Thursday, January 11, 2007

# 183: Running on Empty While in the Clutches of Desire

Most of my life, up until the last six years or so, I had been running on empty without even knowing it. This is what I mean by running on empty: wanting things, material or otherwise, and when getting them, still having a desire for more of whatever. I was dominated by desires. Nothing seemed to satisfy my inner needs, whatever they were. I found out that my worldly desires could never be completely satisfied, regardless of what they were, although they may have been appeased in the short term. Later in life, I found out otherwise.

When in my twenties, I became a carpenter and house builder. I thought, just like everyone else, that if I had money and a good reputation I could acquire the American dream. I had a good wife, money in the bank, several children, new automobiles, just about everything a person could dream of—I thought. Then, in my early thirties, that dream was coming to an end when our marriage was falling apart.

How could this happen to me? It felt like the end of the world. And still in time, much good came from that breakup. For the first time in my life, I started thinking seriously about God and spiritual matters. I was raised a Catholic; therefore, as a young boy, I knew little or nothing about what real worship of God was, except Father Defranco peeking out of the confessional curtain when young girls got done candidly telling tell him their sins since their last confession. All of us boys knew what was on his mind. I was almost certain I would find the answer to what Christianity consisted of in a church that had an honest and forthright pastor as its leader.

I was given a Bible by a J. W. and started reading it. I was fascinated and surprised at what I was reading. For the next ten years or so, I went to a variety of large and small churches, made up of both non-denominational and denominational. I was truly disappointed with what I found. Finally, I gave up hope of finding a church that preached and practiced what the New Testament taught. All this time, I was still seeking to find something that would satisfy my gnawing desires. During this period, I don’t think I was experiencing any of God’s love or any other Godly gifts.

I still was woman- crazy and money-hungry, but mostly I was looking for a satisfying love which would make me feel wanted and needed. The song Brenda Lee sang in the early 1960s sure got it right. The title was, “I Want to be Wanted.” It was number one on the charts for many weeks. That was a song I could identify with. The only thing was, I personally didn’t find lasting contentment in women, church, money or good times. I was at my wit’s end as to where to go to find satisfaction. I knew some vital component was missing in my life, although I never had any idea that I was running on empty. I knew absolutely nothing about having a satisfied spirit.

When I read verses on how God regarded money, and other hard-edged verses, I just ignored them and said, “I am not there yet.” Verses like, “What is highly valued among men [money] is detestable in God’s sight.” I was really screwed up as to what to believe and how to live.

It seemed that every time a got involved with a woman, I put God on the back burner and went the way of the world. Like the song says, “Where the wine is flowing, the girls are glowing, I’ll dance till the break of day.” At this time, I knew I was on the wrong track, although I tried making the best of it.

Then about fifteen years ago, I started to get really serious about Godly matters and committed my life to Christ. The only thing is, I still was running on empty, and still didn’t know how empty I was. This tells me a person can be interested in pleasing God and accepting Christ as Lord and Savior and still be empty of spiritual substance that makes a person feel complete.

At this time I still lived in a palatial mansion with new cars, money, good times and a sexy girl friend. Then after a couple more heartbreaks, somehow I was becoming aware that I had to make a 180-degree turn in the way I was living. I thought I knew the right way to live as the Bible dictated, but at that time, it didn’t fit my lifestyle.

Well, I can’t tell you exactly how it happened—if Christ came in my life with a bang or subtly in order not to rattle me into confusion—I wish I really knew—although I think it was subtly. John 15:5. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man REMAINS IN ME and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing,” [emphasis added]. This above verse sort of told me that the Spirit of Jesus Christ was somehow in me. At that time, I started having inner compulsions that seemed to tell me it would be advantageous for me to get serious as to the changes I had to make in my life in order to please God.

My question was this: Why would Jesus Christ want a person with a reputation/repertoire like mine to serve Him? I am certain He could have chosen a person that was more educated, intelligent and holier than me. I also have asked this question about why Christ chose a person like the apostle Paul, a murderer of early believers in Christ, a hater of all believers who followed the “The Way.” Acts 9:1-2. “Meanwhile, Saul [Paul] was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.” Also, Acts 22:20 (The apostle Paul speaking to the Lord): “And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.” In fact, Paul called himself the worst of sinners.

Evidently, since God knows the future, there was no better qualified person to fill the bill needed to bring the Gentiles' world to repentance. As is very evident, God knows the future of all the people He chooses. It is not how one starts that God is concerned with, but how one ends.

To my knowledge, I had no love for beast, man or God, although I did have love for myself and my children. My attitude was “survival of the fittest.” If I had one good quality to my credit, which I believe I was born with, it was empathy that produced tears for abused children, innocent adults that are suffering, and hurting people in general. Of course, without Christ in one’s life, empathy was of little value.

I quickly realized something strange was and still is happening to me. It felt/feels as if some benevolent force was in control of my life. Soon I realized for certain that the Spirit of Jesus Christ was living in me. The reason was that most of the things I desired and valued dearly were relinquishing their hold on me. I was finding out the only way a certain desire can be obliterated was to find something which promises a greater degree of satisfaction. And the things I started to value were according to Scripture. This attitude started to intensify about 6 or 7 years ago.

I said, “Yes, this is what I was looking for.” The reason: The contentment and satisfaction I was desperately seeking was starting to manifest in my life through belief in Christ as my Lord and Savior and obedience to His commands. I asked, “Why, Lord, should I be so fortunate?” I said to myself, “Everyone needs to know what I am experiencing and what is taught by Christ, which most churches don’t teach.” That might have been the first time I was serious about somehow letting as many people as possible know more of what the Bible teaches.

Let me tell you a few of the major changes in my life: The most dramatic change was that I found contentment with little or nothing, whereas before, I needed things, wealth, worldly friends, pride, vanity, greed—I called it prosperity–always having to go somewhere or do something, always trying to impress others as if I were someone of importance. Now I know for certain that most things in this world that promised happiness and satisfaction were all lies.

In short, I am more content, to put it mildly, with the very little I have in material things than with the much I had that never fulfilled what I needed most, as previously mentioned—to be belong, be loved, needed and wanted.

Let me deviate from my experiences to talk about the root of why many of us may be in the sad shape we are in, without being aware of it.

The love we so desperately long for, that lets us know we will be continually needed and wanted, must come exclusively from God; the only thing is, when we attempt to substitute God’s love with worldly love, regardless of whether it is from people, things or money—like the prosperity movement that is being widely accepted—thatis where the problems start and never ends. When a person firmly says, “I don’t need to be loved, needed or wanted. That is for people who can’t stand on their own two feet,” they are lying with all their heart.

God is waiting, as it were, to give us the love we so badly need. But there is a process. Listen to what John’s gospel has to say about that process: 14:21. “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” Did you get that?

That unequivocally says: 1) first we obey His commands. Biblical logic says: only validating that our initial commitment of becoming a disciple of Christ was genuine; 2) by displaying our love for Jesus Christ, 3) then the Father will love us, 4) Lastly, Jesus will love us and show Himself to us (lets us see Him spiritually, as He really is). If you disagree with the above statement, don’t pick on me; argue with God.

Therefore, the reason many of us may be running on empty and living as “worldly christians”—if there is such a thing—is because we may say we believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, and truly believe we are Christians, but then don’t follow through by obeying what is commanded by the one we call Lord (boss). That means we may not be experiencing that necessary love from our God and Savior, which keeps our spiritual tank full to the rim.

Now back to my wretched condition before the Holy Spirit made His home in me. . . While living in new homes all my life, I thought I was living on top of the world. If someone told me I was running on empty, I would have said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about; you must be crazy. I have what the majority of the world desires.” Sure, emptiness.

To put it bluntly, most, if not all, things the world has to offer will start and end with emptiness as to what truly brings inner contentment. I always had new cars and new homes. I now have a 14-year-old motor vehicle and am more grateful for it than I was with all my new cars. In fact, someone couldn’t give me a new motor vehicle free of charge. Don’t try to figure that one out. I now ride an old bike or walk, while driving my car only when absolutely necessary. A plus is that I now get plenty of much-needed exercise, sunshine and fresh air. I am extremely grateful I live in a one-room studio apartment in a panhandler part of town and love it and am more thankful for it than for the big homes I previously lived in.

I have no desire whatsoever for a personal relationship with the opposite gender, while before I was not complete without a woman by my side, and whatever else they offered. I now live on a meager S.S. pension whereas before I always had money to blow. I could go on and on as to the many unbelievable changes in my life. And I attribute it all to the one who is in me: Jesus Christ/Holy Spirit.

Let the truth be known. The apostle Paul put it this way: 2 Corinthians 6:1 & 6:10. “As God’s fellow works we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.” That verse jarred my spiritual senses when it hit me across the side of the head. The truth is: Grace, among other things, enables us to believe and continue doing Christ’s work. If we don’t do our share, we are throwing grace out the window. Ouch. Then Paul starts to reveal the hard times He went through in 6:10. “ . . . poor, yet making others rich, having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”

Let me paraphrase that verse to make it more understandable. “. . . poor [concerning material stuff and worldly desires], yet making others rich [with heavenly treasures]; having nothing [that other people desired], and yet possessing everything” [Godly attitudes and the love of God we so dearly need which makes a person feel complete]. If you don’t understand or believe the aforementioned, that’s okay; it has to be experienced to become believable. If anyone forced these changes on themselves or others, it would all be in vain. I truly believe it must come from true worship of Christ through God.

When God makes His home in someone’s physical being, they will know it. Like myself: At this time I am not the same person I was years ago, although I may resemble him, as to his outward appearance.

I am certain many bloggers haven’t been able to figure out where I get the audacity to write about esoteric Godly matters. It may sound a bit pious, but I have an inner compulsion to write that way. It is either the Spirit of God, or a darn good counterfeit (the devil). Would a counterfeit have this type of attitude: eliminate as many things and attitudes as possible (excess baggage) that don’t somehow benefit the promotion of Jesus Christ and His cause; LIVING LIGHT; and devoting prime time to the things of God, along with exposing Satan’s best-kept secrets? Revelation 2:24. “. . . and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets.”

My main objective in this blog is not so much to tell what the Bible teaches—although I do, which most “christian” churches avoid—but to EXPLAIN what the New Testament teaches to those who are accustomed to living according to the standards of our modern culture, and also telling them the implications of non-adherence to what is commanded in the Bible.

Some may ask how I get the information I emphatically write as truth. I don’t hear any verbal voices, but out of the blue, as it were, it is the Holy Spirit silently telling me exactly what to write. Wow. I often silently say, “Now what, Lord?” Often, and almost instantly, words and concepts are given to me, which many times are new revelations. I then compare them with Scripture to see if they contradict it, which really is necessary just in case I am writing according to my own ideas, or the great deceiver—the prince of this world—is attempting to corrupt my alma mater, which is telling it like it is, regardless of what anyone thinks of me.

If, by some chance, my life is being lived in error (sin), even small errors, and not according to Christ’s teaching, that is a great opportunity for Satan to sneak in some of his perversions into my writing. That is why all disciples of Christ must walk the line of holiness, honesty and purity. Let me repeat the above sentence: If something is ungodly in my life, even the smallest thing, that is an open door for me to write pleasing but erroneous/Satanic stuff (lies).

That is why it is so important for anyone who desires to follow the truth of Christ to live a life as pure and holy as humanly possible; otherwise the devil has/may have his foot in our door and all it takes to get completely into our life is a strong push. When living in God’s kingdom, little things mean a lot, both to Christ and to Satan. It takes just a little mold to contaminate the whole house. Of course, many of us attempt to justify what we do and don’t do, with the saying, “No one is perfect.” That is one of the devil’s favorite clich├ęs. So beware. Click on post # 181 and 182 for more new information on perfection.

Just remember that most established churches which claim to be Bible believing—or as I say, Bible-corrupting because of what is not preached—tell the laity whatever is needed to have them back next week. As my mother would always say, “That is their job.” If churches preached what is contained in this blog, most, if not all, would soon be out of business. Why? A good portion of the New Testament is extremely hard-edged—the type of stuff Ted Haggard and other “evangelicals” never preach about.

Therefore, if the majority of bloggers don’t come back in a day or two to see what Christ will present on this blog, no problem. Unlike churches per se, we don’t need a large presence or anyone’s money. There is hopefully enough internet access and advertising funds to keep this blog—which is a non-profit foundation (Religion’s Crime Against God)—going after I am dead and gone. In fact, the fewer hits we get on this blog, the more certain we are that we are leading a few of God’s people to travel the narrow road with a small gate. This may be the only blog or website that glories in a small number of hits. That may sound strange to some, but God’s ways are not our ways.

Just think about this: Are you and I one of the many or one of the few? Matthew 7:14. “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” And Matthew 22:14. “For many are invited, but few are chosen.” We must be honest with ourselves. Our choice of spirituality is a matter of eternal life or eternal death. It is our choice. If our choice is the correct one, we are the ones that God will choose or has chosen.

In conclusion, this post will have more than enough information to unequivocally make readers aware of the fact that they may be running on empty without their knowledge—and all because of the inability of worldly niceties to fill up the spirit being inside of us. You can do something about it. Even though it doesn’t take much effort to say, “I believe in Christ as my Lord and Savior,” it will take more effort than many desire to muster up when it comes to being obedient to all that Jesus Christ commands.

Don’t let your worldly desires, which most likely are according to the on going status quo, control your life, which undoubtedly will end in disaster. Continually seek the best of Christ-like desires; they will abolish those deceptive worldly desires which falsely promise to give us inner contentment.

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