Tuesday, July 15, 2008

!No Puedo Salvarme!

This morning, I didn't have any duties at work, so, after running and breakfast, I returned to the bay (where I live with about 40 guys), and did some work-related reading in the lawn chair beside my bunk. I was feeling exhausted and my thoughts started drifting toward my life, a history of mistakes, where I'm at today, where I'm going, etc…thoughts that were leading to the exact opposite way of thinking that I blogged about earlier this week (What's Choking You?). So, against my better professional judgment, I climbed into my rack to take a nap (at 1000 in the morning) and drifted off to sleep. Have you ever been awake and asleep at the same time? I woke up feeling this major oppression. I can only describe it as a heavy feeling. My eyes were open and I was staring at the bunk above mine. I willed to get up, but I couldn't. I sensed this very obvious spiritual warfare taking place in my presence and against me. I suddenly noticed my legs were bound together and I physically could not move. I tried to sit up, but my body refused to react. My lips were sealed as I tried to speak, and then yell. I was unable to utter even a sound. Alone in the bay, I started yelling the name of Jesus, but I was still trapped. It was quite a fearful experience. I think it lasted about ten minutes. I just kept repeating the name of Jesus over and over again, until finally I felt released, and was able to sit up. The heaviness of this oppression probably lasted another 30 minutes or so. I cannot explain any of this, except that it has happened at least three other times in my life. The most memorable occasion took place on the night before my wedding in 1993. At that time, I felt like I was being choked. There was this feeling that the enemy did not want me to marry Kelli. In today's battle, I can't name a particular sin or behavior that would have initiated this apparent attack. Life has been "normal" lately, for lack of a better description. I know that God is moving in my life, and that His victory will be won. No puedo Salvarme! I can't save myself.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Whats choking you?

What's choking you??

Do you remember when Jesus was telling his disciples about the farmer dude who planted a whole bunch of seeds in different types of soils during planting season? Those seeds all reacted quite differently according to the type of soil in which they were planted. I believe the soil you really want to stay away from is the soil that contains a lot of weeds. Those weeds will choke your seeds, or the resulting plant, to death. It seems Jesus often communicated to his disciples and us through these crazy little stories called parables. He rarely laid down the law. He simply suggested that people ought to do what they know they should do. He usually ended his parables with a statement like: "He who has ears, let him hear." One of my pastors at The Well, Matt, once spoke about how complex our relationship with God is. When you think about it, along with everything else in the universe it really is mind-bogglingly complex and unfathomable…yet, if we truly know God, our relationship with Him can really be quite simple. When we don't trust God, then that is often when we end up in those weed-choking predicaments of life. Partly, I guess, it's because we choose not to listen. Even though we have ears. I have had ears my entire life, at least as far as I know. I've seen the baby pictures. Whether it was excess ear wax or the foreign language that was spoken, there were many times in my life when I chose not to listen. I allowed the weeds to grow up in my life and choke me out. I was down for the count, and oxygen deprived, and failed to recover, until Jesus did some major landscaping in my life. I think when most of us get choked, like full throttle choked, it's because of fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of what's going to happen…to us. Fear is like lack of faith. Somewhere else Jesus asks us if, by worrying, we can add a single hour to our lives. I believe Jesus knew what he was talking about. Today, at The Well, Matt defined worry as failure to…be here. That is not really a complex statement at all. But, to me, it's quite profound. When we live in the past or when we begin to contemplate the future with little knowledge of how things will actually turn out, we stop trusting in God's sovereign plan. I don't necessarily subscribe to my Muslim friends' "in'sahalla" answer to every one of life's challenges. They often live quite fatalistically and resort to inaction when faced with a problem. What I mean is, in reality there are consequences for every one of our actions or inactions. That is a law of physics I learned in high school. I got a "B" in that class. We have to live life in the here and now and make decisions and be proactive while simultaneously Do you know what epinephrine is? If I had scored higher than a "B" in chemistry class I could probably tell you what the chemical compound breakdown consisted of, but I didn't so I won't. Epinephrine is really the same thing as adrenaline. One reason we worry so much, Matt suggests, is that we never observe "Shabbat", the day of rest that the old testament of the Bible talks about. I learned recently that God doesn't require us to observe the Sabbath for HIM, but rather he wants us to observe the Sabbath for US. Do you know we need a day of rest, because during a typical week we tend to be so shot up and high on epinephrine that we can't rest. Americans can be so production driven, and every time we start producing or thinking about producing our adrenaline starts flowing. And that sure causes a heck of a lot of worry. Apparently almost anything we "do" will instigate the flow of epinephrine through our bodies. This could simply be driving our cars, working through a project at the office, being involved in an argument, receiving a smile from a pretty woman, or even logging on to your computer to check emails or read someone's blog! And once epinephrine is releases, it might take hours to dissipate. All of that just to say that we need to rest. If we take one day of the week and do almost nothing, or at least change our routine, I think we will notice a huge difference. Can you imagine a day when you don't drive anywhere, don't check any email, or even watch TV? It would probably take some getting used to. You might go through epinephrine withdrawal. But it would drastically change your life. We need to stop worrying so much. The wise writer, Solomon, in Ecclesiastes realized this. He boiled it down to there being a season for every thing, so quit getting so stressed out about what happened or what might happen. So, what is choking you? Live for the future by choosing to be well and weed-free today. trusting in God's will.