So there are some things that happen during the day that I feel needs to be shared. As I was working with a client this morning and we were discussing his spiritual confusion that has caused as well as stemmed from his addiction to illicit drugs. This client was saying something that I have heard several times before from other clients. He was discussing the fact that when he was going through opiate withdrawals and in the floor of his bathroom he cried out to God to help him and relieve his pain. He went on to discuss the fact that he now finds himself angry at God for not answering that prayer at that time and for his having to come for treatment and therapy. He discussed the fact that he believes but that he also does not believe.
At this statement I stopped him and began discussing the chaos that can ensue from being stuck between belief in a higher power and disbelief. Chaos in life is one element that leads to addictive behavior and illicit substance abuse (click here to view a slide show regarding the elements of addiction). As I discussed how this lack of resolve in his spiritual life is keeping chaos in his life and how dangerous this is, he stopped me. He said to me, “I just thought of something. Coming here was the answer to my prayer. I have never realized that before.” I was speechless at this insight my client had just shown. So much so that I immediately dismissed him. I told him to leave my office and to leave that thought open the rest of the day. There was nothing that he and I could have done the rest of that session that would have mattered more.
I hope that we all can learn from this client. No, we don’t always get exactly what we want when we pray but God does always answer our prayers.
Hello everyone. I hope you are having a great day. I hope that as you follow today’s map through the internet you find something that makes you smile, think, or look closer for God in your life.
First off a riddle? What do you get when you combine two of my favorite things in the world (Star Wars and Golf)? Answer: The best commercial ever. I laughed hard at this one.
Follow this link to Jim Martin’s post on why we have such a problem with solitude.
Are you struggling to understand what happened to Fannie Mae? It basically boils down to giving money to people for things which they can’t afford in the first place and then being surprised when they do not feed you back. Watch the video below for more insight into the politics of this matter.
This link is a great post that shows how we as disciples of Christ are to see the world around us and how to define those we are reaching out to. Must Read.
Finally, being a member of smaller churches has led me to love the communal and group effort that must be put in for anything to be accomplished. Here is a great post from Trey Morgan discussing what have become known as “Super-Churches.”
Well Christians, it has finally happened. The terrorist organization Al-Queda has threatened us directly. No more can the media say that the terrorists hate America because of our “loose” morals, our occupation of other lands, or our economic blessings. Al-Queda has finally threatened us as Christians and our Christian founding dircetly.
In the latest video to be released by Al-Queda a threat of violence is made toward “the forces of the Cross and their apostate agents…” The forces of the Cross? Unless they are talking about the Red Cross or the U.S. Air Force they must be talking to me. I am part of Christ’s kingdom of heaven and as I read those words I felt as if the deviant who spoke those words was speaking directly to me. I felt him saying to me, “you believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God, I’m going to kill you.” If you are a Christian that is what he is saying. Al-Queda knows that this is a nation founded on Christian principles and they hate us for that reason alone. The question is, are you surprised? Are we not warned numerous times in the New Testament that this is what will happen? Are we not instructed on how to handle this? For a lack of time and a desire to move forward in this writing the short answer is that we are to pray for our enemies. Have you prayed for Al-Queda today?
As stated, it was no surprise to read a direct threat from a Godless people toward Christians but what was interesting was the other half of their threat. If you look back at who was addressed in the threat there is an inclusion of the “apostate agents” of the forces of the Cross. This threat addresses all of those throughout our nation who are trying to remove themselves and our nation from the protection of God. A good definition of an apostate is one who once believed or was part of a certain tenet and who may have participated and protected its beliefs but for some reason has chosen to withdraw themselves from that system. In other words it is someone who has lost their faith. We are now a country of apostates. Everyday people in our nation are trying to remove God from currency and public landmarks. Our scientists are striving to disprove that God created this world. Our fellow brothers are dismissed and shunned for having faith. The reason: apostasy. My question is if even the agents of evil in Al-Queda can recognize that this is a nation founded on Christ and His values, why can’t these apostates?
Sadly, the psychology of apostasy is one that is based on intellectual unbalance and once one chooses to leave a faith they begin to do everything they can to intellectually justify their reasoning. They turn to man and their own reasoning to fill the void that their faith once filled. Are we not warned against this in the Bible? Are we not told of the flaws that stem from this action? Would God allow our nation to come under attack as it has if not for the apostasy that is taking place in our nation? Let’s look at the Bible for answers.
Should we continue to live under Old Testament law we would have a duty to seek out these apostates and personally stop (by stop I mean stone) them. Deuteronomy 13 addresses this matter thoroughly and warns the children of Israel against what is happening in our nation today. God warns that when it seems the whole world is turning away from faith and toward something that seems more magical that it is actually a test of the faith of those of fear God. I think of the parable regarding the separation of wheat and tares when I read this. God tells us that when this is happening that we are to continue to walk after God, fear Him, and keep His commandments. He also warns that the apostate will be put to death. The reason for his death sentence being that the sole reason he is speaking is to turn one away from God. The apostasy taking place today has not purpose other than to turn you, the Christian reading this, away from God. Hold fast. God is sending the justice that only He understands upon the apostates of this nation.
Knowing that this problem would be one to contend without even to this date we as New Testament Christians are also given instruction on how to deal with this. As a matter of fact, this subject alone is given an entire book in the Bible. Jude 1 speaks of apostasy in a very clear and easily understood way. When Al-Queda threatens the apostates of the Cross let’s look at who Jude 1 says they are talking about. From Jude the apostates are men who have crept in unnoticed and who have denied the one Lord God and the one Jesus Christ. These are men who have chosen to leave the abode of Jesus Christ and now chase after sexual immorality and have been set forth as an example of what happens when this is done (think AIDS). These apostates defile the flesh (sado-masochism), reject authority, and speak down regarding our dignitaries. These men grumble, complain, and chase their own lusts, speaking flattering words to people to gain advantage for themselves. These people cause division because unlike Christians, they are not filled with the Holy Spirit.
These apostates are taking over our nation. Our nation built at the foot of the Cross. Sometimes it takes someone to point out our faults when we cannot see them. This threat from Al-Queda should be a warning that the outside world no longer sees us as a United States but rather as a nation divided between those who are still at the foot of the Cross and the apostates who have left that protection. Be warned Christians that these apostates are bringing damnation upon this country and God will continue to allow this nation to be torn from the inside out until these trend stops.
What can we do? Again, let’s look at Jude 1 for the answer. Jude 1: 20-22 tells us 20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. There is the answer, we maintain out relationship with God and bring as many back to the Cross as we can.
Christians, we have now been directly threatened by terrorists. This war our nation is now involved in is and always has been a Holy War. We are hated because of our faith in Jesus Christ. Prepare for men to say that the way to win this war is to renounce Jesus Christ’s teaching. Fortunately this is a war that you and I can win without firing a shot. We must turn to God, show Him our faith through prayer for our nation, our families, and our enemies. You have not been threatened. You have now been persecuted. Turn to God and allow him to answer this threat.
Today is the seven year anniversary of the horrible terrorist attack on the United States that took the life of so many innocent American citizens. As I think back to that day there is one word that explains what I felt that day: fear. I can vividly recall the events in my own personal life that occurred that day. My life was going great. I was preparing to finish my last semester at Faulkner University and had just been accepted into law school. Joy and I had our first son just three months before and things seemed to be going really well. I felt like I was on top of the world. Joy had already left for the day and I was getting myself ready for school and Ethan ready to go to daycare. As was my custom, I had Fox & Friends on the television and was listening when I heard them speaking of a plane crashing in the World Trade Center. I stopped what I was doing and went and looked at the television to see the extent. I remember they were discussing the fact that it was some amateur pilot in a little plane and how this was simply “an accident.” Then it hit. Right in front of my eyes, on live television, I watched as a passenger airline slammed into the other tower. My jaw dropped and I picked Ethan up and held him as tight as I could. I can still remember the silence on the television as even the reporters were left momentarily speechless. What happened the rest of that day in New York City, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania has been well documented and still causes me to cringe at the simple thought. I sat and watched these events unfold live on television that day. I skipped school and wanted nothing more than for my wife to come home so we could be together as a family.
The fear I felt that day was a feeling I did not remember at the time. I felt paralyzed. Here I was holding this beautiful three month old baby boy in a world that had just fallen apart in front of my eyes. I was literally waiting for terrorists to kick down my door. I was that uncertain about what was going on. I, as I am sure many Americans did, prayed throughout the day for peace, reassurance, and to wake up from what I had just seen. The only comparable fear I have ever faced in my life prior to and since that day is the fear I used to feel as a child when I would try to imagine not only eternity, but eternity in hell. I never want to feel those feelings again and when I think to how I lean on God for understanding and courage today as opposed to then I believe that my reaction to those events would be totally different.
Since that time I have made a firm commitment to Christ my King. It is not a commitment in word only, but one in heart and deed. It is not a commitment to Christ to simply sure up my own salvation, it is one to serve Him so that others can learn to not fear the evil of this world as well. It is a commitment to pray that Christ will not destroy our enemies but will touch their heart and use them in the service I am in. It is a commitment that tells me that even when I lose battles daily I need not fear Christ’s wrath as long as I confess my sins and work to do better. It is a commitment to serve Jesus Christ, love Jesus Christ, and remain dead unto myself and wants for Christ. I write that knowing that this proclamation can bring on tests of my resolve (Hebrews 1:2,3). I welcome them as I want to be the example, succeed or fail, that Christ chooses to make. I no longer feel the fear that I felt on 9/11, but rather the courage, commitment, and spirit of service that only Christ and the Holy Spirit can provide. I think back to great men of God such as Isaiah, Moses, and Jeremiah and the documented fears and self-perceived short comings that they felt. Then I read the words that God speaks to them and how he removed their fear. God has done the same for me. God has removed the fear of this world full of terrorists, murderers, spite, and persecution and has replaced it with a fire for Him and His work. I was baptized years before 9/11/01 and I ask God to forgive me for being afraid on that day that he would not care for my family and I. Christ has washed that sin away and I am no longer afraid. Are you?
One of my favorite all time Saturday Night Live skits is the “More Cowbell” sketch starring Christopher Walken (Walken was an edit as I initially posted this as Christopher Reeves. What is wrong with me?). Well, I just happened upon a link to a website today that allows you to take any song you like and not only add Cowbell, but also add Christopher Walken. I played with it some and here are some of the songs I added Cowbell to. You can find this application here: http://www.morecowbell.dj/
NOW, ON TO THE PILGRIM’S MAP OF THE DAY.
*For starters, make sure you read this article and ask yourself the questions posed. I know it hit me square between the eyes.
* Here is a video that sadly demonstrates what some of us allow our prayers to dissolve in to. I hope my prayers don’t sound like this to Christ.
The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble. 10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You. 11 Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion! Declare His deeds among the people. 12 When He avenges blood, He remembers them; He does not forget the cry of the humble. Psalm 9:9-12
I tell myself and others often that if you look around, you will always see someone who has it worse than you do. Never has this been more obvious to me than yesterday as a contingency of Christians from three separate congregations of Christ’s church came together to feed and comfort evacuees from Hurricane Gustav’s destruction in Louisiana. This was a great effort and one which made me thankful to have the example of Christ to follow. These three small churches, Kingsville Church of Christ, Detroit Church of Christ, and Sulligent Church of Christ, were able to prepare and serve enough food to serve over 150 men, women, and children and have enough left for seconds. Two things stood out to me:
1. When we as Christians band together great and marvelous things can be accomplished with little preparation and planning. We tend to fall into a trap where we think that even the smallest ministry effort takes arduous planning and thought. What does that say about our faith that we don’t believe that anything is possible through Jesus Christ. This effort these three churches made was planned and accomplished in less than 48 hours. It honestly went off without a hitch. Further, there is a mind set among smaller churches (you know, the ones that primarily make up the kingdom of heaven) that we do not have enough members or man power to “pull off” extraordinary efforts. This can be true. Thank God we can call upon other members of the kingdom from other congregations to help. We can work together and still consider ourselves autonomous.
2. Treating someone as Christ would can go further than any pamphlet, sermon, television broadcast, or extravagant meeting. Christ tells us what we do to the very least of people we do to Him. I met the least yesterday and I can testify that treating them with a sincere and unreserved kindness touched them and made them curious about what I was doing there. How do I know? One of the people there asked specifically for more information about this Church of Christ. This curiosity was sparked by nothing more than a group of Christians who long to serve Christ who acted on that calling.
If you would like to see photos of this effort, click here.