July 30, 2010

I Have Been Slimed

"I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD."
Psalm 40:1-3 (New American Standard Bible)
As I think of how I came to Christ in my late 40's, I think of what a slimy pit of miry clay He pulled me out of. As I think of the struggle with my sinful nature, I think of that same slimy mire. The beauty of it now is that I know He will pull me out. Before I came to Him, I did not even know what I was wallowing around in. As hard as I try to stay out, I am sure I will plop in from time to time, but have the assurance of knowing a rope will drag me out if I sing that new song He has put on my lips.

A personal relationship with Jesus as Savior means to grasp what it is to be rescued from self. I know how miserable the future would be without Him now, and I can wait patiently (well, at least I can be patient when I remember to turn to Him in prayer and praise) for the deliverance He has promised.

I have the knowledge, acceptance and trust of a saving faith in Christ Jesus. I have been washed clean, and continued to get washed as I struggle though a fallen world coping with a sinful flesh.

I was slimed, about 47 years worth as a matter of fact. Only Christ could wash that off and keep me that way.

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July 28, 2010

Presently Happy

"Let each of us examine his thoughts; he will find them wholly concerned with the past or the future. We almost never think of the present, and if we do think of it, it is only to see what light it throws on our plans for the future. The present is never our end. The past and the present are our means, the future alone is our end. Thus we never actually live, but hope to live, and since we are always planning how to be happy, it is inevitable that we should never be so."
Blaise Pascal, Pensées
Two years ago, my first theology professor suggested we read Pascal. I finally started a read. I am glad I did, but this guy can be harder to understand than C S Lewis, and that is saying something.

But this passage hit me with amazing clarity. Which was nice because after over a dozen pages of huh?, it was nice to have something click finally. This passage immediately brought a verse of Scripture into mind:
So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:34 (New American Standard Bible)
Our happiness requires to live within the present, content with the provision of the day as the Lord has given it to us. Our joy comes from the eternal security that is ours in Jesus. I wrote some time ago about the difference between the two on this blog. I do not know if my old buddy Blaise had this Scripture passage in mind, but as I read him I did.

We are often surrounded with unhappy people, we are often that person. When that person is me, it is because I have focused too much on the future, too much on myself and not enough on living in the Lord in the present. He is sufficient, in His sovereign grace, for me each and every day. I would do good to remember that more regularly.

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July 26, 2010

The Road Is Not Too Narrow, Your Feet Are Too Big

If you struggle with your walk of faith with the Lord, welcome to the body of Christ. Jesus was the perfect man, being wholly God and fully man, completely obedient to the will of the Father (Read the upper room discourse in John 13-17 to get the full flavor of that). With that in mind, with the fact that the model we are to follow is the Holy God incarnate, it is no wonder we struggle. Anyone who tells you they do not struggle is lying, and therefore by definition, struggling with their walk. They just do not want to admit it publicly.

So our sinful, prideful, lustful human nature are our too big feet to walk on the path Christ laid down for us to follow. So you need Lord's help each and everyday to follow hard after Him. Ask for it, He will grant it. You may still struggle, but you can win through.

Pray continuously. That is, live with a prayerful attitude. Turn to Him in tough times for help. Turn to Him in good times to thank. Turn to Him at all times in praise and worship. You are living the life He has decided for you to live, praise Him for it and ask for His guidance, His wisdom and help.

Be patient. With your circumstances. With others. And especially with yourself. The Lord is rarely early but never late. he shows up on time. You just need to accept it is His timing not yours.

Be thankful. For what you have. For what He has kept you from. But mainly, for what Christ died to give you for eternity.

Keep at it, do not despair. God knows what we are capable of, and He loves us anyway.

Have faith in Him.

July 24, 2010

The Means May Change, But My Lord Does Not

It should be apparent from the lack of activity in this blog for the past few months that I am struggling with blogging. It seems that I have been revisited with that old nagging feeling that I have had since I started doing this in the middle of 2008, relevance. Is what I have to say even worth writing down, let alone reading? I am still not sure and that is why I struggle, from the hiatus I took the summer of last year, the barren desert of blog posts this summer (maybe it is a seasonal thing, I hadn't thought of that until just now).

I have blown up my twitter account (for the second time, this time wiping it out just north of the 16000 follower mark, the first time making just a little over 8000) and now bump along just under 50. I also have limited my tweeting. So it appears I may questioning the effectiveness of the methods I am using. As an aging boomer in my mid-50's, born in the mid-50's (that conjunction of facts will get out of alignment soon), I wanted to explore the methods of communication being used today. I am still unconvinced I have a voice to add to this arena. I am not sure anyone wants to hear me here. I am not sure I want to be hear. Maybe I am better off with an old 8 track and a couple hard copy books (the bible and maybe LOTR by Tolkien).

Maybe I just need to focus on what I do not want to see change: the Gospel message and my saving faith. In the ministry I now work in, we define the Gospel as ten words taken from Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8,
Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead
We also hold that one needs to have saving faith:
Knowledge of who Christ is
Acceptance of His person and work
Trust in Christ alone for salvation

Some really clear and simple concepts to state, yet incredibly broad and complex in how they can change your life and you can change others. So maybe rather than worrying about the method I need to use I should just focus more on the message, and let the Lord take care of the means.

I would say I am back, but based on my beliefs, I was never away. I just might not be here as much, and I need to be OK with that. As long as I am doing the work He puts before me, do I really need to worry about how I go about doing it?

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July 15, 2010

1 or Fewer

I read a blog post yesterday on ChurchCrunch entitled Sorry, You Are Not as Unique as You Thought... which featured a website called HowManyOfMe.com which tells you how many people in the US have your name. I went there and tried it. 123 people have my last name. Pretty exclusive if accurate. 1 or fewer have the combination of my first and last name. 1 is pretty exclusive too, even more so than 123 (by the tune of about 122 I would guess). 1 or fewer is a little too exclusive for my tastes. I mean really, just where does that leave me in the total scheme of things?

So I went to the most accurate source I had at my fingertips, the Magic 8 Ball I had on my desk (picked up somewhere in my corporate travels and viewed as an essential financial planning tool by some). When asked if there could be fewer than 1 person with my name, I was told "Reply Hazy, Try Again". The tension mounted. I tried again. "Yes" was the reply. So now I am really in a bind. Two trusted sources said there could be fewer than 1 person in the US with my name, including myself.

I will let you know how my identity crisis turns out. If indeed I am actually around to have one.

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July 13, 2010

Social Media Implosion

I blew up my Twitter account today and started over. I kept the same user name, Ancoti, but deactivated and reactivated the account, the second time I have done this. Don't ask me why, I felt I needed a fresh start.

I had to change my user name and email before I deactivated to preserve the ability to use them again, which I did. I reactivated so fast I actually think I hacked my own account and had to reset things to preserve the sanctity of my account. I started getting you have been compromised messages from twitter. Yeah, self-compromised.

So, in a twinkling of an eye, 16,368 followers were wiped off my account. I had been aggressively working my totals up to see where it would go and now they are all (or almost all, I have one follower now) gone. This is what happens when you let let an aging boomer dabble in social media. he gets bored every once in a while and wants to restart things to see which direction he will go in now.

So, it is low, low profile for a while, see who finds me, through this blog or an announcement on my facebook profile. A more rational approach to twitterlife for a bit. You really cannot follow 16,368 people effectively, but you can get that many on your account if you want. Not sure how high I could have gone, but what's the point?

So I am back after a 30 second hiatus. Roughly. Maybe a minute and a half is more like it.

Did you miss me, twitterverse?

July 3, 2010

The Momentum of Inertia

I have not posted a blog entry in over a month, and I have to tell you the time pretty much sped by, blog-wise at least. At first it did not bother me, then I started to feel like maybe I should pout a post up, but nothing came to mind. Then an very interesting feeling set in; I felt it had been so long that any post needed to be deep and profound, as if to justify my lack of activity. It was sort of, hey, I know I have been missing, but look at what I have for you now. Aren't glad I waited? Aren't you glad you did too?

Well, this is not that post. Sorry, and I do not mind if you stop reading now. No profound revelations are forthcoming, so profound to allow you to revel in the profundity of the moment.

Just spent the last two weeks in a seminary course, 3 hours every morning studying the Gospels. Great lectures by Dr. Mark Bailey at DTS, but oh so fast the material sped by. Bible study should be a marathon, not a sprint. But I think I got through, although time will tell if I made the grade when it posts on my transcript. We shall see.

So, having spent two weeks studying the most profound text in existence, I decided I needed to post an entry here and break the string. One of my goals was to keep the blog alive in 2010. This post is tantamount to me yelling "Clear!" and trying to shock it back to life. The text of truth led me back to one realization; I can never get as deep as scriptural revelation; and no one is expecting me to anyway. So I might as well jump back in the fray.

I hope things get deeper moving forward, but I know that things at least need to get started. No one goes deep standing still. One goes stale instead. If you are struggling with your own blog posts (and I know some of you are), take comfort from the fact that movement is movement and

That's the depth of things today.