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‪reck·less /rekləs/ adj. without thinking about the consequences. rash, heedless, impetuous, impulsive, daredevil, audacious, madcap‬

Category: Blood of Christ (page 1 of 2)

Razor’s Edge

  
Maybe it’s just me, but I find I live life on a razor’s edge. 

What I mean is this: each day has the propensity to be a good day or a bad day. It all depends on which way I lean. Which way am I going to go. Which direction do I allow my day to be taken. 

If I allow my day to be dictated to me and don’t specifically take steps to make it a good day, it won’t be one. It’ll be a bad day. This shouldn’t be surprising to us. We live a world marred and broken by sin. We live in a world where selfishness and sel-gain are the order of the day. Our world is broken and leads towards destruction. So it shouldn’t be surprising that our days can easily become bad days full of pain and suffering. 

On the other hand, if I wake up and determine to make this day a good day it is more likely than not thT it will be a good day. I know what you are thinking, some days are always going to be bad due to their circumstances. True, but our perspective incredibly affects our outlook on life. Perception is 9/10 of the law, right? We can’t always make everyday an epic specimen of existence, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying. Here’s four practices I utilize in my efforts to make everyday a good day:

  1. Remember today is a new day. P.O.D.’s song Alive starts with the words, ‘Everyday is a new day, I’m thankful for every breath I take’. I often find myself reciting these words at the conclusion of a tough day or at the beginning of the day. Everyday is a new day. Today doesn’t have to be like any other day you’ve ever had. 
  2. People depend on me. I’m a dad, husband, boss, mentor, friend and role model. People are looking to me to gain insight on how to handle their lives. People are looking to me to learn something. People are relying on me to be strong and consistent. I am not an island. People need me to be the best I can be today. 
  3. God has blessed me beyond what I could ever deserve. Even in my darkest moments, my life is favored and blessed. As a child of God, I am in dwelt by the Holy Spirit and therefore have found favor with God. He loves me. He watches over me. He is preparing a place for me that is free of pain, suffering and hurt. 
  4. The last practice is somewhat more practical in nature and may qualify as more than one practice, but whatever. I use everything at my disposal to make each day good. Counseling, prayer, reading the bible, wise counsel from friends, self-help articles and books, time with my kids, video games, anything. God has blessed me with a myriad ofresources at my disposal to make my day good, all I have to  do is reach out and use one of them. Surprisingly, God doesn’t want me to be miserable. 

I still have bad days. It happens more than I want. But those are the days when I let life happen to me and not the days when I happen to life. Decide today to be more than conquerors and Almagest today a good day. 

Wrestling with God… Self-Worth and the Struggle of Co-Dependency

I’m taking this class in my counseling program right now, Foundations of Counseling, and it is supposed to be the first class you take in the program but, here I am 25% of the way through before I’m taking it. Dean Buchanan always accused me of taking things the wrong way and out of order. He was right. Anyway, the class covers things like the beginning of the client-therapist relationship, attending skills and other basic skills needed to be competent counselor.

Last week in class we spoke briefly on the subject of co-dependency. Briefly, co-dependency is the act of finding your value, self-worth and meaning from things or people outside of yourself. Like finding meaning. purpose and value in your job, friends, car, house, toys, significant other, how people view you, clothes and anything else that is outside of you. Anything that can influence you from the outside of yourself. My professor stated that the only legitimate place to gain that self-worth is from within ourselves. Value can’t be derived from what other people say or think about you.

As I began to think about this, I think that it needs to be taken one step further… to our value, worth and meaning coming from what God thinks about us and the value that God places on us. I think there is an amount of co-dependency there, but a healthy level. God has created us, and it is only him that can give us any value, any worth. I like this better. Because if I leave it up to myself I am susceptible to allowing the messages that I hear from outside to cloud the way that I value and consider myself. Take this song for example, Celldweller one of my fav bands has a song entitled Symbiont and the tag for the song is:

I’m never gonna let you forget;

that you’re

Eraseable – Expendable

Words like this tap into my already shaky sense of worth and value. And if I rely on myself I’m not sure if I am able to overcome these thoughts and persuasions. So looking to myself, isn’t enough. There has to be another measure for me. What can I use to determine my worth that isn’t from other people who can’t be trusted to bring me my true value and isn’t from myself that also can’t be trusted to bring my true value. I believe as humans we have a basic need for community, to belong, to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. And the other side of this need, is one of greatest fears: that we don’t have community, that we don’t belong, that we aren’t a part of something bigger. I also believe that this fear is stronger than our ability to overcome it and see our true value and worth. Maybe not stronger, but it easily over powers us. Kind of like the Darkside of the Force in Star Wars. The Darkside isn’t stronger but, it seems stronger because it builds on things like anger, hate, fear, and malcontent. Our fears are just like this… they seem stronger because they are easily able to over power us because in the deepest recesses of our minds we are scared that our fears are true. That fear gives our fears their greatest strength.

The way to fill the need that we have to belong doesn’t come from other people totally. Just like the need to feel value doesn’t come from us completely. We have to look inside ourselves and beyond ourselves. We have to tap into something else. God is the only answer. He is able to fill all the holes and complete all the voids that we have in our lives. God has placed a value on us that we can’t match anywhere else. God values us enough to have created us in the first place. God values us enough to chase after us to have a relationship with us. God values us enough to fix our screw ups in order to maintain the relationship with him. Ultimately, God values us enough to die for us. We have created a rift between God and us and the only way to fix it is for someone to pay the price to fix it. The rift is created by sin, God being completely holy is unable to surround himself with anything that is unholy. Because of this intrinsic and fundamental foundation our sin-scarred, tattered-rags of excuses for lives are unable to approach him. Hence the need for a Savior. Grace is defined as not getting what we deserve while simultaneously getting what we don’t deserve. God in his glory has decided to overcome the laws of physics: become a human, be fully human (yet fully divine) and struggle like the rest of us, yet remain untainted and unscarred by sin. After being fully human he dies in our place, takes our punishment in order for the rift to be crossed. God does the unimaginable and extends grace so that we can once again know him.

Why does this matter to our conversation about value? God values us enough to turn the whole universe upside-down to bring us back to him. The only place we are going to find someone to value us that much is through God. Looking within us isn’t enough. We have to allow God to bring our value and worth to us. Now the hard part of life is putting that value into action and to begin to see ourselves the way God does. There are good days and bad days. Our feelings of our inability to measure up don’t affect the way God measures us. God loves us the same no matter what. There may be days that are more disappointing to him than others, but his love never changes. Christ said he was the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. His love remains constant.

Now, I just need to value myself the way God does.

 

Wrestling with God… Trading Places… a Vintage Post

During this week’s sermon an illustration was used to describe the fact that Christ had traded places with us and took the just punishment for our sins. Because of this we must be ready, willing, and eager to share this good news of Christ’s atoning sacrifice which is the best news. To be sure, I am glad and very thankful that Christ died for my sins, but I think that it is a little simplistic to think that it is always that easy to share the gospel with others. A passage from the OT was read that described the Israelites resorting to cannibalism in order to have food. This passage shows us the brokenness of people in the world and causes us to recognize that no matter how tough our life is, it could always be worse. Maybe so. Right now, life is not what I envisioned it should be and I feel fairly beaten up by life regularly. I can associate with those people who feel like life has given up on them and that feel like life has kicked them in the teeth. Lucky for me my teeth were replaced as a part of a tragic mtn bike accident and are impervious to mule-like kicks to the face. However, just because life is hard and it is difficult to realize the good parts of life I’m not given a free pass to be a lazy piece of crap Christian. My responsibility remains the same. Maybe it is better to talk about the ways in which a person is able to overcome the crap of their life in order to be able to be a vessel used by God. We should be excited and happy and ready to talk about the gospel. But what if we aren’t? Where do we go from here? Part of wrestling with God is realizing and understanding my own brokenness and still attempting to be used by God. Understanding my emptiness, my ineptitude allows me to let God fill in the holes. God has traded places with me, whether my life smells like roses or dog poop.

What do I do with opportunities given to me?

More importantly how to I get myself to where God can use me, even I’m the
midst of despair?

These are the questions that you must wrestle through in your relationship with God. What have you come up with?

God’s Redemption Story

If you go to my facebook page you will notice on the left hand side there is a poll where you can learn what Star Wars character you are. I wanted to be reassured as to which one I was and so I took this poll and found out what I consider to be truth… I am Han Solo. I know this comes as no surprise to you. When I think of Han, I always think of that scene in the Death Star when Luke is trying to convince Han that Princess Leia is worth saving.

Han Solo I can imagine quite a bit – that’s God’s redemption story, bigger than we can imagine

Romans 5:8 tells us that we were still sinners, Christ died for us. We gloss over this world ‘sinners’ often times and downplay what it means to be a sinner. But plain and simple, being a sinner means we are enemies of God…
That means that Christ died for us while we were diametrically opposed to him. Enemies. Not just friends who weren’t getting along. While we were still sinners… enemies of God… he died for us… in our place… instead of us… his redemption story is big enough that he loved us, died for us, called us back to him.
What does Redemption mean?

Redemption means to bring something back to life. It’s taking something that is dead, broken, beat up & ugly and making clean, new, fixed & pure. Healing, restoration, life… again.

Take Paul for example. He was killing Christians, then became the greatest voice of the church. He was on his way to Damascus with permission from the High Priest to kill any Christians that he could get his hands one when he encountered the very Christ he was persecuting. We are all enemies of God in the same manner before we meet him…

What I have found is that sooner or later we are all going to hit rock bottom. Another thing I realized, painfully I might add, is – the only way up from the bottom is through the redemption story of Christ. No matter how far we think we are we are never out of the reach of God and his redemption story.
More than that, the only thing that can fill that hole within us is God. When we are on our way down and after we hit the bottom we are trying, grasping at anything to make the pain, hurt stop… and nothing stops it. Oh, we can make it stop for a short time: drugs, sex, spending sprees, alcohol, cutting, reckless behavior… anything to make the pain, hurt to stop. And it works… for a very short time. And then we realize God and his redemption are the only thing that can save us… from ourselves.

Christ has been here & done that – human just like us. Hebrews 3:17-18 tells us that Jesus has been there, done that, got the t-shirt… he became a human and he knows what it feels like to have a friend die. He knows what it feels like to be stressed out, overwhelmed, angry, depressed, tired, beat up, broken… he has been there and he can offer to carry our burden because he has already carried and knows what it feels like.

Great, Jesus knows what it is like to be me… so what? He has redeemed me… for a purpose.

Look at John 21:15-17, this is the story of Jesus eating a fish breakfast with his disciples and asking Peter if he loves him three times. You may remember a short time before this Peter denied Jesus three times. I think Jesus is telling Peter (and us ) no matter how many times he is denied he still loves, still redeems and still gives a job to do.

Jesus instructs Peter to care for his sheep and feed his lambs. I think this means we need to love our neighbors, disciple the lost, care for the orphans & widows… these are all ways that Jesus’ people are taken care of or fed.

James 1:27 says that pure & undefiled religion is to care for the orphans and widows and to remain unstained by the world. In this context religion is used to describe our worship of God.

Here is the challenge… are you living up to the task God has given us? He has redeemed us, repaired us, healed us so that we can reach out to the broken, beat up, bruised, used and afflicted around us…
are you?

God's Redemption Story

If you go to my facebook page you will notice on the left hand side there is a poll where you can learn what Star Wars character you are. I wanted to be reassured as to which one I was and so I took this poll and found out what I consider to be truth… I am Han Solo. I know this comes as no surprise to you. When I think of Han, I always think of that scene in the Death Star when Luke is trying to convince Han that Princess Leia is worth saving.

Han Solo I can imagine quite a bit – that’s God’s redemption story, bigger than we can imagine

Romans 5:8 tells us that we were still sinners, Christ died for us. We gloss over this world ‘sinners’ often times and downplay what it means to be a sinner. But plain and simple, being a sinner means we are enemies of God…
That means that Christ died for us while we were diametrically opposed to him. Enemies. Not just friends who weren’t getting along. While we were still sinners… enemies of God… he died for us… in our place… instead of us… his redemption story is big enough that he loved us, died for us, called us back to him.
What does Redemption mean?

Redemption means to bring something back to life. It’s taking something that is dead, broken, beat up & ugly and making clean, new, fixed & pure. Healing, restoration, life… again.

Take Paul for example. He was killing Christians, then became the greatest voice of the church. He was on his way to Damascus with permission from the High Priest to kill any Christians that he could get his hands one when he encountered the very Christ he was persecuting. We are all enemies of God in the same manner before we meet him…

What I have found is that sooner or later we are all going to hit rock bottom. Another thing I realized, painfully I might add, is – the only way up from the bottom is through the redemption story of Christ. No matter how far we think we are we are never out of the reach of God and his redemption story.
More than that, the only thing that can fill that hole within us is God. When we are on our way down and after we hit the bottom we are trying, grasping at anything to make the pain, hurt stop… and nothing stops it. Oh, we can make it stop for a short time: drugs, sex, spending sprees, alcohol, cutting, reckless behavior… anything to make the pain, hurt to stop. And it works… for a very short time. And then we realize God and his redemption are the only thing that can save us… from ourselves.

Christ has been here & done that – human just like us. Hebrews 3:17-18 tells us that Jesus has been there, done that, got the t-shirt… he became a human and he knows what it feels like to have a friend die. He knows what it feels like to be stressed out, overwhelmed, angry, depressed, tired, beat up, broken… he has been there and he can offer to carry our burden because he has already carried and knows what it feels like.

Great, Jesus knows what it is like to be me… so what? He has redeemed me… for a purpose.

Look at John 21:15-17, this is the story of Jesus eating a fish breakfast with his disciples and asking Peter if he loves him three times. You may remember a short time before this Peter denied Jesus three times. I think Jesus is telling Peter (and us ) no matter how many times he is denied he still loves, still redeems and still gives a job to do.

Jesus instructs Peter to care for his sheep and feed his lambs. I think this means we need to love our neighbors, disciple the lost, care for the orphans & widows… these are all ways that Jesus’ people are taken care of or fed.

James 1:27 says that pure & undefiled religion is to care for the orphans and widows and to remain unstained by the world. In this context religion is used to describe our worship of God.

Here is the challenge… are you living up to the task God has given us? He has redeemed us, repaired us, healed us so that we can reach out to the broken, beat up, bruised, used and afflicted around us…
are you?
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