Dec 28, 2004

My Heart

I have been reading Wild At Heart by John Eldredge and God has been showing me a lot through this book. One thing he said real struck me and I wrote it down on an index card and carry it around with me:
"You must ask God what he thinks of you, and you must stay with him until you have an answer. The battle will get fierce here. This is the last thing the Evil One wants you to know." So I have been asking God that question for a few days.

The first thing God brought up is a poem that he gave me last June. When I say that he gave it to me, I feel like he really was writing it to me.

For the Broken
Written June 16, 2004

Poet, touch every hand.
Drop down every weight.
Lift every burden.
On the lead-lined highway
Brokenness calls out;
Desperate cries,
Subtle sighs,
And pleading groans pour forth.

At the foot of the mountain
I hear the strong, quiet voice of God whisper,
“You are mine; I am not finished with you.
Take heart and be courageous.”

I walk, my head held higher.
My steps planted more firmly.

In desperate moments
People are hurting.
“Be my voice.
Be my light.
Be my hands.
Be my comfort.
Be my vessel of grace.
Be my Living Water
For the broken.”

“It is the not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

God gave me this, and then reminded me of this when I asked him what he thought of me. What I love about this is that God wants me to help others, and then he says to me, "You're doing well, be strong, I have more to do in your life. Get out there and be involved in people's lives."

I have more that God has shown me that I will post later.

Dec 9, 2004

Scattered Thoughts

I have all these random thoughts flooding into my mind: Work; past friends; Freedom in Christ; future and present friends; my children's salvation and how they will walk with Christ; mistakes made and lessons learned; filling in for my son's Awana Leader tonight; I am all over the map and I am overwhelmed!

I have been learning, or re-learning a lot about God's Word and how important it is to knowing God. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Hebrews 4:12
"The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
I just think of the Word working around in me and doing stuff, cutting through me and really changing me on a core level. When I let it marinate within me it brings about a peace that really does "surpass all understanding." I used to deal with huge struggles with lust and impurity years ago in my early college days. I was in bondage. One of the ways to change my thought life was to memorize scripture. I carried around index cards with verses on them and I would set a countdown timer on my watch for 15 minutes and and I would recite the verse every time the alarm went off. I carried the verse cards for years. I eventually stopped carrying around the cards.
About 5 years ago when I moved from the city I grew up in I started carrying them again. I was at a low place spiritually and felt very dead. When I moved I had none of my friends around and I was very lonely. God brought me to where we moved to, his hand was in it all. I felt like I was so stagnant before I moved; I took my Christian friends for granted. I had my family but I was empty and God drew me back to him. I started writing in a journal again and drinking deeply of God's living water, his Bread of Life, his Word.

Everything did not change overnight and suddenly I had lots of new friends. I think for 4 of those years I was in the wilderness, still desiring friends and still lonely. But the difference was that I was no longer spiritually asleep. God woke me up and drew me to himself. At times I would have an oasis of friendship and I did keep in touch with my friend from my old city, which is about 100 miles away. I would call and email and see them all about twice a year...But that is not not the same as being in the same city. God has been building me back up. I would not trade what this all for anything...It has not been easy, but it has been good.

So what is next? I don't know. My couselor a couple weeks ago asked me a question out the blue when we were talking about what I would want God to do for me, if I could have anything and right away I said I want a group of guy friends. Then she said something that caught me by surprise, "So have you asked God?" And the truth was, no, I hadn't. I had talked to my sister, my wife and some distant friends about it but not really talked to God. She brought up Matthew 7, you know, the section that talks about "Ask and you shall receive, etc." I had not asked God for some friends. God is all about relationships. I just went and read that section now:
Matthew 7:7-12
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
I had remembered the part about the bread and stone, then fish and snake part, but I don't know, I guess I didn't apply this section of the Bible to me very much. I am going start praying this way more. Maybe it is because I didn't have very good father experiences growing up: either absentee in my real dad or abusive with step-fathers. I am now a father and I think I can see these verses in a whole new way. I want the best for my kids....And God wants the best for me and wants to "give good gifts," to me. Sometimes I don't ask....Sometimes it is hard to ask...

Why is hard for me to ask God for things? Is it pride or self sufficiency? Is it because I'm not sure I'm worth it? I'm not sure why I don't generally ask for things like this from God that I really want.

I do know that I'm going to start asking my Father who likes to give good gifts

Dec 7, 2004

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty

Egg shells float around inside,
scattered about, lodged in crevices.
Cracked and chipped,
the smooth covering gone.
I am broken.

My outer shell is gone,
I am crushed and exposed,
wind-whipped and bare
to the elements,
the harsh winds blow through,
I am weary.

I’ve fallen off the wall.
Collect the pieces,
put me back together.
From the broken remnants
heal me
make me whole
in you.

I give you my broken heart.

December 7, 2004

Psalm 34:18

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Dec 6, 2004

Ebbing Away.......

Ebbing Away

Don’t waste your life.
Don’t know when it will stop
Death comes to all, you know not
where your days will
Live life well, don’t waste your days.
One day’s promise unkept quickly
becomes one week
then a month
then years have gone by
Regrets only Remain.
Heart attacks, cancer, high blood pressure
High cholesterol, overweight, and out of shape
The stress and pressure constricts
And life leaves many quickly.
The endless days of invincibility
Give way to seeming fragility,
Our youth runs away.
Not old, yet not so young.

Never forget:
Love God
Love one another,
People are all that REALLY matter.
Don’t waste your life,
It is slowing
Don’t let regrets
Only remain.
Live purposefully,
Live passionately.
Seize each day.

December 6, 2004

I wrote this after hearing of a lot of people getting sick at church, some heart attacks and other things. A friend of my sister's who is 39 was recently diaganosed with a bad cancer, not sure which one. This was a healthy person. I said something to her that struck me later. I told her that this was probably the beginning of hearing about a lot people getting sick, dying because we are getting older. Now 37 is not old, but it is different than when you are 22 or so and you have your whole life ahead of you, "The World is Your Oyster," I felt invinicible then.

Now I feel....more human...less superman. And at the same time I want to make my time count, not just frittering it away.