Monday, November 10, 2014

Dear Women

Sometime I just get sick of it.
A woman comes into my workplace. I see the subtle raised eyebrows, double takes, and the sizing up and rating of her body. I try not to act nonchalant as I do my job. And then, after she leaves, I brace for the remarks I know are coming.
"Dang. Did you see that? We do I find a girl like that?"
"I don't know. I've seen better."
"Oh right, like you could get someone like that..."
Usually it wraps up with a general dismissal of the woman as falling short of "par."
Or maybe a declaration that she was "sculpted by the gods" delivered like some kind of coveted stamp of quality. "This one gets and A+."
Whatever the verdict, most women leave with a "pass" or "fail" stamped to their memory. I think her worth is determined by how attracted I am to her. I know better, but I allow my mind to follow this pattern of thought.

Dear women, I am so sorry! You are more than your approval rating from men! You are more than your body, and how you carry yourself! You are sculpted, not by some impersonal gods, but by God. Hand crafted to be uniquely beautiful. Your true beauty is not an external thing, it's a matter of your heart. A woman who knows and loves and serves God is infinitely more beautiful that one who causes men to want her body.
I'm sorry for acting like I can judge or rate you. I hope to become more than that.
Oh my God forgive me for placing women on the throne of my mind that belongs to You! Oh my wife, forgive me for allowing my heart and mind to wander, and not rejoicing in you like I should! Oh my sisters, forgive me for taking advantage of you with my mind, and with my eyes, and for feeding you the lie that your value is measured by the men who want you!

"I apologize. 
It was never my intent to ruin lives, compromise, or feed these eyes 
something other than what was designed. 
I apologize. 
It was never my desire to downsize or objectify the beauty God designed...

"God's most beautiful creation and 
I'm sitting here euphoric like I have the right to destroy it 
just cause I don't have enough dedication to build a relationship 
with the one who can free me, so I resort to suffocation of my very foundations 
while claiming that I'm striving to meet the expectations of purity? 

"Jesus keep reassuring me, 
I'm yearning to be the entity that you desire me to be 

"Jesus keep reassuring her, 
the one in the centerfold, the picture I'll remember until I grow old 
She is human; she is human, 
she is bought and sold to a million empty souls feeling so hopeless 
that they'll try anything to fill the hole. 

"I apologize. 
Please believe it's true. 
I never meant to hurt you."
--Levi the Poet

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Sloth (not sloths)
"I do not aim with you to spend
A single hour..."
Sloth. Laziness. Waste. These are things that I so easily re-name. I call it rest, or pretend that somehow I've earned the right to be lazy. I even bargain with my self and trade so much work for so much laziness. 

But here is the truth. I never have a right to waste what I'm given. Rest is good, but when rest takes over productivity it loses it's value. Sleep is good, but when sleep gives way to laziness, it is destructive. 

I need a bigger view of life. I need a bigger purpose. Only by having purpose beyond each action can I defeat the wrong motivation for the action.

I refuse to allow sloth an inch. 
I refuse to let my line of sight be as narrow as just right now. 
I will not waste my minutes, because they make up my hours, days, and years. 
I will taste and enjoy the goodness of God, and be still and know Him, but never be idle without purpose. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

How to Fear

How do I fear God? I fear so many things, but I feel so little fear for God. I want all my other fears to be smothered by an all-consuming fear of God. A shake-in-my-boots awe of the great and incomprehensible glory of God revealed to me through His Son. God teach me to fear!
Can fear be a choice? Can that really be genuine? Courage is a choice. The choice to act right regardless of fear's bondage. Can right fear work the same way? Can I choose to act out the fear of God even if I don't always feel it?
What part of righteous fear is emotional? Should I simply act out of a fear of God and trust that a more righteous, more complete, fear will follow?
Or is Godly fear emotional at all?

I'm beginning to understand that I can't make myself fear. And I shouldn't try. That's isn't the point anyways. The point is knowing and understanding God. Fear and obedience and truth and righteousness and nobility and every good thing follows by default. But if I ever take my eyes off of God and and focus on who I should be and how I should feel and how I should think, I miss the mark entirely.  

"This much seems to me clear, that, if there be no God, it may be nobler to be able to live without one; but, if there be a God, it must be nobler not to be able to live without Him. The moment, however, that nobility becomes the object in any action, that moment the nobleness of the action vanishes. The man who serves his fellow that he may himself be noble, misses the mark. He alone who follows the truth, not he who follows nobility, shall attain the noble."

True thinking, true feelings, true being, come from losing ones self in the only One who is TRUTH. Our desire to be good and true should pus us to the One who can make us forget all our falseness and transform us into His likeness. Only by knowing God can I fear. And by knowing His I can't help but have fear of Him. Because God is awesome and fear-inspiring. 

See and Savor

Taste and savor. It goes beyond mental enjoyment to something much more elementary. A basic, sensory, experiential delight in God.
What do I savor?
Christ has competed the work of salvation. By faith alone I can receive the benefits of His completed work. Christ is absolutely perfect and infinitely valuable. He has all insight and wisdom. His ways are higher than my ways, His thoughts than my thoughts. He is Lord, which means He is the ruler of my life. He jealously works in me to conform me to His image. He loves perfectly because He is Love and there can be no true love without Him. He is faithful to complete in me the good work that He has begun. He provides the deepest satisfaction that I can have.


"Is it not a strange drift, this of men," said the curate, "to hide what is, under the veil of what is not? to seek refuge in lies, as if that which is not, could be an armor of adamant? to run from the daylight for safety, deeper into the cave? In the cave house the creatures of the night--the tigers and hyenas, the serpent and the old dragon of the dark; in the light are true men and women, and the clear-eyed angels. But the reason is only too plain; it is, alas! that they are themselves of the darkness and not of the light. They do not fear their own. They are more comfortable with the beasts of darkness than with the angels of light. They dread the peering of holy eyes into their hearts; they feel themselves naked and fear to be ashamed, therefore cast the garment of hypocrisy about them. They have that in them so strange to the light that they feel it must be hidden from the eye of day, as a thing _hideous_, that is, a thing to be hidden. But the hypocrisy is worse than all it would hide. That they have to hide again, as a more hideous thing still.

"God hides nothing. His very work from the beginning is _revelation_--a casting aside of veil after veil, a showing unto men of truth after truth. On and on, from fact to fact divine He advances, until at length in His Son Jesus, He unveils His very face. Then begins a fresh unveiling, for the very work of the Father is the work the Son Himself has to do--to reveal. His life was the unveiling of Himself, and the unveiling of the Son is still going on, and is that for the sake of which the world exists. When He is unveiled, that is, when we know the Son, we shall know the Father also. The whole of creation, its growth, its history, the gathering total of human existence, is an unveiling of the Father. He is the life, the eternal life, the _Only_. I see it--ah! believe me--I see it as I can not say it. From month to month it grows upon me. The lovely home-light, the One essence of peaceful being, is God Himself.

"He loves light and not darkness, therefore shines, therefore reveals. True, there are infinite gulfs in Him, into which our small vision can not pierce, but they are gulfs of light, and the truths there are invisible only through excess of their own clarity. There is a darkness that comes of effulgence, and the most veiling of all veils is the light. That for which the eye exists is light, but _through_ light no human eye can pierce.--I find myself beyond my depth. I am ever beyond my depth, afloat in an infinite sea; but the depth of the sea knows me, for the ocean of my being is God.--What I would say is this, that the light is not blinding because God would hide, but because the truth is too glorious for our vision. The effulgence of Himself God veiled that He might unveil it--in his Son. Inter-universal spaces, aeons, eternities--what word of vastness you can find or choose--take unfathomable darkness itself, if you will, to express the infinitude of God, that original splendor existing only to the consciousness of God Himself--I say He hides it not, but is revealing it ever, forever, at all cost of labor, yea of pain to Himself. His whole creation is a sacrificing of Himself to the being and well-being of His little ones, that, being wrought out at last into partakers of His divine nature, that nature may be revealed in them to their divinest bliss. He brings hidden things out of the light of His own being into the light of ours.
"But see how different _we_ are--until we learn of Him! See the tendency of man to conceal his treasures, to claim even truth as his own by discovery, to hide it and be proud of it, gloating over that which he thinks he has in himself, instead of groaning after the infinite of God! We would be forever heaping together possessions, dragging things into the cave of our finitude, our individual self, not perceiving that the things which pass that dreariest of doors, whatever they may have been, are thenceforth but 'straws, small sticks, and dust of the floor.' When a man would have a truth in thither as if it were of private interpretation, he drags in only the bag which the truth, remaining outside, has burst and left.

"Nowhere are such children of darkness born as in the caves of hypocrisy; nowhere else can a man revel with such misshapen hybrids of religion and sin. But, as one day will be found, I believe, a strength of physical light before which even solid gold or blackest marble becomes transparent, so is there a spiritual light before which all veils of falsehood shall shrivel up and perish and cease to hide; so that, in individual character, in the facts of being, in the densest of Pharisaical hypocrisy, there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, nothing hid that shall not be known.
"If then, brother or sister, thou hast that which would be hidden, make haste and drag the thing from its covert into the presence of thy God, thy Light, thy Saviour, that, if it be in itself good, it may be cleansed; if evil, it may be stung through and through with the burning arrows of truth, and perish in glad relief. For the one bliss of an evil thing is to perish and pass; the evil thing, and that alone, is then natural food of Death--nothing else will agree with the monster. If we have such foul things, I say, within the circumference of our known selves, we must confess the charnel-fact to ourselves and to God; and if there be any one else who has a claim to know it, to that one also must we confess, casting out the vile thing that we may be clean. Let us make haste to open the doors of our lips and the windows of our humility, to let out the demon of darkness, and in the angels of light--so abjuring the evil. Be sure that concealment is utterly, absolutely hopeless. If we do not thus ourselves open our house, the day will come when a roaring blast of His wind, or the flame of His keen lightning, will destroy every defense of darkness, and set us shivering before the universe in our naked vileness; for there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid that shall not be known. Ah! well for man that he can not hide! What vaults of uncleanness, what sinks of dreadful horrors, would not the souls of some of us grow! But for every one of them, as for the universe, comes the day of cleansing. Happy they who hasten it! who open wide the doors, take the broom in the hand, and begin to sweep! The dust may rise in clouds; the offense may be great; the sweeper may pant and choke, and weep, yea, grow faint and sick with self-disgust; but the end will be a clean house, and the light and wind of Heaven shining and blowing clear and fresh and sweet through all its chambers. Better so, than have a hurricane from God burst in doors and windows, and sweep from his temple with the besom of destruction every thing that loveth and maketh a lie. Brothers, sisters, let us be clean. The light and the air around us are God's vast purifying furnace; out into it let us cast all hypocrisy. Let us be open-hearted, and speak every man the truth to his neighbor. Amen." 
--Thomas Wingfold - Curate of Glaston, Written by George MacDonald

Friday, May 11, 2012

St. Augustine

"For he loves Thee too little who loves anything together with Thee, which he loves not for Thy sake."

I want to love with the love of God. Completely sold out and given away to the people around me. I want to love so much that my pain at losing a friend to death is only dwarfed by my joy that they can see the face of Christ more clearly. I want to love with no reservations about being taken advantage of. I want to seek the best of every person I come in contact with. I want to love with a love that gives glory to God. I want to love God with a passion that brings all other loves along with it. I want every love to be centered on God, to point to Him, because that is in only real love.
I want my love to be filled with grace. Unmerited favor to those I love. God's grace through me making me able to give grace to imperfect people around me. I want to "love more and love less," that is, to love the people in my life by always loving God more than them. That is the only way to truly love. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

It's a Zombie World

It struck my recently how so many people are fascinated by death. The horror movies, the vampire stories, the zombie comedies. They all have a bizarre attraction to people. And then I realized a simple truth; people relate to that. Most people don't realize it but they relate to these creatures that are dead. Think about it for a minute. In most of the stories there is some kind of disease or curse that mutates people into the living dead. They move, they breath, they eat and drink, they have desires and drives, but they have no soul.
And the stark reality is that this is the natural human state. We naturally are dead. We live and walk, eat and sleep, even interact socially, but we have no life. We act on our basest desires, we feast on sin. We stumble and destroy. We try to devour that glimpse of real life.
But there is a cure. There are people who are not controlled by the disease. The vaccine has been handed out and the ones who have received it are also able to pass it on. Those who were once hostile to life now are givers of life. But the cure involves dying. The living dead must be finally killed and reborn to be alive. The soulless, shuffling zombies can become living, conquering humans. And on the outside there isn't always that much of a visible difference. But the soul is alive.
So the challenge is this: Live as though you are alive. If we have been set free from the plague of sin than we ought to live as though we are free, no longer walking in the same way of life as the dead world. Because how can we who are dead to (death) live in it any more? By grace we have been vaccinated through faith. So those who are dead to sin cannot live any longer in it.

Ephesians 2:1-5ish "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—"

Romans 6:2ish-12 How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.