An Update On My First Book

My first book: The Emotional Struggle, is now an internationally known book. As it is currently making it’s way to Ireland!

If you haven’t read it yet, please feel free to do so. Here is also a recent review:

read this book. This book is raw and open about the life of Brandon and his struggle with his “disability” and his walk with Jesus and IT WAS PHENOMENAL!!! i will journey to the next book you wrote!! I loved your complete honesty and all of your quotes, it literally opened my eyes to how your perception of how people look at you and how you have felt and probably still feel. Life is literally a persecution when you love and live for Christ, regardless if we backslide a bit or not, we all do. But dang, I LOVED THIS BOOK!  -Carla Vice

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Purchase copy here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1434348113/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=31933057530&hvpos=1t1&hvnetw=s&hvrand=9081708957811739779&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=1023191&hvtargid=kwd-6817054661&ref=pd_sl_jr1dfs8fm_e

 

 

My Heart for The Special Needs Community- And The Real Problem

As a person who has lived with cerebral palsy for thirty-two years, my heart has in particular gone out to those with special needs. Be it mental or physical, I can remember being in junior high and asking for permission to leave my last class, just so I could go down to the special needs classroom and help in any way that I could.

I loved these kids, I’ll never forget how some of their faces would light up whenever I would come into the classroom. It saddened me that they had to have their own classroom away from the rest of the school, but that’s another entry all in itself. These kids were like my own, they were a part of me it seemed. It takes people with big and calm hearts to work with them because it can be very taxing mentally and physically.

I have always felt protective of these people, and probably will until the day I die. In the last few days, I have lost my mind over the fact that four black young adults kidnapped a white man with special needs, they beat and toured him. All because he apparently supported Donald trump. I was angry and wanted to get my hands on each person involved.

Personally, I think that the book should be thrown at them, the same way the book SHOULD have been thrown and the two white idiots that assaulted a young man with special needs and happened to be black. Both sides should have had equal consequence, but being that we live in a fallen world, our justice system does not run as well oiled as it should and that truly frustrates me.

As human beings, created in the image of God (Genesis 1) we should rage against this evil acts regardless of political, racial, social and sexual orientation. Quite simply, there should be the same reaction of disgust from either side, not finding ways to lessen what was done in the name of hate. Furthermore, CNN should be ashamed of themselves for allow reporter Sara Ganim to laugh at what was done to the white young man with special needs. Shame on you CNN!

American people wake the fuck up! Our actions on either side are only making this country worse.  When are we going to stop fighting against each other? When are we going to come to the realization that political and social issues are only a smokescreen for the real problem, our hearts?

The sooner we realize this the better.. But until we do, we will continually be sucked deeper and deeper into ourselves.

 

 

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To A Friend-Concerning Doubt

 

 

My doubts concerning faith and God have been like a tornado, meaning that sometimes it touches down and destroys nothing. Other times when it touches down it takes out everything in its way. Doubt is paralyzing, it takes all my energy away and often it is like I can’t breathe or move. Fear seems far too real and sometimes it’s all that seems to be present in my life. I have doubted everything from the existence of God to supposed contradictions within scripture. Most of the things that most every Christian has dealt, but few admit. Most of my doubt, however, seems to have stemmed from the number of friends that have left the faith, after going to grace university. Most of whom I have had close ties with. Furthermore, most of my family does not hold my same convictions, and so I have had great anxiety about their eternal states.

I have longed prayed for their salvation, but have had little answer. I ask you, though, does that then make God unfaithful? Personally, I do not think so, if God is the author of life and death, he can do as He wishes. In no way, does he have to act as we so desire or will. Many times are view of God is so skewed and short sided that we fail to see the big picture. As it relates to suffering, most get so caught up in the emotion and aftermath, that it can be hard to see any further. But God sees a lot further than any of us. One way that scripture seems the most real and relevant, is that the people in the Bible are no strangers to pain and questions. In some ways, that should help loosen the tight grip around our chests that prevent us from breathing freely and with joy.

Literally, everyone in the Bible has questioned and screamed at God. Everyone has battled with different anxieties and seasons of depression. I highly suggest the readings of Spurgeon, that guy suffered from doubt and depression at length, and still, he came out on the other side with more joy and pleasure and Gods presence than ever before. I can’t tell you how this will play out for you, but I can tell you that I believe that God will bless you and keep you and that his faith will shine upon you. I only pray and ask that you cling to Him, as the woman did that suffered from internal bleeding for numerous years. You can trust Him; he will never leave you nor forsake you. He has overcome the world and is bigger than our doubt and pain. This journey will not be an easy one, it takes prayer, praise, community and most importantly time. You must be willing to prayerfully start working through many of your questions and doubts.

In the words of Pastor Matt Chandler: “A mature Christian is one who runs to God and not from God.” I am not if you are not spiritually mature. However, I am saying that there is freedom to run to God with your heavy heart. As many skeptics would tell you to simply disavow your beliefs, the same way Job’s wife said “forsake God and die” but despite that he clung to God and worshiped God in the end. You too can make through this grim and nasty storm. In Christ care and mercy, I know you will be okay, you only must be willing to keep your feet moving behind him, believing that He will take care of your every need and heal every ache and wound.

In Christs love and compassion.

-Brandon

PS, He loves you so madly, He is so crazy about you. He is a roaring lion that will fight away every demon and spiritual stronghold.

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Why you shouldn’t think God hates you.

Many times when suffering of various kinds come way my, do you know what my knee-jerk reaction is? God must hate me… Or worse yet, God must be punishing me for something that I did. Both are untrue and we shouldn’t be so quick to pass such judgment on ourselves.

For one, I do not believe that God is just waiting to bend us over his lap and give us a divine spanking. Sure, God can and does get displeased with us. He wishes that we would all stop being so darn stubborn and turn to Him.

His word tells us that He comes to give us life to the fullest, it takes a lot to truly get God angry. He isn’t like that parent that wigs out on their child because they keep asking them the same question or repeated questions.

And on the subject of God punishing us, yes, there will be a day where God does punish those who still hold to their own. But just because suffering is in your life presently, does not mean that God is punishing you. Rather, He could very well be trying to get your attention.

All through scripture people that came face to face with the mad love of God, did so through suffering. In no way am I saying that we should seek a life of hardship. But we should expect it.  And know that Christ overcame it, and unlike other eastern religions, we don’t have to detach from it.

Rather, we can in some ways rest in it and even use it as means to be of comfort, to those who are suffering as well.  So before we are so quick to jump to a conclusion regarding the Lords anger and punishment. Let us first examine the state of our own hearts and who HE really is.

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What is Religion? and Why it Matters

 

 

Introduction

 

 

            Religion is a word that has more negative overtones than it does positive, for many religion drags long bad memories of things done by finite human beings that are in a position of authority or leadership. The late Christopher Hitchens cleverly subtitled his acclaimed book God is Not Great with Why Religion Poisons Everything. Millions of people reacted to the book with great love and enthusiasm, as though to say “Aha! See? Religion poisons everything!” Many atheist philosophers of today and old are very quick to do away with religion altogetherI’m spiritual but not religious. And while it has become a widely popular statement within the last ten years, there a few questions that deserve answers or better yet explanations

Within the follow pages of this brief paper an attempt to differentiate between religion and spirituality will be made and lastly to bring this paper to a close, we will discuss why all this talk on religion matters in the first place.

 

Defining Religion

 

 

            and them alone. Furthermore, in doing so, it allows for a person to appear to have any restraints on their world view and how they choose to live. The greatest problem then is that it can make for a society of people wandering aimlessly like a leaf in the wind being tossed to and fro.

let’s look at few ways that religion is defined. According to religioustolerance.org, religion is defined as The English word “religion” is derived from the Middle English “religion” which came from the Old French “religion.” It may have been originally derived from the Latin word “religion” which means “good faith,” “ritual,” and other similar meanings. Or it may have come from the Latin “religâre” which means “to tie fast,” or “bind together.”

ld think and behave. More socially sophisticated people cling to the words of William Ernest Henley who wrote the words I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Another way of defining religion stems from the book Invitation to World Religions, which it by stating that Religion is a cultural system integrating teachings, practices, modes, of experience, institutions, and artistic expression that relates people to what they perceive to be transcendent. As we can see in this definition, the author goes to great links to provide the reader with as broad and inclusive definition as humanly possible, not leaving a single stone unturned. The problem that many find is that while the definition is all-inclusive, it fails to guide others to a solid point on what religion is or how it is defined. Instead, the author leaves room for much relativity. Meaning that whatever one chooses to see as transcendent is truly up to them.

Christianity is not a religion it’s a relationship. Once more, much like the non-theistic view above, there are refusing to deal with the usage of the word religion means.

 

A View of Religion from The Past

 

 

ers. The late German philosopher Karl Marx Is best known for saying the following on the matter of religion: Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions. The two main points that can be gleaned from his words are

 

  • Religion is simply illusionary, and therefore created in the minds of others to cope with human suffering.
  • Religion should have abolished if one is to obtain truth happiness

 

Freud, much like Marx believed that religion was an illusion, furthermore he is most noted for saying the following in his book The Future of Illusion Devout believers are safeguarded in a high degree against the risk of certain neurotic illnesses; their acceptance of the universal neurosis spares them the task of constructing a personal one.Neurosis, as defined by the encyclopedia of mental disorders as “Neurosis, is a term used to describe a nonpsychotic mental illness which triggers feelings of distress and anxiety and impairs functioning.

To summarize his biggest points on religion are:

  • Religion is a delusion

 

The questions we must ask then is, has it always been this way? Has religion always been viewed as evil and for weak minded people? The answers to these questions are no, in fact, CS Lewis writes this on the topic of religion

 

Here Lewis readily combats the presumption that atheists carry about religion and suffering, in that they believe that for an all loving, all powerful God to exists then there can be no suffering. Lewis here is more than likely saying that The Christian view of religion informs us that persecution and hardship are to be expected within the life of a Christian. And as provides the Christian with a more realistic and sober-minded outlook on life in front of them, for a Christian, however, persecution is not the end. Instead, they are readily and willing to face the days of peril ahead, knowing that the best is yet to come.

 

 

Does Religion Matter?

 

 

      After all, in the Christian Bible, humans are informed that pure and undefiled religion is taking care of widows and orphans (James 1:27, ESV).

And while it might easy for a person that lacks in Biblical knowledge, to imply that all they have to do is be a good person. Let us consider a brief commentary on the above passage from the staff at Ligonier Ministries:

It would also be a mistake to think that the Bible always defines the word religion in such a negative way. After all, the Bible does use the word religion in a positive sense to refer to the outward manifestation of a genuine saving relationship with Jesus Christ. We see a fine example of this in today’s passage where James gives us three ways in which we can recognize pure religion. The bridling of the tongue, the care for widows and orphans, and keeping oneself unstained from the world are all demonstrations of the pure religion that flows from authentic faith in Jesus (James 1:26–27).

 

Conclusion

 

 

It can be easy to look history and even present time, and quickly conclude that religion has done nothing but cause more war and societal oppression than anything else in the world.  It can be all the more appealing to human sensibility to assume that we have to rid of it. All in the name of freedom and the pursuit of happiness. However, is it possible that we have gotten way ahead of ourselves in our thinking? Meaning that states as the problem anyhow (Jeremiah 17:9, Matthew 13:5, Mark 7:21-22, Romans 1:21). It isn’t time for believers to show the world what pure and undefiled religion is?

 

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References

 

Karl Marx. (n.d.). Retrieved September 20, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Marx

 

Ligonier Ministries. (n.d.). Retrieved September 20, 2016, from http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/undefiled-religion/

 

Opium of the people. (n.d.). Retrieved September 20, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_of_the_people

 

Robot Check. (n.d.). Retrieved September 20, 2016, from https://www.amazon.com/God-Not-Great-Religion-Everything/dp/0446697966/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8

 

 

The Freud Museum ~ Education ~ Freud and Religion. (n.d.). Retrieved September 20, 2016, from https://www.freud.org.uk/education/topic/10573/freud-and-religion/

 

William Ernest Henley – Poem Hunter. (n.d.). Invictus Poem. Retrieved September 20, 2016, from http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/invictus/

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My Paper On The Ressurection

This was my research paper, which I wrote for my apologetics class. Which I proud to say I received an A on! Enjoy.

-Brandon

Brandon Ryan

Mr. Garry Peterson

Eng. 101

Date-

 

 

Thesis

In this paper, I aim to provide evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, for someone who is on the fence regarding this issue. As such, I will assume that my time with this skeptic will be breath. Therefore, each of my points will be brief, but long enough to stir some thoughts in mind and the heart of this lovely fellow. To help establish my points, I plan on using resources from Josh McDowell, Garry Habermas and Antony Flew, Lee Strobel, Hank Hanegraff, and of course William Lane Craig. After presenting my case for the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, I will end with concluding remarks, however, let’s open this conversation with honesty. The resurrection of Christ has been one of my deepest struggles in my walk with God, how can I possibly know that Christ rose from the dead? There have been many periods of doubt along the way, and I don’t suspect that doubts to ever fully leave. That is until I see Jesus as he is in eternity.

I say all this to you, my friend that’s filled with questions because you’re not alone in your issues and doubts. A man named Thomas doubted Jesus until Jesus appeared in front of him and others after his resurrection. Thomas, or rather “doubting Thomas,” was able to not only see the risen Jesus with his own eyes, but he was able to touch him with his hands. Furthermore, there was also a man in the scriptures who had a son who suffered from seizures. The man cries out to Jesus, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “If I can?” Jesus replied, “Everything is possible for him who believes.” The man’s reply would be one that Christians will always be quoting in our context today “I believe, but help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:20-25) My reason for sharing all this is because even we Christians have seasons of questions and doubts, as I am sure you do as well. So, let’s tackle (as briefly as we can) some of the rejections regarding the resurrection of Jesus.

Objections to the Resurrection

The first objection I’d like to bring to your attention is The Swoon Theory, at its most basic level, those who believe the swoon theory, think Jesus never died on the cross, perhaps he only fainted. This is a very cute way of looking at the crucifixion of Jesus, but let’s put aside briefly whether or not Jesus was who he said he was, and look at what he suffered through from a purely human standpoint. Roman soldiers were in many ways trained in the highest levels of violence, if a human being were flogged the way he was, they would quickly enter a state of hypo eutectic shock and die. In his book, The Case for Easter, Lee Strobel, who was a former Atheist, sought to embark on a journey to find out what all the fuss behind the Jesus of the scriptures was about. Along the way in his journey, he met with Alexander Metherell. Mr. Metherell has a medical degree from the University of Miami, Florida. Furthermore, he has a doctorate in engineering from the University of Bristol, in England. Regarding the flogging that Jesus Endured, Metherell had this to say “We know that many people would die from this beating even before they could be crucified. At the least, the victim would experience tremendous pain and into hypovolemic shock”. (This means that the victim loses large amounts of blood, fainting, loss of kidney function, etc.). Regarding the actual crucifixion, Metherell had this to say “Once a person is hanging in the vertical position, crucifixion is essentially an agonizingly slow death by asphyxiation.” (Strobel 15-16)

There is much more that can be said regarding the medical evidence regarding the evidence that Jesus died on the cross, but I’m afraid this will have to suffice for now. A second mythology that people use to dismiss the ideas that Jesus died and even resurrected was The Twin Theory; this is at its basic level the idea that Jesus had a twin brother named Home. This view was founded by Robert Greg Cavin, who furthermore believes that Hurome was separated from Jesus at birth and does not see him again until the time of the crucifixion. In his book Resurrection Hank Hanegraaff, says that Cavin squared off against acclaimed apologist William Lane Craig, Craig had this to say about the supposed Twin Theory “The Twin Theory may make great comedy, but no one should take them seriously-particularly no one such as Cavin, whose research has forced him to agree that Christ was fatally tormented, that the tomb was empty, that the disciples were convinced Jesus had appeared to them, and as a result of the resurrection their lives were utterly transformed.” (Hanegraaff 7)

There are, of course, more objections that we could examine, but for the sake of time let’s examine some proofs of the resurrection.

Proofs for the Resurrection

If you remember from the start of the conversion, I never saw any proof of there being a God, let alone someone resurrecting from the dead. Okay, I knew from looking at the world that there was something out there, but I didn’t think it was the God of the Bible. If it was, then, in the words of Bruce Almighty, “he liked to burn off my feelers and watch me squirm!” (Bruce Almighty) Seriously, though, I wanted to get down to the bottom of this God issue, I was raised as a Buddhist, meditating and everything. Though as I got older, I realized it was taking care of whatever vacancy was inside me. There was also a huge refusal inside me to believe the idea that the universe we live in came to be by chance, or that there wasn’t some grand designer behind it all. That was the hound of Heaven tackled me with the most loving and caring I have ever known. This would lead me to Grace University, where I would not only study psychology but the Bible. It was here that I would uncover the historical proofs supporting the very fact that Jesus even existed.

Former Atheist Josh McDowell, in his book The Resurrection Factor, says “There are both Jewish and Roman sources and traditions that acknowledge the empty tomb. These sources range from the Jewish historian Josephus to a compilation of fifth-century Jewish writings call the Toledoth Jeshu.” McDowell calls this “positive evidence from a hostile source, which is the strongest kind of historical evidence. In essence, this means that if a source admits a fact decidedly not in its favor, then the fact is genuine.” (McDowell 65).

William L. Craig, in his book On Guard, says that the historical case for the resurrection can be broken down into three facts:

1) Jesus’ empty tomb

2) Jesus’ appearance alive after his death

3) The origin of the disciples’ belief in the resurrection

On the subject of the empty tomb, Craig supports it by stating that the tomb of Jesus was found empty by a group a group of His women followers on the Sunday after his crucifixion. He goes on to say that if the burial story is accurate, then the location of Jesus’ tomb was known in Jerusalem to both Jew and Christian alike since both were present when Jesus was laid in the tomb. In that case, the tomb must have been empty when the disciples began to preach that Jesus had rose. He then also points out that the disciples could not have believed in Jesus’ resurrection if His corpse still lay in the tomb. (Craig 220-221) On Jesus’ appearance after his death, to support Jesus’ bodily appearance after his death, Craig first points us to the apostle Paul’s lists of eye witnesses in 1 Corinthians 15. First in his appearance to Peter, second, his appearance to the twelve (disciples), third his appearance to the five hundred brethren, fourth his appearance to James and fifth his appearance to all the apostles (Craig 230-34) On the origin of the disciple’s belief in the resurrection, one important point that Craig mentions on this point is that Jews had no conception of a Messiah, who instead of triumphing over Israel’s enemies, would be shamefully executed by them as a criminal. A messiah was supposed to be a triumphant figure who would command the respect of Jew and Gentile alike and who would establish the throne of David in Jerusalem. A messiah who failed to deliver and to reign, who was defeated, humiliated and slain by His enemies, is a contradiction in terms (Craig 241)

Conclusion

To conclude our time together, I hope the evidence that I have brought to your attention has stirred something inside you. As I have said before, I have had many questions and doubts come up along the way, but the question I always have to ask myself, is why would this be a lie? Could you possibly fabricate a story about the apostle Paul, who was once a persecutor of Christians? This man had Christians thrown in jail and even killed, yet this very same man who persecuted Christians would meet the risen Christ in Acts 3. The good news of the Gospel changes lives, despite all my doubts and questions, I find it exceedingly difficult to believe that stories such as the apostle Paul’s are all made up.

Secondly, I believe that there is a reason you are asking questions related to the miracle of the resurrection. Atheists will tell you that the reason that we make the leap to there being something more beyond our physical reality is a simple confirmation bias, or chemicals in our brains simply allowing to believe in a spiritual experience. There are even atheists who, while they don’t believe in God still say they can be spiritual people. At the core of that argument, a friend of mine once told mine told me that the reason some atheists believe they can still be spiritual is that atheism is not enough. I believe that the reason you are asking such questions is because the Bible tells us that God has put eternity in our hearts (ECL 3:11). Perhaps God is at work in the inner recesses of your soul. There is so much more I could tell you, but if I could leave you with any piece of wisdom and truth, it would be that the God of the universe loves you. He loves you so much that he sent his Son to take upon himself all of our sins and struggles. I can tell you that God has always proven Himself faithful to me, and if can trust him with all your heart, you have not only found a friend and companion that will never leave your side. You have found the greatest love you will ever know. No other person, animal or pass time will ever love you the way the father does. He is the only one who can make all things new. He is the only one who can make you a new creation.

Many of us, I believe have a deep sense that there is more to life than what we can perceive with our five senses. The problem because when we suppress the truth as the apostle, Paul writes in Romans 1:18. Furthermore, he writes in Romans 1:19-21

“19 For what can be known about God is plain to them because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[a] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

The psalmist David wrote in Psalm 14:1 The fool says in his heart, there is no God. As it was mentioned, God, through his Spirit can make you a new creation. And as such he can awaken our darkened hearts. The truth of the resurrection is the greatest triumph this world has ever seen, because of the resurrection of Christ. In light of this fact, those who put their trust in the resurrected Christ have the greatest love any human being could ever askimages-1 for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

“Bruce Almighty (2003).” IMDb. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.

Craig, William L. “Did Jesus Rise from The Dead.” On Guard. N.p., n.d. 230-241. Print.

Hanegraaff, Hank. “Mythologies.” Resurrection. Thomas Nelson, 2000. 5-7. Print.

McDowell, Josh. “Facts to be Reckoned With.” The Resurrection Factor. San

Strobel, Lee. “The Medical Evidence.” Case for Easter: A Journalist Investigates the

God Loves YOU

This is taken from my up and coming devotional:

Day 1

 

 

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I know it’s hard to believe, but at the heart of the Christian faith it’s true. God’s only son Jesus (or Yeshua in Hebrew) came to serve as a mediator between us and the Father. In the movie Ransom with Mel Gibson, we see a mother and father who deeply love their only son. Yet when their son is kidnapped that love is intensified. The mother is engulfed in a sea of emotion and isn’t sure what to do to get her beloved son back into her arms.

 

The father shares in that same overwhelming emotion, yet as a father and a man, he knows that he must do something. He is willing to do anything to get his son back from the evils that surround him, even if it means giving his up his own life.

 

Much is the same for the God and his son Jesus, God – the farther see’s humanity and creation at odds with themselves and each other. He sees that because of sin, trees eventually lose all their color and die. He sees that humanity largely chooses to go its own way.  So the father acts on our behalf.  He freely gave his son Jesus to come, not only to live among us, but also to die and resurrect so that those who believe and love Him might be able to inherit a promise bigger than the universe that surrounds us.

 

I’m sure this all sounds well and good, but, if you are like me, you might think to yourself “Why would God love someone like me?” You might have days where you sin and feel horrible about yourself afterwards. You might feel like you could never be free from memories of the past.

 

Believe me, I know how it feels to believe that the endless cycle will never stop. But we have to look in the eyes of Jesus. He is our way out of the seemingly endless cycle of sin and shame. We will not be sinless until we see him face to face, but we can know that in him we have new life His mercies are new every morning, our sins are separated as far as the east is from the west and that we are white as snow.

 

Further reading:

New Life: Romans 6

His mercies are new every morning: Lamentations 3:22-23

As far as the east is from the west: Psalm 103:12

White as snow: Isaiah 1:18

What Can The Secular Say To The Holy?

I am working on a new manuscript, a devotional entitled What Can The Secular Say To The Holy (And Vice Versa). The manuscript takes mainstream “secular songs and filtering them through a Christ-centered lens.  Here is a sample of what I am working on:

Day Three

In Your House I long to be, Room by room patiently, I’ll wait for you there like a stone.

-AudioSlave

The focus of every Christian should be the presence of God, we are to hunger and thrust for it. The psalmist David once wrote “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God” (Psalm 42). In our physical thirst we long for something to quench our thirst, our physical thirst should in some ways be a reflection of our spiritual thirst. Jesus said that when we drink of his living water (John 4:14), of course one might wonder, even when I do have Christ in my life, why do I still thirst. It might seem quite paradoxical, but I believe that God created us to thirst for him and nothing else, he gave us a thirst that only he can satisfy. The problem is then is that we all believe that other that other things can satisfy, be it people, relationships, sex and other forms of gratification. These things are not bad, relationships, sex, food and things of that nature are meant to be enjoyed, both because they’re all gifts from the grand creator and they are meant to point us to his glory. So as I find myself listening to the lyrics of AudioSlave, I can’t help but long for to be in God’s presence, in his house, room by room being being surrounded by his presence.

Again, one might ask, what if I’m seeking the Lords presence and can’t “feel” anything? Great question, I believe that the key comes in the above AudioSlave lyrics, Patiently, like a stone.   Like a stone we patiently wait for the Lords presence, we refuse to move until we have his presence. Moses pleaded these words to God in Exodus 33:15, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” I think our attitudes should be the same as Moses if the Lords presence is not with us, then we shouldn’t even consider moving. Of course, though, as believers, we have the Lords presence and constant favor. Nothing can separate us from that (Romans 8:35-39). Again, having longings for other things like connection, intimacy, community and so on are beautiful and Godly. But nothing can satisfy and sustain us as the Lords presence. Seek him now at this moment.

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