One Day

I had a good day yesterday.  The day before pretty much sucked.

Yesterday ended with worship, standing strong, knowing the goodness of God and His faithfulness to me.

The day before, I just felt so lost.

So today….

Yeah today.

Paul said it a great way, ” 12  Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3)

“Forgetting what is behind..”

I had a bad day.  Forget it.

I had a good day.  Forget it.

Do you know what I have right now?  I have one day, one moment.  The moment I am living in right this second.  I can become discouraged my the days and moments I’ve lost in this war.  I can become conceited, self-confident because of the moments I’ve won.  I have only this moment right now.

What will I do with it?

That’s the big question isn’t it.  What will I do with each moment that God gives me?  Because, in case you didn’t know, if you aren’t dead, God hasn’t given up on you.

And, I’ll let you in on a secret religion keeps from you.

God is excited about the time you have left.  He can see what a life lived for Him will be like.  He already knows the joy that can be yours as you give Him each moment, as you live each second seeking His face, wanting to spend one more minute with Him.  He can’t wait to spend a day with you.

He’s not concerned with what happened to you, how you failed, the weights that you carry.  He’s just ecstatic that you have stopped long enough to listen, to hope that He is there, to believe that He loves you.

See, it’s in that moment that He comes rushing in.  It’s in the moment that we give to Him that we find Him.

Yesterday was good.  The day before sucked.  Today…

I have today.

 

Infection

I’ve been thinking a lot about freedom and addiction.  I mean, once someone is free why would they ever return to their addiction.  Why do so many addiction programs fail to set people free in the first place?

Here’s my theory…

The heart that is not pursuing God can not be set free.

So only Christians can be free from addiction?

Yep.

So why do so many Christians struggle with addiction?

Because they stopped pursuing God, or never really started.

Going to church is not pursuing God, though it is a part.  Just like reading the bible, praying, worshiping, studying, memorizing.  They all have the potential to draw us closer to God but none can make us pursue God.

And maybe you’re like me.

I love God and want to pursue Him but fear hinders me.  I would love to blame others, my mom and dad, my wife, my job, my church to name a few.  But, I really can only blame myself.

Water is refreshing, life giving.  Food provides nutrients and tastes yummy.  I love milk.  I love chocolate.  But not after any of it has been sitting out for thirty days.

A wound will heal due to natural bodily processes if the infected tissue can be removed, drained, replaced.  But if it can’t, it will become gangrenous, poisonous.

That is what our lives are like.  We were designed to pour into others.  We were not designed to bury guilt and shame.  We were created for community, not isolation.  We came into the heart and mind of God with a specific purpose that can only be recognized as we are connected to Him.

God has invested so much in us through His word, the leaders He has given, the very life of Jesus given to us, the presence of His Holy Spirit inside of us.  We can live with what many would consider reckless abandon.

Or we can be an infection.

Grateful

Life has been interesting for the past several months.  And I just have not been able to write.  Several times I have been inspired but couldn’t get myself to face the keys.  I have concentrated on the difficulties and ran the risk of missing so many blessings, not least of which is the arrival of my twin granddaughters, Anna and Rebecca.

So, today I was thinking about the children of Israel.  Well, ok.  I was thinking about Paul and reading in Philippians.  Paul is in prison and makes the statement, “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

I contrast this with the Israelites who have just been delivered from the hand of Egypt.  They are finally free and they respond with complaining and demands.  I get the one about water a little bit.  I mean they’re in a desert.  But demanding food, complaining about starving, hold on a second.

This is an agrarian society.  They raised animals and had throughout the history of the nation.  They had stripped the Egyptians of their wealth and taken their flocks with them.  But all they could see was what they didn’t have.  They wanted their cake and eat it too.

I can hear their hearts.  “What if I get to where we’re going and have nothing left?  What if something happens, gotta’ prepare for the worst?  I don’t have near as much as they do, so I’ve got to save all I can.”

Sounds like insurance sales.

I have to hoard.  I have to protect.  I have to prepare for contingencies.

Fear, unbelief, selfishness.  A Jedi craves not these things.

Wait…. What?

I mean a Christian craves not these things.

We serve a lavish God.  We serve a God that blesses greatly.  He loves us so much that he bankrupted heaven to redeem us.

Paul says in Romans 8 that, “if God is for us, who can stand against us?”  And the greatest prize is something no one can take away.  “Nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.”

I have been so ungrateful, so bitter and fearful.

But, God is good!  Oh so good!  Help me see it Lord.

Unknown

Sometimes, as I write, I think of the audacity that is evident.  That someone like me could attempt to express God in any terms, to think that my intellect, my words could simplify Him, make Him more approachable.

That would be my goal in writing.  Whether it is a novel or this blog, my hope and prayer would be that something I say would help you see Him more clearly and know how much He loves you.

But, it can be difficult to put God into terms that any of us can really grasp.  I mean, He’s eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, pure love, absolutely Holy!  All things that our humanity can only catch glimpses of.

And, the reality is, I’m a mess.  As I face daily struggles, much of it stems from the fact that I don’t understand Him.  I don’t believe that He is for me, not against me.  He is my amazing father, my King of kings, my Savior.

And so I come to you, hoping that I will help you see what I can’t see, help you know what can’t be known.

Funny.

But that is the pursuit of the Christian.  To seek Him, to know Him, to believe Him and what He says, even though we are hindered at every step.  So much like marriage.

I love my wife and she loves me.  I am male and she is female.  Nothing about me makes me capable of really knowing and understanding her.  But should I accept that and become complacent, I lose her.  That I won’t do.

So, I will pursue You, Lord.  Though I don’t understand and can’t wrap my head around You, I will continue to try.  Simply because in that pursuit, I find You and walk closer to Your side.

You might be a speed bump!

Chilling…

I work in a factory and have been very vocal about my faith.  I argue and witness and pray.

It felt like a slap the other day when one of them said, “you know for someone who knows the way, you sure act like a speed bump.”

I had been joking around, laughing, having fun, picking back and forth.  I, for the life of me, don’t know what I said.  All I know is, I heard that response and my world stopped.

I know I’m not amazing.  I know I’m as human, as flawed, as broken as any other person on the planet.  But, I pray and hope that my life, my words, my actions would point them to Jesus.  I also know I will fail, sometimes badly.

So, what do I do now?  What do we do when we’re faced with the fact that we have hindered people from seeing Jesus?

God, I come to you, admitting freely that I am not what I should be.  Holy Spirit, I say, with tears, that I have gotten in the way of you and expressed things other than your love and desire for every human being.  I have let anger and bitterness build walls around me and kept my heart closed to you and your voice.

Fill me again, live through me, smooth me out so that others can see you clearly.  Let me speak only what draws them to your presence.

I Can’t Wait

I was praying for our youth group the other night and had this word from the Lord.  I don’t say that lightly, but don’t freak out on me either.  Youth group got cancelled so I thought I would share it with you.

I heard this:  “They’re waiting.”

Then I heard the following  (different voices), “I can’t wait till I graduate.  I can’t wait till I leave this house.  I can’t wait till I leave him.  I can’t wait till they can’t hurt me anymore.”

Then I heard, “I don’t want them waiting anymore.”

We are waiting.  We hold back from life because our circumstances, our environment is not what we want.  We won’t speak out about the wrong that we see.  We won’t speak out about the wrong that is being done to us.  We won’t pursue God, pursue His calling, pursue life with Him, because we’re waiting for life to change first.

It reminds me of a training exercise I was in when I was in the army.  We were attacking a fortified position and came under fire.  I hunkered down and looked back at my platoon sergeant.  He was frantically telling me to move and I refused.  I could hear the beeps from near misses on my training harness.  I turned back around and, “beep” I was hit.  The funny part was that I was mad at him for telling me to move.  It didn’t occur to me until later that he was trying to help me.

Well guess what, this is your call to move.  This is my call to move.  Don’t wait another second.  Speak out, speak up, get in there, get involved, press in, pursue God, pursue His love and calling on you.  Don’t wait.  You are not too old, or too young.  You are not too broken, too sinful, too ruined.  You are not DEAD.

The addiction that has its claws in you is not “fun” enough to hold you back from being what you were always meant to be.  So cast it off, be free.  Fear can not hold you anymore, rise above it and grab on to the Bible, His promises and truth.  Lies can’t deceive you anymore.  Live the way you were meant to live!

I can’t wait!

 

Self control

I’ve been thinking about the fruit of the spirit lately.  Is it shown in my life, my heart?  Do I show the evidence of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control?

Hmmmmm…..

I question my self on all of them.  People tell me that I show love, peace, kindness, faithfulness.  But shoot, only in baseball would that be a decent percentage.  Sometimes, I see evidence of joy, goodness, self-control.  Well, self-control is almost never.

I tend to be one that does whatever, says whatever comes to mind and most of the time it is in the face of reason and good sense.

I see others like me but wow, what is the deal with the lack of control?

Then there is the opposite extreme, those who are extremely self-controlled.  They do not let anything get beyond their  control.  If they don’t see a way through, they just won’t go.  If they are not assured of a predictable outcome, they will not move.

I don’t think that was what Paul was talking about in Galatians.

Can I just start with saying, “God I’m struggling.”  I need more self control.  In the battle of life, I can choose to obey, choose to yield my heart.

But, the truth is, I don’t see it.  Even Paul, the apostle said, the good that he wanted to do, he didn’t do.  The “law of sin” working in me.

I think I’ll submit myself to you.  I think I’ll let you be in control.  I’ll obey when you speak.  I think I’ll worry less about being the perfect Christian and trust my life to the perfect Christ.

And, maybe in my heart being yielded, I’ll find the strength to be something that shows my Lord and Savior.