Blog Archives

In It Together

_71435662_m3750096-family-splDear Millennials:
You desire truth and authenticity, the freedom to be and do you; you want enough safety to become vulnerable; you want significance. I want that, too.

Like you, I learned to be cautious and mistrustful.  I am anti-establishment and ever seeking new ways.
Dear Boomers:
Do you remember wanting these things? I do.
What happened? Why did you give up on these and settle into the status quo?

I know so many of you – you still value authenticity, social justice, idealism and freedom.  You have not lost the fire in your hearts that cause you to work for a better world.

 

Dear generations in between:
You want identity, prosperity and freedom.
Do these not add up to the same things that milennials and boomers seek?

We are in this world together, searching and working for the same things.
Let’s join hearts and hands and include each other:
Boomers need you, Xers, Mes and Milennials;
I hope you recognize that you need us as well.
There is such a lie that has been promoted – Anyone over 40 is done.
No! We’re still here; we’re alive and desirous of the same things.
Instead of opposing or excluding each other, let’s come together in the unity of our ideals and searches;
Then we’ll see what God makes from all of this.

Grandiosity; Reality

Here is a short list; a sampler, if you will, of who we are:
Temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16)
Reflections of God’s glory (2 Corinthians 3:18)
God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10)
dearly loved children (Ephesians 5:1; 1 John 3:1)
Light (Ephesians 5:8)
Dead and raised with Christ (Colossians 3:1-3)
God’s chosen people (Colossians 3:12; 1 Peter 2:9)
A royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9)
A holy nation (1 Peter 2:9)
Saints (Colossians 1:12)
Heirs (Romans 8:17)
Joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17)

Apart from God, this is nothing more than grandiosity.
Because of Jesus and in Him, however, this is reality!

Ambassadors

festival crowd

Ambassadors of God’s Kingdom are varied indeed:
Some are conservative while others are progressive;
There are liturgical believers and evangelicals;
Rich, poor and those who live “in between”;
Well educated, professionals, tradesmen, laborers, those who don’t work at all;
People of every race and tradition.

Yet these ambassadors have the most important thing in common:
They belong to Jesus.
They love and serve Him;
They share in the joy and abundant life he gives;
They want to bring others into God’s household
So that the family will grow.

The Truth Spoken in Love

There is a trend in much of the western Church these days:  “All or nothing.”
Either I embrace everybody, including all religions, choices and lifestyles as true….
OR
I reject people, based on their beliefs, identification, words and actions.
Me?  I say neither of these is biblical.
Jesus definitely met people where they were; yet he didn’t accept their choices out of hand.  He told the woman caught in adultery, “Go.  Sin no more.”  That was after he confronted her accusers and refused to condemn her.  He told the rich young ruler, whom he loved, to sell everything he had and “come, follow me.”
He accepted the offering of tears and ointment from a woman known to be “a sinner.”  His reply to the teachers of the law indicated that he forgave her for all she had done.
When the woman who had come to the well in Samaria encountered Jesus, her life was changed.  He totally read her mail; yet did not condone her lifestyle.  He addressed her as a real person – likely an experience she had not had in her whole lifetime.

I can accept anybody as a person, created and loved by God.
I can – and do well to – disagree with all that is not biblical and true.
One road leads to Heaven; not all of them.
One God is true; not whatever or whomever someone decides to glorify.
Sin is sin; idols are idols.

I have heard more than one source say that love means I accept people, behavior and all.
No.  Love means I accept the person and speak truth to him or her.

Are you looking for abundant, healthy, eternal life?
Give your heart to Jesus:  The Way, The Truth, The Life.

“I’m Gonna Let It Shine”

There once was a lamp
That was very bright;
Made from gold and jewels,
It gave off beautiful light.
The family who owned it
Were filled with fear and doubt;
They hid the lovely lamp
Until it went out.

 

Another lamp stood
Serenely and tall
In front of a building
Where it lit the way for all.
There were many ideas
Of how the lamp should be
So it was remodeled
Till no one could see.

 

The Giver of Light
Came to town one day.
He noticed that both lamps
Were failing to light the way.
One was hidden and cold;
The other compromised;
Not able to be used;
Worthless and despised.

 

He worked with each lamp,
Restoring its flame;
Then he told the people
They must never be the same.
Freed from isolation,
Each lamp stood in its place,
Uncompromised and real,
Shining with God’s grace.

 

Isolation kills;
Compromise destroys.
The words of this story
Come with a challenging voice:
Let God’s light within you
Shine brightly every day;
With Him as Source and Goal,
Walk in His true way.

WHATEVER IS PURE

We live in a world that our enemy tries to paint with smudges of profanity, perversity, division, strife, prejudice, distortions, deceptions and lies of all sorts.

 

The good news is, we get to choose where we will direct our attention.  This is important, because we become what we behold.  You know the saying, “we are what we eat.”
When I think of purity, the”milk of God’s word” comes to mind.  Because He is pure, everything He says and does is, too.  When we feast on Scripture and positive examples from other believers, we are strengthened and changed.

 

The Word also refers to Jesus (Read the first part of John 1.)  Jesus is pure; without sin or blemish.  He is absolutely trustworthy.  To think on Him in worship, adoration, praise and meditation is to become more like Him.

 

As we focus on God and His Kingdom, we are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2.)  While God’s approach is respectful and revelatory, not “brain washing,” I dare say that most of our minds need a good scrub from time to time!

WHATEVER IS TRUE

It has been several years since I maintained a Lenten discipline.  This year, however, it seems like a life giving thing for me to do.
Philippians 4:8-9 came to mind as the basis for my discipline – “Whatever is true, noble(honorable), right, pure…think on these things.  Whatever you have learned, put into practice.  (the lifehelps revised version)
The focus of my discipline is to reflect on what God is saying about who He is, who I am in Him and what He has or wants for me.  This may seem rather basic, but I find that it is easy to get distracted.
The first word in Philippians 4:8 is “true.”
Here is an exerpt I copied from Bible Hub.com:
“what can’t be hidden”) stresses undeniable reality when something is fully tested, i.e. it will ultimately be shown to be fact (authentic).”

 

Hmm, what can’t be hidden.  I am immediately reminded of a paradox:

There are several Bible verses that talk about mystery and how God hides things; then there are at least as many about revelation, hearing, seeing and knowing.  I think the key to this is that we cannot know God apart from Him.  We need Holy Spirit to reveal and quicken God’s word to us.  We need His conviction, confirmation and direction.  To “know” God is not about collecting factoids; it’s about personally experiencing and becoming acquainted in a relational sense.  That is a life-long journey.

 

“stresses undeniable reality when something is fully tested.”
If there is one thing about God, all that He is, says and does that brings me great strength and comfort, it’s that He can be “fully tested” and He’ll come out true every time!  A lot of things in life can seem very real; yet when they are really tested or challenged, they fail.  Any lie is subject to such a fall.  What God says is; we can depend on that.

 

“It will ultimately be shown to be fact (authentic.)”
That’s the kind of truth I want to hold on to:  Real, authentic, reliable, eternal, indisputable!

 

Lord Jesus, lead us into truth; your Word is truth.  Amen.

THINK ON THESE THINGS

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Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely or admirable – if it is excellent or praiseworthy, think on these things.
Philippians 4:8

WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?

Who do you say I am?
In the midst of a stormy sea;
When the winds of conflict blow;
When I try to understand;
But find I simply don’t know,
You are my Prince of Peace.

 

Who do you say I am?
In the cavern of fear and pain,
And sorrow captures my soul;
In the place of great darkness,
Where I long to be made whole,
You’re my faithful healer.

 

Who do you say I am?
When troubles seem to fade away,
In joyful celebration;
When songs of victory are raised;
My heart fills with elation,
You are the Lord of life.

 

Who do you say I am?
While others only say teacher,
Model of man at his best;
Or just a useful swear word,
As they put you to the test,
You are Jesus, the Christ.

GOD’S REALITY TRUMPS ALL

I have struggled with the contrast between what Scripture says and life experiences for most of my life, especially in terms of healing.  This has been magnified since my nephew’s death on July 17.  He was medically fragile.  I had contended for him in prayer from the time of his birth to the moment of his death.  An infection ambushed him and caught everyone, including his doctors, completely off guard.  He was all right; then he was gone.

 

I myself have had countless people pray for my healing; yet cannot see.  I have probably heard every explanation in the book for my blindness and the lack of healing, from the “hidden sin in my life” to “God doesn’t heal these days.”

 

In truth, I have had many injuries, illnesses and conditions healed by God, including repeated stress syndrome, anorexia, migraines, FibroMyalgia and more recently, an egg allergy.

 

I have studied the Bible thoroughly on this topic and have concluded that it is absolutely clear in this matter:  God heals.  This isn’t something He merely does; it is part of who he is.  I can find all sorts of verses to verify this and none that give exceptions, caveats or time limits.  Trust me, I have searched diligently:  This would have made my dilemma a whole lot easier!

 

You should see people when I tell them I believe that God heals.  They can’t figure that out, when I obviously have a disability.  It really messes with them!

 

I have taken a step forward this past week:  A deeper, heart-level revelation about trusting God first.  It means believing his word and experiences of him over other life events.  It has to do with recognizing that God’s ways and His Kingdom reality are far greater than anything I grasp or understand.

 

I told my pastor that I have had more than enough prayer for my eyes.  HE challenged me:  How do I know it’s more than enough?  He is right; that is an assumption on my part.  All prayer is answered; God is doing something bigger than what I experience.

 

The war between faith, in the sense of trust or expectancy, vs reliance on experience and understanding goes beyond healing.  It is something with which we struggle when it comes to any of God’s blessings:  Provision, protection, favor, salvation and all miracles.  There are all sorts of doctrines and arguements to support the status quo and plenty of discreditation for people who dare to go out on the limb of absolute trust in God.  When a miracle (including healing) occurs, there is no shortage of attempts to explain it away.

My point can be expressed in a stanza of poetry:

 

I bless You, oh Lord, for all that You do;
I will watch for Your miracles each day.
And even when they seem to be subtle,
I will not explain them away.