Gifts of Life Community Fellowship is a place to fellowship with like-minded believers in collective praise, collective thought and collective unity through the Way, the Truth and the Life, Jesus, the Christ.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Graspers! Umoja/Sermon 2

© 2008 by Deidre Campbell-Jones (AKA ~Min. Dez)

I've realized that I've spent most of my adult life grasping at life. And, like a kid in a bet, grasping at straws, I keep pulling out the short end of the stick.

Then it dawned on me that there are probably a lot of us "graspers" out there. Some grasp at love, or acceptance or security; notoriety or career. Yet others may be like me - grasping at several aspects of life aspects all at once - because for me career and acceptance seem to be inseparable.

There are even those who grasp at religion or grasp at faith like life-vests thrown from several different ships - not knowing which one came from the ship that will take them home. The Bible calls these individuals "searchers" and some of these searchers believe in an "unknown God." You know them as well as you may know yourself. A searcher is reluctant, almost adamant about not being an atheist, but is comfortably agnostic with phrases like "I'm very spiritual".

A spiritual searcher is touched by the spirit of God, the force of a "higher power"; angels as protectors, and mystical forces that compel the "universe" is if it were a sentient being. You can recognize these searchers through comments like, “angels are watching over me” and “I’m not going to put that out into the universe.” Both comments have nothing to do with Christ and are misleading as to the true spiritual nature of the speaker.

You can also recognize a “Life Searcher” because we tend to wander aimlessly from job to job, career to career and seem flaky, unfocussed, indecisive and almost incapable of managing our own lives. Some may actually be recognized as brilliant, talented, capable or smart - but their lack of any substantial life roots may negate what they are truly able to accomplish.

Put them both together and you've got a "grasper" of exponential proportions - an individual who is lost, lonely and confused in their own skin. This is an extreme case for sure, but all of us at one time or another has lived within some area of our lives on a “grasping” scale from mildly hanging on to scratching and clawing.

And no matter what range you or I fall within, there is just one rope to hold on to.

Many of us are lost when it comes to true biblical spirituality because we cannot grasp the fact that God loves us. We cannot grasp that fact that a loving God would “let” so many terrible things happen. We have difficulty grasping the Word of God. We have difficulty relating to such spiritual mumbo-jumbo as a God who became a man by being born of a virgin, dying on a cross and then being raised from the dead. We have a hard time grasping that this person would forgive us – or even that we need forgiveness in the first place – after all, we’re good people, we try to be kind to others and do what’s right – how could a loving God send a person like that to hell? And speaking of hell – that’s another subject we have a problem trying to grasp.

Setting all that aside, however, and no matter what we do or do not believe, I believe the biggest challenge for everyone is grasping the fact that God does have a purpose for lives – that there is a higher purpose for each and every one of us.

So grasp onto this: God is a loving God and God loves YOU! How do I know He loves you, even though I don’t know you? Because God loves me and you don’t know the kind of life I’ve lived or what I’ve done either.

Grasp onto this: God gave all mankind free will. We have the freedom of choice when it comes to loving Him, choosing Him and believing in Him. And God does not take away the choice of anyone to choose sin. Sin and the destruction of this world are not because of God they are because of the sin of mankind – a mankind that chooses not to accept God. You see, the definition of “sin” is separation from God.

Now grasp onto this: A loving God does not "let" such terrible things happen - mankind does. It started from the dawn of mankind in the Garden of Eden – man chose sin over God, evil over good, death over life. It was like the opening of “Pandora’s Box”. We chose to open it and closing it now is too late – sin and evil have been released into the world. So what’s the alternative? God can help us navigate the mess of this world. God still loves us enough to help us through the sin of our lives, the sins in our lives and the mess we’ve created of his beautiful creations.

Oh yeah, grasp onto this too: God created us and loves us. He made you the way you are for a reason! He did not create you as a sinner; you were born into sin, born of flesh – a flesh corrupted by sin. But God is a deliverer and a restorer! He wants to restore you back to His original grace! He will deliver you from your sins no matter how terrible you think they are and he will restore you back to the beautiful creation you ARE. You see, God sees you as beautiful and wonderful! Why? Because He’s already forgiven you! Psalms 139 says we are fearfully and wondrously made! God doesn’t make mistakes, people do! You are not a mistake!

And there’s one other thing I want you to grasp onto: Psalms 139 also says that God has a purpose for you! He has a plan for your life – and trust me, it is wonderful! Beyond what you can imagine! How do I know? Because God had a plan for my pitiful, jacked-up life that I had messed all up and let others mess up for me, and once I discovered that plan I realized it was more wonderful and more phenomenal than anything I could have imagined for myself!

But first I had to learn to see myself through God’s eyes. Then I had to believe in what I saw through God’s eyes. You see, it’s been too many years I believed the enemy’s lies about me. You know those lies – you believe them about yourself too. You’ve heard them through family, through friends, through lovers and spouses. You’ve heard them through bosses, through potential bosses and employees that wanted to be bosses. You’ve heard the lies all your life and now you tell them to yourself – just like I did. You’ve believed the lies for so long that it’s hard to even recognize the truth and the truth becomes a lie to you. That’s how the enemy wants it – to keep you separated from God, separated in your sins and as good as dead.

But if you can grasp onto nothing else, then grasp onto this – you are not the sum of all your parts. You were created in the image of God. And that image has been covered, masked, concealed, warped and twisted into an unrecognizable shape by pain, heartache, sickness, struggle, evil and the stench of death from the pit of hell. For most of us our lives have been a living hell at one point or another and we can’t even imagine there is a heaven here on Earth – a heaven that is meant for us to live. Abundant life – isn’t that the after life?

No, the promise of abundant life was meant for you and me, right here and right now. Come to the Father – whether you recognize Him or not. He recognizes you! Grasp on to Him as tight as you can! You’ve got to hold on tight because the enemy will try to strip you away with those same old lies you are comfortable hearing. Just hold on to the Father and let him strip away the pain, the heartache, the sickness, the struggle, the evil and especially the stench of death from the pit of hell! Let God replace that stench with the sweet savor of life!

Let God help you see your own life as a sweet incense unto Him – Grasp onto God and let Him wipe the fog from your eyes so you can see truth, hear truth and even taste the truth! Taste and see that the Lord is good!

Continue to be a grasper and grasp onto God!

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