Monday, March 16, 2009

Tortured Souls

Tortured souls do not lament
the passing of your spring
for all the while the rain does fall
the mind is restoring

Thinking of the gray-worn world
the tempest in the deep
the ugly meanderings in your head
the phathoms you cant reach

For soon this dreadful parting
will be but distant thoughts
as one who struggles with another
and then is turn to naught

For if this life is full of meaning
and happiness and cheer
why is my heart full of sadness
and the ending seems so near

Tortured souls do not lament
the grave is turned asunder
hell is vanquished gone forever
yet my heart is prone to wander

(I can write poetry! I found this today, and although I like it I think it is missing a stanza. I'll have to tweak it a bit.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Discovering old truth in new light

Yesterday I was talking with a dear friend about truth. Interestingly she brought it up because she has been reading books and participating in Bible studies that are all dealing with separate subjects and interests but overlap in their search and discussion of truth. As we talked I was reminded of one of my favorite authors, Leslie Vernick, and the first book she wrote, called How to Live Right When Your Life Goes Wrong (which was originally titled, The Truth Principle). I decided to pull it off the shelf and refresh my mind with its nuggets.

I seem to be in a constant conundrum with myself and truth and others and their perceptions of truth. It is very confusing to try to live and do right when close friends and family members are claiming to do the same yet their actions and words speak contrary to my own choices and principles. This makes my relationships viable because I know it is a truth to be close to those who follow truth and when we are not on the same page of truth I struggle with what I should do and why.

Several things stuck out to me last night. First of all, I need to know truth. Christ is truth, therefore I need to know God. More than any other relationship I need to know God, spend time with Him, be fellowshipping and communing with HIM. The first step is obviously reading my Bible and praying. Secondly, I must listen to His voice. Do you recognize which voice in your head is the voice of God? Have you identified the faulty voices so you can instantly recognize God's voice?

"Deepening our relationship with Him involves coming to recognize His voice and learning to tune out the ones that distract and lie to us."

My friend and I were saying just that last night, the battle is in our heads!!

Next, I need to value what God says. I need to believe it.

"Christian counselor Sandra Wilson says, 'We don't always live what we profess, but we always live what we believe.' This describes the experience of many when they say, 'I know it in my head but not in my heart.' We will always live according to what our heart believes, not what our head professes to believe. One of the most difficult journeys a Christian will ever take is the journey from the head to the heart, or from knowledge to trust."
This paragraph encouraged me greatly. I know people that know the truth, but dont live it. It is quite frustrating because it affects me personally. I have no control over them or the decisions they make. I cannot change them. But still the constant, what is wrong with them, they say they know all the answers, why cant they do what they know? They don't believe it. If they believed it, they would act differently. Their head knows it, but their heart has not trusted in the truth of God's Words. They can tell me they know it all they want, but there is a strange comfort in knowing that I can trust the fact that they still have a journey of faith themselves before the behavior changes.

Ms. Vernick then talks about how knowing God then involves obeying God, and then lastly loving Him with our whole hearts.

As I read I was truly convicted by the exposure of my own heart's failure to love God. I am a disciplined person. I have an easier time obeying than succeeding in these other areas. But I do not love easily. And Ms Vernick quotes from another book called Seeking the Face of God by Gary Thomas:

"We cease from sin, not just because we're disciplined, but because we have
found something better."

Have I only learned to do what's right for the sake of doing what's right? Being disciplined is not an easy thing. It requires ambition, character, motivation. But perhaps my obedience so often loses its meaning because I forget that I am not disciplined for disciplined sake only, but because the love of God has constrained me to do these things. The more I love Jesus, the more I love God, the more I understand His amazing love for me and therefore the more I KNOW Him, the more I will want to be like Him. Again Ms Vernick:
"It is this union, our abiding in Him, and He in us, where change begins to take place in our innermost being: our heart. This is where we begin to take on the character of the one we love - Christ's nature in us."
(All quotes are taken from Ms. Vernick's book, so if you'd like more detailed explanations, please read it!)
"That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." Ephesians 3:17-19