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I Refuse

March 28, 2011 1 comment

Cypress Hills Valley

If you’ve been following my blog on a regular basis you can see that God is doing a work in me. He is challenging me and calling me to rise up to be the man of God that He created and designed me to be. I remember a number of years ago I said I wasn’t going to hide my struggles and pretend that everything was all okay inside when it wasn’t. I was going to be real. And, I’m still that person, and I know that some people will accept that side of me and others will not. At least with a blog and posting this way I don’t have to face the rejection head on and I don’t have to feel the loss of those that can’t accept me for who I am.

In the last two days I’ve sat heard three messages from three different people. Each message did however tie into the other and spoke to things that God has been putting on my heart for the last week or so. I guess a lot of what has been stirring in my heart started with an album I heard for the first time just over a week ago. The album is “See You” by  Josh Wilson. There are a number of songs that ministered to me on the album but I’m going to focus on one called, “I Refuse”. We as Christians know that we all have a calling on our lives. Yes, your calling is not mine, but you have a calling none the less and only you can do what God has called you do. I think that for some time now I’ve been sitting on the sidelines and that I’ve taken myself out of the game. Well, not anymore I refuse to sit there and not move – I’m back in the game. I’m not going to let my injuries and aches and pains hold me back from what God has called me to. There is a generation out there that is lost and that God has called me to.

As I’ve said before I’m a perfectionist in a lot of ways and if I’m going to do something I want to do it right. And, I like most of us I struggle with sin; I repent and ask God to forgive me. I live a good walk for a time and then I fall and I beat myself up and pull myself out of the game. But I learned that I can be a sinner who struggles to be a lover of God, or I can be a lover of God who sometimes struggles with sin. The difference is in the mindset, one is defeated and the other victorious. Jesus paid the price for not just our salvation on the cross but to overcome the strongholds and the sins in our lives. Hold on to this as you continue to read.

There are two types of sin, sin against others, lying, cheating, murder, and, then there is sin against the body, sexual immorality. (1 Corinthians 6:18) I know that for myself sexual immorality has been a constant struggle as far back as I can remember. And, it is probably the one sin that I’ve tried to keep “hidden” from people. It’s not something that people want to talk about or hear. But I can’t hide my heart from God. He sees my heart and He knows the sins that I commit in my heart.

Why am I sharing this, let alone blogging about it for the world to see? Well because I want to live in freedom. I want to shed a light on the darkness in my life so that it can be exposed and I can be delivered from it. And because I think there are others out there that probably should hear this as well.

Tonight I heard a passage of scripture that I’d heard before but it never spoke to me as real as it did tonight.

“Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10”

God says that the sexually immoral, among others, will not inherit the kingdom of God. Think about that, it doesn’t leave much room for debate there. Our society has become so filled with sexual perversion that most of us are immune to it. We see sex on TV, in magazines and in movies so much that we don’t even think anything about it. Yet, we are committing adultery and not even thinking twice about it. (Matthew 5:28) As a church body we need to bring ourselves out of this type of bondage so that we can be free in Christ-Jesus!

God doesn’t want us trapped and enslaved to sin, He sent Jesus to die on the cross so we can be free. If we don’t take a stand now in our generation what is the message that the generation to follow going to do? We’ve become so complacent in things that we aren’t bringing up the next generation to have a healthy fear of the Lord. We need to get back to a place where we are in true relationship with God and where we are living lives that are pure and worthy of Him.

Yes, I know that I may stumble and I may fall but I’m going to choose to be a lover of God who is victorious and I’m going to pick myself back up and continue after Him! There is a generation of souls out there that need to discover true freedom!

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Stepping Out In Faith

March 13, 2011 2 comments

Westminster AbeyThey say that in the road to recovery you have to first admit that you are powerless over whatever it is that is plaguing you or causing your life to be unmanageable. Well, I think I’m prepared to admit that, I think I already have. I’m affraid and I am/have allowed fear to dictate how I am living my life.

I struggle at times about the existence of God. Although I may doubt Him, I cannot deny him. I know that may seem strange to some people, but it’s where I’m at. One of the things that I am learning more lately as I blog and I’m in this place, is that I need to rely on Him more and more to see me through. None of this is really all that new to me in theory. We all know that we need to rely on God and to trust Him. But do we really trust God and rely on Him?

As a child growing up we went through a long peroid of time where we relied on God as a family to provide our needs. Where we prayed and believed God to supply our needs, all of them, and God provided miraculously time and time again. During that time we never lacked for anything, at least anything that I can remember. We saw signs and wonders and I had the faith of a child that faith that believed that “with God all things are possible” – Mathew 19:26. Thinking of those times stirs the “spirit man” in me. That part of me that has been lying dormant for some time now, but is reawakening.

In the last year-and-a-bit after having lost two jobs in six months I’ve heard many people say to me; “everything happens for a reason;” “don’t worry it will all work out,” “trust God, He’ll make a way.” As I begin to look back on that part of my journey I can see how God’s hand has been at play. I am beginning to believe that God has brought me to this place so that I can once again rely on Him to be my provider, to trust in Him again, to guide my steps, to bring me to that place where He wants me. At this moment, that place is here, a place where I’m dialoguing about what I’m living and what I’m going through spiritually.  I honestly believe that if it weren’t for my job losses I wouldn’t be in this place.

It’s not easy, but God never gives us more than we can handle, because when it starts to get rough and it starts to get difficult, those are the times of growth and the times where we need to press into God more to gives us the strength to see us through. Sometimes we need to broken in order to be made whole again. And although I wouldn’t say that I’m broken right now, I am at that place where I’m willing to say: “God; I need you to get me through this, I need to rely on you, trust you and seek your will for my life.”

Today is the start of a brand new day, I can’t change yesterday, I don’t know what tomorrow brings, but today I’m going to go after God. I’m going to seek Him and His will for today. Yes, I know I may stumble, yes, I’m scared out of my mind and the statements I’m making, but I know that I have to put a stake and the ground and get going.

As I was writing the last little bit I remembered how Peter had to have faith to step out of the boat to walk on water. So I went and looked up that passage in the Bible. And, it spoke to me more than just that little bit that I had remembered. In the passage Jesus walks out to meet the disciples in their boat and they are afraid.  Here’s what it says:

Jesus said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” – Matthew 14:28-31

So, basically what I got out of that is this – “Eric, if you are going to go after God, put your eyes on Him, trust in Him and don’t let the obstacles that surround you pull you down. I’ve given you the faith to believe in signs and wonders and in the miraculous, keep your eyes on me and I will see you through.”

I’m chuckling to myself right now because I had no idea where I was going when I first started blogging back in December. Isn’t it funny how God works?

Stepping Out Of Fear

March 10, 2011 3 comments

Where to begin?Journey On

To be honest I’m not sure where I’m going to go with this post. I’ve been doing some thinking since my last post and I’ve had some conversations with a number of readers about what my next steps are going to be. I made some statements there that I really can’t ignore and that I need to make some changes in my own life.

The truth is I think I’m afraid to make the changes in my life that I need to make. In the past I’ve made changes both privately and publicly and had the full intention of keeping up with it, only to end up failing and falling flat. I know that it’s human to fail and that we all will fail, but I’m a perfectionist when it comes to certain aspects of my life. And I hate to fail, not because I’m afraid that others will judge me, but because I’ve let myself down. We are our own worst critic’s right?

This is where it always gets interesting for me, because when I start to think this way 2nd Timothy 1:7 comes to mind. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” So, I know that I need to face my fear and move through this and that God has given me the tools to get where I need to be, but knowing and acting upon it are very different things. I know it seems like such a simple thing and that I should just get over it and move on, but it’s easier said than done for me.

As I write this I wonder if some of my failures in the past were because I didn’t have anyone to be accountable to, another Christian to talk about what I was going through, someone to pray with and share with. I realize that my lack of trust in others and my segregating myself from others was part of the downward spiral in my walk with the Lord. So, what do I do about this? Hahaha, I really don’t know, because once again that involves facing my fears.

I know that is sounds ridiculous but this is a very real fear for me. As much as I want to be “free” from this I don’t know where to begin, or how to move through this. Is it inner-healing? Is it deliverance? I really don’t know.

Here’s what I do know. At least I’m talking about it and that’s something new for me. So maybe this all part of the process to come out this cyclical stuff I’ve been going through and starting the healing process.

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Christian or Hypocrite?

March 1, 2011 8 comments

I started writing parts of this post a while back and put it aside and wasn’t really sure if I was going to post it or not. But the other day I was out with some friends and we were talking about Church, Christianity and the world as a whole. It’s really quite interesting what kind of conversations you have with a diverse group of people at a table, church going Christians, agnostics and “backslidden Christians”.

During the course of the evening we started talking about God and the church. I mentioned that I haven’t called myself a Christian in a number of years because I wasn’t living a life that in my eyes, and in the eyes of many I’m sure, would measure up to what a Christian should be. For a number of years I had been one of those who went to church on Sunday but led a life that wasn’t much different from non-Christian’s life. To me calling myself a Christian seems all just a bit hypocritical and especially in the last year or so as I haven’t been going to church at all.

This has got me thinking, “what separates Christians from non-Christians in this generation?”  It seems that in today’s generation we have become a lot more tolerant of things that use to be considered wrong and even sinful. We look at some of these behaviours and justify them to ourselves and reason why they aren’t wrong anymore. I’m not trying to get all preachy and try to bring conviction on people, but really where and how does today’s generation of Christians stand out. I know not all of my generation, and the generation below me, live this lifestyle but it seems as though the number of them that do is greater than it used to be.

As a kid growing up I learned the Sunday school song “This Little Light of Mine” and I’m sure many of you learned it as well. There are a few different passages of scripture that this song’s origins may have come from, but they all say the same thing, let your light shine so that the world can see the light of God in you. I think that for far too long many of us have hidden our lights under a bushel in order to fit in. I’m just as guilty as the next person on this one. But the truth the Bible tells us that we even though we are in the world we shouldn’t be part of the world. The reality of it is; it’s just way easier to hide in the dark than to be a city on hill.

It’s funny, when I start a post I try to have some idea as to what I’m going to say and how I want to lay things out. But this one is different. I know I said earlier that I’m not going to get preachy and all that and really that’s not who I am. But I need to hear this as much as others to do and so I’m just typing what I feel needs to be said. Our generation, both the churched and un-churched, is lost and is looking for truth and is looking for something real to hold onto. And, unfortunately the errors, sins and indiscretions of the church have caused many of our generation to turn away from God and from truth.  Well the simple truth of the matter is that, while we sit there and allow our lights to be hidden under a bushel and we justify why the things we are doing aren’t “really” sinful or wrong, our generation is dying and going to hell. At least that’s what we believe as Christians, right? No man can enter the Kingdom of Heaven but through Jesus Christ. How is our generation going to hear if we don’t tell them? How is our generation going to believe that there is more to God unless we walk-the-walk and talk-the-talk? Yes, we need to be real with them. Yes, we need to reach them where they are at. Yes, we need to go where they are. But we also need to stand apart from them.

Yes, Jesus spent his time with the outcasts of society. He spent time with the prostitutes, the lepers and in the areas that the religious of the time wouldn’t go, but he didn’t partake. He went there with love and compassion and showed them the way, but was set apart from them. We need to set ourselves apart from the non-Christians so that we can show them light and bring them into fellowship and communion with the God who made them and loves them.

So, if you are still with me on this one, I’m not going to say sorry for my ‘rant’. I wrote it for a reason. I needed to hear, and I need make a change. But I’m not the only one that needs to hear this and make and change. I know it’s not going to be easy, and I may not succeed all the time, but I’m on a journey and it’s been a tough one with a lot of ups and downs, but I’m going to keep going until my journey ends.

Ask yourself, what separates you from a non-Christian? And, is the light of God shining as brightly in you as is could and should be?