Thoughts for this “New Year” 2012

Beginnings

Written by: Ben Andrews

I used to think... That I was supposed to model Jesus- I thought – All I have to do is study Jesus – and then be like him... After all that’s what being a Christian is – “Christ like” Right? Aren’t we to try and muster up a gigantic inner force to “Try to live like Him”? That sounds like just more of me though?

I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard – something along these lines... “ Do right! - Do right! - Do right! Until the stars fall!” or you need to have more character! or “You’re just not saved if you...” fill in the blank_________But isn’t this just more willfulness? – Sure in the right direction – but still misguided...

The harder we try the worse we feel... when we fail!
Isn’t that how it goes- unless you
just stop trying all together... and that’s where this leads if we let it play all the way out – I know – I’ve been there!

WOW! What a trap from the enemy!
Get them on the gerbil wheel – wear them out – then they’ll get so discouraged that – I’ll have them eating right out of my hands... What a great plan...
Let me ask you the
now famous question: “So how’s that working for you?”

I don’t know about you – but as for me – IT’S NOT WORKING!

So why don’t we try something else?
How about if we listen to Jesus...
I mean listen to what he said in the Bible
and also take time and listen to what he’s saying to us right now?

Maintaining personal righteousness is not our job?
What? Blasphemy! I tell you – Blasphemy! – Stay with me...

“To love Him is to obey Him” – BUT... Out of what resources?
It must come from what fountain of inner Strength?
Of course... our choices matter – But didn’t Jesus warn: “Apart from Me you can do nothing?”
John 15:5

Here’s some good news... “You were never meant to mimic Christ.
We were not meant to live as he did. Isn’t this a huge relief!
We were NOT meant to imitate Jesus!

The life of Christ is in you...
Allowing His life to become your life- (so much so) that we don’t know where His life end and ours begins. That’s it!

This isn’t about
self transformation – It’s not about a better you!
It’s about His transformation
of us - from the inside out!
New DNA – The “Mystery” remember? – Christ in us and us in Christ!

We are supposed to tap into (His life) and then allow him to live through us.
John 15 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
NOTHING! - But we still try! WHY?
--- What a willful people we are!

We must die! – We must surrender! – We must unclench or fists - if we are to do this – If we are to allow Jesus to... live in and through us?

-So this year – Lets do it different...
-Lets think in a different way...
-Let do it His way – instead of our way...

How about we let His will be done in us – as it is in Heaven - and see how that works for us...

Maybe – Just maybe? At the end of the year – we can look back and say? –
Not that we did good... but ---
“Well-done Jesus – Well done!”

Jesus I surrender again – right now to you – I yield and ask you to live in and through me... Amen...

BenandMary5
Ben and Mary Andrews



Good Grief

GoodGrief
“I can fix this….” My mind insisted one more time. And when I say insisted, I mean high volume, high intensity. You see, I have fixed things my whole life. And I am pretty good at it.

For two days my mind had been scanning facts, and data, and perspectives, and possibilities (I think the Bible calls this “Speculations).
“If I could just find the key…”
“If I could just get others to see what I see…”
“There is another piece of information, if I could just find it…”

The problem was that my mind seemed to be taking on a life of it’s own. Moving faster, and with greater intensity. Not only would it not be still, it was speeding up. I had been up at night and was beginning to have difficulty staying focused. This was “Thinking Differently” in a way that I wanted to stop. But it seemed that I could not.

I called a friend and trusted counselor, and described what was going on. She asked a simple question.

“Bob, what is your mind, and all those racing thoughts distracting you from? If it is racing, what is it racing away from?”.

My mind got still for a moment, and the answer came. One word. One terrible, frustrating word.

Grief.

Grief.

Before I say that we do not do well with grief, let me first say that I do not do well with grief. Did I mention that I fix things? As a counselor, I was always a strategist, a chess player. Let’ set a plan in motion, and get this problem resolved. Until the issue was grief. Grief is not a broken thing to be fixed, nor is it a lie to be corrected. It is not a problem to be resolved. Grief is a reality to embrace, and a valley to traverse. It is a persistent reality in a world where we choose to love, and choose not to hold back our hearts.

We often grieve in proportion to the degree to which we attach. Grieving is about loss. And to not grieve, we must reduce the way that we attribute value.

Jesus was a man familiar with sorrow and acquainted with grief. So what did He do with it? Jesus wept. The pain of loss, and the value Jesus attributed to His friend moved His soul. He did not rationalize, He did not run into a firestorm of cognitive security. He wept. He felt. He did not recite Bible verses about comfort, or make trite statements about eventual outcomes. He wept.

My racing mind would not obey my racing mind, because it was serving a different master. It had been serving a heart that did not want to grieve.

If I were not careful, I could completely abandon my heart, for the safety and refuge of my own ability to figure out and resolve problems. I was well down this path when I called my friend.

My thoughts had become a convenient, though no longer easy, way to escape grief.

So I got out a journal, and I began to write about losses. I was less than a paragraph in when my heart connected. If Jesus wept, so could I. And weep I did.

Loss is a normal part of life, and the only way to not lose is to never have. Grief is the normal way that God allows us to purge the pain of loss, and keep a healthy balance in our souls. Jesus is not afraid to be with you in grief, in fact He is familiar with it.

I am now sure that He is much more at home in grief, than He is in the teeth-gritting smile that says, “I am fine” when in reality the soul is aching.

I am learning to make a home for Jesus in a new way. Grief is good.

page0-page0-bob_hamp

Bob Hemp

True "Christianity"

StepThroughTheDoor

Written by: Ben Andrews

True "Christianity" is not like any other religion on the earth. In fact it really isn't a religion. Religion by definition: a set of beliefs, rules, guidelines - involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. Let me tell you... Allot, if not most Christians see it this way - but Jesus didn't teach this... What he taught was more than a way of living "right" and doing the "right" things - He taught a different way of seeing. Most Christians are living for (“some day” in the future) - If I do enough good - or don't so too much bad - then Jesus will be pleased with me.
What Jesus was trying to get us to understand was that we are NOT seeing... He didn't come to get us to see more correctly - He came to give us SIGHT! He said that we are blind! He said you can’t see! He wants us to see His kingdom - NOW! Not later!
Religion says "Do BETTER!" Jesus said, "I am the light - and if you will step into the light... you’ll be able to see!"

See What? See into the kingdom realm - See what the world cannot see... Sure... the world can see right and wrong – but what has that done for them?

So what was He talking about? He was talking about a way of seeing life - that cannot be seen without faith – Cannot be seen without Jesus – Cannot be seen without and through "The Way" of which He said He was "The Way".
He said – your eyes have been blinded.
So why do we get so stuck on doing more good and less evil? - Because that is all that dead things can see... We are dead men walking. But you say – Hey I’m not dead – I’m a Christian!” You may be a Christian alright, but your flesh isn’t dead! Until our flesh dies your spirit man will be taking a back seat. Becoming Christian – asking Jesus into your heart is just the beginning - a key - that opens the door - but you must step through.
Jesus came to bring us life... To the degree that we die to self - it is to that same degree that we step into the new life that Jesus came to give us. This isn’t about emptying ourselves out – tapping into the “Void”. This is about tapping into and connecting to life!
He wants us to tap back into His life that flows from the very throne of God! - But until we stop trying to be a better dead person - stop trying to do less wrong and do more right we are still feeding the flesh. We are no different than the unsaved! – What a trick from the enemy... WOW! We still don’t get it!

In order to truly live... Jesus said we must surrender and totally die to this thing called self or the flesh!
Promotion of more "will power" is just - a more "powerful self"!

We will never come to live "fully" in the “New Life” that Jesus offers until we get out of the way!
Religion is a set of rules and guidelines.
Christianity is Jesus – Living (IN US! and (Through US!) as we get out of the way...

Lord, Today - give us eyes to see... Let your love - your life - begin to flow in and through us - so the world will see that this is you and not us doing this... I surrender and yield again today to you Jesus... Amen...

BenandMary5
Ben and Mary Andrews