Archive for the 'Faith' Category

06
Nov
08

The Path

100_5042THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth

Then took the other as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet, knowing how way leads onto way
I doubted if I should ever come back

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference

Robert Frost

Most of you probably recognize the above poem from an English Lit. class. It has always been one of my favorite poems and I think it speaks to the journey we are on as followers of Christ. Now don’t get me wrong, I do not believe that there are many paths to God (sorry Oprah). I fully believe what Christ said in John 14:6 when he said that he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no man comes to the Father except through him. This poem speaks to me about our life after we come to the Father, through Christ. It has to do with the plan God has for our lives. Understand that I am not talking about the general plan. I know that we are all to follow the great commission and spread the gospel wherever and whenever we get a chance as we allow him to work through us to make disciples. I am talking about the specific plan that God has for each of us. There are some who say that God does not have a specific plan for each one of us. To them I would say, “Go back and look at the Bible from beginning to end.” It is filled with God revealing his specific plan to men throughout the ages. Need examples? Here are a few. Noah, build a big boat. Abram, go to a land I will show you. Moses, go confront Pharaoh and then lead my people out of bondage. Do you get the idea? And that is just some of what we find in Genesis. Over in the New Testament we see specific plans revealed everywhere.

Now, how does this apply to us? Well, in Jeremiah 29:11 we see God speaking though the prophet, telling the nation of Israel that he has a plan for them. The plan is a good one and it is designed with their best interest at heart. According o my Bible, God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He doesn’t change. This means that if he has a plan for individuals, and for his chosen people, then I think it is safe to say he has a plan for us, his children, too.

The question then is, “Do we know what his plan is for us?” If so, “Are we following it?” Over the years I have not only had to evaluate where I am in relation to following his plan, but I have also been asked to help others as they strive to discover and follow his plan for their lives. That leads us back to the poem. Over the years we are faced with many forks where we are forced to decide to follow on in the direction he is leading, or to venture off in a different direction of our choosing. We may deicide to venture down one path with the idea of coming back and taking the other if things do not work out, but we know that we will likely not come back.

God does not promise us that the plan will lead us down smooth, easy paths, but he does promise to be with us every step of the way (Hebrews 13:5). One of the reasons I think that there are some pretty miserable Christians out there is because they have gone down the wrong path and either do not understand that they are on the wrong path, or they are too stubborn to admit that they have gone the wrong way. Either way, they have allowed themselves to be taken outside of God’s specific plan for their life. In fact, it is the idea of this “path” and its importance that inspired my person blog. Where are you? Are you on the path God has chosen for you? Or, are you free lancing it, thinking you can just make it on your own? Finding the right path takes effort on our part as we seek God’s face, but finding it draws us into a closer, more intimate relationship with the one who knew us before we were formed in our mother’s womb. I think his way has to be the best.

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26
Sep
08

Quotes to Ponder: Bono

“It’s extraordinary to me that the United States can find $700 billion to save Wall Street and the entire G8 can’t find $25 billion to save 25,000 children who die every day from preventable diseases.”

– Bono, lead singer for U2 and anti-poverty activist

25
Sep
08

The Strength of my Heart (Psalm 73:23-26)

Right now in my life, I find myself constantly battling to find fulfillment and joy in my relationships with people and in my circumstances instead of in my steadfast Savior. Each time I do this I feel miserable on the inside, and I feel completely unsatisfied. My patient Father always brings me back to the following scripture to remind me of His unfailing love and continual presence.

“Nevertheless I am continually with You; You hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.

Who have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

-Psalm 73:23-26

24
Sep
08

SYATP

This morning as I walked into school I saw a beautiful sight: students in prayer around the flag pole at my school. I felt encouraged but I also felt challenged. If there are this many students here imagine the difference that could be made in my school. I hope that this excitement wasn’t left at the flag pole but that it begins to permeate every area of school: each hall, each room, each student. I know that God wants to do great things. And I know that He wants to use us to help Him. My prayer is that we are receptive.

23
Sep
08

Religious Views

I’ll admit that I’ve become a Facebook junkie. I especially enjoy keeping in touch with our Seesalt family and reconnecting with friends from the past that I actually know. Believing that things should be at least occasionally refreshed, I decided last night to change my response to Political Views (I don’t want to be president) and Religious Views. My response of “I view religion quite often – I strongly prefer a relationship with Jesus” was due to be replaced (but it is still true).

I have a hard time giving normal answers. Actually it’s pretty easy, but not nearly as much fun. Again playing off of the “view” idea, I originally changed it simply to “Far-sighted” and headed for bed. On the way down the hall I began to think that maybe “near-sighted” might have been a better answer. It’s good to be far-sighted – to look ahead, to have vision for the future, to see the bigger picture…  But sometimes as Christians we can focus so much on looking ahead to the sweet by and by  that we forget the here and now. As another cliche goes, we can be so heavenly minded that we’re no earthly good. 

In Matt. 6:34, Jesus said: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  We certainly do have plenty of trouble to deal with each day. Some problems belong to us – everything from how do I afford gas to what am I supposed to be doing with my life. Other trouble belong to people around us – people to whom we are called to minister. Most of them have at least the problems we have and usually a lot more.  I wondered if I should change my out-of-the-box religious views response to “near-sighted”?

But if we focus too much on the immediate cares of the world, we’re also out of balance. It could probably lead quickly to getting discouraged and giving up. We need balance. I ended up coming back into the International Home Office and changing my Facebook to “Hopefully far-sighted and near-sighted.”

The reality is that on my own I have pretty poor vision. Figuratively speaking I have trouble seeing things up close and far away without a corrective lens. To see clearly I need to filter my views through my relationship with Jesus.  Hebrews 12:2-3 says “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus … so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” 

When our religious view is Jesus, we can see much more clearly – near and far.

22
Sep
08

Content

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

Phillipians 4:11

This has been my favorite verse for years.  I know a lot of people focus on Phillipians 4:13, but I have always drawn a lot of encouragement from this one because I don’t think we focus enough on how important it is to be content in Christ.  Being contentment is not to be confused with being complacent.  To me contentment means to know that I am where God wants me to be and he is doing what he wants to do in and through me at that time.  It keeps me from getting anxious, and it helps me enjoy life “in the moment” so as not to miss many of the little ways God reveals himself to me.  My sense of being content comes from him and not from exterior forces or circumstances.  It really helps me face whateveer comes my way with that peace that passes all understanding, but that is another verse for another time.

22
Sep
08

Live more.

Tonight I went to a worship service held in our amphitheater here at school. It was pretty small, about 10-15 people. To be honest at first I didn’t see anyone and thought that maybe I’d misheard.  I went because it wasn’t put on by any specific organization, just students and I’ve been really praying for some Christian campus unity. And also because my favorite style of worship is just voices and guitar(s) without much hoopla. We began singing some songs and it was a little uncomfortable at first. I didn’t know most of the people there or some of the songs. But eventually I got over that. Since this was the type of worship and unity I’ve been craving, I expected something emotional to happen or at least some chill bumps. After all, I was sitting there praising God along with other people passionately singing on a beautiful night with occasional heat lightning showcasing God’s majesty just in case we couldn’t already realize it. But I didn’t feel anything. I was tired. After class, work, physical therapy, homework, working out, and two meetings I didn’t have the energy to hardly focus. But I’ve learned over the years that my faith is not justified at all through feelings. That’s not really my point, but I had to say that to get to the really cool part of the night. I kept singing, knowing that even if I wasn’t super emotionally involved, I still truly meant the words that I was singing. And God more than deserves all my praise, even in the tired moments. I don’t remember what song it was during or if I even immediately recognized what was happening, but somewhere in there God whispered to me. I don’t mean audibly, but two words just consumed my thoughts all of the sudden and I knew that I didn’t have the brain-power to really form them. “Live more.” I kept repeating those two words in my mind. “Live more.” So many times we are asked what God is telling us to do. However, God was not telling me to “do” more, but to live more. God knows that I do a whole lot, and one more thing would probably just distract me. I started thinking about what it really means to live more. And even just what it means to live. I started thinking about the phrase “to live a life for Christ.” I’ve used that phrase several times but I started thinking about how funny it was, as if there were any other way to live. Honestly, if you’ve ever experienced the life that Christ gives and then thought about your life beforehand it really seems like you were just dead. It was if God was telling me not to settle with how much Christ and how much life I wanted to live. He wasn’t commanding me to make all these sacrifices and give up the things that make me who I am but just to live more. I’m not saying that makes things easy or simple but I have the choice to be more alive. There’s really no point in hitting a plateau. So I guess I’m writing this in case you need a whisper (or a kick in the pants). Live more.




The Amalgam is a collective of various writers, photographers, artists, and random people in general. This weblog is a collection of their thoughts on faith, life, the arts, sports, and basically anything else. The views of the writers in the Amalgam do not necessarily represent the views of Concoxions Creative Ministries. But where we disagree with them, we still love them.