“Take Me to You…”

Batter my heart, three-person’d God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;
That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy ;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

–John Donne, Holy Sonnet 14

Let’s be blunt, and say that there is no middle ground. There is no “Self” that thinks and acts on its own initiative and has no Master. The truth is that you are either a slave to Christ or a slave to Satan—that’s it.

As a slave to Christ, you are—indeed—free. But you can’t be free until he storms the castle of your cherished self, demolishes your ego, and enthrones himself in the seat of your heart. As a slave to Christ, you live day by day dependent on him, looking daily at his pure, holy, and loving character and by his grace the chains of sin that bind you are torn. The key to this freedom is the outright possession of your life by God. Apparent slavery. Are you willing to give up the control of your life?

On the other hand, as a slave to Satan you are under the impression that you have the greatest freedom imaginable (after all, isn’t the crummy Decalogue and the word of God nothing short of a yoke meant to keep you from all you really want to do?). The longer you’re under this regime, however, the more confined and debased you become. Apparent freedom is nothing more than self-destructive slavery that degrades you and your view of self, God, and the world around you.

I’ve come to realize that freedom is simply a matter of perspective, in which I must take into account whatI’m being freed from, and what I’m being freed to do. The good news of it all is that YOU choose what master you want to serve. No one can ever take that choice from you. So choose wisely.

May you choose the Master that frees you from degradation and confusion and frees you to be the person you were meant to be—free to do what is both great and fulfilling.

“For You have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love” Gal 5:13

Gift of Prophecy – Sabbath School Discussion

Garden Grove SDA – Young Adult Sabbath School
28 Fundamental Beliefs – #18 The Gift of Prophecy
April 12, 2014
Duration ~ 50min (Adaptable to 40 min.)

Icebreakers

Please state your name and answer the following question.

Q1:      If you had access to a time-traveling Delorean for just ONE round trip, would you travel to the future or to the past—and where?

            FYI most people will want to go to the past—surprising, isn’t it?

It is within our human nature to want to know what is going to happen to us and to our world. That is why the FB we will be discussing today is really important for us. Fundamental Belief #18 deals with the Gift of Prophecy and its role in our lives, especially as we approach the end times.

Prayer

Intro – Definition of Prophecy

Q2:      What is prophecy? / How would you define “Prophecy”? / What is another word or synonym that could be used instead of “Prophecy”?

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For That ONE Person

If you could sacrifice yourself, give every drop of your life’s blood, and every ounce of your flesh in the fire for the sake of saving all your family–would you?

How about for that one member of your family who is rebellious, who has decided to cut all ties with mum and dad, who curses at you when you approach them, and just wants to be on their own doing their own thing–even if it means that they are rushing headlong to an early and violent death? Would you?

If your answer is yes, then you are a better person than most. There’s a bunch of people out there who claim they would, but if I (and you) think about that person who I’m still struggling to forgive because of all the hurt they have caused back in my childhood– sometimes the answer is an uncertain “yes” at best.

The universal family includes all of us here on earth, the angelic beings in heaven, and the other beings we don’t really know about from other worlds God has created. Of the untold billions of members in that family, our little world is but a mere speck. A black speck. A smudge in the perfection of God’s kingdom.

Jesus could have been asked the same question by wonder-filled cherubim who couldn’t understand his choice.

“Are you willing to die for that black speck? By the people who run away from you when you approach them, and who will curse you, torture you, tear you apart, and nail you on a cross? Will you continue to love them knowing they might not love you back?”

We know the answer.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16, NKJV)

By his life and His death, Christ has achieved even more than recovery from the ruin wrought through sin. It was Satan’s purpose to bring about an eternal separation between God and man; but in Christ we become more closely united to God than if we had never fallen….Through the eternal ages He is linked with us….By love’s self-sacrifice, the inhabitants of earth and heaven are bound to their Creator in bonds of indissoluble union….The earth itself, the very field that Satan claims as his, is to be not only ransomed but exalted. Our little world, under the curse of sin the one dark blot in His glorious creation, will be honored above all other worlds in the universe of God. Here, when he shall make all things new, the tabernacle of God shall be with men, “and he will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” – E. G. White, Desire of Ages “God With Us”

If we are Christians, we follow and do and say what Christ would do and say too.

Would I be willing to seek others? Willing to sacrifice the comfortable habits of my life for the sake of ONE person who needs to be reached?

Or has the miracle of self-sacrificing love not become a reality in my life?

The Sanctuary-Discussion Notes

Young Adult Sabbath School Lesson
The Sanctuary
Discussion for October 12, 2013
Time: ~ 25 minutes

Icebreakers:

Tell us your name, and answer the question: If you could remodel your home, what would you update or change?

Intro:

Last week we studied about Heaven, God’s dwelling place. We talked about our different views/pictures of heaven based on what the Bible tells us and also based on folklore and art.  We discussed why knowing that there is a Heaven is important to us as Christians.

Now we move towards one of the important components of Heaven. The concept of Sanctuary, and how it brings heaven to earth.

Note: For clarification, we might use the words “Sanctuary” “Tabernacle” or “Temple” interchangeably during the study—we’ll be referring to the same thing.

Prayer

A. What is the Sanctuary:

What does SANCTUARY mean to you? How could you define SANCTUARY?

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Preventing Identity Theft

Identity Theft

I swiped my card for the fourth time, with great misgivings in my heart.

*DENIED*

“Do you want to try sliding it again, ma’am?” The lady at the register of my neighborhood grocery store said.

I nodded, and tried again, barely conscious of the fact that I was holding up the line–the customers behind me could have been very annoyed, but I didn’t care. Nor did I care about the person bagging my $30 worth of groceries–who could have been shaking his head and slowly, and ever so surreptitiously begun to unbag the groceries he’d already put in my cart. I was only conscious of one thing . . . my mounting frustration.

Later I called and complained to my banking institution. What gives? I have more than enough money to cover this measly $30! It was then that I was told that there were some questionable transactions that I needed to verify… Transactions that did not conform to my spending habits… and only THEN did I notice the recently-posted transactions on my account… it had not been 24 hours since someone spent hundreds of dollars from my debit card on some random internet purchases, and my bank had blocked my card as a safety measure.

I panicked–wouldn’t YOU if an amount equivalent to a week’s worth of work is suddenly swiped from your account by some anonymous thief?

* * *

I was studying today for a discussion I’m leading on Saturday, when I came across an interesting sermon that put the idea of “Identity Theft” in an interesting light. I want to share it with you….

One of the crimes that is beginning to take off in our high-tech, information-driven society is known as identity theft. . . . This crime is well named because as far as the credit and banking systems are concerned, the person using the information is the same person whose name is on the card or account. For all practical purposes, there has been an exchange of identity.

What identity thieves accomplish illegitimately, Jesus Christ has accomplished legitimately for believers. That is, He has affected an exchange of identity with you. Christ did not simply come to change your life. He came to exchange your life for His [1].

I hope that you are never a victim of Identity Theft. However, I DO sincerely hope that if anyone is to take over your identity, it be Christ. When he takes over your life, you don’t end up losing, but gaining much, much more than you ever had to begin with…

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Gal 2:20)

– – –

[1] Krell, Keith, “Courting Sin” https://bible.org/seriespage/courting-sin-1-corinthians-61-11

INRI

And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha,where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was:

JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. (John 19: 17-20 NKJV)

* * *

IESVS NAZARENVS REX IVDÆORVM

“The superscription written above the cross was arranged by the Lord. Written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, it is a call for all, Jew and Gentile, barbarian and Scythian, bond and free, hopeless, helpless, and perishing, to come. Christ has made of none effect the power fo Satan. He laid hold of the pillars of Satan’s kingdom, and passed through the conflict, destroying him that had the power of death. A way was now opened whereby mercy and truth could meet together, and righteousness and peace kiss each other.”

–E. G. White, Manuscript 111, 1897

* * *

Even in the most shameful of deaths, God was at work presenting evidence to all the people about the nature of Jesus’ mission on this earth. Even the superscription placed over the cross–meant to make a mockery of Jesus’ claims–proclaimed the truth to all. And so, in the untold agony of the cross and through the sacrament of sorrow, the most precious promises can become a reality for mankind:

Mercy and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed. (Psalm 85:10 NKJV)

You and I have been set free.

Habitation

You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Pet 2:5-9 ESV)

When I think about God wanting to dwell in me, I think of a very private inner chamber–sort of like my bedroom, but jealously kept closed against intruders. That is where the real me can actually emerge. It is also where things can get the most cluttered, the most obtrusive, and where I often resist against change.

* * *

One of the most chilling passages that I have found in the Bible is one found in Matthew 12, and it has to do with how we are a habitation, either for good or evil.

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none.Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first . . .” (Matthew 12:43-45)

If we give in to God, and we let him come in, he will free us from the evil things that lurked inside the inner chamber. Whoosh! They are gone. The gloom of evil cannot exist in the presence of God. But such a habitation cannot stand empty. If we don’t follow-up with filling ourselves with God’s word, and doing so continuously, the empty chamber becomes, once more, a habitation of demons, and our state is worse than before.

Every day counts in the battle for your soul. So if you don’t feel like studying the Bible, make yourself do it, invoking the power of the Holy Spirit to imbue his word with meaning for you. Not everyday is a lyrical day in which you’ll feel God inside you. But He is there, don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.

Guard your inner self with everything you got.

Better yet, hand the key over to God so he can claim every nook and cranny inside the Habitation.

Long-Distance Relationship

I still remember the boy I loved. How can anyone ever forget the first requited love of their life?

It’s been years since then, and I’ve turned into a wry spinster of sorts. But still, I can’t forget random small memories of him. Like how, for example, he once caught me in a hallway as I passed, pulled me inside an empty classroom, and laughingly whispered a few bits of nonsense in my ear before letting me go on my way, with my face burning, because he’d just kissed me.

Ours was a tender relationship, with the blessing of our respective parents to boot. Who knows, maybe it would have fledged into something serious. Alas, it was not to be, because the inevitable happened—my first boyfriend moved away, ending the small gestures of affection that characterize puppy love, and leaving behind a little girl crying out for her first love.

* * *

I am the first to tell my friends that a long-distance relationship cannot work. Lovers’ promises of undying affection and devotion cannot survive the great divide of time and space. Or can they?

* * *

“…and be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 NLT)

When I read the last chapter of Matthew a few months ago, I was incredibly perturbed. I felt a great and extreme sadness. How could anyone that loved Jesus, that walked with him, that enjoyed close friendship and communion with the Son of God not be overcome by the sorrow? Sure I knew about the logistics of the master plan—the Holy Spirit coming to earth as the comforter, etc. That wasn’t the point.

You see, I knew the singular pain that comes with the realization that things are not the same, and that the hope of eventually meeting up again is not enough to keep a relationship going.

* * *

“…I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself” (Jeremiah 31:3 NLT)

If it were up to us humans to keep the relationship going (if it were based on our love and faithfulness), then surely whatever relationship we could have with Jesus would end soon after it sparks into being. But God’s love is as everlasting as God himself is.

I take hope in the knowledge that God himself is the guarantee of this relationship working out even when we can’t enjoy physical proximity. I believe that the ties of love that bind you and me to heaven are stronger—infinitely stronger than any human-forged ties. There is no beginning of His love, nor an end of it. It is boundless and ever present.

Physical separation is not enough to break such ties, and neither is our betrayal or our sin or our forgetfulness powerful enough a reason to break the love of God.

* * *

I bask in the knowledge that there is one who loves me greatly and tenderly. I read his love letters every day, and talk to him continually.

I’m 27 years old, my love life is a total wasteland. To most people I appear to be the one that disdains romance, who is proud of being the opposite of a man-magnet. A cynic. But truly, that’s all just a flimsy front.

My Heavenly Prince is the one that makes and keeps me hopelessly and incurably romantic.

Sacrifice and Love: Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus–Sabbath School Discussion Notes

Young Adult Sabbath School
SDA Fundamental Beliefs Series — #9: Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus
For: February 1, 2014
Duration: ~40 min

Icebreaker Question

Please state your name and share with us your favorite holiday.

Prayer

Introduction

So it’s February. Yay! It’s the time of the year in which most people celebrate St. Valentines.  Decorations, Chocolate, Candies, Valentine Cards….

Q1So who were those that said it was their favorite holiday?  Were there any? Are you currently happily dating or married?

The majority think like, “Meh, It’s alright.” Very few people love it intensely or hate it intensely.

Q2 – But just to confirm something: is there anyone out there—a brave soul, an honest person—who says, “I Hate it”?  Is it only just me? J/K

Well, a few years back, I was like that. I hated Valentines, it was too …. PINK. I don’t hate it now—I mean pink—bright pink—is one of my favorite colors now, I’ve always loved chocolate, so what’s not to love. So I made this weird truce with Valentine’s day…

I decided that I would study the subject of Love before altogetehr rejecting the occasion that celebrates it. But now we’re stuck with a question:

Q3 — What is Love?

Don’t answer! In my search for knowledge, I collected a few quotes that might help us.  Some of them are pretty cool, others downright wrong. So break into groups of 2, read, and discuss the following lines taken from various books. Then we’ll share and you answer the question

Do you agree? Does it help to shed a bit more light into Love?

“Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only with what you are expecting to give — which is everything.” – Katharine Hepburn, Me: Stories of my Life

What is love but acceptance of the other, whatever he is. – Anais Nin

Love is like a fever which comes and goes quite independently of the will. … there are no age limits for love. – Stendhal, Threatise on Love

There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one – C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Love can change a person the way a parent can change a baby — awkwardly, and often with a great deal of mess. – Lemony Snicket, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid

Love is an untamed force. When we try to control it, it destroys us. When we try to imprison it, it enslaves us. When we try to understand it, it leaves us feeling lost and confused. – Paul Coelho, The Zahir

Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness. – Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness

Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction. – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Airman’s Odyssey

Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion… That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. – Louis de Bernieres, Corelli’s Mandolin

Do you agree? Or does it help define love by proving what LOVE IS NOT?

1. Bible’s Definition of Love – It is a powerful, overwhelming force

I’m going to read to you something a writer wrote about love that is spot on. You might want to put this on your FB page or on a Valentine’s card, so listen:

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned. (Song of Solomon 8:6-7)

Q4 – Great, huh? What attributes are seen in this verse about Love?

Wear me as a signet ring on your heart, as a ring on your hand. Love is as overpowering as death. Devotion is as unyielding as the grave. Love’s flames are flames of fire, flames that come from the LORD. (GODS WORD)

Hang my locket around your neck, wear my ring on your finger. Love is invincible facing danger and death. Passion laughs at the terrors of hell. The fire of love stops at nothing – it sweeps everything before it.  (THE MESSAGE)

  1. Strong
  2. Jealous (i.e. Passion, Devotion)
  3. Burns (Fire)
  4. Unquenchable (Can’t be Beat)
  5. Cannot be bought or sold

And while we’re in the Bible, let’s look at another quote…this one is by a writer known as John

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) . . . . And this is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.(1 John 3:16)

If we think about the Bible’s use of Love, then God’s love is defined like this

  1. Strong
  2. Jealous (i.e. Passion, Devotion)
  3. Burns (Fire)
  4. Unquenchable (Can’t be Beat)
  5. Cannot be bought or sold

2. Jesus came to reveal to humans what love really is all about

Q5 – So why do so many people have it wrong? So wrong that 50% of marriages end up in divorce? So wrong that so many people ruin their lives in their desperate search of love?

[Discussion Hopefully]

 Q6 – [Indian parable] who has heard the story of the Elephant and the blind men?

It is long long, and flexible. Like a snake… at the trunk
It is a lot like a thick and sturdy tree trunk…at the feet
It is a sharp spear….at the tusk
It is a lot like a carpet… at the ear
It is a rope…at the tail
It is a great big wall…at its side

Returning back to the quotes we went over, the human definition of Love is sometimes warped, or plain out wrong. Why? Because love apart from God does not exist. People can argue that the concept of God is too abstract. That we are like the blind men trying to describe how an elephant looks like. Yes, love is mysterious to some extent, but God has manifested himself and the concept of love in so concrete a manner that we often take it for granted.

This week we will look into one of the many, many meanings behind the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

The Statement from the 28 Fundamental Beliefs:

God sent Jesus, His Son, to live the perfect life we could not and die the death our sins deserve. When we accept Jesus’ sacrifice, we claim eternal life.

In Christ’s life of perfect obedience to God’s will through His suffering, death and resurrection, God provided the only means of atonement for human sin, so that (1) those who by faith accept this atonement may have eternal life, and (2) all of creation may better understand the infinite and holy love of the Creator. This perfect atonement vindicates the righteousness of God’s law and the graciousness of His character; for it both condemns our sin and provides for our forgiveness. The death of Christ is substitutionary and expiatory, reconciling and transforming. The resurrection of Christ proclaims God’s triumph over the forces of evil, and for (3) those who accept the atonement assures their final victory over sin and death. It declares the Lordship of Jesus Christ, before whom every knee in heaven and on earth will bow.

[Read Phil 2:6-8] One of the verses I’d like to look into is Philipians 2-6-8

6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

 Q6 – Have you ever thought about what this means? [Illustration]

The story is told by the Persians of the great Shah Abbas, who reigned magnificently in Persia, but loved to mingle with the people in disguise. Once, dressed as a poor man, he descended the long flight of stairs, dark and damp, to the tiny cellar where the fire man, seated on ashes, was tending the furnace.

The king sat down beside him and began to talk. At mealtime the fire man produced some coarse, black bread and a jug of water and they ate and drank together. The Shah went away, but returned again and again, for his heart was filled with sympathy for the lonely man. He gave him sweet counsel, and the poor man opened his whole heart and loved this friend, so kind, so wise, and yet poor like himself.

At last the emperor thought, ‘I will tell him who I am, and see what gift he will ask.’ So he said, ‘You think me poor, but I am Shah Abbas your emperor.’

He expected a petition for some great thing, but the man sat silent, gazing on him with love and wonder. Then the king said. ‘Haven’t you understood? I can make you rich and noble, can give you a city, can appoint you as a great ruler. Have you nothing to ask?’

The man replied gently, ‘Yes, my lord, I understood. But what is this you have done, to leave your palace and glory, to sit with me in this dark place, to partake of my coarse fare, to care whether my heart is glad or sorry? Even you can give nothing more precious. On others you may bestow rich presents, but to me you have given yourself; it only remains to ask that you never withdraw this gift of your friendship.’

(story source: freebiblestudiesonline.org)

Q7 – What was the motivation behind God’s great sacrifice of himself to humanity? Why did God come to die for us?

Because of Love. He cared about us.

Q8 – Is there such a thing as love without sacrifice? Can you sacrifice yourself without love? Or can you love without sacrificing anything?

[allow for discussion]

Katherine Hepburn puts Love in terms of give and take, with real love expecting nothing while at the same time it gives everything. This is the concept of sacrifice.

Q9 – So did God scarify himself because he loved us? Or love us because he sacrificed himself for us?

1 John 4:10  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father. (John 10:17–18)

Jesus sacrificed himself for us because he loves us. Love came first even before there was a need to be sacrificed. He is the embodiment of Love, and the only way that we can know about love.

3. Our response to such love [Conclusion]

Q10 – How many of us have ever told someone they loved them and the other person didn’t love you back? Or have you ever gone out of your way to help a friend, thus proving Your loyalty to a friend, and that friend turned out to not be such a good friend after all?

There were many risks involved in him coming to earth. But one of the greatest is this: would the human race respond?

Let’s recall what C.S Lewis said,  There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.– C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

God put his everything out there…and risked getting his heart broken and facing rejection from those he came to save. But he did it hoping that by opening himself to you, me, and showing his character to us we would be drawn to him like before the fall. Because God’s love, as we saw in Song of Songs, is

  1. Strong
  2. Jealous (i.e. Passion, Devotion)
  3. Burns (Fire)
  4. Unquenchable (Can’t be Beat)
  5. Cannot be bought or sold

What should our response be?

 [READ 2 Cor 5:20-21] 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[b] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

 [Ephesians 5:2]—Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

To be RECONCILED AND TRANSFORMED. To WALK IN LOVE. 

May you grab hold of this great and wonderful love. That love that is unbreakable, unbeatable, and absolutely priceless. It’s yours already. Will you chose to let it change your life? My prayer and hope is that you will.

Doormat

And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I will be loved (2 Corinthians 12:15)

When I began this blog I said that I wanted to share about what I learned as I looked to God. I wanted to share with others my spiritual journey. I was feeling very smug in Christ, I suppose. Please excuse me. I was on the Blessing stage.

Lately I’ve been examining myself and why I do what I do. I’ve been searching within my heart, and scrutinizing my motives. Is my service to others a duty? Is Jesus in the center of it all?

I think about how dejected I sometimes feel because I think that I’m not making much of a difference in people’s lives or making any significant positive changes in my life as a result of the service I do…but mostly (this is mortifying to admit but necessary to say), I feel like I keep making people a priority when those same people think of me as second choice, or replaceable.

Quite honestly, this struggle did not exist until I got a job and suddenly every precious minute counted. And my time finally began to be equated with money. Last week the struggle came to a head. Yes, I’ve reached the Broken stage….I think.

Last week I read a quote from Oswald Chambers from My Utmost for His Highest

The mainspring of [our] service is not love for men, but love for Jesus Christ. If we are devoted to the cause of humanity, we shall soon be crushed and broken-hearted, for we shall often meet with more ingratitude from men than we would from a dog; but if our motive is love of God, no ingratitude can hinder us from serving our fellow men.

That paragraph blew my mind. Chambers goes on to say that with the realization of how Jesus deals with us and how he has “saved us to the end of our meanness, our selfishness, and sin, nothing that we meet with from others can exhaust our determination to serve men for His sake”

He presents us with Paul’s case, Paul’s willingness to become a “doormat” for others for Jesus’s sake. He was met with abuse, ingratitude, calumny from the ones he gave the gospel to. He was persecuted, beaten, almost killed…and still he did what he did—he was a doormat for others to make use of—only because of his love of Jesus.

My soul-searching this week did not reveal to me that my motives are pure. On the contrary. I am selfish. I serve others, but in my heart of hearts I expect them to return the favor, or at least give credit when it’s due. That’s wrong.

I’m also a fake. Because there’s a few people whom I know who look to me for some spiritual guidance, and I cannot give them anything. Well. I DO, I listen to them and talk to them and they walk away feeling good or at least feeling better. But I think that is also wrong. How can I minister others? Was I not the one that recently complained to my mom Who will minister to ME? And Why doesn’t the person I care about, care about ME for once?

It’s a wonder I’m still compelled to continue writing in this blog. But like I said before, this blog details my spiritual walk with God, and this is where it has led me. Whoever said that transformation from the sinful human to the Holy nature was like a pleasant saunter?

No one said it.