Thursday, August 25, 2016

what He said

Matthew 28

18 Jesus came and told his disciples,

"I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.

19 Therefore,

go

and make disciples of all the nations,

baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.

And be sure of this:

I am with you always, even to the end of the age."



I've said it before in this blog – I'll keep saying it until the world looks level...


The operative word in this passage is “go”.


Not “just be godly & wait for the heathens & unbelievers come to you”.


I get the feeling some people, a lot of people, a huge chunk of people in our culture here in America evidently think that's what it says.


Jesus also uses the imperative.


He didn't say

you will go”

or “you can go when it's safe”

or “you can go when everything lines up & there's plenty of money & you can continue to live your precious & prissy white upper middle class lifestyle”.


He said “go” - the you is implied.

It's not implying “some of you” or “those of you who feel good about doing this” or “those of you who feel qualified”.


The implied you Jesus used is an “all of you” you – plural, not singular.


He said “go” in the strongest way possible – the imperative.


And Jesus' imperative suggests “go now”.

Not “when you feel like it”

Or “if you can live in the paradigm you've always live”

Or “to the people with whom you're comfortable”.

Or ”when you have your 401K situated”.

He meant “now”.


Jesus' imperative meant “all of you go now”.


It still means that.


Go.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

what if...

The Lord says,


"I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.


I will advise you


& watch over you."


Psalm 32:8



What would our lives look like if we REALLY believed this?


How would we act, behave, & think if trusted God at this level?


What would our stress levels be if we REALLY thought God was faithful in guiding us?


And what would our responses to life be impacted if we thought God was really going to watch over us - no matter what happens, He was going to take care of us?


We either believe this statement by the Lord, or not.


I continue to hold on to it – what choice do we have anyway?


If we don't, our footing in life will always be uncertain & imperiled.


But if we do, we may not be able to explain the ups & downs of our life, but we can express faith in the One who is always with us in those ups & downs.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

weak vs strong

2 Corinthians 12


7b So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh,

a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

  8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.

9 Each time he said,

"My grace is all you need.

My power works best in weakness."

So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses,

so that the power of Christ can work through me.

10 That's why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ.

For when I am weak, then I am strong.



Paul wrote this.

We don't know what his “thorn” was.

That's not the important factor.

The most important thing Paul learned is that God is able to be & do great things in our lives when we are weak.

He learned that God strength is much more abundant when he acknowledges his weakness & need for God's intervening power.


Why is this true for Paul & us?


Because God is able to work more freely when we are admittedly weakend so that God can work through us more or less unhindered.


I've experienced this, more than once.


There have been times when I knew I couldn't pull off what was required for me to be or do.

But if I surrendered myself to whatever is at hand, expecting God to empower me every step of the way, He has always come through for me.


Always.


Consider that today as you go about your life, & think about if we trusted Him more to come through for us, what our lives might look like.

Monday, August 22, 2016

no wiggle room

In this country, our attitude stinks about the poor & the working poor.

It hasn't always been that way.

It started over 30 years ago, but it has really gone down hill in the last 16 years.

Every time I hear anyone get cranked up about the poor & the working poor...

I think of this passage & wonder if the person who is spewing such negative attitudes about the poor & working poor has bothered to ever read this passage.

The poor & working poor back in Jesus' time weren't any different from people in that socio-economic strata.

There was no such thing as “the noble poor” back then, anymore than there is today.

But Jesus is pretty up front about what He as God thinks about them.

And He leaves no wiggle room...



Matthew 25

31 "But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne.

32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

  34 "Then the King will say to those on his right,

'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.

35 For I was hungry, and you fed me.

I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink.

I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.

36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing.

I was sick, and you cared for me.

I was in prison, and you visited me.'


  37 "Then these righteous ones will reply,

'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you?

Or thirsty and give you something to drink?

38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality?

Or naked and give you clothing?

39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?'

  40 "And the King will say,

'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'


  41 "Then the King will turn to those on the left and say,

'Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.

42 For I was hungry, and you didn't feed me.

I was thirsty, and you didn't give me a drink.

43 I was a stranger, and you didn't invite me into your home.

I was naked, and you didn't give me clothing.

I was sick and in prison, and you didn't visit me.'

  44 "Then they will reply,

'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?'

  45 "And he will answer,

'I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.'

  46 "And they will go away into eternal punishment,

but the righteous will go into eternal life."

Sunday, August 21, 2016

enough said

Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.


If you live for Him & make the Kingdom of God your primary concern,


He will give you all you need from day to day.


Matthew 6:32b-33 



...enough said.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

3 miracles

Yesterday, our daughter, Hannah, got married.

I cannot quantify the panoply of emotions that played through my mind.

I saw 3 miracles yesterday.


I was reminded of the miracle that God gave her to us.

31 years ago, if Lynn & I had gotten the child we deserved, she would have had 2 heads & horns.

Instead, He gave us Hannah.


The 2nd miracle I saw was the godly woman she has become.

Considering the ups & downs of living with 2 strong personalities as mine & Lynns, well, it's a miracle she turned out so dynamically well.

And she has become a person who loves people well with the love of Jesus – a love that so obviously is channeled through her.

And she is loved so very very much in return for her willingness to share His love.


And the 3rd miracle is that God led a tremendous man to come her way, who fell in love with her, & with whom she felt safe to fall in long.

To see their open, transparent, & strong playful love yesterday was one of the most amazing blessings of my life.


And once again I am reminded that the happiest day of your life really isn't the day you get married.


The happiest day of your life is when you child gets married.


Thank You, God for Hannah, & for Lance, for the way they love you, for the way they love each other, & for how they now get to do that dance of love, together, with You.


Yesterday was the happiest day of Lynn's & my life.


Thank You, God...

Friday, August 19, 2016

# 2

My favorite psalm is # 139. We just all read it a few days ago in this blog.

My second favorite is Psalm 27.

I read it this morning as part of my sequential reading of Psalms.

It's good stuff.

Here it is...



Psalm 27

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation—
  so why should I be afraid?
The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
  so why should I tremble?
2 When evil people come to devour me,
  when my enemies and foes attack me,
  they will stumble and fall.
3 Though a mighty army surrounds me,
  my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
  I will remain confident.

4 The one thing I ask of the LORD—

  the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
  delighting in the LORD's perfections
  and meditating in his Temple.
5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
  he will hide me in his sanctuary.
  He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
6 Then I will hold my head high
  above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
  singing and praising the LORD with music.

7 Hear me as I pray, O LORD.

  Be merciful and answer me!
8 My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with me."
  And my heart responds, "LORD, I am coming."
9 Do not turn your back on me.
  Do not reject your servant in anger.
  You have always been my helper.
Don't leave me now; don't abandon me,
  O God of my salvation!
10 Even if my father and mother abandon me,
  the LORD will hold me close.

11 Teach me how to live, O LORD.

  Lead me along the right path,
  for my enemies are waiting for me.
12 Do not let me fall into their hands.
  For they accuse me of things I've never done;
  with every breath they threaten me with violence.
13 Yet I am confident I will see the LORD's goodness
  while I am here in the land of the living.

14 Wait patiently for the LORD.

  Be brave and courageous.
  Yes, wait patiently for the LORD. -