Monday, March 26, 2012

Super Jesus

Lately I've really been asking God for a deeper relationship with Jesus. Inspired by the question, "Who are you closer to in the Trinity?" My answer was Father God. I just feel closer to Him. Although I know He's One and Three still I feel the most intimate with the Father.

The last year or so I have had some pretty cool "moments" or revelations about Jesus and my desire to know Him more is there but mostly when I think about Him it's not really love that I feel. I think of how grateful I am for what He's done for me. I see Him as my Lord and want to serve Him for the rest of my life. But that's about as deep as my relationship goes with Him. I talk of obedience coming out of my adoration but really it feels more like an obligation sometimes for what He's done for me. I probably would never have understood the difference between the two had Father not poured out His love for me and drawn me close to Him in such an intimate way. I want that with Jesus now too.

A few weeks ago we had a guest speaker at our life group, Keith Wheeler. I think it's safe to say he has a relationship with Jesus that is absolutely amazing and inspirational. I mean the guy literally lights up when he starts talking about Jesus. No wonder people are drawn to him to hear about Jesus.

I feel that way about Father God. I feel my love for Him well up inside of me until I feel like I'm about to burst.

Oh, Jesus, I want to know you like that.

Often I picture Him on the cross and my heart breaks, out of sadness and thankfulness. Is that enough though? Is it enough to just picture God on a throne of glory? To bow before Him? For me the answer is NO! Of course I bow before Him but I also run and jump on His lap and tell Him all about my day. He meets me in my every day life just to tell me He loves me. I want that with Jesus too. It's not enough just to see Him as that Sacrificial Lamb.

I'm trying to look outside the box a bit and see Him not just as my Lord or the the Head but as my Brother. As my Friend. As the guy that comes and puts His arm around me when I feel ashamed to go to Papa because of my sin. He tells me, "Hey, it's going to be ok. Let's go talk to Dad. He can fix anything."

I'm beginning to see Him as the One who never rejects me. He looks at me and He likes what He sees. I'm always invited to His table. He pursues me. He's the one that knocks on my door or calls me. He goes out of His way to be with me.

Early Saturday morning around 3 a.m. I woke up with these thoughts in mind. A somewhat strange analogy popped into my head. I hope you'll bare with me and read to the end. I thought of Superman and Lois. How even though Lois ignores Clark all day, when she calls for help, Superman still shows up. Because even though Superman could have any girl he wanted, Clark loves Lois. I thought of all the times I've called on the name of Jesus, the name that is above every name, for help but have ignored Jesus, my friend and brother. Yet He still shows up. Not only because He is God and powerful but because Jesus, the man, loves me. I think so often we see Him as Superman, which is a good thing, but we only call Him when we need something. I never doubt His ability or power but I don't care to know about Him as the man. After all He says weird things like, "eat my flesh and drink my blood, die to yourself and carry My cross." I think for me I'm afraid of having Jesus as my friend because I believe it will cost me. To me knowing Jesus has meant sacrifice. And I've pushed away from Him because of it. It was really convicting. It hurt a little bit, being able to get a glimpse of my true self. I didn't like what I saw. Watching the movie I always got annoyed with Lois for treating Clark that way. Wasn't it obvious the way he felt about her? Didn't she see what a great guy he was? But she was in love with the image of Superman, with what he could do for her. I realized that I'm her. I love being a Christian. I love being able to pray with someone and know I've got Jesus on my side. But when it's all said and done I'm only in love with Him for what He can do for me. Ouch.

So what now? Well I'm not really sure. One thing I have learned so far is that when the Lord reveals something in your heart, something not good, He wants to make it good. All we can do is surrender it to Him (surrender, aka - repent). We can't fix ourselves. So I'm thankful He's working on me and cares for me and wants me to be whole. Surrendered to Him, I ask only for His help. He always gives it.

Jesus, I want to know You, not for what you can give me or for what I can get out of our relationship. I just want to know You like I do the Father. I want to give and do for You. Please help me.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

How Free is Free?

So no, I don't just love H&R Block so much that I'd make a post about it. This commercial, along with some very interesting conversations we've been having at Fusion Youth lately have got me thinking about this whole freedom concept Paul talks about in Galatians. Chapter 5 verse 1 says, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." Really? He wants us to be free...just because? Those two words have been swimming around in my brain for a while. Just because? No other reason? You love me because You love me? You want me to be free because You want me to be free?

Why do we find this concept so hard to believe? Why do we have a hard time understanding that He made us, loves us, and freed us, all just because He's freaking awesome like that? It's so hard for our culture especially. Like the lady in this video it sounds too good to be true. What's the catch? Where's the gimmick? Where's the hidden fee? I'd say a lot of "Christians" would even say that His love and His freedom are, in fact, not free. "There is a price," they would say. "The price is your obedience, a sacrifice was made and sacrifice we must if we are to expect freedom in return." *sigh* Am I saying this isn't true? Not exactly. I do long to obey with my full heart every day out of adoration. But the truth is, no I don't think that's why He did it. I don't think He was thinking about our future repayment at the time of His crucifixion. What He did was to provide a way. We were separated from Him and He didn't like it. Even if we never realized that we were or are separated He wouldn't have changed anything. He still would have died for me because He is Love and love always finds a way. I believe if I could have Paul, himself be a quest writer on this blog he would say exactly what he did to the Galatians. It is for freedom that Christ set us free.

It's hard to wrap our minds around, but let's try. Even though we know we don't deserve it and we can never pay it back. Why don't we try to focus all that energy into expressing our thankfulness. Hasn't anyone ever given you something just because? Maybe a parent, spouse, or friend who loves you saw something they thought you would like and bought it for you. Just because. No other reason. Do we throw it back at them just because we don't understand it? Do we say "no thank you" just because we could never pay them back? Or do we accept, graciously, overwhelmed with gratitude and love? I don't mean to trivialize the freedom of eternity by comparing it to a small trinket. I just want to get past the cynicism of our world today. Let's just be real. When Oprah gives something away people don't ask why. They just freak out because they have a new house or car and they are so excited. I think the reason no one asks is because they know Oprah is so stinking rich she doesn't expect anything in return. Trust me when I say she's got nothing compared to God. So when He gives us something let's just freak out because He's so awesome instead of asking why.

Maybe that's hard for some who still can't believe in a good God. I understand. It was hard for me once too. What I would say to you is read the Bible. And keep reading it. If you want to know what God is like you will find Him there. The Bible says if we seek we will find. If we knock He will answer. Ask Him how much He loves you. I do all the time and He's constantly showing me. He'll show you too.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Are You Happy?

"When you know, when you really know, the sovereignty of God and His Lordship overall things seen and unseen. When you're able to confess Him as the Supreme Ruler overall things and to confess that He is your Lord and you are His possession, then at that point you are the happiest of people. You could not get any happier. Nothing could possibly be better then the happiness you have in the Lordship and the Supremacy of Jesus Christ. When you know that you are situated, located in the heart of the most powerful person and the happiest person to ever live, you can not get any happier then that. When you're able to step back into His rest and live in the high tower of His name, so that when the enemy comes raging against you he cannot find you. That's joy. That's happiness."
-Graham Cooke on the Nature of God

Happiness. Joy. I've heard many teachings on the two, or rather the difference between the two. I've heard and believed that joy is something you have as a Christian. When Jesus is in your heart you can have joy through the hardest of circumstances. For me that has looked like the opposite of depression. If I didn't have a relationship with Him I'd probably have the tendency to become very easily depressed. Now when hard things happen I feel joy inside. An inextinguishable flame on the inside that no matter how dark it is outside there is light in me. But happiness, I've been taught, is different. Happiness is a special gift we receive at different times throughout our life so if you're not happy, well, that's how it goes sometimes. But don't worry because there is always joy.

This morning as I listened to Graham Cooke I couldn't help but be in awe of what He was saying and felt a genuine happiness well up inside of me. What if what I've believed about happiness isn't true? To take what he said and expound on it a bit more we have to ask the question, So what does it mean if I'm not happy? 

Moses asked God to show him His glory. And God caused all of His goodness to pass by. The glory of God is the nature of God and if the nature of God is goodness do you think He does not want you to be happy? If happiness is found from knowing and finding yourself in the very Nature that is God, knowing that He is Supreme and resting in that, then perhaps if you are unhappy you do not know or you have forgotten. Or you have let yourself believe a lie about Him.

You don't really know if:
you are feeling rejected and lonely
you are wondering where God is in the midst of your deep pain
you are carrying a little heartbroken boy or girl inside
you have past wounds that have been pulled open again
you ever start to doubt that He is good
you are in the darkness and can't seem to find the light
you are weary and worn out and longing for some place called home
you wonder if you will ever find love
you ever feel afraid
you feel abandoned and discarded
you feel misunderstood
you look to food, drugs, movies, gaming, or any other addiction for satisfaction
you feel you are running out of reasons to get up in the morning
you are in the clutches of depression
you are smiling on the outside but dieing on the inside
you are suffering in silence

Maybe saying we have joy and not happiness is just an excuse. Perhaps believing that happiness is not something we get to have or enjoy at all times is a lie.

"When all your confidence is in the One who made heaven and earth, when everything you tried in life is utterly dependent on the goodness, the mercy, the kindness, the love, the grace, the power of the One person who is Supreme God above all gods - when your present and your future and your health and your destiny and your life depends totally on the God who works for the weak, twisted, and deceitful people, then you simply have to be the happiest people on the face of the earth. Because your happiness is built totally on an unshakable conviction and confidence in His ability to bring change and power to bear on your life. Therefore the most wonderful thing you will ever do with your life is to trust it to the nature of God. Being completely reliant on His character, integrity and nature is the source of your great happiness."
-Graham Cooke