Joel Bridges' personal blog

Archive for March, 2010

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My daughter LOVES this…she’s watched it over 100 times

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Lent & Ash Wednesday

Here is a great article posted by John Michael Talbot

http://www.johnmichaeltalbot.com/reflections/lenten_message_2010.php


Great Voice


“He who has ears to hear, let him hear”

 He said, “Go, and tell this people:
         ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive;
         Keep on looking, but do not understand.’ 
    Render the hearts of this people insensitive,
         Their ears dull,
         And their eyes dim,
         Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
         Hear with their ears,
         Understand with their hearts,
         And return and be healed.”   Isaiah 6:9-10  NAS

Sometimes I feel like I’m just walking through life unaware & oblivious to the reality around me, filling my heart & mind with more & more opiates in order to remain comfortable & ignorant.  I have eyes, but can I really see?   I have ears, but am I listening?  Can I understand & perceive?  

I’m sure the Jews during WWII could see what The Nazi’s were doing, but did they understand how it would ultimately end?  The enemy was subtle & insidious.  The passengers on the 2 planes that hit the World Trade Center knew they were in trouble, but they probably expected to survive, so they played it safe & they didn’t act.   They couldn’t conceive anything as horrible & destructive as what the terrorists had planned.  In contrast, many passengers on the 3rd plane were aware of the first 2 plane crashes, so they acted.  They took measures to change their situation, because they could perceive the threat.  Most of us would like to think we would be courageous & heroic if we were put into a similar position, but the question is, would we perceive the threat?  Would we understand what was happening in front of us, considering how stealthy & beguiling our enemy can be?  Would we hear with our ears & see with our eyes?

Then Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables.  He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you.  Mark 4:9-11  NIV

The Holy Spirit will reveal the secrets of the kingdom of God to us…it’s all found in His Word, but do we understand?  Our enemy has planned something so horrible & destructive, we can’t even imagine it.  We’re not expecting it.  It’s designed to catch us off guard, so we feel comfortable & secure & we don’t see what’s coming.  Will we take action to change our situation, or will we go along with the rest of the crowd, expecting to survive?  Jesus is still asking…are we listening?


Angel or Devil?

Two voices are always battling inside my head…

One voice says I should give up my childish dreams of playing music & grow up.  I should abandon my selfish desires, crucify my flesh & allow God to use me however He sees fit.  My aspirations hinder God’s plan for my life.

The other voice says I have been gifted by God to play music & I should use His gift to glorify Him. God planted that dream in my heart & I should pursue it with passion. The joy & fulfillment it brings affirm that God is pleased with my music.

This has been a recurring theme in my life.  When I was 10, I wanted to be Spiderman & fly around Cartersville from building to building.  My mom even made a suit for me.  She encouraged me to dream.  When I graduated high school & it was time to go to University of TN, I decided it was God’s will for me to stay home & play music with my band.  My dad was disappointed, but he encouraged me to follow my dream.  When I was in college, the voices were still battling, telling me I was selfishly following my own desires, & it was time to abandon my silly dreams & live a life of total submission to God’s will.  For a time, I quit listening to secular music completely.  I was convinced that playing music was the wrong path for me. 

Even now, I still hear both voices & they are still at war.  But if I follow my parent’s example when my own daughter wants to follow her dream, it becomes clear what God wants for me.  He is my inspiration, He gave me the gift, & He wants me to dream…

And yet, just like Abraham, I have to be willing to sacrifice the things that are closest to me, if God requires it.  I must offer up my own desires & pleasures, just like Jesus did.

 Oswald Chambers says  “If you select your own spot to be planted, you will prove yourself to be an unproductive, empty pod.  However, if you allow God to plant you, you will “bear much fruit” ( John 15:8  ).
 
This passage in The Message explains it well, if you substitute “music” for “food” 
 
   Forget about deciding what’s right for each other. Here’s what you need to be concerned about: that you don’t get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. I’m convinced—Jesus convinced me!—that everything as it is in itself is holy. We, of course, by the way we treat it or talk about it, can contaminate it.     If you confuse others by making a big issue over what they eat or don’t eat, you’re no longer a companion with them in love, are you? These, remember, are persons for whom Christ died. Would you risk sending them to hell over an item in their diet? Don’t you dare let a piece of God-blessed food become an occasion of soul-poisoning!

    God’s kingdom isn’t a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness’ sake. It’s what God does with your life as he sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy. Your task is to single-mindedly serve Christ. Do that and you’ll kill two birds with one stone: pleasing the God above you and proving your worth to the people around you.

    So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault. You’re certainly not going to permit an argument over what is served or not served at supper to wreck God’s work among you, are you? I said it before and I’ll say it again: All food is good, but it can turn bad if you use it badly, if you use it to trip others up and send them sprawling. When you sit down to a meal, your primary concern should not be to feed your own face but to share the life of Jesus. So be sensitive and courteous to the others who are eating. Don’t eat or say or do things that might interfere with the free exchange of love.

   Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don’t impose it on others. You’re fortunate if your behavior and your belief are coherent. But if you’re not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe—some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them—then you know that you’re out of line. If the way you live isn’t consistent with what you believe, then it’s wrong.   Romans 14:13-23