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.

I’m Angry

Oh, we’re all so angry right now.

Trump lovers hate Hillary lovers.  Hillary lovers hate Trump.

We’ve seen this before you know.  Whites hate blacks.  Blacks hate whites.

And we let the hatred fly.

Now we have social media, the press, e-mails, texts, all to let everyone know just how pissed off we are.  We name call and blame, stereotype and vilify.  We are making our point, letting our voice be heard about the injustice of life.

Before it’s too late.  With all my heart I want you to hear, before it’s too late.  We have become a part of the machine of lies.

Trump is not the villain of this story, neither is Hillary.  They are part of all of us.  The power that they wield is limited.  The power that we wield is greater.

Love your neighbor.

It doesn’t matter who they voted for, or if they even voted.  It doesn’t matter what color their skin is or their sexual orientation or their views on ANYTHING!  We are commanded to love them.  COMMANDED!

That means you allow them to say what they want and then respond with love.  It means we see who they are, sin, faults, good and bad, and love them.

And hopefully they will love us too.  Because if they don’t, we get to pick up our cross and follow Him to Calvary.  We get to lay down our lives for another, unworthy soul.  Just like mine.

A hint:  that’s where we’re headed no matter what they choose.

Mr Big Shot — THE RIVER WALK

Pilate was a nothing. He was a nobody in the rivers of history. This was a man who probably thought he had done pretty good for himself considering his social status. This is the man who thought he had power over Jesus during this encounter in John. Little did he realize that the only reason people know or care about him today is precisely because of that encounter with Jesus.

via Mr Big Shot — THE RIVER WALK

Raise Your Voice

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Eph.6:12

So much hatred.  So much anger.

I’m reading the articles about the people calling for assassinations,  ranting, rioting.  It’s not the first time I’ve heard this.  We create enemies and feel so justified in our treatment of each other.

There are many reasons we worship.  God deserves our praise no matter what it changes, or even if it changes nothing at all.

But it does change us.  We can’t help but be changed as we focus our hearts and minds on the God of the universe.  We can’t keep further away as we bow our heads and bend our knees to such a great King.  As we breathe Him in, our hands naturally open  against the clinging, grasping, clutching that divides us from each other, and from Him.

So raise your voice!

When you hear the cries of accusation, the shouts of anger and hatred, shout your praise.  When you hear the confusion and fear that would tear our homes, this land, to pieces, sing your heart out.  When you can’t see a way through, when peace seems so far away, pray.  Pray out loud.  Pray hard.  Cry out to God!

Healing, unity, love are still possible.

Unity

So much divides us.

We weather the political storms.  We weather the divisiveness that surrounds marijuana, homosexuality, our favorite teams, our favorite music group, our state, our culture.

Our individuality makes us unique and sets us, intentionally against the rest of the world.

I like punk rock.

I am a Christian.

I like chocolate and blueberry and Mexican and Chinese and Thai and Italian.

What can unite this diversity?

The world will say that Jesus divides us.  He says that he is the only way.  He says that no one comes to the Father (that would be God) except through Him.  He says that He is THE WAY, THE TRUTH, THE LIFE.

If you don’t know Him, unity becomes difficult because we all say that we know the way.  We can define truth for ourselves.  We can determine our own morality, our own way of living.

But we can’t.  Oh my people, my friends, we can’t.

We are too selfish.

What can unite us?

It is called the cross.  He laid his life down for us, gave it up.  We lay our lives down for each other.  We love beyond reason, beyond self-fulfillment.  We submit ourselves to something greater, to something transcendent.

That is our only hope, our only bright future.

Image result for strength in unity images

Amazing Grace

The holiness of Jesus Christ is one of the strongest evidences of the magnitude of His love.

I walk through so many days knowing my sin, bearing the weight of guilt and shame.  I FEEL so unloved.  And, in all of this, I continue to do wrong things, bad things, stupid things.

Enter the HERO!

His holiness speaks to His purity, His sinlessness, how much He is just other than us.  But, like a prince on his steed, He galloped through the fire of hell, cutting down the lies that surround me, shouting my name across eternity.  In the cross He completed His holiness, fulfilling the requirements of a Holy, Pure God.  But in that act, He shot passed those things that would separate us, and reached out to me.

He still does this.

Everyday!

So I stand, not trying to measure myself by Him or others.  I stand in His love for me.  I dance in the downpour, soaked to the skin, to the soul in His amazing grace.

The thoughts that tell me I am unworthy are true.

I don’t have to be.

I am made holy in Him.  I am made beautiful, old and chubby as I am, in the light of His eyes.  I am loved because He says that I am.

What else do I need?

An Update

I am glad to report that my mission trip to Nicaragua next summer is already paid off!!!!  Thank you to all the anonymous donors, as well as friends and family that made this possible, God truly has been faithful to me in this.

Please be in prayer for me as we prepare for this.

And that is just the beginning of the adventure that God is preparing the way for.  But I’ll talk about that later.

Thank you again.