The year 2014 was a challenging year. Every year before that was challenging too. But what’s important for me to recall and never forget, is a question. Did I make my year challenging through disobedience to God all year, or did I remain obedient and thereby see waves of overflowing grace, power and success in the wake of obstacles? An honest assessment would yield that I experienced both.
This year and for all the rest of my days I choose to commune with God better and more than I ever have by choice and surrender to him. I recognize the longing to see Jesus face-to-face all of the time. I have hope to see his unimaginable glory in light and truth that surrounds me.
In this world, I stand in a unique place, with a unique opportunity, with a unique vision, with a unique call, and a unique power that comes not from anything in or about me, but Jesus Christ. And I know without a doubt, as all other Christians should know for their own callings, is that what I am to be and do will rock my world and that of others. I pray I am ready for that.
Before, and perhaps even as this begins to take place, I have a spiritual regimen of diet and exercise prescribed for me this year. In order to do my call, I must understand my growth as it relates to what I hear from God daily, and use it wisely, aggressively, and decisively. And, what I yearn for is God, but in so doing there will be growth in waves of glory to him through obedience for things that honestly and truly appear extremely scary to me. But I think this is normal, and I believe that I will come through in powerfully moving success for the sake of many, many lives!
The comfort I have is this:
“I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and new the anguish of my soul.” -Psalm 31:7
This is important coming out of 2014, the present and moving deeper into God’s intent.
To know that I am not estranged from God means heaven to me. To know that the creator of the universe thinks of me and knows my everything about me makes me want to know him more. It’s a beautiful interaction made possible through the most tragic, yet hope-inspiring exchange ever made: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I know to whom I should and can address my hungers, desires, hopes and hurts, without whom I see no other eternal refuge. Although, it is true that there are many mere finite places, people and things in which to seek pleasure, and around which one can build a way of life that even seems right.
I see countless human beings run into destructive ways of life, but come away empty-handed. I have been among them to make such an attempt, and more than once. Whereas when I have kept my eyes on Jesus, never have I come up short in my life from calling upon his name. The only time in which my hands were raw and bare, and bruised and beaten was from realizing that I was holding onto some evil habit that agonized me, so that it might become my destiny, just as it beat the breath of life out of me. So I know Christ lives and he goes before me to fight for me, sometimes even against me to save me.
As for persecution, I know it will come and has already come, particularly over the course of the last four years. As I’ve stepped more and more, inch by inch into what Jesus wants in my life and how I may live for him now, the wise have never failed to impart many words about God in my ears. Voices of all my critics–strangers and friends–have all essentially held to the same core message of the age.
Jesus is no God and no savior that you need, David. Or, Jesus was a good man who did many good things for people. But Jesus is not the son of God or an incarnate God. Organized religion is evil. Religion is evil. Spirituality is okay. Jesus is made up. The bible is made up of plagiarized stories and cannot be trusted. You just need to be positive and trust in the universe. Be what you want to be, and God or he or she or the universe will love you anyway. God is in you and everyone else. Tap into your karma to change your karma. Do what your body wants to do. Love who you want to love. Its all only natural.
“And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” -Matthew 27:39-40
“As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me, While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” -Psalm 42:10
My God is here with me now in name. He has identified himself and he has called me by name. “David, come away with me and I will be your eternal joy.” For centuries Christians have attempted to tell the truth of God’s perfect love and sacrifice, if by nothing other than their testimonies. I testify that Jesus is in control here. Let no one confuse you. Taste and see for yourself from what is happening to me. There is a lot of brokenness in this visage of mine, but there is a being at work in me. I am not doing it, I can promise you this; and his name is Jesus, by his most holy spirit.
For sure the death of Jesus at the time appeared to be utter defeat. But a pattern has been set. The cross is a mysterious thing–that is, the crucifixion of Christ. The plan and act meant to destroy life, brought life, which wasn’t known by the enemies of Christ. And surely enough, the reality that haters of Christ never seem to understand is that good prevails, while yet they fly headlong into the pit convinced that Christ of the bible is a lie, a liar or a lunatic–to include his followers. So as I die and am buried with him, and raised to new life in him, I now have the power to break forth into this world to be the salt and light I am called to be to testify to the truth. The light has come into the world, and he is reflected through his church for all to hear and see and believe.
My heart yearns for others to know him, just as I do. I love him and I hope others will give their lives for him as I have.
Killing the heart that beats to deify currencies of material and familial wealth, sex, money and notoriety–however little–is difficult, but totally possible with God. And in order for me to awaken to his presence, I have had to allow him to break me free from the bonds I couldn’t break on my own. Once he set me free, I realized what the words of John the Baptist and Christ himself really mean: The Kingdom of God is near. He is present right in front of me. And now he lives within me. How else can I explain this for one to understand. The reality of sin in my life forced me into hiding in tight dark spaces under the illusion that God could not see what I was doing, and that I have conquered the world with my escapade of finite exploits. What covering in this world will deflect the searching eyes of God? And of what exactly can we convince ourselves he will never find?
The extent to which I have come so far in what my calling demands is miraculous in my eyes to be sure, and incredibly strange as much as it is hard to believe, or much less accept, on the part of those who do not share my beliefs. And so this is that rocking I am talking about, and is going to take place in me and through me, by Christ Jesus, as I am the clay in his hands.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. -1 Corinthians 1:18-25
So, I stand ready for whatever this mind, heart and body of mine are being poised to perform. My strength to write this along with what is to come, is not my own.