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The Virtue of Shameless Audacity

A few days ago I gained a new perspective on prayer. 
Or better put, God revealed a heart or mind attitude necessary for receiving

In Luke 11, after hearing Jesus pray, the disciples ask him to teach them
how they should pray. 

In the following 12 verses, Jesus responds by giving them: 

A. Words for prayer. (v2-4)
B. An attitude illustration. (v5-8)
C. Instructions on prayer (v9-10)
D. The Father’s heart on answering. (v11-13)

My little mind got a notch of revelation when I read verse 8 in the NIV Bible:

“I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.”

The combination of these two words seem very strange coming out of the mouth of
Jesus. Especially because they’re not used in a negative connotation. 

Far from it, Jesus is teaching virtues, points and principles on prayer. 

Me personally, I know the words (v2-4), I think I know the Father’s heart (v11-13),
and I’ve heard teaching on the instructions of ask and keep on asking… etc (v9-10). 

But shameless audactiy has never been in my list of virtues for answers and breakthrough.

Now, instead of trying to explain or define the words, I instead just take them as written, 
but let’s apply this reality to other stories and passages…

Starting with the story in context, one man goes to another in the middle of the night to get
some food or items they needed. He asks, seeks, and knocks continually until
he receives; yet the attitude that helped him receive was (a) he was not ashamed to express
his need, even with a last mintue emergency. And (b) he had the audacity to bang on
his friends door after midnight with expectations of getting exactly what he needed.

My personality would be very timid or what I’d define as humble and try not to pass on
my own burden to another. And, I’d likely go without

(*Note: God can handle you passing your burden on him. AND people assigned or sent by God to help you can also handle taking your burden!)

What about the woman with the issue of blood? (a) Shame after a decade long of bleeding 
would be understandable. However she expressed the opposite. She knelt, crawed and did whatever it took.. And (b) she didn’t really ask Jesus to heal her; instead she sort of snuck up
and TOOK her healing! Not as respectable and meek as I thought was proper behavior.

Now, consider looking at other characters from Jacob to the Apostle Peter. People whose
behavior seemed far from reserved or cautious and yet they had a continous experience of
receiving what they desired.

This is Jesus’ teaching on prayer. 

How does a person take 5 talents and turn them into 10?
(I use to just pray for wisdom and witty ideas…)

What kind of person welcomes humiliation or riddicule in an attempt see a person healed?
(If self-exposure or embarassment stops you, would God even give you the revelation of spitting on someone’s eye to bring their healing?

Words like “boldness” and “faith” are common synonyms in the context here, but they
don’t protect us from being crippled by shame or false humility.

I believe that not only is God waiting on you, but there are likely friends, relatives or even professional associates in your network who have exactly what you are needing to go to your
next level — but you, me, we are passively silent thinking we’re operating in some type of virtue.

Please. Read the Luke 11:1-13 and think again.

Because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.

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Grace vs. Mercy Living

God is so good, that for most of us, we can’t recognize whether we are living by his grace or in his mercy.

God rains on the just and the unjust. God provides blessings on the sinner to show his goodness and draw them to repentance. God blesses the Christians as a father simply loving his children and wanting their desires to be satisfied.

The grace of God is his power working in our life to do what we cannot do. It is an enabling ability activated by humility or acknowledged weakness. It brings glory to the Son as we declare: because of his death and resurrection, not our gifts and talents or preparation — we do the good things that we do.

Mercy is a love covering that protects us from natural consequences of disobedient living. Mercy can become an illusion of grace because our selfish actions do not invoke negative results. Rather the praises from people makes us feel a confirmation that our life is right and good. 

The only difference I think I know of the two is that mercy will one day run out, but not grace. God is long suffering. Much more than any human. Much more than 100 men combined. So if we were to test out this difference we could go our entire lives and never know which we were living on. 

I pray that you never try. 

I pray that I don’t try!!

But one last point. 

As I look at theses two aspects of God’s love, I see one other clue. 

Mercy functions over the efforts of a strong and driven will rejecting imminent wrath. Grace works over weak flesh and a yielded heart empowering spiritual fruit to be produced. 

Only you know which is truly driving your life.

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The Cost and The Kingdom

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On Vacation… Join Me?

Last year I decided to take a vacation from worrying about money. I can’t recall if I had a specific start and end date, but I do remember that it worked!

For some reason, the inner gimmick of choosing not to worry on a targeted area helped me consciously audit my thoughts and refrain from being anxious about money. Both it’s scarcity or future consumption.

So just now I remembered that whole event and want to do it again!

I know I’ll probably sleepwalk away from the beach and get situated back in my cubicle… But still, I know it’ll be worth it.

Wanna join me!?

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Blog Inspiration

“Dying Empty” – What Does It Mean?

Dying empty – means to end ones’ life having emptied themselves of all they were to accomplish during their time one earth.

The opposite of dying full: taking your dreams and talents, ideas and inventions, songs and books with you to the grave. But, let me clarify this a bit.

Dying empty does not mean to simply live completely focused on accomplishments, success and productivity.

It does not mean you speak everything that comes to mind, or that you patent every idea that comes to you while in the shower.

Dying empty does not mean you sacrifice people, relationships and every present moment in hopes of some distant future future where you can enjoy life without obligations.

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You Should NEVER Be Fair!

There are a two different views or rules of life that we can live by. (1). We can sow what we have reaped. Or (2). We can sow what we wish to reap!

I was recently advised to manage my team as to help them “get what they deserve.” And that operating by cause and effect is simply being  ”fair”.  

However, I have a problem with this… I don’t think I’ve been treated fair, so why should I treat others this way??

I spent 6 years in undergrad and failed over 25 classes. In my final semester before graduation, it would have been fair for the computer science teacher to fail me since I truly deserved an F. 

However, he didn’t. He gave me mercy and I got a C-. (or something like that). 

Likewise, I’ve gone through the majority of my life as a slacker; struggling here and there because of my own decisions. And even though I have had to deal with the consequence, I can’t say it’s been ‘fair’.

God has blessed me beyond what I deserve. And I am currently reaping blessings that I can’t take credit for. 

Thus, when someone whom slacks or p’s me off. How should I treat them? 

As a Christian, I’m called to recognize the grace extended to me and extend the same amount to those around me. I’m called to remember where I came from. Remember how I would be without grace and mercy and forgiveness. I’m called to be grateful and never forget.

I’m never called to be fair. Never called to make judgements. But to make declarations and pronouncements of blessings and compassion in hopes that through goodness received they might make changes for the better.

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Sin Management via book by @truefaced

An internal dialogue on attempting a life of sin management:

“Sin… confes… do better for a while, then sin again. Embarrassment, confess again, ask God to take away the desire, then sin again, confess again, sin again, confess again, shock, more determination to stop sinning, think about it alot, examine it. Make promises, create some boundaries, and sin again, now even worse than before. Despair, anger, shame, distance from God, guilt. Self-condemnation, self-loathing… sin again.

Disillusionment, doubt, self-pity, resentment at God: Why doesn’t he hear my prayers? Why doesn’t he do something? More anger. Then fear that we allow ourselves to get angry with God. Then real confession, a heartfelt one, and a sense of cleansing. Ah, a new start. Things seem better. Yeah, I’ve finally got this sin under control. 

Oops, sin again. Desperate efforts, bargains struck. Once-and-for-all healing. Really mean it this time. Sin again. Lose hope, give up, rationalize, minimize, blame, pull away, hide, judge others, put on a mask, go past the sin again, and so on.”

[p. 101-102 Trufaced]

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What Is Persecution?

Yeah this is a little deep, but it’s on my heart…

After hearing about the earthquake and tsunami yesterday I quickly pulled out my Bible to Matthew 24. Had to get a quick refresher in th signs of the end… In one sense I was relieved because Jesus clearly said wars and earthquakes were not the signs of the end. Simple birthpains; but the real deal would be coming later… 

The real deal is persecution. 

But the question came to mind today, what is persection?

In one sense we assume we know. Laws being changed that stop us from preaching, teaching, and reading the Bible. The potential of jail or death for confessing our allegience to Jesus. 

But check this, historically when the church has been persecuted like that, they have grown stronger not weaker. In the scriptures on the end times, it does not say the church grows stronger, but even the so called strong fall away…

So again, what I is persecution? 

I started to ask myself instead, what is the GOAL of persecution? 

It’s goal is to make believers fall away… 

So what would make believers fall away? What makes believers, even the strong ones begin to change their mind about God? 

In my little experience, I’d say: “Dissappointment”. 

To be disappointed that God did not do what we thought he would do. Having dreams unfulfilled, having sin issues unresolved. Having critical concerns that were not answered by God. That to me seems to shake up people’s faith more than anything. 

So what if somehow, the enemy could have access to bring this type of persecution. Where all of our praying, fasting, and spiritual exercises seemed to not work. Seeing others who do not follow God being blessed, yet we continue to struggle. Would that make us fall away?

In Hebrews 11, it tells of countless men of God who did not receive answered prayer, or dreams fulfilled in their life time, yet they did never we offended, never gave up on God. 

So now I beleive we see the beginning of birth pains. But the end is not here. 

Are we ready for persections in the form of dissappointment? 

Are we ready to trust God in the most blessed nation on earth even if the blessings seem to pass over our lives?

Is our faith built on earthly satisfaction, or everlasting life?

Selah. 

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So I just killed the idea that I need ______ in order to _____ God

Today I killed the idea that I need to “preach in a church” or “teach in a Christian school” in order to “minister” and/or impact people directly for purposes of Jesus Christ.

More specifically, I decided to unsubscribe from Regent University email updates about their Divinity School informational meetings and webinars, etc.

But why did I do this, and why is it important?

In short, ever since entering seminary, I’ve considered pursing and Phd in either systematic theology or church history. (Thus my subscription to Regent’s emails.) However, as of now, that idea is dead. And it’s dead not by mistake nor because of circumstances; it’s dead because I killed it. 

This decision comes after years of thinking and praying. Searching and wondering… Working in business and yet feeling guilty that I wasn’t “in ministry”; or that I wasn’t “fulfilling God’s call on my life.”

(Related post: God Money & Gebedo )

So anyway, now I’m convinced and convicted that God is in me most, when I’m in my business. And so right here is my ministry. I need no more theological training to be better equipped to serve people the way God is currently calling me. 

// Side notes and principles:

I believe and I am learning there are various seasons in life. And seasons of study and preparation do not always flow directly as we would assume in relative activity.

Perhaps in between our preparation and production their are completely different intermediate seasons? Not for what we think we should be doing, but for what God wants us to do… From working at Starbucks, raising someone else’s child, or living in a foreign town…

Things don’t always go the way we plan, even when we have a meticulous prayed though plan… And yet still, somehow, all things work together for God’s purposes. 

Selah. 

Comments, responses, Retweets, and “Likes” are always welcome. 🙂

P.S. Speaking of email subscriptions – please put your email address in the little box over there on the TOP-RIGHT of this page, and these blog post will magically appear in your inbox.  Normally 1 – 2.5 times a month max.

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We Use Our Faith When Money Isn’t Available

I challenge you to notice the next 5 times you apply faith or prayer to a need or area.

Personally, I am noticing how often I use faith/prayer simply because money is not available. Thus if I had access to money I would not likely need to pray. I would spend the money.

So far I am not judging this – whether its right or wrong, faithless or trusting… I know of preachers who state faith as “heavens’ currency.” I don’t feel totally comfortable with that statement – but to each his own…

I know God wants us to trust him more than money. But I also know God wants us to work and be faithful stewards – multiplying our efforts/talents, etc. I also know laziness coupled with a skewed faith spoken in pious speech can be an attractive option as well.

So anyway, I’ll just keep trusting God as best I can – asking him to bless my work, and bless me outside my work. But what is your take on this?