Tuesday, November 23, 2010

O Lord, deliver me from this lust of always vindicating myself

Today, I was reading Oswald Chamber's "My Utmost for His Highest" devotion.  There was a couple of statements in there that hit me in the gut.  After being a Christian for almost 30 years, I'm amazed at how the Word of God still moves.  

In the first statement, "St. Augustine prayed, “O Lord, deliver me from this lust of always vindicating myself.”"  I find myself doing this to the point of inventing little lies that "vindicate" me, or give me a "righteous excuse".  It is a lust, just as when you're on the internet, and a search brings up a picture of a woman that suddenly excites you.  That rush, is the same, only in one, afterwards, I feel ashamed, but the other, I continue on, as if nothing has happened; I'm feeling good because I THINK I pulled one over on God.

The second statement, "When we discern that other people are not growing spiritually and allow that discernment to turn to criticism, we block our fellowship with God. God never gives us discernment so that we may criticize, but that we may intercede."  I've always felt that God has given me discernment.  When my spirit is troubled, the red flags go up, and then going to God's Word, I can usually find out why my spirit was troubled.  Unfortunately, a lot of times, that's where I start heading into a train wreck really fast.  Instead of interceding in prayer for the situation, I start criticizing.  I become a lot of times self-righteous, and the lust of vindicating myself takes over until the sin that I'm actively involved in is consumated, and I take off merrily on my way, feeling good.

Father, forgive me.  I am a sinner, who is actively involved in sin.  I don't want to be judgmental, but I want to love.  Help me use the gift that you gave me to advance your kingdom, and help others come to salvation by sharing your Word, and your Love that was shown through the shed blood of our Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ.

Amen, and Amen...

Random Stuff for 11/23/2010, thanks to Tim Challies.
  1. This was an interesting post about Facebook.  I got on Facebook last year, but after about a year on it, I got off.  I was finding myself on it too much, and I also found that it was becoming more like a soapbox so I could sound off, more than a place where I could interact with my friends...if they really were my friends?  This post by Tim Challies puts the time that people spend on Facebook into perspective.  It's a lot!  http://www.challies.com/technology/700-billion-minutes.
  2. From the Boston Globe's Big Picture, the 2010 National Geographic photo contest entries, http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/11/national_geographics_photograp.html.
  3. We need to remember that our persecutions are nothing like those that are being experienced by Christians who live in Muslim countries who practice Sharia Law, http://www.worldmag.com/articles/17288.

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Finally, Something Good Coming Out of Washington

    I don't like to get into politics, but here's one good thing that President Obama did.  I wasn't really holding out much hope, but they looked at everything.  There are some sacred cows that are being looked at with home interest deductions, military budget deductions, $0.15 increase in gas taxes, and a three tier tax rate; when you're on the verge of bankruptcy, your advisor will tell you, you need to stop spending, and reduce your debt.  So, yes they did a decent job; there are some more items that need to be looked at, so let's keep looking, and I think we'll find more cuts.

    The facts are we need to stop.  Here's a great commercial that's being run that kind of says it all when you look at politicians that are trying to get reelected.  Here's what they're really saying.  It would be really funny if it wasn't happening before our eyes.

    Wednesday, November 10, 2010

    Atheist Ministers - Oxymoron, or Just a Job That Didn't Work Out?

    I never watch ABC News.  Diane Sawyer is boring; 90% of the time, it's easy to guess which way she's going to go.   When they mentioned the byline about ministers who don't believe in God, I remember Albert Mohler's blog, when he talked about Anglican priests who don't believe, and a female who said she was Muslim, and Christian, whatever that is?  So it's not like these guys were breaking new ground.  While I was watching it, I was struck by a couple of statements:

    1. One of them said, "I want to get out of the position that I'm in as quickly as I can because I try to be a person of integrity and character," Adam said. "With the economy the way it is, with my lack of marketable skills other than a seminary education, it has me in a tough spot."  So he's going to continue to lie to his parishioners?  If I was hiring someone, would I want to hire someone who lived a lie in their last job.  Instead of looking of what he was doing as a ministry, he looked at it as a job.  Now he's been swayed by writings of atheists.  He also goes on to say that his wife doesn't even know.  Unfortunately, I think there are other issues in play here.
    2. The other one said, "At first I feared if I lose my faith, I'm gonna become some terrible person," Adam said. "As I lost my faith ... I realized that really had no bearing on who I am and my character and my actions. I live no differently than I did when I was a fervent believer."  I'm surprised he didn't become a Muslim.  That's another works based religion.  I guess he doesn't understand it's not what you do, or who you are?  What happened to grace?  That's what we're saved by through faith, Ephesians 2:8.  Since he lost his faith, he made must have made the leap that he's not so bad after all.  What happened to the atoning blood of Jesus Christ?    Was he running around saying that because he was good, he was saved?  This is equivalent to putting a penny on the track, and derailing a train.  Unfortunately, this train has eternal consequences.
    Listening to them, I was repulsed at first, but after thinking about it, I really felt sorry for them.  I prayed for them hoping after watching themselves, they might shake their head, and say "What the heck did I say!"  There have been times when I questioned my belief, and I pray, and I read the Word.  I get with my Christian brothers, and ask for their prayers.  I remember reading "Pilgrim's Progess."  I was encouraged by Christian's road to the Celestial City.  Also, when I read believers like Dinesh DeSouza, Chuck Colson, Nancy Pearcy, and Phillip Johnson, they have helped me in some areas that I had questions about.  Reading blogs from other believers have helped also.  

    Wormwood has been hard at work with these guys.  Unfortunately, they are working in a job that from my point of view has eternal consequences if they don't present the Gospel correctly.  From their point of view, since they don't believe, they just feel like they're performing their job, to make these people just feel good

    They should read Titus 1:9, and 1 Timothy 3:6.

    I wonder how much of their congregation is complicit in this?  If the pastor doesn't believe any more, wouldn't that show up in their sermons?  I'm trying to get my arms around this, but this quote from the book shows sometimes how the congregation, and pastor work together to water down the gospel, and their soul.  This is how Wormwood worked; this is from "The Screwtape Letters" by C. S. Lewis, when Wormwood was trying to change the person he was assigned to to choose a church.  

    "The two churches nearest to him, I have looked up in the office. Both have certain claims. At the first of these the vicar is a man who has been so long engaged in watering down the faith to make it easier for a supposedly incredulous and hardheaded congregation that is now he who shocks his parishioners with his unbelief, not vice versa. He has undermined many a soul's Christianity." -- P.74

    Maybe they need to thinking about that...

    One Random Stuff for 11/10/2010:

    Chilean Miner Finishes New York Marathon from Jimmy Kimmel

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Random Stuff for 11/9/10

    Some random stuff for 11/9/2010:
    1. How Real is America's Christianity - From Albert Mohler's blog.  I guess, I'm one of those believers in the pew.
    2. David Crowder Band using Lite Brites to create this video that gives glory to the One Who has overcome, Jesus Christ.  It's also sad.
    3. A Flying Car!
    4. The tunnel people of Las Vegas: How 1,000 live in flooded labyrinth under Sin City's shimmering strip
    5. Life Meant Nothing to Me - Stacey Smith a woman sentenced to life for murder.  Her story is one I hear all the time in prison, but Praise God, he saves.

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    Kairos 59 at Zephyrhills Correctional

    I was privileged to spend the weekend with a bunch of Christian men sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with 42 inmates at Zephyrhills Correctional.  The Kairos weekend has number 59, as it was the 59th time that one of these 4 day weekends has been done there.  The weekends are done twice a year, so for almost 30 years men have heard the gospel during these weekends.

    After listening to the inmates, they have been requesting transfers to this prison.  The Spirit of God is moving, and Chaplain Clancy, who I have to say, I wouldn't mind going to see each week to listen to this man of God preach.  The music, and the message was strong, and there is a fire in the chapel, that I wish I'd see at my own church more.

    I guess that made the job there easier, but it was made easy due to the fact that most of the men submitted themselves to God to become his conduit to these men.  On Sunday morning, Chaplain Clancy had an altar call, and out of the 42 inmates, about 20 or more went up to receive the Lord.  It was an awesome time.

    Joe Romero, who I've worked a few of these weekends with did a great job getting out of the way, and letting God work with these men.  I wish I'd had a camera to show you.  It was unbelievable.

    I can't wait until number 60 coming up in April!

    Random Stuff:

    1. Facebook Shows Why You Might Get Dumped Before Christmas - I thought this was interesting data pull, showing how the time before Christmas a lot of people on Facebook are using the words "break up", or "broken up" about two weeks before Christmas.  Even Valentines Day is a bad time, http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-20021536-71.html.
    2. Tim Challies writes a review on a book, written by Wesley Hill, a Christian who is gay, and is practicing a celibate lifestyle.  I don't like to use "gay Christian", but it appears to be a book that gives us an insight into the struggles of a Christian who is gay, http://www.challies.com/book-reviews/the-struggles-of-gay-christians.
    3. People Are Awesome