Sunday, November 10, 2013

I love thee too little

Watch this video first.

“He loves Thee too little, who loves anything together with Thee, which he loves not for Thy sake.” - St. Augustine

God has graced me with a healthy body, abilities and talents, food, shelter, warmth, free time, money, friends, loved ones, laughter, joy. The list continues. 

I spend all of it on myself. 

I'm foolish to think that everything I have isn't a gift, and that it is all for me to consume for my enjoyment only. 

What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? (1 Corinthians 4:7)

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:16-17)

Everything we have is a gift; a grace from God. He has graced us with that - feast or famine - for us to worship. 

I'm rarely looking up for what I have. Instead I get blinded by the shine of earthly things, and forget that I did nothing to deserve them; in fact, I did everything to not deserve them. 

Let's refocus on the importance of what we have - Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ (Phillippians 3:8)

My not having the latest and greatest doesn't compare to the trials of living a life crawling on a rug with cerebral palsy.

He knows the crawling on the ground for 70-100 hard years with CP doesn't compare to the worth of knowing Christ for eternity. O, that I would have that kind of faith. 

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. Psalm 27:4

Saturday, November 2, 2013

When God Breaks Your Heart

I'm sitting in the coffee shop watching an elderly man what looks like apply for a job at Mimi's Cafe (a restaurant here in Colorado Springs and probably elsewhere). He's wearing blue and white pinstripe overalls, reminiscent of a train conductor, over a button down shirt with chevy trucks from the 1940s all over it and sketchers shape up shoes. He has glasses, white curly hair and a white mustache that curls up at the ends.

I noticed his wedding ring on his left hand - and then his wife came over to see him. Her sweet southern voice let him know it was 5 o'clock and that maybe they should go. She walked back over to the cushioned seat to continue reading her magazine, and I glanced at her shoes. They are red, sparkly UGG boots. Something like a 21st century Dorothy from Kansas would wear. I marvel at how comfortable both of them are, where they are, and who they're with.

I've been watching this guy for the last hour while working on a wedding video.

I notice his concentration over the keyboard, typing with one finger at a time. The text on the screen is magnified by 5x at least, probably so he can see it in his old age (I'm guessing mid 60s to early 70s). To his left on the table he has a Spelling Dictionary, which has me thinking why? What is this guy's story?

I don't know for a fact so it is purely inference, but all of this together - his unordinary fashion, his slow moving on the computer, the dictionary, and applying for a position at a restaurant at his old age - makes it seem like he is a simple man; that maybe he isn't as smart or intelligent as an average person his age would be.

God started to break my heart.

What kinds of obstacles has this man been through? What kind of diversity has he faced? What hardships has he endured to be where he is right now? How many times has he been written off? How many times has he been laughed at, judged, ridiculed, dismissed?

But, the one question that summed it all - does he feel loved.

Then God turned me inward. How many times have I laughed at, judged, ridiculed, dismissed someone instead of loving them where they are?

You may say, "Sean, chill. Don't you think you are blowing this out of proportion - especially when you don't know the true story behind this guy?"

But, I say forget the man. The question is - how many times have I done something to someone other than love them where they are?

And the reality is, I have a handful of examples in the last week alone.

The scary part is, I didn't notice them until right now. Until God showed me using an example of someone else's (perceived) misfortune.


I didn't tell you the beginning of this story.

He walked in from outside and stood there a minute looking for somewhere to sit. The long table, which is usually used by people working on computers since power outlets are close by, had one seat open at the end across from a couple in their late 40s. The woman there was wearing a shirt that said "I'm a PC developer." They both had computers and were typing away and conversing about what they were working on. Again, just inference, but by her shirt and their focused discussion on their work led me to believe they were intelligent folks working on an important project like web development or design or something. Their stuff - purse, laptop bags, etc. - was kind of strewn across their side and across the halfway mark of the table. The man walked over to sit in the available seat, and as he stood behind the open chair, the couple glanced at each other and gave disgusted looks as to what he was thinking. They reluctantly nudged their belongings enough to fit a laptop in the empty space so he could sit down and said nothing but continued to work. Quietly the man sat and placed his laptop down, while the husband again pulled his case closer so it wouldn't be touched. The wife frowned a little and scoffed.


I know this reaction. I have done it many times. Instead of offering a seat at the table, I pass unjust judgement.

Why don't I notice this as a diseased condition of my heart? And how many other things do I not notice because I have my head down?

Maybe this man wasn't applying for a job at Mimi's. Maybe he was doing an online survey for the restaurant, and maybe the dictionary was there to look up how to spell hard words like 'baccalaureate', I don't know. What I do know is I fail to notice my sin and neglect to love when God tells us that without LOVE, everything is worthless (1 Corinthians 13).

God chose to wake me up today by showing me through a random person how broken I am. I get caught up in my life and constantly miss the grace that is ever present in every single situation. My plea to you guys is to slow down and think about where you are at right now. Are you aware of the grace surrounding you? Are you acting in love? Are you offering a seat at the table?

Thank God for showing me this today.

Take another 10 and read this blog post I read today that goes hand in hand with mine -

Friday, September 6, 2013

Now and later

I'm re-reading chapters in an incredible book that I 100% recommend to each of you who is reading this right now! The book is called 'Not By Sight' and it is written by Jon Bloom. Super cheap on Amazon. You won't be sorry.

There is a statement in here that hit me profoundly tonight. It reads, "much of the Christian life is spent trusting Jesus now and understanding him later."

I'm living this statement right now, and I can assume many of you are as well.

Isaiah 55:8-10 says "my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (ESV)

Another translation says it like this, "my ways are far beyond anything you can imagine."

When you come to the crossroads of faith and understanding, remember how the straight and narrow path is walked... 'Not By Sight' (applause for the sweet plug).

To break it down, according to the bible, there is a being outside of time who has always existed (never not existed, ever) from everlasting to everlasting, and he created beings and confined them to the boundaries of time and space which bind everything here on earth (including our minds, thoughts, feelings, actions, etc.). SO, to understand an infinite being who is FAR beyond our wildest imagination is quite impossible here on earth due to our boundaries: we literally cannot comprehend a being outside of time because time is our vehicle through life. It is like trying to understand a 18-wheel semi-truck when you've spent your whole life in a Prius, surrounded by other Prius', and never seeing a semi but only hearing that it exists. That is a dumbed down metaphor, obviously, but it drives (hehe) the point home I hope.

That leaves us with only one option: since we can't fully understand (fully, being 100% understood like 2+2=4), that leaves us with a percentage of understanding that can only be made up by faith that an answer exists and that it is good and just.

Welcome to the Christian life.

Remember this next time you come to those crossroads. Don't waste your faith on trying to understand fully what can't be fully understood right now.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sow through tears; Reap with shouts of JOY!

It's been hard the last 2 months to get excited for things; to want to work, write, sing, play, create. I feel like the color in the world has become a mess of grays. Ever feel like that?

If you have, or are feeling like this, take 5 minutes and read this article. Then go sow.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Psalm 56:8 "You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?"

2 Corinthians 7:10 "For Godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death."

Genesis 1:27 "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him..."

"My tears have been my food day and night"(Psalm 42:3), and boy am I full. But, have faith and take heart, because each tear is counted and recorded in our Savior's mighty book of life. Not a single drop shed is in vain or without purpose. Why? Because God created us with the ability to cry. He could have left that one out, but for his divine purpose he gave us tear ducts and feelings and pits in our stomach to drive us to tears. There is something incredibly beautiful about that truth.

As heart-wrenching as tears may seem at times, have faith that the one who is producing those tears inside of you has a created purpose with each one. He knows you inside and out, through and through, from beginning to end, and he knows EXACTLY what tears right now mean to next week and beyond. So cry, but cry to the Lord understanding that he isn't leaving you behind. He is right here right now, next to you holding your hand and feeling every sting in tandem with your heart beat.

John 11:35 "Jesus wept."

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Have you ever wanted something so bad you can feel it down to your bones? Has there ever been an unknown in your life you constantly and persistently focus on? Have you ever lost sleep over something that isn't in your control at all, but no matter how hard you try you can't give it up?

If you said yes to any of these questions, this blog post is for you.

Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! (Psalm 27)

What does patience mean? What does waiting on the LORD mean? I'm currently in the thick of finding out exactly what the answer to these questions is.

You see, six months ago I decided to fast something very important to me for a year to get closer to Christ. Though this sounds incredible in writing, truthfully it has been the hardest thing I've ever had to go through in my entire life.

I've noticed that when I fast, and I assume this is consistent with others, it brings out in me the desires and sins that pull me away from God. When you decide to give up something, your true heart behind that something is exposed. When you decide to fast food (no pun intended) for a period of time, you find out how much weight you give to those meals (again, no pun intended) and how much you rely on them for satisfaction, and in essence saving. If you love food too much, as you fast you can't stop thinking about that juicy cheeseburger, and as a result idols are brought to the surface you may not even have noticed were there.

Additionally, your trust is chained by that desire for your next meal. "God, if you just tell me that my next meal is happening on time and the way that I want it to, I'll trust you in these next couple hours to provide for me." Haven't we all thought something along those same lines before?

As a result, what started out as a worship commitment to Christ has turned into the catalyst for the repeal of your heart back to yourself and your own provision. "God, I know this is what will be my satisfaction, and as soon as I get it I will be able to worship you, but until then I'm going to give this my attention." Sound familiar?

My biggest issue through this fast has been trust. "Are you REALLY going to provide exactly what I need LORD, or should I rely on my own strength and wit to ensure that next meal? Can you just show me the plate, or even the menu so I can feel better about this? One french fry, that's all I need..."

The answer is: we don't walk by sight, we walk by faith.

This doesn't necessarily mean what we desire in our heart won't be the end result, it just means that as we walk by trusting Him and waiting on Him, we can let his perfect timing unfold into something more spectacular than what we have imagined. I so badly want that cheeseburger that I'm too nervous to trust Him for it, not knowing what he has for me is a three course steak dinner.

So I'll end with this: we are so used to seeing strength and courage within huge muscles and a six pack, a go-getum attitude, and a raw instinct to do it yourself, right? What God is saying to us is sometimes the strongest most courageous thing you can do, is to do nothing at all. For where does strength come from anyways? - "The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him." Psalm 28:7

Monday, May 6, 2013

Ready For Love? PART 2

I found out this week that this show has been cancelled. If I'm honest, this makes me happy ha!

But, that isn't the point of PART 2. So, we shall move on.

I had a post for you guys, but I think I'd much rather you read this. This pretty much blows anything I could write out of the water:

Rich and Christy's story - excerpt from 'Boy Meets Girl' by Joshua Harris

After you read this, try thinking about what love really is.

In one of my favorite movies called Anchor Man (if you haven't seen it do it right now), in a hysterical scene a character named Brick names off things in an office that he loves. "I love lamp." THAT is the famous quote I use almost too much.

Hopefully without ruining the comedy of the movie, I think that is how we often approach love. It's objectified. We don't take the time to really experience true, romantic, engaging to the core love; instead, we settle for the simple lamp type of love that is fleeting and selfishly motivated, and in the end doesn't mean what we are saying. It wasn't designed that way, but in our sinfulness we have made it that way. Not always, but I have seen this pattern often.

So, should we pursue the "I love lamp" kind of love, or should we pursue the "I will do anything and everything to serve you for the rest of our lives" kind of love? I'm gonna say the second one.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

The Storm I Need PART 2

"In God's design for our trials there is a place for real, authentic grieving and distress. But this experience is fundamentally altered from the way the world experiences these things. We see a design in it all. And so our root stays planted even though the branches thrash in the wind. And the leaves remain green and the fruit keeps growing because our roots go down by the stream of God's sovereign grace - and we trust him for a good design."

- John Piper, sermon

How often would you say that when you go through some sort of trial that the minute you ask God to "take this away" he snaps his fingers and you're home free?

For me, I'd say not often at all. And, for that I am truly grateful... sound crazy to you too?

My favorite story in the bible comes a few chapters after our first water experience with Jesus. In Matthew 14:22, the disciples again find themselves in a boat, in the middle of the sea, being "beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them" (14:24). They had been battling the wind and waves for a while because it says, "in the fourth watch of the night he (Jesus) came to them, walking on the sea." This freaked them out because they thought he was a ghost so they "cried out in fear"; understandable. I see a dude walking on water in a storm coming straight at the boat after hours of no sleep and physical exertion trying to stay afloat, I'd probably be thinking something along those same lines.

"Immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'take heart; it is I, Do not be afraid. (14:27)'" Then Peter asks Jesus to command him to come, walking on water, to where Jesus was standing. And Jesus said "come." So Peter got out of the boat, walked over to Jesus, but then saw the wind and the waves and started to sink into the water. "Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him 'O you of little faith, why did you doubt? (14:33)'" So Jesus walked Peter back to the boat, they got in, and then the wind and waves ceased.

The disciples spent 3 watches of the night beating waves back from the boat and wrestling the sea before Jesus came to them; 3 long, exhausting watches. What should that say about God in the midst of our trials? My first observation of this passage is this: God allows us to go through trials and suffering. If we believe what the good book says about an all-knowing all-capable God, then we should understand that Christ knew exactly what was happening out there and he could have easily stepped in right away, or even rebuked the storm at the first hint of a breeze so the disciples wouldn't have been tossed around.

But James 1:2 tells us to "count it all joy, my brothers (and sisters), when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." God allows us to endure trials knowing that in the end, we will be all the more steadfast in faith, and that will bring the most glory to the Father which is the ultimate goal in our walk.

May I quickly point out that God wasn't absent in their 3 watches; God provided the strength for each row, each deep gasp of breath, and kept them afloat safely above the water. Don't ever forget that!

My second observation is what happened to Peter as he was walking toward's Jesus. As his eyes were fixed upon his savior, he was stepping firm on top of the water. But, the minute he took his eyes off of Jesus and focused on the wind and waves he started to sink and cried out, "Lord save me!" (Matt 14:30). As long as we fix our eyes on the one who saves, we can be assured that we are safe no matter the circumstance.

But let's continue digging: Peter started to sink and cried out, "Lord save me!". What is interesting is that he had enough time to say that whole phrase without going head under. What this has to mean is that Jesus was allowing Peter to sink SLOWLY! If that doesn't blow your mind right away, take a few minutes and think about it - the physics of walking on water, and the metaphors surrounding the entire event. Why did Christ allow him to sink slowly instead of letting him submerge instantly? I'm betting that it was a way to show Peter, in a trial-filled situation, how much Christ was actually in control. Sinking inevitably lead Peter to cry out knowing full well that Christ was the only one who could save him.

Sometimes we are called to walk on water in the middle of a storm. As we do, we can either focus on the one calling us understanding he has the power to see us through to the end, or we can become distracted by the wind and waves around us and start to sink.

•   •   •

We can be assured that we will see trials and sufferings of various kinds in this life, we were never promised the easy road (Matthew 7:14). But, we can be encouraged that every trial is designed by God himself, and that through our suffering we are molded and shaped by his hands so we can better endure, through steadfastness, a faith in Christ. Count every trial as a blessing, because it means God loves you and is interested in creating a more complete you through your suffering.

Steel is refined by the fire.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Ready For Love? PART 1

The first time I saw the preview for this show a month ago in the movie theater, I knew this post was coming.

Please, bear with me here and try to read all of the parts, this may be long...

Tonight was the premier of a new show called 'Ready For Love', and yes I did watch it - which is undoubtedly going to get me goofed on in the near future - but only to make sure my pre-conceived notions were true. Alas, what I found was very close what what I thought I would see portrayed on television. 

Let me give you a quick rundown synopsis of this show: 3 renowned match makers have 4 women each that they are coaching for our one lucky bachelor, and at the beginning of the show our man has to pick 3 women from those 4 whom he would like to get to know throughout the season. The bachelor is on stage with a wall between these 4 women, who protrude from the floor in human size boxes, and they each get 30 seconds or so to tell them why he should pick them - this is all done so he can't see their faces. He picks 3 from each match maker's team for a total of 9 women that he will get to date. They all get put into a house with each other that is littered with pictures and nic-nacs of our bachelor strewn on the walls and such. Then we see them all on a group date together with him, and also some separate one-on-one time between the key girls for this episode. 

After the date portion, we go to the match maker decision round where they place all the girls on stage in front of the match makers and proceed to pick apart the one-on-one times the girls had. In this, the girls get criticized on how they act, speak, what they say during their dates, and how each action made the bachelor feel. They then pick the bottom 3 out of all the girls for our bachelor to pick one from to send home. Eventually, the ultimate goal at the end of the season is to whittle down to a final 2 or something, and the one girl who wins will marry our lucky bachelor. It's kind of like the voice mixed with the bachelor mixed with survivor with a Jerry Springer cherry on top. 


I'm going to start with the girls rising from the floor in boxes. You kind of have to see it for yourself to understand, so look it up on youtube. Here's my beef with this - you have a dude and an audience picking what girls they want from boxes on stage. What I see is 4 barbie dolls in packaging that we choose who we want to play with for the next 3 months (or however long the season is). 

Next are the match makers. Undoubtedly there are gifted people in the world who understand qualities in humans that pair nicely with each other - I mean, why else would e-harmony have the most marriages of any other dating site, right? Here's my beef with this - they give the 10 steps to winning his heart, and how to separate yourself from this pack of girls all fighting for that same guy. And then, at the end, they pick apart every girl's action during the date like it is a homework assignment given by the science teacher at school. AND THEN, they in all of their amazing mind-reading knowledge of how each woman effected him get to choose which 3 they are going to let the bachelor pick from to send home. WHAT?!

Finally, on the grandeur scale, the game-show aspect of 'falling in love'. Here is my beef with this - If it is a game show, I'd argue you aren't really falling in love. The person you are trying to win for yourself has become an object of want or the #1 prize. I don't doubt there might be some true feelings in there, but let's be honest and say that the goal here is to win on a reality t.v. show. 

I could go on, but these are the top 3 on my list. 
This you guys, this is NOT love. It may be marketed as such, but love is not about winning a tv show. You can win the heart of that someone special of course, but that is done at the altar. There are no "10 steps to falling in love, or your money back guaranteed!' The universal definition of 'falling in love' is a person becoming so infatuated with the other that you can't help but think about her every second of the day for countless days on end. You wait around until the phone call at the end of the night to just talk, about absolutely nothing, for 3 hours, sitting in the window of a gazebo outside. Tell me where the 10 steps to that is? Love has never been about fighting each other, it has always been about fighting FOR.

I want to be able to look my possible future wife in the eyes and tell her I'm fighting for you, every single day. I'm battling my selfishness, my pride, my lust, my unbelief so that I can best serve you for the rest of our lives. There might be other dudes in the picture that have feelings for you, but I'm not focused on beating them, I'm focused on preparing to love you every second through rain or shine.

Love is about dying to yourself for the other, ALWAYS. (More on this in the future sequels...)

This type of love will never (and I admit that is a loaded word, because I can't guarantee it, but with the way we are going as a culture...) be portrayed on any game show you'll see during a prime-time spot on network television.

We constantly turn love into an object, and we are going to see how that effects us in part 2. But, before we end this one, I have to point something out regarding the ladies in the boxes.

Women, YOU ARE NOT OBJECTS. You are never to be lined up side by side and picked like I'm picking a kick ball team at recess (and I will use "never" because I can guarantee it this time). Your worth will never be defined by what others (men and women) think about you, but it is defined about what God says about you. It took me the better part of 20 years to start understanding that, so take it from someone who has been on both sides (refer to the 'My Story' posts on this blog). Fellas, same goes for us, but we have to step up as leaders and defend our better halves here.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you what shows to watch and not to watch, but what I do hope to do is challenge your perceptions on the portrayal of love these popular shows present to us. We are in danger of doing great harm to how we love each other if we buy into what hollywood and prime time tell us.

I will say though, Ben Rector was played tonight on the show. That was probably my favorite part. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Storm I Need PART 1

I'll preface this post with a verse we all know from Romans: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."

I've been studying through the book of Matthew for a while, and my goal has been to get a solid 30 minutes of study before the day starts each morning. It has been incredibly fruitful. This last week, however, has been the most incredibly grace filled week for fruit producing I have seen in quite some time. We're talking Welch's warehouse fruitful.

I'll start by explaining a passage that I've been over a thousand times before that hit me like a semi-truck this week. Jesus and his disciples are crossing the sea in a storm. The boat is being swamped by the waves (think "A Perfect Storm" style), and Jesus is sleeping. The disciples wake him and say, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing." And Jesus replies, "Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?" (Matthew 8:23-27)

I want to point out something crucial here that I have read over constantly - "Why are you afraid?"
What a question to ask in this situation.

I have a terrible fear of deep water. I dislike not being able to see what's under me, because let's face it, only around 10% of the earth's water has been explored. That means there is a shark under there that is the size of Manhattan and it wants to eat the boat I'm on. That's neither here nor there, but what remains is this valid discomfort I get from open water. And when a storm is added to that situation, things go south real quick. So, if I'm a disciple in this situation, I'm freaking out and wondering why Jesus could ask such an incredible question.

There are some interesting things surrounding the dialogue between Jesus and the disciples. To their credit, they know to ask him for saving. They have been traveling with him for the last few weeks or so seeing him do miracles right in front of their eyes, so they have some idea that Jesus is Lord, but let's break down Jesus' response.

First, Jesus was sleeping. Let's not forget that. He was calm enough to zonk out, which should lead us in his question. I think what we have to ask ourselves is what was he really saying to the disciples in that moment? Jesus knew that the Father works everything together. His fingers are manipulating every single event in our lives down to how many breaths we take during a given hour (Matthew 6:27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his life?). He also knew the promise of the Lord that what happens is good for everyone who loves him. In that promise is the guarantee of everlasting life in heaven. Now, being disciples of Jesus, who is Lord, would you agree that they should understand that promise too? That being followers of him, they are adopted into that promise through his blood on the cross (which hasn't happened yet in the story, but He has given them enough at this point to understand they are involved in redemption) has accomplished for every single believer?

So here is what Jesus is really saying to the disciples with those 4 words I believe: "You guys, have you not been with me healing lepers, blind men, casting out demons, etc.? Have you not seen the promises my Father gave me through his prophets and scriptures being fulfilled completely in our days together? Have you listened, really listened to the words I've been preaching all this time about our salvation? So why do you even need to ask me to save you from this storm if we know where we are going to end up? My father told us we will make it to the next day, so why are you afraid of this one?"

I have been asking God to help me with my prayer. When you ask God for something, He usually doesn't just snap his fingers and give you what you want. If you want patience, he gives you opportunity to be patient. So, this week, He gave me opportunity to pray. I have been building this awesome life in my head with ultimate chick flick romanticism and superhero strength and ride off into the sunset allure, and He took it away. He also zapped me with a pretty crazy health issue that I'm seeing a doc for on Wednesday... I wanted help praying? Well, here, you can't do anything but pray for these things.

The fear of the storm I was suddenly being tossed around by drove me to say "save me Lord; I am perishing!" And He looked at me and said, "why are you afraid?"

This is how the story ends, and I left it out until now on purpose: "Then he rose and rebuked the waves and the sea, and there was a great calm." Jesus is still willing after my lack of faith to save me from my storm. Does he always make the storm stop? No, not every time as we will see in part 2. But, he is always willing to save us in our time of need. 

I shouldn't be afraid, because I have him. And if I have him, I know I have everything I need. I may be covered by waves, they may even sting as they hit me, but I know that he is faithful. What is tomorrow? I don't know, all I know is the promise that is true today, right now- "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (Matthew 6:33).

Friday, March 8, 2013

Wine and Whining

Hey. It's been a couple minutes. But it's good to see you.

God has been "owning me" (quote from my friend miss Van Allen) for the past few weeks, and I thought it would be a good time to start writing again. So here we go...

A good friend and I have started an accountability group together: Sunday nights, a sweet lounge downtown, and a glass of wine. I've never liked wine, but somehow over the last few months I've developed a palette for it. I'm starting to understand the essence of a good glass of wine.

My dad used to ask me when I was little, sarcastically of course, if I wanted cheese with my whine. I hated that saying. I still do.
 -- I was trying to slyly entertain both whine and wine together in a witty play on words to drive a cool point to this blog post, but I've been away too long and I'm rusty, so I got nothin. 
To get to my point anyways, through these last few weeks of accountability, God has shown in me how incredibly angry I am, and how my anger is like incessant whining.

You see, anger comes from a sense of being wronged in some sort of way. "He did this to me," "she said this," "I got stiffed at work on tips," I'm sure you can fill in some as well. For me, I have felt let down in a handful of cases lately. What I want I don't get, so I get angry at the person for not adhering to my desires. There is a righteous anger, one demonstrated by Jesus as he stood on a table and whipped at people for using the church as a market place, but I'm on the other type of anger. The unrighteous anger.

Why is this anger unrighteous? Because it is a work of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). Anger does not come from a faith in God. Anger says I know what I need, and if I don't get it I'm going to have a fit of rage (like it will help the situation...silly me). So I whine to God and say, "well he doesn't want to do this, and I need this so that I can move forward, and he won't do it!" Then I thrash wildly on the ground, kicking and screaming trying to get my way. Or, in reality, I close up and become bitter and treat the other person so coldly that I can almost see my breath.

But God, so patient and kind and loving, looks down on me and says "son, why are you treating Me like this?"

I want to stop here, because I want you to see something important. When God showed me this, It brought me straight down to my knees.

I close up and become bitter and treat the other person so coldly I can see my breath, but God looks at me and asks why I'm treating Him (God) the way I am. Who are we really aiming at when we get angry? Who really receives the blows from our inner rants? Who are we really blaming when things don't go our way?

"You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether" Psalm 139:3-4. "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose" Romans 8:28. God knows exactly when and how something is going to happen in our life, before it happens, because He has planned it from the beginning. "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done." He has His will for us, so when I am angry with someone for not doing what I want them to do and I lash out in bitterness or some other form of resentment, it isn't that person I am angry at...

I'm angry at God.

Do you see how that works? In God's sovereignty he has declared a will for me, and in some cases my desires and His will don't match, and when that happens I treat whatever or whoever the situation involves with a negative demeaning attitude. I'm essentially telling God that I know better than He does, and more than that, I'm blaming God for what doesn't go my way by acting foolishly. If God plans and works together EVERYTHING (all things) for His purposes, can anybody else be responsible for what happens, besides God? The answer is a resounding NO!

If there is anger in your life, like there is mine, step back from yourself for a few minutes and reflect on the situation a little bit. Whatever is making you angry is happening for a reason, it isn't just a cosmic chance. God is producing something in you through that situation, "...we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" Romans 5:3-4.

As I've been meditating on this truth about my anger, I have noticed less anxiousness and bitterness. I understand that I can't worry about how something today is going to effect tomorrow, because I don't have tomorrow. I only have today. "Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" Matthew 6:24. I also know that no matter the circumstance, God knows how it will play out. All I'm required to do is trust and have faith in His working. If I'm doing that, then there is no need to get angry because I know He is working it together for my good and His will, and in that I'm satisfied in Him which is where we should be as Christians.

So, you can pray for me by praying against my anger. Ask God to forgive me when I do get angry, and for me to understand He is in control 100%. Until next time.

•     •     •

I feel like I need to address me drinking for the sake of it being a stumbling block. I'm of legal age to drink, and I'm not being a drunkard or getting drunk (Ephesians 5:18, Galatians 5:19-20, among other verses). Drinking is not a sin. It becomes a sin when we abuse it, just like all good things (Ecclesiastes 9:7, 10:19). If you have any questions about this let me know and I'd be happy to talk through it with you. I am not giving the impression that drinking to get drunk and partying is OK! Just thought I'd clarify.