A Very Long Time

It has been a very long time, indeed. I have grown up quite a bit. Eventually got married and now have 2 kids. Who would have guessed?? I’ve graduated college and have a decent full time job with benefits. I guess you can say I have everything that people want and desire.

But lately (and my thought process has changed recently about this) I have been struggling with my successes. Reading through these writing pieces has me clearly envious of my past self. My past self would like to round-house kick me into reality but I know that can never happen. I suppose having a history of my past writings is sort of like a round-house kick anyways.

The point I want to try to get at is this: I want to get back to the basics. I want to get back to who I was at school and how I was in the beginning of my time growing up.

I have regrets and I guess you shouldn’t live with regrets because I constantly see people who base their lives around these regrets, possibly afraid to make changes in order to do better.

It’s 11pm. I work tomorrow. I’m just making the blatantly obvious point that I plan on writing again.

Need the encouragement!

Prayer in Public

Matthew 6:5-6 talks about prayer and how it should be done ONLY in private, etc. That’s great, except for the fact that people now push people down saying that public prayer, say in a church, is offensive and unbiblical. This is one of those passages where you’d think the Bible was contradicting itself while we try to line up bible culture time to this time right now today and our culture.

I don’t think the verses were to be taken quite literally. I think what the writer was saying was that our prayer time must not just be all public prayer. It’s really not for people to see us praying. Prayer is actually a conversation with God and as such, prayer is between yourself and God. It’s really nobody else’s business to know all about your relationship with God, but really only for them to look from the outside in on your heart motives and your walk with God.

The problem I’ve been having of lately is that since I’ve not been doing public prayer at all, fearing being prideful and possibly arrogant, I’ve dropped off on prayer also for personal time. My relationship with God is dwindling slowly. And as I realize this, I’ve sent word to some friends to help get me up out of this whole- that seems no way out.

Most of the time I observe things in everyday life. I observe and learn, observe and learn. Lately I’ve observed how easy it is actually to become a bible enthusiast and not to actually have a current up-to-date relationship with God. It’s really easy.

My challenge to anyone who reads this (AND TO MYSELF RIGHT NOW) is to keep a current up-to-date relationship with God and start that kindling so it turns into a fire that never stops burning. Fire is a symbol currently of the intensity of my relationship with God. It feels, currently, like a little candle. I know exactly what Jesus said “when you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can move mountains.” Right now I’d say my faith is smaller than a mustard seed and is shrinking… Time to kick up the reception between God and I.

If you currently are struggling like I am, tremendously, just start talking to God. I know it’s not easy to do… I’m finding out this very moment how I’m going to start talking to God and just what to say. Most of the time I’d say that music is a form of talking to God through thankfulness.

I’m glad to be back on wordpress. Hit me up if you wanna: facebook.com/lifeforgiven

We are crap- period

Seems lik ean awkward sentence don’t it? We are crap. We are crap. We are crap. Man, it just sounds like I’m super depressed and have no intention accept to say that the human race sucks.

But that’s not what I want to say at all.

I haven’t been on wordpress in a while. I just had decided I was going to use my xanga.com/lifeforgiven06 blog as my only blog to let people in on life. But it’s not like that with xanga. I write simple quick quirks to let people know whats going on with life, do some kind of evangelism, and leave it at that. Somedays I show my frustrations about stuff, but nothing too major I guess.

Here at wordpress I teach. Now it isn’t teaching like I teach in a classroom, but just a small blog among many other blogs. This blog I want to be geared toward evangelism, but I also want it to encourage someone when life is crappy. Hence the title of this blog.

Life does suck sometimes. Rejection sucks. Weather sometimes sucks. But what sucks the most is not having purpose. Now when things suck, I tend to turn around in the direction I’m going. I tend to bottle up inside my apt not giving anyone a glimpse of the struggles I’m going through. It’s really a deadening thing. I think the greatest thing I need to keep in mind when things suck is that God does not. In James chapter 1 and 2 it talks about trials. Ya’ll know what trials are so I don’t have to speak to you like second graders. God does not suck because he puts us through these trials to teach us to trust him more… and more… and more. Can we ever “over-trust” God? Answer: not really. As long as we’re in our human skin, we will distrust naturally more than we will trust… hence growth and trials. Because of this natural-ness in our human-ness, we will never “over-trust” God. If we think that we are starting to, we’ll automatically start “sinning” to not be? But in reality, when we start thinking we are, we are, in fact, failing at trusting God. Get it?

So back to this having purpose. I know we’ve all heard it before, but let me get real with you. Atheists need to know something: they have no hope at all. It’s depressing living off of facts which haven’t been able to be proved. When you live for your Creator, God, you live with purpose. That doesn’t mean you’re going to be become a great evangelist like Billy Graham or Mark Driscoll. If everyone were to become a great evangelist, we’d not have a proportionate body in Christ. It’d be so focused on selfish and competition. But I can say when you live for your Creator, God, you have purpose. That purpose might be something that seems boring like “worshiping God”, but I want to tell you something: it’s amazing.

Don’t try to be something or someone, period. Be a worshiper. You might be thinking: how in the heck do I be a worshiper? (more to come)

Stop!

That’s a note to myself. Let me explain.

I look at what I can’t do alot. I look at what position I’m not in. I look at what I don’t have. I look at where I need to push push push myself to be a better person.

But where am I pulling myself if I’m always pushing myself. I’m hurting myself! I’m physically whipped, mentally drained, and emotionally pulled all over the place. I try to be a better man.

I say that I will always step myself up a notch, but am I going too far? My friends and family say you have to stop being hard on yourself. I always say that being hard on myself pushes myself forward. I don’t like to stop. I don’t like to be still.

But what does God say? “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) God tells me what I should do.

Am I throwing opportunities out the window all over the place when I tell others and myself to push forward? I can actually cause some bad to come out of good.

I focus so much on the push forward that I lose sight of what I NEED to do. Simple tasks such as socializing, self preparation, school work, job necessities, and food intake become second… to last place as far as things I need to do.

What happens when I don’t do these things? Socially, I suffer insecurity because people don’t know me. I’m not on campus so nobody really knows me. Self preparing, I lack getting simple tasks done like failing to do laundry to get clean clothes. In school work, I’m always behind and always practically begging my teachers to give me lots and lots of grace toward assignments. My job has shown me tons of grace and mercy towards me. There’s been several times where I’ve been late, a couple times I didn’t even show up, and times where I’ve left without doing my job completely. Finally, my food intake suffers. I believe chores has to go along with food intake because food intake is a chore to me. I have to plan out my meals and when I’m going to eat. Should be easy right? Wrong. I forget to plan and forget to eat. I suffer from sickness all the time because I’m either not eating or I have too much sweets because sweets are easier.

So there’s my stop. That’s why I write this. I have to stop focusing on the push and actually live. I’m also discouraged in terms of getting myself in situations that cause emotional tugs and such. One way to stop that? Get busy with DOING life… not thinking or over analyzing things all the time.

So Dan, shut up, move forward doing life.

The Randition of Paul…

As I’m reading this book for my class, One Untimely Born, the author, Robert L. Cate, does an excellent job researching the life of Paul. I think God knew long before Paul was even born that Paul was gonna learn to be a Jew, Roman, and know Greek so he could speak in ways that ALL could understand. To me, that’s pretty awesome.

The life of Paul is very much not like a simple bedtime story. For those who want to read about Paul, please get this book. There are so many situations and facts and presentations just within the first couple of chapters that LOCK IN and LINK TOGETHER Paul and what he says with his letters. It’s really cool.

God made Paul smart so God could use Paul (even after Paul persecuted Christians for a living)… weird how that all works together, BUT it fits together with no jumbled up pieces.

People think the Bible is so complex. I believe the Bible, knowing and understanding the Bible, is the beginning of all knowledge. If you know the Bible, you know how to live basically. It’s the guidebook. But all too often I get people who don’t even want to look at a Bible or anything like that. They’d rather dis the Bible completely and to me, as much as that is sad, it’s their choice.

I think it’s the responsibility of the Christian man and woman to spread the Bible to people. Somehow we need to push our beliefs on people… in a way that’s respectful, humbling, but yet firm and strong in relating. It’s our job to spread this word, but how can we do that right here in this culture right now? How about we start with a prayer? Then after a prayer, start a small group. Spread it to others. They spread it to others and the hands helping for the Kingdom of God will grow and grow. We need these hands.

Humbly Annoyed

So here I am sitting on my couch. I already know the answers to questions that I ask myself and people around me. I already know how to go through the processes of friendship. I already know what it takes for commitment in friendships/relationships. I know what to do. I know how to do it. So whats the problem?

I’m talking about relationships. I have gone down the road far too long with relationship after relationship with girl after girl. I’m not saying I had a long line of girls that I’ve dated. The line is probably much shorter than many people I know. What I’m saying is that I’ve been done with that road for a while now. Yet I still continue to try and go down that road time and time again.

God has closed that road. He has put a sign on that road and said the bridge up ahead is out, you better not take this way. Why don’t I listen. I know the bridge is out. I know that way is not possible, but yet I still tried to go down that road this summer. I’ve royally screwed up in the summer. Went into something of a “relationship” with a girl from my work just to feel something, but nothing. It was that same feeling I got after trying to be with someone who I wasn’t supposed to be with. There was a lack of commitment because God hadn’t given a clear yes. Most of the times the only thing clear was the no. I just didn’t listen too well. I used people. They might not have used me, but I used them. They understand it. They have forgiven me and I try not to go down that road again.

I hang out with friends of the opposite sex only to a certain point knowing that if I continue to hang out with them that eventually I’ll find a stupid way to get around the word “friendship” to “maybe I wanna give this a shot” to “we’re just playing around” to “it’s complicated” to “ok- now we’re just using each other.” The reason it happens in that order is because of what has happened all my life. My family line is made up of people who just got together to play around and then eventually just linked together because of either circumstances or need. I’m no exception! My family line is made up of drunks, rapists, and some other stuff that I just don’t want to get into. I hate it! Can I say that? I’m not exactly proud of this name I carry. It doesn’t say “hey I’m a guy from a great family so my values/ things I were taught were awesome.”

I’m not saying my Mom didn’t do an excellent job in my family. That’s just the point. My Mom took us kids aside, got us in church, and raised us with the church. She knew our whole family line sucked. She knew what the outcome was if we continued down that road. She didn’t want it. So she tried and continues to try to keep us on the right and moving in the forward direction. So that’s where I stand. That’s where my good morals come from. That’s where “Bible College” came from. That’s where all that comes from. But there’s still some crap and it’s not my Mom’s fault. It’s just life. I do just get annoyed with it.

And that right is mine. I also believe I have somewhat of a right to be humbly annoyed. I humble myself alot. I do it to people, to myself, to the school, to my friends, to my family, to people I don’t even know at all. I do it because it works. Not only does it work, but it brings hope to my life and the lives involved. Jesus knew that very well when he humbled himself to mankind for death on a cross. Why I’m humbly annoyed is hard to explain so let me throw it out there for you.

I’m humble to my position in life, yet annoyed with things right now. I want to be humble, am humble, but yet annoyed at the same time. This doesn’t just pertain to relationships or lack of them, but to life in general. Do I have a right to say so? I have an excellent job making minimum wage and couldn’t be happier that I even have a job considering my situation. People around me get raises, but I don’t because of maybe a lack of commitment… due to medical stuff.

So that’s the answer. I’m humbly annoyed because of my medical stuff. I’m happy with it. Trust me I’m not extatic, but I’m happy that’s all it is. It could be different and thus I take pride in my condition because God has me here for a reason. I could be in a different spot. I could be dating, have a car, great grades, a better paying job, more awake to do the things I need/want to do, etc. These are all things I could be having/doing if I didn’t have my medical. What I’m saying is that I’m alright that it wasn’t so, but I’m also sad. Sadness deep inside my core is yearning to launch out one of these nights just to grieve for all the crap in life. Under the circumstances I should/could have been these things, but God changed that through a situation in life that I can never change. It was out of my control. There was no way to get around it. There is blame that’s been said, but we’re all human. I forgive the ones to blame for the situation in my life because I, too, am human and make stupid mistakes. God’s got me here, humbled, and I continue to seek him.

I wrote this note because many things are happening at Davis College this year. It’s probably the same like every year, but it just hits me harder it seems this year. People have “hooked up” and that lonliness inching aching feeling is starting to set in. People are getting those great grades and the lack of them on my part is killing me slowly. I took pride in my work and now I have nothing much to take pride in, but for whatever progress I make, I am thankful not prideful. People have those cars and I lack one that I desperately soon need for work. They don’t have a job, responsibility, or structure, but have a car. That’s annoying to me. People have money and I always need that money to humbly pay back those that have given who also are in need. Those are friends that I’m in debt to. They love me unconditionally.

I’m not asking “where’s God?” I know where Elohim is. He is right here. He is in this room. He is sitting next to me. He’s outside looking through the window. Comprehensively, he’s everywhere. God has very much control of my life and I’m not mad at him for making it the way it is. I’m humbled. I don’t want control of my life because I know the direction I’ll take it will eventually destroy everything about me and around me. I wait for him. He has said yes to Davis College, yes to working for a nice company making minimum wage, yes to having an apartment to share, yes to the food I have, yes to the friends I’m with, yes to alot of things I can never understand. I do not want to go without him because he directs my paths. He turns my roads. He builds my bridges. He sets me the direction I need to go. He gives me the freedom to choose it.

I’m humbly annoyed because I fear others have not found it. My heart with a passion goes out to them because they are the ones lost. They know destruction lies ahead, but continue to walk. Maybe they prepare the way ahead. Maybe they throw up their shields of wealth, power, love, control, strength, etc. They don’t know what will happen, but I do. They eventually fall, weak, unstable, and scared. They will be lost because their strength, their sheild, their protection wasn’t everlasting. It was only conditional. It didn’t solve their problems, but hid them from humanity. Their protection has withered away. The devil, the evil powers can attack full strength on them. They will be destroyed forever with no pass go’s, no new starts, no “please give me a chance”‘s. I see that. It says that in the Bible. Are you in for God, protector, sustainer, deliverer OR are you out for nothing but destruction and “it’s over.”

Let your yes be yes and your no be no. -Matthew 5:37

My thoughts from the Election Night ’08

Last night I was watching the elections on ABC at my apt and I was watching as the results came in. I wasn’t upset that McCain wasn’t winning even though I personally have my vote for him if it counted. I was pleased that our country was at least in agreement to disagree on things. The speech that McCain did was absolutely awesome. It was humbling. He was stepping down and he was encouraging his followers to do the same. He wouldn’t let the chant to continue on for him, but was humbling to lead his followers to follow the one the COUNTRY chose. He also took the blame for him not winning. I believe that was the right thing to do as a leader and the position he was in, although others feel it wasn’t his place to take the blame. I am actually encouraged by the humbling experience by McCain and his character. Although that man didn’t receive the presidency, we definitely need more people like him who are willing to back down when they know they aren’t the guy for the job. I believe it was also an act of God that McCain was humble. God does these particular things in life because he wants us to come to him more. Whether or not McCain didn’t get the presidency because as believers in God and his son Jesus Christ we’ve slacked off on praying, God had this happen and in the end… it’s alright. Would our prayers have changed the position of the election or not… I can’t say now, but when I get to heaven I’m sure it’ll be a question I’ll ask. And because our prayers or lack of prayers didn’t get McCain the presidency may go to show that, as Christians, we’re getting closer to the finish line. That race that Paul and the other disciples talk about in the Bible is this race we’re in right now… the goal of reaching others for Christ and finally going home to live for our true purpose. I’m humbled in that respect.

I wouldn’t say our country is going to hell or even that Obama is the anti-Christ. I would say that we’re struggling and God has answered prayers… whether it’s a yes for us or a no for us… he answered them. As Christian bro’s and sis’s we just got to keep moving forward and accept that this is whats happened. How to move forward is to allow the leadership of Obama to take presidency and us being humble to that fact and submitting to it also.

I’m not even going to get into details of how Obama could be the anti-Christ and I don’t know why I’ve told a few people how I thought he was. Obama has some pretty cool goals right now too and yes there is some crap smooshed in between them, he may just be another man willing to lead our country. Some assume he’s the anti-Christ, but what evidence do we have? The goal for world peace? A nation becoming the strongest power in the world? Or the hope that he portrays? There’s nothing as Christians we can do, but to pray for God to continue to lead us and reach out to others also. There is probably more than a slight evidence that Obama “could be” the anti-Christ… but we have no idea. We really don’t. So until then we just keep moving forward, praying, hoping, growing, and humbling ourselves to those God put above us.

As for a man with integrity, my vote with a passion goes to McCain. He’s a leader I would like to mold into more. So in ending, pray for strength, courage, power, love, intense devotion, etc because God has spoken and he has given us the freedom. We chose. We still gotta seek him especially now.