Getting Real About Life, about Love, and about God

Friday, May 1, 2015

More on "Instead"

This word is just hanging with me and continuing to cause me to reflect upon my relationship with God.  I wonder what are those things that we chose to do instead of growing and maturing in our relationship with Christ.  If we are not growing and maturing the truth is we are doing something else instead.

I think it was Ray Kroc, the McDonald's founder that said, "when you are green, you are growing and when you are ripe you rot."  When the growing stops you start dying.  This is true of living organism.  It is true of plants.  It is true for us.  Instead of growing we start dying.  Instead of living the life that God calls us to and becoming the people that God calls us to be, we start dying.  We don't grow and mature, instead we wither and die. We dry up.  We are drained of life giving power.  We are emptied of life.

"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ."  Ephesians 4:15

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Instead

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
Ephesians 4:15 NIV

Reading Ephesians this morning I was drawn to the word that starts the 15th verse.  It is one of those words that we can just rush by in reading or, like it did this morning, make you stop and really think about what it is being said.  Paul is saying we should do something instead of something else. He is saying that we should speak the truth in love and grow and mature and become like Christ.  Instead of, if we read the previous verses, not maturing or growing up and just going with the flow and listening to whatever teaching is popular for the day.

He is saying try something different than what you are doing.  Instead of doing what everyone else is doing, instead of doing what feels good to me, instead being immature in the faith, grow up.  Instead of acting like everyone else be like Christ.  Instead of doing what the world wants you to do be what Christ is calling you to be.

Instead.

Things can be different.
We have another choice.

The other option is one that we often fail to grasp hold of and claim for our lives.  We can allow GOd to do a work in us to make us grow and mature and be like Jesus.  To make our heart, mind and character like Jesus.  I chose love.

Love today instead of not loving.
Care for others instead of just looking out for yourself.
Spend time recognizing that God is with you today instead of just hurrying through the day.
Live today instead of existing.
Grow today instead of being stagnant and unchanged.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Enjoy Your Gift

Someone needs to hear this today.

Is it you?
Is it me?
Maybe both?

The past is just that, it's past.  It is behind you.  Let it go.  You don't live there anymore.  Christ is making all things new.  Too often we get stuck in our past and we miss the present because we can't get out of or let go of past mistakes, past hurts and past experiences.  By refusing to turn the page and except the new beginning that Christ offers we miss out on the gift of today.  We fail to live in the moment because we are still in the past.  This robs us of today.

Worrying about tomorrow or what the future holds robs us of today also.  We need to let go and not worry about our future.  It is future.  It is unknown to us.  But, as the songs says, "I know who holds the future."  God is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow.  He has tomorrow for us and we can trust him with what lies ahead and we will live in that moment when it becomes the present.  Live in the gift of the present and leave the future in the future.

It is called the present.  It is our gift to enjoy and it is the only moment that we have that we can really live in.  We cant live in the past and we cant live in the future.  This present moment is meant to be lived in.  It is not living in the moment or enjoying the gift God has given us if we dwell in the past or worry about the future.  You only get this moment for a moment and this day for today.  Live it!

Enjoy your present.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

He's Got You and He is Not Letting Go.

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
John 10:28-30 NIV

Some of us might remember the Sunday school song "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands".  The song taught us that God has us all in his hands.  Her has the "little bitty babies", the moms, dads and everyone else in his hands.

It is good for us to remember this truth.  God has you in his hand.  He is not distant and far off.  He has not abandoned you in your situation.  He has not left you to deal with your circumstances all alone.  He is holding you.  Just relax and rest in the palm of His hand.  He has got you.  This promise also comes with the guarantee that he will not let go of you.  No one will snatch you from Him.  No one and no situation will be able to loosen his grip on you.  Even when we struggle to hang on he does not let go.  God has you securely in the grip of His grace and mercy.

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Be Encouraged and Encouraging

You are not alone.  I  don't know what you are going through but I do know that God does.  I also know that He loves you and cares about your life and your circumstances.  You are loved more than you will probably ever know or can imagine.  God is crazy about you.

When we were kids we had a little saying "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." That saying is a lie.  It is just not true.  Words can hurt us.  They can hurt deep.  The wounds that are caused by harmful and destructive words are worse than the wounds caused by sticks and stones.  "Word wounds" can run deep and destroy someone's sense of worth and purpose.  Words do hurt us.

Words also have the power to build up.  Our words are pact with powerful potential to tear down or build up.  How do you choice to use your words?  We can use our words to encourage and inspire.  We can use our word to speak value into people life.  We can use our words to bring smiles comfort, and strength to others.  We can use our words to brighten someone day.  It is our choice.

It is important to understand that negative words are more potent then positive ones.  One negative word is what will be heard over a multitude of positive ones.  Negative words are remembered.  IT takes a lot of positive words to heal the wounds of just one negative word.

What you say to others today is filled with power.
We have a choice to encourage and build up or tear down.

James shares these words with us,
A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!

It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.

This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!

My friends, this can’t go on. A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? Apple trees don’t bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don’t bear apples, do they? You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you? 
James 3:3-12 (The Message)

Love today

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug


Monday, April 13, 2015

Sharing Faith

I was listening to the radio today and there was a conversation about sharing faith. They asked a pastor who was on the broadcast,"how often we should share our faith?"  His answer, which I am not arguing with, was as often as the Spirit leads us. 

This got me thinking. 

Faith is lived belief.  Faith is living what we believe. It is being so sure and so certain that we live our lives accordingly. 

We share our faith always. We can't help it. What we do and what we say expresses what our faith is in.  People are watching us, they see what we are doing and saying and they interpret that through the lense of what we say we believe. We are sharing our faith always. 

Here is the gut check part of it.

The faith that we share may or may not be faith in Christ. 

One of the great theologians (I say it this way because people have attributed this quote to Augustine, St. Francis and others) said, "share your faith at all times and when necessary use words."

The radio broadcast was talking about the words part. We need to be open to the Spirit's  leading in those moments that we need to use words to share our faith. But we need to be aware of the faith that we are living every moment and live by the Spirit. Our lives are sharing what our faith is. 

Love today.

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Follow the Crowd or Follow Jesus?

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Romans 12:2

We will never be able to discern and know the will of God if all we do is go the way of the world. If we just do what the rest of the world is doing we always struggle with understanding and seeing God. 

Conforming is what people want us to do. I say don't conform. Be different. Christianity is not about becoming part of a group of people who look a like talk a like and think a like. Dispite what people may say. If you are part of a group that call themselves followers of Jesus they should not be calling you to conform to their ways or way of thinking but to be transformed by a relationship with Jesus. There is great diversity in the body of Christ and there is great unity. The unity is in one God, one faith, one hope, one baptism and one Spirit who is in all and working in all.   The unity is in Christ who is at working transforming each of us. 

The question for us to answer for ourselves is, are we conforming or transforming? Am I refusing to go the way the work is trying to force me to go or am I being transformed by the renewing of my mind by Christ Jesus?
We need to allow His word not other words transform our minds. This is the only way that we will be able to discern whether we are just following the crowd or if we are following Jesus. 

Love today. 

In Christ's love and mine,
Doug