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October 25, 2006

for Tim

Tim wrote:

"Nice story, but what do you do if GOD asks you to lay down your very passion. I too am in love with Hsing-I, but I feel GOD has asked me to lay it down. I feel it is what I was made for, yet everytime I start to practice, things will be going good for a while but then I start to sense that I am disconnected from HIM.
I have been dealing with this issue for many years. I think I am going crazy sometimes. I know that there are many people who have used their talents to serve HIM. Is it possible that I am the exception and HE has something else in store for me?"
as a comment on my post on using your passion for Christ.

Here is my response:


It is nice to meet you, and I understand your situation. By chance, what associations do you have to hsing-i, what line or school did you learn from?

First thing we need to determine in this situation is what God wants you to do.

One question we might ask is is there anything in the practice of your hsing i that might retard your spiritual growth?

When a Christian is involved in any activity that has long been controled by the world, and even highly associated with the occult then there is a great need to redeem that activity.
What I mean by redeeming an activity is this: When we were redeemed by Christ, the bad was removed and it was replaced by something good. This is what the process of redemption means to us, and this is the process that we must submit our activities to as well. This means that every aspect of that activity must be put under the scope and any thing that is not honoring to God must be thrown out, and (very important here) replaced with something that is honoring to Him.

Another question we need to ask is this: How much do we love God? Is it more than anything else? Or maybe, our activity is loved by us more than we love God. If this is true, God may be asking us to prove our love. Much like God tested Abraham with Isaac by asking him to give it up for Him to see if we would.
Abraham was willing to give up his most cherrished possession, his only son (sound familiar?), in order to obey God. Because of this, God stopped him and blessed him ever more so because of his faithfullness. Also, if you remember the burning bush, you will recall that when God told Moses to be His emissary Moses said that he didn't have what it took to do the job. God asked him what he had in his hand, Moses replyed that he had a rod in his hand. God told him to throw it down, and it became a serpent. Then, God told him to pick it up again, and when Moses did so, it became the Rod of God. You see this same concept with Jesus and the feeding of the 5,000. When they gave to Jesus what they had, He took it and performed miracles with it. God is always asking us to give up what we have so He can give it back to us and make it His gift that we use for His kingdom. It is with this new perspective on our passions and our gifts that we can be used of God to perform great and mighty things.

Having said this, let me share my story. I have loved the martial arts since I was 5 years old. I determined at that young age that I wanted to someday master and then teach kung fu. At that time, however, I wanted it for my own selfish reasons. God knew this and did not give me my heart until years later, when I was ready for it. I was a teenager and still hadn't been able to learn any martial arts, yet still passionate about it, God began to deal with my heart. He began to ask me, "what do you want most, what you want or what I want for you?" I struggled with that question for quite some time before I finally conceded that I wanted what God wanted for me more than I wanted what I wanted for me. It was then that He asked me if I would be willing to give up my passion for Him if He asked me to. Once again I struggled for a while, finally submitting my passion willing to not study or train in martial arts if He asked me not to. It was then that everything came together perfectly for me to study under a Godly instructor. So, you see, I was tested exactly like Abraham, and like Abraham, I was blessed with what I was to sacrifice. Now, I cannot speak of what God will do with each individual person, it may be that He has some other testemony for you to have. the only way to see, is to look back in time. I know that in martial training, it is very easy for it to supercede everything as it demands attention, but we as Christians must fight against that and steadfastly maintain God as our Lord.

You are not the first martial artist that has voiced that same concern to me about their Christian walk and their martial arts. Fear not, and understand that God's path for us is the only path upon which we will truly be happy.

I would love to continue to interact with you and to get to know you better, so please keep in touch. I have two documents for you to read at your leisure to download. I hope that with what I have written they will help you to understand what it is that you should do with your passion.


October 18, 2006


I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it.
- Terry Pratchett


October 17, 2006

lying to ourselves...

ok, I am gonna preach about this for a minute so pay attention y'all.

I don't know who this applies to so take it for what it's worth.

I get so frustrated with people who lie to themselves and to others and most importantly, to God. I talked to someone just today at work who "talks a good talk" about her Christianity, when just the other day I sat and listened to her talk about her different parties she had attended and her worst hangovers.

For crying out loud people!!! How sad is that?!!? On one hand we say we want to serve God with our whole heart, and on the other we are blatently following our own heart. Do you realize what that means???????

Do you realize that you are saying that you know better than God what is right, and good?

I am sorry folks, but you don't have the right, to say that you know better than the God of all the Universe!!!! Do you realize that God wrote the laws that govern the entire universe, and enforces them?! Who are you to say that you know better than He, what is right and wrong? He defined wrong and right, and in the end it is His opinion and only his opinion that counts! So, go ahead, tell God your opinion, see what He has to say about it.

Proverbs 3:1, "My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:"

October 16, 2006

Obeying God with our Whole Heart

Hello folks, I want to ask you a question: What does it mean to obey God with your whole heart?

I have been thinking about this question for several years. I most often see it played out, or put to the test, in cases where someone thinks they have found the person they "feel" that they love. Yet, maybe there is a problem, such as being unequally yoked. They think they know better than God, that their heart is telling them a higher truth than what God revealed to us in Scripture.

Or maybe it is a different issue, such as a habit. It could be any kind of addiction: drugs, alcohal, popularity, co-dependant relationships, music, sexual perversion. It all comes down to a willful choice to disobey God.

All of us Christians would probably answer that we wish to obey God with all of our heart, but does our behavior reflect that belief?

I had a conversation with a person once, the conversation was purely hypothetical yet it was an honest one. This person had the courage and intellectual honesty to admit that even if God forbid her from partaking in this relationship she would continue in it if her heart told her to.

Sad day!!!

By her own admission, she believes she is more knowledgeable than God!!!!!!!!

Although very difficult, how much better it is to choose every day and in every situation to obey God with our whole heart!!!!

October 13, 2006

our Passion for Christ

The other day, I was sitting in the break room of my work, when I looked over and saw a name mentioned in the newspaper, it instantly caught my attention as it was the name of my best friend's dad. There was a full article about him in the Decatur paper. They called him "God's Gardener." Here was the premise, Ed loves to garden, it's his passion. And now that he is retired, he developed a garden. He was loaned several acres to garden by some local people and he basically farms that land quite effectively producing some high yield produce which he then trucks to various different places and gives the food away. Awesome right!!!

I saved that article, because it got me thinking. This is just another example of a man who uses his passion for Christ. Gardening, who would have thunk it? I never would have thought of that. And yet soup kitchens, food pantries, and churches are eating food that he grew and they got for free. He is feeding the hungry in God's name, and doing the thing he loves to do at the same time.

This is yet another great example of what I have been talking about for some time now, when Christians submit themselves to God in every way, and they submit their passions to Him, then He can find ways to use them through their passions for Christ. It took some creativity on his part to find a way to use it. It took tons of work, but the world took notice. How powerful is that in and of itself?

What is your passion? What is your hobby? What do you love to spend time doing? Does it belong to Christ? Do you use it to glorify His name, to build His Kingdom? It may take some creativity, it may take tons of hard work, it may take patience; but it is worth it. And Jesus will use it in a powerful way, He will use you in a powerful way.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I know that each and every one of you have a passion. And there are not words enough to express my heart for this issue. I plead with you today, I reach out to you now, please, give that passion to Jesus! Let Him grow you through it, let your desire to use it for His Kingdom challenge you to grow, to study, to submit to Him in every area of your life. And let your passion speak to the world for the Kingdom of Heaven. Friend, you have a passion, what is it? Tell me, will you use your passion for Christ?

I have a passion, everyone knows it, I probably don't even have to tell you; but I will, because it's my passion. I love the martial arts. I have grown so much spiritually because God has used it to train me, and because of that I have been able to reach people.

Maybe it's cooking, sports, computers, linguistics, children, music, hunting, dance, whatever. Give it to God, and then go use your passoin for Christ.

October 11, 2006

Jesus' kung fu

Yes, as a matter of fact, He did do kung fu. He did a specific kind of kung fu that I have affectionately termed "Lung Fu".

You see, "kung fu" is the chinese term that simply translates as a "skill" and so I term "lung fu" as the "skillful use of words" particularly when used to manage conflict, which is often times called conflict management, debate, or apologetics -when used to defend Christian doctrine. So, here is my example: In Matt. 15:1-11 we see that Jesus was asked a question by the Pharisees, "Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders?...they wash not their hands when they eat bread." Notice that Jesus did not answer their question directly. In fact, He did not anser their question really at all! He instead side stepped their question and performed what I called the "adjacent challenge" verbal redirect. I call it that because instead of dealing with their question, He evaded it by challenging them a question about an issue that was adjacent to the one they brought up. He springboarded off of their question's topic, traditions of men, and put the spotlight on them and their sin. In effect, He was saying to them, "Don't talk to me of my disciples failure to follow the TRADITIONS of MEN, when you yourself are guilty of elevating those traditions above the COMMANDS of GOD!! Once again, Jesus forced the Pharisees to take a good hard look at their sin and their failure to please God.

You see, when Jesus dealt with an issue He never dealt with the issue as it was presented; instead, He always dove straight to the heart of the matter. He found the real issue, and dealt with that. In this issue, the real heart of the matter wasn't obeying the traditions of men, but obeying the commands of God. The Pharisees had placed so great an importance on the traditions of men that they ignored the commands of God, even seeking to use those traditions to circumvent their responsibilities that God gave them. They had no place to challenge Jesus' disciples and that is what Jesus responded to.

Isn't this true, that so often we bring to God's attention the faults of others when we have not even dealt with our far more pressing matter? It is so easy to be critical of others because they don't behave or think the way we think that they should, or because they defy the 'traditions' that we hold dear. How much better it is if we first go to God and say, "Search me oh God, and know me. See if there be any unclean way in me."

thanks for thinking about it.

October 10, 2006

more thoughts on selfishness

The other day, I posted some thoughts on selflessness on my youth blog, thought some of you might want to read them:

We live in a self centered society, do we not? When we look around us we see people rushing around doing things for themselves. Did you know that the average teen (age 12-19) spends $92 a week! How much of that do you think is spent serving someone else?

The Bible tells us that we should deny ourselves (Luke 9:23). This means that we are to be self-LESS not self-ISH. So what does it mean to be self-less?

Obviously, it means to be less self oriented. But what exactly does that mean and how exactly do we reach this goal?

Well, I don't know all the answers but here are a few thoughts to think about concerning the topic.

To be self-less is to give up self, literally to have less self. What this means is that if we want to be selfless then we have to be willing to lose ourselves out of the equation. I remember this statement, "If we lose ourself in Jesus, we will find ourself changed" and it helps me to understand.

Thanks for thinking about it.

as an interesting extra piece of information, the song by MercyMe -- so long self -- I was listening to the radio today while thinking about that post and I heard this song. Take a look at the lyrics.
Well if I come across a little bit distant
It's just because I am
Things just seem to feel a little bit different
You understand

Believe it or not but life is not apparently
About me anyways
But I have met the One who really is worthy
So let me say

So long self
Well it's been fun, but I have found somebody else
So long self
There's just no room for two
So you are gonna have to move
So long self
Don't take this wrong but you are wrong for me farewell
Oh well, Goodbye, don't cry
So Long Self

Stop right there because I know what your thinking
But no we can't be friends
And even though I know your heart is breaking
This has to end

And come to think of it the blame for all of this
Simply falls on me
For wanting something more in life than all of this
Oh, can't you see


Farewell, Goodbye
Oh so long self

October 04, 2006

my mom's musings on marriage

These are my mom's musings on marriage copied from her website


Marriage: Standing in the need of prayer!

There are so many marriages that have reached


At least four couples I know, are having problems in their marriage. Last night as I lay in bed trying to go to sleep, I couldn't help but ponder and lift up each couple in prayer. They are not dealing with a little problem, but rather a stack of seemingly insurmountable problems that creapt in between the

love of their life.

But how does it fall apart?

Now, I certainly don't know all the circumstances, but I was praying and asking God to work, bringing each spouse to a place where they were willing to communicate with each other. Communication with respect is a key element in any relationship. Giving each other time to talk without belittling or getting angry is a good start.

Communication has to happen for the next important element in marriage to take place; that of forgiveness. Forgiveness is so essential. Without it, you only leave room for bitterness. No one benefits from anger turned to bitterness. The Bible tells us that this gives Satan a stronghold in our life. We can do enough damage ourselves without inviting THE Deceiver to work against us. This ripples out to wound all we hold dear, our children (young or grown), our grandchildren, our neighbors, our friends, our church, and our witness. No problem is worth wounding so many we hold dear, especially, our LORD, who already gave HIS all for us.

The third element you need in marriage is a sense of humor. Nothing can diffuse anger like laughter. I often tell my husband that is the reason I married him, for his humor. Laughter adds balance to our lives. It helps us not to take life too seriously. The Psalmist said, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine."

Now, God tells us when we are joined in marriage, that we are to LEAVE and CLEAVE. Leave our childhood ties to parents, siblings, etc., and to cleave to our mate. This has to take place emotionally as well as physically. As a wife, my husband comes first after God, then my children, then church, work... As a wife, it's my job to lift up my husband, never doing anything that would make him look bad. (even to the point of making sure his clothes are clean and wrinkle free, Ladies it doesn't say much about us, either! )

These thoughts seem to swirl around in my mind and heart every time I hear the pain of dear friends, thanks for letting me ramble.

Posted by Priscilla Wall on September 16, 2006 03:04 PM

More Thoughts on Marriage/Relationships

Another marriage in crisis has been shared with me. As a result, my mind continues to mull over what else can make a relationship slip away. My prayers continue to be lifted up on their behalf.

I remember a situation many years ago when a beautiful young lady asked me if I thought she was pretty. At first, I was taken aback. I could answer her honestly and emphatically YES! But why did she ask me? Her spouse frequently and "jokingly" made very negative remarks to and about her, especially in public. Though they were disquised by humor, they had cut deep. It made her doubt her value to her husband, and herself.

I see this type of exchange between relationships daily, both in marriage and in other types of relationships. (friends, siblings, co-workers, etc.) I have never seen it produce positive results. If you think about it, we have all been the giver and the receiver of this type of "warfare". We laughingly participate, but at night, in the dark, we cry into our pillow (that's what we women do, what do men do? I don't know). Over time, each remark acts like a drip of water which has the power to erode what is in its path. Eventually, a chasm is formed. A chasm so wide and deep that it doesn't seem passable. Because this erosion happens slowly, we may not even know how it came to be. We just wake up one day and realize our relationship is in trouble.

Another characteristic of this verbal interplay is that it multiplys. Let's say one couple invites another couple over. Someone starts the game rolling by throwing out funny demeaning remarks to and about his/her spouse. Everyone laughs. Then the other couple takes up the game and sends one over to his/her spouse. Everyone laughs. Everone hurts.

This has happened even between myself and my husband. I remember feeling betrayed and hurt. When I brought it up to my husband later, he did the right thing. He apoligized, and we talked about how we would always try to guard each others character by not "playing the game". COMMUNICATION WITH RESPECT It works!

I would be interested in hearing from others who have been hurt by this type of interaction and what if anything you did about it.

A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it! Proverbs 15:23 KJV

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Proverbs 25:11 KJV

Posted by Priscilla Wall at 10:13 PM

mildly funny quotes

Education is a state-controlled manufactory of echoes.
- Norman Douglas

Where facts are few, experts are many.
- Donald R. Gannon

October 02, 2006

Success! What is it?

Have you ever wondered what the Bible says about success? I was asked one day by a co-worker a couple years back to define success. I had to think about it. I knew vaguely what the world would consider success, but I didn't agree at all with that definition because I thought from a spiritual perspective. So I began to pray that God would show me what He considered to be the definition of success. That same evening as I read my Bible, He did just that. I was reading in Philippians chapter 3, and since I happened to be with that same co-worker, I showed her what God had showed me in the Bible about success. If we take a look at what the Bible says here we shall see something that might be considered interesting by some, challenging by others, and enlightening by still others.

Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh-- though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.

Philippians 3:1-6

As we look at this passage we can begin to see what the world might see as success. Paul was a successful man by the world's standards before he was converted. He had reached the top in his field, the best of the best. He had everything he could have wanted from his job: fame, position, influence, power, respect of his peers, fear from his enemies. Now, I doubt Paul was looking for those things, but he had them. This is what the world would have called success. But wait, let's look at what he has to say next.

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Philippians 3:7-12

What is this? Paul thinks that this kind of success is rubbish?! How is this true? Why is this true? Is this true? Verse 7 clearly identifies what the world would consider successful, when he says "whatever was to my profit..." but then he goes on to say that those things were for his loss. This is quite the conundrum now isn't it? But Paul expounds upon his confusing stance on this issue by stating that the only thing that is important in his life is simply to know Christ, to be found in Him and to have the righteousness that comes from knowing Him. This is why the world's concept of success is wrong - it doesn't save you in the end, it doesn't fulfill you in the end, only Jesus can do that. But let us not dwell too long here, but continue on to read what other thoughts Paul had on this intriguing matter.

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

Philippians 3:13-16

Here Paul continues to talk about true success, he just contrasted it with the world's success and we see how it is vastly superior. Now he expounds on it a little more. True success is the completion of a goal, but what is the goal? The goal is to be conformed to the image of Christ. And our reward for our efforts will be realized in Heaven. We may never achieve our goal on earth, like Paul said, "I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it..." But we still press forward, striving to achieve that goal, to be successful not in the profitable way the world would look at it but in the spiritual way that God looks at it. But how do we do this? How do we accomplish this goal? Read on my fellow traveler, read on.

Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Philippians 3:17-21

Paul identifies several things for our practical application - things to help us achieve our goal and thus be successful spiritually. First he tells us to get involved with Christian fellowship. Fellowship is more than just getting together with other Christians and hanging out. It involves a spiritual develepment of some kind. If the discussion is always of earthly things (ie: work, sports, weather, current events, other people, etc...) and not of Biblical or spiritual matters then it is not of much good towards your spiritual success. You must get together with other Christians and discuss the Bible, talk about it, share what God is sharing with you and with others. Challenge their thinking process, and be challenged in yours. Bear each other's burdens in love. Pray for each other, teach, disciple, encourage, and other such things.

The second thing he identified was like the first, seek out godly examples. I could not possibly be where I am spiritually without the godly examples of my parents. Find some good godly people and watch them. Talk to them, ask the questions, challenge them with some thought provoking topics and just learn whatever you can from them. And of course this includes the examples and the wisdom shared with us in Scripture. So read your Bible, study it, live in it. What else is there to talk about with these people than Scripture?

He also warns us of the outcome of living for a worldly successful life. He tells us that the end of that road leads only to destruction. We should avoid that route ourselves and choose not to look to those people for counsel, or for models either. We should build our life on better models instead.

And the last thing that Paul mentions is the life changing power of Jesus Christ to transform our lives. We have to let Him, and we have to invite Him to change us from the inside out. When we invite Him in to change us, then He will; but sometimes it will be difficult and it will cause us to take a hard look at all the things that we did not want to change. But if we want to be successfull we have to make sacrifices, how much better it will be for us if we sacrifice what weighs us down to gain what lifts us up.

Thanks for thinking about it.