Trojan Horse

Most people know the story of the Trojan Horse.  The long battle between Greece and the city of Troy that ended when Greece appeared to have abandoned the war and left the gift of a huge wooden horse.  Unknown to the Trojans, the “gift” was filled withe soldiers who, in the middle of the night, came out and destroyed the city.  It is a story of trickery, heroes, love, death.

As I came to work for the church and periodically since then, I saw myself as that horse.  What were they thinking to let someone with so much evil inside him into the building, near women and children, unsuspecting old ladies?  I hear the accuser, see him laughing and pointing.  I catch myself dwelling on the stories of others who have served and damaged so much with their lies and hidden sins.

It’s all true.

But my God!  My God!  He is The Redeemer!  He is the Healer!  He is the Mighty God!  The King of Kings!

And in His will and with His power, I am a Trojan Horse!  

No one would suspect a chubby, old man.  No one would think that a washed up, foolish, grandpa janitor would carry the life and love of Jesus Christ.  No one would think that someone like me can have the Holy Spirit of the Living God flowing through his veins and bringing Him to those that need Him so much!

HA!

But I do.

And in that way, we are all Trojan Horses.  Paul said, “we carry this treasure in earthen vessels.”  As we carry the life and love of Jesus into this broken, hurting world, we are broken and hurting.

But we are being healed.

Satan is counting on our human nature to fail, to hurt others, to be selfish and hateful.  God is counting on us to let Him live in us and through us, to love and heal, to restore and bring hope.

And today, I get to choose.  You get to choose.  What will you carry inside you?  Who will you carry into your world?

And let the enemy of God Almighty beware!

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Weak one

I finished the first week of my new job.  I work as a custodian for my church and am so blessed to be there.  It is a dream come true and just the tip of the iceberg for what God wants to do in and through me.

Not all fun and games though.  I heard no angel voices.  I sweated a lot and got pretty dirty through it all.  We did not sit around in worship and prayer.  We actually had to work.  You would be amazed at how much prayer and worship can happen when you’re kneeling in front of a toilet.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I have not found myself growing stronger in this process.  I see clearly and feel keenly the sins that have hindered me over the years.  I know that I am nothing without Jesus.  I sense the pride and selfishness that seems to hide around every corner.

But there is joy in living for Him.  There is contentment in knowing that I no longer have resources but His are inexhaustible.  There is strength in knowing that I have decided to follow Jesus.

“Strength made perfect in weakness…”

“When I am weak, then I am strong.”

All for the glory of God.

Ridiculous

It makes me laugh to hear it now.

For years the accusation from satan has been to point out what a ridiculous person I am.

And it’s the truth.

When I cheer for someone, I sound like I’m angry (apparently) and I yell till I’m hoarse.  When I sing in worship, I get kind of pitchy, I often sing harmony and I sing till I’m hoarse. I’m overweight but dance and jump.  I laugh out loud, in church, with people watching.  

I’m not sure why the last two matter but I’ve been told it’s inappropriate.

I think the accuser is often honest in what he says.  He just doesn’t want to acknowledge God’s perspective.  It’s like that with lots of things.  And he isn’t the only one saying it.

We say it to ourselves.

I’m ugly.

I’m fat.

I’m stupid.

No one could ever love me.

So that’s two voices speaking the same truths.

And there are other voices too.

Ha!  But it doesn’t matter.

We have heard how God says He loves us.  We “know” he says we are beautiful, precious, worthy.  And we know that’s not true.

But here’s the thing, and I hope I’m saying this right.  God’s lies are more true than anybody else’s truth.  How He sees us matters more than anyone else’s opinions.

I’m not there yet.  And if I try to convince myself of God’s truths it turns into ego and religion.  I think the only thing I can handle right now is looking at Him more than I look at myself.

And He is beautiful!

And I’ll just accept that I’m ridiculous…

And keep dancing!

God’s Not Dead

My wife and I were watching the movie again.  I love the picture of a young man standing strong in the face of great opposition, defending God, believing no matter what.

I don’t find myself liking the movie very much.

Yep, I’m still a Christian.

The scene that kills it for me is the final argument between the mean, atheistic professor and the noble protagonist.  He asks the villain, “why do you hate God?”  And when he finally gets his answer, he finishes off his foe with one fell swoop.

We see him as standing against an intellectual Goliath.  I see him as winning an argument against a twelve year old boy who lost his mother to cancer.  And, I think Jesus would have handled it differently.

I also am bothered by the fact that the end is summed up by our hero receiving the praise he is due, being lauded from the stage by both a big name band and a video from Willie Robertson.  Now my appreciation of the Robertsons and the News Boys should not be diminished by the fact that this is simply not how it normally happens.

When we stand for Jesus, we stand alone.  The movie producers caught that part.  What they didn’t catch is that we fail our classes too.  We are mocked and shamed and no one stands with us in the end.  We die in the arena.  We are beaten, burned, broken.

It is the blood of Jesus that flows through our veins and pours out on the ground that stands as our witness to a dying world.  It is our life given up that gives life to those around us.

And we shouldn’t expect anything else.

Please don’t miss the blessing of what God would do because you’re waiting for man to tell you, “well done.”

God’s not dead.  But we are crucified.

Why Must We Suffer?

We are in the throws of raising twin baby girls.  I’ve been working a lot of third shifts and no one in the house is sleeping very much (I get more than anybody).  We’re a bunch of zombies and cranky zombies at that.

Why?

It seems like a loving God would make children sleep more, at least more consistently.  And twins!  That’s just cruel.

But it got me thinking.  I love my wife more than anybody in the world.  And, in large part, that’s because we’ve been through hell and back together.  We have suffered, even at our own hands, but done it together.

I think that the reason children are so difficult to raise when they are first born is because it immediately binds our hearts to these little blessings.  If it were easy, if we had a nanny, if we ignored their needs, the strings that tether us to each other would be weakened and easily broken in the storms ahead.

I’m pretty sure that’s why God allows suffering in the world.

I’ve heard so many using that argument to prove He doesn’t exist.  I’m pretty sure that it proves His existence and the type of God He is, that he puts us in a crucible that draws us to depend on Him completely and never want to stray from His side.  I’m pretty sure that we see Him more clearly and love Him more because of the suffering He allows.

Yeah…

No doubt!

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.

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?