|The Praise of Folly||
No I do not go to Mars Hill Church, and actually live no where near the Mars Hill Church Plants, but I love listening to his sermons! Take a few hours to listen to his sermons sometime! Really good and challenging stuff! His current sermon series he is going through is "Ephesians".
Alright, so at Southeastern University for the next three weeks the school will be having a campus wide fast for those who choose to do it. The first week is supposed to be the Daniel Fast, in which a person refrains from meats and dairy products and restricts his or herself to a diet of just fruits and veggies essentially.
The second week of the fast is a "media fast" in which people refrain from social networking and using the internet and television for things other than educational use. The third week is a fast of something of the students own choice.
The reason why SEU is having this campus wide fast is because they want people to be in prayer for the upcoming SEU Conference that will be happening in Downtown Lakeland, Fl at the Polk Theatre. The Fasting that the students do should allow them to really keep a ready heart and spirit to be constantly in prayer about the things that they wish for God to do within the school, their heart, and even their relationships.
I wanna let you all know that when it comes to things like this I actually hate just doing something because everyone around me is doing it. My church back home in D.C. was doing the Daniel Fast at the beginning of this year and I chose not to do it with them simply because I felt as if my heart was in the wrong place. For me to do this fast with them would have just been because they were doing it and I felt like doing it just to say I was doing it with them.
I am hesitant to even write about fasting because I do not want to be seen as the Pharisees that Christ talks about who "wear it on their faces" that they are fasting so that others would look at them and think that they are so righteous and holy because they are fasting (Matthew 6:5). That is not why I am writing about Fasting.
I am writing because this semester at school I have already seen the work of God in my heart and in my life in such an amazing way, and I can already see things that I can honestly say WILL NEVER BE ACCOMPLISHED if not by the grace of God. God says that there are certain things that can only come about through prayer and fasting (Matthew 9:29) and so I am through prayer and fasting asking God to work through his steadfast love to come through and bring about the things that would bring him the most glory through and through.
I am not fasting because I believe I am strong, I am fasting because I am weak and my God is strong. Not trying to be "corny" I am just speaking the truth. I am incredibly weak and need God to work in my college, my relationships, my heart, my financial problems, my city both here in Florida and D.C., and also my family. I have many things I am fasting and praying for and believe God hears every single one of them.
Thanks for reading this. I am just speaking a little from my heart. Hope this post in some way can touch your heart also. God bless.
I haven't blogged in a little while. Why? Well one of the last posts I wrote talked about how I wished to not blog as much because I would be so indulged into living a life for Christ and being about his work that I could not find time to go and blog on my computer.
Well, as much as I hoped this would be true, it was only true for as long as I allowed it to be true to my heart. I fell away from the passion I had for almost a good month. I became so overcome with focusing on myself. Focusing on whether or not I was "supposed" to go back to the College that I presently attend. Focusing on "my music" and recording "my'" EP. I was so focused on "my" girlfriend, "my" friends and family, and "my" life in general that I forgot that this life that I live is no longer mine.
I had become consumed with the thoughts of money and making money and being "successful" (I put quotations around the word because I believe success is based off of perspective) in life presently and in the future to come.
I just could not shake focusing on myself...until God softened my heart.
God in his grace and mercy showed me that he truly does know what his Children need before we even ask of it (Matthew 6:8). God, the day before I was supposed to fly down to Florida to go back to Southeastern University, opened up a way for me and my family to be able to receive every bit of money we had asked for in financial aid.
God, when I got back to Southeastern, softened my heart when I was able to go into a worship setting in a chapel at my school and finally not focus on other people and judging them, but instead sincerely and truly worshiping him and praying for them. God has spoken to my heart about joy, about suffering, about idol worship, and about purity in some of the greatest ways since I have been back at school and it's only been a little over a week since I have been here.
I wish I could sit here and explain every little detail that is coursing through my mind at this moment. I have so much on my heart that I wish to share, but the truth is I am so physically tired and my brain just isn't allowing me to organize my thoughts as well as I wish I could.
What I just want to say before I finish writing is that...I'm thankful. I'm thankful for being saved by grace through faith and not by works. I am thankful for the suffering whether emotional, financial, or physical. I am thankful for the word of God that has consistently found it's way into my being and attacked my heart at its core, over and over again. I am thankful that I have a blog to be able to share the way I am feeling and the way that God is moving to people all over the world (whether they read it or not haha).
I hope all of this makes sense haha I honestly do not know if it will because I am extremely tired. I love you all. God bless. I do plan to write more.
So, I was thinking the other day about the way in which I view the holiday of Christmas, and I realized that I have celebrated the birth of Jesus so much that I think I might have grown out of being excited for it.
I do not mean growing out of giving and getting gifts, cause I'm human, I love giving gifts and I love getting them also! What I mean by growing out of my excitement for Christmas is that I just do not find the birth of Jesus as riveting to me. I do not find the birth of Christ as compelling or life-altering at all. I love the lights, the holiday cheer, the cookies, the presents and everything else but yet I do not find the "reason for the season" as interesting as I used to.
So I took a few steps back and reevaluated my view of Christmas and thought about if there were any other ways to make the birth of Christ more personal to me. What I found was life-changing.
Just like almost every other time in my life when something is life-altering for me, it usually involves something having to do with a relationship in my life. This time was no different. See I realized that Christmas would be more important to me if I brought the meaning to a more personal level than the one that I had been taught my entire life.
I think an awesome way to look at the birth of Christ is as a time of reminiscing and celebrating your relationship with him. I began to think of my relationship with Christ as the relationship described in scripture between Christ and the church, as a marital engagement.
I pictured myself engaged to the love of my life and during that engagement process my love has a birthday and during that time I begin to sit back and think...think about all the wonderful times we have shared together and how thankful I am that my love was born, because if they were not born then we would not be engaged at all and I would not be getting ready to celebrate the most defining moment in our relationship which is marriage and in this case the second coming of Christ in which he takes us to be with him for eternity.
I think that thinking about Christmas this way really helped change the way in which I viewed the holiday season! I hope you all can find some way to view this day as more than just a time of gifts and hot cocoa! haha although those are great! Merry Christmas everyone!
I have, in the last few days, just been so convicted about the Christian life. I have had a complete turn around in my heart, in which all I want to do is pursue Christ. This does not mean I am waking up every morning with a smile on my face saying, "Praise the Lord!" This simply means that even on my darkest days and in my deepest temptations, I just truly want to pursue Christ.
I wish to be in the word and preach it. I wish to go out and love every one I see and meet! I do not feel like I am doing enough for the Gospel! And I wish to do more. In my last post I wrote about some of the dreams and visions that God has placed on my heart and I just have been in such deep prayer about them all lately. I truly just want to do something for the Kingdom of God and not that blogging does not reach the hearts and minds of some people, but that I just wish to make sure that I am not hiding behind a computer screen, but adamantly proclaiming the name of Christ with my daily life.
I have so much that I wish to write, but I am convicted not to write and give advice as much right now until I begin to start experiencing the Holy Spirit in my daily pursuit of Christ. I want to experience the presence of God in my life in more than just a short or long quiet time where I read scripture and pray. I want to experience the Holy Spirit in more than just blogging or video-logging. I want to experience the Holy Spirit in more than just a worship night or church on sundays.
I want to experience the Holy Spirit when I walk down the street and show love to someone. I want to experience the Holy Spirit when I hang out with someone I have never hung out with before and am able to share the gospel in a deeper way. I want to experience the Holy Spirit when I spend time with my friends who don't believe in living a dedicated life of discipleship to Jesus Christ. I want to share in more memories and more experiences with my God.
I do not think this is wrong to desire either! I believe that as a Christian there is a relationship between oneself and God and as in any relationship the more the experiences and memories the pair has, the more the relationship begins to grow and blossom into something much more beautiful than it was before. I am finishing up my semester here at Southeastern and when I get back home I do plan I blogging, but I will be seeking diligently to love on others and give all I have to the kingdom because that is the Christian life. I want to be so busy with doing the work of the Kingdom over break that it becomes hard for me to blog! But, my prayer is that as I grow in my work for the kingdom I would have a deep desire to share that with all of you who are reading my blogs. God bless! Happy Holidays!
I cannot tell you all the different things flowing through my mind right now, and for the first time this week I am actually enjoying the multitude of thoughts racing through my brain. I am excited. I am hopeful. I am beginning to dream again! About what you may ask? About the things that will, by the grace of God, help further the glory of the kingdom.
I began writing my New Years Resolutions for next year. They were not even technically supposed to be New Years Resolutions, but when I noticed that everything I had written down was for 2013 I decided to just claim these ideas as my New Years Resolutions! I want to share with you some of the resolutions that are on my heart! These things range from things like a job and a car, to things like setting up an unorganized (in terms of SEU organizing it) inner-city missions trip to Washington D.C.
Yes, I go to Church in D.C. Yes, I am from the area, and the church that will be working directly with the group of people I hope to get to come with me will most likely be my own home church, but this is not about "my church." This is about my heart for D.C. and the inner-city community that surrounds my church. This area is filled with churches, and these churches are either not filled at all, or are filled with older men and women. The young people that live all through-out the neighboring communities? Where can they be found? Out on the streets trying to make it by through gangs, sex, drugs, violence, partying, money, and life lived this way because they do not know that there is more to it through Jesus Christ.
I have met a lot of kids from the area, many of them know OF Jesus. They know OF God. But, that is as far as their knowledge goes. The road is narrow! When are we going to start taking that seriously?! It is not enough to allow someone to go along being satisfied with the simple thought that there is a God! We must as Christ followers show them the truth! The truth is love, hope, and a relationship that outlasts anything this earth can provide! I want to start a ministry within the Inner City that goes beyond just a short-term missions team! I want to see a generation of a new community of believers in the inner city begin to flourish and grow! I do not want these dreams to become just become vague possibilities! I want to carry them out with integrity and faithfulness to the kingdom of God! I want to know what it truly means to live a life that resembles that of Christ!
I ask that you would pray for my heart if you are reading this. That God would start a passion stirring within my heart to settle for nothing less than being completely faithful to the kingdom of God! I am young and this is a great time to dream right? But this dream...it feels so real! It would be detrimental to myself and the kingdom of God to not follow through with it! I need accountability for this! I need prayer for short term missions, for working a job next semester, for getting a car next summer, for starting a ministry within the D.C. area that would truly spend time diving into the hearts and lives of the community, and I need prayer for more faithfulness to the seeking of the kingdom of God first and foremost. Thank you all for your prayers! Keep me accountable to a life of faithfulness and love for the Lord and humanity itself.
Okay so as most of you know I have had a problem with lust since God knows when and pornography for quite a while also. I am nowhere near perfect and you can read my blog post titled, "When Folly Speaks People Listen" to grasp some sort of understanding around why a young man my age and with my sin would try to give advice to others. Recently I have been doing a lot better with my fight against pornography and lust, but to be brutally honest I have messed up still quite a number of times.
Just recently, though, I have been really encouraged and strengthened by no other than a iPhone Bible App. The Bible App is labeled Encourage and can also be found by searching "Biblical Encouragement Pornography Addiction App." This app opens up and has a list of different emotions and a statement at the top of the app that tells you to tell God how you are feeling today. Once you choose the emotion closest to how you are feeling it gives you countless different Bible verses that are directly related to your emotion in order to help encourage you to continue on in your fight against pornography. On the same page as the verse the author of the app gives a small encouragement note himself to the reader to further the encouragement process even more!
Anyone who has an iPhone or iTouch or iPad and have been addicted to pornography or have just been recently tempted to indulge in pornographic material, I would encourage you to get this app! It's $0.99 and worth so much more in the eternal perspective! So be encouraged and know that by the grace and power of God there are ways out through Christ in order that you may fight your addiction. Do not feel as if you are alone. More than 50% of Americans alone indulge or have indulged in pornographic activity. The fight is on. Stay prayerful. Stay accountable. Stay kingdom-minded.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. -1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)
My heart has been overthrown by a kingdom of worry. I have lost the battle to achieving purity in all senses of the word. I have fallen in thought, worship, and deed. I have idolized the things in life that should not have the the slightest opportunity to consume. I have allowed the idea of being loved by all, getting money, having a "normal" life, and being "the best me I can be" without Christ, to overtake my soul. I have let this go out of control in my heart and I need to get back to a place of worship. I will not blog as much because I wish to blog out of a heart of worship towards God through my love for my ability to write that he has given me. I want to be in the word of God more and I want to use it more in my writing without being fearful to what people may think. I want to open God's word more and not be afraid at what he says to me. I want to have an joyful spirit in which I completely satisfied in what God has given me. I created a blog-site, I was able to get advertisements put up and now I can feel the fear creeping in my heart...that the more I write about Christ the less views I will get. But, to God be the glory! It is not about money, it is not about academics, it is not about being talented, intelligent, or anything else except for the love of God. I wish to grow and flourish in the presence of God. I want to bear the fruits of spirit more and for that I believe I need to take time to be still before the Lord more often. I need to spend more time worshiping. I need to spend more time loving. I need to spend more time with Christ and I need to love it more than anything else in this world. I am thankful for the blessings that I have been given and all the blessings still yet to come. Thank you for reading this. Keep my life and my heart in your prayers as I continue to seek to imitate the life the Christ. Keep the people in poverty all around the world in your prayers tonight and throughout this holiday season. And give unto others as you would have them give unto you.
Folly Herself Speaks:
The quote above is taken from the book "The Praise of Folly" by a Nothern Renaissance Humanist named Desiderius Erasmus. The book, "The Praise of Folly" is written as an oration from the 1st person perspective of a 16th century Court Jester, or Folly herself. The fool gives a speech on who he believes himself to be and he speaks as if he were quite knowledgeable and knew what he was talking about. The whole point of the oration was so that people could see how folly views herself. Folly believes that she is witty, well-read, well-equipped, and ready to create logical arguments at any given time to why she is right. Although we see the fool as just a fool, the fool makes a great point by stating that he "pours forth joy into both gods and men alike." The point that folly tries to make is that although some may know that he is nothing more than just a fool, people still listen to what he has to say.
I want people to understand why my blog-site is called the praise of folly. Yes, it is named after a piece of literature, but it goes much further than that. I write the praise of folly in order to try to humble myself. I am not perfect. I am nothing more than a fool, in and of myself. I am the epitome of the fool that the book of proverbs continually refers back to so many times. I can do nothing right.
But, I have been saved by grace through faith. And this is not by my own doing, but this is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8). I want people to read what I write and know that it is not coming from a man who believes that he in someway is better. I do not boast in myself, rather I call myself a fool. I boast about Christ, who can take the fool and make him wise. I am nothing without Christ and these are not just meaningless words. I make constant mistakes, and I write to give advice, yes sometimes, but I also wish to share with you all my temptations and failures.
When the fool speaks people listen. This is clear from just looking at some celebrity lifestyles. We are constantly in-tune with what happens in Hollywood, and much of it is foolish. But, when folly speaks we tend to open up and listen. We let down our guard. We do not try to argue with it, because there is no sense in arguing. I am the fool who speaks words from the wise. People wonder why God would use even the most foolish of men to speak "wisdom" into this world. But, the "Foolishness of God is wiser than men, and weakness of God is stronger than men" (1 Corinthians 1:25).
"God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God." - 1Corinthians 1:28-29
In the presence of God we cannot boast of ourselves, because we are nothing. Man is nothing without God. I am nothing without my savior. I am just a fool. But, because of grace I am a fool who has a heart to speak words of wisdom and I hope that as you read my blogs you would read them as the people gathered around to listen to folly speak. They gave folly a chance to speak. They thought it was funny that he would even speak about himself in such a way because all he was, was just a fool. But, at least give me a chance to speak.
Because when folly speaks people listen.
Alright, so to be honest I actually had no intention of making two parts to this Book of Judges thing. But, once I started writing and thinking through all that I wanted to write out in words, I decided it might be better if I split the two up, so people weren't forced to read one long post (that's assuming people would even want to read it in the first place haha).
So, as you know if you read Part 1, I started reading the Book of Judges recently. In Part 1 I spoke much about the connection between the Old and New Testament and how the Old Testament is a great foreshadowing to the reality that is to come in the New Testament.
While reading the second chapter of Judges I found it strangely compelling. There were many things that stood out to me, but one of the most compelling things was found in verses 18-19. These verses say, "Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways.
I don't know if it is just me but as soon as I read these verses the first person I thought of was Christ. I read these verses and I thought of how we, as Christians, now are the chosen people and just like God sent judges to his chosen people the Israelites, he has sent us one final judge who is Jesus Christ. I read those verses and I see the Lord being moved to pity by his people who are seeking something more, who are seeking to be saved physically, emotionally, and spiritually! I see the Lord sending a judge who would save us from the hands of our enemies, "all the days of the judge." And, I see one final thing which is different...that in order to save us our judge in Christ had to die. But unlike the other judges who died and everyone returned back to their sins and stubborn ways, our judge came back to life in order that he could still be with us.
I know this was a short post, but it was short for a number of reasons. One reason is I'm a little tired and my brain isn't running as smoothly as it was during Part 1, but the other reason is because I don't believe there is too much else to say. Christ is the Ultimate Judge who has come to save his people from their sins just like the earthly judges in the Old Testament, except this time the judge is eternal and defeated death by rising again. I hope this encourages you! If you get anything out of this let it be to get into your word and hear from the Lord about who he is!
My name's Ben Carter. I'm 18 years old and I'm in a long distance relationship. I don't believe life should be lived without relationships, so this page is here to explain what I mean by that.