The Life I’ve Always Wanted

November 13th, 2008

I’ve been reading a book for my journey group (part of Oak Leaf) by John Ortberg called, The Life You’ve Always Wanted. I’ve already found several quotes that I’ve put down in my journal, but thought I’d start posting some of them here.  The chapter for this week is basically about living in the “now”, enjoying life while you have it.

Carpe diem has always been a philosophy of mine, I chose to avoid saying “no” as much as possible when I was in college. I may have been studying or writing a paper, but if someone from the hall came in my room and asked me to go to grab a bite to eat or run to Walmart with them, I would stop what I was doing and go. This probably wasn’t the smartest thing as far as my grades were concerned, but I loved every minute of my experience. I still to this day will generally stop what I’m doing if someone calls and wants to go grab some food or catch a movie or a game. I love experiencing life. Anyway, here is the quote; I thought it was a good example of grass-is-always-greener syndrome–someday you’ll miss the opportunities you chose not to take advantage of:

We all live with the illusion that joy will come someday when conditions change. We go to school and think we will be happy when we graduate. We are single and are convinced we will be happy when we get married. We get married and decide we will be happy someday when we have children. We have children and decide we will be happy when they grow up and leave the nest–then they do, and we think we were happier when they were still at home (68).


I suppose I have been tagged.

October 9th, 2008

I’m not entirely sure how this works, but I believe it is my turn (thanks to my sister) to reveal six things about myself that you may not know. Since my mom and my sister are the only two people who read my blog, that may be difficult. Ok, here we go:

  1. I am 1/4 of the way through my masters degree (Masters of Arts in Theological Studies) from Liberty University.
  2. I am currently listening to “Blinking Lights and Other Revelations” by The Eels on iTunes random album play.
  3. I try to always listen to an album in it’s entirety from cover to cover.
  4. I haven’t been in my studio in about two months, though I keep spending money on it.
  5. I have designed a blog theme for my blog, but I’ve been too busy with school work to fully implement it. Hopefully I will finish it in the next couple of weeks.
  6. I haven’t mowed my back yard in two or three month, and I have a lighting-struck tree laying across what used to be a trampoline back there.
I’m supposed to tag 6 other people, but I only know one who blogs that wasn’t tagged by the same person who tagged me, and he will probably get tagged by my sister-in-law, so I’m skipping this step.

School is Working

August 30th, 2008

I’ve been enjoying my Church History class these past two weeks, and today stumbled across something I really enjoyed and thought worthy of a rare-as-of-late blog post.

This is a translation of Rufinus of Aquileia’s (Tyrannius Rufinus) work, Commentarius in Symbolum Apostolorum, a commentary on the Apostle’s Creed.  In this section, Rufinus describes God’s “transaction” with the devil in the act of Atonement.  I really enjoyed the simile presented here:

The purpose of the incarnation … was that the divine virtue of the Son of God might be as it were a hook hidden beneath the form of human flesh … to lure on the prince of this age to a contest; that the Son might offer him his flesh as a bait and that then the divinity which lay beneath might catch him and hold him fast with its hook.

… Then, as a fish when it seizes a baited hook not only fails to drag off the bait, but is itself dragged out of the water to serve as food for others; so he that had the power of death seized the body of Jesus in death, unaware of the hook of divinity concealed therein.  Having swallowed it, he was caught straightway; the bars of hell were burst, and he was, as it were, drawn up from the pit, to become food for others. …


First Day of School

August 18th, 2008

Not only is it my nephew’s first day of kindergarten, it is my first day of fall semester master’s classes online through Liberty university. This is my third class so far, and I’m still pretty motivated to do as well as I can, so I might not have time to keep up with my blogs for the next couple of weeks while I get settled in.

Hopefully I can still work them in for all my avid readers (mom and dad), but I’m making this class high priority, so we’ll see.

Pray for me and Ean!

Are You Discouraged in Devotion

August 17th, 2008

Verse: “Yet lackest thou one thing; sell all that thou hast…and come, follow Me.
– Luke 18:22

Quote: “Our Lord never pleaded, He never cajoled, He never entrapped; He simply spoke the sternest words mortal ears ever listened to, and then left it alone.”

God wants to give you every opportunity possible to live the life He has designed for you, but He is not going to force you to; that does Him no good. He also isn’t going to promise you that everything will be easy for you, because it more than likely is not going to be. God lays out the truth, and lets you decide what to do with it.

Chambers says that if Christ’s words have never pierced you the way they did the rich man from the above verse, then you have probably never heard Christ speak. That is to say that until you are completely His, there is always something in your life that you don’t want to be reminded of, and when a rebuke comes with the undeniable authority of the voice of Christ, it penetrates deep down and shakes you to the core.

The rich man heard the penetrating voice and left discouraged, but Christ knows that His Word never returns void, so He allowed the man to leave. When you feel discouraged, remember that no one lives the life of Christ on their own strength. Give to God all that He asks, and trust that He will get you to where He wants you to be.

Confess and Forsake

August 16th, 2008

Verse: “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”
– Proverbs 28:13

Quote: “Furthermore, we must forsake the evil: having owned our fault, we must disown all present and future intent to abide in it. We cannot remain in rebellion and yet dwell with the King’s Majesty. The habit of evil must be quitted, together with all places, companions, pursuits, and books which might lead us astray.”

Today Spurgeon tells us that the sinner’s “business” is to confess and forsake his sin. I love his line of owning our fault, and then disowning our connection with the sin. You cannot truly be healed from sin until you do both of those completely. You must take full responsibility for the sin, not shirking the blame off on anyone, then take every measure not to engage in that sin again.

It is not easy as humans to disassociate ourselves with certain creature comforts that we might have, but if there is a specific person, or restaurant, or TV show, or personal goal, or whatever that is making you more susceptible to sin, you must distance yourself from it immediately. There is nothing in this life that is more valuable than your relationship with the Father, and as we discussed yesterday, there is no room for sin in that relationship.

It is easy for us to downplay sin because it is everywhere, and we are born with the inclination towards it, but let us not forget that sin is what nailed Jesus to the cross, and it is still what separates us from God. However, God continues to love us, and invite us back into fellowship with Him. Confess and forsake your sin, and walk hand in hand with the Creator once again.

Signs of the New Birth

August 15th, 2008

Verse: “Ye must be born again.
– John 3:7

Quote: “The effective working of the new birth in us is that we do not commit sin, not merely that we have the power not to sin, but that we have stopped sinning.”

Not the immediate reaction to the new birth, but the “effective working” will produce in us the functioning life of Christ Jesus. 1 John 3:4-9 paints a detailed portrait of sin’s role in the life of a Christian: “No one who is born of God will continue to sin.”

Does this mean that if you sin you have never received the saving grace of Jesus Christ? No, what it means is that if you truly accepted God’s free gift of salvation and committed your life to Him, then you would pursue the life of Christ until you are living it out in actuality. God has given us the power over sin, and He commands us not to sin, so it is up to us to act out what God freely gives in the form of redemption.

If we have been born of God, sin is not in our nature; we have been given a new nature where sin has no place. When you sin, you are putting on your old, rotting flesh and parading around like a sheep in wolves clothing. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that “God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” This means that when you sin, it is a deliberate act of separating yourself from God and refusing His help.

To live a sinless life after your new birth is commanded, not suggested.

My 5 (almost 6) year old nephew understands this, so it cannot be too difficult to grasp. I wish I could remember the verbatim conversation he had with my brother where he decided he wanted to tell everyone to stop sinning, because it’s what God wants. Great story. Maybe he’ll post it on his blog before long.


August 14th, 2008

Verse: “Despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him.
– Hebrews 12:5

Quote: “Sanctification is not my idea of what I want God to do for me; sanctification is God’s idea of what He wants to do for me…”

We have to let go of the idea that God simply wants to give us the desires of our heart, and learn that God wants to shape our heart so our desires match His. God has a specific plan for our lives, and as soon as we learn that His plan is better than ours, the sooner we will live a fulfilled life.

It is not that we are helpless, thoughtless creatures; it is that He is the Almighty Creator, and His ways are far greater than ours. We are not changing our lives to allow room for Him; God sacrificed everything to allow room for us.

Quench Not the Spirit

August 13th, 2008

Verse: “Quench not the Spirit.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:19

Quote: “Whenever the Spirit checks, call a halt and get the thing right, or you will go on grieving Him without knowing it.”

No on who has tasted the saving grace of Christ Jesus would ever want to intentionally grieve His Spirit, but when we ignore His leading, that’s exactly what we are doing. The checks don’t only come in the obvious places. You may be avoiding every major sin in your life, but when God told you to write that thank you letter, you put it off. Or when He asked you to volunteer your time at church, something “more important” came up.

God allows us to govern our lives with common sense, and the more time you spend in communication with Him, the more your natural, common sense decisions will reflect His will and nature. But there are times when you get off course, or He wants to take you down a different road, and His Spirit simply checks. Waste no time answering the call of the Holy Spirit, He is the messenger of the Father’s voice.

The Theology of Rest

August 12th, 2008

Verse: “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?”
– Matthew 8:26

Quote: “What a pang will go through us when we suddenly realize that we might have produced downright joy in the heart of Jesus by remaining absolutely confident in Him, no matter what was ahead.”

Sometimes the most painful truth is not that you’ve done something to hurt Jesus, but that you’ve robbed Him of a joy. This quote shoots straight to my heart and reveals an area of my life that needs improvement.

We should have an unwavering confidence in our Lord, and He has a right to expect that from us, especially in prayer. We have to remain sure of God in our trials, or our prayers become quick and panicky like the prayers of the ones who do not know God.

When a crisis arises, you will reveal where your trust lies. Learn to worship God through trust, and rely on Him until the crisis is over.