Tuesday, November 27, 2012

You want me to do what?

There is a strange misconception that if you become a Christian your life will be easy. This is not true. Jesus states very clearly in the Gospel of John,  “ In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Somehow the knowledge that God will be with us through whatever happens in our lives, good and bad, has been mis-taught to mean that God will keep bad things from happening to us.

We also often have the contradictory perception that as soon as we give our lives to Jesus, God will take control and make us do things we don't want to do. God never makes us do things we don't want to do. God may ask us to do things we don't want to do, but we always have the choice to accept or reject His path for our lives.

Within the boundary of free will, however, it is true that the closer you come to God, the more often He will stretch your comfort zone: The closer we follow God, the more He helps us 'grow up'.

As all of us know, growing up isn't easy and it isn't always fun. Now that I am an adult, however, I can truly say that I would not want to go back to being a child or, in particular, an adolescent.

With maturity, comes the responsibility of making good choices not only for ourselves, but for those with whom we are in relationship.

God will ask each of us to do things for the good of his kingdom. Things that are sacrificial on our part. Things that are hard and make us choose between things that we might not want to choose between.

God might ask you to take the high road at work which could cost you upward mobility. God might ask you to love someone that you find repugnant and it will take enormous effort on your part to love them unconditionally. God might call you to share Him with people who don't know Him and you have to overcome your fear of embarrassment and possible rejection to do so.

No matter what God asks  you to do, however, He will always be with you.
Whether your accomplishment is met with adulation or derision.
Whether you are successful or fail at your desired goal.

God will be faithful to you and never abandon you.

Chesney Szaniszlo


Monday, November 19, 2012

Just do it.

Micah 6:8 tells us that God requires us to "...to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God."

This may sound nice but it's not something we actually do very well for a multitude of reasons (or excuses).

We don't walk humbly with God because we want to be in control and claim our success as our own.

We don't love mercy because we'd rather focus on the things that aren't fair and operate from a place of judgement.

We don't do justice because we often don't care enough about our neighbor (who according to scripture we are to love as ourselves Luke 10:25-37) to put their welfare ahead of, or at least on an equal footing, with our own.

This loss of focus on God's law and authority to govern every aspect of our lives has resulted in individuals reliance on self and a desire to store up treasures on earth, rather than in heaven.

Take a look at this video: http://vimeo.com/18087147

The issues depicted in this video are ones that many will see as political issues. I invite you, however, to see them as God's issues. These are people and events that God is calling His people to intercede in to do His justice. The hunger of a child, the rape of women, the killing of civilians and the defrauding of the powerless are issues that we, as Christians, are called to do something about.

Don't worry about their motivations. Are some people taking advantage of charitable organizations and/or the government? Probably. Are some people satisfied with living in poverty? Possibly. Does God call us to only help those who are hard working and have pure motivations? No. If that were they case, God would not help a single one of us.

God calls us to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him.

Just DO it!

Chesney Szaniszlo

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. - Micah 6:8


Monday, November 12, 2012

No Fear

No fear

You'll probably recognize that statement as one that comes from the skateboarding/surfing community: The more dangerous  the activity, the bigger your tolerance for risk needs to be.

It could apply very easily, however to the life of a Christian. That might sound  weird but it actually makes sense.

Most people think that Christians play it safe. We're pious people who always do the right thing and don't live dangerously...right? Perhaps. 

If you are living out your Christian faith as we are truly called to live it, however, there are abundant risks.

Living a truly Christian life sets you apart from people who live their lives according to the secular culture. This can cause all sorts of misunderstandings and negative feelings.

Walking the path that Christ laid out for his followers, puts those followers in the position of having to often choose the unpopular route - the ones of mercy, integrity, humility, and obedience - over and over again.

Through all these difficult choices that Christians have to make however, the Bible continuously counsels us to 'Fear Not'. When we choose to be faithful to God, we will find that God is always there to give us exactly what we need, when we need it. 

God doesn't necessarily promise us earthly victory, wealth, or popularity - just look at the example we have in Jesus' earthly life - but he does promise us a magnificent eternity.

When you are caught in a web of fear the only thing to do, as a Christian, is to reach out for God's hand.  He will be as near to you as your own heartbeat, giving you the courage and strength to move forward.

'So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.' (Isaiah 41:10 TNIV)

Chesney Szaniszlo