. “Your humility exalts me.”

When we worship the Living God, we may feel we give our all, but many times he continues to fill us in ways we never knew we could be filled.



Posted in Uncategorized on July 29, 2011 by divineappointment

I need an avalanche of your mercy to break the tension in the heavens of my heart. That place where you dwell. May it erupt the interrupt between the life I have grown accustomed to and the life I am destined to. May it rush down my good intentions, covering them with actions, and finishing what I started. I need a break through in my attitude, a renewal in my mind, some hyssop in my heart and an anchor through my soul. Take control of this old. Make me forego the creases and folds when you called me lay flat on the master’s table. Stretched the corner of your garment to cover my insecurity. Your authority called my silent fury into submission with spiritual circumcision. My will cut from my flesh and drafted, grafted and crafted into your spirit. I lay here still, knowing you are that you are. I reflect on everything you have been. You’re there unlike shifting shadows that make a home in the valley. I am unafraid. Here I rest with you.

Lord of the Practicing

Posted in Uncategorized on July 27, 2011 by divineappointment

I just got off the phone with my dear dear dear friend. Whilst we were having this conversation this very strange analogy popped in my head.

I took Spanish in high school. I became pretty good at it. I continued in college. I became even better. Fall semester of my freshman year I decided to be completely random and take a new language course WSU decided to offer, Japanese.

I was actually taking an upper level of Spanish while I took Japanese 101. I never knew what effect this would have. Previous to taking Spanish classes I had not learned any other foriegn language (besides the required Latin classes in elementry school in Ohio.) So when I went to speak Spanish in high school I had no problem.

But now (2003) there was a problem. My brain had two banks. It had a regular conversation bank, and a foriegn conversation bank. When I attended the Japanese class my first semester taking it, my brain would, understandably, draw from the foriegn bank. The problem was, there was only Spanish in that bank.  As hard as I tried to speak Japanese my brain kept throwing out Spanish!

I was, by no means, -trying- to speak Spanish. It was just in me. So, it came out! Eventually it became very frustrating! I was discouraged. I had to think of the word in English, then my brain would translate it to Spanish, then I would have to try and find the Japanese word! It was so much work!

By this time I had fallen in love with the beautiful language and culture. I had tested it out; and it was something I knew was good for me. I needed to make a decision. The following semester I would stop taking Spanish classes. I did that.

It didn’t immediately fix the problem, though. I still had a problem with mixing my Spanish in. However, allowing myself to focus on Japanese alone allowed my brain to reorganize my mind’s filing system. I had to seperate myself from my Spanish pattern, and zoom in on Japanese. The more Japanese I poured into me, the more I could return it back out. Soon enough no Spanish made exodus from these lips, unless I wanted it to. My mind could discern one from the other foriegn languages.

So, what does this mean? It’s similar to our spiritual / emotional lives as we try and transform, grow, renew our minds, gain experience, and “level up”. We walk into Japanese class (God’s presence) with this other foriegn language (our bad habits, and experiences) we have nearly perfected, and rehearsed. It’s a part of who we are. It flows out of us just as easy as a native tongue. We have just practiced it so much.

And even when we have every intention of changing it, it comes flying out unannounced. It’s just much easier to produce! Perhaps we have old, bad, experiences with church, past hurts, abuses, or what have you. We store those experiences in an emotional Ziploc bag. When something dealing with God, Church, love, relationships, or spirituality comes up, the experiences that we have practiced for so long come flying out. It can be frusterating when you really are trying to speak the right language, experience its beauty, but you cannot. All you seem to know is what you have practiced for the longest time.

At this point it’s time to make a choice. You’re trying your best to get it right,but there is just so much “Spanish” inside of you you can’t focus. You need to let something go.This is the simple action of sancitification. Don’t worry, I’m going intense Christianese on you without a definition. All that means is that you are seperating yourself from the old patterns. The bible tells us to sanctify ourseves; and THEN God will sanctify us fully. So, I guess it’s your move.

God wants to give us the uninterrupted experience of his love language, just like my learning Japanese. The more I let pour in, and dug into Japanese, the less I experienced the Spanish leaking. The more love I experience from God, the less I hear negativity take over my thoughts, dreams, faith, and ability to receive love.

If I’ve gotten really good at disbelief, and it’s all I have in me, I should not be surprised when it leaks out –even when I decide to try to believe. What I need to do is:

1. Acknowledge that what I am feeling/saying/experiencing is not the language I intended to persue.
2. Re-think what my goal is. This may mean I need to redefine my situation with the right vocabulary, or in other words, be willing to change my mind!
3. Decide to seperate myself from any triggers or patterns that cause me to think, speak, act, or otherwise experience undesireable behavior / “language”.
4. Practice the language I desire / go after those experiences… remember the more I pour in, the more can be poured out the way it is intended.
5. Realize that this will take a little dedication. I must practice what I desire! It will pay off in the end. I will go from broken hearted to able to receive and give love. From cynical, surly, and silly to full of hope, kind, and wise.

Let Him be your teacher too. His office is always open.

The Undisciplined Sluggard

Posted in Life on a Stanza, Revelations and Repentance on July 8, 2011 by divineappointment

What say you, God, to this Undisciplined Sluggard?
Say you peace?
Say you woe?
What say you, God, to this Undisciplined Sluggard?
Say you grace?
Say you go?
Depart from me worker of iniquity
Who loves her sleepy pleasures
More than me?
What say you, God, to this Undisciplined Sluggard?
Who goes from good intention to tragic invention
Substituting precious truth for lies
Closing her eyes
Forgeting he prize
Forgeting to rise
Forsaking the stride
Soaking in pride
And fear abides
With many excuses
And grace abuses
And sitting in funk
Thinking she must be useless.
What say you, God, to the Unmotivated Sluggard?
Say you this
a thousand times?
I am married to you,
my daughter,
my bride
Yes, even the backslider is mine.
Bought with a price,
Sealed with redemption
Cleansed you with spice
Healed with repentance
Look at your life
And be my witness
Listen to me
Now with a quickness
Leave all of your treasures aside
The sins that you have stacked so high
Building walls ‘tween you and me
Worshiping nondiety
With complacence bowing down to selfish fear yet
Wrapped in binding flesh and not my freeing spirit
If you will open wide your mouth
I will always fill it
But now you’re closed off from me
I know you cannot hear it
I’ll let you serve your own devices
Stubborn heart and stubborn constant crisis
Hear, Undisciplined Sluggard, just listen to me
Follow my ways
With integrity

And I will satisfy you.