Random thoughts about the richness of life and of the God who brings meaning to it all.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Africa

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Show Them Your Wounds, Show Them Your Scars

We live in a world full of "doubting Thomases", especially in our American culture where the empirical rules the day. If you can't quantify it, validate it, test it, and dissect it, then you don't believe it, you don't put faith in it and it has no value.

As Christians, we make a lot of oustanding claims to the world. "We Serve a Risen Savior!". "I am forgiven of my sins". "We wrestle not against flesh and blood..." "My home is in Heaven". Now, imagine the other side of the fence, whose intellectual requirements include only that which can be taken in by our 5 senses. We make claims that we cannot "prove" to a skeptical world, yet we hold onto them as truth - as dictated by God.

Thomas doubted the risen Christ to the point where he needed empirical evidence. Amazingly, Thomas walked with Christ during his ministry, so its difficult to imagine how he could indeed doubt. Christ simply showed him his wounds. Seeing the pierced flesh, the cuts on his forehead (assuming here), Thomas was convinced by the wounds.

Sometimes all a doubting world needs to see is the wounds, the scars, AND the healed lives that we have to show. We can show the world that we are indeed healed of childhood trauma, of divorce, of abandonment, cynicism, unforgiveness, lust, unbridled anger...the list goes on and on. When we truly show our wounds or scars, we can also show how God has healed us.

Its difficult to understate the importance of relating to a hurting and lost world, because we all have scars, we all have tales of triumph and tragedy. However, the Christian has the unique position to give witness to the One Who Heals. Our wounds and scars can give a testimony that words seldom achieve.

Show them your wounds. Show them your scars.

Blog on.
j

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Relationships, Challenge & change.

I believe that God designed relationships to challenge each of us, to help us recognize our limits and even set limits - all to produce growth. I think the most growth occurs in relationships where we are challenged. Challenge can come in the form of:
  • Sibling rivalry or conflict
  • Parent-child conflict
  • Emotional Responsibility
  • Material Responsibility
  • Unrealistic Expectations
  • Moral Conviction
  • Lack of Moral Conviction
How we approach this challenge always determines our level of growth, and often the level of stress and/or pain we experience. Sometimes challenge is good, which makes change easier. Sometimes challenge is difficult, which makes change difficult.

Challenge always precedes change.

If you feel challenged, accept it. Resisting challenge always means resisting change. Pray for wisdom, that God will show you what you need to learn. Pray for the courage to be obedient as well. Emotional challenge is often so difficult, because human behavior can be difficult to predict. Don't get caught up in prediction, but learn to be sure of yourself, so you are confident of your reaction to that of others.

Remember to pray for wisdom, its the only attribute that God offers to us "generously".

Blog on.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

little blessings

As a part of my journey, as mentioned in my previous post, my path has taken me through a series of little blessings.

The first one is my little niece, Ava. I know...I said I was going to post pictures, but I don't have any. I'm a guy...cut me some slack :). I visited with my brother, his wife and Ava last Thursday and it was so nice to hold her and watch her try to decide whether she was happy or sad that I was there. Between poking out her little bottom lip (prelude to crying) and smiling, I was filled with a joy that made me forget about everything that usually runs through my mind.

New tires. Traveling back tonight from GCG, I was just south of Georgiana, traveling ever-so-slightly above the speed limit ;), when I saw a deer lounging around the middle of the highway. Seconds away from a call to my insurance agent, I put a deathgrip on my steering wheel, braked and turned the steering wheel so slightly enough to avoid this dumb animal. Traveling at that undisclosed speed, I was thinking that my previous tires would not have performed nearly as well. Thank God for new tires!

Serving. Sometimes we forget the joy in serving. I spent a great weekend at Gulf-Coast-Getaway in PC with a bunch of my friends, praising God, making new friends and creating new memories that will last a lifetime. It truly is more blessed to give, than receive.

God's Patience. This fact is never lost on me, in spite of my impatience with myself and sometimes...others. I give myself more grief than should be allowed, and I end up believing that God feels the same way about me. God's patience has spanned thousands of years, wishing that none would perish, but rather come to a saving knowledge of the Truth.

Friends. I have the best group of friends a guy could ask for. Thanks, y'all...for everything!

Bloggeth On.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

How Involved?

I think we should sometimes challenge our own faith, ask questions, reevaluate, question God. I know that sounds bold, but shouldn't we feel comfortable with such questions?

I suppose not, because I don't; however, a few questions have captivated me for a few weeks, and i really don't have any answers.

Has God really left us to our own devices, to make the best of our lives on Earth, using the Bible as the roadmap..."Good luck, see you if you make it" He might have said. No, this isn't in the Bible, but I wonder, truly wonder, how much God is involved in our daily lives.

There seems to be a shift in evangelical thinking, or maybe a "trend" that I see. This trend essentially states my above point, that God spun the world and has left us to make the best of it.
I see this paradigm in people who are very successful and very talented. They seem to be experiencing success based on their: looks, talents, attitude. Not really sure how they see God in their lives or successes.

I do know from what I've heard...that self-reliance has really infiltrated their theology.

The logic makes sense, these "go getters" seem to get ahead because of their initiative. Not sure where prayer is in their equation of success.

I have to wonder though, how much is God really involved in our (daily) lives.

I sort of think prayer is useless, if we refuse ACT in certain scenarios. Other situations require that we be still, like praying for cancer healing, or peace. Praying for a mate, new job, or something tangible is fine, but should we really expect God to drop these items in our laps?

After we pray for something, how proactive should we be as a followup to the subjects that we prayed about?

For instance, "Lord, please heal me from this pain, but I can't confront the person that hurt me." Or, "Father, I am unhappy about life, but I am unwilling to make small changes that could improve my circumstances."

Is God REALLY going to enable lazy behavior by granting answers to those unwilling to look beyond their circumstances and improve themselves? Should we ask what WE can do about our lives before, or after praying? I know of people who have prayed for years for certain things to happen, but the answer has yet to arrive. I wonder if the answer walks by them every day or stares them in the face as they get ready for work.

Why do we pray for healing, yet go to the doctor's office and take medicine? Or are we to rely on medicine as God's remedy for health problems, notwithstanding the sparse miracles that many have seen.

That freewill thing is a pain, huh?

I believe that God can put opportunities in front of us, but feel that we miss them because we're expecting the Lord to deliver the answered prayers in a limo or a big red box. I think we miss opportunities for Growth because we're a little myopic in our thinking and conception of how God answers prayers.

I'm seeking Him, and I want this greater knowledge of Him than I have ever had before.

I guess sometimes...we have to ask difficult questions before we can really grow and mature. My faith is challenged but I take comfort in that "God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him."

I hope I'm asking the right questions. Please pray for me, or share any wisdom with me.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Great Expectations!

Aren't you glad that Christmas is over? Well, I am, and with each passing year I dislike Christmas even more. Let me qualify this statement before you form any judgments. Retail America has turned Christmas into this merchandise-grab under the premise that these gifts will be the "best ever". Heck, if you buy a Lexus, you get a big red bow and you live happily ever after (just watch the commercial, and see what they are really selling).

I hate expectations when they are placed upon me without my approval. I know that sounds arrogant, but my employer has expectations of me, but I also expect to continue working there. Its when expectations are out of balance, that conflict (even if its internal) arises.

Christmas is a crap holiday because of what has been made of it.

Nothing we buy was ever meant to fulfill us, yet this is what we are bombarded with each year.

Then comes the expectation that somebody in your family will be "hurt" if you don't buy them some meaningless gift,so you feel obligated to buy them something that they really won't use. Madness, I tell you. Madness.

Now, I love the Christmas trees, the lights, even the music. I love the festive atmosphere that seems to exist during this time of year, so I'm not a complete scrooge, just a realist.

So, how do you handle Christmas & the expectations therein? Do you feel obligated to spend $1500 on family members because "that's just the way we do things"? Or, have you really given something that nobody could repay during this Holiday Season, your time?

Great Expectations, eh?

Blog on,
Jon

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I'm an Uncle...Again!

Not much time this morning, i have study group and need to put in some hours at the office. I have yet to receive any pics, but when I do I will share.

My niece, Ava Rose was born Thursday at 1:15am, weighed 9lbs 2oz and was 20.5 inches long. I am completely smitten! I can only imagine how my brother feels as the father! I wanted to go buy all sorts of oufits for her, but then I remembered that her closet had been well-stocked many months prior.

more to come...