Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Mystery Of Believing

I read My Utmost For His Highest every morning before work. Oswald Chambers is, to me, a genius at wording things in exactly the way I understand. Not only that, but many times, it is also exactly the thing I need to hear.
So this morning I read "The Mystery of Believing" from the aforementioned book, and it said this, "Many a soul begins to come to God when he flings off being religious, because there is only one Master of the human heart, and that is not religion, but Jesus Christ."

Now, I don't know if you know this about me, but I really despise being called "religious". I understand that for many non-spiritual people, that's the only word that they have in their vocabulary to describe someone like me, someone they see as a Christian, or as following a bunch of rules for no reason (depends on your viewpoint). But, like Chambers, I believe that religion is NOT the answer. Not only that, but I believe that religion slowly kills spirituality. Once I start clinging to the guidelines of my faith, but forget the reason that I am following them, I begin to become legalistic, Pharisaic, and in short, religious!

Jesus. Jesus is who I follow. Not the Pope, not any synod or governing church body (although of course I believe one should respect God-given authority to a certain extent), but only Jesus. He is the Master of my heart, as strange as that may sound. The reason I associate with being a "Christian" is because the word itself means "Christ-like", which is what I strive to be. Also, I associate myself with other Christians because as a whole we are the body of Christ, attempting to bring His love and hope to the people of this world. As a Christian, I am not "right" or "left" or "fundamental" or "liberal". I am simply a Christian. Just Jesus. That is all!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

His eye is on the sparrow...

I am having one of those mornings where I wake up and already I feel overwhelmed by the day. I'm sad, but still hopeful. I'm thankful, but still a little upset with my life in general. Just...overwhelmed. I get to the point when I start to ask God the silly question..."Why?!" "Why this, why that, why me? Wah wah wah."
So I tried to stop myself. I read the last two chapters of Job.
Now, a lot of people know the story of Job from the Bible, and a lot of people get angry with God or Christianity or just angry in general when they read it. I think it is so misunderstood. Yeah, Job had to suffer a lot of crap and God let it happen. I think we can all relate to that. I feel stupid about my petty worries when I read what Job's trials were. But the last chapters of the book pretty much go like this.

Job: Why God? Why me? Why all this crap?
God: Um, excuse me... Look, I love you, but you are not God. Did you put the stars in the sky and teach the angels how to sing? Did you create any of the amazing stuff in this world? Can you add one minute to your life on your own power?
Job: Uhh, no. Sorry God.
God: That's what I thought. Here's everything you lost back, but double. Be blessed for the rest of your life because of your faithfulness. I love you.

(Yeah, that was a real paraphrase, I know!)
Anyway, what does this have to do with anything? Well, whenever I get to the point when I want to ask God "Why?" I try to re-direct my thinking.
My new questions go something like this:
What awesome things does God want me to learn out of this?
What change does He want to make in me for the better?
How will living through this time help me to love others better?
AND EVEN (because I'm human, after all) What blessings does He want to bestow on me because of this?

I'm not perfect. I feel within myself the capacity for great evil, for even greater sin. But every day I am trying...trying to redirect my thoughts and reign them in for good and not ill. God help me from myself...