Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Logic and Spiritual Truth

Ok, I know I've probably been putting a lot of small (and probably weird sounding) posts up here, but it's been very helpful for me to post the content of my thoughts here. This may be somewhat helpful to anyone who reads though.

Not everyone is quite so logic and premise driven, but I really find this to be incredibly compelling. If Christianity is true, God satisfies every part of the believer's heart. All the believer needs to do is pursue God's Holy spirit in order to find solace and comfort in God's deep love. God doesn't withhold himself from a desperate heart, except to prepare that heart for an even greater revelation of truth for a later time. It is also true that humans can find no true satisfaction in temporary things-- like sex. Or money, or a good life situation, etc.. the list goes on. The only place you can go to truly fill your heart up with permanent satisfaction that won't end is in the heart of God.

In light of this. I would like to use logic.

1) If Christianity is true, then a person could either find satisfaction in God, or a person could find satisfaction in anything other than God.
2) A person can not find satisfaction in anything other than God.
3) Therefore, if Christianity is true, a person can only find satisfaction in God.
4) Christianity is true.
5) Therefore, a person can only find satisfaction in God.


When I say satisfaction, I mean to say deep, heart satisfaction. "Temporary, fleeting" satisfaction is the kind of stuff that is temporary and lasts a very short amount of time. Think of the high you get off of people thinking highly of you. Doesn't last long does it? Takes a lot of work to keep it doesn't it? How about the high you can get off of gossip? That doesn't last long either, does it? It feels pretty bad afterwards, doesn't it? How about being in a good situation? Well, you've been in a great situation all your life because you're alive and well. Have you ever been unsatisfied? I rest my case.

The very point of satisfaction is not any kind of high. There may be an emotional high that results from your satisfaction in God, and that is great, but many times emotional highs are untrustworthy and poor indicators of how truly satisfied in God we actually are. Satisfaction in God is indescribable. It's having everything while having nothing. It's having joy in the most miserable circumstances. It's being loved in a world of hate. It's peace. It's power-- power to make yourself powerless.. It is rest in the truth. Satisfaction in other things is not of the truth. It doesn't last. It won't get you anywhere. So I disqualify any kind of "pleasure high" in anything other than God as being real satisfaction. Because it isn't. It's just a temporary cover up for a deeper need.

Necessarily, we can either find satisfaction in God, or that which is not God. But we can't truly get satisfaction from anything other than God. Therefore, we must go to God for satisfaction. Stop looking elsewhere!

‎"LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the LORD.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken."
~ Psalm 16: 5- 8"

‎"Why are you looking for love;
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough?
To where will you go child?
Tell me where will you run;
To where will you run?"
--Tenth Avenue North

Random

I want to post this on my blog for future reference. I have NEVER read a better summation of the Negative traits of my personality type:
"You over-analyse everything that concerns you or your surroundings. The results of this are often not so satisfying, leaving you feeling depressed and pessimistic, especially if this envelops unethical behaviour in others. Your sense of compassion is often stronger than your sense of justice. You often lack resolution, initiative and the ability to firmly make your point. You are afraid to appear interfering and your modesty could be over the top. You often hesitate to react to provocation, preferring to bottle your feelings inside. You are often squeamish and punctilious. You pay too much attention to details and quality in your work."

I have got to stop over-analyzing everything. It makes me judgmental of myself, other people, and existing principles, etc..

I'm so glad I got access to in depth descriptions of my personality type, because it's helped me to realize that my problem with questioning a trillion times over everything crucial to my core beliefs. That way.. I can learn to relax a little...

thanks to Socionics.com

People

People need to be:

Understood

Cared for

Desired

Remembered

Pursued

Prioritized

Trusted

Monday, February 21, 2011

Thoughts on Thanksgiving (The Attitude)

Thanksgiving, like love, is such a weird thing. It's not a thing. But it puts things into action. It's almost an organizing power more than a possession. Thanksgiving possesses you.. if you have it! In this post I'll be using Joy and Thanksgiving almost synonymously, because I believe they both lead to each-other and are necessary for the other to be possible!

Anyways, I had an interesting realization today. It's not something new to me. I'm just regaining ground after losing a lot of heart knowledge from all of those doubts I went through! Thank you Holy Spirit!

What is it that currently possesses America? It certainly isn't thanksgiving, is it? It's materialism. It's the attitude that joy is found in possessions and circumstances. Now, before you glaze over because it seems like I'm going to go on an attack against materialism, hear me out. Yes, materialism as an attitude is bad. But it's not having possessions that is bad.

This is going to be really simple. The attitude that any single possession can give you joy is ridiculous. The idea that any set of circumstances can give you joy is also ridiculous.

Are you waiting until you finally get that car? Think life will FINALLY be ok once you can drive a new automobile? Are you waiting until you get married, as if life will get any easier from there, or even more fulfilling? Are you waiting until you finally get that new cell phone, a girlfriend, an opportunity to get away from that person that bothers you, that doctorate degree.. etcetera? (I'm not listing these things out of a lack of experience..)

Sorry, friend. As easy as it is for our minds to commit that fallacy.. think about it.. aren't we already clothed? What if you were naked and just absolutely could not wait until you had clothes? What if life would finally be good if you could just have clothes? Or wait-- what if you didn't have a house to live in? What if you lived in a trailer, and life would just finally be perfect and you could be like everyone else if you could just have a nice house that looked decent? Well, it is most likely that if you're reading this, you have access to a computer, you have a house, possibly a car, heating, air conditioning, the list goes on... have any of these made you happy?

This stuff is so easy, yet it seems to be the hardest thing for our hearts to grasp.

Now to the main thing, after my version of the typical, "Stuff won't give you joy" speech.

This is what I have found to be an attitude conducive to joy and thanksgiving.

David said in Psalm 24, "The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;"

David also said in Psalm 8,

"O LORD, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
Who have (A)displayed Your splendor above the heavens! "

Thanksgiving is a mental decision. If Jesus really did rise from the dead, then all of the Earth is his. Everything was made for him, and without him nothing has purpose. Have you ever looked at everything you see on a daily basis with this attitude?

What would it be like if you could say, like David, "Oh Lord, Our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth", or in the words of Chris Tomlin, "Holy is the Lord, God Almighty. The Earth is filled with his glory" every day and every minute?

Well, too bad! Cause you can't!

Unless the Holy Spirit reveals truth to you and helps you. So I encourage you to do this: Every morning when you wake up, say to God: Open up my eyes to see your beauty all around me. It sounds so simple... and so old fashioned. But God is faithful, and he reveals things to us out of the wealth of his grace. He will not leave you alone, if you pursue these truths.

It's so simple. Just thank God. Thank him all day long, thank him every waking moment, for "In him we live and move and have our being."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Praying for people just to say you're praying for them.

Don't do it, Evan, don't do it.

I have a bad habit of praying for people shortly (or longly) for the sole purpose of looking like a faithful Christian by telling them that I've been praying for them.

Does God really hear those prayers? Yes. Are they as powerful as prayers prayed whether we would be able to tell people that we were doing so or not? Nope. Instead of giving yourself a token of honor, give honor to God by praying to Him and trusting Him to follow through on his promises. (Talking to myself here).

A Conversation in My Head

Why do we do anything we do? Why do we care-- or act like we do?

No, this isn't some post to teach a lesson. I just feel like confusing everyone else with the thoughts in my head.

The typical Christian answer to this question is, of course, "Jesus". Duh.

But what does the word "Jesus" actually entail?

I get really depressed when I study the socio-cultural theory of psychology, partly because I know that humans are not the sum of nature or nurture or both, but also because we are made in the image of God; yet there are many who will organize humans in such a way to leave out the most important element. But I get depressed partly because we act so in line with it sometimes. If you're a Christian, you've probably learned all the right things to say. Haven't you? We take for granted propositions entailed in the proposition "Jesus lives", or, "Jesus rose". We have all of our answers ready and straight. 1 Peter 3:15, ya know? Always have an answer. But is it YOUR answer? Or is it a ready-made answer from a book you've read about how to answer all those pesky non-believers?

What does it really mean to say, "Jesus rose?"

You may say, "Oh, well it means we should rejoice!"

Why? I mean, shouldn't we think through it a little more?

Yes, ultimately, the fact that Jesus rose does mean that we should rejoice-- but why? Is it because He's God? Who cares if God rose? That's God's business, not ours! Wait, you mean he rose for us? To save us from hell? Well, what's so bad about hell? Why wouldn't you want to go there?

"Because it's eternal separation from God!"

So what?

The way I grew up, I feel like I was separated from God, and life wasn't so bad. I mean, there were some spots where I hated the consequences of all of the sin I was in. Yeah, I was in a lot of it. I sure was a-- wait... I still am a horrible person.
Oh, wait, you mean I've been living in God's creation and love necessarily, since I exist and haven't been smited yet? Well, I guess that's good and all. Better watch out for getting smited, shouldn't I? But still, what would it mean to be separated from God? And why should I be interested in God anyways? I don't see him anywhere. Or do I?

If God is everywhere, why can't I tell him about my heart-ache? Why can't I tell him about my worries? Why can't I tell him about all of the problems I'm having? Why can't I tell him about all of the insecurities I suffer from? The flaws, the confusion, the heart-ache, the anger, the confusion, the pain? And, you know, even if I did tell him about them, what could he do about it? Why should he do anything about it? I mean, he's God, after all-- and I'm a horrible sinner, according to his good Holy Book. He's got bigger problems than mine. Or does He? Yeah, I'm pretty sure that if he's God and there's billions of people on the earth, there's a lot more going on than me, if He cares about any of them. He can pay attention to more than one person at a time, you say? Perhaps. But I'm still waiting. All these people talk about super-natural leadings and stuff like that, and even in my closest moments, where I was preaching on the streets and planning on going to die for him in the middle east, I've never experienced that. All the time, I ask, "Hey God, what should I do with my life?" Nothing. I don't hear anything. What kind of "Father to the Fatherless" doesn't even talk to his kiddos?

If Jesus rose, it entails God exists. And if God exists, we should give thanks. Or should we? Who asked us if we wanted to exist? Oh wait.. we'd have to exist in order to ask us if we wanted to exist. Just like the Universe would've had to exist if it was going to create itself.


Well, the Bible says we should give thanks. "Oh! Well dear goodness, I guess that means I better start working on being thankful!!"

Should you?!?!

What does "working" even mean?

If you have to work on thanksgiving, wow, well I guess that just means you're trying to work up thanksgiving in your morale sweat! Good luck, friend. I'll see you when you've given up, because I've worked on being thankful for years and all it made me was more ungrateful.

And yet I still see that God has taught me things. What about that moment when I stopped working on thankfulness and fell on my knees in desperation to God.. and suddenly grace (whatever that is) became so beautiful-- so heart warming-ly beautiful! And I was thankful.

Does that mean God cares about me? Maybe. If Jesus rose, then, "Our sins have been paid for", and "We don't have to go to Hell", and "There is Hope", and etc...

Here's what I want to ask. (Sorry folks, this isn't the kind of post that's going to give you any answers) What is sin? What is "Paid for"?

What is Hell, and what is "going to hell", and what does it really mean to you? Does it mean anything to you other than a proposition that is denotative of a certain place you're going once you stop breathing?

And what on earth and heaven and whatever else exists, is "Hope"? In the words of the one who did, according to my survey of History, and also to this crazy witness in my heart, rise from the grave, "...go and learn what this means".

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Lesson for Today

I never realized what an amazing effect prayers for other people have on their spiritual growth. Almost every time I pray for my friends, see my friend's parents praying for them, pray myself for my family's spiritual growth, or for a group of people in general, I'm never disappointed. This isn't to say that praying for people's salvation is the same, but I think praying for spiritual growth is on a different category, for salvation is categorically different than realizing truth by way of the Holy Spirit. Not to say that God will not burden a group of people to pray for and try to influence a person with efforts which will eventually result in their heart being opened, however!

Here's something I've had to force myself to recognize recently. I used to think that Paul's prayers in the beginning of his letters-- You know, the ones where he uses frilly language and lets the recipients of the letter know that he has been praying for "the knowledge of God" and "the love of God" to fill them?-- were just pleasantries and not actually sincere prayers. Cause how can anyone's prayer cause another person to grow? I live in an individualistic nation where, if someone's gotta grow spiritually, they're gonna have to take it upon themselves to go to a counselor and work through it!!

Well, I was wrong. Why would Paul pray such things if he didn't actually believe something was going to happen?

Here's one example out of many from Colossians 1:

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[e] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[f] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

See how Paul prays for the Knowledge of God, the power of God, the fruit of the Spirit, thanksgiving, and holiness in the hearts of those who read his letter?

I never considered that my prayers for other people's spiritual growth would have much effect, but now I see it being confirmed all around me; I suspect if I actually payed attention earlier in life, I would've noticed the same thing!