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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
- C-Train

This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
 
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Friday, January 13, 2006
Poison to my soul.
2 Corinthians 10:12 says, "Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding."

This morning I woke up and immediately began to thank God. It is my prayer habit to do so. I thanked God for the sleep I had, the bed I slept on, and as I was thanking God I was groggy and sleepy, and really only half awake. In that state sometimes you fall right back asleep but this morning I suddenly understood the gap between my thankful prayer and true thankfulness.

I should explain. Thankfulness isn't about appeasing or flattering God. I think we all know this on an intellectual plane; thankfulness is about appreciating what God has done so that we perceive with greater clarity that it is God who works in us to will and to do His good pleasure. Thankfulness is our window into God's tender care for us. Yet this morning, for a brief moment I understood that I was trying to just say thank you because I "should" say thank you. An obligatory thank you. And in my Spirit I felt that familiar little "check" - you know the one, it is like a distant odor, so subtle you can ignore it if you want, but naggingly persistent, demanding recognition.

The check was that I wasn't really thankful - I just knew I should be and my mouth was engaged without my heart backing it up. As my awareness clamped onto the gulf between what I knew to be right prayer, and the stuff I was offering up - my eyes opened a little. Not just my physical eyes, as the realization brought greater consciousness to my sleeping body, but also my spiritual eyes as this truth brought greater communion between myself and God.

So I got up and had a prayer time which included a more focused thankfulness - that is, I was saying thank you to God because doing so properly is edifying to myself. As I began to thank God for the things he was doing, I was aware that my understanding of what God was doing was drawing me closer to God. The command to be thankful - like every command God gives, is all about God giving to us. When God commands us to do something, it isn't a restriction, it is the condition by which a holy God can justly bestow blessing. Into a thankful heart the Lord pours something of Himself - a closer union brought about by the realization that the things we are thankful for are things we ought to be thankful for - which have been given us for the purpose of setting our affections, hopes and attention on Jehovah Jireh.

As I was thanking the Lord I brought to mind a wonderful miracle he has done in our congregation. One of the newer church members has had crippling arthritis - so much pain in her hands and whatnot that it was genuinely incapacitating. Perhaps ten days ago she simply prayed one morning that God would take the pain away - and the next morning she woke up for the first time in 20 years without pain in her hands. She went out that morning to shovel snow! What is fantastic about this healing is that it is genuine and reflects so well our Lord's mercy. She doesn't consider herself a healer or in possession of some sort of special power, spiritual or otherwise - she is just a newer member in our congregation who happened to have faith to pray a prayer that resulted in a merciful act of our God.

So I was thanking God for that - not only that he healed this lady, but also that it wasn't a big show in our church - we don't get to see a lot of healing, but no one doubts for a minute that God heals. Such that when she was healed there was no dog and pony show, I was sincerely filled with joy to see God respond so mercifully. There was a time when seeing someone healed would have bolstered my faith - that is, there was a time in my early walk when I wanted to see a miracle to prove there was a God. In my heart at that time I knew it was wrong - I knew that my heart wanted to put God to the test, so I prayed a funny prayer, "Lord please don't let me see any miracles until my faith doesn't require it" - that is, I didn't want my faith to rest on signs and wonders but on the word of God, and (implied in that) the God of the word. So it was that when I saw this great work I was overjoyed - because I was not the least bit surprised by it, nor doubtful that it was genuine.

So (as I said) I was thanking God for that, and wanting to spend time in earnest praise, I should mention that I asked God prior to this to line up my heart so that I could praise Him in earnest - then I remembered what God had done, and my heart soared in praise for that - which opened another door in my faith.

It works that way.

As I was filled with joy - real joy - for what God had done for this sister, I realized that it was easy to praise God when I saw something with my own eyes - yet I know that God is doing things that I cannot see. Why was my praise so slack in these areas? The only answer that is honest is because I don't think about them, and if I am brutally honest - I don't really think things are going on. Isn't that awful? My intellect acknowledges that God is working in my life here and there and everywhere - but my heart doesn't get behind all of that. The moment my eyes see something - WHAM - my heart is there with joy and praise. I was gently rebuked in my prayer this morning for that, and I began to examine those unseen things in my life that God was doing, and giving more earnest and honest praise to God for that.

It was also in my prayer time this morning that I understood how poisonous the praise of men can be. As I was praising God, my mind skimmed over some of the wonderful things God was doing in my life - and how men have praised -me- for them, as though I were the author. My intellect knows that the glory belongs to God alone, yet sometimes the praise of men lingers in my ears like a dry morsel that I am trying to swallow. It should pass straight through me and onto God, but I let it hesitate in my ears long enough to take pleasure in it. Not the good pleasure of seeing God's glory, but the wicked pleasure of assuming it is my own.

When we hear something that was right (especially in this world where that is increasingly a rarity) we want to encourage the person who said it, and typically the way we do this is through praise. We may praise the pastor for the stirring sermon, or praise the little old man in church whose transparent prayer stirs us on to greater faith - we want to acknowledge those things that God uses to build us up, and sometimes we praise the person as much as we praise the Lord (or even more!) Now that is just spiritual poison for the person. It really is. At least it is to me - every word of praise I hear is a temptation to my soul - a part of me wants Gods glory, wants to ignore that whatever is being praised in me was wrought entirely by God in my heart, and that I fought it every step of the way.

To be sure, If I have ever done something that appeared to warrant praise, it would be fun to hear a brother or sister say, Daniel - Praise the Lord, even though every fiber in your body has resisted that message, and even though you have fought God on this for perhaps the greatest portion of your life - yet finally God had the victory in you, and in spite of your wickedness, in spite of your pride, your ego, and your desire to usurp everything the Lord has given you to imagine that your own hand and cleverness has given it to you - in spite of all of that, God has managed to squeeze out of you and through you something that has built me up. I thank God that he was able to use even someone like you, messed up as you are, to speak to me. Praise God for that Daniel - Praise God!

For it is certain that I have nothing but what was given, and even that I would hold onto with all my heart and fail to share, were not God Himself constantly working to pry it out of my hands to share with others. What a wretch I am, to be served by God in this way. And I didn't make a typo there either - I am served by God just as Christ washed the feet of Judas, so He continues to serve us today, ministering to us daily, even by the hour. The more I understand my God, the smaller I become. How can our great God be so humble?

Praise the Lord. Man, if you can't praise the Lord right, Good gravy! Get on your knees and repent. God is so awesome, and we are so awful and undeserving. How many of us are standing here today letting the Lord wash our feet - and we remain silent? Oh man. When I get to the other side and I see all my pride and indifference - when I see with clarity the magnitude of God's humility in ministering to me daily contrasted to my profound disinterest in it, my lack of praise, and prayerlessness - my cold indifference, yea - they will be gnashing of teeth, I will be the loudest! How I ignore praising my God!

Anyway, sorry about the rant - I am just risen from prayer and the zeal of it is still on me.
posted by Daniel @ 6:16 AM  
5 Comments:
  • At 7:43 AM, January 13, 2006, Blogger Susan said…

    Zing. Straight to the heart.
    That thought has occurred to me with respect to blogging. Is it (in part at least) for validation from men? I took down my blog because it's not the right season in my own life to start one. Not that blogging is bad, but we are so human, aren't we? Don't we twist the things that God has given us that would otherwise show His glory to our own credit and aggrandizement?
    I pray that we all continually and increasingly glorify Him more - that we would decrease and He increase.
    The Creator of the universe serving us! The ultimate paradox. How can such love be?
    When you bring these thoughts to the forefront, Daniel, the head and heart knowledge combined make me yearn for the other side all the more. Oh, that Jesus would come TODAY! That we would see Him in the clouds!
    Praise be to Him!

     
  • At 11:21 AM, January 13, 2006, Blogger Ephraim said…

    Daniel,

    I tell you brother, if I ever get to travel through Canada, I'm stopping at your house. With your permission of course.

    May YHWH bless your moments with Him.

    Shalom

     
  • At 1:00 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    Permission granted. ;-D

     
  • At 9:06 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger Jim said…

    Brother, thank you for opening up the door into your heart and bearing this fresh revelation you received from the Lord.

    Perhaps there is a difference between genuine praise and flattery. What I mean is that I believe we need to praise our wife and children for their good character qualities. Of course, us deceitful guys love to take that praise and revel in it. Nevertheless, I do believe we all need encouragement in this cold, unloving world.

    On a different note, how are you finding the opportunites to witness at work? I am especially interested because you are employed in a government position where political correctness tends to rule the roost.

    Blessings,

    Jim

     
  • At 9:36 PM, January 13, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    I have had the opportunity to share my faith on many occasions, often when I least expect it, or am least "prepared" as it were.

    To be sure, my work place is clandestinely (if not openly) hostile to proselyting. There is however much opportunity to speak the truth in love. Situations arise that give me opportunity to quote scripture - someone's friend's brother dies, or someone's uncle commits adultery, or a social issue arises. When my opinion is asked I give scripture. It has opened the door to conversations.

    Suffice to say that it is not easy - but even in that anti-christian haven, I have still had plenty of opportunity to share.

    I have given away two or three bibles, and preached the gospel on numerous occasions - but no converts that I know of. One of the guys I work with was a nominal Christian when I met him, and I have had the joy of challenging him and seeing him grow in faith and knowledge. But by and large my hands are pretty tied.

    Dan.

     
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