19
December
2012

2013 Resolutions

Posted in : about life/the Christian faith

Yeah, I don’t know and don’t care what “the rules” are for this type of thing, but some of these resolutions are last year’s too. Looks like I failed some, eh? Some of them I actually *did* accomplish, and some of them are ones at which I *did* fail–and some of them are sorta in-between.

Like I said last year (you can click here to see last year’s: https://ktravisj.com/blog/perfectlyincomplete/?p=1537), it’s better to make it a daily goal to meet goals–both long and short-term goals. While I still believe it is best to better yourself *all* throughout the year rather than just CLAIM to do it one day of the year, I *do* wanna post some things on which I want to work, this next year.

Here are this year’s:

2013 Resolutions

1 ) Get better at resting and “doing nothing” sometimes

2 ) Live more “in the moment” by not always keep looking ahead to incessantly see, handle, meet, prepare for “the next thing”, the “next”, the “next”, the “next”…

3 ) Be more open about my shortcomings (like my inability to do very much home-repair type of things, or mechanical-related things; among other things at which I fail)

4 ) Love, and ALLOW myself to be loved, both

5 ) Don’t take as much BS from people–personally or professionally

6 ) Don’t second-guess myself

7 ) Clean up my language

8 ) Remain true to myself and don’t sell out–personally or professionally

9 ) Remain humble and remember that the Lord God has played a huge part in causing my circumstances and my environment to give me the opportunities to use my free will to get where I am and attain the things I have; it’s been a combination of both Him and His influence, and then also my utilizing my resources well. It is both. It is not only me.

10 ) Call, text, or message a random friend/family member/acquaintance more often, just to honestly see how they are doing


18
December
2012

You Know or You Don’t

Posted in : poems,stream of consciousness/random

If you know
Then you know;

You can let me know,
And we can let it go.

But if you don’t know,
Then don’t suppose,

Just let go and don’t control;
Let’s not pretend and show a show.

We’ll live, we’ll do, and talk, and so–
Eventually we’ll have our know.

–Travis J

Sort of thought of it earlier in the night, around 8.30 PM, but just wrote it out now, at like 10.45–11.02-ish PM

12-18-2012


26
October
2012

Refresh

Posted in : about life/the Christian faith

(please note: As ALWAYS, with ALL of my blogs: your comments/questions or any sort of discussion are more than welcome, just scroll down under this post and feel free to leave a comment, whether you’ve ever done it before or not, I’d love to hear from you and hear your feedback; whether you agree with me, or wanna disagree and call me stupid; if you’ve got an example in your own life to share–whatever; anything, just feel free to scroll down and leave a comment.)

Deuteronomy 31.9 — This little verse shows us a command that God Almighty laid out for the Israelites when He was in  the process of establishing them as a people group. One thing He stressed to them is that His Law that He laid out to them must be re-read every so often.

This is something of which I’ve been convinced for years, with our faiths in God: none of us are robots. We’re not databases. Just because you read the Word of God and understood it at one point does not mean that you somehow retain it  forever; nor that, I dunno, all your ills will be fixed or can be addressed because you once read the Word of God and it clicked for you one time. And I’m talking whether you’ve read it all the way through, or if you’ve just read a few choice passages that’ve seemed to stick with you and mean a lot to you.

No no no, we are HUMAN. We are weak. We have short memories, our physical needs displace the deeper, more internal things. We forget. We lose our focus. We have to be reminded of things, and get refreshed on things. As bad as we hate it, and as much as we want to think we are strong, we can remember, as much as we’d like to think “we’ve pretty much got it (our faith and our life) figured out“, it’s not true. You have got to be refreshed on God and His ways.

They key is to ingest the Word of God—the Bread of Life—and take it in as meaningfully as you can.

One of the more interesting ironies of the Christian walk is how those of us who were raised to regularly attend a church once or twice a week, and taught the tenets of the Christian faith and whatnot have always been encouraged to “Read the Bible more”, “Pray more”, “Think of others more often than yourself”, “Always be a better Christian” and whatnot.

That’s cool—I’m not knocking those goals.

But the ironic part comes in when you come across someone who was *NOT* “raised to regularly attend a Christian church”, yet through whatever sequence of events, they have found themselves trusting God through the Lord Jesus Christ, and then they CRAVE to learn about God, to continue to discover the character of Christ, and to ingest as much of God’s Word (the Scriptures, the revelation of Jesus, the WAY) as much as they can—and it revolutionizes their lives. They cannot get enough. They become obsessed and quite literally crave learning about Christ, deepening their knowledge, and applying the newfound truth into their everyday life.

So our minds tell us, “Oh well, I’ve been around ‘THE CHURCH’ for a longer amount of time that this other person who has only lately come to know Christ, so that means I know more and have retained more knowledge than them.” Mmmmmmmm not always the case. I’ve seen and come across people that are new Christians, and after only a month or two, they have so combed through Scripture and meaningfully ingested God’s Word that they are leaps and bounds ahead of people that may have been around “The Church” more, or read passages from the the Bible more times.

The thing to remember is just not to assume that “Amount of time I’ve been a ‘Christian’“, or “Amount of Scripture” I’ve readdefine your faith and your relationship with Christ and with God. Always refresh yourself in His Word. Always humbly approach Him and His Word, and ask Him to guide you as you read His Word. And don’t let yourself ever begin to think you know it all.

So just remember, don’t think you’ve ever “arrived” or somehow “read the Bible enough” or “stored it away enough” such that you can ever call yourself “COMPLETE”. You are not a database that can perfectly output Biblical answers/attitudes at any time you are prompted with anything in life just because you read through the Bible once, or just because you have a season in your life where you regularly took in the Word of God and you love it and could not get enough. Just never let your mind get to telling you that you have somehow “Arrived”, or that you have nothing left to improve on your life, or “you’ve pretty much covered it all and don’t much have room for any more”.

Stay humble, stay inquisitive; and stay loving.

— Travis J
11/2/2012

(please note: As ALWAYS, with ALL of my blogs: your comments/questions or any sort of discussion are more than welcome, just scroll down under this post and feel free to leave a comment, whether you’ve ever done it before or not, I’d love to hear from you and hear your feedback; whether you agree with me, or wanna disagree and call me stupid; if you’ve got an example in your own life to share–whatever; anything, just feel free to scroll down and leave a comment.)


11
October
2012

Why Would You Think God isn’t Equally Fair to *ALL* People?

Posted in : about life/the Christian faith

(please note: As ALWAYS, with ALL of my blogs: your comments/questions or any sort of discussion are more than welcome, just scroll down under this post and feel free to leave a comment, whether you’ve ever done it before or not, I’d love to hear from you and hear your feedback; whether you agree with me, or wanna disagree and call me stupid; if you’ve got an example in your own life to share–whatever; anything, just feel free to scroll down and leave a comment.)

Like a buddy of mine and I always say to one another: “What is wrong with you..??

Deuteronomy 1.16-17

God gave the command for the judges to be fair and impartial—to the resident alien and citizen alike; to the “great and the small”, alike.

Why is it that you people out there that hate God, hate Christianity, hate Judaism—and just hate religion in general—refuse to get it? God IS 100% just and fair, and  He commands us to be towards each other.

If you have any gripes about this life, you’ll always see me as the first one advocating that you should TELL God, let Him know—CRY IT OUT ALOUD! If you hate God, you think He’s not fair, or you’ve had bad experiences with quote unquote “religion”, and you just don’t see how any of the hoky old Bible stories could be true, TELL GOD! You’ll always find my advocating that God is a Big Boy, and He can handle your little cursings and complaints. Many times I bring up an example of a Biblical Studies teacher I had, who, when he was in his younger days, all he knew how to “pray to God” was to angrily curse and shout at God because he was angry at God. He ended up growing near to God. You’ll also hear me bring up the example of David, a character in the Bible, who was one of these characters to whom we’re encouraged to look up, as someone who was really close to God. Even this guy, David (in Psalm 88.14-18Psalm 38.3, and there are plenty more Psalms like these), cries out to God and accuses God. Like, God…can..handle it. And He can teach you THROUGH That. But it’s only if you’re honest—if you’re just cursing God because you just want to because you somehow think you have the right to, that’s a *slightly* different story.

That having been said, stop with this incessant whining that God’s unfair, He doesn’t make sense, religion is stupid, and societies like the United States—which are undergirded with Judeo-Christian principles at the root of our parameters of civil government and way of life—are so bogus. Just stop. God intended for everyone to get a fair shake—He don’t play favorites, and we, down here on earth, are not *SUPPOSED* to, either.

If you’ve got problems with the way law is executed, then fine, make known your admonitions—like, that’s what we’re *supposed* to do, and *expected* to do, within our civil government; and honestly, with your CHURCH, too. But jeez, stop with this BS about God’s not being fair, and to just throw out the baby with the bathwater and think all religion/references to God are bogus. The bottom line is that this earth is imperfect, people are imperfect, and guess what: the lives we all live are—you guessed it—IMPERFECT.

Grow up.

—Travis J

Started on 10-11-2012, 12.45-ish AM.
Finished on 10-12-2012, 3.55 PM

(please note: As ALWAYS, with ALL of my blogs: your comments/questions or any sort of discussion are more than welcome, just scroll down under this post and feel free to leave a comment, whether you’ve ever done it before or not, I’d love to hear from you and hear your feedback; whether you agree with me, or wanna disagree and call me stupid; if you’ve got an example in your own life to share–whatever; anything, just feel free to scroll down and leave a comment.)


05
October
2012

We Never Learn—Why Do We Think We Can Get Away With It..

Posted in : about life/the Christian faith

(please note: As ALWAYS, with ALL of my blogs: your comments/questions or any sort of discussion are more than welcome, just scroll down under this post and feel free to leave a comment, whether you’ve ever done it before or not, I’d love to hear from you and hear your feedback; whether you agree with me, or wanna disagree and call me stupid; if you’ve got an example in your own life to share–whatever; anything, just feel free to scroll down and leave a comment.)

Why do we think we can get away with it….?

A lot of times we base our moral choices on how much trouble we *think* we will be in, if we were to “get caught doing this bad thing”. It’s like we think, “How much can I possibly get away with?” or “I bet I can do this-and-this and no one will find out.“, “It’s just a little thing, what does it matter?“, or “The consequences couldn’t be that severe, I can deal with them..

Can you?

Somehow in our own minds we’ve made a way for ourselves to make bad choices. Like, we convince ourselves it must be ok. No one else much will see. The consequences won’t much be too bad.

Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.

There’s a pretty nifty quick snippet of a verse in the Bible, and it is Numbers 32.23b . It very succinctly says, “…Your sin will find you out.

Now far be it from me to ever just take a verse out of the context in which it is written, smack it into a blog, and try to drum up some semblance of truth about it, out of context, and cheat it out of its original intent or meaning. So in the interest of NOT doing that, the context of this verse is that God is telling the Israelites to do something. And He says, “If you do not do this thing I am saying, ‘your sin will find you out‘.”

There’s the context.

You may scream and cry and beat your hands and feet on the floor, and be like, “Hey Travis, this is the Old Testament—why are you as an Evangelical, New-Testament Christian quoting an Old Testament principle? Are you ALSO gonna abide by the rule in the Old Testament that says ‘you are not to let a fortune-teller live’?

In this blog post I’m not here to debate how much or how little we are to reference the Old Testament, or to discuss “Selective enforcement of rules of logic”. I ain’ bout dat life in this post. Above all arguments, the reason I think it is important for anyone to know the Old Testament of the Bible is because it gives you insight into the character and nature of God. And I think that is valid on many different levels.

So anyway, little verse here says, “Your sin will find you out.

So? What’s the big deal?

Well the big deal is, whenever you’re going about your day, when you are going about your week, when you are going about your LIFE; you know, you’re in school a while, you probably have a job or some sort of career in which you are involved; you’ve got some sort of a personal/social life (be it over the Internet, or with a real-life group of friends, or a mix of both); you go to movies maybe, you hang out, go on vacation every now and again; you go on errands, you’re out and about. Ya do AALLLLL that stuff—ya know, just livin your life—and you either HAVE some sort of moral standards, or you don’t.

Christian or not, you say/think/live/know “Some things are across the line, and wrong, and some are not.” I don’t care what the moral relativists are trying to make us think, we all have an inherent mindset that SOME THINGS are wrong and SOME THINGS are right. And if you’re a slightly thoughtful person, you’ll notice that you have DIFFERENT ideas and opinions of people around you—be they close friends or otherwise—on “what is wrong and what is not.”

And the thing to remember is that as Christians, we believe there is an objective “wrong” and “right”. But sometimes I don’t wanna phrase it that way, because it frames the whole question of right and wrong in a tired-old way; that while still true, may be able to be highlighted in a new way that can edify people even MORE, and get them thinking about their own lives on an even DEEPER level.

See, it goes back to the state of the world, as a whole. God made it AALLLLLL originally, and it AALLLLLL just WAS. And it was beautiful. Things just WERE. And that was good. Things were good—they were pure and fine. Simply by virtue of the fact that God created things, they were just pure and good. But then, through some events, a perversion of the ways of God began influencing things in the world, and it is that influence which now taints ALL of existence. We as Christians refer to this as “Sin”.

That’s all “Sin” is—anything that is “wrong” that you can think of, is, at its base, simply a perversion of something that was intended for good. Now, as Christians, we believe that God Almighty shared His Son with us so that we can again have some sort of picture of what “GOOD” and “RIGHT” an “PURENESS” once were. That’s why you always hear evangelicals Christians (like myself) saying, “God sent his Son Jesus Christ into the world to save the world.” God had to communicate to us, in some way, how His Love, His righteousness, His purity, and His perfection work. So He sent us a human being to simply LIVE OUT and SHOW us the Way.

God basically had to translate His ways down to us, in  way we’d understand. It’s like if you were to go to the jungles in South America and stand up on a rock and start waxing eloquent, in English, about the nature and character of “Stealing“, and “Property” and the concept of “Do unto others what you would want them to do unto you, and do NOT do to others what you WOULD NOT want them to do to you“, and describing all this stuff in abstract terms. Well, it just…wouldn’t work. Ya have to get on the level of the people whom you are addressing. So the best way would be to hand them an object and use body language to convey that this object is now theirs—BUT THEN YOU SNATCH IT AWAY! Ya have to SHOW them. That is how they understand the concepts. They’d have to be SHOWN.

That’s what I mean when I say God had to translate certain principles down to us so we’d *MAYBE* begin to *KIND OF* get it. Like think about it, when you read through the accounts of Jesus Christ that are in the Bible (in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), a lot of times Jesus would teach a principle, and people would scratch their heads and be like, “What? What’s that even MEAN..?” Well can you imagine if God had not sent Christ at ALL and just left us to wonder about the mysteries of His ways without even the guidance of the life and the lessons of Jesus Christ. :-O Scary. I know my dumb-butt wouldn’t have been able to understand.

So as we live our lives nowadays, like I say, after we accept that some things are just “Good and right”, and some things are “Bad and evil, and a perversion”, we still think that we can somehow “Get away with doing the bad things.” Well the truth is, you can’t. That’s why I think this Numbers 32.23b verse is so important. It says, “Your sin will find you out”; like Romans 6.23 brings it up again and says, “The wages of sin is death.”

Like, sin HAS consequences. And that is always. There’s no such thing as flying completely under the radar when you make a bad decision. You may *THINK* no one else sees it or will know about it—and you know what? That may be true. You may actually, LITERALLY, live the rest of your life and no one else ever know a thing about this bad thing you’ve done. This is where most preachers or teachers say, “~But God knows.~” And that’s so true, yet it’s almost so trivial it’s almost not worth mentioning. It doesn’t “bring home the point”, enough. So yeah, I’m not gonna lie: you may make a bad choice/do something bad, and you live the rest of your life and literally no one else finds out about it. Good job. Doesn’t that feel nice? Another thing you may think is that, “Ehhh, it doesn’t ‘really’ matter if I do this.” And you just sort of shrug your shoulders and do it anyway. You think there won’t BE any consequences. Or maybe you think there will be consequences but that you will be able to handle the consequences all right.

Now, while I said that the first thing you think may be true—that you MAY get by the rest of your life without anyone else knowing about it—that might be true, and that might happen, yeah. But the second thing I said is NOT true. The fact is, ALL sin has some sort of consequence, and there really is no getting around that. There are trillions and trillions (and it’s way more than “trillions”, but I just just that here to use a term with which we can say we’re semi, KIND OF familiar) of different variables that make up and undergird this LIFE as we all know it. And these trillions of different variables are all acting in different way, and a shift in one spot somewhere causes a change at a place elsewhere, and this is all always happening, and always taking place all the time—we of course cannot possibly even begin to possibly hope to being able to understand or define any of it conclusively.

But what I am saying to you is that all of your actions “strike a chord that reverberates into eternity” (quite possibly a paraphrase), as C.S. Lewis put it. And all of these countless variables are always acting and interfering with and reacting with other countless variables all the time. And stuff will come back to bite you. It always has, and it always will.

Don’t think you’re above it or smart enough to get out of it. Your arrogance *will* be your downfall.

—Travis J
Started on October 5, 2012
Finished on October 8th, 2012, around 11.00 PM .

(please note: As ALWAYS, with ALL of my blogs: your comments/questions or any sort of discussion are more than welcome, just scroll down under this post and feel free to leave a comment, whether you’ve ever done it before or not, I’d love to hear from you and hear your feedback; whether you agree with me, or wanna disagree and call me stupid; if you’ve got an example in your own life to share–whatever; anything, just feel free to scroll down and leave a comment.)


02
October
2012

Not a Waste

Posted in : poems,stream of consciousness/random

Dot every “i”, cross every “t”,
But still it don’t matter with what is to be.

There’s things you control and things that you can’t—
Don’t let your thoughts kill you, and run all rampant.

“Quit you like men!” Stand up and be strong;
When you’re confused in the day and nights are so long.

Huddle together—I’ve got you, you’ve got me—
We’ll cut our losses, move on, and tell the world our story.

—Travis J,
9/30/2012
2.25-ish AM


28
September
2012

To Be Grateful or Not to Be Grateful–That is the Question

Posted in : about life/the Christian faith

(please note: As ALWAYS, with ALL of my blogs: your comments/questions or any sort of discussion are more than welcome, just scroll down under this post and feel free to leave a comment, whether you’ve ever done it before or not, I’d love to hear from you and hear your feedback; whether you agree with me, or wanna disagree and call me stupid; if you’ve got an example in your own life to share–whatever; anything, just feel free to scroll down and leave a comment.)

Why do we do it? Why do we have such short memories and complain? Be grateful. Short message today, y’all. Just be grateful. Get some perspective on your life, people. “…I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.” Philippians 4.11b. That’s what Paul said in the Bible, in the New Testament. Yeah, the guy that was beaten, shipwrecked, tossed in jail, loved writing, used to kill Jews, etc. etc.

Numbers 11 shows an example of the Israelites’ complaining and whining and moaning—AFTER THEY WERE SLAVES IN EGYPT AND MIRACULOUSLY BROUGHT OUT OF EGYPT! And not only is THAT ridiculous—just the fact that they were complaining even after being brought out of Egypt—they had the gall to specifically state, in their complaints, and say how they missed how some things were IN EGYPT! O_O …really..?

Like, I’ve never been one of these people who thinks the argument is very valid—you know, the one where the parent says, “Eat your vegetables! There are starving kids in Africa that would love to have that!” Because honestly, logically, whether you, little-kid-in-your-kitchen-not-eating-your-vegetables—whether you eat your vegetables or not, that’s not going to solve the problem of world hunger.

But the idea is good though—it means that parents want their kid to have a sense of gratefulness for the food that they have. And that *IS* necessary, and that *IS* largely missing, in kids of first world nations.

So ya need to do something in order to broaden your perspective, if all you’ve ever done is live in your first-world lifestyle and never gotten a sense of what people elsewhere who don’t have a lot do, in their lives. Travel to another country, and do your best not to do the touristy thing or whatever—like, don’t make it a vacation or do the touristy thing that everyone does when they go on vacation there. Whether you go on a mission trip or outreach with a church, or some sort of outreach or charity, or if you KNOW people in a non-third-world nation or have a friend or acquaintance from a place like that who could show you around in another poorer nation or something, you should do it. It helps you to be grateful for your own wealth. Even if you think you’re “poor”, odds are, if you live in the United States, you’re wealthier than most other places you could find. And even if you really are *LITERALLY* poor here in the United States, it is without question you have the opportunity to overcome it, in the United States. Whether you are taking that opportunity or not is, of course, up to YOU.

I’ve honestly done a good job of developing this skill of being content wherever I find myself in life—like I’m not trying to be boastful or arrogant, but I just honestly *have* done a good job of developing that. I am pretty much able to be happy wherever I go. It’s why whenever my friends try to convince me that I must move somewhere else in order to be happy, I’m like…ok..? Yeah, I know I COULD be happy somewhere else, too. But, I am happy here. Like, here’s the thing: I will *always* be able to pinpoint both the negatives and the positives wherever I live, and I will be able to grasp on to the positives, make the best of things, and be successful, and be happy wherever I live. I know that I know that I know I can do that. So it’s like, why move..? Like, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

(Now that’s enough about me, I could go back and forth with you some other time about why I want to remain BASED in East Texas. But if you know me personally at ALL, you know me well enough that I absolutely LOVE to travel, and like people from all sorts of different walks of life, cultures, mindsets, ethnicities—what have you! Like, I’m not one of these closed-off people that’s SCARED of things or people that are different than me..? O_o Like, what the heck—never understood that. But anyway yeah, that having been said, I just genuinely love East Texas ^_^ .)

The grass ain’t always greener on the other side, folks, with things in life that look more attractive to you than where you are or what you have now. More often than NOT people think just because someone else has something you don’t have, or they live somewhere that you don’t live, it must be better, and you go for it—but many times when you get there, you find out that it’s not necessarily the case, as much as you thought it would be.

That’s it, people. Get you some perspective. Give you some thanks. That glass is half-full, it’s not half-empty.

God bless you.

— Travis J
Started on 9-25-2012
Finished on 9-28-2012, around 12.15 AM

(please note: As ALWAYS, with ALL of my blogs: your comments/questions or any sort of discussion are more than welcome, just scroll down under this post and feel free to leave a comment, whether you’ve ever done it before or not, I’d love to hear from you and hear your feedback; whether you agree with me, or wanna disagree and call me stupid; if you’ve got an example in your own life to share–whatever; anything, just feel free to scroll down and leave a comment.)


26
September
2012

Hurl Your Mind-Vomits Upward

Posted in : about life/the Christian faith

(please note: As ALWAYS, with ALL of my blogs: your comments/questions or any sort of discussion are more than welcome, just scroll down under this post and feel free to leave a comment, whether you’ve ever done it before or not, I’d love to hear from you and hear your feedback; whether you agree with me, or wanna disagree and call me stupid; if you’ve got an example in your own life to share–whatever; anything, just feel free to scroll down and leave a comment.)

One of the things that OFTEN escapes our memory is that God the Father wants to hear from you–God wants to hear from you. Like, for real you. Not fake you. Not the you that you show to everyone at work, at school, that you display to everyone on facebook and twitter, on your hustle all throughout the day. He doesn’t want your mask. He wants YOU.

And I say “it often escapes our memory”, but maybe this has never left your memory at all because you just aren’t even aware of this. Maybe your “Christian faith”, or “The Christian faith” as it’s been presented to you, has never delved in deep enough such that you’ve been told that. Maybe you’ve never heard or had this idea submitted to your mind–the fact that God wants you to pour out your heart to Him. When all the bullcrap shuts down, when you’ve left work, when school’s out, when you take off your mask and get real, when you’re down to who you really are when it’s just YOU, or when you’re feeling the after-effects of that party or drinking session last night, when the people who you thought were your friends abandoned you–whether it be because they were mad at you, or whether it’s just that ya both lost touch with each other because ya both weren’t as close as you thought y’all were. Like, when AALLLLL that kind of stuff fades away and disappoints, and you take off your mask, and you’re alone and you get to thinking about things and the way they are, those are the times you’ve got to remember there is a more fulfilling relationship, and there is more meaning to life than all of that, and it is when you know God Almighty on a personal and real level.

If you were to ever check out Numbers 11.11-15, you’d see someone named MOSES doing this. He even goes so far in Numbers 11.15 to say, “PUT ME TO DEATH AT ONCE” because of something that is bothering him.

And like, here’s the deal on that: Moses is doing “God’s work”, and he is saying that he wants God to put him to death. He is doing a really important work when he says that, and he *KNOWS* he’s doing a really important work—Moses is LEADING hundreds of thousands of people (the Israelites), and is taking them to a new place (spiritually and physically) where God wants them to go. But he gets tired! He stresses! He deals with all of those responsbilities, and he *knows* what he is doing is a good work, it is a right work, and it is what he is supposed to be doing. But STILL, all of that said—he *still* gets exasperated and proclaims that he wants God to kill him because he is sick of dealing with those people.

And that’s what I’m trying to tell you in this blog post! Two things:

1) It’s ok for US to do that—to directly express to God our frustrations in whatever extreme way we feel—even though we’ve got important work of our own; OR, even if you’re NOT convinced that your work is important, either way.

2) God WANTS you to do it—He wants you to cry out to Him, to be honest with Him and share the exasperation with Him—and it LIBERATES you when you do it.

Look at David in Psalms (seriously, there are a lot of example, but for instance, look at Psalm 88.14-18Psalm 38.3, and there are plenty more Psalms like these),  he cries out to God and accuses God; same with Job 30.20 and its surrounding verses. God can handle it, it’s not like we’re going to somehow offend God or blaspheme ourselves to hell or something. Are you being real with God? Would you dare to be? Have you learned how to pray yet, such to the point where you honestly wring out your thoughts and emotions to God Almighty and relay to His spirit what you are thinking and feeling?

I once had a teacher that told me how when he was first beginning to know God, he had no idea how to pray. Just didn’t know. And his vocabulary in those times, was just mostly rife with swearing. And so he would take out his frustrations on God—oftentimes swearing at God and to God. He had a lot of anger built up at the way his life was, and he wasn’t even sure if he really believed in God, and just etc. etc. You know. My point is that God’s a Big Boy (that almost doesn’t sound right to say, heh, but you get the point)—like, we’re not going to hurt His feelings somehow. And if that’s the way you feel, and you are that frustrated and that’s all you have to say, you need to let that out to God. Like—He is GOD, He can HANDLE it. This teacher of mine who did that found that to be, honestly, one of those most liberating things he ever did at the beginning of his Christian faith, and God ended up strengthening him and preparing him to be, tada, yeah, a Bible TEACHER eventually. O_o weird stuff, huh? That’s not to say everyone ends up a Bible teacher when you begin swearing at God 😛 but the point is, you engage in that element of REALNESS with God, and it surprises you how far it takes you in getting to know Him.

I cannot speak for other evangelical Christian denominations, but one thing with which I’ve noticed Baptists are really good is the theology that God is 100% omnipotent, 100% omnipresent, and 100% omniscient. Now, that oftentimes makes a conflict for us. We think to ourselves, “Why waste time telling God how I feel when He knows it anyway?” Well ok. Let’s take that same logic and uh, how’s about you just DON’T BUY your significant other any gifts this next year or do anything special for them this next year or do not tell them you love them or show them your love in any way this next year? Sound like a good idea? … Why not? “It’s ok—my significant other KNOWS I love them, so I don’t need to waste time saying it.” Uh, no—it’s called RELATIONSHIP…? Ya do all that stuff ANYWAY, EVEN THOUGH you “know that you love each other”.

It’s the same with God.

Sure He knows EVERYTHING already, but He wants to hear you come to Him with your burdens, or, just, your mind-vomits. Yes. God wants your mind-vomits. I just said that. How many times have you talked over something with someone and after you were finished, exclaimed something along the lines of, “Even though nothing was technically solved—somehow it’s better talking about it.”? That’s also true of the Lord. I wouldn’t hesitate to say it is EXPONENTIALLY truER with the Lord.

So the thing is, it is a two-way street of communication with God:

1) The way that you speak to Him is by prayer.

2) The way that He speaks to you is that He appeals to your mind and to your spirit as you grasp onto His Spirit.

Well how do I ‘grasp onto His Spirit?’“, you ask? It’s a good question, because it’s one of those hoky things you’re always hearing Christians say, and it’s gotten so watered-down, over-used, and cheesy that it has next to no meaning—until you experience communicating with Him for yourself, and then it all makes sense. You see,

God’s Word“, “God” “Truth“, “Love“, “Jesus Christ“, “His Son“, “The Gospel“, “Salvation“, “The Bible“, the Greek word “Logos

—these are all the same thing, it’s all the same concept. You could write each of these words on a white-board and place an equal sign in between each of them. Humanity’s entire history is about God’s relationship with mankind, and His revelation of Himself to mankind. Now we’ve cluttered it up with politics, geographic national boundaries, and compartmentalizing “religions” into being these cute little gray areas that different groups of people have different religions just based on whatever cultural heritages they’ve cooked up over centuries and millennia. But it all boils down to the fact that God is the ultimate Creator, and He sent Jesus Christ in order to best translate to us on our level of understanding, as humans, His ways so that we could understand His ways. And that’s what the Bible is for, and that’s why people call the Bible “God’s Word” or “the Word of God”—It serves as a tool to understanding God and knowing His ways. When the Bible says that the mysteries of the universe are in there—it’s true. And the way that I can say something that sounds so ridiculous is that I have made it a habit in my life to understanding the concepts presented in the Bible, and lived them out and tested and tried them, and it’s made ways for me—in countless different ways. It’s not only my own efforts, but it’s a combination of my efforts and God’s laying certain things in my path and guiding certain circumstances. It’s both. And you can’t ever grasp that, believe it, or appreciate it until you experience it for yourself. But it won’t happen until you start regularly, faithfully, humbly reading God’s Word (The Bible) and applying it, and COMMUNICATING WITH HIM and asking Him to reveal things to you, and then start doing it in your life. And not only must you regularly intake His Word, but you must do it from a humble, inquisitive mindset and ask Him to guide your mind and reveal His truths to YOU AS YOU read His Word. It’s both that you have to do—both READING it and ASKING HIM TO GUIDE YOU as you read it. I can tell you the way I did it when I didn’t know nothin about nothin—so just ask me if you wanna know.

I’m sorry, but there is no formula–no ABC, no one-size-fits-all, ya just have to do it for yourself.

Now, I am not saying that talking things out to God and praying/meditating to Him should be a SUBSTITUTE for talking things out with your trusted friends, family, and acquaintances; we *are* relational beings, and we should continue to ALSO talk things out with our fellow humans. But jeez—when are we going to realize just HOW important it is to maintain an ongoing conversation with God Almighty..?

—Travis J
Started on 9-25-2012
Finished on 9-27-2012, around 2.25 PM

(please note: As ALWAYS, with ALL of my blogs: your comments/questions or any sort of discussion are more than welcome, just scroll down under this post and feel free to leave a comment, whether you’ve ever done it before or not, I’d love to hear from you and hear your feedback; whether you agree with me, or wanna disagree and call me stupid; if you’ve got an example in your own life to share–whatever; anything, just feel free to scroll down and leave a comment.)


25
September
2012

Are You Compassionate? Or Do You Just Love Revenge?

Posted in : about life/the Christian faith

(please note: As ALWAYS, with ALL of my blogs: your comments/questions or any sort of discussion are more than welcome, just scroll down under this post and feel free to leave a comment, whether you’ve ever done it before or not, I’d love to hear from you and hear your feedback; whether you agree with me, or wanna disagree and call me stupid; if you’ve got an example in your own life to share–whatever; anything, just feel free to scroll down and leave a comment.)

 

This one’s not a hard question, folks—are you compassionate? Are you—really? Like, does the pain of others really have any sort of effect on you? Or when someone else is in pain, are you just more like, “Well, it ain’t happenin to me, so, I mean whatever. Hey everyone’s got their sad stories.

For a quick read, you oughta check out one verse in the Bible—Numbers 12.13 . This verse shows a prayer that Moses cries out to God.

So—big deal..? Moses praying to God in a verse, so what..?

Well, you have to understand just a little bit of back-story to appreciate this little prayer Moses was saying, here.

See, at this point in the Bible, God is in the process of leading all of the Israelites out of Egypt, He has now delivered His law to them, and they were getting to a point where they were going to have their own land, and be their own people group in their own right instead of merely belonging to the Egyptians anymore, etc. God was guiding them through all of this process and everything.

Now, throughout all of these years, Moses was pretty much the leader of all of the Israelites—and we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of people by this time, by the way. This wasn’t just a handful of shepherd-looking people, and a few kids and some animals. This is hundreds of thousands of people. Moses is the main one that leads these people. Obviously he’s not God, but God speaks more closely with Moses than He does with any other Israelites—and any other human being on earth, really. It even says as much in Numbers 12.8 how closely God holds and relates with Moses. So Moses is the main one to whom God relays messages that are ultimately for the Israelites, and Moses leads the Israelites, and everything.

Well, in Numbers chapter 12, the first few verses show two people—Miriam and Aaron (Moses’ siblings)—hating on Moses. They were jealous of him because God always spoke through him, they were sort of upset that Moses married some random foreign woman—they were just generally upset and jealous, and feeling those human traits of jealousy that we all tend to feel at some point or another against someone because that person just seems to have it all going for them, and we wish WE “had it all going for us” too. Now, we don’t know whether Miriam and Aaron were saying all of these jealous things and murmurings out loud AGAINST God, or out loud AGAINST Moses directly, or were just murmuring amongst themselves and maybe their friends/family/acquaintances/neighbors. But whatever the case, Miriam and Aaron get so upset they start verbalizing their grievances enough that God takes note of it and strikes Miriam with a disease, as punishment for murmuring against Moses, which is indirectly murmuring against God because of how closely God dealt with Moses.

So God does that—He says (paraphrase of Numbers 12.8),

If you two know how much I confide in and share with Moses, and how he is *MY* appointed messenger and servant above anyone else in the world—how could you possibly have the nerve to speak against him?

Then he strikes Miriam with leprosy, which is a bad skin disease.

Now here’s the point of this entire blog post, and my whole point, here:

After God does that to Miriam because Miriam was COMPLAINING about Moses, she was JEALOUS of Moses, and she was HATING on Moses—the first thing that MOSES does is CRY OUT TO THE LORD ON BEHALF OF MIRIAM and says, “O God, please heal her.” (Numbers 12.13)

Uncanny. Moses could’ve been a G about it, and talked trash and been like, “Yeeeaaa-heh—that’s what you GET for hatin on me! Gotchaself a SICKNESS, huh? God STRUCK you for complaining, huh? Guess you gonna hafta shut up from now on~

No. He doesn’t do that. Some may say he had the *RIGHT* to do that. If you go back and read over the many times that Moses beseeched the Lord not to utterly DESTROY the Israelites after they had done something stupid and God WANTED to destroy them; and then if you look at all of the time Moses had spent, just generally LEADING these people, and being a faithful servant to God in leading them, and just generally doing the things he was supposed to do; some may say Moses would have the RIGHT to react to God’s striking Miriam with the disease in such a way. But he didn’t react that way. That’s the heroic part.

Moses cared so much for this person and had so much compassion for her that even though this person who was jealous of him and was murmuring against him was stricken with a bad skin disease for complaining against him, he prayed for that person. He prayed for God to HEAL that person.

Could you say you honestly could have done that too? If you’ve had someone hating on you, and when they got something that was coming to them, instead of just wallowing in it and receiving some sort of worldly pleasure (which does not last long and does not fulfill you), you either pray for them, or you just somehow take a higher road. Could you do it? Would you DARE to TRY to do it? Would you dare to try to take a higher path than merely just, “Ahhh, sweet sweet revenge~“?

Can you think of a time in your life when you had someone hating on you, or been rude to you or whatever, and then they *did* get what was coming to them—in those times, did you just simply relish in that? Or did you take it as an opportunity to pray for them, or somehow show the un-worldly, against-the-grain love of Christ to them in some way after they got what was coming to them, even if you may have every right to just relish in it and rub it in their face?

The love of Christ are the ways of God–it’s one-in-the-same concept. And the love of Christ and ways of God always surpass, outdo, exceed, and are superior to the ways of this world. On that you can always count. There is more liberty to be found in approaching things through the lens of His ways, as opposed to the way that the world and your flesh try to deceive you to act. Moses had every reason to just sit back and be like, “Oh yeah, Miriam got what was comin to her—I don’t care that God struck her with that disease.” Yet, he didn’t. He had compassion upon her and prayed for her.

How would you react? How *will* you react next time?

—Travis J
September 25th, 2012
11.20-ish PM

(please note: As ALWAYS, with ALL of my blogs: your comments/questions or any sort of discussion are more than welcome, just scroll down under this post and feel free to leave a comment, whether you’ve ever done it before or not, I’d love to hear from you and hear your feedback; whether you agree with me, or wanna disagree and call me stupid; if you’ve got an example in your own life to share–whatever; anything, just feel free to scroll down and leave a comment.)


10
August
2012

All in the Same Boat

Posted in : about life/the Christian faith

It doesn’t really matter who you are—we’re all in the same boat.

I don’t know why we’ve let our churches get to the point where we act like those of us who are involved in a local evangelical Christian church are also in some sort of inner-club and we treat people who are NOT “in” with us differently. I try not to do that, and if I were to be honest, for the most part, I don’t think I do treat them any differently. But SOMEONE in the church must do this because whenever I talk and listen with people who are NOT in regular attendance at some sort of local church, their mindsets overwhelmingly are things like, “I’m not good enough to go to church”, or, “I don’t want to go to church because people will judge me.

So anyway, I dunno how we got to the place where that’s the aura we give off, but sadly, that’s where it is. I have my suspicions as to how we got this way, but ultimately, they’re just suspicions; and honestly my suspicions can basically be summed up as, “Well, we’re all SINNERS”, meaning those of us in the church are sinners too, and we allow our flesh to influence us to start acting a certain way that’s not the way the church was SUPPOSED to work. But anyway, moving on..

But the truth is—we’re all in the same boat. All of us people. We’re ALL downfallen. And whether or not someone makes a choice to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior or NOT, we continue to think, act, and live in a downfallen way, just because we are products of this world. So whenever possible, when my acquaintances say something like, “I’m not good enough to go to church” or, “I don’t want to go to church because people will judge me.” I try to talk to them and say two things; I tell them, “Look, neither one of those things are what ‘church’ is about, and there are people/Christians/churches out there that actually get that, so just know that.”

God Almighty has an individual, unique, and real love for all of us here on earth—so why is it we forget that? Like I keep saying—WE’RE ALL IN THE SAME BOAT.

When God was setting up the Israelites as a people group, and establishing their rules and laws and helping them get started and all, there are four verses in Leviticus that are short, but really telling:

– Leviticus 4.3a – “If it is the anointed priest who sins…”
– Leviticus 4.13a – “If the whole congregation of Israel errs…”
– Leviticus 4.22a – “When a ruler sins…”
– Leviticus 4.27a – “If anyone of the ordinary people among you sins…”

And then each one of those verses goes on to say what they have to do in order to get redeemed from falling into sin. But the point is—look, God pretty much covers all of the bases when he was listing what to do if anyone sins. God’s justice is so perfect, He doesn’t assume that ANY PERSON down here on earth is above sin. Look, He even gave instructions for what to do if the ANOINTED PRIEST sins—heck, that was the FIRST ONE IN THE LIST!

Since God realizes no one’s perfect, He set things up with the intention that *ANYONE* can sin—EVERYONE is capable of it, NO ONE is above it. He did not hold any person as being above the influence of sin.

So the next time you get tempted to think of yourself as just SO set apart because, you know, you’ve been saved for years, you regularly attend church, you’re “doin pretty good in not sinning” (you think)—remember that the person you saw or heard about the other day engulfed in sin, not attending church or anything—you are in the same boat as them, as that person is as precious to God as you are to God. Both of you. Equally.

We’re all in the same boat.

–Travis J

Started on August 10, 2012

Finished on August 14, 2012, 10.37-ish AM



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I'm very big into education, and my energies are devoted to inspiring this desire for education into other people--at home and abroad.

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