Am I throwing out the baby too?

I feel like I am beginning to embark on the trip of a lifetime.

As I reflect back I know my life seems to have been filled with much travel. Travel is a part of my life yet most of my travel has been without my wife. These trips do not seem to have left a lasting imprint in my life, they have not been the trip of a lifetime. I have travelled primarily because I have been invited to speak/teach. These trips have taken me to places like Spain, India, Korea, and Africa.

A few years back, when Penny was very ill with cancer and there didn’t seem like much hope for her survival I embarked on what I thought back then was my first trip of a lifetime!

Penny had always wanted to travel to Bolivia to see where I grew up and had spent the first 16yrs of my life. It was an incredible journey yet one filled with a bit of fear and trepidation. There were times when I wondered if I had made the right decision! Penny was quite ill and in a lot of pain. She could not sit up very well and had to lie down most of the time.

She was such a trooper! I remember when we took a boat ride on Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, with our destination being Sun Island. The sunset was incredible, breathtaking, yet we were very high – over 4000 metres high! We landed on the shores edge and began our journey on foot up the mountainside of the island. The llama’s thankfully carried our luggage. We had to rest every few steps because of her pain and because of the altitude.

Travelling along in a houseboat on one of the tributaries of the Amazon was also an incredible experience. Penny loved fishing and caught many piranha while I swam in the river. Seeing the wildlife as we travelled slowly down the river was such a delight to behold – especially watching the pink dolphins swimming alongside us.

Showing Penny the boarding school I attended was also quite a significant time for me. I was not to discover how significant it was until later in time. But this stop ended up being the fuel that helped to further my healing, especially emotionally and sexually. You see, boarding school was the place I had been sexually abused for several years and so it was the place of much pain and heartache for me. My wife has been an integral part of my ongoing healing. To take her back to this place and to relive the memories was actually quite a healing thing for me.

I reflect back on that journey and think how significant it was for both Penny and myself. To share a very important part of my life was fun, exciting, healing and very rewarding. Penny’s health held up well and we can still share in the fond memories formed on our trip together. It was a trip that drew us closer together.

It really was a watershed moment in my life. My healing continues…

Now, I believe that I am going to be embarking on an even greater journey, the trip of a lifetime. This journey, though, will have a far greater impact on my life, spiritually speaking. Again, I will have the joy of sharing this journey with my wife. I am just so grateful that I have the wonderful opportunity of sharing my journey’s of a lifetime with my wife. 🙂

I have felt for some time a call to Africa and a call for a deeper revelation of the presence and the power of God in my life. I have believed that these two would somehow intersect in Mozambique. Finally, after waiting for a few years, I felt the Lord encourage me to step out and to travel over this August (2011). Everything seems to have “fallen” into place.

But what fills me with even more fear and trepidation is the knowledge that I will be speaking to thousands of people and that they will be expectant – for God to move, for God to heal, to deliver, to set free.

I was going to soak all this up, to be unobtrusive, in the background, enjoying and observing a wonderful move of the power and the presence of God. It seems as though God has other plans! It seems as though God sees the best way is to actually “throw” me out there in the front of it all and to watch his power and presence being manifested. When God “shows up” I know it will not be because of me!

You see, I actually struggle a fair bit with my way of thinking. God has been working on this but I still do struggle. I realise that in the past I have thrown out the baby with the bath water. I don’t like religiosity or super-spirituality and I think that much of what is called Christianity is a lot of hokus pokus and is actually the work of man in the flesh. I try and distance myself from these kinds of things for they only bring much pain and condemnation to others as well as confusion. Much of the accusations laid against Christians is deserved.

I have been confronted by it many times. I am sure that many of these people are well meaning people. I have been in line, waiting to be prayed for and the person praying for me has his/her hand against my forehead, pushing while praying. I’m told to relax and let the power of God touch me. It’s hard to relax when there is pressure being applied to your forehead! If God wants me down then he can do it without the help of the pray-er.

I get this distinct feeling that the pray-er actually believes that the person falling down is being touched by the Lord. It leads me to believe that many people are more caught up with the manifestations of the Spirit than they are with the Spirit of God. As a friend of mine said – people are seeking the heat rather than the Spirit.

What I have realised is that I have allowed these experiences to actually shut myself down from manifestations. In other words, I have thrown out the baby with the bath water. I have become so sceptical that I steer as far away from manifestations as I can. This is wrong!!

Who am I to judge how God works in another? Who am I to determine that it should be this way or that way? Who am I to judge whether what the person is experiencing and manifesting is real or not? That is not my place. It is between the Lord and that person. But, I have allowed myself to become the judge and thus deemed them to be excesses, unBiblical, not of the Spirit. I am sure I have grieved the Spirit because of this.

I am repenting…

I am asking God to help me work through my “stuff”; my struggles; my prejudices.

I see this trip to Mozambique as the place where God will deal with me, confront me, loving help me and guide me in his truth. I want to be free from my scepticism and my judgemental attitude.

This is why I see this trip to Mozambique to be the trip of a lifetime for me! I believe it will be a time where I will experience the power of God like never before. I will see people being healed, restored and being set free.

The odd thing is that I am in love with Jesus, I do hear him and he talks to me and shows me many things. I have just shut off this vital part of my relationship with him and I believe it’s time to change that! It’s time to step out, let God be God and let him do what he wants when he wants and where he wants and that I am not to judge, presume or be skeptical and that I will be willing to participate in whatever he is doing.

This is my heart cry. But I need help. I need help because I think I’ve thrown out the baby with the bath water! I want to seek the Spirit and not the heat. I long to see the Lord use me, for his Spirit to flow through me. I am willing…

This is my journey. What about yours? What has God been doing in your life and teaching you? Have you kind of ‘thrown out the baby with the bath water’ too? Or are you seeing miracles of his healing power?

Posted in Gratefulness, Journey of a Lifetime, Journey of Life, Manifestations, Memories, Relationships, Travel | 4 Comments

Ahhh, the memory of it all…

It was my best friend yet it was my “enemy”! It was my best friend because it held some basic essentials for life – my water and my food. Yes, it also had other things like my tent, my clothes, my shovel and a few toiletries – things I could enjoy to make life just a little bit easier.

A couple of posts ago I shared about my life in the army and about that wretched backpack!

Well, I want to share about that backpack…

Without my water and food I would not last long marching for hours every day. I could go without changing my clothes, sleep without my tent, not bother with my toiletries and even not use my shovel! Why did I bother to bring them? Because I thought it was what I was supposed to do? Because I didn’t want to get caught out, wishing later I had brought them? My motto was always be prepared so I tried to pack my backpack accordingly. Or was it simply because I wanted to be able to enjoy these few items of “luxury”?

It was like my best friend for it went with me wherever I went! It’s amazing how heavy a backpack can feel when you’ve been carrying it for a week with no respite? Dude, the aches and pains that followed me everywhere I went – as long I had my backpack on! This is why it was also my enemy.

It was actually quite strange for me for there were times when we had to leave our backpacks behind as we engaged in some warfare tactics or simply went for a hike to explore our surroundings. It was strange because I had become so used to carrying my backpack.

It got me thinking about the things in my own life I like to carry around with me – my memories, mainly.

Okay, let’s face it – I’m a hoarder!! I love collecting things and I hate getting rid of them just in case… Just in case I might need it later down the track. Inevitably, every time I throw something out I want it a week later, or just a couple of days later.

Ever have that problem?

But, it’s the memories that either weigh me down or cheer me up. Dealing with those memories that do weigh me down is what is hard to deal with.

I have so many fond memories: swimming in piranha infested rivers, hiking through the jungles, rock climbing, climbing so high up in the mountains that you are above the clouds, camping with my family & singing silly songs, taking my wife back to Bolivia and showing her all the places I had grown up in, seeing my children all grow up and two getting married, having a grandchild, and so on…

Sometimes I like to go down memory lane and simply enjoy all those good times, those fun times.

What I often find hard though is dealing with the “sad” memories, like having to say goodbye to our children as they graduated and returned to Australia, not being around to see our granddaughter growing up, not being able to be there for when our kids go through a tough time, or not being able to be there to support my ageing mother, not being able to hang out with my good mates…

You see, it’s these types of “memories” that I find hard to deal with because they don’t require me to seek forgiveness or to release forgiveness. They are not part of my painful past (which I seem to have to keep working through) but they are none the less a very real part of my life.

The truth is, living in Thailand can be tough sometimes – because I cannot always do the things I want to do, like visiting and spending time with my kids, helping my mum or just hanging out with my mates. But I realise that this is life. It’s all a part of growing up. It’s also part of the cost of being obedient to the call to live here in Thailand.

I carry all these things in the backpack of my life and all these memories help to remind me of one very important thing – the importance of family, of relationships. Nurturing them, spending time to cultivate them is what I want to be better at.

I’m actually much more grateful now for my backpack. Those sad memories do help me to be grateful for what I have had and for what I have. I am not resentful at all for what I have had to “give up” for what I have gained has grown me, matured me and I believe have made me a much better person.

I try not to spend too such time thinking about those sad memories because the “aches” in my back can tend to become too much for me. I am choosing to remember those good times and be grateful that I am called to be here and that I was given those things I now miss for a short time and that while I had them they were a source of great enjoyment for me.

Wherever you are at in your journey of life may you appreciate more and more those good memories as well as the sad memories that you carry around in your backpack of life.

This post is dedicated to my wonderful children (Luke & Pe, Jaci, Zac & Michelle, & Caleb) as well as my incredible wife Penny and my ever loving mother Helen.

Posted in Behavior, Choices, Discipline, Doing Good, Emotional Responses, Finishing Well, Memories, Nurturing, Trials | 4 Comments

I want Justice… but… give me Love!

I don’t know if I think too much because sometimes I just feel like I should just enjoy and stop thinking. Maybe it’s just the way the Lord has wired me?

Anyways, one of the things I’ve been reflecting on has been the whole issue of God being both judge and friend. It’s another one of these oxymoron’s we find in the scriptures.

You really cannot get two more opposing pictures when thinking of a relationship with someone! I’ve been to court and it can be a little overwhelming – especially if you’re the one in trouble, standing as the accused.

You have the judge who is always seated much higher than anyone else. You have the defence table and the prosecuting table as well as the witness chair. There is this space around the judge which cannot be invaded without express permission to do so.

Everyone comes in with the appropriate attire and when the judge enters the room everyone must stand until the judge is seated and then we sit when we’re told we can sit down. The judge really controls the whole “show.” There is this solemnity which surrounds the court room and the judge who is presiding. One has to be very careful how they speak, always addressing the judge as “Your Honor” otherwise one is in danger of contempt of court.

You cannot treat the judge as a friend and talk to him/her as though he/she were your friend. If you do you can be in contempt of court.

You cannot enter this sacred space around the judge without being in contempt of court.

One stands in the courtroom full of respect and honor towards the judge otherwise one will be in contempt of court!

Now in truth, the judge is supposed to judge with total impartiality but in reality this often does not happen. There are many things which seem to “impair” the judgement of the judge. For one judge, the rape of a woman commands two years in jail while another judge can commit another felon to five years jail for exactly the same crime.

Justice does not seem to be meted out and many of us have lost the respect of the court system. Now, the key is the employment of the best defence lawyer one can afford. The guilty often go free and the innocent are often punished (simply because the guilty go free!). A very unjust system indeed!

Now, when we consider God as judge we can be certain that this will never be the case. He will never act unjustly as his characteristic is that he is a just God. What ever judgement God passes we will know (or need to know!) that it will be a just judgement.

One problem (okay, it is a rather big problem!) is that most people seem to blame God for all the bad stuff that happens around the world today. Not sure why that is but maybe it’s because we don’t want to take responsibility for our own actions and the reactions that occur because of our actions?

Because of this God has already been judged as a bad judge, one who is partial and unfair.

But, on to the flip side of who God is and that is: he is also our friend!

He longs for relationship, he longs for intimacy with us, he longs for us to engage with him in life, to hear his heartbeat for us, his dreams and desires for us.

We have so many different picture painted for us which demonstrate his desire for friendship, for relationship – being our father, our brother, our saviour, our friend, our shepherd, and so on…

It’s hard to hold these two very opposing views of God together – one as judge where distance is kept and the other where intimacy is longed for through relationship with us.

We seem to easily gravitate to him desiring intimacy and friendship with us. It’s so much easier to deal with and to enjoy. If I do something wrong, that displeases him then I have nothing to fear because he is my friend and he wants to embrace me and extend grace to me.

Being judge just seems a little too scary for us to want to embrace!

But, if we were to embrace him being our judge, if we were to consider that every act I do is going to be judged by him in one way or another then maybe, just maybe, we act and live a little bit more differently than we currently do!

Do we simply embrace God as our friend a little to our detriment? Should there be a little bit more honour and respect shown to God in the way we act, speak, behave with one another as well as with him?

We seem to long for justice to be meted out to others but what about to ourselves?

This is what the Lord has been challenging me in of late. I love to focus on and enjoy the fact that he does desire friendship and intimacy with me but I tend to shelve the idea of him being my judge.

I’m realising that I need to become much more conscious of God being my judge and give him far greater respect and honour than I do – simply because I do focus on just the friendship factor.

What I am realising is that when I do focus on God being my judge then I treat his friendship with a different spirit. I embrace it with more gratitude and generosity. I want to learn to live with a greater balance between the two.

My past experiences have taught me that there are many people who live with the view of God being judge as their predominant view. They seem to love to beat you over the head every time you do something wrong and seem to have a very strong view of law, or right and wrong. They seem to be very quick to judge you as soon as you err. They do seem to struggle with any concept of God’s grace and the intimacy he desires with each one of us.

The reality is, it’s hard to develop any sense of intimacy when the greatest focus is on doing right or wrong, on God being a our judge. That’s why I want to come a greater balance between the two. I feel like I err too much on the grace side.

What about you? Where do you stand in the spectrum?

Posted in Behavior, Discipline, Emotional Responses, Fear of the Lord, Fellowship, Forgiveness, Heaven, Hell, Intimacy, Judgement, Justice, Love, Loving Jesus, Nature & Character of God, Obedience, Perceptions, Relationships, Repentance, Righteousness, Sin | 2 Comments

How grateful am I really?

In this blog I want to share something I’m dealing with and that has become very magnified living here in Thailand. I didn’t realise I had this problem and when I got to know the Thai’s I thought it was just a Thai problem – what they call “Preup Teeup” – but I’ve discovered it’s really a human problem. It’s my problem!

It’s the problem of comparing. Where does it spring from? Why am I so prone to it and find it easy to do?

Now, I know there is a good form of comparing – when I want to assess how I am doing in sports, or some other activity so that I can gauge whether I am actually improving or not.

But rather, it’s the following form of comparing I want to address as the Lord has begun to speak to me about it…

A complaining or murmuring attitude is borne out of a heart that compares – Why do we have to do it if they don’t? Why do they get to have that but we don’t? Why do they get to go and we don’t? How come they have better support than I do? Why do they get noticed and I don’t? I could go on with examples, but do you get the picture?

Our comparing leads to us complaining. We begin to grumble about what is, or what is not, or what should be.

When I complain I am not bringing life to the person I am complaining too! Rather, I am bringing a form of death – discouragement. So, if complaining helps to produce death the opposite would also be true – when I don’t complain I’m helping to produce life!

Oh but Paul, you say, I don’t complain to people I just complain to God! Well, what is your complaining to God doing to your relationship with him? Is it growing your relationship with him, bringing intimacy and a deeper appreciation of his love for you? Is it helping you to fall more in love with him?

I doubt it very much. The opposite would be more to the truth.

The fruit of living life without grumbling or complaining is that it will help us in living a life which is blameless and pure. In other words, there won’t be things that people can accuse us of, we’ll be above reproach! You see, there’s something beautiful and attractive about people who don’t complain but show a spirit of gratefulness.

That’s what Paul tells us in Philippians 2:14-16 (NIV): [14] Do everything without complaining or arguing, [15] so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe [16] as you hold out the word of life…

What kind of life am I living? Is it bringing life to others or is it bringing death. Are there things that people can easily criticize us for? Like people who talk incessantly, I don’t enjoy being around people who complain a lot – they seem so negative and have trouble seeing the brighter, better side of life!

A non-complaining life is a life that empowers – it will empower me and it will empower others.

Do I find myself falling easily into the trap of comparing? A wonderful posture I am discovering that helps to combat the tendency to compare is to have a heart and an attitude of gratefulness.

I find I compare most when I am not grateful. May I grow in my attitude of gratefulness that I soon develop a habit of gratefulness! This is my safeguard against comparing, complaining and ungratefulness.

What am I grateful for? These are good things to be pondering and meditating on.

What about you? What are you grateful for? When was the last time you expressed your gratefulness?

Begin to share your gratefulness with others, especially with those who are complaining and watch the changes that happen. It really is hard to keep complaining when the person I’m complaining to begins to express things they are grateful for! Now when I find myself falling into a complaining posture I want to try looking for things I can be grateful for and start speaking them out. There will always be something I can be grateful for if I just take a little look.

Give it a try…

Posted in Behavior, Being Teachable, Choices, Comparing, Complaining, Emotional Responses, Gratefulness, Humlity | 4 Comments

A Thai Perspective on our Political situation

I thought this was an excellent article (an editorial from The Nation) and so wanted to post it. Hopefully it will help some of you outside of Thailand to understand a little more one Thai’s perspective on our political situation. The next few months are critical months for Thailand.

EDITORIAL

The time has come to rediscover our moral compass

By The Nation
Published on July 9, 2011

A blanket amnesty will do nothing to heal the bitter divide in Thai society – justice and the rule of law are the only way forward

In early 2003, the administration of Thaksin Shinawatra launched a controversial campaign in the name of a war against drugs.

Within three months, about 2,500 suspects and a handful of innocent bystanders had been killed. The official explanation was that this was “bad guys killing bad guys”. Nobody believed it, but we Thais didn’t really care. As far as we were concerned, justice had been served.

But a few people in the political establishment, including close allies like the US, decided it was time to tap Thaksin on the shoulder and remind him, as leader of the Thai government, that controversial policies using body counts as the benchmark for success could damage bilateral ties with foreign countries, who often restrict cooperation with governments that grossly abuse their power. The Thaksin administration duly came to its senses and the killing stopped.

Sad to say, a society that opts for such a heavy-handed solution however controversial it may be, is a weak society. It is one that can be easily exploited and manipulated even in the face of glaring contradictions with its traditional values.

Remember the topless Songkran girls dancing on the back of a truck on Silom Road? They were just metres away from rows of topless-dancer go-go bars. We were angry but we didn’t really know why. Perhaps the word “contradiction” is an understatement when it comes to describing our society.

While most political parties have invested heavily in trying to understand what makes Thai people tick, we seem to have lost sight of more basic but important things. Integrity, honesty, generosity, humility and other important virtues are hard to find nowadays when we speak of governance.

We see things the way we want to see them, and along the way we compromise our own values for short-term gains. Instead of defending the ground rules we instead ask, “What’s my cut? What’s in it for me?”

Along with the controversial drug war, Thai people have tolerated a culture of impunity – but as long it was only for members of their own political and social camp.

The Pheu Thai Party accused the outgoing Democrat-led Government of not moving fast enough in bringing the yellow shirts to justice for occupying Suvarnabhumi Airport and Government House when pro-Thaksin administrations were in place.

The ball is now in Pheu Thai’s court and it remains to be seen how its incoming government will handle the red-shirt leaders who called on their supporters to turn Bangkok and city halls around the country into a sea of fire.

The bottom line is that we have to have an ethical standard, and the law of the land and the country’s constitution is not a bad place on which to peg our moral and political integrity.

We may have lost our bearings when it comes to calibrating our moral compass, as our reaction to the Songkran dancing girls suggests, not to mention that many of us keep re-electing gangster-politicians despite knowing full well of their past deeds. But let’s not allow the ongoing political divide to get the better of us. Let the law of the land serve as our equilibrium – the ground rule that must be upheld by any means necessary.

We cannot be fooled by the shallow logic that a blanket amnesty will make everything okay and enable us to move forward, mapping our future on a clean slate. Justice must be rendered regardless of the colour of one’s shirt, political affiliation or uniform.

Too many have lost their lives and too much damage has been done. Justice must be swift, effective and “blind” and all the wounds and scars must be addressed. Otherwise, we as a nation will never close this bitter chapter that pitted Thai citizens against one another.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Do I care enough to…

I’ve been pondering recently about the issue I have struggled a lot with in the past, and even in this present time. It’s to do with liking people.

Do I really need to like people or like being around them? How is liking and love different? If I don’t like someone am I truly loving them?

Here’s where I started…

I was reflecting upon some of the friends in my life whom I do struggle to like. So, I suppose, I could question whether they are my friends or not! Because they are not people I hate or seek to avoid I cannot call them my enemies and so I see them as my friends – just friends I don’t like that much!! 🙂

Anyways, I started to ask myself why I don’t like them. I came to the realisation that there is one group of people I don’t seem to hang around with all that much – those who talk a lot. There are others but I won’t go down there just yet.

For those who talk a lot, what is it that I dislike about them? Well, they seem to have this great capacity to talk incessantly. I really don’t know how they do it! I must say there is this admiration for the way they can talk about nothing for so long. Sometimes I do wish I could be like that – especially in those awkward times when there is a long silence and you want to say something but just don’t know what to say or where to start.

Now, I like to have my say, put in my two bits worth but when that tongue keeps wagging it’s hard to get a word in. I feel like I’m interrupting! Maybe this is part of my problem?

Another reason why I seem to dislike being with my friends who talk so much is because they also have this capacity to turn any conversation around. I could be having this great conversation with another friend when in walks my mate who loves to talk a lot and before I know it, the conversation has completely changed and now we’re talking about stuff that had absolutely nothing to do with what we were just talking about.

Do you understand what I mean? Ever feel like that?

Now, I realise that a lot of this has to do with my selfishness and pride. It’s something I’m trying to work on. Just when I think I’m getting there in walks another one of my friends who loves to talk a lot and I suddenly realise – there’s a lot more work to do yet!

Now, the confusing thing for me is that these friends of mine (and I know quite a few of them like this) is that they are very loving, caring, giving people. They would give an arm or a leg if they had to! It’s the common traits they seem to have. I lose perspective so fast and forget what type of people they are because I’m focused on the noise coming out of their mouth wondering if they are going to stop long enough to being able to suck in enough air to keep going.

So, I’ve come to the point where I am now asking myself, do I care enough… to just listen to them, follow their conversational thought and appreciate them for their loving, caring and giving hearts?

The truth is, no! I don’t care enough. Does that then reflect a heart of love towards that person? And now I am realising that I need to learn how to love… how to love those who talk so much I just want to walk away.

How about you? Do you struggle with this? How have you gained the victory? Over to you now…

Posted in Behavior, Emotional Responses, Humlity, Love, Relationships | 1 Comment

Being passionate and abandoned… in love

Over the years I have pondered upon the thought of why people seem to willing sacrifice their lives for a greater cause. Soldiers do in war. Terrorists blow themselves up. Fathers die trying to save their drowning child.

How would I fare if placed in this position?

I suppose I can understand why a soldier would sacrifice his/her life or why a father would die but someone blowing themselves up to kill as many people as possible? What’s the point in that? What’s the motivation in doing so? Now I know there’s the religious side which promises Paradise but there has to be something deeper, something more.

Then I came upon a quote…

As you may have noticed, I always love a good quote, or a quote that gets me thinking or challenges me and my worldview. 🙂 Well, here’s another…

God designed the human soul to be passionate, abandoned and committed. That is the way the soul functions best! It sinks into restlessness, boredom, passivity and frustrations if it has nothing worthy of giving itself to or sacrificing itself for. In other words, if we have nothing to die for, then we really have nothing to live for. God intended our souls to be captured, consumed and enthralled with Jesus. Our highest development and greatest fulfilment lie in worshipping him and serving him with abandonment that will sacrifice everything. (Passion for Jesus, by Mike Bickle)

Could this be the answer? I think Bickle is on to something here!

If I take Bickle correctly he is saying that for me to truly live then I need to be passionate, abandoned and committed. It’s a bit hard to live this way when you’re down in the dumps! So, maybe I need to question how did I ever get to this place of feeling hopeless, like what’s the point in life?

There have been many times in my life where I have felt like, “What’s the point?” It would have been so easy to give up – like how I felt so many times in the army! (read my previous blog – I just can’t do it anymore)

As I have pondered on Bickle’s statement I find myself agreeing with him. I look at all those times when I have felt so alive, so on fire, so invincible and ready for anything and realise it has been those times when my soul was captured, consumed and enthralled with Jesus!

But, the thought that has challenged me more than anything in this quote is the prospect of dying… “if we have nothing to die for, then we really have nothing to live for.”

I see another oxymoron here! To die is to live! I’m not talking about dying and then living with Jesus in the next life. I’m talking about dying here and then living here.

So, what if I have died to myself and given my life over to Jesus? I’ve died once so is that what Bickle is referring to? I doubt it! I think he’s talking about after this point when we surrender our lives to him. I think Bickle is talking about how we begin to live this life out.

So, a good question to ask is this: Is my love for Jesus so great that I would be very happy to die for him? People all around the world face this question – people in China, Laos, Vietnam, Muslim countries… But, we don’t! We don’t live with persecution, not the death type of persecution! Sure, we have people who mock us, ridicule us and take the mickey out of us but often that because we deserve it! Common, let’s face it – sometimes we deserve what we get because of what we say or how we conduct ourselves. We’re just too religious sometimes! (Personally, I have an aversion to religious people. I try to steer clear of them for they make me feel embarrassed to even be associated with them!)

So, what have I got to live for? Myself? Others? Jesus? Nothing? Then, am I willing to die for that?

If Jesus really is worth dying for then I will be living a life that’s passionate, abandoned and committed. Nothing will sway me away! I will be consumed and allow myself to be consumed with his love for me and my love for him. I will be willing to sacrifice everything for him!

That’s why I believe Muslims willingly blow themselves up – they have something worth dying for! They willing sacrifice everything for the name and sake of Allah. Now, their motivation may be to be guaranteed a place in Paradise but they do have a passion, a commitment, an abandonment we lack.

Now, I am not advocating we start blowing ourselves up!! That’s ridiculous to say the least.

The question I want to leave with you is: why would you want to sacrifice everything for Jesus? To get into his good books? To be guaranteed a place in heaven? To gain some merit in God’s eyes? To hope he might bless you?

Be honest! Why?

If it doesn’t come out of a motivation of love for Jesus then I believe it’s worthless! It becomes a thing of works. Works will get us no where because we have to keep doing them, they don’t seem to last. The works bank account seems to become easily overdrawn and there is to constant need to fill it up.

Love – that’s what matters. How we love Jesus. How we love each other.

Religiosity has no real value! Now please also note – being passionate is not being religious! Just ask your non-christian mates how they honestly view you – religious or passionate? They’ll be honest!

May we grow in being passionately in love with Jesus.

Posted in Choices, Death, Emotional Responses, Giving up, Heaven, Hell, Honesty, Loving Jesus, Passion, Passionate, Persecution, Works | 4 Comments