Monday, June 18, 2012

A Meaningless Life?

I can't help but look around in these few moments in life. I look around and there are busy people moving so quickly and fast. The world is spinning, the universe is expanding, the galaxies are twisting and light is traveling. Everything is moving and in motion. There is no stopping it and there is no slowing it down. What is happening is happening now... not later... not sooner... not then... BUT now! We are restrained by this ticking clock and we are contained in moment by moment life sequences. We all have a beginning... a birth... and we all have an end... death, but what is found in between is life or is it?

Is what we perceive now to be what really is or is what we see now only a mirage of what is to come? Is this reality or only a sense of reality? Have we not yet been awaken to true reality where we experience life with new senses that we have no idea exist? Is this moment life or is it only a glimpse at what life really is? I have no answer to these questions, but I ask them not to find an answer, but to challenge thought and to awaken ideas of what eternity may be like.

Eternity sounds like freedom from time... Freedom from the chains that locks me into a system of birth and death. Eternity is incomprehensible for me, because all I know falls under the ticking of the clock. What will life be like when there is no clock ticking? When there is no age, but simply existence under no restraint. My mind is left to ponder these ideas, but not to go mad over them. I actually find deep rest and security in this idea of God being incomprehensible and of eternity being timeless. I rest in the arms of the very creator who defined every law of motion and existence. It is intimidating, but who is better to trust then HIM!

I don't have answers to any deep theological question or answers to any philosophical inquiry, but I do have the truth. It does not matter about right or wrong, because in the end when we are in eternity we will laugh at our distraught efforts to solve the world. We will laugh at our arguments about existence and creation and life after death. I have a feeling that I am going to look back on my life now in eternity and just laugh at how I thought I knew and how I thought I understood. I love how the writer of Ecclesiastes talks about life... "meaningless." It is almost depressing, but yet refresshing because it is true. In Ecclesiastes 3 Solomon talks about how there is time for everything and how God has set "eternity in the human heart yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end (Ecclesiastes)." So what happens when there is no longer a time for everything? What happens when eternity sets in? What happens in the end? I don't know, but I am refreshed to know that God does and I serve Him. My master knows all!

I have been awakened to eternity only, because God has placed it in my heart not so that I can understand it, but so I will trust Him with it. It is God's gift! In Ecclesiastes, Solomon pretty much says he does not know! He proclaims that he has no answers. Now this is the wisest man in the Bible and he has come to the conclusion that he does not understand. BUT Solomon does make an interesting observation about time. He says to enjoy it and to enjoy your work and to enjoy your life.

"Go eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this MEANINGLESS life that God has given you under the sun - all your MEANINGLESS days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom (Ecclesiastes 9:7-10)."

At first when I read this I was very confused. I was upset a little, beacause all my life I have been told, "you can do it... you can change the world... you can make a difference...", but can I? Can I really change the world. I have come to find that I can not, but I have found Christ who can. He is moving and He is changing me and the world around me. He is putting into place all of the pieces to bring God Glory one moment at a time. I am along for the ride. I have been handed life and I don't know when it is going to end, but I am sure that it will one day, but instead of making sure that every moment counts I am going to make sure I enjoy it. I am going to soak up what God has given me and I am going to sink my heart deep into the truth of eternity. I will enjoy my days here and I will enjoy what I do. I will enjoy my friends and family who I am priveleged to be on this journey with. Instead of being worried about the end I am going to fear God more than I fear death. "Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13-13)."

why worry about what is happening now and why be so caught up in this concept of time and how it is limited, but become lost in God! He is the Creator and the Almighty! He is the great judge! He is all of everything and so much more. God is incomprehensible and unkown to me, but I much rather be on His side than on anyone elses even if Calvin says this or that (haha). I choose to be on God's side not my side. I choose to rest in the Almighty and rest in the unknown. I choose to enjoy my life and to enjoy what I have been given. I will work with all my might and follow with all my heart, but only because of what Christ did. If it were not for His action I would be incapable and comoletely hopeless, but since my savior died and my savior rose I can live! I can have eternity! I may never be able to understand, but I am okay with that, because I know the truth. My God knows me better than I know myself and He will take care of me not for just this moment, but for eternity.

Do not get caught up in the rush and caught up in the day to day routine, but break free into the unknown and rest in the incomprehensible God who knows all. It is true that He is King not only over time, but over all ETERNITY. Do not lose sight of the destination and do not lose your mind over the uknown, but be broken and humbled to be loved by a Sovereign Lord that will reign forever and ever. It is in this truth that I rest and it is in this truth that I live. Life is meaningless, all that has ever mattered and ever will is God. Plain and simple, God is the way, the truth and the life. There is no other way to live. So be free in eternity! Yes, it is incomprehensible, but be free in not knowing, but in trusting! Oh and don't forget to enjoy the ride!

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Step of Faith to Nicaragua

Dear friends, family, and supporters,

Faith has been the call on my life over the past few weeks. There have been many moments of doubt and insecurity between me and God, but He has been so faithful to me (2 Timothy 2:13). God has made it clear to me that the only way I can follow Him is if I have faith in Christ. This faith does not come easy to me and is not some skill I was born with. I have struggled with this concept of Faith and I have wrestled with the Lord over it. I have pled my case and I have voiced my thoughts and God has listened, but I have lost. He has humbled me and reminded me of who He is. I am so glad that He has won my heart and has taken over my life. I am convinced that God is the way, the truth and the life! I am convinced that only by faith in Christ can I live! I am convinced and I will follow with confidence! I have faith that God will provide!

In Faith I have stayed in Tallahassee this summer to serve Wildwood Church. I am pouring into students and I am being trained to be a disciple of Christ. It has been difficult at times, but God has been so faithful. I have seen kids grow in God’s word and I have seen them excited about pursuing Christ. It is encouraging to see God work in the lives of these students and it is humbling to serve them. When you wash the feet of God’s children you get a glimpse of the beauty behind God’s Kingdom. When you serve out of sincere faith you realize the power of God’s redeeming love and grace. It is evident to me that God is working and He is moving. I have been privileged to have this opportunity to serve and I have grown in Christ every day.

In faith I will be going to Nicaragua this summer with Wildwood Church. The High School youth group every year goes on a mission trip to Nicaragua over the summer and I am so excited to be a part of this team! From July 24 to August 4, we will be serving in Nicaragua with Open Hearts Mission. During the time we will be working on a house project and running a summer camp for the local kids. I am excited to serve these people and I am excited to serve these High School students who are going on the trip. I can’t wait to see what God does in the hearts of these students and in the hearts of the Nicaraguan people. Also I can’t wait to see how God will work in your heart and my heart as we begin this trip of faith to Nicaragua!

As you know, these trips are not possible without God working in the hearts of supporters to give in prayer and finances. All of this is impossible without the work of the Holy Spirit and the body of Christ moving to bring God’s Kingdom! My prayer is that God will work in your heart to give in some way whether it is in prayer or in financial support, but either way my true prayer is that you and I will be faithful! I need to raise $1200 dollars to go on this trip and I need prayer to be bold and faithful during this process. I am not going to lie, it is tough to walk by faith, but it is so worth it!

I am serving this summer out of faith and hope in Christ! “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23)!” “We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but those who believe and are saved (Hebrews 10:39)!” I have faith and confidence in Christ that He will provide for me this summer and the rest of my life!

Thank you for your support over the years and thank you for allowing God to work in your heart so that He can use you to change mine! I am blessed!


Michael Puckett

Send all checks to 100 Ox Bottom Rd., Tallahassee, Florida, 32312 and make them payable to Wildwood Church and write Nicaragua: Puckett on the memo line.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Master Me

If you can understand it then you can master it...

Any scientist would agree that the purpose of research and studying is to better understand the subject at hand in order to predict it or in other words master it. For instance, a scientist studies the properties of electricity to learn how it functions and once this is accomplished electricity can be utilized. Scientist discovered ways to use electricity to power homes, automobiles, airplanes and computers. The point is that in order to master something you need to understand it and then you can utilize it.

Like any good tool you need to know how it works. A hammer can't be used by someone who does not know how to use it. The user must understand the function of the hammer in order to unleash its full potential. A hammer should not be used as a toothbrush or a hairbrush, but definitely should be utilized as a tool that smashes nails. The tool is surrendered to the will of the master and the master can't use the tool for anything other than its purpose. When the tool is mastered it is at its highest potential and it is serving its greatest purpose.

Take a step back and look at the way you learn about God. Look with honest eyes into the depths of your heart and think about the way you study the word, listen to preachers and worship in church. Think about the reasoning behind your actions and think about the frustration you feel when you just don't understand God. Think about the times that have been difficult and reflect on your feelings towards God. Think about the days where this whole God thing just doesn't make sense. Think about the moments where you have questioned God's existence, because you don't see Him, hear Him and feel Him. Think.

I am convicted with the desire to use God like a tool. I have tried to learn about Him and study Him and understand Him. I tried to at least know enough about God was to master Him and control Him. My equation was this that if I read my Bible everyday, prayed everyday, worshipped everyday and shared my Faith everyday then I would have a great life with a lot of money, kids and security. I tried to follow this outline in order to receive the results. Nothing in my heart wanted to read, pray, worship and share. It was all a show in order to use God like a tool for my own good.

I am in no way saying that reading your Bible, praying, worshipping and sharing your Faith is bad. Actually, I believe that these are outward signs of a changed life IN Christ, but it is all a sham if these things are done not IN Christ. The truth about my walk with God was that it revolved around me. I would get so frustrated at Him if I didn't understand something and I would be so upset that I couldn't comprehend Him. I wanted to know everything about Him, but not for the purposes of falling in love with Him, but for the purposes of using Him. The crazy thing is that I thought and believed in my deepest of hearts that I was seeking God, but really I was seeking my own selfish desires. I was so blinded by my own deceit and evil heart that I was living a Christ like life without Christ. I wanted to learn enough about Him to develope a code or equation for success. I wanted to use Him to have a happier life and the reasons for my pursuit was to bring my name glory rather than His. I was a fake. I wanted to master God to control Him. This is an evil reason for pursuing God.

The truth is that I am scared. I am afraid of not knowing, not understanding, and not ever knowing the answers. I want to know why this happens and that happens and I want to know the reason for this and that, but I don't. It drives me crazy to think of all the mysteries of God and how much I don't know. Why God would you allow sin? Why God would you create a tree that we could eat from that would curse us? Why does Satan exist? Why have you not destroyed him already? Why are there people born every day that will never know your name? Why not just let them never be born if they are destined for condemnation? Why predestination or why free will? Why baptism and why this or that!? Why!?

One can go mad thinking about all that is unknown about God. Trust me I know. It is indescibeable of how great our God is and how He is incomprehendable. We will never be able to wrap our minds around the vast concept of God and therefore we will never understand Him and never be able to master Him. Now this is the truth and this is what overwhelms me, because God calls me to surrender my life to Him who I don't even understand. He calls me to be the tool and says, "I will be your master!" The problem is that I want to be the master and I want Him to be the tool, but this will never happen because I am no god.

So I give up... I have pursued for the wrong reasons. I have sought after Him for the wrong purpose. Now instead of being overwhelmed by God's mystery I am going to rest in His mystery. Even though it scares me I will have Faith. I will trust in the ONE who no one can comprehend and in the ONE who knows me better than myself. He is my ultimate master. I will lose myself in His mystery. I will pursue Him with the purpose of desiring to fall in love with the ONE who gave His son for me. My pursuit is a reaction to the action taken on the Cross. I would never of known God if it were not for Christ. So my hope is in Him who gives me strength and in Him who is a great mystery.

But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'" -Romans 9:20

When the tool is mastered it is at its highest potential and it is serving its greatest purpose. MASTER ME!

Friday, March 30, 2012

My Tape Recorder

Let's be honest... who really likes praying?

We pray before meals and we pray before we go to bed. We pray when we are in need and we pray when we are in church, but what is prayer? Is it a conversation or is it a self awareness effort? Is it about talking to God or is it talking to yourself? In so many ways, I fear that most of my prayers are, honestly, just me talking to myself.

I like to pray at night before I go to sleep. Most of the time I find myself late at night looking up at the ceiling and murmuring a few words to God or at least that is what I think. Every time it has the same flow, pattern, rhythm and tone. It always goes something like this, "Dear God, thanks for this and that... thanks for all that you do... Lord I need this and that... Amen." It has the same outline and direction and truthfully my prayer is one way... "me" talking. There is no "me" listening.

I have been told many times that prayer is a conversation between us and God, but I never treat it like that. I never pray as if someone is listening and I never pray as if God is talking back to me. It is always me talking to God in a way that is impersonal and distant. Honestly, I talk to God in a format that I have inherited through listening to other people pray. Have you ever noticed how people pray in group settings? The people that pray out loud sound like they are directing their words more towards the group than the living God. The truth is that most of the time when we pray we are just talking to ourselves.

Now this might sound horrible, but it is true in my life, whenever I hear about prayer gatherings and prayer meetings it is rare that I ever get excited about them. When I am invited to these prayer events I am always like wow... really... like who wants to just sit in a room and talk... it is so boring... it is so fake and truthfully it just feels weird. I usually get guilt tripped into going to these kind of events, because I don't have a heart of prayer. It is unfortunate, but deep down inside I believe that when I pray the only thing that I am talking to is the ceiling.

Well I believe that I have grown up with a skewed and altered view of prayer. I believe that I have learned the incredible gift of self talking. Most people would call this insanity and it is. I literately talk to myself when I pray, but what I should be doing is talking to God. It is so funny to think about the way I pray. If I look closely I notice that when I pray everything about me changes... the way I talk... the way I say things... how I say them... and how my vocabulary suddenly decreases to a few words of "thanks", "Lord", "God", "need", "I pray", blah... blah... blah... I never talk like this in real life and honestly I would hate listening to myself pray, because it sounds so fake and this is a reason why I dread praying, because I am so impersonal when I do pray.

When I pray it is like putting a tape recorder on and replaying it day after day and if God is lucky I might switch it up some weeks or even some months. I can only imagine what God must think when he hears my tape recorder turn on, "Oh boy hear goes, Michael, the kid that has been saying the same thing over and over again for the past 20 years... I just hope tonight is not one of those prayer gathering things where literately hear him play his tape over and over again." This is just a joke, God probably doesn't really think that and I know He loves me dearly, but let's be real my acts of prayer are pretty impersonal and fake.

I pray like God lives a million miles away and I pray like He is not really there. Even in group settings I notice that when I pray out loud that I am not really talking to God, but I am talking to the people that are around. It is so funny to see my habitual prayer life turned inside out to reveal the honest truth of what I think about prayer. In my heart I personally think prayer is lame. This needs to change and will as God continues to transform my life.

Now let's think about the way God talks to us as His children. It is not typically with audible words and visible contact, but more in an every moment kind of communication. All around me God is trying to seize my moments and seize my time. He is constantly trying to connect with me and reach out to me. He does this in many ways like in creation or in relationships. God is orchestrating and moving everything together in a beautiful symphony to just communicate with me, but I don't listen. I shut out His words, with fake and impersonal words of prayer. I interrupt Him with my own agenda and I do it my way rather than His way. I am so busy and caught up in the grand scheme of "me" that I completely miss "HIM". I moan and groan and complain about talking to Him, because I tell Him He never talks back. I always say, "God I don't like praying because you never say anything back." This statement probably makes Him laugh, because He knows that I have completely missed Him... the biggest deal on the face of the Universe I have missed.

You see God is the creator. He is the beginning and the end. He spoke the world into being. He created the unknown and the known and He wrote the laws that keep us together. He designed the molecules and organized the atoms. He designed gravity and fueled the sun. He knows everything from start to finish. He is all powerful and the conqueror of death and life. He is the One and only God and He is everywhere pressing His imprint upon everything. I just happen to miss it, because I only see myself, which in the grand scheme of God is pretty small.

So there is this great and powerful and awesome God that I believe in my deepest of hearts is not near me or at least not close enough to hear me and even if he hears me He doesn't listen and even if He listen He doesn't speak. Now this is ridiculous and insanity. If God is all that He is then I am a fool and unfortunately I am a fool. I foolishly fooled myself into believing that prayer is about me and that prayer is only limited to words. The truth is that prayer is communication with God and it is a conversation with the Creator of the World. God is everywhere and He is moving and living in me and around me. When I pray I should not only pray with words, but with my life. Every moment of my existence should be a constant surrender to my dependency in God and isn't this what prayer is all about... depending on God.... talking to Him, because you need Him... communicating with Him, because you are lost without Him.

I would argue that prayer has been put into a box not only in my own life, but in the Church. Prayer has been limited to just words, but God does not just communicate with us through words. God communicates with us through every moment in our lives, the problem is that we miss Him most of the time, because we are looking for Him to communicate with us just with words. We are looking, but we are not seeing. So open your eyes and see the light. It is shining all around through the lives of His people, through the design of His creation, through the movement of time and through everything... everywhere... everyday... God is speaking!

So don't just pray before bed or before meals, but pray in every moment. Don't just press play on the tape recorder, but press play on your life and speak from it. Don't believe the lie that God is not here, because He is. Don't go through life missing Him, because you won't listen.

"Be still and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10

"Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up." Luke 18:1

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." Ephesians 6:18

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." Romans 8:26

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6

"But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit." Jude 1:20

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." Colossians 4:2

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

It just seems like I have missed it when it comes to prayer. I have limited prayer when it is incapable of being limited, because God is limitless. I am excited and inspired now to continue my life in prayer. To not only pray before I go to sleep, but to pray in every moment of my life. To not only hear God in Church, but to hear Him in every second of my existence. It is exciting to know the truth. It is exciting to live in the truth and it is exciting to hear the truth.

So let's be honest... I think I like praying!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Like Christ

I can't help, but think that I have missed it.

The past few days I have been so focused on myself. I have been putting so much effort into being the better me. I have pointed out my flaws in my heart and have made it my mission in life to rid myself of them. I see poor people and I help them. I see needs and I try to meet them. I know it is wrong to do certain things and so I don't do them. Don't get me wrong I make plenty of mistakes I just am trying to say that I am making an effort to be better. I try to do all of the "right" things in life and I always try to be nice, BUT there is something deeply wrong with me. I can feel it inside of me rotting away my bones and eating away at my life. I am choking, but yet I am trying to do everything right. How can this be? How can I be living this way and be experiencing so much separation from God? How can I be good, but yet feel so dead? What is wrong? "God I thought you said that if I believe you are real and if I live this certain way that I will find life, but GOD just so you know I feel pretty dead. I am trying to be like Christ and to live the way He lived. I see that He cared for the poor so I care for the poor. I see that He poured into people's lives so I pour into people's lives, but just so you know God living like this has not brought me life!"

I find myself in so much distress and I go through the list over and over again trying to find where did I miss it. Go to church... check. Get involved in a campus ministry... check. Get involved in the church... check. Go on a mission trip... check. Feed the poor... check. Help people... check. The list goes on and on and all that I keep on doing is adding more thinking that I must be just missing one more check before I find it. It is a monotonous process of checks and more checks and more stuff to do that ends up draining my life to where I am completely empty. Then I lose my bearings and I forget the truth and cave in to the world and let the world take over me. I let it knock me down and pour me out. I give up because I can't do it!

"I can't do it!"
"I can't do it!"
"I can't do it!"

(Sorry there is no purpose for writing it three times just the fact that I needed to just to remind myself that it is true.)

The truth is that I can't do it... The truth is that, "All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God (Romans 3:23)." The truth is that, "It is by Grave you (I) have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves (myself), it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9)." The truth is that, "I (Jesus) am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me (Jesus) (John 14:6)." This is truth and I had twisted it... I had missed it.

I lived like Jesus not because of what Jesus did for me, but mainly because I felt good being good. I liked doing good things, because it didn't make Jesus look good it made me look good. I liked trying to be a good person, because it brought glory to my name instead of bringing Glory to God's name. No wonder I feel so dead... It is because I am dead. Only in Christ can you find life, but I was trying to find life in myself and all that I could find was emptiness.

"Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you (Ephesians 5:14)!" The blindfold is off... The great mystery has been solved! Yes I have missed it, but now I receive it. You see I was missing life, because I was missing Christ. I thought that I had Christ because I was living like Him to the best of my ability, but the truth is that I was not receiving Him. The idea is simple and I had completely missed it. I needed to understand that I needed Christ to rescue me from the grave to wake me up. I needed Him to die so that I could have life. Out of this great act of love I now rise up. I now choose to live in Christ, because He did it. He lived it. He perfected it. He made it. I didn't... But I have died with Christ on that cross and when my Savior breathed His last all my transgressions were washed away. When my Savior died so did my miserable, empty life, but when my Savior rose so did I... made whole and new in Him alone.

Church, College students, Christians... WAKE UP AND RISE! No longer live like Christ, but live in Christ. There is the key to finding life.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hooked on Me

We all have an addiction. Some addictions can be seen by the naked eye and some are hidden secretly away. Some people know they are addicted and some people do not. This is the scary part. There are people that have no idea that they are hooked. Now I am not just talking about drugs, porn, and alcohol; I am talking about the secret addictions. The ones that no one knows about and the ones that we may not even know ourselves. These addictions are even harder to fight because they are not outside ourselves, but they are ourselves.

A lot of the outside addictions result from the inside addictions. The outside addictions can even be a cover up of our deep inner addictions. We hide behind the outside addictions when the real problem is inside. The catch is that we do not even realize that we are hiding. We think that we are being so open and honest with these outside addictions like alcohol, porn, drugs, etc... that we are really blinded by them. We only see it because others have seen it and have brought it to light. To me the outside addictions are not as serious as the inside addictions. These inside addictions are interwoven with who we are and the only way to be freed of them is to die to ourselves.

The inside addictions are what we base our decisions off of and how we make choices. The inside is what results on the outside, but in so many ways we use the outside to hide, because we can just say, "I am addicted to this substance or this thing etc." Now this is a very bold statement and it takes a lot of guts to say it. I know personally that it has taken me a long time for me to come clean about my own outside addictions with friends and family. It is really hard to make that statement, because it is honest. Also it makes you vulnerable and gives people an inside look to your sin and corruption. I think that everyone that struggles with an outside addiction should at some point come clean about it with an accountability partner or an older friend that can help you through it. Although this is an honest statement, I believe that it is not completely true, but it is what we believe is true at the time. What we really should say is, "I am addicted to myself and as a result I do this and this..."

Self addiction is something that I have just become aware of. I have been blown away by how sneaky and secretive it has been and I am so thankful that the Lord has brought it to light. What I have realized is that the reasons why I was addicted on the outside was due to the fact that I was putting myself first. I was saying that what I need to give me comfort and self worth were these outside addictions. I valued my own comfort and self well being over God. I put myself first and God second and as a result I have become addicted to meeting my own needs through my own selfishness. Every addiction derives from this main point that we believe we know what is best for ourselves and therefore do what we think will make us happy. Unfortunately we have no idea what is best and as a result of our own corruption we develop more and more addictions. Adam and Eve ate of the fruit, because they thought that this fruit would better their well being. They were wrong and so were we.

The crazy thing is that we use the results of our inside addictions as cover ups. We try so hard to beat them and destroy them and we trust God with them, but we don't trust God with ourselves. We know that porn, alcohol, drugs, tobacco, caffeine, eating, not-eating, candy, video games, money, self righteousness and etc... are all wrong in excess, but what we don't realize is that these things are a result of us choosing them based on the fact that we believe that these things will bring us satisfaction. We make these choices because we are selfish and we want to meet our needs the way we think is right, but we are so wrong.

For a long time I have been fighting my outside addiction and God has been teaching me so much through it and finally has pointed out through my outside addiction that I have an inside addiction to myself. I value myself more than God. Even in my own spiritual walk I have made choices based off of my well being and not based off bringing Glory to God. Half the time I go to church to just feel good about myself. I go on retreats for myself. I am involved in ministry for myself. Really I should be doing all of these things not with the intention of bettering myself, but with the intention of bringing Glory to God and as a result of this I will find that all my insecurities and needs are met through Christ. What I am trying to say is that I make selfish choices even in my own spiritual walk. I only do what makes me feel good in my walk. I feel good when I go to church. I feel good when I worship. I would not do these things if they did not feel good and this is what God has convicted me with. For instance there is a Father and a Son. Whenever the Father comes home from work his Son runs up and gives him a big hug then the Father gives his Son a candy. Every day the Father gave his Son a candy after the big hug, but one day the Father did not give his Son a candy after the hug when he got home. The next day when the Father came home his Son was no where to be seen. The Son was in the living room watching television and he clearly knew that his Father was home, but he did not run up and give him a big hug, because he thought his Father did not have any candy. Right there is the story of my relationship with God. When I stop feeling good (candy) I stop. The candy is what I am after. I am after the feel good moment. This breaks my heart, because I am not seeking God, because I love Him and want to bring Glory and Honor to Him, but I am seeking God for myself. If God has no candy for me then God is not getting a hug. This reveals my inner addiction to myself. I can only imagine how much this breaks God's heart, but it is true and you know what, God has His hands wide open and He is waiting for the big hug. I know that God will continue to be faithful to me even when I am not. It takes time to work through an addiction and God is working through this addiction with me and even when I do not give Him a hug he continues to love me by hugging me no matter how messy I am.

So there is my problem... I am hooked on me. Due to valuing my well being over pursuing my purpose of bringing Glory to God I have developed deep wounds in my very soul. These wounds are messy and have been infected, because they were not treated properly. Now I need to reopen them and bring them to the great physician. I need to let Him tend to them and clean them out so that I may no longer be infected, but clean. When I surrender myself to God's will and His plan I die to my sinful flesh that wants to meet my selfish desires. I die to my flesh like Christ died on the cross and I have been given new life like Christ who rose from the grave. In Christ I can be free of my inside addictions and outside addictions. I can be free of my flesh! I can be free of myself that ensnares me in death! Amen to life in Christ! Amen to freedom in the Lord! My hope is in Holy One of Israel who brought me out of my slavery and has brought me into His Promise Land. To Him Be the Glory and Honor forever and ever! AMEN.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Unknown

There is a picture being painted. A design being constructed. A plan being accomplished. A story is being told. There is only one writer, one artist, and only one God. He is the only one who understands, comprehends, designs, creates, and He is the only one who sees the big picture. He is the only one who knows how the pieces fit.

Look into the sky and see the stars. Look into the heavens and see how majestic God is. Psalm 8:3-4 says, "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?" I ask the same question so many times, "What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?"

Man is a worm in need of a savior like it says in Isaiah 41:14, "'Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you', declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel."

Man is sinful, "For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God (Romans 3:23)." "We[man] were by nature objects of wrath (Ephesians 2:3b)" and even our good works are like filthy rags, "All of us[man] become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away (Isaiah 64:6)."

"There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes (Romans 3:10-18)."

"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8)." While we were unrighteous, Christ died for us. While we never understood, Christ died for us. While we never sought after Him, Christ died for us. While we turned away, Christ died for us. While we were evil, Christ died for us. While we were deceitful, Christ died for us. While we cursed and hated, Christ died for us. "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8b)." "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification (Romans 4:25)."

The truth is that we are sinners. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23)." In Christ Jesus our Lord we find life. In Him alone can we ever be satisfied. "Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28)." In Christ we find rest and in Christ we find hope. In Christ we find love, "We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19)." Our lives are a response to the love of Christ. We act out of love not out of our own love, but out of the love of Christ. We are incapable of anything good unless it is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Man was created from dust and to dust we will return, but from dust we were created in the image of God. We are His children, born again into the body of Christ. Our purpose is to bring the glory of God to this planet, "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31)." We are the ambassadors of Christ and we are called to go out and make disciples of many nations, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19)" That is our call as children of God.

When God looks at us He does not see us, but He sees Christ. He sees pure and Holy people walking in the light of His love and bringing an end to darkness across the world. We are the light of the world and salt of the earth. Wherever we go by the way we live we proclaim His name. Every second of our days are an act of continuous worship to the King. We are the bride, the bride that God has so long been waiting for. So why does God love us? We are made in His image and we are His bride and we are His children and we bring Glory to His name and we are His ambassadors and we are His followers and we are a result of Him first loving us. The complexity of God's love for us incomprehensible. We will never know fully why He loves us and we will never be able to see all the ways He has loved us.

We are a part of a picture. God has written us into His story and He is constantly with us. He is a loving father and He will never abandon us. We have been called by Him and if we listen we will find eternal life. We will find true love. God's ways are higher than our own and even though we still wonder how God could love us when we are so sinful, we just have to trust that He has all the answers. We will never be able to fully understand God until heaven, but as children of God we need to have perspective. Since the beginning of time God had us in mind. He knew what we would be and how we would live. He raised up people to influence us and play a role in our lives. He brought us into existence and He will bring us home. We never need to worry about the unknown, because God knows. He is the one who invented the universe and the laws of motion and gravity. He designed it all and He is outside of them. Creation can not comprehend the ways of the creator, because the creator is greater. God is greater. He knows us better than we know ourselves.

What I am trying to say through all of this is that I trust God, because His ways our greater. Why would I trust myself, creation, when I can trust God, creator? Also I trust God because I am fallen. I need Him constantly to supply me life. Without Him I would be nothing it is only in Christ that I live. He is the breath of life and in Him I find streams of living water. He guides me through the valley of the shadow of death and He protects me from the evil one. He is the good shepherd that has gone after me. He has found me and is bringing me home. After all of this I still find it hard to trust God. I find it hard, because of my own blindness. At times I feel like I can surrender it all for Him, but then there are times when I keep parts of my life from Him for my own comfort, but in time He brings it to light. God is patient with me and He loves me this I know through His son. I am His creation and I am made in His image. I trust in Him, because I know that He has a plan for me, a plan with a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29). His ways are greater than mine and even though the world says no to His ways I will not conform to them, because I choose to be transformed by His grace (Romans 12). I choose to be a servant of God rather than a slave to sin. Even though I can't see the big picture I still want to be a part of His picture and I want to be a part of his plan, because I know the truth and that is He loves me! So onward into the unknown I go... in complete trust and faith I take a step!