Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Sydney Opera House and Bridge

Opera House - Filtering #2
Originally uploaded by bhojman
Been doing some fun stuff with my photos and experimenting with various artistic filters. I like this one especially.
One great thing about the many filters available is that a bad photo can be turned into something spectacular.
I find this quite therapeutic.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Discernment: Testing My Own Voice by Brad Jersak

I came across this today as I was following through on thoughts about listening prayer. Brad has written some really good stuff in his book: "Can You Hear Me? Tuning In to the God Who Speaks"
Here's what he wrote on Clarion: Journal of Spirituality and Justice

Discernment: Testing My Own Voice by Brad Jersak
In recent days I have been thinking about our dialogues with God and how we weigh them. I started noticing that when the prayer conversation alternates: God, then Brad, then God, then Brad, and son on, I was diligent to test what God is allegedly saying. I test to see whether the voice of God is really God or not God. I check that voice according to the three-legged stool of the Word, the Body and the Spirit, as recommended in Can You Hear Me? Tuning in to the God who Speaks.

But I neglected to test MY voice. And why should I? After all, it’s my own voice, isn’t it? Or is it? But when I began to categorize the themes that came under the umbrella of ‘my voice,’ I noticed something. On the one hand, there was the voice that agrees with and responds to God in faith. We could call that the voice of my ‘true heart,’ or the voice of the ‘new creation,’ or the ‘new me.’

On the other hand, there are these other voices that I assumed were my own as well: The voice of condemnation (beating myself up) that would then trigger the voice of self-pity (feeling sorry for myself), and the voices of shame, self-hatred, fear, worry, anger, and so on. In my head, I would hear and say, ‘I am afraid; I am angry; I don’t like myself; I’m not worthy,’ etc. Perhaps you know those voices as well.


And then it occurred to me, esp. as I read the dialogues from prayer journals of about sixty Bible school students, if the voice of my true self loves God and responds in faith and love to the voice of Christ, what are these other voices? On occasion I suppose I could have been hearing an unclean spirit. Or I suppose I might have been dealing with a wound in my heart. But mostly, I found these voices could not be cast out like a demon nor could they be healed like a wound. In fact, my greatest discovery was that those voices were NOT ME at all! ME is my true self. ME is the heart Jesus gave me. ME is the new creation. So what was I hearing that masqueraded as ME?

The Bible calls it the old nature (Rom. 8), the old Adam or Eve, the flesh or desires of the flesh (Gal. 5). In modern terms, we refer to the false self, the ego. My mentor, Ron Dart, calls it ‘the craver’ that underlies all of my cravings, demanding that I feed it but knowing it’s a bottomless pit. It is that vacuous demanding echo of something that was crucified with Christ; something to be reckoned dead (Rom. 6) but still far too talkative in my head; something to be disowned and discredited; marginalized and silenced as far a possible.


How do we silence the voices of the flesh or ego? We’re half way there when we begin to recognize that voice and declare, that’s not me. That’s not the beat of the new heart Jesus gave me. We can step back and hold it at arm’s length and begin to make a practice of disowning it—even to the point of refusing to call it my ego or my flesh. It is an ‘it’ of days gone by.

Besides disowning it, we can discredit the ego’s voice by challenging its motives and its fruit. The flesh or ego always has a motive. For example, when it is accusing you, its motive is pride and self-righteousness and it is punishing you for not living up to its standards of perfection. Your stumbles embarrass and offend the ego, triggering a barrage of condemnation. OR when the flesh lapses into self-pity, its motive is to seduce fleshly sympathy out of others—a deadly counterfeit of compassion that brings death rather than life. The ego can multi-task, both accusing and sulking at the same time, but when we step back quietly and watch that ludicrous inner dialogue, it ceases to be credible.

We also discredit the ego/flesh by challenging its fruit. Jesus called us to test everything, including every voice, by the fruit it produces. In testing the fruit of the ego, we see that when we have listened to it, NOT ONCE has it ever produced a smidgeon—not the slightest sliver—of goodness in our lives. So why give it a voice at all, much less the freedom of speech it currently enjoys under the guise of being ME just because I hear it beaking off inside? It is as if we’ve said, ‘As long as you don’t claim to be God, you can say whatever you want. By pretending to be me, you have free rein because I don’t discern MY voice. I only discern God’s voice.’ The resulting fruit has been most rotten.

I have also noticed that when the dialogue is between God and my true, restored heart, God tends to take the lead in the conversation and I find myself following, responding, led by the Spirit to listen. Conversely, when the ego/flesh dialogues with God (when it lets me, for it aggressively tries to unplug from the conversation through doubt or shame) it consistently tries to control the conversation, attempting to argue God into corners, silence or defensiveness. Here I see his relentless patience on the one hand and the complete waste of time on the other. I want to say, “Ego, would you just get over yourself and listen to what God is saying?” Of course, it never does. The flesh/ego does not really listen and its innumerable arguments are a distraction from where God would like to take the prayer time.


Finally, I do not silence the voice of the ego/flesh by obsessing over it. That only feeds it. Rather, I am learning to give it a brief, passing nod: “I see you, you blood-sucker. But I know what you’re up to and I’m not listening to you today.” And then I quickly move on to listen to the voice of God’s Spirit interacting with the responsive, faith-filled and loving voice of my renewed spirit. 1 Cor. 6:17 goes so far as to say that in uniting with Christ, his Spirit and my spirit become one. I.e. I don’t even need to distinguish between the Holy Spirit and my spirit, because they are in an ascending spiral of heavenly agreement.

True discernment simply means refusing to listen to all that is not God AND all that is not me. To me, this latter half was an ‘aha moment’ that I hope will upgrade our discernment and bring readers fresh freedom as well.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Transferring to the next generation

'Tell the next generation...of...His power, and the wonders He has done.' Psalm 78:4 NIV
Karl Marx said that to conquer a nation you just have to block the transfer of values, morals and beliefs between generations. Our kids are like mirrors, they reflect what they see. 'Tell the next generation...of...His power….' If we don't; who will?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

A back door

“… God is faithful, Who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it" (1 Co 10:13 NAS).

God builds a back door into every temptation with a lighted 'exit' sign over it. The way of escape comes with the temptation. So while you will never be exempt from temptation, you can be victorious over it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

We are still becoming

"God planted a garden...there He put the man whom He had formed."
Genesis 2:8 NKJV

What does it mean to plant? To bury seeds beyond human view so that they germinate and eventually produce fruit. You're still becoming what God planted. There are talents in you that haven't been discovered and dreams that haven't been fulfilled. It means God believes in you - even when you don't believe in yourself.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Multnomah Falls, Oregon
Originally uploaded by bhojman
In May I visited friends in Oregon. They very much wanted for me to see as much of Oregon's beauty as possible. One thing we did was to drive down the Columbia River Gorge stopping at all the waterfalls along the way. They were breathtakingly beautiful! Here is one view of the Multnomah Falls. The Multnomah Falls were the only ones I'd heard of. What a sight to see all that water plunging down the cliff face...
Each waterfall had its own particular beauty, no two were the same.
God's artistry was abundantly manifest all along the way. Even the moss and the small forest flowers had such a delicate beauty that my soul was fed and I was blessed more than I can say.

Joy comes in the Morning

“His favour is for life; weeping may endure for a night but joy comes
in the morning.” Psalm 30:5b NKJV

Joys are always on their way to us. They are always travelling to us
through the darkness of the night. There is never a night when they
are not coming – Amy Carmichael.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Raise the bar!

"Do the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the
Father through Him." Col 3:17 NIV.

Whatever our work, let's 'raise the bar' because we're Christ's
representatives. Let's set the industry standard for excellence.
Knowing we follow Christ should give employers and customers
confidence they'll get nothing but the best.