“Grace wasn’t free for Jesus. It cost him everything. that is precisely why we should receive it freely. the most insulting thing we could do is reject this costly gift and say “NO thanks, God, I got this.” Please don’t tell me Jesus was beaten and mutilated and tortured so we could try to save ourselves through our paltry good deeds. Don’t cheapen Jesus’s sacrifice by trying to pay him back.” – Judah Smith

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Real Talk: The problem with success

I’ve once heard a while ago that the enemy of faith is success. That was to say that when we get too caught up in our successes, we begin to become arrogant and think that all our success was because of us, and when we fall flat on our faces due to some failure, we fall into a pit of self doubt and anger, among other negative emotions that all resulted from a wrong perspective. Often we tend to crash into setbacks on our incline as if they were roadblocks, pile the brakes on and because of our attitude, start our roll downhill.

So recently I’ve had a very awesome success; for the first time since that fateful day when I was privileged to draw my first breath on this wonderful planet, I was able to enter a relationship with an amazing woman who I absolutely adore, and it has been quite the experience thus far. In the midst of all this, there was this one little splinter in my skin that prevented me from feeling absolutely comfortable in my own success. I felt as a dog who had finally caught the car he’d been chasing down the street. My saliva’s stained the rear bumper from my barking’s of love; those growls that I had longed to echo finally in audible range of the driver of that glossy red convertible. But what of it? What IS there left for a dog to do? My tail’s wagging helplessly, but my brain refuses to be content. No matter how much a bark, snarl or growl, all I see is more spit.

I’m a very task oriented individual. I feel as if there are things that must be done to start, maintain or finish just about anything. So don’t get me wrong, I love and absolutely enjoy the new experience that I’ve been blessed to enjoy, but I never had such an experience before. I thought that I needed to do something in order to prove my love and affection for said individual, and that what I was doing at the present, could never be enough. I had said long ago that once I enter a relationship that’s reduced to nothing but expressions of what I called “Lovey-doveyness” that I would be wasting my time. I believe that this pre-conceived notion that, if I don’t say so myself, was based upon virtually zero experience, effected a rule that stuck into my subconscious upon the inception of any actual attempt at practising this theory.

That’s another thing about success; we tend to place this plethora of profound rules and restrictions for which to base our success on. And that’s quite easy; if we’re under the bar, we fail, and if we rise above, we are successful. But what if our standards are wrong? What if the benchmark that we set is too high, or too low? How can we be successful? Could our self righteous indignation because of someone’s criticism of our “success” actually be without merit… because we ourselves are without merit? Or perhaps, just maybe, our scrape-through failing mentality actually demonstrate our brilliance and consistent fulfilling of the task we “fall short” of in the first place?

That’s why I love a thing Jesus liked to call grace.

Rules say we’re good or bad, or that other’s are either better or worse than us. It’s clear, defined and simple to follow. Grace? Now grace is a different story. Grace says you could be the worst in the world; I’ll still accept you, if you accept Me. Jesus offered us grace, because we can’t be good enough for him. Grace says above all else, that I love you. It doesn’t matter what you do, that will never change. Because I love you, I will go to the ends of the earth to see you spend eternity with me. It was never I’ll go to the ends of the earth to prove that I love you. In case you haven’t realized by now, Jesus is grace. 

So what does this have to do with success? Everything.

The more we focus on how well we are, and how well we do, the more we open ourselves to things such as doubt, pride, depression, fear and a host of other horrors. When we simply just do our best because we should, or because we recognize how much certain things mean to us (especially Jesus 😉 ) we begin to witness a complete change. Success isn’t that we lived to achieve, but rather success is that we live. Success isn’t that we earned x amounts of anything, but that we were able to use what we earned to the benefit of others. Success isn’t that we were able to love ourselves, but that we were able to love God with all we are, and to love others as ourselves. The best thing is to recognize that we were saved by our Lord Jesus Christ not by works, but by grace. To me, that in itself is success in it’s purest form.

So that thorn in my side was nothing else but a measure of my success, which in itself was flawed. I shouldn’t even try to do things to prove I love her, but simply do things because I love her. And yes; I love her very much 🙂

Have a blessed day folks, and I hope you, like me, stop striving to succeed and simply be successful. I love you all! 🙂

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(photocredit to http://www.tutor2u.net)

Love letter to the Almighty

My God,

I love you.

No poetic response, etched within metaphors

And rhythmic contours.

Just love.

Real, unabashed, pure.

From my very core.

I love you.

Seasons change, and so have I,

For I’ve come to love you more

I’ve come to appreciate what you do for me,

The good, the bad…

The ugly.

All that you have done to make me who I ought to be…

Me.

I love you.

I will never get tired of saying that,

Why? Because it’s true,

And love rejoices in truth..

That is what you said, right?

And I truly love you.

Grace, mercy and many other qualities

You bestow.

You elucidate what I appreciate,

Because I can’t say I earned them.

I was wretched just like the other guy

Making messes that no toilet paper could cleanse

No shower, no detergent.

Just blood.

My blood.

You love me,

And that’s why I’m clean,

Because You became my sin,

So I could be your righteousness,

By grace, through faith

I am now saved.

I’m free, full of joy in your presence

And full of love.

Full of love for you.

I love you.

I love you.

I love you.

Why? Because!

I love you Jesus.

Seeking compassion

In a way, this is somewhat a continuance of my last Real Talk entry. Perhaps it is a device of my own mind, but when I hear tragic stories, I tend not to feel affected in any way. I recognize that in the midst of it all, that these events are no longer surprising in light of the malicious world we live in today, and in some ways, I almost expect these things. In my country, murder has been on the rise, and more and more you hear stories of people around you who go through horrid experiences because of the tainted souls of a lost generation. I wonder if my passive feelings are right to have, and question the reason for the numbness of heart.

Am I being compassionate enough?

In a book that I’ve been reading, Jesus Is_____  by Judah Smith, I’ve been reminded that Jesus came not to be friends with the posh, well or religious of the world, but He came to befriend the lost and hurting. Countless times we hear that he was moved with compassion, and here I am sitting on my drum throne wondering if I’m being passionate enough because someone is praying their lungs out and it seems to me that I wasn’t moved at all. I tend to get a bit quirky around people who are in need, and my indifference scares me. The two greatest commandments God gave to us were that we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; the other that we love our neighbours as ourself. I can’t help but ask myself if I’m doing enough to achieve this end.

One may ask, (they might not, because they have an idea but should try their best to get the whole picture) what is compassion? Compassion may be defined as sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. Are we showing compassion for others? if we see someone hurt and in need on the side of the road, would we turn up our self righteous noses and scoff at their insignificance in our lives, or take a significant amount of effort to help them out?

Just something for us to think about. God Bless 🙂

Compassion

(photocredit to http://www.nickelnook.com/)

One

It’s appalling;

that when the moon has come

that upon a blessed night

it looks as but one.

shining brightly

upon a cloudless night

you can see it clearly

and bask in all it’s light.

the wonder of it all

engraved with unknown glyphs

yet concern and care is absent,

caught in  temporal rifts.

Tomorrow is uncertain

But I’m unaware of it’s plight

All i care about right now

is the moon i see tonight.

I once saw two halves,

more accurately just one.

but after eons of waiting,

the second half has come.

it shines on,

oblivious to the world around.

cares not for the chaos upon it,

for it hears not a sound.

I may not stay till dawn

but all i can really say

is that one moon is so beautiful;

it has shone complete today.

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(photocredit: http://www.howtogeek.com/45876/desktop-fun-moonlit-nights-wallpaper-collection/)

Real talk: Church Doesn’t do it for me anymore

For your information, I am still a Christian. Just thought I should let you all know that :p

I have the privilege of being on the pulpit often in my church. I was behind the drum cage today (one of my favourite places if you didn’t know 😉 ) and from my throne (that’s what the drum chair is called) I was able to see the congregation during the prayer meeting. I couldn’t help but notice that as the person who was praying got hyped up, that the congregation suddenly was “all up in it” what with hands upraised, the “spiritual sway” and eyes closed, with a HALLELUJAH! or two at intervals. Having the relationship with God that I do, I posed this question to Him then and there.

“How much of these people really mean it?”

I hardly ever get riled up as was the situation I observed, but I know that when I do, that I mean it. My prayers are usually quiet, and best of all, spent listening, as well as talking. For me, it’s a conversation, not a shouting competition. This example is not the only thing that I witnessed happening in recent days, however. I don’t always feel “in the mood” for worship, even though I’m up there every Sunday singing with the backups; I don’t believe that shouting an entire sermon to me (not that my pastor does this) is going to minister to me any more than if you just talked to me, and I certainly don’t believe that after you prayed for me, that I should come back the next week with the same exact problem. That’s when I realized something quite interesting.

Church doesn’t do it for me any more. Image

I can’t live my life on church alone. The church was never meant to satisfy me, neither was it meant to preserve me; God does that! All the feelings mentioned above are normal, and if you never felt them before, well that’s cool too. The role of a pastor is to lead his flock, but it’s the flock’s job to follow. As one of my old teachers would say, you can lead them to the water, but you can’t make them drink, in that the church can only give you direction, but can’t really do anything else for you. It’s up to you whether you want more of God or not. And I chose, like Mary, the better part, to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to what He has to say. To put it simply, I have chosen not to strive to be like Christians, but to be like Christ. I do hope that you too would decide to make this choice, because that is what this life is all about; not the church, but Christ. Needless to say, with the first revelation, a second one came as well.

God does it for me every time 😀

Decompose

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(photo credit to http://www.wallpaperzzz.com/hd-one-pawn-against-the-world-download/)

Beaten to death by mental hammers

crushing pride, joy and stability

pressed against the wall

with decomposing sanity

troopers storm the bulwark of my peace of mind

ready to barrage this bastion

declaring war on my future

throwing smokescreens of disparaging illusion

But

I refuse to let anxiety decompose

Worry will not reign over my mental domain

I can still take more blows

I can still fight

this battle is not yet over

tanks and air strikes may stand against

but they will not take this soldier.

no matter what toxic gas or missile blast

tries to poison my happiness

nothing will take me down;

I will overcome this.

Reflections of the past; on expected ends

It was only two days ago that an old friend mentioned to me some interesting words; words that in my heart I knew were true, but they never had the opportunity to explore the crevices of my mind and really unlock the revelation that lay within that arcane statement. 

“Sometimes, God likes to show us where we came from.”

I mentioned Jeremiah 29. a chapter from one of my favourite books ever (the bible <3) in a recent post and truth be told, it piqued my interest as of late. It outlined that there were some false prophets claiming that Israel were going to be freed from Babylonian captivity earlier than usual, but that was not His will at all. He sent word to them, saying that they have to wait their entire 70 years before they shall be freed from their bondage, and so to make peace with the city and seek to increase, rather than bereave themselves in a false hope in an illusory future. 

How does this relate? In the chapter God says something that most Christians love to quote. He says that He knows the plans that He has toward us, and to give us an expected end, as mentioned in some translations. The end He was stating was very much expected; freedom after 70 years, and He was sure to silence the mouths of those who told His people otherwise. 

We do face many challenges in life, some made of our own devices, but nonetheless God has an expected end for us. The only way for us to know that expected end is find out from Him, of course, which is no different from the illustration above, as He sent word via a prophet. These situations and circumstances, believe it or not, are meant for a reason, and in some instances might just be that expected end you’re looking for. But all of these things are future references right?

Let’s get back to the past then, shall we? 

Whenever we stare into the pond of the past, if we calm our minds enough as to not disturb it with the ripples of our excitement, we can see some of these “expected ends” that I mentioned earlier. Whether it was that vacation you worked your butt off to enjoy the luxury of that new laptop, that time when you were robbed of your comfort, possessions and sanity all at once, fell off your axis because that girl you idolized said no to you or whatever it is that you actually went through and not one of my experiences, you see why it happened, and the person you became because of it. It’s humbling, refreshing and invigorating to recognize that expected end, and reminds us that yes, what we go through is for a reason. 

So what are some of your expected ends? Feel free to share them so that others can be encouraged by them and learn from your own successes and failures. I’d love to hear them too! It’s not everyday that life teaches you something, but if you make it your business to teach someone else something, they will love you for it. 

So don’t be discouraged! Your expected end is coming soon! Love you all 🙂

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(image from http://mixedmarriages.wordpress.com/tag/learning-from-the-past/)

If I can start all over again

If I could start all over again

I would choose my paths with caution

I would have never been this way

And please Him much more often

If I could be given another chance

My luck would not run out

I’d praise You with all certainty

And lean on You without a doubt

If there was more time for me

I’d make it worth Your while

My words and deeds would be directed

Just to see you smile

It’s because of Your loving kindness

And Your mercy to sinful man

That I don’t have to worry about all this;

Your Word says I can.