Sunday, December 16, 2012


Joy - that's a hard one. And as I come to Christmas, it disturbs me that I don't feel very joyful. At a time when I have so much to be thankful for, so many blessings, I don't feel joyful.

It makes me realize that perhaps part of the problem is that I don't have joy every day. I get through, remembering that God has me where he wants me for the day. I say ok, and move on in the day. But do I jump on it as an opportunity? Do I make the most out of each moment He has given me. I can not lie to myself - the answer is no.

Instead, I find myself grouchy, ornery, not looking forward to tomorrow, and not looking forward to Christmas. It's time to change my own feelings. It's time to delve into scripture so that the Holy Spirit can remind me of what I have hidden in my heart, that way he can begin to change my perspective.

John 14:26
 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

I have so much to be grateful for. I liken myself to a spoiled child - I have so much, yet I feel as though I have nothing. I know I have much to be joyful about, yet I wallow in self pity. It is almost irritating when I'm around people who are so joyful that they will not share that they have any type of burden (which we all do!) Perhaps the problem is not that they are faking it, trying to seem perfect and joyful all the time. Perhaps the problem instead is that I have not learned joy to the point that everything else dims in perspective.

Joy comes only from God, and the only way to experience him is by spending time with him - knowing what he has to say. So, in trying to get ready for the craziness of Christmas, I'm planning on finding scriptures to memorize as well finding something to be thankful for each morning and each night. We'll see how well this works. If nothing else, memorization can only be good for my heart and mind.

Friday, December 14, 2012

God Given Emotions.

When it comes to life, I tend to be extreme. When I do something, I go all in. With guitar, I would kill myself learning a new piece. With chemistry, I spent hours drilling and studying. With dog training, I drilled my dog on agility till we were both exhausted, and trained extreme tricks in one training session.When told not to rely on my emotions when it comes to faith in God - I did what I always do, I went to the extreme. Being extreme isn't a bad thing, in fact Jesus was very extreme; but like him, I want my extremity in life to be in step with God.

Perhaps you've been told, as I have,  not to rely on emotions when it comes to faith in God. And just like me, perhaps you tend to go to the extreme. Instead of listening exclusively to what I've been told, I want to know what God wants me to do with the feelings that inevitably come.

A look into scripture to see the emotion written upon the pages tells me that emotion is right - it's how God is, and how he made us to be.

Tell me, did God have no emotion when sending his son? No! Scripture says that he sent him because he loved the world - because he loved me, because he loved you. What great love that God would give us his only son, for the separation that they experienced at the cross was far greater than any separation a human could begin to experience. And was it not love that held Christ to the cross? If he could command the sea to be still, and the demons to flee, couldn't he prevent that terrible event?

Was it without feeling that he looked down upon a woman convicted of prostitution and told her that she was clean and pure - to move on from that life? 

Was there no love for the children when he held them, and forbid the disciples from keeping them away?

Was there no pain when he called out to God from the cross, asking why he had forsaken him?

When his disciples all deserted him, did he not feel rejection by those he held dear?

Was there no anger when people desecrated the temple, a place of worship?

Tell me that Christ felt no emotion. If you can prove it, go ahead, I would like to see scripture to support it.

God created us with a conscience. From the beginning of genesis until now we have known what was right and what was wrong. How could we know this without emotion? Without emotion I could not be careless about the ways of God, nor could I desire to please him.

Most importantly, if emotion wasn't important, why would God use the feeling of emptiness to bring me to the cross? 

Does God really want us to keep our emotions tucked away? I don't think so. Consider the history of Israel. We see this nation rise and fall through the pages of the Bible, with one recurring theme. They call out to God, he has compassion, and he brings them back to himself. They felt alone, they were hurt, they were captive to their lusts, passions, and worldly possessions. That is what brought them to a place of repentance. And isn't that what God desires for his people? "In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God's angels when even one sinner repents." Luke 15:10

So we see in Scripture that emotions are what bring people to God, and that God himself feels emotions. If you're unsure, read the book He Chose the Nails by Max Lucado. It has a lot more on Christ's emotions and feelings. If emotions bring people to Christ, why should they ignore them once they come to Christ?

I'm not saying you should be run by your emotions, but you shouldn't be afraid to have emotions. If you are always keeping a tight reign on them perhaps you don't think God can handle your emotions. The Spirit of God lives within us, and he's the one who does the changing inside of us. We choose to allow him to work in us, but he is the one who will wrestle with our emotions and teach us how to control them.

I think this shows how our emotions change and actually grow as we become more like Christ:

"Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think." Ephesians 3:17-20