Currently chillin in the foyer of my Santorini hotel. Very nice and quaint family run business, everyone is friendly and the facilities aint too bad. The accommodation on the Greek Islands has been a step up from the London to Athens trip and the dynamic of the group is also very different. London to Athens was all about the sites and the culture while the Greek Islands is all about the party. I don't prefer one over the other they are simply different.
I feel overwhelmed with the amount of growth and learning that has taken place in such a short space of time. Im usually given plenty of time (often too much) to process, analysis and understand this new information but on Contiki I struggle to even have enough time to sit down and breath for more than 5 minutes.
There is a saying that a boy prayed and prayed for a bike and never received one. He then learnt how God worked and went out and stole the bike and prayed instead for forgiveness. This always makes me chuckle at how true it actually is however, it is written that when we accept Jesus's sacrifice and submit ourselves to God that we die to our old ways. That we die to our old sin. It is easier to steal the bike than to accept Gods greater wisdom that instead of a bike we should have a skateboard or a pair of runners. It requires faith, abundant faith. In fact a faith I believe is only possible when God blesses us with it. Failure to have faith is constant. To me, it is what I do when my faith falters. Do I keep the stolen bike, steal another one when this one breaks or do I return the bike and come to the father on my knees and ask once again for forgiveness?
I'm reading an Autobiography of Ghandi. He believes that God will ultimately judge a man based on the character of his heart. I definately agree with this. My father is not legalistic. He will not hold back his grace from those who have a pure heart because the circumstances of their life have burned them away from the 'process' of Christianity. He says that the only way to the father is through Christ, which leads me to believe Christ must have to have a relationship with an individual form them to enter heaven. Does this not leave room for those who are spiritual but not 'christian' to have a relationship with Christ without even knowing it? All this gives me is more questions and the answers I don't believe I will find. Spirituality seems to be a very personal thing and we must be careful how we introduce others to Christianity. To deny all other spiritual activities is to step outside what we have experienced ourselves and claim we know more than we do. There should never be any condemnation nor judgement in how we interact with others we do not consider saved.
Controversial? I think so. A final representation of my personal views this is not, only the current state of my argument which will more than likely change as I grow in the fruit of Wisdom.
Sunday, 17 July 2011
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
A saying that is in most parts true, while I still love New Zealand I no longer think it would be accurate to say my heart is in New Zealand. Obviously I’m stoaking on this overseas trip and the amazing scenery, people, cultures and history I’ve been taking in. With NZ it comes down to the beaches, nature, the people and the culture that makes me love it. The history is boring as is the landmarks (comparatively of course) but that’s no big deal J
However, New Zealand is not my home anymore. My home is not in Europe or America either. My home is in Heaven with my Father because that is where my heart is. Being away from home and having the opportunity to reflect on life with little or no influence from other people I have found that my heart truly is with God. I don’t take measure of my well being when things are going great but instead when things are difficult because it is during adversity that I find where my heart TRULY is. I thank God for the blessing of Wisdom that I find my heart in him. It is by his strength that I can deny my emotions of anger, envy and lust so that I can appreciate the goodness of peace and joy. I thank God that I can be honest when I am tempted, when I truly no longer desired to keep true to my standards of behavior. He came through for me and helped nurture my heart away from the ideas and opinions of other people which would lead me into evil.
Throughout my life I have treated a number of people really badly and a number of people have treated me really badly. I don’t get caught up in it because it something I cannot change, instead I turn more to God and seek his Wisdom. It requires me to be honest and to not take the easy road out.
I had an exciting time in Barcelona. During the second night (went out both nights cause I’m a champ) went for a walk to chill out and mediate a bit. Made some Italian friends Marko, Niko and Alexandro who were chilling in Barcelona for the weekend. They passed me a joint saying it was ‘very good stuff’ (thinking back it could have been laced with anything haha!). Now came a choice. I was tipsy and having a good time so I was definitely tempted to have a drag. I closed my eyes and I asked what I was going to do and decided to not smoke as it was something I had decided to do earlier and something im still happy with right now. It is not the decision yes/no that I am excited about, instead it is that when in an uncertain position, with impaired judgement, I could still turn to God and talk to him clearly. While I don’t agree with doing drugs I definitely think they are over-rated and over-played, dangerous though they are. What I am happy about is that I retained my integrity.
To clarify further, I find it exciting to face temptation and say no because to me it defines how strong I am through Christ. Weak people give in because they lack the backbone or courage to do what is right and without Christ I am one of those people. Although I can be a weak man and I definitely do fail, with God in me I am a strong man and it brings joy to my heart when I am strong.
I remember back to my last catalyst for change and think about the boy I was then in comparison to the young man I am now. It is exciting to see God working in my life, a combination of the prayers and blessings from others and also my own decisions to choose a life with less sin or at least more focus on God. Now, during this new change catalyst, I am filled with excitement for where my life is heading. I feared what this time would do to me but the fear was mis-placed. The lord does not allow me to be tempted beyond that which I can withstand. It is my deep seated hope that I may continue to seek after Gods heart and walk a more Christ like life. I will fail, this I have no doubts, but it is what I do after I fail that is important to God. Do I find my identity in being a fallen man or do I repent and find my identity in God?
Posted by Matt at 10:32