Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lust Or Love?

Here's a weird question.  Do you love God, or do you lust for him?  Bear with me for a second on this one. 

Let's look at what the two things are.  Think about lust first.  That's usually used in a sexual connotation, but can be used for any strong, overwhelming desire.  Related to God, that's good, right?  But how long does lust last?  Normally it's something intense but brief.  You lust, have the feeling fulfilled, then move on.  Lust isn't lasting, and won't sustain a relationship.  Eventually the lust fades and then you find other desires.  Lust implies primal feelings that are beyond your control and don't involve a lot of thought.

Love can be passionate and deep, but it's also thoughtful and long-lasting.  True love is something that grows with time, not fades (as lust does).  When you lust for something you usually feel for it with a specific part of you (mental or physical).  When you love something you do it with all of yourself.  Love sustains you for years or a lifetime, and becomes something that you build your life around.

Now look at your relationship with Jesus.  Do you strongly desire Him, pray and have the prayer answered, and then get distracted by other interests?  That's lust.  Do you want to spend time with Him and get to know Him better?  Do you want Him in your life in both good and bad times?  That's love.

Which is it with you?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Astromechs For Jesus!

This past weekend my family and I were at ConNooga in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  We were there mainly to represent our group, Fans For Christ.  But of course with us being geeks we had fun looking around and talking to people. 

One of the groups I've talked to for a few years is the R2 Builders Club.  These are people who as a hobby build their own astromechs as seen in the Star Wars movies.  I've been fascinated by them and thought it would be so incredibly cool to have one of my own.  Because one droid can cost a few thousand dollars or more (depending on materials and complexity), my wife has said I couldn't do it.  But this year our FFC table was right next to the R2 Builders, so I got to talk to them even more and get to know them personally as well.  My wife met some of their wives, and she finally gave me the okay to join.

Woo-hoo!  So now I'm going to slowly start the process of working to build my own droid, specifically R2-B1 (briefly seen in The Phantom Menace). 

 This is going to involve work, time, and money, but I'm really looking forward to it. When I'm done, I'll have a functional, mobile R2 unit.

However, I was also thinking "why am I doing this?"  What is the ultimate purpose?  And most of all, how can I use this to glorify God?  Yeah, that seems a bit odd, but I want to use this hobby to witness to people for Jesus or somehow draw attention to our group, Fans For Christ.  One way I can do this is have the droid at our FFC table, which will of course bring people over to us out of curiosity. But I also plan to look for other ways to use R2-B1 as a witnessing tool.  How?  Haven't figured that out yet as this only came to me yesterday, but I don't plan on giving up on it.  If God has allowed me to meet other Christians doing this and has softened my wife's heart (thanks, darlin'!), then I need to give back to Him and find a way to use it for His glory.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Faith In The Chair

If you're reading this, odds are that you are sitting down on something.  Even if you're standing, at some point you sit down on something.  When you did, did you think about the seat?  Did you look down at it and wonder if it would hold you?  Did you worry that it wouldn't support you?  Did you consider that it might break and you would fall down? 

Chances are that you answered no to all of these questions.  You had complete confidence in the chair and faith that it would do what it was supposed to do.  Because that chair had supported you before or even looked like it would, you believed in it's ability. 

Why do we doubt God?  How many times to we wonder "Is He going to take care of me?"  "Will he actually help me out of this?"  "Can I really count on Him?"  Despite all evidence to the contrary we doubt God's ability to do what He says He will do.  Despite all of the times that He has helped us in the past, we wrestle with whether or not He will help us in the future.

So tell me, which do you have more faith in.  God or your chair?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Why Are We Surprised?

You know it's happened to you.  You really want or need something, so you pray and ask God to bless you with the request.  Then He answers it and you stand amazed.  Wow!  He actually did it!  He actually listened to you and he was actually able to accomplish it!  Something that seemed impossible, and now it's done!  You can't believe it!

Why not?  Why so surprised?

The Bible contains numerous promises that God makes to us.  Why are we astounded when He actually does what He said He was going to do?

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

He gives strength to the weary
   and increases the power of the weak. (Isaiah 40:29)

These are only a small sampling of the dozens of things God says He will do for us, to us, and through us.  When we pray we should do so with confidence and security that as long as we are in His will and praying according to His teachings, the prayers WILL be answered.  Yet we are often surprised and shake our head in almost disbelief. 

Why do we doubt?  We're the ones who break promises, not God.  When our prayers are answered we should smile, praise Him, and just nod knowingly.  We should end each prayer with assurance, wondering not "if" but rather "when".  Answers to prayers may not be in the way that we want, but we should have confidence that they are a foregone conclusion.  If they aren't, then God is a liar and not worthy of our faith.  But we know that isn't true, so we should take great strength in that knowledge.

God love us.  He always fulfills His promises.  And though we should be grateful, we should never be surprised when He does this.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Nothing Without Prayer

At my monthly pastor's prayer meeting one of the other pastors brought up a point that I had never really considered.  God never acts without prayer being done first.  James was talking about the fact that prayer is so vitally important to how God works, and how we need to really stress prayer as a godly act.  When God's people pray, things happen, and happen in a big way.  As we want and desire to see God work and perform miracles, we need to start the process with prayer.

And this line of thinking had me reviewing what I know of in the Bible.  I cannot think of a single time that God acted or performed a miracle in the Bible where prayer did not happen first.  Eve's creation?  Started with Adam seeking God.  Moses saving the Israelites?  He prayed first.  Any of Jesus' actions?  Even He prayed.  It's not that God can't do things without us, and it's not that we "convince" God to act. But He wants to see that we really do want Him.   God wants to know that we are seeking and looking for Him to work.  Sometimes He withholds His blessings, favor, and actions until we ask Him for them.

Think about that the next time you are waiting on God to do something in your life.  Have you prayed first?  And the next time something unexpected happens that can only come from God, think about who has been praying for you.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Harmonious Prayer

On the first Friday of every month pastors from all over my county gather together for prayer.  Because of my involvement as a minister through Fans For Christ and my own church, I attend these meetings.  We have black, white, and Asian pastors.  They include Baptists, Methodists, Messianic Jews, traditionalists, charismatics, and just about every other type of Protestant you can think of.  At these meetings we spend an our together simply praying.

Everyone prays in their own way and style.  Some are quite and kneel.  Some raise hands up and are shouting to the Lord.  Some speak in tongues.  Some walk around and physically touch others as they pray for them.  There are loud voices, soft voices, crying, begging, name it!

Today we had that meeting and in the middle of it I stopped my own prayers and simply listened to the prayers around me.  I heard all of those voices, tones, and styles surrounding me, and I began to hear them blend together.  The tongues merged with the traditional prayers.  The lamentations merged with the praise.  And it reminded me of a chorus of singers, where the altos, tenors, baritones, sopranos and all other ranges blend together to make a harmonious sound.  This variety of voices comes together to make a beautiful harmony that they couldn't produce alone.

I believe that's how God sees these prayers.  He doesn't care what our church affiliation or backgrounds are.  To Him it just matters that all of these different voices are lifted up to Him for a single purpose and a single worship.  The differences begin to vanish as the sounds change from cacophony to harmony.  That is the true glory of the Kingdom of God.  When believers from all faiths put aside their differences and focus on their similarities.  When they realize that they all serve Jesus and can come together as one single body to do His will.  That's when God is fully glorified and when His desires can be done.

I pray that such unity can spread across this country and the world.  What could Christians really do if we all prayed as one and lifted our voices to God in harmony?