Friday, June 12, 2009

I Love you as you are...not as you should be!!

Can we just get this out in the open and in the air...We ALL FALL SHORT!! as much as I understand that verse intellectually, I still try desperately to win God's approval...How do I? by going thru each day acting religious..I say acting..I mean by doing religious things..such as reading my bible, praying with my girls, taming my tongue, lending a hand to another in need..or even possibly writing this blog..although I have a burning passion to share my struggles and victories, my insights and curiosities with others...I do all this hoping that in the back of my mind, God will find favor in me for acting in such a way..Why do I do this? I believe the human carnal flesh is so strong and so against God's nature that it is completely normal for us to want some control..To give God entire control is antithetic to our own we devise ways to have a pseudo control..We mask it in items like this...Religious TO DO LIST's..or TASKS that make us feel better about ourselves. As I sit here and ponder the various trials that are currently going on in my very own life I often find myself desperately trying to find solutions to the trials all the while praying to God for guidance and wisdom.. HAVE I MISSED THE FOREST FOR THE TREES.. I believe I have. I believe I have allowed my ADAM nature to try and fix the broken aspects of my life all the while bringing God along for the know to keep Him abreast of my progress..Good Grief..( I think I have used "good grief" like in every single blog I have written lately..that tells me I am constantly enlightened by the word of God ..revealing to me my own ignorance and arrogance). In my heart if hearts I don't believe I have any control of my own life once a child of God's, however I continue to act like I do..I pretend that I need to be a godly Man in order for God to help out..That God would not love a ragamuffin like myself unless I was worthy enough to be Loved..What misguided doctrine is that!!! again good grief!!

Did not Christ come to save the sinner..not the righteous..? Christ came to set us free from ourselves..He Loves us as we are, and not as we should be! Amen Praise God..

Wow..My mind has array of thoughts have flooded my mind as I try and work thru this message bottled up inside me..I find myself flailing about, looking for the right words to accurately depict the point I desire to make.. It seems this is a "hinge" point...meaning the Love of God is the top of a branch with hundreds of smaller branches falling underneath this concept. Many different lessons could be taught or thoughts pursued off this single idea of God's love...and because of all the varying directions we could take, my mind has become overwhelmed..I have literally sat here and stared at this screen for 20 minutes..stuck...looking for the words..the direction I originally set out to take..(I just want to say in this moment how awesome God is and how powerful His ways - that my simple mind can so easily be overwhelmed by the vastness he represents)

I had decided to take the girls to the bookstore yesterday after a very difficult morning of life be all out frontal assault by satan on my mind..Discouragement and Doubt had found a suitable place to anchor themselves in my mind. Satan has managed to gain a foothold on me and cast doubt on my Faith, my understanding of God and His willingness to take care of His people(ME)..Financial Strain (would be a light way of putting it), my role as a Man (Leader, Protector and Provider) had been exposed with all my inherent weaknesses. Hope was sailing away like a small boat on the ocean of life, barely visible in the far distance.. I felt myself succumbing to the wiles of Satan.. Nicki( my wife) sent me an email that placed an instant STOP on the slippery slope I was on..I had earlier sent her an email more or less laying out my morning and all the failures I felt as a man...and her subject line was titled " WE ARE BEING ATTACKED" and she directly confronted evil with God's Glory and evil was simply no match.. She quoted Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, 3 To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

I read this and felt the power of the Spirit of God come over me and begin to replace the "feelings" that were rooted in my mind so deeply..Then her ever so encouraging words that followed were no doubt a gift from God Himself ( I hope she doesn't mind me posting parts of her email here..although they were not words from her but words given to her by God)

Her words reprinted exactly as they came to me - no editing at all

**We are not supposed to live defeated…we have HOPE!! Jesus Christ has come so that we can exchange our spirit of heaviness for the garment of praise! When we do this…we glorify God! What more could we ask…than to glorify him?!

I know that I may be beating a dead horse here. But I feel like you and I are being attacked and you know as well as I do that this life is a spiritual battle... put on the armor with me…and lets use the word of God to fight this off. Let’s hold up our shield (of Faith) and maybe knock out a prideful or self pity thought. Is my faith so small that I can’t even fight off comparing my possessions to that of other people?? I have not been using my shield…and I’m certainly not using my sword. So right now…I’m done with allowing evil to throw my mind around like a wave crashing on the shore…God’s grace is sufficient to withstand whatever Satan plans for us…my faith, my hope is in my Savior…and I’m not going to let worry or discontentment rule my mind…don’t you let him in yours either. **

Just reading this again brings about a triumphant smile..what power we have in Christ..if only we will allow Him to rule and reign in our heart unrivaled and unchallenged..So now we are at Books a Million and I walked up to the table that has all the Christian books, while my girls began to rummage thru the kids section...I began to look over the books and ponder each title looking for the perfect book for the state of mind I was in..I wanted to sit down and read something that would reinforce the ideas that Nicki had left me with...As I poured over the numerous eyes landed on "brennan manning : The furious longing of God". I had no idea what I had just done by choosing that book, but once again a direct result of God's grace and mercy on me in that moment..because that book was the "perfect" one for that day in that moment..Allow me to share a few bits of this tremendous read with you..I would recommend that any who read this post to please find a way to read this book..I will be straight up honest with you..I don't have the financial means to even buy this $16.99 book but I do have the gas and the time to drive down to Books a Million and sit and read it all the way through for FREE..I read 3/4 of it yesterday and will be going back today to finish it..I cant wait.. :)

Here is how the book starts

I'm Brennan. I am an alcoholic. How I got there, why I left there, why I went back, is the story of my life. But it is not the whole story

I'm Brennan. I am a Catholic. How I got there, why I left, why I went back, is also the story of my life. But it is not the whole story

I'm Brennan. I was a priest, but I am no longer a priest. I was a married man but am no longer a married man.

How I got to those places, why I left those places, is the story of my life too. But it is not the whole story.

I'm Brennan. I am a sinner, saved by grace. That is the larger and more important story. Only God, in His fury, knows the whole of it

This passage is the genesis of his life and the book



Song of Solomon 7:10

Over the past thirty years, I have prayed that passage in soaring 747's, monasteries, caves, retreat centers and deserted places. I believe His desire for you and me can best be described as a "furious longing." If you don't get anything else out of this book, I hope you begin to pray that passage. When you take those words personally, I mean very personally, a number of beautiful things come to pass:

* The drumbeats of doom in your head will be replaced by a song in your heart

* You will not be dependent on the company of others to ease your loneliness, for He is Emmanuel - God with us

* The praise of others will not send your spirit soaring, nor will their criticism plunge you into the pit. Their rejection may make you sick, but it will not be a sickness unto death

* In a significant interior development, you will move from I should pray to I must pray

* You will live with an awareness that the Father not only loves you, but likes you

*You will stop comparing yourself with others. In the same way, you will not trumpet your own importance, boast about your victories in the vineyard, or feel superior to anyone

* You will read Zephaniah 3:17-18 and see God dancing for Joy because of You

* Off and On throughout the day, you will just know that you are being seen by Jesus with a gaze of infinite tenderness

I am a witness to these truths

The furious longing of God is beyond our wildest desires, our hope or hopelessness, our rectitude or wickedness, neither concerned by sweet talk nor gentle persuasion. The furious longing of God, as Dan Berrigan writes, is " not to be reduced to a thing, a grand ideal; it is not to be reduced to a plaything, a caged songbird, for the amusement of children." It cannot be tamed, boxed, captivated, housebroken, or templebroken. It is simply and startlingly Jesus, the effulgence of the Father's Love.

The seldom stated truth is that many of us have a longing for God and an aversion to God. Some of us seek Him and flee Him at the same time. We may scrupulously observe the Ten Commandments and rarely miss church on Sunday morning, but a love affair with Jesus is just not our cup of tea.

Ok..This is just the first page or 2 but as this book unravels it opens up the mind to explore a being that "furiously longs for us.". I was able to get a glimpse of "Abba Father" and to finally understand that God is Love and He loves us...the same yesterday, the same today and the same tomorrow..God's love is not segmented based on who you are today as opposed to yesterday..It is not based on whether or not you had your morning devotion or quiet time..God is love and He furiously longs to love share with us the abiding love of the Father..God's love does not grow or lessen..His love for you is always "furious" and is certainly not based on your own doings..but simply because you are His child..That is all..

Lets stop worring about our worthiness or our favor with God and lets have a LOVE AFFAIR with our Lord and Savior..Let us reciprocate this Love back to God...and unleash the fury!!

I pray that the Holy God of Eternity will open your minds to this message and allow you to feel the love of Christ like never before..That you and I will seek to abide in His love and to not allow our carnal nature to block or impede the flow of His abundance..In His Name..Amen

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