The word “failure” is failing us.

So many times I think, and say to God, “I have failed You.”

Yet this doesn’t encapsulate the grace God gives!

HE HAS ALREADY FIXED OUR FAILURE THROUGH THE BLOOD OF HIS SON!

Yet we still constantly disobey, and sabotage our own pursuit towards God.

So what shall we say when we have these moments?

I think if we look deep enough, our sabotage is always a direct response to our pride. We either think we know better than God, think we can hide from God, or think we’re not ready for God and what He has called us to.

So we put up a road block.

So, next time you sabotage the pursuit, quit telling God you failed. That only tells Him you think you aren’t doing good enough. Instead, confess to Him that you have fled, repent for your constant attempts to run from His glory, and turn back towards Him, remembering that His glory is always chasing you.

Are you running towards it?

LOVE AS I HAVE (PART II) – IDENTIFYING HIS LOVE

Here’s page 2 of my last post, which can be read here. Just a little reminder of what exactly His love looks like in my humble opinion. I’m definitely not a theologian, but as a man growing more obsessed with Christ’s character as I grow older, these are the observations I’ve made. I think I left out most of the obvious things we think of when we think of LOVE in order to address the character of LOVE which we (certainly I) often run away from, or completely ignore. Correct me if you see fit. I promise I can take it.

The next page of my last post, LOVE AS I HAVE

IF YOU LOVE GOD. . . (The dangers of an ultimatum)

“If I speak in tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”  – 1 Corinthians 13:1-2

“Love is not premeditated – it is spontaneous.” – Oswald Chambers

We often find ourselves preaching about discipline, or denial, or tasks. We often find ourselves using the phrase “we should be doing these things out of our love for God,” yet often find ourselves condemning those unwilling to complete those tasks.

My question is what if those tasks aren’t completed because the person tasked with them knows they aren’t doing them out of love? What if the one tasked is simply  listening to what we’re saying? Do we give them an ultimatum to “do better or else?” Or do we tell them to seek God first?

I fear the answer is too often an ultimatum. I fear too often we give a “do it or lose us’ response. I fear we often respond with the guilt trip, rather than giving them a reason to love God to the point of obedience. I fear we aren’t really  listening to our own advice.

In our inconsistency and the inconsistency of others, especially in those we disciple, we should be avoiding the ultamatum at all costs, and should begin recognizing the problem at it’s heart. We must recognize the lack of love.

In our failed goals and failed attempts at showing our godliness and love for God out of task completion, we must examine ourselves and our peers, and ask ourselves: are we completing these tasks out of a longing to love God, and know Him better because of that love? Or are we completing these tasks because we’ve been told that if we don’t, we don’t love God?

“If you love me, keep my commands.” – John 14:15

This verse can sound very legalistic to us. It brings with it a tone of salvation to be earned. Yet to truly understand, we must change the language. What if the “if” in this verse was a “because?”

This verse is not about legalism, but rather the end result. It is about the fruit that pours out when we love our God, not the things we do to prove that we love Him. It is about what happens when we embrace Him and deny us – which is true love! And through that true love, we long to serve the one we love. It is not “if” we love Him, but “because” we love Him that we will do His will and obey His commands. It is not task completion that earns His love, but rather His love that leads to our obedience.

As Romans 6:11 says, we shall consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to Him, and in Him there is no legalism – only love.

Obedience is rooted in love. Love is not rooted in obedience.

ABIDE AND LET IT BE!

“Look at the birds of the air . . .consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin.”      – Matthew 6:26, 28

. . . They simply are!

So often we fret about our usefulness to God, yet in this passage (among others) He simply reminds us of our usefulness in the areas we don’t recognize. Our focus can not be on doing things for Christ, but rather being in Him! For when our focus is on doing for Christ, it is on the action rather than the reason. When our focus is on the reason rather than the action, we can have an influence for Him which is greater than we will ever recognize, and the reason we’ll fail to recognize it is because our focus will not turn away from Him long enough for us to look around at the rest of our lives.

We were created to be focused on God to the point of tunnel vision – unable to recognize ourselves and our lives outside of His purpose and direction.

“Let love be genuine.”   – Romans 12:9

Notice the simplicity again in this passage. We are not to “make” our love be genuine, or “force” it to be, but to simply “let” it be! WE were created to love, and through the recapturing of the Holy Spirit in us, we are to simply let love happen. With the transforming of our hearts comes the transforming of our very natures, and we no longer need to try to be godly, we simply need to abide in Him, and let His qualities shine through!

Have you recognized His transformation and let Him overcome our old nature and make His nature our own? Abide in Him, and let it happen!

DAY 8 – FOR THE KINGDOM

Patrick, strive in all you do to be childlike in your faith, full of faith in the Father so your humanistic mind and fleshly body have no power. Matthew 18:3-4

I originally planned to spend today doing an assignment but decided that for the sake of these letters I needed to do something for the Kingdom today. (Something I want to apply every day of my life.)

I start out my day in prayer and then go out to do some of the assignment. I finish what he’d been scheduled for 1 day in 1 hour. Amazing how God allows or acknowledges when you sacrifice it all.

At lunch after I finish eating I feel a tug on my heart to repent to certain people. Aaron’s first and I repent to him. Then I get called to repent to an odd childhood friend that I had always felt ashamed towards how I treated him. I obey and walk to his house, and confess everything and ask for his forgiveness. He’s confused, and doesn’t realize that it does more for me than it does for him. Sam and then Ton are next and at the end of it I feel free and able to walk the next phase of the day in obedience.

Sam rounds up Nathan, Pik, Kieran, and myself in the car and we head down to Semaphore. I bring the Spirit of repentance in and people begin to repent of various things. I feel convinced that we need to do this to break off the chains that hinder us from God’s will. Now all five of us are free and ready to be lead onto Semaphere to obey God.

I am asked by God to protect the hearts of these people from discouragement – a job I take very seriously. We praise and pray to god along the way and I put a demand on the Word of God for us to speak the very words of God as in 1 Peter 4:11.

All that occurred in the following hours are precious and will be a story for the other side of eternity.

We meet up with Jonathan and head out six strong, bringing Christ’s glory. All I will say is God’s will was done in mysterious ways.

As I look back upon today I am convinced that the events that occurred go far beyond my understanding, so much symbolism and we decide to bind the story up for eternity, like an eternal reward but more like an eternal story.

Patrick, this may be the shortest letter, but it is by far the most significant. I have no idea what just occurred on Earth today, but I feel that it had eternal consequences.

God’s plan moves on – forcefully advancing.

Terence

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Thoughts from Joel:

Hi all! Day 8 is done, we have 4 days left, and it’s become obvious how Terence has changed over the last 8 days. I really don’t have too much say about this letter, so I’ll just point out the things that brought me joy when I read them.

“I originally planned to spend today doing an assignment but decided that for the sake of these letters I needed to do something for the Kingdom today.”

We all must share this perspective. Tonight, as I was lucky enough to pray with the men on leadership at Campus Ventures (the campus ministry I’m involved in), one prayer kept circling through my mind. In the silence of prayer, I longingly prayed for the men in the room to be completely submerged by Christ’s love, and for that love to saturate every area of their life. As I’ve grown older, I’ve slowly discovered the importance of integrating my relationship with Christ into every aspect of my life. I’m still figuring out how to do it, and suppose only time will completely teach me how. Until I am truly able to integrate Christ into every aspect of my life, I must strive to remember to spend time – the most amount of time possible – bringing glory to God and His kingdom. Day 8 is a reminder to always spend time with God, in relationship with Him and working to expand His kingdom by showing His love to those He loves so dearly.

“God’s plan moves on – forcefully advancing.”

I love this. How encouraging is it that God is in control, and His plan will prevail? We serve a limitless God! Terence, I’d just like to say thanks for all the reminders!

Thankful and encouraged,

Joel