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Archive for January, 2011

Sin, What’s Your Label?

January 22, 2011 5 comments

Westminster AbeyWhat is sin?

Here’s what dictionary.com says:

Noun

1. transgression of divine law: the sin of Adam.

2. any act regarded as such a transgression, esp. a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle.

3. any reprehensible or regrettable action, behavior, lapse, etc.; great fault or offense: It’s a sin to waste time.

According to the bible sin is what separates us from God. And as the first definition states it all originated from Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. In the eyes of God all sin is equal and “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 2:23). I’m sure that I’m not stating anything new here or anything that any Christian would disagree with.

On my journey, I’ve had many debates with people about sin and the church. I’ve found people who are willing to “blur” the lines on things in order to make life “simpler” for them, yet draw a hard-line on other things. I’ve also talked with people who draw a hard-line on certain sins and make no exceptions about people who struggle with these sins, yet make acceptions for other sins that they see as more tolerable or acceptable. I’m no different I’m sure and by no means am I trying point out the spec in my brother or sister’s eye, I’m simply trying to make a point, and that is that sin is sin in the eyes of God. There are no bigger or lesser sins, they all separate us from God. I truly believe that if we as Christians can accept this and try to live by this principle we can make a greater impact in this world. If we just accepted all people for who they are, children of God separated from Him by sin, maybe, just maybe, we could reach out to people who for the most part feel judged and shamed by the church and God.

Imagine if we looked at the alcoholic, the homosexual, the murderer, the prostitute, the rapist the same way we looked at the person who lies or cheats. I mean I know that I’ve lied and cheated at one point or another in my life. I’m just as sinful as they are. Imagine if we just accepted them for who they are, no strings attached, no saying “we love you, but we hate your sin.” We just accepted them. Loved them. And treated them the way that we treated our fellow brother and sister in the Lord. What kind of impact could we have? Jesus reached out to those who were the outcasts. Shouldn’t the church of today as well? In the same way that they say you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar we can reach more people with love and acceptance than we can by say your sin is unacceptable.

I’m not saying that we ignore the sin, but lets not make it the main focus of who people are. Last time I was in church there was no one there wearing labels identifying them by their sins. We are all God’s children saved by grace.

Day 3 – What Drives Your Life

January 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Point to Ponder: Living on purpose is the path to peace.

Verse to Remember: “You, Lord, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3 (TEV)

Question to Consider: What would my family and friends say is the driving force of my life? What do I want it to be?

In this chapter Rick talks about five of the things that drive peoples lives:

  • People driven by guilt
  • People driven by resentment and anger
  • People driven by fear
  • People driven by materialism
  • People driven by the need for approval of others

Depending who I asked depends how they might answer the question what drives me, or is driving me. I think many people might say that I allow resentment and anger to drive me. And if I were being honest in a many circumstances I am allowing my hurt and pain to drive me, or even stall me from moving forward. I guess I need to re-examine my priorties and take hold of this situation and change what is driving me.

Listening to a Dream

January 13, 2011 3 comments

Country RoadA few posts back I touched a little bit on the prophetic and how I started keeping prophetic words that I had received from others. And I know that some of you reading this may not believe in the prophetic. I’m not claiming to be a prophetic person, in fact when I was heavily involved in the church and in more charismatic circles I was always hesitant to say “the Lord says” or “God is saying”. Maybe it was a lack of faith or just me covering my butt, I just never felt comfortable about it. I think that there are different ways God chooses to use the gift of prophecy with His people. For me it has been in a few different ways, but one of them has been through my dreams.

The first time I really noticed this was during March of 1987. It was the March break and my family and I had gone to Timmins to visit my grandparents. My dad was going ice fishing with one of his long time friends and they were going to be flying into a lake for the day. That night I had a dream that the plane crashed and that people were killed. I woke up and didn’t know what to do or think. I was 9 at the time and figured it was a bad dream and went back to sleep. Well to my relief, my dad and his friend made it back that night, and I forgot about that dream, until a month later. We got a call early one morning and it was the wife of the man my dad had been fishing with. He went out the day before in his plane to go ice fishing and didn’t come home. We later that night found out that he had crashed his plane and died along with at least one other man. I was shaken by this, I hadn’t told anyone about that dream until that day when I told my mom. She explained that sometimes God gives us dreams as warnings of things that God wants to us to pray about or prepare for.

Over the years, I’ve been woken by dreams like that a few times. And immediately prayed about the situation. I assume that my prayers were answered in the other circumstances because the people I have had dreams about are safe. I recently had a number of dreams about someone I know in a situation where there was potential for real danger and even death. I prayed about the situation and asked God for His protection to surround this person. Until this series of dreams I’d never seen the answer to my prayers as clearly as I just have. I recently found out that this individual was in a situation where someone lost their life and that they could have potentially died as well. I strongly believe that God allowed me to have those dreams in order to pray and intercede for that situation.

So what is the purpose in sharing this with you? Well I guess it is to say that sometimes we need to pay attention to that still small voice or to our dreams, because it could be God asking you to pray for something or someone.

Day 2 – You Are Not an Accident

January 13, 2011 1 comment

Point to Ponder: I am not an accident

Verse to Remember: “I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born.”  Isaiah 44:2 (CEV)

Question to Consider: I know that God uniquely created me. What areas of my personality, background, and physical appearance am I struggling to accept?



 

This isn’t an easy question for me to answer, especially publicly. I think the main area that I struggle with most is in the area of my masculinity. I’m not the world’s most macho man and any of you that really know me can attest to that. I was never into sports or athletics or any of the stuff that “guys” are supposed to be into. I wanted to do arts and crafts, I loved to sing and dance and I had a flair for the dramatic side of things. I’m a sensitive and emotional person and I was the kid that cried when another kid caught picked on. I was the kid who was friends with the kid who had no friends because I felt bad for them. In the younger years of school this didn’t matter so much. I think kids just didn’t care as much. But as the years went on I began getting picked on because of this. I was called gay and all the other fun words that go along with it. I didn’t fit in at school and I didn’t fit in at church youth groups. Even now, years later, I’m married and have a family of my own, people still assume that I’m gay and it hurts me. When you are called/told a lie often enough it starts to wear on you to the point that you start to doubt yourself and who God created you to be. And why He created the way that you are.

This part of my life is one of the biggest struggles I have with who I am. I’ve gone to God with it countless times and it never seems to change. I hate this part of me, it is an area that causes me such pain and heartache. I have had people pray for me and with me and my prayers seem to go unanswered. I don’t know why God created me this way. I know I’m supposed to trust that He has a plan and a purpose for creating me the way that I am. I just wish I knew why and could come to terms with it and accept it.

Day 1 – It All Starts With God

January 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Point to Ponder: It’s not about me

Verse to Remember: “Everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him.” Colossians 1:16b (MSG)

Question to Consider: In spite of all the advertising around me, how can I remind myself that life is really about living for God, not myself?

This is an interesting question. In the business world, maybe even life in general, it’s all about planning your career path and planning your next move. I’ve never been like that, even in times like these where I’m unemployed and it all seems so out of control. Even though I’m not serving God (in the eyes of some) and I’m not in as deep/close a relationship with Him I still trust that he will open and close the doors for me. I trust that He will guide my path and lead me to where He wants me to be. Although I have to say that I feel a bit selfish about that because it’s like I’m using God, but I know that He knows my heart and understands me.

If it were all about me and I didn’t trust God my life would probably be in a very different path, and who knows probably a lot less happy than I am. I’d have probably gone to Bible school years ago (not that there is anything wrong with that) and done everything to become a fulltime missionary. But that’s not what God had in my mind for me, at least not yet. I’m still hoping that someday I’ll be able to do both, work in my field of expertise and do missions on the side.

So, how can I remind myself that it’s about living for God and not myself? I don’t know, I guess I just have to take one day at a time and acknowledge Him in all things.

40 Days

January 11, 2011 Leave a comment

As part of my new journey I’ve decided to start The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. So appart from my regular rantings you can follow me on my 40-day spiritual journey as I go through this book. I plan on being transparent open and honest (I know something new for me) as I “journal” through my journey.

All my posts on this journey will be under the category – 40 Days.

God, Prayer & Me

January 11, 2011 2 comments

Do you ever pray for something ask that God’s will be done and then when the answer to your prayer is different that what you wanted are mad at God? I’m sure we’ve all done it at some point in our lives, I know I have. I think I’ve given up asking God for things. I still pray but I don’t think I’ve asked him for anything specific in a long time. If and when I do pray lately (which hasn’t been to often) I ask Him for will to be done. As I write this I wonder if that it is because I’ve been so distant that I don’t think I have the right to pray and ask God for things. I know in my head and probably my heart that if I call on Him and turn to Him that He will be there. But I just feel like that’s not fair to Him. I think to me my relationship with God is almost like an abusive friendship. You know the one where your friend is only friends with you when someone esle isn’t around or when it’s convenient for you. I don’t want that relationship with God and I’ve had it for far to long. I’m an all or nothing kind of person and right now I’m not sure I can go to God until I’m ready to give it all to Him.