Friday, November 25, 2011

The Fruit of Destruction

I just watched an episode of the show 'Hoarders'.  It's the first time I'd seen this show.  I really almost never watch television at all.  However, someone linked the show, saying it was about a scrap-booker.  I thought it might be good to see so that I can be careful of where my thoughts could take me.

I was blown away.  Truly, I was dramatically affected by the pain displayed on this show.

As I reflected on what causes such additive and compulsive behavior, I came to the conclusion that it is often the result of hurt or disappointment.

Hurt is the sort of thing that Satan pounces on rather quickly.  Once a hurt has taken place, he piles on the fertilizer producing a large tree of pain whose fruit is destruction.  The end result is hopelessness.

Further, I began to consider that many people I know within the church are harvesting this very fruit daily.  The hopelessness that exists even within the church is astounding.  It's painful to consider.  And I wonder that most of us don't even see that it is there.  How then do we address it?  What do we do?

I pray, asking God for wisdom, for healing and for revelation from His Spirit.  I invite you to do the same. We certainly can do nothing while we just sit an wonder. But we can and must pray.  Will you join me?

Perhaps you are thinking that this is not true.  Perhaps you think that it's not that common in the church.  Why do you think that is the case?  Do an inventory or your church body?  What do you find?  Is it joy unspeakable that permeates the people?  If so, then praise God.  If not, praise God and then pray for His healing touch.

Monday, November 7, 2011

What do you crave most?

"One of the reasons we want to overeat is because the human heart craves fullness and satisfaction." Mike Cleveland

This would be the third time I've read this statement and yet again, I am moved to think about why I eat.....or shop.....or talk when I need to just be quiet with the Lord.  

I'm not suggesting that we are called to continually sit with our hands folded in prayer and listen for what God might say.  That would be unreasonable as we all have responsibilities.  However, I am beginning to think that I react to life without a lot of thought quite often.

A reaction looks a whole lot like an addiction as far as I can tell.  It looks like doing something to cover up the uncomfortable feelings that I have inside.  The thing that makes it difficult to recognize is that I've been doing it my whole life.  Every. Single. Day.  For nearly 40 years.

Addiction is often fed by a heart darkened by sinfulness.  I want to continue in my sin.  I do continue in my sin.  I feel guilt/shame.  I indulge in my addiction to cover up that feeling.  Our addictions come in many more forms than the obvious ones.  Most of us fancy ourselves to not be addicted.  I submit that this is far from true.

We're addicted to control in some form or other and when we feel out of control, we indulge in more control.  Maybe we're addicted to scheduling, to cleaning, to exercise, to looking put together, to golf, to food, to shopping, to yelling, blah blah blah.  

It's Jesus I must turn to when I feel out of control.  I need to create that habit as my first defense.  I know that for me, life feels out of control every day.  Multiple times a day.  I must turn to Jesus over and over, leaving those things I can't control at His feet.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Self Worship vs. Hardcore Christianity

I'm doing a study called the Lord's Table.  I've started it over for the third time because once you get  half-way through, if you don't see the fruit that you should see, they recommend starting over.

Each time I start, I learn more.

Today, what struck me is this statement by Mike Cleveland:

"Most dieters are motivated to lose weight by a desire for personal glory; they want to slim down in order to fit in that outfit, look good at their class reunion, hear others comment on how good they look… or maybe they just want to be healthy and feel better about themselves. As innocuous as these motives may seem, they all grow out of self-worship, which should have no place in the heart of the Christian who professes to worship God."

Self - worship. I wonder how often any of us can see that we are worshiping self.  Whether in the area of dieting or any other area.  

I can see that for me, this is certainly true.  I have tried to rid myself of this attitude but have failed every time.  I think the truth is that I really do love myself more than I love God.  More surgery needed.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Heart of Stone or Heart of Flesh

Ezekiel 36:26 says "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."

I encountered this verse in my bible study and I am shocked to realize that in the areas where I hold on to sin, I have a very hard heart of stone.

I desperately need God to graciously do heart surgery on me and replace that hardened heart with a soft and mold-able heart of flesh.  

I need to truly grieve over my own sin.  

I wonder how many of us as Christians actually grieve when we realize that we have been sinning against God in one area or another?  I fear that the number is woefully small.

I fear that our hearts are so hard that sin is a casual thing to us.  I fear that we do not realize how deep is the chasm between us and our God when we sin casually and 'just ask forgiveness at the end of the day'.  I fear we often trust in something called cheap grace.

Oh my God, please forgive me.  PLEASE grant me a heart of flesh that grieves my sin.

Teach me to be intentional. To think about about every action and put every thought before you.  At present, I don't hesitate before making excuses.  Please give me the grace and strength to hesitate often if means I am about to sin.