Tuesday, March 1, 2022
Friday, August 20, 2021
We are individually equal because we are individually unique. You can actually be different from every other person by letting the power of God flow thru your experiences, background, and borders. God set these things up so that you might look around for Him. (Acts 17) and having found Him realize He was never far away at all.
Worshipping with other believers is just one of many things that we simply miust do and the fact is that wearing a mask all the time, praciticing social distancing, and other COVID enforced activities has caused a side effect of people becoming more distant and less friendly. We MUST not go down that road.
Hope to See ya Sunday,
Pastor Daniel R. Stevenson
Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
It's true the church has a number of issues-not the least of which is we all come from bad stock. Well, not really. We come from Jesus now but before that we came from bad stock.
Okay, so, sorry Mom and Dad. It's not that you are bad or that you were not good for me. Well, actually it is that you were bad but don't take it personally. I mean, we were all bad, right?
So, maybe my parents were absolutely perfect and I'm just a dirt bag that fell far from the tree. But, the bottom line is-I wasn't a good man. How I got there doesn't matter all that much but it seems to be the disposition (the Bible calls it flesh nature) of all people.
Since coming to Christ, Since believing and being recreated, we're better. Still, it seems like having come so far, we have so far to go. We are complete but even in our completeness we seem to find every way to emphasize our lack.
Our righteousness is found in Him alone and as the door to the sheep fold he guards us but we still have in here with us what we brought in - which is us. An old us and better- a new us but 'us' none-the-less.
The problem with the church is people. That's why we needed to be born again. Well, in all fairness it is only one of the reasons but here we are born again and fondly reminiscent sometimes of who we were. Be new, we teach. That old guy though, he wasn't so bad was he?
Your righteousness is as filthy rags. Yep, that's bad.
The church is the people among whom people are authorized to leave their old self behind. It is us cutting out the bad behaviors one at a time and if there are some we never get around to, well, so be it. It is us knowing that we are better together than alone. It is so easy to buy the lie that you are better off alone. But, it is just that. It is a lie.
We are precious living stones, flaws and all, being built into a precious temple in which He lives.
Let us mess up. Let us fall, fail, flirt with temptation when we shouldn't, and barely make it another day to do the kingdom work. Let us do all that and more as a bunch of screw ups who love God back as we have discovered He loves us. That works for me.
It's His righteousness that saves, not mine.
Thank God for the church.
Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Thanks for turning your ear in my direction but of course my real desire is that we should all turn our ear in the direction of the Lord. Lead us Lord, we pray, In Jesus' name, Amen,
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
I don't see how it matters much. Even though things on my body sag more than they used to and I've got hair where I don't even think hair should need to grow from, I really don't think it matters all that much.
I've got a pretty good idea where I've been as much as a an whose eyes have been opened by God and who thinks about such things can. I mean I think so. I have a pretty good idea where I'm going even I can only imagine what it will be like when I get there.
Jesus as master craftsman.
I have a very full life with lots of activity and very real choices that have to be made about getting down on the floor and playing with my daughter or letting the kids and grandchildren (her nephews) do that. She wants them more than she wants me at times like that but I think it is important and so here goes...
Ironically, something about energy conservation, better diet, hydration and sleep I think makes me more qualified to "get down" than I was when I was in my twenties. My legs shake less now. My bones definitely feel more brittle and I am stronger (perhaps that should have been -but I am stronger-but I am reluctant to edit it.)
Time is the single rarest commodity, cannot be purchased, no matter the amount of wealth that is offered, it is like love in that, but is dispensed with at a whim-unlike love.
Love goes the wayside all to often, primarily because at that time something else seems more important. IE, I broke up with her for another girl or I broke up with her because she was smothering me....Time on the other hand.
We dispense with time like no amount of waste matters when the opposite is true. It is the single rarest commodity there is and yet we waste it. Perhaps that is part of why it is so rare. If you've got a dream your busy but so many people don't have dreams, only pipe-dreams. Many humans have things they would like to see come true but are not interested in putting in any efforts to make sure they do come true unless those efforts are at the finish line (and they are still strong like at the start line.) However, finish lines come at the end of long races with much racing already done.
Life is not a sprint. Accomplishing significant things that you've dreamed of-also not a sprint.
If you spring a marathon you lose. Worse, you may lead others to do the same and there ya go...
So, let's guard our time and spend some of it on things that really matter like investing in our kids, while we also invest the appropriate amount in make a dream come true.
Oh, and by the way, a real dream, a dream that is worth investing in, helps others, loves, and encourages greatness in those around us. A real dream advances the kingdom of God. Any other dream is destined to turn into a nightmare as we face God and answer that all-important question, what did you do with the time I gave you?
He already knows the answer as things stand now but He is willing to help us change it if we cry out to Him.
God, help me use my time wisely, In Jesus' name, amen
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
This journey with God has been an incredible one. He has done so much. I feel like l would be hard-pressed to do justice. But the reality is that writing a journal is a spiritual discipline and if I wasn't putting in some serious effort I doubt it would do me or anyone any good.
So, as I sit here trying out new technology wishing that it would be an excuse for overcoming the hurdle, I realize instead that there hurdle is the very thing that I stand to gain from the effort. I am to be reminded that I am able. Because I am able and because God wants me to-I shall.
The spiritual discipline of writing a journal is putting something down, It is an effort to encapsulate the thoughts of the day in words that make sense to me now and that may help me get an overview later as to what is really happening. Since it's not over yet and I can see the basic value of better understanding what's happening I cannot deny the logic.
So I will set parameters as is done with all disciplines and of we go...
Friday, August 30, 2019
However, I am lead to think first about a particular incident that seems to provoke me.
The details of the event are a little painful to recount and the Internet is unforgiving and some form of long lasting and so I will not recount them. However, I will tell you that they lead me to thinking about how we think we are in charge even when we aren't.
With God, it is that we are able to make seemingly every day to day decision and expect that we are only doing what we think is right even when in fact we are not even doing what we think is right. Did you get that? Did I get that?
We make the decisions based on the day to day impetus which usually includes our desires and we don't take into account the unknown which is not actually unknown by God and actually cannot truly be taken into account by us because it is by its very nature, unknown. But some of that right there isn't entirely true, is it?
Not taking into account the unknown when it is unknown by us and known by someone else is actually not taking into account that the someone else knows the unknown. It is defined as not deferring to them. So, for example, if our enemy know ours weak spot and we do not, we must guard that which we do not know. We know that our enemy knows what we do not know and that to guard what we do not know is not really doable and so we should choose to avoid the fight if at all possible. To not avoid it would be to more than risk getting hit where it hurts, rather it would be to guarantee the outcome.
Ah, here's the rub. By the great complexity of the human mind, we are actually able to take into account that which we do not know. We can plan for the unknown to jump up and bite us in the behind. We have become so good (or some would say bad at it) that some people spend their entire time embroiled in the effort. This we call anxiety.
It is also called anxiety to face with indeterminate resolve the fact that you do not know the unknown. People panic. They panic because they do no know what will happen in a certain eventuality when in actuality if there ever was a time to panic it would be just the opposite time- when we do know with certainty the outcome and wish with all our heart to avoid it and know that we cannot avoid it. This is entirely different from stressing over not knowing the outcome.
Why is all this writing talking more about anxiety than it is about resistance which was the beginning topic? I was just thinking that and so I typed it. :) You read it and accordingly, you were just thinking it right after you read it.
Oh, if only life were that easy. But while we are making day to day decisions there are those who both want to and can actually be effective at swaying those decisions. The truth is that the more someone can sway the decisions of another the more they may be able to get what the desire. So, manipulating someone else becomes one possible road to the success of meeting your own desires. Still not there yet?
So, everyone has desires (1 John 2:6). Then, everyone inherently learns that manipulating others is one of the fastest ways to fulfill their own desires. If everyone has desires one of the easiest ways is to persuade them that a course of action will meet the demands of their desires. So, then the desires of an individual become the motivation for swaying others (get what you want) and the swaying is done by bringing to light unfulfilled desires and persuading them that their unfulfilled desires can be fulfilled by taking the steps that you propose.
Human desire becomes the motivator, the arena, the weapon, and ultimately, the master.
That which a man gives into essentially masters him. At least for a time. So, both the man who is doing the manipulating and the man begin manipulated are mastered by their desires. It's a vicious cycle that stops almost nowhere. The very same person that is manipulating his kids to get them to behave or to get them to get good grades which he determines will be good for them is in turn being manipulated by his boss, coworkers, etc. Moreover he is being manipulated by the desired outcome, feeling compelled to take whatever steps are necessary to entreat his children to do what they should. He will be distraught when he thinks his efforts are bordering on futility and delighted when they seem to be panning out.
Some, many, in fact, figure out that others are trying to manipulate them and they become cynical, jaded. They determine not to listen to anyone about anything but the best manipulators have tactics for that as well. They organize and can set the scene so that those who encountered by a genuinely nice person who wants to help them are so cynical that they won't give them the time of day. But the same resistant person will one instance later be persuaded to by something that they don't need in order to fulfill some desire that they have or haven't even realized that they have. They think they know and thinking they know becomes their downfall. They have a need to think they know and that need like all others can be manipulated.
Being a bit skeptical isn't necessarily a bad thing. If someone or something is leading you toward some inappropriate course of action you must resist. OOOp, there it is. We are finally getting somewhere.
Should we resist? Are their healthy things to resist? Can we submit and resist at the same time? Resist one and submit to the other? Resist and submit to the same person at the same time?
I'm not really going to answer any of those questions. They were meant to be food for thought and then I was tempted to take them as an outline and answer them but I'm going to resist.
Here's what is true. We were created in the image of God and so are by nature rulers. Rulers govern their surroundings. However, due to original sin and the resulting depravity we are at odds with creation. We want and sometimes go without because we are at odds. Without getting into it too deep-I want to, I really do, but I'm going to resist- the original sin of mankind was when man ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil when God told them they shouldn't.
Here's a side question for thought: Was it that Adam and Eve were going to be allowed to eat of the tree after, later? Or was it always going to come down to a choice between the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. No evil in heaven so no need of knowledge of it there...follow?
So, they ate, had their eyes opened and recognizing their nakedness, were ashamed. Needs, beyond the provision of God were now felt. These needs would now become the driving motivators for life (life outside the garden, life away from God, and life struggling to master that which now threatens to master them and had never before been a problem. Fast forward and here we are.
So, if unfulfilled desires have become the arena, the tool, and the object of resistance all at the same time then we MUST resist. However, its almost impossible to resist as I showed in the example of the vigilant skeptic that I shared above. Well planned or consistent resistance only results in giving in to those who have a much better tactic for overcoming your resistances. Most people seem to come down somewhere on the side of passive resistance blossoming occasionally into passive aggressive resistance.
By this I mean-and I don't want to get distracted here- they work to resist without making resistance a big deal and then occasionally become actively resistant while trying not to become overly obviously resistant. They feel justified in doing things that are almost aggressive to show that they are resistant but not things that are flat out obviously opposite. Slam the pots and pans, huff, make snide comments while on the surface giving in so that the person they feel is responsible "gets a hint" that they disagree strongly and are only supposedly giving in because they have no choice. This vaguely satisfies their need to feel like the are in charge and wars in the arena of desires in an effort to make the other person feel like they have an unfulfilled desire even while they are getting their way.
All this programmed resistance stems at least in part from the break between us and the world. God, and each other that was the outcome of the original sin. People are in depravity. They are driven by their desires. The only solution, the only chance of winning this war, the only chance of walking away from this conflict, is to do just that.
Deny yourself, daily take up your cross, and follow after Christ.
How do we make the big leap from being mastered by (as a tool or as a tool being used against you all the while living in the arena of it) your unfulfilled desires?
God knows the outcome. Remember, how I said, its a fool who doesn't take into account the unknown? I know I didn't say that exactly, but you got that right? It's also a fool who gets wrapped up in trying to take into account the unknown which they don't know. God does know.
So, submit the unknown to Him because He knows it. It removes the anxiety.
Submit the outcome as to whether your desires are fulfilled or not to Him. Deny yourself daily.
Most of what we have been programmed by the world's system to think we need we don't actually need anyway.
Then as we are mastered by Jesus we master the arena of our desires. We are focused on our cross. We take it up, not the bad things in life that we have to deal with but the end of life always in view as we live our daily lives. After the cross I'm going to be with Him forever and in light of this suddenly I'm free here and now.
His will, not my will be done takes on real meaning for me. Its what Christ prayed and as it becomes my prayer, I finally leave the arena, I drop My weapons, and I experience real victory.
You are not defined by your desires. They just outline and entrap a you that was not the you God intended for you anyway.
Be free. Resist everything else by NOT resisting God. Turn over once and for and again and again if necessary the anxiety that rises within you. Come follow Him and then you shall know that truth and the truth shall set you free. John 8:32