Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Day Like No Other Day

Something amazing happened on the Day of Pentecost, yet its significance has been greatly diluted. Was it the ability to speak in tongues? No. Was it that Gentiles could now become Jews and obey the law? Not at all. Was it the beginning of the spread of the gospel? Hardly. Was it the transformation of fear of persecution into courage to become martyrs? Not quite. 

It's more than we could ask or imagine, so let's let God inform us.

Christians want so badly to call themselves "Christians" that they miss the depth of what God has done. Instead, they skip right over to trying to behave like "Christians." But, being a Christian means so many different things to different people. Many think being a Christian is to be a good person. Some think it's avoiding immoral behavior. Some want to give the world a group hug. Others have an attitude of owning exclusive insight into the interpretation of scripture through human authority. But what does being a Christian mean to God?

Whoever misses the real significance of Pentecost is truly missing God's greatest work. 

This is the day He started giving believers His Spirit to dwell within them, making new creations in Christ. It was His plan all along to bring many sons into glory. This was the beginning of the Church age, to start building of the body of Christ, and to start preparing His bride. This is the Day He began to give the right to become children of God. This is the day Christians were born.

And that's only half the plan. He also desires that we should grow up into Christ, His fullness, the knowledge of the truth, the unsearchable riches of His grace. Seek Him. Abide in Him and He will abide in you. Love Him and He and His Father will love you and come make their home with you. Most assuredly, He will bless you. The race has started, so run. Let us run together.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Random Thought - The Bittersweetness of Life

My Christian life is bittersweet. Bitter sometimes because seeking the deep things of God is lonely. Sweet mostly because God rewards those who diligently seek Him. Bitter and sweet at the same time because, according to scripture, neither of these should surprise me.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

To Whom It May Concern

Did you ever write a letter that started that way? Ever address a letter with this salutation, "To whom it may concern?" The funny thing is, any person reading it wouldn't know whether the contents concern them or not until after they've read it.

Wouldn't it be interesting if someone could tell the letter concerned them before they even started reading it? You might think, "Oh, that's easy. Just use their name?" But, if the letter comes from someone that never addressed them before, it could easily be tossed into the recycle bin with nary a glance beyond the envelope.

Perhaps a certain graphic or font would catch their attention, and then they'd have to read it, or they'd be motivated by curiosity. But, that still doesn't tell them whether the letter is of any significance before they read it. How then? How can the reader know?

It is not through the use of colorful graphics or special font. It is not dependent on whether you've ever addressed the reader before, or whether you call them by name, by respectful title, or simply "to whom it may concern." In fact, you do not even have to send the letter. What matters, the only thing that matters, is the intended reader. It is not just any reader, not even friends or family.

There is a certain Reader with whom you may wish to communicate, but perhaps you are unsure. Writing is safe; I often use myself. Speaking out loud can seem awkward, especially if you've never spoken before, or at least not anger or mockery. But, writing allows you the luxury of either organizing your thoughts or letting them race, taking time to judge your own honesty, or examining the deepest channels of your heart. Or, perhaps, you just have a simple question, and it's taking all the courage you can muster to ask it. Any one of those is fine. It's the Reader that matters.

Now imagine this: not only does the desired Reader know the letter concerns Him, He knew what you were thinking about writing before your ball point hit the paper, or your fingers hit the keys. He has been waiting in eager anticipation to hear from you, and from you personally. He has been waiting patiently, not getting the least bit angry with your delay. He has been there all along, yet He will not intrude on your space. You may be tempted, but don't bother inviting Him into your space. Your 'space' has nothing to offer which He would want. You can tell Him about it, but eventually He'll want to tell you about His space.

He will continue to wait as you come to Him more frequently, and more cheerfully each time. But, don't hold back if once again you are angry with the Reader, or even highly doubtful He exists. Over time, gently, as you grow in expectancy to hear from Him, He will answer you, mostly by touching your heart in ways unimaginable, so that you will know in your heart that your letter touched His heart deeply. And you will find rest for your soul.

When the time is right, He will step back from the door upon which you knocked to deliver your letter, and He will invite you into His abode. It is a home like no other; to enter the Doorway is to enter into Him. The Doorway is His Son. To be in His home is to be in His Spirit. There is nothing like it in all the world.

You cannot drag your baggage of traditions, morality, or humanity through this Doorway. He has no desire for anything you would offer. Instead, He offers you everything, with no frame of reference by which to prejudge it. He simply asks that you trust Him. Somehow, by this time, we know that we can trust Him, and our humility is rewarded.

Once in His home, which is His Spirit, through His Son, we can grow into Him and hear Him plainly state, "This is my son, in whom I am well pleased." From now on, our letters always contain the proper salutation: Father.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Creation without Intelligent Design

If Creation was without Intelligent Design, then we'd all be here by sheer dumb luck, making us no better than stupid mistakes. If such were the case, Creation without Intelligent Design ain't so smart.

Personally, I'd rather believe we're here for a very specific reason with tremendous wisdom in it. 

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)" 

I'd rather believe God had a marvelous plan all along, and that He fully revealed His plan to those who love Him,

" it is written, 'What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him'—these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. (1 Corinthians 2:9-12)"

I'd rather believe I was born with a wretched condition that required His grace.

"For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:17-19)"

I'd rather believe God did something wonderful about my wretched condition. 

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:16-18)"

I'd rather believe in Jesus Christ, his Son, that I might be saved through Him and come to the knowledge of the truth.

"This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4)"

I'd rather believe.

I'd rather hope that you would also believe.

"Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30-31)"

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Crave the Milk!

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. (1 Peter 2:2, 3 ESV)

Have you tasted The Lord yet?

If indeed you were reborn (saved), then crave the pure spiritual milk of God's word. It's the only way to grow up into salvation since His thoughts and our thoughts don't match.  We need to be taught by Him.  We cannot figure out spiritual truths.  Nor can any human teach us spiritual things, only the Holy Sprit can.  

Let us receive His teachings with all eagerness.  The Holy Spirit can and does work through people and circumstances, so it would be wise to pay attention.  Then search the scriptures to see if those things are so.

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. (Acts 17:11 ESV)

And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, (2 Peter 1:19

Have a blessed, truth-filled day!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Yeah, But What Does HE think?

Yesterday, I received a devotional via email from a good friend of mine. I felt the urge to respond back. Below is what I wrote, followed by the email to which I was responding. My prayer is that you, dear reader, are encouraged by it to look into a deeper understanding of scripture, and not just stop at the 'do good / feel good' sermons so common these days.

Dear Harry,

These are exactly the verses I use to remind myself, and in discussion with others, that we need to heed the word of God.
 (All verses taken from from ESV.)
But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word. (Isaiah 66:2b).  

We need to let His word speak for itself... 
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy3:16-17)

"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it."  (Isaiah 55:10-11)

...and not let traditions or worldly things deter us.
And he said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, "'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men." And he said to them, "You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! (Mark 7:6-9).

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 2:3-4)

Yes, His thoughts are not ours, but He has revealed to us in exquisite detail.
For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we havereceived not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from Godthat we might understand the things freely given us by God.(1 Cor 2:11-12)

"For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor 2:16)

It won't all make sense at once, and one must first be born again... 
And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor 2:13-14)

...but that is why we must first crave the spiritual milk of the word.
Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. (1 Peter 2:2-3)

Then move onto maturity with solid food.
About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God... (Hebrews 5:11-6:1).

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Cor 2:6-8)

Have a beautiful and blessed day!!

In Christ,

On Thu, Jun 20, 2013 at 6:50 AM, Harry wrote:
"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the Lord. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9, NLT
At once. Now. Immediately. Deadlines.

These are words that come to mind regarding the fast-paced lifestyle many of us find ourselves in. We expect our newspaper to be on the front porch when we wake up. We expect traffic signals to turn green the instant we approach them. We expect a bag of popcorn to explode into light, fluffy goodness in exactly three-and-a-half minutes. But what happens when our desires don't materialize in what we consider to be a timely fashion? We may experience frustration, grumpiness, possibly even anger.

As one of the fruits of the Spirit, patience is a character trait God desires to produce in us (see Galatians 5:22-23). Yet the only way to really learn what it means to be patient is to experience it firsthand. Patience is an oh-so-gradually unveiled gift.

Noah lived in a time when lawlessness and sin were the rule, not the exception. Imagine his reaction when God told him about his plan to destroy humanity! Picture Noah's reaction when God told him to build a boat, giving him specific dimensions and directions! Imagine having to wait 120years to see it happen! I wonder if Noah ever said to himself, "Okay Lord, things are getting worse instead of better. Aren't you going to execute your plan? After all, it's already been fifteen years!" Thankfully, Noah learned the lesson of patience, trusted God's timing, and was spared from the flood as a result.

Our response when something doesn't happen on schedule speaks to how well we have learned to be patient. Maybe God has something better just around the corner. He will let you know when he's ready--or perhaps when you're ready. That's something to consider the next time you throw a bag of popcorn in the microwave.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Wonder Of It

They say that every snowflake is different. If that were true, how could the world go on? How could we ever get up off our knees? How could we ever recover from the wonder of it?  --Jeanette Winterson

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Why I want to live.

When I talk about doctrine, it's NOT about me, it's about scripture, it's about His thoughts and His ways (Isaiah 55:8-11). When I talk about change, it's NOT about me, it's for Him and His kingdom (Matt 6:33), for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Eph 6:12). When I talk about growth, it's NOT about me, it's so that, indeed, I can count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, and for his sake suffer the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ (Php 3:8-11). When I talk about maturity, it's NOT about me, it's so that we can all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes (Eph 4:11-16).

Why do I focus on growth? Because God desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (2 Tim 2:4).  Because we have been given the mind of Christ (1Cor 2:12-16) and should use it. Because we should learn from Him since He is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we ask or think (Eph 3:20) and, as Paul prayed on his knees, so that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph 3:16-19)

It's not for me I want to live, but for Him.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Please, Make Yourself at Home!

One of my favorite verses follows Judas' simple question...

Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, "Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?" Jesus answered him, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:22-23) 

The Greek word for 'keep' used here means to guard or protect, usually from loss or injury.  To me, this verse means that if we love Him, motivated by His love for us, then we will guard and even cherish His word in our hearts. Our thoughts will become His thoughts as we are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). And if we guard and cherish His word in our hearts, Jesus and His Father will come and make themselves at home in our hearts. After all, home is wherever the heart is.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

...To Die Is Gain

I wrote this post a few days ago when feeling pretty down.  However, I edited it this day (3/3/2013) before posting it.

Right now, I just want to forget about how that verse in Philippians 1:21 begins, which is "For to me to live is Christ."  Rather, I want to skip to the end of that verse, and the title of this blog post, "to die is gain."  The conclusion of the next two verses speak to my heart at this time as well: "If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better."

I want what is far better!  I'd rather skip life on earth and rest eternally.  Sometimes, a worldly existence seems like such a trivial and vain striving after the wind.  Am I depressed?  Or am I just tired of ‘chasing the wind?’  I wonder for a moment, then realize my focus is off.  Yes, at times like this I just want to die and get it over with.  The struggles of this world hardly seem worth it.  I think, "What a contrast it is between the magnificent Kingdom of God versus the puny kingdoms of the world!"  I think, "My desire is to depart, for that is far better." 

But, I soon realize that what I really want is to "be with Christ."  Simultaneously, I know with confidence that I can do that here and now.  Even better, I can be in Christ, and He in me, and we in the Father, sharing the same Holy Spirit, His gift to those who believe.

Should I not suffer as Christ suffered?  I don't mean physically.  I mean the loneliness of mind and social rejection that result from separating from the world and its ways.  I understand we are on the battlefield right smack in the middle of enemy territory, an enemy who is the prince of the power of the very air we breathe.  But, suffering is difficult, even impossible, without Him.  I should expect to suffer with Christ.  After all, who am I to escape this suffering and think I can share in the fullness of His glory?

What am I to do?  To make life as a Christian soldier tolerable, I need to constantly align my goal with His, which is to bring many sons into glory.  I need to diligently devote myself to seeking deeper understanding of His eternal purpose, which He has revealed to us in the Mystery, and that through Christ, and by the power of His Spirit, grasp what are the awesome dimensions --breadth, length, height, and depth-- of His glorious plan for those who are called according to His purpose, that we may be filled with all the fullness of Him, and know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge. 

Oh, how I want this!  Knowing Him and His plan quickly transforms the idea of making life 'tolerable' into one of becoming utterly joyful.  His word is able to lift my heart into the heavens and rejoice, again I say rejoice, that my citizenship is with Him, my eternal inheritance is secure, and that He is motivated by unadulterated love to lavish grace upon grace towards me that I may love Him and be in Him until He makes His home with me, even while I walk this earth.

Maybe, I should concern myself with Paul's conclusion, not his opening remarks. For he completes this dilemma about life and death in Philippians 1:25-26 like this, "But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again." 

I don't know who, if anyone, will read this post.  I also don't know whether or not it will make a difference in anyone's life but mine.  But if you, O reader, should be even slightly inclined to look into these things yourself, be encouraged that this is a noble thing indeed, and that your seeking will be rewarded.

Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly than all that we ask or think or imagine, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph 3:20-21)

Amen: So be it! So let it be! And so it will be! (Clark)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Praise for my God!!

My God, my God, why have you loved me so? 
Why are you so close to me, listening to my every cry and whisper?

O my God, I pray to you by day, and you answer, and by night, and I find rest in your arms.
You are holy, Lord, enthroned on high, I continually praise you in my heart.

I've learned to trust in you, and you delivered me.
I cried to you and I was rescued; in you I trusted and I was not put to shame.

You've made your home in my heart; my help is in no other.
I delight in you, and you give me the desires of my heart.
And the desires of my heart have become to delight in you.

My soul is precious in your sight. You delight with singing over me.
My cup overflows. You have given me new life, a new heart.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Would Anyone Care?

My heart pounds inside my chest, sending extra blood to my furious legs, racing through unfamiliar streets of dirt and grime.  I think my body must be redirecting its blood flow to give speed to my escape because my head is so light with fear as cold sweat continues to dampen the back of my neck.  They’re going to kill me, and I don’t want to die!  Fear and despair combine their dark forces in my soul as I seek to wipe the blur of endless tears from my line of vision.  Yet, I have no idea where I’m running.

“Please, God, just let it be away from those who tortured me and burned me.”

I’m fooling myself.  There is no escape.  I only succeeded in enraging them more by tearing off into the night.  Just as plainly as I ran out, so did hope.  I’m alone, hated without a cause, despised, spit upon, slapped, punched, kicked, raped, burned, and yet kept barely alive for them to continue another day.  Oh, how I wish for eternity that another day would never come!  Oh, how foolish I am to wish anything!

I’m tired.  I’ve been running as if the devil himself was grasping at my heels every step of the way.  And I’m drained.  The breaths of my sobs have left my lungs almost as desperate as I am.  Water for my tears has gone arid.  Fresh wounds trickle warm blood down my face and thighs.

“What’s the use?” I whisper to myself, “If they’re going to kill me, would it just be better to take my own life?”

I’ve never thought a thought like that before.  Would anyone care?  Would anyone notice?  Would anyone even…

Just then, I noticed I’m not alone.  Someone had seen me running, or rather, falling forward, sobbing.  I give up.  If this is God’s will for me, so be it.  I’m too tired to fight.  I just hope I lose consciousness, quickly, so as not to cringe in pain.  I grow faint, collapsing among the gravel stones, then do faint.

As it happened, that “someone,” who had seen me running, was like my guardian angel; a ministry worker who already saw more cruelty and death up close than the average civilian on the edge of a war zone; a ministry worker overflowing with the love of Christ, endangering her own life, because she sought the welfare of another, me;  one who, with joy, uttered loud thanks to God because this child escaped alive.

Hours later, I awaken to odd sensations; I am clean, I am warm, and I am on something soft.  My wounds are freshly bandaged.  I am wrapped in warm softness.  I slowly draw a full breath of clean air, and sigh.  My ‘guardian angel’ smiles at me signaling the rest of my life’s journey will be different.  Someone cares.

Want to help make the most impact in a situation like this?  If, for whatever reason, you cannot be the guardian angel, please find it in your heart to support those who help our neighbors in all lands to be loved, just as we ourselves are loved by Christ.

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They do the research so you can be confident that your money goes where you want it to.  One Hundred Percent (100%) of your money goes to help women and children in crisis. 

Would anyone care?  Wellspring International does.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Longest Thread of Blog Comments I've Ever Seen... And Contributed To!

I can hardly believe I contributed to many of the 146 comments in this post. But what a discussion it was! It is well worth the read if you have the time. It's from a post called The Call to Worship, but the discussion itself gets into the foundations of the gospel. Special thanks to Alan Knox for the use of his blog during this discussion.

Absolutely Scared to Absolutely Surrender

As a kid I watched Bugs Bunny cartoons... a lot!  It was my first repetitious exposure to classical music. For example, I love the Barber of Seville skit with Bugs Bunny giving Elmer Fudd all sorts of hair and scalp treatment. Now I have trouble blurring that from memory when I hear the music. However, that wasn't the value I exacted at the time.

It was the witty kiddy humor.

In one episode, there was an Evil Scientist (complete with flashing neon sign above the castle drawbridge declaring thus) who needed a rabbit to complete his experiment.  So, he sought to lure Bugs by his basic, animal desires using a voluptuous, albeit, mechanical female rabbit. After Bugs defeats the purpose of the evil scientist throughout the skit in clever ways (and re- re-disposes of the monster), this lure enters the final scene: it's your basic stiff, lipsticked robot female bunny.  Watching 'her' walk by, Bugs smugly notes and thumbs at it saying, "Ah. Mechanical."  He will not be fooled. But, the electric hare about faces, approaches Bugs, and lands a pucker on his cheek. At this point, his whole demeanor lights up with his new-found and enthusiastic purpose for living and declares, "So, she's mechanical!" and mimics her strut away from the camera. So ends the cartoon.

So enters the lesson for life.

Likewise, I've discovered a mechanical love and make a similar declaration.  I'm just not strutting.  Why would I do such a thing as fall in love with something obviously man-made? Well, for one, the lure slowly entered the scene.  I didn't know where it was leading!  You might say, "Oh, sure! Didn't see it coming? Ha! That's a good one!" Yet, I plead my innocence.  In fact, I invite you to partake in the reason for my amore.

Plain and simple, the "lure" for me is neither female nor robotic. It's an AudioBook app for my iPhone.  What makes it so special as to win my heart, or rather, my ears?  It's full of free, public domain recordings of classic literature. Whether the beginning subject of this blog post (Bugs) can be designated as a classic is debatable.

That's not the point.

The primary work I have in mind as I write this is that of Andrew Murray called Absolute Surrender. It uses a few OT verses (beginning in 1 Kings 20) to highlight how a conquering king asked another king that he was to defeat to surrender everything. The second king, in sincere humility, replied, and I paraphrase, "Everything I have is yours, Lord. I am yours."

Mr. Murray used the verses to illustrate the simple -yet profound- fact that God asks nothing less from us. He does not threaten us, nor are we compelled to comply. But, oh, how we resist!  How I resisted!  The thought of surrendering absolutely everything I have and everything that I am scares me, and it tests the reality of my supposed trust in Him like a sharp, two-edged sword. I want to surrender things that are mysterious to me, hard for me, or bothering me.

That's almost a no-brainer (and a no-hearter).

But, what about the things that are comfortable, familiar, and close to me?  Or, what about the parts of me that I'm even ashamed to admit to myself?  What about the lusts of the world that I welcome as relaxing distractions to help me unwind from focused work? What about the part of me that doesn't want to consider the prospect of my own temporary, mortal nature? Yes, I want to grow in Christ.  Yes, I want more than just for the Holy Spirit to indwell me.  I want Him to fill me. 

But, absolutely surrender all of me?

For those things to happen, for me to walk in the Spirit and be filled with the Spirit, I need fellowship with Christ. I need to confess my sins for He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). I really do need to surrender all.

It makes perfect sense.

But, I'm scared.

I desire to say, basically, is, "what is known to You, God, and unknown to me, that I am willing to do. Just ask. Just tell. And what I try to hide from you, Lord, let make me known to You. Let me confess my sins and thus restore my fellowship with You."  Jesus really is my all-in-all, says my mind and mouth.

Let my heart learn to count it all joy when I am tested.