Drinking Deeply

Wednesday, March 30, 2005 at 9:56 AM

Thoughts from TJ(1)

TJ Part 1)

I've realized that I don't take compliments very well. How is one supposed to respond to a compliment? Do I have a problem with pride? Yeah, a bit of one. I like to think of myself as competent (even though I know it is only through God that I can do anything). I like to think of myself as capable and disciplined, and when I put in a lot of effort into something I like to think of myself as having done a job well and ... well not deserving of praise, but like "it would be nice" and encouragement is always a blessing. I like to know that people support what I'm doing and are being blessed by it. But somehow through all of this I'm supposed to find my value in God alone, find my fulfillment in Him alone, and be satisfied that God has accepted me, a sinner, and adopted me as a son through the Son. I won't say that that's not enough, because I feel like (usually) it is, but I still don't know how to respond to compliments.

Yeah I dunno. I don't think I want to say "stop encouraging me!" or anything, because that would be sad (plus I like to try to be as encouraging as possible, which includes compliments on jobs well done, so then that would make me a nice little hypocrite too).

My initial response is always to try to shrug it off, say that it was nothing, but to me, it really wasn't nothing. I poured in a lot of effort and am always proud of what I accomplish (unless I'm not proud of it, but then I probably wouldn't be receiving compliments on that sort of stuff)

I dunno, this sort of thing came up a few times at TJ, where people said to me aside "oh hey, nice job today. Your discipline and encouragement are really a blessing"

What am I supposed to say? I'm glad to be recognized and encouraged, and it helped me get through the day knowing that I was encouraging other people, but I know inside I'm supposed to be pointing to God through all of this, but I cannot come to do this without feeling fairly fake with myself.

In other news: The US is a sad place. James White has a good commentary that I agree with.

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Monday, March 28, 2005 at 10:01 PM

Previews

So even more I need to write about.

TJ trip was... awesome. Get on my case to write up my thoughts and reflections. I need to do it to send out in an email to people as well.

Some pics.

Stopped by an interesting church for Sunday service, especially in light of what they're affiliated with. Some thoughts about that (especially in reference to a verse I read during my QT just a few days ago: Phil. 1: 15-17)

Some links that I've found really encouraging (and a bit humbling):

Where Christianity is thriving.

An encouraging example.

P.S. Check out Vincent Cheung's website. He's got a new article up: arguing by intuition. In addition to all the rest of his stuff. Some really good stuff there.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005 at 12:53 PM

There's alot I need to write about. For now, this article seems to say it right.

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Saturday, March 05, 2005 at 3:17 AM

Moron!

So right now I'm talking to a friend who's honestly looking for God. Well I guess I'm not talking anymore since I've long since shut up. Instead my Roman Catholic roommate decided to try to present his own views. Among them: Baptism is necessary for salvation, you can be baptized by dying for Christ, hell is where God is not, man can choose God, people not exposed to the gospel can be saved by doing good (sort of true..., people exposed to the gospel can be saved by being perfect... but no one is perfect.), there are multiple ways to God, obey the Church = salvation.

I don't know what to say. I sit here and don't want to say anything because I feel like some of the message is going ok... but so much of it is downright wrong. Right now he's quoting from the Catholic Catechism. What ever happened to the Bible? ::sigh:: I disagree with so much of what he says.

What do I say? I'm praying for love. I feel like he's turning my friend away from the true Jesus, but I don't know what to say. I pray for love and love and love. I want to love my roommate but I want to slap him more and more and tell him "NO! WHAT YOU ARE TEACHING IS FALSE, IT'S INCONSISTENT WITH THE BIBLE"... ::sigh:: The more I talk with him the more I listen to him the more I fear for his salvation, but at the same time we are both so adamant about our faith, about our views and that it is "right" that I don't see how we can reconcile. I want to love him, I want to bring him to a saving faith because right now I don't know if he has that. In fact I know he is currently not bearing fruit in consistent with saving faith. Mayhap God has him in His book of life. I don't know.

::sigh::

Praying for love. I don't think I can assert his salvation. Well, come to think about it, I cannot assert anyone's salvation, but we are to judge a tree by it's fruits and trust that God is a God that is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (which isn't to say that it's not going to be part of God's plan to use His Spirit to bring someone into a relationship with Him, but just that He will not forsake those who call upon Him). I know I cannot assert his views as correct in any shape of the form. A complete rejection of justified sinners. A requirement on "works" even though he denies it. Committing idolatry with the Catholic Church. God have mercy on his soul. Bring him to a knowledge of you, let him see of his sins and repent. I don't know what to say, especially when he's "evangelizing" to a non-believer. I basically could not stand being in the same room while God's name was being slandered, but yet I didn't know what to say or do. I walked out and prayed for them. ::sigh:: God it is truly you who call, you who save, you who plant, you who grow. If it were up to me, I'd have failed miserably time and time again. Thank God.

**edit**

So right after I turned off my computer I realized how wrong my emphasis on having a "right" theology was. Sounds kind of like works too doesn't it? Mayhap my prayer should be "Lord have mercy on my soul!"

Well, it still leaves the issue of what to do about it. bleh

**end edit**
In other news. This guy rocks. Hooray for Chinese Christians!

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Thursday, March 03, 2005 at 1:10 AM

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

To be honest the past two weeks have been downright horrid. I don't exactly know what happened but all of a sudden I became overwhelmed with just everything that I felt so responsible for (I know, God's shoulders are broader than mine will ever be, I don't know what happened but I just didn't see God in any of it). I felt incredibly dry and burnt out last Friday (the 18th) and didn't know what had happened. I looked within myself and was just overcome with guilt and despair over how much pride had infested my life. I just felt so... unclean and couldn't pray, couldn't find the hope and joy and reassurance that I was so used to find in His word. I don't know what happened. I used to take such refuge in His Word, to look to the joy set ahead even in the midst of trial and suffering but all of a sudden that was gone. I felt very much like David did in Psalm 51 when he cries out: "Restore in me a joy of salvation!". I would pray and confess and repent, but the pride was still ever there with me haunting me.

On Saturday I got the chance to talk with T and he prayed for me and that helped a little bit. It was ok, but then I went to missions training and the reading was all about seeking joy in God, and how our chief end was to bring God worship (as missionaries) and that starts with worshiping God ourselves and I saw so little of that in my life. I saw the words but didn't feel them. =/

Sunday was much of the same, worship and service was ok, felt like God was speaking directly into my pride, my hard heart, but I felt so unresponsive. The heart was so hard and I felt so unworthy to be in His house. I got through the day until the evening when it all crashed down again. Despair, depression, weariness, pride... overwhelmed me and I didn't know what to do. I knew that I needed to pray, confess, repent but I tried and... it didn't seem to work. Like I was demanding something from God... but I couldn't get away from that mentality. It haunted me and I was just begging for peace, for trust, for hope... but it wasn't there. I ended up talking with Danny Dokko for a long time late into the night and he said he had gone through the same thing many a time, but didn't have any answers and wanted me to let him know when I found some... disheartening but encouraging to see that he knew what I was going through.

Woke up monday feeling a little better... not great but better. Got through the day... but then it crashed once again. I felt like the same exact thing. I didn't know where to turn. I had been talking, praying, crying, reading... it all seemed to go back to my selfish pride and I couldn't get away from it. I felt trapped, with a hard heart and stained hands. My family, my home church, my pride, each and every one of my individual failures staring me in the face... it sickened me, disgusted me. I hate it but couldn't get away from it. I felt like I was trapped.

David came back from a conference in LA and he talked with me into the night. We prayed and it helped a little bit, but it still surrounded me. I didn't know what to do.

I got through Tue-Fri mainly on the strength of a desire to do something. I didn't want to be trapped, so I pushed it away, all the while realizing (but trying to avoid) the fact that I was using pride to fight this and it still haunted me. I just hoped that God would accept my days somehow even though deep down inside I knew He didn't.

I asked for a lot of prayer over the week, from my small group. P. Ting, my Christian friends in my dorm, my friends from back home. I knew that the prayer of a righteous man could heal me, but I didn't feel like I could be that man so I begged for it from everyone else.

After the week was over it crashed down again. Without a motivating force I was forced to face reality once again... Friday was miserable. Went to pho trying to just surround myself with light so that I didn't have to face the darkness. Feeling the darkness emanating from within me did not help. I tried to cover the growing fear with small talk, about the freshmen, small group, hopes for the fellowship, but my words couldn't cover what my heart was saying, screaming in my ears. "unworthy, prideful, hard, stained..."

I plodded through Saturday. Broke down when I was talking to David after a Testimony gig. He and his parents who were in for the weekend prayed for me, but I had to go so I didn't have a chance to talk to them. Plodded through a TJ meeting and a missions training. I just could not see the joy in my heart that I once had.

Came back and tried to pray, tried to read. Felt very lost and empty. a few hours later David came back with his parents and I talked with them detailing everything that I was going through. I felt like a wreck. The rock that I stood on felt... insubstantial and I didn't understand why, and the only reason I could come up with was that I never actually properly stood on that rock... no other time had I felt so lost and broken and empty and dry, yet at the same time I sensed that even though God called me to repent and confess, my heart would not. The other law was waging war against the parts of my body, and I feared it was a losing battle.

David's parents talked with me for a long time and then they prayed for me. We talked, prayed, talked... it all just came pouring out. It helped a great deal. They reassured me a great deal and mentioned that it sounded like a spiritual attack more than anything. I definitely see where David gets his great compassion and amazing heart from. I wish...

I dunno, I guess they helped. I've been a lot more able to pray and read the Word since Saturday. It still sticks with me and I've been talking a lot with David since then, though I feel like the worst has passed since I can now honestly look at the cross and see his completing and all sufficient work that covers my sin. In spite of all the stuff and gunk that is in my life I've been able to trust that God still is growing me, stretching me (painfully) and working in me as well as through me.

Where am I now? Still walking, feels mighty dark sometimes, but He is with me, his rod and his staff, they comfort me. Thank God.

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