Our culture is fixated on “fake life” – living our lives, getting fulfillment and joy, through the choices and life of another. Fake life is safe and insulated from any true risk...or reward.
Consider Facebook – you aren’t actually doing fun things with your friends or enjoying their company. You are just reading about their lives and enjoying from afar.
Just like those who are addicted to the constant stream of news, politics and the endless talking of “experts” (Who gave them that title? We don’t really know.). You aren’t part of the political battles. You aren’t helping those aiding those injured by the latest earthquake or comforting the many wounded in our society. You are just entertaining yourself by gossiping about and dissecting the lives of others.
And often “fake life” is lived through people who aren’t real people but are characters in an imaginative world.
Consider the lives dedicated the worship of videogames…
Think about the numbers of man hours consumed* by movies and TV series.
Consider the hours spent on sitcoms and “reality TV”. Even books, when substituted for actually living life in the real world, are fake.
Christ did not died so we could have fake life but so that we can have life eternal and abundant (John 10:10). It is the thief that comes to destroy our life…or substitute if for fake life.
*“Consumed” is a good adjective for amusement. Just like food becomes part of your body -- these tasty morsels of entertainment become part of your mind.
Let’s see if I can surprise you…
It is NOT enough to give God control of your life.
Yes, it is absolutely necessary but it is not adequate.
Are you shocked?
God is in control already. My freewill is His gift -- everything I chose to do is permitted by Him. My life is dependent on Christ -- everything that happens to me is allowed by Him. So to “give” God control is simply to align your thinking with reality. And that is wonderful….but it has to go further.
My motives must become God’s. The “why”I do things. The why I say what I say. The why I pray and ask for these things must be fundamentally altered to match Christ’s. They must be submitted for God to change and transform.
Otherwise, obedience to God is seen as a simple transaction -- I obey to get what I want. Unfortunately, this does not work; ever heard of Job? And when obedience, inevitably, does not yield what I want, I am angry because I was cheated. I “paid” and didn’t get what I “paid for”. Then confused and discouraged, I battle a heart and mind that are bitter and smoldering against God.
But when God has control and my motives are the same as His, obedience is a joy and the peace that passes all understanding guards our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:6-7).
Prayer is a miraculous blessing of God. It is something that I have done for years but still don't even come close to understanding. Even though I continue to study it and meditate on it at regular intervals prayer is a concept that leaves me in awe. Recently, as our church family has been learning about pray, I have also been considering elements of prayer.
PINE prayers are prayers that:
Put God where He belongs and me where I belong. They change my Perspective.
Reveal my Idols. What draws my attention away from my prayers to the living, loving God? Tada! My idols.
Reflect my truest Needs. This is easy to see when I attempt to pray without asking God for anything. This quickly shows how much I am compelled to ask God for -- forgiveness, strength to obey, words and attitudes to glorify Him and so on.
Honestly Express my heart. There is no need to sugarcoat my feelings. Even the ones no one else sees, God fully knows. Prayer is not a show for others or an act to impress God. It is a gift of a Creator to His Creators who PINE for Him.
I came home from work this week and my family was working on a puzzle. I immediately set to work. We all love puzzles but my brother and my mom were getting burnt out on this one. I quickly put in a handful of pieces and my mom says, "See, what did I say? She'll get home a put them in boom, boom, boom."
"I just put in the ones that I know where they go." I tried to explain my strategy and got "no kidding" stares. And I stopped trying to explain because I got distracted.
What I was trying to say is: I don't go looking for a specific piece...generally. I look at as many pieces and empty spots as possible and pick up pieces when I find a match.
Recently, in life, I have been asking God what is next; I have been looking for a specific piece of my future. But as I tried to explain my puzzling philosophy to my family, I got distracted because I realized in that instant that my puzzling philosophy also applies to God's will. I may not know "that" particularly piece. So, I can spend a lot of time and frustration on that piece or I can put in the puzzle pieces that I know where they go.
And God is so good, there are always pieces for me to put into action in life (as long as I am paying attention). I know God wants me to pray for my neighbors. I know God wants me to tell others about Jesus. I know God wants me to be content with what I have. I can do all of those now.
Just like in jigsaw puzzles, in life, it is always time to put in the pieces that I know where there they go. And it sure beats sulking because the piece I want hasn't showed up yet :0)
"For we walk by faith and not by sight." -- 2 Corinthians 5:7
I was driving to pick up my brother from training and I was thinking about how excited I was to see him. I couldn’t help wondering if I would run to meet him. Almost immediately reasons sprang to mind of why I shouldn’t: I don’t want to sweat. What if I embarrass him? Maybe I’ll fall. I’ll be wearing a dress, it isn’t ladylike. And so on…
But God, ran toward me. In the story of the prodigal son – who represents me – the father – who is a picture of God – ran, full sprint, towards His son. No matter the terrain. Regardless of who was looking. In all types of weather and all kinds of clothes.
It is worth thinking in awe: God ran toward me.
Come with me as we grow in fellowship with each other and our Savior to whom belongs the Amazing Escape from sin and death and the Amazing Journey into glorious life.