Category Archives: Prayer

Confessions

Lately, I’ve been feeling this incredible urge to get away from people. I feel like I’ve wasted my life sometimes. I don’t want to see how much time I’ve spent watching television or sitting on the computer browsing Facebook or doing other meaningless tasks. I’m tired of living an empty life. I’m tired of seeking relationships that go nowhere. I’m tired of going to church and singing songs while the collective congregation drives past the hobbling man on the street trying to put him out of their minds.

I feel like if this is all life is then I don’t want it. I don’t want the fairy tale life with a wife and three kids and a nine to five job. I want to live. I want to enjoy my work and I want to work hard. It seems like there’s no more wilderness. No place to get away from civilization. With technology people can invade your life whenever they want.

Besides that I feel like our society is lukewarm but were so used to it that we have no idea want the alternative would feel like. We think we’re living the gospel but we can’t remember the last time we’ve shared it. We act like were pure but go home and watch porn.

If that wasn’t enough it seems like the only motivator we have is enjoyment. If we can’t find some way to enjoy something or we can’t have fun then we don’t usually do it. Everything has to be “fun.” Hedonism at its finest.

When Jesus tells the rich man to give everything he owns to the pour and follow him, I think he was talking to us. Sure we’ve obeyed all the commandments and we’ve appear stainless before others but God knows our hearts. He knows the deep down desires we try to endlessly satisfy only to be left craving more. It seems like we’re the rich many.

We hang so tightly onto this life that we loose it. How many of us could give up all we had to follow Christ? That doesn’t mean that we become bums on the streets. We still go to work and we still have things that we own but we make a mission of giving instead of getting.

Its said that giving is better than receiving. As a musician I would much rather write and play a song for somebody than listen to a song. This must prove true it all the other areas of our lives. I’m sure giving away our useless clothes will feel better than buying an expensive brand new outfit. Our lives were meant to be poured out not filled up. Whats the point of continually living for yourself. You’ll never be happy. We as Christians should live for others. The bible says to love God and love your neighbor as yourself.

I either have weird way of loving myself or I don’t know my neighbor. As Christians we should make the world a better place, not add to the noise. Its sad to see the way our economy is heading. I’m not talking about jobs, but the general mindset that we have to getting something. I truly believe with all my heart that the only thing that will practically help this economy is cheerfully, unreserved giving. We shouldn’t steal from the rich and we shouldn’t ignore the poor. We as Christians should lead by example and give ourselves away. Then the world will see what makes us different.

Lately I’ve been fasting and praying trying to get closer to God but I can’t figure out why I’m not getting any response. I feel like I put all my effort into reaching Him but it feels like I’m being ignored. Awhile ago I circled this verse in my bible and I came back to it recently. Have I been letting the oppressed go free? Have I been feeding the hungry and giving shelter to the homeless? God isn’t asking for our works, but if we have any faith at all it should reveal itself in our works. Faith without works is dead.

Isaiah 58

New Living Translation (NLT)

True and False Worship

58 “Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast.
Shout aloud! Don’t be timid.
Tell my people Israel[a] of their sins!
    Yet they act so pious!
They come to the Temple every day
and seem delighted to learn all about me.
They act like a righteous nation
that would never abandon the laws of its God.
They ask me to take action on their behalf,
pretending they want to be near me.
‘We have fasted before you!’ they say.
‘Why aren’t you impressed?
We have been very hard on ourselves,
and you don’t even notice it!’

“I will tell you why!” I respond.
“It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves.
Even while you fast,
you keep oppressing your workers.
What good is fasting
when you keep on fighting and quarreling?
This kind of fasting
will never get you anywhere with me.
You humble yourselves
by going through the motions of penance,
bowing your heads
like reeds bending in the wind.
You dress in burlap
and cover yourselves with ashes.
Is this what you call fasting?
Do you really think this will please the Lord?

“No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people.
Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.

“Then your salvation will come like the dawn,
and your wounds will quickly heal.
Your godliness will lead you forward,
and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.
Then when you call, the Lord will answer.
‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.

“Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.
Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!
10 Feed the hungry,
and help those in trouble.
Then your light will shine out from the darkness,
and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
11 The Lord will guide you continually,
giving you water when you are dry
and restoring your strength.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like an ever-flowing spring.
12 Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.
Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls
and a restorer of homes.

13 “Keep the Sabbath day holy.
Don’t pursue your own interests on that day,
but enjoy the Sabbath
and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day.
Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day,
and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly.
14 Then the Lord will be your delight.
I will give you great honor
and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”

I pray that we can wake up before its too late. I pray that we can be the church that God wants from us and that we can overcome the lukewarmness around us. I pray this for myself just as much. I want to be a worshiper in spirit and truth not in name only.

-Jake

Here’s some good Hip Hop.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78MXG7NEE2M

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TR3h2qbJERw

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Wanting to Hear and See God

I don’t know about you but I really want to hear from God. Nothing makes sense in my life. Lately, I’ve felt this draw to get nearer to God and to become more intimate with Him. Like my entire being is craving His presence. 

The other day I had some things happen to me that have made me very upset. When I heard the news I spent much of the night praying and crying. The entire time I was yearning for God’s presence. I can’t really explain it. I just want my prayer times to be intimate with God. I just want to speak to Him like a friend talks to another friend.

In all honesty I don’t feel much happier than when I heard the news but I’ve been able to use the time to draw near in prayer. Sometimes when I run out of words I raise my hand to reach up to God hoping that he’ll grab my hand.

Sometimes its important to remember that when it seems like nothing is going right in your life that your alive and awake. Your alive in the sense that God has given you another day to draw closer to Him and your awake in the sense that this pain has awoken you from your sleep.

I don’t know what is going to happen in the days to come but I want to use this opportunity to become a prayer warrior. The other day I heard this quote from a pastor at the United Pastors Network conference:

“Prayer isn’t used to support your ministry; it is your ministry.”

I have seen God do amazing things through prayer in other people’s lives and I want to see that happen in my life. I don’t want you to get the feeling that I’ve never prayed because I pray all the time. I’m just trying to come to grips with how much work I need to in this area. Its easy to pursue God like a checklist. “Okay, I got this done today now I don’t need to do it again until tomorrow.” But God wants us to draw near to Him intimately. I don’t know what God means by the word intimate but I’m excited to find out. When we read about people in the bible who did great things we often find the phrase, “the Lord was with him.”

Our power to live out the gospel comes from our proximity to God’s presence. Prayer is that access to God’s presence. If we could only realize what prayer actually is then our lives would turn upside down.

“In a sense prayer is requesting an audience with the maker of the universe.”

Just think about that for a second. Doesn’t that make you want to pray? Yesterday I turned 22 and its my goal that if I do one thing differently this year it would be to pray; more often, more passionately and more intimately.

Jake

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