Wednesday, July 30, 2008

In prepared always...

Every morning on the way to work, I listen to KWAVE, and usually at that time Pastor Greg Laurie from Harvest Ministries is preaching, or sharing a word for the day. Well, today Pastor Greg shared about a devastating moment in his life...take a listen and watch this video clip...

I am touched that even in a moment such as this, where a life has been lost, this man still reaches out with grace and mercy to fulfill what God called him to do, and that is preach the Gospel in and out of season, always ready to give an account of the hope of Christ living within. We do rejoice in the knowledge that Christopher is in eternity now, and offer our condolences to the Laurie family during this difficult time.


This youtube post contains two videos that I came across recently. The first is a narration of a young man by the name of Mike Guglielmucci from Hillsong Music, a song writer who shares something about his life...

The second video Mike sings the song Christ gave him...

Such a touching moving God be the glory!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Wretched man that I am!

It's no wonder there is such an abundance of frustration in the world today. The purpose of this entry is not to judge anyone, but rather to look a little deeper into my own life and try and find some semblance through scripture as to some of the trials being faced and endured.

Romans 7:14-24
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. ~ This is the dilemma that causes frustration. I totally get it. I fully comprehend the state of my life, and yet echo the same truth of the scripture in my life. Why is it so incredibly easy to do what I do not want to do, yet struggle to do that which ought to be done? Such a frustration! Strange as it may seem, if we are totally honest each of us will experience the same dilemma. We will do easily the thing that we know is wrong, yet struggle with immense difficulty to do what is right. In many aspects of my life I have made definitive internal changes, and have small victories in certain areas, but others rage out of control and cause great inner conflict.

Paul often spoke of a thorn in his flesh. I wonder what it was for him? I know mine, and sometimes I wonder if it is indeed a thorn and not a sword? How is that the same mountain will be circled day after day, week after week and so on? At what point will victory come? Is it given to each of us to carry a thorn in the flesh and wage a war against sin that easily camps at our heart's door? I think the answer is a resounding yes. There is no person alive on the face of this earth who is perfect, nor has attained total victory in every area of life, and is walking in total and absolute victory. I do not believe this is possible - yet! Only when Christ returns then we shall be like Him according to His promises.

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! Herein lies the answer. Only Christ can rescue me from my own body, rescue me from myself, rescue me from the perils of sin and bondage and the thorn that is hard pressed in my flesh, that leads me to do what i do not want to do, and hampers my ability to do what is right.

I find one of the simplest commodities in life is seriously lacking, that of being honest. In passing conversation rarely will anyone go into any depth or detail as to how they really are doing. Some people will be like an open book, and let you read their life story without hesitation. Others will give you the proverbial nod and smile, and assure you they are "fine". Can you imagine if we were transparent and open, honest and desiring of growth to the point where we can say it like it really is? Then there are those who will let you know how they are doing in truth, and suddenly people will distance themselves from "problems" for fear of what it may cost them. Don't get me wrong, people always relate personal problems to "what is this going to cost me". Will this cost me in terms of time, effort, resource, finance...what cost will I incur if I stick around listening to your problems? And so the cycle of frustration spins another revolution.

Sometimes life circumstances will confront you and demand change. For the longest time I was quite the fussy slash picky eater. I was impatient and had what could be termed as a short fuse, becoming angry at the most ridiculous unmerited issues. If we visited somewhere, and were offered a meal, I would simply mask the flavor by dousing the entire plate in salt. Was any of this good behavior? No. But that was me! Something had to happen to get my attention and give me the correct perspective of my poor behavior and attitude. So, what happened...?

The journey of coming to the USA, starting life over, and learning to adapt and survive were a part of the process. A larger portion of the inner change in my life really started in 2005 when Mom was diagnosed with an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. I was totally convinced the surgery would be a breeze. She would go in and come out within the prescribed twenty one days, and then work on her strength and visit us for Christmas! What could go wrong? I mean come on, let's be real, Mom loved the Lord, He would be with her, bring her through this life threatening surgery, and she would have an amazing testimony...yeah right! Mom had the surgery January 27th 2005, and on March 20th 2005, Mom went to be with the Lord. Then came the news on December 26th of 2005 that Dad was not doing well, a visit to the Doctor would reveal NSCC (non-small-cell-carcinoma) lung cancer. Having lost Mom a year earlier, I knew this would be a time of drawing near to God and trusting Him for whatever outcome would be according to His will. The walls in my life began to come down and I realized that I could never manipulate the Lord. I would simply have to put my trust in Him and accept His plan for Dad. Well, May 5th 2007 Dad went home to be with the Lord. **I will be writing an entry about Mom and Dad in a dedicated article**

The passing of Mom and Dad impacted my life greater than I ever thought possible. You know how sometimes you can think to yourself that you have it all together? I soon realized I didn't have it together and needed Him to put the pieces back together in my heart. Suddenly, sharing a meal with someone became special and appreciated, what used to irritate me no longer drew my attention, anger subsided and the desire for peace and humility enshrouded my heart.

Life circumstances will get your attention to change, if you let them.