Showing posts from 2009

Why Criticism?

Why do I feel tempted to criticize? What is my real motive, the supposed benefit that my subconscious mind thinks will come to me as a result of finding fault in others? There has to be a payback in there somewhere or it would not seem so appealing. We spend much time talking about the reasons why we should not have this attitude, but maybe we are not addressing enough the underlying motives, not exposing the deeper issues that keep this habit so alive and well.

I have been thinking about this occasionally for some time now but it is not yet clear to me. But clues seem to surface occasionally. It must have something to do with making myself look better in comparison to others, propping up my own reputation by making other people's mistakes more look more obvious.

I am not saying that the underlying reasons should make sense; I am only saying I want to ferret out what they might be so I can get a better look at them. If that last reason is true it is easily counteracted by the fact t…

The Value of Unbelief

Faith has a backside. Faith actually needs unbelief to back it up and reinforce it. But not unbelief in the same thing that faith believes.

We usually think of unbelief as something bad, a condition to be avoided. And that is always true when it comes to our attitude toward God's goodness and love and power and His desire to save us. This is the area where we tend to struggle to find faith. And that is largely because it is blocked by our faith in the very opposites.

You see, whenever we demonstrate unbelief in something or someone what we are actually seeing is the backside of real faith in the opposite. To not believe something is a negative way of saying that we really believe something else that contradicts that.

So when I find myself struggling to embrace some promise of God that I find in the Word and feel all sorts of emotions that draw me intensely to doubt that this promise is really for me or that God really intends to bless me, what is hiding in the background in every cas…

The Hydraulic Human

Full-power, passionate intimacy.

That's the most frightening thing, especially for religious folks.

Yet it is starting to dawn on me that the very thing religious people are most afraid of, most intimidated by is the very place that God intends to take all who are being prepared to live safely with Him throughout all of eternity.

Given that context, defining what sin really is takes on a whole different complexion.

Our hearts and our emotional systems are like hoses created of an elaborate fabric or web of materials designed to contain fluid moving through them at high pressure. The problem is that sin has created a condition of multiple weaknesses in most of the areas along the lining of these hoses. Thus, if high pressure were actually allowed to be applied to the hydraulic fluid passing through our hearts it would spurt out all over the place from the wrong places.

The hydraulic fluid in this system is the passion of God – passionate love in its purest form. If the hydraulic…

A New Look at Caleb

For whatever reason I got to thinking about Caleb this morning. Maybe it has something to do with things I am processing myself right now. Anyway, I decided to look up every reference to Caleb in the Bible and see in very condensed form what I might learn about the whole story of this interesting character.

What I found was even more than what I was already suspecting. This man is truly an inspiration and a model of humility and courage all in one.

By what I can gather, Caleb and Joshua could have been friends early on. Maybe they had hung out together around the time of the exodus from Egypt or maybe they had even gone through some experiences previous to that time together, there is no way of knowing for sure. But it does appear from some clues that Joshua may potentially have been as much as twenty years younger than Caleb, or maybe not so much. But this dynamic reveals an interesting potential aspect of their relationship. Somehow I feel that Caleb could have been a mentor for Joshu…

Dichotomy of Hopeless Despair

As I read Oswald's devotional this morning I found something that resonated with other things I have learned. It came to me that there can be times of amazing dichotomy in our lives that just don't make logical sense but can have a profound effect on our experience and relationship with God. First let me share part of the reading for today.

Whenever you obey God, His seal is always that of peace, the witness of an unfathomable peace, which is not natural, but the peace of Jesus. Whenever peace does not come, tarry till it does or find out the reason why it does not. If you are acting on an impulse, or from a sense of the heroic, the peace of Jesus will not witness; there is no simplicity or confidence in God, because the spirit of simplicity is born of the Holy Ghost, not of your decisions. Every decision brings a reaction of simplicity.
My questions come whenever I cease to obey. When I have obeyed God, the problems never come between me and God, they come as probes to keep the…

Resistance - 2

I am still pondering this issue of resistance and how it relates to my relationship to God. I know I have visited this subject a number of times in the past and will likely keep doing so because it is so central to living as a Christian. But I think it is vital for me to better understand this so that I can intelligently and intentionally better focus my energies and attentions on the right things instead of swirling around in confusion much of the time from religious distractions.

One of the most succinct passages on resistance is found in James and really exposes clearly some of the main issues in this topic.

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:6-8 NKJV)

I would like to clarify for myself some of the simple, core pr…

Resistance - 1

Something has been rumbling and stirring around in my mind for several days. I suppose that is not so unusual. I think that my practice of avoidance of watching TV most of the time and limiting my intake of radio listening allows much more time and space internally to actually think more original thoughts and also trains my spirit to listen more carefully. So I enjoy thinking about things and allowing my heart to make observations whenever it comes up with something different or interesting.

As is often the case, until I actually sit down and begin writing about something it often does not become real clear to me. Discussing it with others can have a similar effect, but so far writing seems to be the most efficient way of flushing something out into the open and bringing more clarity and focus to it so I can understand it better.

The thing that seems to be emerging right now is something about the nature of resistance. It seems to be something that I am starting to see in a lot of place…