Josh Brage

Upbeat . . .
October 24, 2005, 12:25 am
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“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only thatm byt we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perserverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has given to us.” (Romans 5:1-5)

Tribulations – what are those? I am not sure how to describe them except that you will know them when you are in them. There are all kinds of tribulations and trials – maybe someday I will study what kinds there are. Some of them are from the devil, some are from the Lord, some are from the world, but most are brought on by yourself. So what do you do while you are in them? You perservere. Persevere towards what? Towards the goal and prize of the upward call. What in the world does that mean? Keep pushing towards God, towards wisdom and towards your true self by dying. That is what you do. I, obviously, have not mastered this, but I am going to keep trying, because I want character and more importantly – I want hope.


Make Yourself
October 22, 2005, 4:53 am
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“If I hadn’t made me, I would’ve been made somehow.
If I hadn’t assembled myself, I’dve fallen apart by now.
If I hadn’t made me, I’d be more inclined to bow
Powers that be would have swallowed me up,
but that’s more than I can allow.
If you let them make you, they’ll make you papier-mache.
At a distance you’re strong, until the wind comes
then you crumble and blow away.
You should make amends with you.
If only for better health.
But if you really want to live, why not try and Make Yourself?”

This is half of this song, most of the rest is too explicit to serve much purpose here, but I believe that these lyrics are so powerful. This entire album screams at you from about six inches away from your nose. The intensity is incredible. Anyway, my point.
I didn’t make myself. Or more specifically, I didn’t get with God and let Him make me. But you know what – that is what I THOUGHT! God is forming me into something that I don’t see or understand right now, but that is ok. This song screams that we need to be in charge of our destiny, I completely agree. Don’t ever let other people completely shape your opinions or worldview. Please, listen to people and let them influence you because you would have to be completely ignorant or arrogant to refuse counsel, especially from older people (the Bible is implicit about this.) But at some point you MUST figure out what YOU want and how YOU think. Why? Because people will fail you, systems will fail you, this world will fail you. And then what? “At a distance you’re strong until the wind comes and you crumple and blow away.” Get with God let Him mold you and shape you. He is the only One who knows who you are and who you are supposed to be (we can’t even figure that out about ourselves!) Let Him lead you. He will lead you to what is right and true and YOU! That is freedom. That is happiness. I will find THAT place!
But always remember: it is a journey NOT a destination.

Please Don’t Mistake This For Despair
October 21, 2005, 7:49 pm
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Greetings! A lot of thinking has transpired this week. What in the world happened? What has happened to Christianity? I have seen Christian success. I have been a part of a closely-knit group of people who are all revolutionaries. I have tasted His presence in a deep, intimate way countless times on my own, in small groups in large settings. I have read the books, preached the sermons, sang the songs and cried the tears. Where is what I want? (“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”!!!) That success quickly became silliness. The revolutionaries hurt me and I them and are now running scared hurt and frustrated from the life that they believed would make them happy that ended up leaving them hurt, confused and hopeless. Their dreams have been torn up and now see farther away from their grasp then they ever did. Those moments of closeness with God, though precious are like a high that once you get you enjoy, but it never fully satisfies. The books become inane rhetoric, the sermons ring fake even in my own ears, the songs are just songs (if they were ever more than that) and the tears still keep coming though they never seem to do any good.
I looked to this life to make me happy, to fulfill me. It didn’t work. My life hasn’t worked. So something must be dramatically incorrect about my philosophy and that is scary because I KNEW it had to be right. I did the things that I was supposed to. Oh, maybe it was just external – oh NO, no it wasn’t, it was real. But now, why am I at this place between complete faith and complete doubt and not really sure which side I am going to end up on? I know that Jesus is the answer. But there seem to be so many questions. How? Why? What? I know that I love God, in fact I am pretty sure that I am chasing Him harder than I ever have before.
I have a lot more understanding for confused Christians than I used to. Now, I am one.

Further Development of This New Self
October 17, 2005, 2:35 pm
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Yesterday was my birthday. Naturally I had a cake. As per Brage-Family Tradition I was allowed to choose my type of birthday cake. I choose chocolate with chocolate creamcheese icing. Last night, I stayed up late watching CSI and eating a big piece of chocolate cake with chocolate creamcheese icing and mega M&M’s and a big glass of milk. It was borderline euphoria. Now if you don’t know me very well, you are like ‘what is the big deal?’ Now, if you know me you are probably still reeling from any mention of chocolate coming from my mouth. I know, further evidence of the work that God is doing in my life! Amen!

21 Years and Still a Christian!
October 16, 2005, 6:50 pm
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Currently Reading: The Knowledge of the Holy; A.W. Tozer

Great book! I will post from it, but probably towards the end in more of a synopsis-kind-of-way. (Unlike what I did with Screwtape Letters.)

Today is my 21st birthday! Wow. I like birthdays. You always end up introspective, which can be good. I always end up encouraged – people really do like me! (Lol, I know, but hey we all want to be liked. Don’t lie.) And I always end up excited.

This birthday is a different one for me. I feel like it is a New Year. I am making resolutions of sort. Not resolutions so much, as serious inventory of my life. I am throwing out some things that didn’t work and aren’t me and embracing again, or for the first time, things that will work and things that make up who I am.

I am not the person I always thought I was. For example, I am not as much of a people-person as I thought I was. I like to be quiet and alone with a book or a computer. I don’t know if this means that I am running from people and thus problems (internal) or if this is really who I am. You know what? This is who I am. I don’t need to lie and push myself to be something that I thought I wanted to be or something that I thought people wanted me to be. I just need to be me and have fun. I like people, but I really like books too.

Also, I have a new-found appreciation for the Bible. I know that sounds weird but I do. That Jesus guy really knew what He was talking about! He really did give us “all things that pertain to life and godliness.” (2 Peter 1:3)

“Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received!” (2 Peter 1:3 The Message) (Think about this verse, I mean really think about it. Selah!)

Well, I am discovering more and more about God and about myself. I am just going to keep pushing towards God and living my life. I am going back to wearing polos and ball-caps and eating twizzlers and just being me! Hopefully, I can go back to being a good friend to people and just loving life. (I don’t think I am very far.) BUT on the other hand, let’s not live our lives looking backwards! No, let’s keep looking forward! Unto Jesus!

(I know this post was preachy, but hey it is Sunday!)

Beautiful Colorado Afternoon!
October 14, 2005, 10:49 pm
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Sometimes with all of your thinking and all of your wrestling and all of your . . . whatever. You just need to stop. And say “Screw it, God is cool!”

Also, I am going to make a tee-shirt that says, “Wormwood can kiss mine.” I think that will be cool.

Final Screwtape Letters (For Awhile)
October 14, 2005, 3:21 pm
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Alright, this will be one of the last Screwtape Letters posts for awhile, I promise! It is just that this book is so good and actually really really prophetic for me right now! So praise Him.

“All mortals tend to turn into the thing that they are pretending to be.”

“He must not be allowed to suspect that he is now, however slowly, heading right away from the sun on a line which will carry him into the cold and dark of utmost space. . . .
We do not have to contend with the explicit repentance of a definite, fully recognized, sin, but only with this vague, though uneasy feeling that he hasn’t been doing very well lately.
This dim uneasiness needs careful handling. If it gets too strong it may wake him up and spoil the whole game. On the other hand, if you suppress it entirely – which, by the by, the Enemy will probably not allow you to do – we lose an element in the situation which can be turned to good account. If such a feeling is allowed to live, but not allowed to become irresistible and flower into real repentance, it has one invaluable tendency. It increases the patient’s reluctance to think about the Enemy. All humans at nearly all times have some such reluctance; but when thinking of Him involves facing and intensifying a whole vague cloud of half-conscious guilt, this reluctance in increased tenfold. … He will want his prayers to be unreal, for he will dread nothing so much as effective contact with the Enemy. His aim will be to let sleeping worms lie.”  

“When He talks of their losing their selves, He only means adandoning the clamour of self-will; once they have done that, He really gives them back all their personality, and boasts (I am afraid, sincerely) then when they are wholly His they will be more themselves as ever…. He hates to see them drifting away from their own nature for any other reason.”

“Even of his own sins the Enemy does not want him to think too much; once they are repented, the sooner the man turns his attention outward, the better the Enemy is pleased.”

Ok that is enough of that for a little while. I am about halfway and will finish. I will probably post more from it, but I do not want this blog to become tedious and planned. So let’s move on. I will try to keep you all updated about my daily reading. (And listening, someday.) Enjoy your day!