Friday, October 31, 2008
3 God's will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin.4 Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor—5 not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.6 Never harm or cheat a Christian brother in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before.7 God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives.8 Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
9 But we don't need to write to you about the importance of loving each other, for God himself has taught you to love one another.10 Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more.
11 Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.12 Then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on other.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
It's all about motive, isn't it?
Over & over again, the Bible stresses it's not about what we do, but why we do it.
Why is that?
B/c, bottom line, the condition of our heart is the most important thing to God. If your heart is in the right place, everything else will follow accordingly. Iow, if we think like God thinks & be like God is, all the other stuff in our life will take care of itself.
It's amazing how if I do that, the other stuff in my life takes care of itself.
And if I don't...
Well, never mind...
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
27 "Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.28 And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
29 "And don't be concerned about what to eat and what to drink. Don't worry about such things.30 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs.31 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.
32 "So don't be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.
33 "Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it.34 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
And from The Message...
22-24He continued this subject with his disciples. "Don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or if the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your inner life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God. And you count far more.
25-28"Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can't even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don't fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?
29-32"What I'm trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don't be afraid of missing out. You're my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.
33-34"Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can't go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bankrobbers, safe from embezzlers, a bank you can bank on. It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Don't know who this is for. Lemme know if it was you
Sunday, October 26, 2008
When we accept the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins & establish an unencumbered relationship with the God of the universes, we become a part of God's family - iow, we enter in to the most intimate union we have - family.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
1 John 3: 1 See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!
The God of the universes has made a way for us to be in relationship with Him, & considers us to be His children, therefore making a way for us to consider Him our perfect Father.
Why in the world aren't we telling everyone who crosses our path about this - whether that's our friends & family, or a checkout person at WalMart, Kroger, or Publix
Thursday, October 23, 2008
leading me to a glorious destiny.
25 Whom have I in heaven but You?
I desire You more than anything on earth.
26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength of my heart;
He is mine forever.
When I look ahead at the direction my life seems to be taking, I can get weary thinking about it. But I have to remember that I'm not in this alone, that my life's direction is in God's hands & is His idea, & that He's gonna give me "strength for today, & bright hope for tomorrow."
This morning I'm feeling a little weary. I think it's amazing that God knew I would be & had me reading in Psalm 73, which is basically about how wicked people are gonna have a pretty rough time of it, but there's these few verses that come out of nowhere that express succor & support in such an intimate way.
Thank You, Father, for knowing where I'd be in my life on October 23, 2008, & that You'd have guided me to just the right scripture to give me hope. I love You so much. You really are a truly perfect Father.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
5 This is the message we heard from Jesus* and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth.7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.
1 John 2: 1 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world. 3 And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments.4 If someone claims, "I know God," but doesn't obey God's commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth.5 But those who obey God's word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him.6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.
So many people I know believe that these verses are true, but they think that they don't apply to them. They think they're too far gone, they've messed their lives up to the point where God can't rescue them from themselves (let alone forgive them & LOVE them).
If these 16 verses aren't true for everybody, individually, then they're not true for anybody.
And I know they're true, because the truth contained within them is what I've staked my life upon. I've seen them lived out in countless people's lives. I know they're true because I've seen the changed lives of people who have believed them.
It's a choice - we either believe God is who He says He is in His Word, & that Person He says He is applies to us, individually - or we don't believe Him.
I choose to believe.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
sounds I like to hear?
Hannah's voice, anytime
the sound of a fire in our den fireplace
Lynn when she says I love you
wind blowing fallen leaves
John Wood's belly laugh
water running in a mountain stream
the way Scott Adams says "daddy"
babies when they sigh with full stomachs
Sheila when she says woohoo
Liz Collins Hammack's laugh
the crack of ice in the spring
the way my superson hums when I hug him
dogs sighing when the lie down
brice when he calls me dad
mail falling thru the shoot at our door
Jason Scott when he calls me "popio"
the sound a mother sheep makes when she wants to get talk to her lamb
John Michael's quiet, monosyllabic words when eating breakfast early in the morning & watching a fire in the den
rain in the night, or on a summer afternoon
Weyman's abandoned laugh
steak cooking on a grill
when Bryan Nichols hums when I hug him
chili simmering in a slow cooker
the way Wood says "pappy dan"
downtown late at night, or around 6am, as it wakes up
Timothy's squealing laughter when I wrestle him to the floor & tickle him
bells being played in a church tower
spontaneous unfettered worship
Chad Riley's giggle - it means he's messing with me & enjoying it
ac coming on in the hockey arena on a hot Tuesday afternoon
the sounds we make as a staff when we cook supper together on staff retreat
Andy King's snoring - who's convinced he doesn't
small children singing spontaneously as they play
when Cowboy calls me "papa"
sheep eating hay in the barn on a cold winter's night
Philip calling me "sunshine"
a really good choir singing John Rutter Christmas songs
God's still, small voice
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Psalm 69:5 O God, you know how foolish I am; my sins cannot be hidden from You. 6 Don't let those who trust in You stumble b/c of me, O Sovereign Lord Almighty.
2 Peter 1:10 ...work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called & chosen. Doing this, you will never stumble or fall away.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
8 Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victims to devour. 9 Take a firm stand against him, & be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers & sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.
What do ya do when ya stick your neck out for God & ya end up finding out that the whole thing you stuck it out for was something you dreamed up? What does that say about your ability to discern what's from Him & what's coming from your own wishful thinking? And what do ya do with yourself now that the dream you've been dreaming for so long seems so inconsequential? What do ya do when you've focused on something for so long on that what you thought was the leading of God & it ends up just nothing? What do you do with yourself when what you were afraid was just you fooling yourself really turns out to be you just fooling yourself?And then, what do ya do with a scripture like the one that's about? What do ya do?
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Don't know who this is for this morning. Of all the things I've read this morning - Psalms, Joshua, & 1 Peter - it felt like I needed to drop this into someone's heart today.
Lemme know if it was you
I love y'all
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
One of the problems the Israelite had was that they never fully conquered Cannan, in that they never fully destroyed all the residents living there when they arrived. This foreign culture & religion was like a cancer amongst the Jews, which you can read about in Judges (which follows Joshua in the Old Testament)
We're like the Jews back then. We may give our hearts & lives to God, but we keep our "pet sins" on a leash (or so we think), indulging in them, thinking they can't harm us or our relationship with our Abba Father.
Allowing sin(s) to continue & be enjoyed would be like letting an infection to continue without an antibiotic. One day it will overwhelm our immune systems & kill us.
We need to continually hold our lives up to the bright light of our Abba Father's inspection. God's not trying to destroy us by getting us to surrender & eliminate the sin in our life. He's just trying to return us to that exquisitely beautiful person He dreamed us to be long before we were born, let alone before we polluted our lives with sins.
Think about it...
I love you
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
13 So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 14 So you must live as God's obedient children. Don't slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn't know any better then. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, "You must be holy because I am holy."
17 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as "foreigners in the land."18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver.19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days.
21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.
22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.
23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. 24 As the Scriptures say,
"People are like grass;
their beauty is like a flower in the field.
The grass withers and the flower fades.
25 But the word of the Lord remains forever."
And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.
Monday, October 13, 2008
We think of the prophet Elijah as some sort of super human, someone who was so hooked up with God that he didn't deal with a lot of the stuff we "mere mortals" do.
But James discounts that thinking. Elijah was just like we are, put his pants on just like we do, & was a sinner with foibles & weaknesses just like we are.
And yet, he talked to God with such frequency & openness that when he prayed, God made things happen.
And evidently it isn't so much the person of Elijah that's so special - it the Person of the One he prayed to that was - & as a result, mighty things happened.
If Elijah is just like us, then t would stand to reason that the same Power & availabiity extended to Elijah is extended to us.
So, go to the obvious conclusion to this thinking...
Sunday, October 12, 2008
If it happened 1 day, it would ne noteworthy, but for it to happen 2 days in a row, & from 2 different books in the Bible (yesterday was in Joshua) does kinda make me wonder what God's wanting me to ask Him about or for, or what it is He's trying to say to me about what I'm asking.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Joshua 9: 1 Now all the kings west of the Jordan River heard about what had happened. These were the kings of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, who lived in the hill country, in the western foothills, and along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea* as far north as the Lebanon mountains. 2 These kings combined their armies to fight as one against Joshua and the Israelites.
3 But when the people of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, 4 they resorted to deception to save themselves. They sent ambassadors to Joshua, loading their donkeys with weathered saddlebags and old, patched wineskins. 5 They put on worn-out, patched sandals and ragged clothes. And the bread they took with them was dry and moldy. 6 When they arrived at the camp of Israel at Gilgal, they told Joshua and the men of Israel, "We have come from a distant land to ask you to make a peace treaty with us."
7 The Israelites replied to these Hivites, "How do we know you don't live nearby? For if you do, we cannot make a treaty with you."
8 They replied, "We are your servants." "But who are you?" Joshua demanded. "Where do you come from?"
9 They answered, "Your servants have come from a very distant country. We have heard of the might of the LORD your God and of all he did in Egypt. 10 We have also heard what he did to the two Amorite kings east of the Jordan River—King Sihon of Heshbon and King Og of Bashan (who lived in Ashtaroth). 11 So our elders and all our people instructed us, 'Take supplies for a long journey. Go meet with the people of Israel and tell them, "We are your servants; please make a treaty with us."'
12 "This bread was hot from the ovens when we left our homes. But now, as you can see, it is dry and moldy. 13 These wineskins were new when we filled them, but now they are old and split open. And our clothing and sandals are worn out from our very long journey."
14 So the Israelites examined their food, but they did not consult the LORD. 15 Then Joshua made a peace treaty with them and guaranteed their safety, and the leaders of the community ratified their agreement with a binding oath.
16 Three days after making the treaty, they learned that these people actually lived nearby! 17 The Israelites set out at once to investigate and reached their towns in three days. The names of these towns were Gibeon, Kephirah, Beeroth, and Kiriath-jearim. 18 But the Israelites did not attack the towns, for the Israelite leaders had made a vow to them in the name of the LORD, the God of Israel.
The people of Israel grumbled against their leaders because of the treaty.19 But the leaders replied, "Since we have sworn an oath in the presence of the LORD, the God of Israel, we cannot touch them. 20 This is what we must do. We must let them live, for divine anger would come upon us if we broke our oath. 21 Let them live." So they made them woodcutters and water carriers for the entire community, as the Israelite leaders directed.
22 Joshua called together the Gibeonites and said, "Why did you lie to us? Why did you say that you live in a distant land when you live right here among us? 23 May you be cursed! From now on you will always be servants who cut wood and carry water for the house of my God."
24 They replied, "We did it because we—your servants—were clearly told that the LORD your God commanded his servant Moses to give you this entire land and to destroy all the people living in it. So we feared greatly for our lives because of you. That is why we have done this. 25 Now we are at your mercy—do to us whatever you think is right."
26 So Joshua did not allow the people of Israel to kill them. 27 But that day he made the Gibeonites the woodcutters and water carriers for the community of Israel and for the altar of the LORD—wherever the LORD would choose to build it. And that is what they do to this day.
"....but they did not consult the Lord."
Iow, the whole treaty debacle with the Gibeonites could have been avoided if the Israelites had asked God about it.
How often do we do the same thing? We have it all figured out, but don't ask GOd the simple question - what do You think?
What would our lives be like if we did that?
Think about it?
I love you
Thursday, October 9, 2008
5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He does not mind you asking. 6 But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
As Christ followers, we have the power of God in us.
Can you let that extraordinary fact sink in?
We have God's power in us, at our disposal.
All the time, every day, in every situation...
Think about it..
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
6 If I had a mind to brag a little, I could probably do it without looking ridiculous, and I'd still be speaking plain truth all the way. But I'll spare you. I don't want anyone imagining me as anything other than the fool you'd encounter if you saw me on the street or heard me talk.
7-10 Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn't get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
5 Then Joshua told the people, "Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do great wonders among you."
6 In the morning Joshua said to the priests, "Lift up the Ark of the Covenant and lead the people across the river." And so they started out and went ahead of the people.
7 The LORD told Joshua, "Today I will begin to make you a great leader in the eyes of all the Israelites. They will know that I am with you, just as I was with Moses.8 Give this command to the priests who carry the Ark of the Covenant: 'When you reach the banks of the Jordan River, take a few steps into the river and stop there.'"
9 So Joshua told the Israelites, "Come and listen to what the LORD your God says.10 Today you will know that the living God is among you. He will surely drive out the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites ahead of you.11 Look, the Ark of the Covenant, which belongs to the Lord of the whole earth, will lead you across the Jordan River! 12 Now choose twelve men from the tribes of Israel, one from each tribe.13 The priests will carry the Ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth. As soon as their feet touch the water, the flow of water will be cut off upstream, and the river will stand up like a wall."
14 So the people left their camp to cross the Jordan, and the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Covenant went ahead of them.15 It was the harvest season, and the Jordan was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river's edge,16 the water above that point began backing up a great distance away at a town called Adam, which is near Zarethan. And the water below that point flowed on to the Dead Sea until the riverbed was dry. Then all the people crossed over near the town of Jericho.
17 Meanwhile, the priests who were carrying the Ark of the LORD's Covenant stood on dry ground in the middle of the riverbed as the people passed by. They waited there until the whole nation of Israel had crossed the Jordan on dry ground.
When the children of Israel cross thru the Red Sea, God pulled the waters back before they walked into the sea.
Here at the Jordan River, God rolled back the water after the priests started walking into the river.
It's one thing to walk through the Red Sea on dry land after the miracle had taken place. It's completely different if you're a priest carrying the Ark of the Covenant walking to the Jordan River in middle of the fall flooding.
Sometimes we have to walk toward & into our miracle before we see the miracle happen.
I feel like that these days.
Just a thought...
I love you
Saturday, October 4, 2008
(NLT) For God is the One who gives seed to the farmer & then bread to eat. In the same way, He will give you many opportunities to do good, & He will provide a great harvest of generousity in you.
(The Message) This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.
(NIV) Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
(NKJV) Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness,
(NASB) Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness;
(Amplified) And [God] Who provides seed for the sower and bread for eating will also provide and multiply your [resources for] sowing and increase the fruits of your righteousness [which manifests itself in active goodness, kindness, and charity].
Do you ever feel like your just fooling yourself, reading into scripture more than what's really there? Do you ever feel like you get into a mindset & everything you see & hear reminds you of one thing. Do you ever feel like there a good chance you could be missing the mark?
Friday, October 3, 2008
Are you standing on the banks of your own Jordan River, ready to walk into a promised place in your life?
I feel like I am.
What does God have to say to us?
Joshua 1: 1-9 (The Message) After the death of Moses the servant of God, God spoke to Joshua, Moses' assistant:
"Moses my servant is dead.
Get going. (well, that couldn't be plainer, for Joshua, or you, or me)
Cross this Jordan River, you and all the people. (it's time to move out of the old place in your life.)
Cross to the country I'm giving to the People of Israel. (Don't just, get moving, move into that thing I've been talking about)
I'm giving you every square inch of the land you set your foot on — just as I promised Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon east to the Great River, the Euphrates River—all the Hittite country—and then west to the Great Sea. It's all yours. (God's gonna fulfill whatever He's been talking your ears off about)
All your life, no one will be able to hold out against you. (If we move into areas He leads us into, we'll be in places where His will is supremely active)
In the same way I was with Moses, I'll be with you. (Iow, we're just as special, what we're about is just as important as what Moses did)
I won't give up on you; (Good to know, even though we may feel like we're all alone in this)
I won't leave you. (Iow, He's got our back)
You are going to lead (hard to imagine we'll be leading people, certainly through our attitude & example, but who know in what other means & areas?) this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors.
Give it everything you have, heart and soul. (Iow, don't slack off)
Make sure you carry out The Revelation (This could mean the Bible in general for us) that Moses commanded you,
every bit of it. (I'd say, if we're gonna move into something He's been leading us toward, we'd better have a lot of Bible under our belt)
Don't get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you're going. (don't get distracted with the mundane or inconsequential - focus on the things God's leading us toward)
And don't for a minute let this Book of The Revelation (the Bible for us) be out of mind. (don't forget anything that's either been or will be revealed through the Bible to us)
Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. (iow, read & heed)
Then you'll get where you're going; (we're gonna make it)
then you'll succeed. (we're gonna carry out the work he has for us - remember success in the world's eyes & success in God's eyes are 2 different things)
Haven't I commanded you? ( just a gentle reminder of who's idea this is - ours or His?)
Don't be timid; (we don't have to be shy or inferior feeling)
don't get discouraged. (well! I'm sure we all posess such security & maturity that we would never get down along the road of this adventure! Yeah, right! Iow, we don't need to allow circumstances & our perceived filtered view to always be correct)
God, your God, is with you every step you take." (can't beat that assurance!)
Pretty heady stuff, huh?! And why shouldn't it apply to any of us who are standing on the bank of our own Jordan River, starting to move into an area of our lives where God has promised us something, or where He's indicated us to be, do, or go, or where He's physically, emotionally, psychologically, &/or spiritually telling us to move into?
Thursday, October 2, 2008
7 words, slipped into a narrative by Paul, talking about when Titus came to see him.
But with those 7 words, Paul delineates an important difference about our God, from the gods of that day, & the gods of this day.
Paul indicates that Abba Father is so intimately aware of who we are that He feels it when we're discouraged.
Paul also indicates that our Abba Father cares & love us so much, & is so perfectly in line with who we are & what's going on in our lives, that He is capable & willing to lift us when we feel down about something or someone.
Those who were followers in any other of the world religions of Paul's time could make that claim of personhood so selfless & loving in the personality of their god. And none of the other world religions today can, either.
Our Abba Father is the only One that intimate, caring, & loving.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
"I heard your call in the nick of time;
"The day you needed me, I was there to help."
Well, now is the right time to listen, the day to be helped.
Don't put it off;
don't frustrate God's work by showing up late, throwing a question mark over everything we're doing.
Our work as God's servants gets validated — or not — in the details.
People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly . . .
in hard times, tough times, bad times;
when we're beaten up, jailed, and mobbed;
working hard, working late, working without eating;
with pure heart, clear head, steady hand;
in gentleness, holiness, and honest love;
when we're telling the truth, and when God's showing his power;
when we're doing our best setting things right;
when we're praised, and when we're blamed;
slandered, and honored;
true to our word, though distrusted;
ignored by the world, but recognized by God;
terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead;
beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die;
immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy;
living on handouts, yet enriching many;
having nothing, having it all.
11-13 Dear, dear Corinthians, I can't tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn't fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren't small, but you're living them in a small way. I'm speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!
We live such prissy little hot-house kind of lives. When we look at the life described by Paul that he writes about here in this chapter, our lives of privilege are pale in their comparison to his. Would we be any more committed to Jesus if we suffered any of those things listed by Paul that had happened to them? (That part about "beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die" seems a bit daunting, to say the least.) We get cranky if our latte's are hot enough & our ac isn't cool enough, or if we have wait in line too long, or wait in line at all. What would we all be like if we had to live a life like Paul describes his to be?!
Last night, I told Tyler after HOG that God has an exciting & dangerous life planned for him. I tell you what I told him - don't miss it - embrace it. Let the current of God's will carry each of us to wherever & to whatever He wills.
I've learned to control myself (a little bit better than I used to - I know, I know - it's hard to tell sometimes) when people talk to me about how boring life as a Christ follower looks like. It's hard to not laugh in their faces! My life has been a lot of things, but boring is not one of them. About the time I get adjusted to where I am & what I'm doing, God's up & changes things - sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.
Let's embrace that dangerous, uncivilized life God dreamed for each of us; a life that fits into that overarching will for humankind - that will that's much like a large broad river in which our task is to not fight the current & not let our feet drag the bottom & slow our progress - to let the current in that river of His will carry us anywhere in the river He wants as we flow along with Him.
Think about it... (did any of this make any sense today?)
I love you