Time to Change

I think it’s time for a change.
I’ve been the bitter worshipper long enough and God has been way too good for me to rest there.

Let me elucidate.

I’ve been married for almost twenty seven years and in that time have given her so many reasons to leave, to give up. But she still loves me.

I’ve made so many mistakes.  Failed over and over again. Yet found the strength to stand.

Others have “failed” me, rejected me, disappointed me. But the gates of my heart are still open. 

I have yelled at God, fought Him at every turn.  And despite that, He holds on, He will not give up!

I’ve been bitter but God is changing me.

The tumors of fear and addiction have been removed.  The cancerous lies of Satan have been exposed and treated with the healing power of His great love.

I’m done with being angry.

I’m having too much fun being alive!

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My Purpose, My Calling

We hear a lot about hearing God’s call, following God’s calling for you, receiving the call to ministry, finding your purpose in life.  Are you looking for that dream job, the career of a lifetime.  Well hold on to your seats kiddies!

I have the answer for those who are searching.  And if you thought you found your calling and now feel unfulfilled, I have an answer for you too.

I know, who knew such wisdom rested in this earthen vessel but, prepare to be amazed.

Your calling, your purpose, your life’s ambition is fulfilled in following the same call that Jesus yielded to.

Your purpose, my purpose, your calling and mine, is to die.

Well that just sucks!

Yeah, I wanted something cool and amazing, preferably center stage and that paid well.  Second best would be something behind the scenes, you know, nobody sees you but you’re making things happen.  Those on stage depend on you.  You are needed.

But then I looked at Jesus.  His calling wasn’t to do miracles, though he did some of those as well.  His purpose was clearly not to be king, or even start a religion.  He stated that his purpose was to “do the will of the Father.”  And the final act of that was to give his life up.

I saw “the Passion of the Christ” one time.  As I watched what happened to him, I cried.  I balled.  And I kept asking why?  Why would he do that for someone like me?  Why would he do that when he knew how I would receive it?  How I would throw the shit of my sin on the priceless gift of his love?

There is no explanation for why that my mind can comprehend.  But he accepted that price.

And now he calls to me.  He beckons me with his scarred hands, with the love, that held him to his purpose and to the cross, shining over me.

How will I answer him when He longs to take me through the cross?  How will I submit when it is more than my salvation that is at stake, when it will cost me everything?

“Not my will but yours, Lord.”

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.

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.