Tag Archives: Lifestyle

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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Putting the Flesh to the Test

Recently I read over an insightful blog about running: Running every day keeps aging away: the most complete list of running benefits. After reading this I realized that living our lives in such a way that we exhibit self-control has more then just spiritual implications. It seems that our flesh benefits increasingly as the Spirit leads. I consolidated some of what I thought were the major points of the article.

Running Benefits include:

-Growth of brain cells

-Increased mental sharpness

-Ease symptoms of anxiety and depression

-Prevents osteoporosis, or bone and muscle loss

-Improves cardio

-Helps fight the early stages of dangerous diseases such as diabetes, breast cancer and hypertension

-Releases endorphins, or “runners high”

-Weight loss

-Anti-aging benefits

-Doesn’t kill your joints

-Inner sense of confidence

-Coordination

-Muscle tone

-Improved sex life

After thinking about this I realized just how important it is for us to become disciplined. Paul puts it this way:

 1 Timothy 4:8-10

“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.

One thing I particularly admire about runners is how much they hate it. Very rarely will I find someone who truly deep down enjoys torturing their body. Each and every day disciplined runners wake up to put their flesh behind them. They have to overcome aches, pains and apathy every single day. How many of us would receive spiritual blessings by overcoming the flesh everyday? I’m not saying everyone should become a runner. I’m simply saying that each of us as we pursue godliness should incur the blessings of activities that exhibit self-control, patience and joy. For some this maybe eating healthy, others this may be watching less television or going for a walk. I don’t want anyone to become to discouraged. Even if an activity seems daunting realize that you who believe have the Spirit of Christ living in you who empowers you to start new habits, get rid of old ones and pursue after Him in all aspects of your lives.

Ephesians 1:3-6

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Jake

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“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Living with grace can be a difficult thing. I find in some modern churches a setiment of going “old testament” on the lost. How often we forget that Jesus, “had compassion” on them. In our zeal for holiness we have neglected that which is holy.

Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”

This is a crucial. Sometimes we take convicting into our own hands. How soon we forget that convinction one of the duties of the Holy Spirit. As an example I have found people around me cursing up a storm who suddenly apologize to me for their salty language, as if I was hugely offended. Honestly I never told them to stop cussing around me. Was it me that they were apologizing to? Was it anything in me that they were convicting by? No. It was the Spirit of God that they suddenly found themselves convicted to. Since I was young I’ve pleaded to God for him to keep me from cursing and by his Spirit He has made this possible. Honestly, I can’t own this achievement because I know my nature and I know how often I’ve wanted to say something curse worthy but was prevented somehow.

Lets think about this: Which person has obeyed the commandments? A preacher who takes every moment to slam homosexuals? Or a person who shows love to people who don’t agree with them, or even hate them?

As Jesus was on the cross he uttered the words, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” We know not what we do. We need God’s strength to live the lives he wants us to. We can’t turn a blind eye to sin but we can turn our eyes towards compassion. They will know we are Christians by our love.

Jake

As a final note we need to read the old testament again. As harsh as somethings can be, there are many, many more places where God shows his mercy.

Micah 7:18 “Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love.”

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